Wednesday, September 30, 2009

GeorgiaMae readers, you fine folks know me pretty well by now. And you think I’m a pretty progressive guy, right?

Well, not everyone would agree. The wife informed me last night that one of her students thinks I’m a chauvinist pig.

If I would have heard it for myself I likely would have knocked that little girl out.

Ermm, but I guess that doesn't help my case. Let me explain.

The wife’s class was discussing women’s rights and the conversation veered toward this question: “In what ways are women treated unfairly in this country?” The kids talked about unequal pay, perceptions of female athletes and double standards regarding sexuality (you know, how dudes who sleep around are considered heroes but women who sleep around are viewed as walking STDs).

One plucky young student brought up and interesting point – she believes that men who open doors for women are actually sexist. She said that even though the guy might think he’s being a gentleman, he has been brainwashed into thinking that women are the “weaker sex.”

Well, the wifey informed the class that her husband has no problem opening the door for her. She knows that I was raised to treat women with respect and my actions are a reflection of that. Her student was unfazed. She suggested that I might THINK I’m showing respect but deep down I’m just influenced by the archaic view that women are helpless.

Don’t get me wrong. She brings up a good point. True enough, chauvinistic beliefs are often ingrained and many times brothers don’t even realize when they’re being offensive. But this is one time I can confidently say that I’m not being prehistoric (even though my cell phone dates back to the Stone Age).

I’m fully aware that my wife has enough strength to open a door. I open doors for women as a sign of respect. It’s like how you would say “yes ma’am” to an elder or how you’d give up your seat to a standing pregnant woman.

It’s not about humbling my wife. It’s about honoring her.

Too bad little miss student will never experience my door-opening prowess.

What do y’all think? Should the practice of opening doors be shut down?

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Posted by in , ,  on 7:40 AM 4 comments

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in my first Walk for Lupus Now event. First, I want to thank everyone who helped me reach my fundraising goal. Shout out to Diane Hawkins, Annemarie Gray, Brad Hill, Chantay Dudley, Danielle Huff, Andrea Robinson, and a generous anonymous donor.

And I have to give a big thanks to my cousin/BFF LaTasha Merchant for coming to Birmingham for the weekend to be my walking buddy.

During the walk I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster. I met a woman who was walking for a friend of hers who died from lupus at the age of 31. That story broke my heart. But seeing so many families and friends out to support people suffering from lupus made me smile (as did the fact that it didn’t rain until the walk was done).

Thanks to information distributed at the event I also learned more about the disease and discovered just how empowering this knowledge can be. Cooking tedious meals and shopping for a long period of time have always left me completely exhausted. There was a time when I really beat myself up for this. I felt like I was just being lazy. I thought that maybe I felt tired simply because I have no enthusiasm for cooking. That it was all in my head. But some of the lupus information I received at the event mentioned these exact activities and how they can be particularly tiresome for lupus patients.

Additionally, there are several other recurring health problems I have that I felt were somehow my fault, but discovered they are actually related to lupus.

These things may sound small, but I can’t express how empowered I felt after gaining this knowledge. And in the end empowerment is exactly why I believe events like Walk for Lupus Now should exist.
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Posted by in  on 7:44 AM 2 comments

Friday, September 25, 2009

Editor's Note: Tara Walker is a loyal Georgia Mae reader and commenter and now we're happy to have her join our team as a guest columnist. Tara is on a special journey of locking her hair and she's offered to share the lessons she's learning with Georgia Mae readers in a monthly column. Be sure to leave lots of comments to let Tara know just how awesome she is.

My wanting locs used to be a fantasy. To this day I'm not sure where my self-conscious nature comes from, but I basically spent the first 22 years of my life caring so much about what others thought of me, that I didn't have the confidence to pull locs off. Well, to be more accurate, I didn't have the confidence to get through what many call the 'Ugly Phase' of locs -- the time when your hair gets uncontrollably frizzy as it begins to mat, or 'lock'.
I'm proud to say I overcame the obstacle of valuing others' opinions of me when I first went natural in July of 2008 by cutting off ALL my hair. So I feel the entire process of growing locs was a natural progression.

