Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I've always been a big fan of female MCs. This fact often gets lost in my Keith Sweat worship, but my hometown hero Missy Elliott is easily one of my all-time favorites. And we all remember the GeorgiaMae Femcee Tournament I put together earlier this year. It has saddened me that the female MC has gone the way of the do-do bird...

But I'll get back to Nicki Minaj in a moment.

Anyway, I was pretty eager to check out last night's BET's My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women In Hip Hop. Critics were calling it a "groundbreaking" documentary, like it was the second coming of Roots.

I'll be the judge of that.

The documentary was actually a pretty interesting and accurate history of female rappers. Led by a collection of journalists, producers and rappers themselves - including, ahem, "old" favorites like LunchLady of Rage and Jean Grae, looking like a neon, nerdy version of the Chief from the Carmen Sandiego show.

According to the documentary, here's the history of female MCs: The 80s featured trailblazers like MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Salt-n-Pepa and Roxanne Shante, who ushered in an era of partying, unity and respect. In those days, the ladies had to be even better than many male rappers in order to get noticed. That's why their skills were so sharp.

In the 90s, as the popularity of hip hop grew, the genre itself became larger than life. Lil Kim and Foxy Brown helped fuel the sexual revolution, and their peers followed. In the meantime, Missy added a dose of creativity and Lauryn Hill injected diversity and genuine emotion - before cracking up, releasing that bizarre live album and self-destructing. Hip hop cried.

Then, nothing happened for 10 years (entirely forgetting that both Missy and Lil Kim had a couple of really big songs during that time) until Nicki Minaj emerged to save the world. You knew they'd waste no time kissing her giant, possibly fake, butt.

It was going well until the end. It's pretty sad that the history of females in hip hop barely lasted 40 minutes - the rest of the show was filled with random babbling. But the question remains - what happened to female rappers?

The show offered two theories. MC Lyte suggested that male rappers degraded women so much that they devalued female MCs. That might be somewhat true but I don't totally buy that. Women have done a great job degrading themselves in the past (Trina admitted still doing that today) and their sales didn't suffer. The other hypothesis is that labels stopped dealing with female rappers because they're too high-maintenance. It just costs waaay too much to keep their nails done and their weave fresh, apparently. Which, of course, is ridiculous when you look at all the horse-haired R&B singers out there. I don't think labels mind shelling out for them.

After watching the documentary, I think the real reason female rappers are a dying breed is simply because listeners stopped caring. After Kim and Foxy's sex success, EVERYONE stole that formula, things got stale and listeners tuned out. And with an ever-decreasing emphasis on lyrics, wordsmiths like Rah Digga and Rage didn't last long either. Nicki might be trying to bring sexy back (so to speak), but she's going backward. If she doesn't add substance to her act she'll be gone too. Her "yabba dabba doo" raps and Power Ranger wardrobe will only go so far.

If listeners want to hear female rappers again, it's up to us to support them by buying (not downloading) their work. Trust me, record labels will take note when they see there is money to be made. Record execs will put a coked-out baboon on TV if it'll make money (see SouljaBoy). There is a LOT of talent out there. But if we don't support them, the only time we'll see female MCs will be on BET documentaries.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Ever wanted to hear a kid sing over RZA's "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta F Wit?" It's your lucky day!

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I talked about the bizarre Justin Bieber/Kanye West/Raekwon collaboration? Well, here it is.

And I'm digging it - sue me.

It reminds me of those mid 90s remixes, where they'd throw the most gritty rappers on the most bubblegum tracks. This one especially reminds of that SWV remix of "Anything" that featured Wu-Tang Clan.

Justin fans likely will HATE this song - Raekwon totally dominates the track. And Kanye doesn't hang around long enough to lame things up. But for grouchy old guys like me who live in the past, that's music to my crusty ears.

Check out the video before YouTube's goon squad removes it.

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Our "Slept On" artist of the month is the multi-talented Dwele. Born into a musical family, Dwele is not only a vocalist, but also plays piano, trumpet, bass, and guitar.  Musically, he was influenced by Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Roy Ayers, and Miles Davis.  He has collaborated with Slum Village, Common, and the late great J Dilla.  He has released 5 albums.  Enjoy!