I started the process a month ago and watching my hair naturally go through the phases has been one of the coolest things I've ever witnessed. Now the irony about the locking process is that I have what many consider a 'bad grade' of hair because it's really kinky and downright nappy. However, those very characteristics will cause my hair to lock faster hence making it 'good locking hair'.

All I can do is shake my head at the ridiculous and often hurtful labels that are put on beauty, especially when it comes to the beauty of women of color, but that's another subject for another time. For the most part I've been documenting my loc journey through pictures, but I appreciate the good folks at Georgia Mae for giving me the opportunity to share a part of that journey with their readers.

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Posted by in , ,  on 10:23 AM 4 comments

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Last night, the wifey and I were throwing around ideas for the latest "Whatever Happened To" post and we decided on doomed R&B girl group Jade. (Don't worry, they're coming.)

But the conversation continued to evolve and somehow reggae songbird Patra came up. In one of my first posts for GeorgiaMae, I talked about those heavy looking braids women like Patra and the Jade girls wore in the mid-90s. The wife calls them dookie braids. I call 'em jump ropes.

It might seem like just yesterday, but Patra's debut album, Queen of the Pack, came out way back in 1993. I know y'all remember hits like "Worker Man" (complete with those fake blocks of ice that showed up in a ton of mid-90s videos) and my favorite, "Romantic Call" with Yo-Yo. Between the two, how long do you think it took to braid all that hair?

Ah, who am I kidding, it's probably weave. I can never tell the difference.

I'll freely admit that I thought Patra was mighty sexy back in the day - in a terrifying way. You know how female praying mantises kill and devour their mates? Just look at those neon claws Patra sports in the Romantic Call video.

Patra returned in 1995 with Scent of Attraction. I loved the title track with Aaron Hall back in the day but it hasn't aged well. Patra sounds kinda silly saying "Yes, Aaron hon-nay, lemme tell ya something bay-bay." Ugh. But Queen Patra is probably best remembered for swiping Grace Jones' "Pull Up To The Bumper." I preferred the remix.

Now here's where things get dicey. Aside from a few collaborations Patra pretty much vanished by the end of the 90s. She attempted a comeback in 2003 with The Great Escape, which featured "Loving is Crazy" but I couldn't find audio.

Then in '05 she dropped Where I've Been, and it's just like old times. I couldn't find the album anywhere, but I did track down the singles "Man Dem Thriller" and "Black Cinderella". They aren't half bad and Patra is still in pretty good shape.

Should she come back?: I wouldn't mind. Patra still sounds good, still looks good and still has plenty of attitude. If she does return, I hope she loses her Wolverine claws.
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Posted by in ,  on 6:34 AM 6 comments

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Fall 2009 issue of Venus Zine is devoted to television and film. For the issue the VZ staff compiled a list of the 100 most important women in the history of television. Some of my favorite actresses who made the list include:

Lucille Ball -- She came in at #1 which I think was well deserved. I Love Lucy is timeless and Ball's talent and business savvy undeniable. When CBS was converting their radio programming to television (including Ball's show My Favorite Husband) Ball insisted that her real-life spouse, Desi Arnez, play her opposite on the new TV show. The network thought the public wouldn't believe a Latin man as her husband. Her reply: But he is my husband. And it seems like they were wrong and she was right.

Oprah Winfrey -- Uh duh. (She was ranked #2).

Bea Arthur came in at #19 and Betty White at #52 -- I watch at least two episodes of Golden Girls a day. No really. I do. (You can find episodes on the WE TV network and the Hallmark Channel pretty much any time of day or night.) This show paved the way for series like Sex and the City and showed us what real friendship looks like.

Check out the latest issue of Venus Zine to see if your favorite actress made the cut.
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Posted by in  on 7:27 AM 2 comments

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Some of you know that I have been without HBO since July 25, which for a True Blood fan is like being without fresh water and clean air. Fortunately my cousin/BFF saved the rest of the season's episodes for me on her DVR and this weekend I travelled 1.5 hours for a bloody marathon.

During the final episodes of the season (which were AWESOME) we see humans mull over the not-so glamorous side of being in a relationship with a vampire. For example, if your husband is undead he won't age. Ever. Will your vivacious vamp still find you attractive once you have wrinkles and brittle bones? There's no "growing old together" with Bill Compton.

Nonetheless, I told hubster I would totally love it if he were a vampire and here are the top five reasons why:

5. Let's say, I'm hit by a car tomorrow (hey, it could happen) and I get really banged up. Just a few drops of hubster's blood and I'll be all better.

4. Once I have ingested his blood he'll always know if I'm in trouble. So if I am hit by a car again he'll get there before the cops even show up and use his super vampire strength to scare the crap out of the driver.

3. We can cuddle even in the middle of July in Alabama. I'm a pretty romantic person but I don't do much cuddling in the summertime simply because it's too damn hot. But if Edd is techinically dead, he won't have any body heat so spooning when it's 80 degrees at night will be no problem.

2. As joyful and optimistic as I may seem to those who know me, I can be pretty morbid (but my obsession with vampires probably gave that away.). I think about death a lot and live in constant fear of my loved ones suddenly dying. I know I should get some therapy about that, but I can't afford it. And I wouldn't need it if Edd were an immortal vampire.

And the #1 reason I'd love for Edd to be a vampire -- I could go shopping for cute, expensive handbags without worrying about him trying to stop me. He can't exactly follow me to the mall in the middle of the day if sunlight will cause his skin to burst into flames, you know.
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Monday, September 21, 2009

Remember last week when I mentioned that President Obama cussed out Kanye West? Well, if you didn't believe me, here's the video proof.

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Posted by in  on 12:37 PM No comments

Friday, September 18, 2009

I know Georgia Mae is a pop culture blog, but sometimes I need to work out some personal issues through my writing and since I no longer have a column, I figure the best place to spill my guts is here.

Sometimes I feel as if I struggle with doubt more than any other Christian I know. Through the years that doubt has taken on many different forms – doubt about if Jesus is who the preachers say he is, doubt about whether God is really a loving creator and doubt about whether he cares anything about me.

Fortunately, my struggles with these doubts have ended. But they have been replaced with a new one – Will my husband and I prosper in Birmingham?

As many of you know, in July Edd and I left our jobs and our adorable condo in Louisville to move to Birmingham. We moved in part because I was offered an awesome teaching job but we had plans to move to Birmingham long before this opportunity arose.

In April my husband said he felt God wanted us to move to Birmingham. This may sound presumptuous, but Edd has been talking about moving back to Virginia (where he was born and raised) since the day I met him. So if he’s recommending we move somewhere else it had to have been God who placed that thought in his mind. That same month he found the posting for the teaching gig. A month later I was offered the job.

Of course, the idea that I would take this job without Edd having one lined up as well was scary, especially in this economy. But we took the leap because we were sure this was what God wanted. But now October is just around the corner and my husband is still unemployed.

My husband has the patience of Job, but I’m simply not that strong.

I keep reviewing notes I scribbled in my prayer journal this summer: "The righteous will live by faith." "Without faith it is impossible to please God."
And the note that keeps haunting me: "Faith must exist in your heart and in your mouth."

I know that I am supposed to demonstrate my faith by declaring to anyone who will listen that I am confident everything will be fine. But I can’t. So I simply say nothing. I avoid talking to friends because I don’t know how to answer the question "How are things going?" without doubt taking over my tongue.

I’m afraid to declare Edd will find a great job and we will have a prosperous life here because if it doesn’t turn out that way not only will I look like a fool but my God will seem unfaithful. But if I had faith in my heart these worries wouldn’t cross my mind in the first place.

The fact that I have doubt is silly. When it comes to jobs God has parted the Red Sea for us before. Weeks before I finished grad school in California, Edd and I were in a panic over our future. After being 3,000 miles apart for two years we desperately wanted to be in the same city, but my only job offer was in Philadelphia. Then two days after my graduation I got a phone call and was offered a job in Louisville for which I hadn’t even applied.

So with this post I’m confessing my faith and burying my doubt. I trust and believe that my husband and I will prosper in Birmingham. And while thumbing through my prayer journal last night I came across this: "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
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Posted by in ,  on 10:23 AM 3 comments

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Most people who know me know I'm not a huge fan of Tyler Perry. I think his heart is in the right place with his movies and plays and I appreciate the Christian elements of works. But in my opinion many of his movies and plays -- especially those featuring Madea -- all have the same basic plot. Black woman is done wrong by some trifling black man, God fearing black man swoops in to try to save the day, initially angry black woman resists, then finally she's won over and all is well. The end.