"What's Not to Love?"

"Without You"
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Friday, August 27, 2010

I think I've mentioned this before on Georgia Mae, but your boy doesn't really have a great track record in predicting the music industry's next stars.

Back in 1996, I figured Ginuwine would go back to cleaning stables after his "Pony" ride was over. Even though he clearly had talent, I thought that single was just too gimmicky. He proved me wrong and went on to have a pretty solid run.

The next year, I expected Tracey Lee to be among rap's elite but, uh, that didn't quite work out. I bet 90% of y'all think he's the lady who makes frozen cheesecakes.

Another artist who seemed poised for greatness was Sunshine Anderson. Let's look back on her career.

Sunshine came into the game in the early 2000's, managed by R&B's Aunt Esther, Macy Gray, and was signed to Soulife records. For you trivia buffs out there, that was also the early home of scruffy soulman Anthony Hamilton.

In summer 2001, Sunshine's debut single "Heard It All Before" exploded on the scene. It was essentially a loud lady telling off her boyfriend - always a winning combination. The song reached #3 on the R&B charts and was inescapable that summer. Its success pushed her album Your Woman to gold status.

You know, I think this is the perfect example of why iTunes is hurting album sales. If "Heard It All Before" was released in 2010, iTunes single sales would be through the roof and that ringtone would be blaring at every hair salon and nail shop in America, but the album itself would be collecting dust at FYE. In 2001, if you wanted the single, I guess you had to cop that album.

It's not that the album was bad, however. In fact, I preferred the second single over its more popular counterpart. "Lunch Or Dinner" didn't make as big a splash but I really enjoyed the earnest lyrics and laid-back groove. It's pretty underrated.

Sunshine parted ways with Macy Gray and later teamed up with Beyonce's rollin' stone of a papa, Mathew Knowles, on his label, Music World Entertainment. In 2007 she released her sophomore effort, Sunshine At Midnight. The first single should have been named "Heard It All Before, But Here It Is Again." Don't get me wrong, I like "Something I Wanna Give You" - it's in my iPod rotation - but Sunshine is back to dogging out her no-good dude. Why is she still messing around with scrubs? And we never find out what she wants to "give" the guy. Probably a hard time, as always.

The follow-up singles, "Force of Nature" and "Wear The Crown" didn't measure up despite her very solid vocals. Maybe she should have stuck to rolling her neck at a her boyfriends.

Sunshine has since faded into the background.

Should She Come Back?: Sunshine is now married and a mother so she might not be in a rush to return to the crowded music scene. But if she did she'd be warmly welcomed - by the VH1 Soul/Centric set, at least. She might not have had the blockbuster career that I predicted but she remains entertaining - as long as she has a man to yell at.
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

We all know the old adage "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus," but some researchers say it's hogwash. 

According to a recent story in The Observer, a growing number of scientists are challenging the belief that there are significant innate differences between the minds of men and women. These researchers are challenging pseudo-science behind these theories and deeming them "neurosexism." Furthermore, they're concerned about the impact our assumptions about the male and female brain can have on children's educations. For example, by telling parents that boys have poor chances of acquiring good verbal skills and girls have little prospect of developing mathematical prowess, serious and unjustified learning obstacles are being placed in the paths of young students. 
Researchers like Cordelia Fine, author of the upcoming book Delusions of Gender, argue that there are no  major neurological differences between the sexes. There may be slight variations in the brains of women and men, Fine told The Observer, but the wiring is soft, not hard. "It is flexible, malleable and changeable," she said.
Lise Eliot, an associate professor based at the Chicago Medical School, supported Fine's ideas, stressing that the behavioral differences between girls and boys, women and men, are rooted in culture, not biology. She told The Observer, "Yes, there are basic behavioural differences between the sexes, but we should note that these differences increase with age because our children's intellectual biases are being exaggerated and intensified by our gendered culture. Children don't inherit intellectual differences. They learn them. They are a result of what we expect a boy or a girl to be."
In other words, boys don't naturally have better spatial skills than girls and girls aren't naturally better communicators. Instead boys develop improved spatial skills because they are expected and are encouraged to be strong at sport, which requires expertise at catching and throwing. Likewise, it is anticipated that girls will be more emotional and talkative, and so teachers and parents focus largely on their verbal skills.
Thus let's keep in mind that while many women are outraged by claims like women can't tell funny jokes, read maps, or play sports, we should be just as troubled by the assertion that it's normal (and even acceptable) for men to be emotionally unavailable. 