Furthermore, when Perry was featured on this year's CNN's Black in America 2, one interviewee also complained that the Madea image was degrading to the black race.

Hubster and I have been kicking around an idea for a post on Tyler Perry but until we get around to it, check out this essay posted yesterday on

I can't say if I agree or disagree with this post because I haven't seen a few of the movies mentioned. So I want to hear from readers who have.

Do you think Perry's movies feature negative portrayals of black women? If so, do you think his latest movie I Can Do Bad All by Myself is an improvement? What do you think of Perry's movies and plays in general? Let me know what you think.
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Posted by in ,  on 7:27 AM 4 comments

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

image via

This probably won't surprise most of you, since my thriftiness is no secret across the 'Net, but I'm in dire need of a new cell phone. While most of my friends and family can balance their checkbooks on their BlueBerry Pearls, my five-year old clam-shell cell can barely send a text message.

I've never even owned a cell phone that can snap photos.

My friends tell me that I need to come into the 21st century and pick up an iPhone. Initially, I scoffed. If I buy a $5,000 cell phone it better be able to mow the lawn. But the one thing that could possibly change my mind are iPhone apps.

For those as far behind the times as I am, apps are downloadable applications for your phone. Many are simply time-wasting games, others are pretty cool, like the app that tells moviegoers the best time to take a bathroom break.

However, one app makes me question the integrity of the iPhone. From

"I am T-Pain" lets you sing along with T-Pain songs using the same auto-tune technology he's known for in songs like "I'm N Luv (Wit a Stripper)" and "Bartender."

On the basic level, it's like a karaoke app. You just sing along to the words into the iPhone mic.

Argh! Even the iPhone isn't safe from the dreaded auto-tune. Why would anyone want to sing into their phone and sound like THAT guy?

Any GeorgiaMae readers who purchase that app will be forwarded one of those diseased Beyonce links that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.

It's enough for me to stick with my outdated cell phone. If I call you there's a good chance you won't be able to hear me but at least I won't sound like T-Pain.

At least not on purpose.
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Posted by in ,  on 10:23 AM 2 comments

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

image via

You know, when Kanye West totally embarrassed black folks during the MTV Video Music Awards, I was pretty sure that the whole thing was staged.

Think about it: the fiasco happened pretty early in the broadcast, which gave viewers and bloggers time to spread word about the foolishness (which would boost ratings); Beyonce gave Taylor Swift her moment at the end of the show (giving us a "happy ending" and helping to put Swift's name in the headlines); and MTV isn't above staging "shocking events" (like when the guy from Borat put his crotch in Eminem's face).

Hey, I'm a journalist. I was born skeptical.

I might have to change my stance, though. Kanye apologized on the premier of "The Jay Leno Show" last night and he seemed pretty sincere. For Kanye, anyway:

"I deal with hurt and, you know, so many, you know, celebrities, they never take the time off, and I've never taken the time off to really, you know, I just, music after music and tour after tour on tour, and I'm just ashamed that my hurt caused someone else's hurt."

Prior to that apology, though, celebrities were pissed. Don't be too hard on them. It's easy to hate on a man with a haircut like that.

Let's see what they had to say:

Pink, who allegedly had to be held back from going upside Kanye's head, wrote on Twitter:

"Kanye West is the biggest piece of s*** on earth. Quote me. My heart goes out to Taylor Swift. She is a sweet and talented girl and deserved her moment."

50 Cent:

"I wish he would come take one of my awards so I can black his eye."

Adam Lambert, one of those American Idol guys:

"Kanye needs to chill. He freaks out every year. It ain't that deep man."

Katy Perry on Twitter:

"F*** U Kanye. It's like u stepped on a kitten."

Kelly Clarkson, on her blog:

"I've seen you do some pretty s***ty things, but you just keep amazing me with your tactless, a**hole ways. It's absolutely fascinating how much I don't like you. I like everyone. I even like my a**hole ex that cheated on me over you… which is pretty odd since I don't even personally know you...The best part of this evening is that you weren't even up for THIS award and yet you still have a problem with the outcome. Is winning a moon man that much of a life goal?? You can have mine if it will shut you up. Is it that important, really??"