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Nine years ago today, we learned that R&B superstar Aaliyah died in a plane crash in the Bahamas. That news still stands as the most surreal moment in all my years as a music fan.

We have lost many artists before and since Aaliyah's passing but nearly all were due to violence, recklessness or health issues. In my opinion, none of those deaths were as random and shocking as Aaliyah's.

Generations before mine will always remember where they were when they heard about the assassinations of MLK or JFK or when the Challenger space shuttle exploded. My generation will always remember where they first heard the news about Aaliyah.

I didn't hear about Aaliyah's death that Saturday night - it was the next Sunday morning at church. An elderly woman was giving a testimony about how life is short and "you could go at any time, like that young lady in that plane crash." I didn't think anything of it until a couple of women sitting behind me whispered something to the effect of "Did you hear Aaliyah died?" "Yeah, but I think it's a rumor." I rushed home, flipped on CNN and it was confirmed.

Almost a decade later, I don't mourn the passing of one of my all-time favorites. I celebrate her talent, her passion, and her drive. And I'll never forget that lady's testimony about making the most of every day we're blessed to have.

Where were you when you heard the news of Aaliyah's death?
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

This is not a movie review.

If you have yet to see the film adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love, which opened in theaters August 13, don't worry; you won't find any spoilers here.

This is my attempt to deal with guilt in a blog post.

I'm not supposed to like Eat, Pray, Love. Why? Well, I think Sandip Roy, writing for New American Media, explained it best saying, "as someone who comes from India...I have an instinctive reflex reaction to books about white people discovering themselves in brown places." Roy goes on to write:

The story is so self-involved, its movie version should’ve been called, “Watch Me Eat, Pray and Love.” In a way I almost prefer the old colonials in their pith helmets trampling over the Empire’s far-flung outposts. At least they were somewhat honest in their dealings. They wanted the gold, the cotton, and laborers for their sugar plantations. And they wanted to bring Western civilization, afternoon tea and anti-sodomy laws to godforsaken places riddled with malaria and Beriberi.
The new breed is more sensitive, less overt. They want to spend a year in a faraway place on a “journey.” But the journey is all about what they can get. Not gold, cotton or spices anymore. They want to eat, shoot films (or write books), emote and leave. They want the food, the spirituality, the romance.
But despite all this, this brown girl, this brown girl who does not have the resources to travel to Italy, India, or Indonesia to find herself (and probably never will) loved the book and is fairly fond of the movie adaptation. 
I didn't read the 2006 bestseller back when it seemed like every other woman in the world was. I was being too cool for school. But when I learned the book would soon be a major motion picture I headed to Barnes & Noble to pick up my copy. You see, I knew I'd want to see the movie (I'm a sucker for chick flicks) but when someone asks if I saw a film adaptation of a book I love to reply "Yes, but the book was sooo much better." (I can be a snob that way.)

While reading the book I constantly told my husband, "This book is really good but it's going to be a terrible movie." I just couldn't see how you could depict a spiritual transformation on film. The book is captivating because Gilbert is an excellent writer, but the story is in now way driven by a captivating plot. The movie, however, turned out to not be boring. Unfortunately, this is because it deviated from the book, which meant watering down the spiritual enlightenment.

But like I said, this isn't a movie review. This is my attempt to explain why I'm a fan of a book that one could argue is a self-indulgent celebration of white privilege.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie involves Gilbert, played by Julia Roberts, deciding that she will enjoy a delicious pizza and just buy a pair of "big lady jeans." She tells her friend, who is fretting over weight gain, that she's not interested in being obese, but that she's just done with the guilt. Yes, I know eating an entire pizza is not a good idea but the reminder to ditch the guilt, as trite as it might sound, was one I needed to hear (and was surprisingly effective even coming out of the mouth of the annoyingly perfect Julia Roberts).

People close to me know I have food issues. I think the health care field would officially call it disordered eating. Honestly, I've gotten better. There were days (and this is the first time I've admitted this publicly) when I would make myself throw up after feeling guilty for eating a large meal. I convinced myself it was okay, that I didn't have a problem because I didn't do it often and because I simply did it so my stomach wouldn't hurt from being stuffed. But we all know that was a load of crap.

I haven't purged in years, but the weight I've gained in my late 20s has thrown me into a vicious cycle. If I eat a cupcake, or two, I feel guilty, but then to sooth my sadness I eat more cupcakes! Then I spend the next few days calling myself all types of disparaging names.

I'm not saying Elizabeth Gilbert has cured me. That would be absurd. But sometimes you need a friend to simply tell you "Eat the pizza and buy some big lady jeans," not so that you can binge on Italian food but so that you laugh, relax, and realize food is not the enemy and should always be considered a blessing.

What left me singing Gilbert's praises most of all, however, was the primary lesson she learned from her time in India: "God dwells within you as you."

I can't be reminded of this concept enough. I believe God loves me, but I'm not really convinced my Creator likes me all that much. I worry that I need to change, that Christian feminist really is an oxymoron, that my love of fashion and knowledge of pop culture really are evil. But maybe, just maybe, God made me this way for a reason. Perhaps the task He has planned for me can only be completed by a feminist, pop culture loving fashionista. And with that, I'm off to eat pizza.  

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Monday, August 23, 2010

An Atlanta native, Algebra Blessett had dreams of becoming a dancer, but eventually discovered that singing was her calling.  She started her career signed to Dallas Austin's Rowdy Records, but later moved on to Kedar Entertainment Group. She has released one album. Enjoy!

-- Desiree

"Some Kind of Wonderful"

"I Know" 
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

What do you get when you take one of my all-time favorite lyricists, one of the wifey's current heartthrobs and cram one of the world's biggest stars between?

Either the best collaboration of all time, or a massive disaster in the making.

Much ado has been made about Kanye West's recent foray into the realm of Twitter, although I'm not sure why. It gives him yet another outlet to brag about how magnificent he is - how could he turn that down? Earlier this week, he began chatting it up with the wifey's future boyfriend (once he's legal) Justin Bieber and talk steered toward a possible collaboration. Somehow Raekwon's name came up, and Ye asked Justin if he was down to work with the Wu-Tang Clan veteran.

Justin's response? "Me, u, and the chef 2gether on a song = EPIC. Might sound crazy 2 u but even having this convo is living the dream. Thanks."

Wow. Two things shocked me - Justin Bieber actually knows who Raekwon is! And knows and respects him well enough to use his Chef nickname! I doubt anyone I know under the age of 21 knows who the Chef is.

I think I have a crush on Justin now too.

Of course, some grouchy old guy (like me) could have fed Bieber those lines, but it's the thought that counts. A few years ago, Soulja Boy totally disrespected fellow Clansman GZA, calling him old and irrelevant. It's kinda cool to hear someone who was born after New Jack City came out give props to the old school.

Over at xxlmag.com, Rae confirmed that Kanye is serious about the song and claims that "it's definitely gonna happen." Now y'all know I'm the eternal pessimist, so I'm not holding my breath awaiting this triumvirate. I expect it to drop the same day as Dr. Dre's Detox album - Neveraury 32nd. But if they did come together I sorta think they could make beautiful music together.

Sure a thug, a dude who looks like a girl and a man who wears girl's jeans doesn't seem like they'd have much chemistry but I'm confident Kanye could pull something together. Plus, odd pairings often work out. Remember this?