Joe Jackson, who is an expert on poor taste:

"I don't know what he was doing, he jumped up on stage and snatched that microphone out of that poor girl's hand. They should blackball him out of show business for that. He just leapt up there, that was bad."

And the most hilarious of them all, President Obama, who was being interviewed for CNBC:

During the interview, ABC News reporter Terry Moran tweeted, "Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a "jacka**" for his outburst at the VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT'S presidential."

Needless to say, that tweet was removed since it occurred during an "off the record" moment. Speak your mind, prez!
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Posted by in , ,  on 11:08 AM 4 comments
Actor Patrick Swayze died yesterday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was only 57.

That makes today one of those days when I wish I spent my mornings and afternoons around more adults. I wish I had more people with which to randomly recite lines from Dirty Dancing (Nobody puts baby in the corner) and someone to sing "Time of My Life" with me. And I don’t know about you, but I really want to see Ghost too.

We’ll miss you Mr. Swayze.

Visit CNN for more on Swayze's life and career.
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Posted by in  on 7:13 AM 1 comment

Monday, September 14, 2009

Conversation at the GeorgiaMae headquarters:

Wifey: The MTV Video Music awards are on this Sunday.

Me: Uh…OK.

Wifey: You’re gonna blog about them, right?

Me: Awww, do I HAVE to? You know they’re gonna be stupid.

Wifey: You’re the music writer.

GeorgiaMae – watching bad award shows so you don’t have to.

1. Who expected the Michael Jackson tribute to be so good? Madonna’s speech was extremely moving.

2. But why did Janet sound so gruff? Chalk it up to the emotion, I guess.

3. After the horrid job he did last year, whose bright idea was it to bring Russell Brand back to host?

4. And did he have his genitals removed? It’s the only way he could have squeezed in those toddler-sized pants.

5. Did you feel as bad for Wale as I did? He got tons of camera time but only performed .005 seconds of each song before they cut his mic.

6. Who keeps inviting to Jack Black to every MTV event? He’s like the unwanted cousin who pops up at all the family barbecues only to mess up the spades games. His “prayer” to the devil was embarrassing.

7. How long did it take for Pink to learn that high-wire act? I can’t hate, that was pretty impressive.

8. Why does Britney Spears win awards every year despite not having a hit song since about 2000? Maybe MTV still feels bad about her horrible performance from a few years back.

9. Was I the only one shocked that the viewers picked Lady Gaga over Drake for Best New Artist?

10. And speaking of her, what’s the appeal of Lady GaGa? She dresses like a cyborg peacock, a prostitute rabbit, a human bird’s nest and a bottle of hot sauce, then hangs her bloody corpse from the ceiling - if I did that stuff I’d be in a padded cell.

11. Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” was fun (along with her Luke Skywalker robot hand) but all that humming at the beginning of the performance sounded like “Sweet Dreams: The Lion King Remix.”

12. Didn’t you feel old when you didn’t recognize any of the teenyboppers the crowd went wild over?

13. Why do the kids love Twilight so much? The star of the movies is one weird looking dude – bushy hair with bushy eyebrows to match.

14. Wifey: “That trailer makes the new Twilight movie look good.”

Me: “Which trailer were YOU watching?”

15. But was I the only person who was excited by the “Ninja Assassin” trailer? Eh, probably.

16. Didn’t Alicia Keys totally outshine Jay-Z during their performance?

17. And why did Lil’ Bow Wow randomly pop up at the end of the song?

*rewinds tape*

Oh, that was Lil Mama? My fault.

And you know I had to comment on Kanye West rudely interrupting Taylor Swift’s big win:

18. Did anyone else think Kanye’s outburst was staged? Surely not even Kanye is stupid enough to harass a teenager. And I’m sorry to break the news to him, but Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” video kinda sucks.