Before she was the neighborhood crazy lady, Mariah was America's sweetheart. Teaming with the maniacal ODB might have seemed like career suicide but the popularity of the "Fantasy" remix eclipsed the original.

Maybe RaeYeBieb could make similar magic.
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

image via

Beyonce is a pop icon that leaves many of us feminists scratching our heads. Does Bey offer a true message of female empowerment or is she hurting the movement declaring she wants her man to pay her "bills, bills, bills" and shrieking "Why don't you love me?" while looking like a pin up girl?  There's plenty of evidence to support both sides, but most folks know I tend to defend Bey's music. Making me proud, in a recent interview with the U.K.'s You magazine, the star went as far as to actually use the f-word:

"I think I am a feminist in a way. It’s not something I consciously decided I was going to be; perhaps it’s because I grew up in a singing group with other women, and that was so helpful to me. It kept me out of so much trouble and out of bad relationships. My friendships with my girls are just so much a part of me that there are things I am never going to do that would upset that bond. I never want to betray that friendship because I love being a woman and I love being a friend to other women."

She went on to say, "I think we learn a lot from our female friends – female friendship is very, very important. It’s good to support each other and I do try to put that message in my music."

Whether you're a fan of Beyonce's girl power anthems or not, you must admit that she's reminding us of the importance of simply having your sister's back and, if you all will allow me to rant a bit, I must say that these days I see a huge lack of that. Take for example the Rihanna-Chris Brown tragedy. And I don't use that word lightly. What happened to Rihanna was tragic, yet I keep hearing people... wait, let me be more specific... I keep hearing women say that Rihanna must have done something to deserve the abuse and is therefore not truly the victim. 

But after Brown made a mess of "Man in the Mirror" on the BET Awards sobbing and slobbering all over the track suddenly he became the victim. Music and pop culture critics not willing to let him off the hook were called heartless. However, the same friends who demanded that we forgive and forget the sins of Chris Brown were calling for a boycott of Alicia Keys' music after learning she was pregnant by super-producer Swizz Beatz and hearing rumors that she was the cause of Swizz's divorce. "Home wrecker!" many of my female friends declared, but not one called out Swizz for letting someone come between he and his wife. Why? Because at the end of the day, whether it's divorce or domestic violence, it's the woman's fault. Always.

Even those of us who constantly the wave female empowerment banner sometimes get so busy wagging our finger declaring another woman a bad feminist that we forget to support one another. 

I don't mean to exclude men from this. If we will ever live in a world without rape and violence against women, a world in which women are truly valued as human beings, men have to be involved in making those changes happen. But ladies, we must begin to value one another too. We must cultivate those friendships Beyonce is speaking about in that interview. I'm not asking you to blast I Am... Sasha Fierce this week or declare your home girl Bootylicious I'm simply asking that we begin to deal with one another with more compassion because maybe the rest of the world will take that as a cue that's it's time it treats us better too.  
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

For the past couple of weeks, loyal GeorgiaMae readers have endured my rants on cyberspace's favorite son, Antoine Dodson.

Well, hide your wife, hide your kids - I ain't through yet.

A co-worker and editor of TheSocialPath.com, a hub for social media news, stumbled upon some of my work and asked me to share my insights on the Dodson phenomenon.

Y'all know me - I tellz it like it iz. Hopefully it will open doors for serious discussion about the situation. We can't keep dancing around the real issues - literally.

Check out my interview here.
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Monday, August 16, 2010

British duo Hilary Mwelwa and Victor Redwood-Sawyerr make up Hil St. Soul (pronounced Hill Street Soul). Hilary, the duo's vocalist, was influenced by Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and artists from her native Zambia.  In 2008 Hilary stirred up controversy when she stated that black British soul artists are not given the same chance in America as thier white counterparts, such as Amy Winehouse, Duffy and Joss Stone.  With their signature smooth sound, they have released four albums. Enjoy!

-- Desiree

"Sweetest Days"

Also, check out "Sweet on You"
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Friday, August 13, 2010

One of my biggest irritations about current hip-hop culture is the desire to label every single item, artist or happening a "classic."

Take, for instance, Bun B's newest album, Trill OG. The Source magazine - once hip-hop's holy grail - bestowed the album with its coveted 5 Mike rating, which designates it as a hip-hop classic. Now as I'm writing this, I haven't heard the album in its entirety, but trust me, from what I've heard I seriously doubt that rating will hold up a year from now. Or even six months from now. Heck, The Notorious B.I.G.'s Ready to Die, The Fugees' The Score, Snoop's Doggystyle and Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt couldn't get 5 mikes back in the day, and those are light-years ahead of Bun's album.

I certainly understand why we wanna label everything a classic nowadays. In an era of extremely disposable music, we all clamor to find that diamond in the rough, one that 10 years from now you can brag about how much you loved before it became "cool" to do so.

But that's the point I'd like to touch on - there's a big different between liking, or loving an album, and calling that album a classic.

2010 has been a great year for music - easily the best year in the past five years, and you could make an argument that it has been good as the last banner year, 2001. Throughout the year, analysts, friends and reviewers have all said that albums from Big Boi, Nas and Damian Marley, Eminem, Drake, Rick Ross and even Fat Joe were all classics. I beg to differ - those were all great albums (Drake and Officer Ricky a little less than the others) but NONE were classics.

To me, a classic album can't be judged a week or two after it is released. A classic helps revolutionize the genre, rockets a star to fame and influences that artist's peers. I don't think anyone was inspired by that Rick Ross album, except ghetto movie directors.

Using the criteria above, the last time we saw a true classic was in 2004:

The College Dropout made Kanye West, then merely a underrated producer, a bonafide hip-hop star; everyone started using his so-called "soul beats" (those sped-up soul samples were everywhere); and it wasn't long before up-and-coming artists started to mimic his rhyming pattern.

That's an album that influenced a genre. That's a classic.

Janelle Monae's The ArchAndroid is the closest we've come to a classic recently but it's way too early to measure its influence. If a year from now Janelle is still a virtual unknown and autotune still reigns supreme then I'd just call it an excellent album that flew under the radar - a near classic but NOT a true classic.

Remember kids, it's OK to love an album and support your favorite artist. But let's cut back on the "classic" designations.

In 1998 I absolutely LOVED Nicole Wray's debut Make It Hot. And I still do. But how dumb would I look now if I had screamed from the rooftops that that album was a classic? Rick Ross fans should heed my words.
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Antoine Dodson mania must end.

Ever since he embarrassed us all by ridiculously ranting against his sister's would-be rapist, everywhere I turn I see his raggedy headwraps. T-shirts, radio interviews, Facebook pages, and worst of all, an auto-tuned theme song. The song is actually climbing the music charts!

Antoine and auto-tune - two things I hate so very much. That's like Lex Luthor proposing to Superman with a kryptonite engagement ring.

Not to be outdone, North Carolina A&T's band is getting in on the act. Here they are performing the so-called "Bed Intruder" song.

A&T - making all Historically Black Colleges proud.

I've already groused enough about making fun of a potential rape. But when colleges - of ALL places - start endorsing such coonery a line definitely has been crossed. I bet if Attempted Rapist Guy (who I guess is still at large - we're too busy dancing to find the guy) climbs into one of these girls' dorm rooms things won't be so funny.

Run and tell dat.
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Posted by on 3:15 PM 1 comment
Those who promote breast feeding may have more strong support for their cause. 

This week the blogosphere has been buzzing with reports that female infants in China who have been fed formula have been growing breasts. 

From The Huffington Post:

According to the official Chinese Daily newspaper, medical tests performed on the babies found levels of estrogens circulating in their bloodstreams that are as high as those found in most adult women. These babies are between four and 15 months old. And the evidence is overwhelming that the milk formula they have been fed is responsible.

Synutra, the company that makes the baby formula consumed by these babies, insists it's not to blame. Company execs say that "no man-made hormones or any illegal substances were added during the production of the milk powder."