19. Staged or not, weren’t you proud when Beyonce let Taylor have her chance to shine?

20. Next year, can I watch Family Guy instead of another mind numbing award show?
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Posted by in , ,  on 7:19 AM 3 comments
Georgia Mae turns 1 today. Thanks to all of you faithful readers who have helped this be a great year. Let's make Georgia Mae bigger and better during year 2.


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Posted by in  on 7:17 AM 2 comments

Friday, September 11, 2009

I hope you all have been keeping up with the issues surrounding President Obama's health care reform bill, but in case you haven't, here is a reason you should.

Mariam Williams, one of my gal pals and an emerging media maven, recently shared on her blog her own struggles with inadequate health insurance in a post titled "Making the health care debate personal."

Please take a moment to read her compelling story.
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Posted by in  on 4:08 PM No comments

Thursday, September 10, 2009

As a feminist it doesn't take much to get me to griping about fairy tales and how they perpetuate the idea that young women should all be waiting for some prince charming to save them. That's one reason I find photographer Dina Goldstein's project "Fallen Princesses" so compelling.

In the project Goldstein places fairy tale icons into real-world backgrounds creating shocking, thought-provoking images. I stumbled upon it this summer, but never got around to writing about it. Goldstein is now getting international attention for the project, which will be on exhibit next month in Vancouver. So I just had to tell you all about it.

Here are a few of the images I found most intriguing:

Goldstein has said this of her project:

The project was inspired by my observation of three-year-old girls, who were developing an interest in Disney's Fairy tales. As a new mother I have been able to get a close up look at the phenomenon of young girls fascinated with Princesses and their desire to dress up like them. The Disney versions almost always have sad beginning, with an overbearing female villain, and the end is predictably a happy one. The Prince usually saves the day and makes the victimized young beauty into a Princess.

As a young girl, growing up abroad, I was not exposed to Fairy tales. These new discoveries lead to my fascination with the origins of Fairy tales. I explored the original brothers Grimm's stories and found that they have very dark and sometimes gruesome aspects, many of which were changed by Disney. I began to imagine Disney's perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues.

Click here to learn more about Fallen Princesses and to see more images.
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Posted by in ,  on 7:00 AM 3 comments

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I almost hesitate to share this nugget I picked this up from Perez sure ain't Walter Cronkite but since I reviewed Whitney's new album last week, I'd figured it's worth mentioning.

But take it with a grain of salt.

A Sudanese novelist named Kola Boof has written an autobiography called "Diary Of A Lost Girl". In it, she talks about being held captive and forced to be Osama Bin Laden's sex slave for four months in the late 90's.

She admits that Bin Laden frowned on western music, but adds that he was obsessed with Whitney Houston. A couple of excerpts:

"He told me Whitney Houston was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen...He said that he had a paramount desire for Whitney Houston, and although he claimed music was evil he spoke of someday spending vast amounts of money to go to America and try to arrange a meeting with the superstar."

Who knew Bin Laden was Whitney fan? I bet he's still listening to the Waiting to Exhale Soundtrack and watching "The Bodyguard"on VHS up in his cave. Ain't no shame in his game.

But that ain't all.

Whitney Houston's name was the one that would be mention constantly. How beautiful she was, what a nice smile she has, how truly Islamic she is but is just brainwashed by American culture and by her husband Bobby Brown, whom Osama talked about having killed, as if it were normal to have women's husbands killed."

Boof also claims Bin Laden was a fan of "The Wonder Years", "Miami Vice" and "MacGyver".

So Osama likes old school R&B, is a fan of "The Wonder Years" and wants to have Bobby Brown killed? Sounds like me. I would invite him over for Super Nintendo and nachos - if he didn't have that senseless murder of thousands of innocents thing hanging over his head.
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Posted by in  on 7:00 AM 1 comment

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


The Blueprint 3 (released September 11, 2009)

Earlier this summer, I made the case here about Jay-Z being the top rapper in the industry today. I figured I defended my position well.

But then he turns around and releases this album.

Everyone knows his story by now: Biggie's protege takes his spot, sorta retires in 2003 and becomes a mogul, comes back in 2006 with the somewhat unfairly maligned Kingdom Come, drops the awesome American Gangster the next year and launched his new company Roc Nation.

His latest album, the third and alleged final installment in the Blueprint series, is his first musical venture since he racked up roughly a gazillion dollars in the Roc Nation deal. And since he's been so immersed in the business end of the music business, he spends nearly the entire album justifying his spot as rap's top dog. Ad nauseam.

If you've heard "D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune)," unfortunately you've heard the best the album has to offer. When he spits "you boys' jeans too tight, your colors too bright, your voice too light" I giggle every time. Jay's all-out assault on today's bubblegum rappers is music to the ears of a grouchy old-timer like myself. "A Star Is Born," in which Jay checks his ego at the door and pays tribute to the rise of hip hop's top players, is another keeper. Newcomer J. Cole pops up at the end and holds his own with his mentor.

The biggest problem is, with the exception of the tracks mentioned above, Jay doesn't really have much to say, other than to remind us that he's still as good as he was 10 years ago. "Thank You" isn't bad thanks to stellar production from Kanye West and No I.D., but Jay wastes the beat by simply rattling off his accomplishments. Ditto on "Empire State of Mind" with Alicia Keys - Alicia sings her heart out while Jay doesn't do much more than name N.Y. landmarks.

A quarter of the tracks - "Run This Town," "On To The Next One," "Already Home" and "So Ambitious," for example - are ruined by cringe-inducing hooks, courtesy of Rihanna, Swizz Beats, Kid Cudi and Pharrell, respectively. And Mr. Hudson should be thrown under the jail for his horrible Coldplay impersonation on "Young Forever."

But all is not lost. I'm a card-carrying Young Jeezy hater but "Real As It Gets" impressed me. Sadly he nearly steals the show from Jay. Kanye does the same thing on "Hate" - Mr. West sounds way more comfortable over the brooding track than Jay.

It might seem like I'm being harsh, but harsh criticism comes with being the "best rapper alive." Yeah, the lyrics here are good, but they aren't "Jay-Z good." Maybe that's why he spends the entire album reminding us, and himself, how good he was.

Jay is like the old uncle at the family cookout running his mouth about his glory days on the basketball court. Sure, he still has skills but he's definitely losing his luster.

If not for the solid production from No I.D. and Kanye, Blueprint 3 would be a total loss.

Best tracks: "D.O.A.," "Thank You," "A Star Is Born"

3.5 stars out of 5
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Friday, September 4, 2009

I sure hope not, because that exactly what I'm about to do.

On Saturday, September 26, I will be participating in this year’s Walk for Lupus Now® in Birmingham to benefit the Lupus Foundation of America, Mid-South Chapter.

I hope you ladies and gentlemen can help me reach my fundraising goal of $100.

A small donation of $10 would be more than enough.

The walk raises money for lupus research and for education and support services for people living with lupus. Lupus is an acute and chronic (lifelong) autoimmune disease in which the immune system is unbalanced, causing inflammation and tissue damage to virtually every organ system in the body. It affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans, including yours truly.

You can help me reach my goal by making a secure online donation. Just click on the link below and you will be taken to my personal donation page.

And if you live in Birmingham come walk with me so I won't look like a loser who doesn't have any friends!
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Posted by in  on 7:36 AM No comments

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A friend of mine shared this story with me, and you know I had to comment. It's courtesy of

Nineties rapper Coolio has been hired to play a small venue in Colorado for "$3,000, a bucket of chicken and a bottle of Patron (he likes the Silver variety)" according to the show's booker. The concert will be held on Sept. 6, at "The Deli Zone" a restaurant in Longmont, whose local paper hails the performance as "the city's first celebrity performance in recent memory."

Poor Coolio has been getting a lot of grief for requesting $3,000 and chicken to perform when similarly unattractive rappers like Lil Wayne are getting reportedly $210,000 for shows.

I'm sure we remember the days when Coolio was a pretty big deal and MTV was playing "Gangsta's Paradise" endlessly. And although his hair still looks as ridiculous as it did in 1995, times are a-changin'.

How much would YOU pay to see Coolio? Probably no more than $10 or $15 - $20 at the most. Coolio ain't stupid - he knows nobody is going to pay $75 to hear "Fantastic Voyage." And with such a low performance fee, a brother needs some type of perk.

And who doesn't love chicken?