If the company is actually telling the truth this could mean the hormones entered the food chain when farmers reared the cows. Bovine growth hormones are used in China, as they are in the U.S., to promote greater milk production. Furthermore, a number of food products sold in the U.S. today come from China. So could some of this tainted formula make its way to your supermarket? Maybe. Maybe not. And, according to food writer John Robbins, there's really no way to know if the infant formula you purchase has been made with milk products from China. 

Click here to read more from Robbins and learn what you can do if you're worried about the dairy you purchase. 

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Montana Fishburne - pay attention. This could be your future.

Y'all remember Montana, Laurence Fishburne's rocket scientist daughter who wants to jumpstart her acting career by doing porn and sex tapes like her hero Kim Kardashian. She doesn't seem to understand that sex scandals bring nothing but drama.

Ask poor R&B screamer, er, singer, Fantasia, who seems to have lost her mind dealing with whispers sex tapes, affairs, and other assorted freakiness. From news.yahoo.com:

Fantasia is in stable condition at a North Carolina hospital after taking an overdose of "aspirin and a sleep aid," according to the manager for the former "American Idol" champ.

The overdose came days after the singer was named in court documents by Paula Cook, who accused Fantasia of having an affair with her husband, Antwaun Cook.

Brian Dickens, Fantasia's manager, said in a statement Tuesday that winner was "overwhelmed by the lawsuit and the media attention....

In the statement, Dickens acknowledged that Fantasia had a relationship with Cook for 11 months, but said that Fantasia believed Cook when he said "he was not happy in his marriage and his heart was not in it. She believed him when he told her he and Mrs. Cook were separated late in the summer of 2009."

When a manager admits his client OD'd due to drama and doesn't spew out the usual lies about "exhaustion" you know things are bad.

I kinda feel for Fantasia. Not for being dumb enough to knowingly date a married man of course, but why is she getting sued for breaking up a marriage? I mean, we all know WHY she's getting sued (bitter spouse going after those American Idol dineros...) but shouldn't Mrs. Cook sue Mr. Cook while she's at it? It takes two people to creep, after all.

I hope Fantasia gets it together. There has to be a better solution than downing a bunch of chewable Tylenols and Kool-Aid.

And I hope this mess shows Montana and her fellow freaks that celebrity sex games don't always lead to TV deals, magazine covers and free press - at least not the free press she's looking for.
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Posted by on 12:32 PM 3 comments

As we've mentioned here before, the wifey is a huge fan of the HBO vampire series True Blood. Me? I can take it or leave it. Mostly leave it. Watching lovelorn vampires eat each other's faces - figuratively and literally - just doesn't do it for me. But I endure it for the wifey's sake. It's a small price to pay when I subject her to endless hours of pro wrestling, X-Men cartoons and The Bad Girls Club.

There's only high-brow programming at Georgia Mae Headquarters.

But I believe True Blood, along with my limited knowledge of Greek mythology, has helped me decipher Kanye West's new and extremely controversial video "Power."

Not long after the clip landed people started screaming about demonic images and allusions to the dreaded Illuminati - the shadowy devil-worshipping cult that allegedly all your favorite rappers belong to. What kills me about the Illuminati allegations is that people claim that all these rappers are poppin' bottles with banshees and demons but STILL support their music. Why brag about being "enlightened" about the evils of the music business but you still bump Hades hip-hop in your car? Aren't you falling into the same trap as the rest of us "unenlightened" ones?

But I digress.

I ignored talk of Kanye and "Da Illumnatis" until Progressive Soul's own Desiree brought up concerns as well. And since we know Desiree is an intelligent, rational adult I had to check it out.

The video is sort like an oil painting, starting with a closeup of Kanye looking pensive and slowing zooming out to reveal his surroundings. The first thing I noticed were the demonic looking women by his side. Now, Desiree thought they were baphomets - evil goat-like deities. I didn't think so, since I've never seen a female baphomet - the devil is sexist like that. I figured they were maenads - which True Blood viewers will know are the murderous, sex-crazed groupies of the Greek god Dionysus. Dinoysus is all about indulgence - sex, drugs and rock n' roll. And since Kanye is the focal point of the pic, I guess that makes him Dionysus.