I think it's a pretty sweet deal. All he has to do is perform a couple of 15-year-old rap songs and he gets a few thousand dollars, a three-piece and some disgustingly expensive alcohol to wash it down. An out-of-work rapper can't beat that. Man, I'd sing Keith Sweat's greatest hits for $50 and some of that grilled KFC chicken.

A brother has to watch his weight, you know.

So think twice before you snicker at Coolio's business deals. I don't know about you, but I respect his hustle.

Um, now that I think of it, Coolio was busted for crack possession a few months back and crackheads aren't exactly known for their business acumen...
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Posted by in , ,  on 10:23 AM 1 comment

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Returning home is always a bittersweet experience. It's great to be near my family, but there are some things about the South I simply didn't miss. Like black Southerners' obsession with fair skin, for example. My complexion is a lot darker than it was when I was younger, which I love by the way, but at least once a week I have someone say to me, "You are so dark now! What happened?" Seriously, people? I don't have to pass any kind of brown paper bag test to get a job or have the right to vote. Can we be a bit more liberated than that?

On the contrary, the fact that I've put on a few pounds since I left (okay, maybe more than a few) has everyone elated. Growing up I was always pretty skinny and I was constantly told by family members that I needed to put some meat on my bones. Now that I finally have womanly shape they think I'm gorgeous (you know, except for the dark skin and all.)

Unfortunately, while I love my complexion and can't understand why others don't, I've been having a hard time being as fond of my new body.

When I left Alabama for California in 2003 I wore a size 4. I could even get into a 2 depending on the designer. Nowadays, I can wear an 8, but my body is most comfortable in a size 10.

My rational self knows there's nothing wrong with a size 10. I think my friends who are a size 10 or larger are gorgeous and I know the average American woman is a size 14. But I keep looking at the women in magazines and on TV and I keep daydreaming about my college body and I keep feeling fat.

But it's time to grow up. I have a womanly body and it's time to get a grown-up attitude to match.

So to celebrate my size 10 here are 10 promises I'm making to myself today.

1. I promise to stop weighing myself every day.
2. I promise to buy cute size 10 clothes that flatter my figure and stop trying to fit in a size 6.
3. I promise to not feel guilty for having dessert.
4. I promise to exercise for the strength of my muscles, not for a six pack.
5. I promise to stop comparing myself to stick thin models.
6. I promise to eat right for the sake of my health not the size of my thighs.
7. I promise to read full-figured model Crystal Renn's memoir Hungry. (And I'll blog about it too.)
8. I promise to stop calling myself fat.
9. I promise to believe my husband when he calls me beautiful.
10. I promise to do what I can to make other women (of all sizes) feel beautiful too.
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Let's kick off the new month with a new Georgia Mae feature!

Starting today this will not only be your spot for fun feminism and pop culture rants and reviews, but ladies, you can swing by Georgia Mae for beauty tips too. Cosmetics guru Amy Wheeler, will be stopping by occasionally to offer up some makeup advice for our new column Beauty Mark.

Q: When buying lip gloss that adds color as well as shine how can I find the shade that's best for my skin tone?

Amy's Advice:

To know the lip gloss color that is right for your complexion you must be aware that all shades are divided into two families - warms tones and cool tones. The cool ones include a hint of blue- mauves, fuchsias, milky pinks, purples, blue reds, and berries.Warm tones have a hint of yellow or orange-browns, chestnuts, brown pinks, beiges, taupes, corals, caramels, and orange reds.

If you skin tends to be yellow the cool shades will look best on you, warm tones will bring out the yellow too much. Go for warmer tones if your skin is on the pinkish side. Try on lip color when you have no other makeup on your face and you will easily see which colors brighten your complexion. You may find that you can wear warm and cool tones or that one family suits you best.

Always try lip color on your lips, not the back of your hand, because your lip tone -- whether it be pink, blue, or purple -- will play a role in how the shade looks on your lips which explains why the same shade can look different on your friend than it does on you. Every girl needs lip perfection with a perfect shade of lip gloss so go find yours, happy glossing!

Amy Wheeler is the founder of Tallulah Cosmetics, maker of the glossary mineral lip gloss line.
If you have makeup questions for Amy send them to
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Posted by in  on 6:34 AM 1 comment
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