As the image continues to zoom out, there's a sword hanging over his head. That one is easy to figure out - it's the Sword of Damocles. It's an allusion to the perils of people in power. Hmm, "Power."

Later, there are images of a bunch of half-naked women, some of 'em splashing water and others looking like they're making out with each other. I'm guessing those are water nymphs - more True Blood creatures - which love, um, bathing and making out with each other. Where do you think the word "nympho" comes from?

Near the end, we see a lot of weirdos wielding swords looking to skewer Ye. That's pretty self explanatory - I guess they bought 808s & Heartbreak too.

I see the vid not as Da Illuminatis' class portrait, but the downfall of a hedonistic god drunk with "Power." At least that's what I make of it; Desiree saw something totally different. Who knows, I could be putting too much thought into it. Or I could be watching too much True Blood. But that's the great thing about a painting - we all have our own interpretations.

One thing's for sure - it's a much more interesting video than having an idiot stand around while racially ambiguous women in bikinis fondle him. Why doesn't anyone call Da Illuminatis out for that stuff?

What do you see in "Power?"
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Posted by in ,  on 7:00 AM 2 comments

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

If I was president, I'd get elected on Friday, assassinated on Saturday, buried on Sunday, then go back to work on Monday - Wycelf Jean, 2004's "If I Was President"

He could get his wish. Last week Wyclef Jean formally filed papers as a candidate for the 2010 Haitian presidential election.

I'm sure your initial reaction to this news was similar to mine - WHY? This guy couldn't reunite the Fugees, how is he going to rebuild a country? Lauryn Hill just emerged from the loony bin a couple of weeks ago and I haven't seen Pras since that Dave Chappelle movie. Man, I haven't seen Dave Chappelle since that Dave Chappelle movie!

And just because Wyclef can make Shakira rich doesn't mean he can make Haiti prosperous. Speaking of money, did they ever find out what happened to those misappropriated funds from Clef's earthquake fund?

I wasn't the only skeptical one. Academy Award winner and activist Sean Penn didn't bite his tongue, courtesy of usatoday.com:

"This is somebody who's going to receive an enormous amount of support from the United States, and I have to say I'm very suspicious of it, simply because he, as an ambassador at large, has been virtually silent. For those of us in Haiti, he has been a non-presence."

Even Pras (I guess he IS alive somewhere) doesn't have Clef's back - he has endorsed "Sweet Micky" Martelli for the office.

"Sweet Micky." I guess Sweet Daddy Williams was too busy to run.

Anyway, after giving it some thought, perhaps Wyclef isn't such a ridiculous choice after all. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't vote for him, but having someone as beloved and as (allegedly) enthusiastic as Wyclef in office could bring about an air of change and hope amongst a battered and hopeless people. And he can't possibly be worse than the revolving door of dictators who have corrupted the land.

As of now, Wyclef is the front-runner. I guess we'll see what happens in November.

A rapper as president. We've come a long way. I guess Rakim was on to something after all.

Do you think Wyclef would make a good president?
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Monday, August 9, 2010

Kameron Corvet is from a musical family in Ohio. His style has been described as "a mix of light rock & smooth soul". Enjoy!

-- Desiree

"Kiss and Make Up"

"Let's Go Again"

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Editor's Note: LaTasha R. Merchant, a loyal Georgia Mae reader and commenter, now joins our family of contributing writers. Continuing the series of reviews of natural hair care products, LaTasha tells us what she thinks of Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, which is now available at Target.  

Contributed by: LaTasha R. Merchant

My daily routine consists of co-washing with Aussie’s Moist Conditioner (using a shower comb to detangle).  I shampoo my hair about once a week depending on whether or not my product leaves a lot of residue or buildup. Parting my hair into 4 sections I applied the Shea Moisture product and quickly realized that I was going to have to use something else to help my thick frizzy curls. So I applied Granier Fructis Curl Sculpting Gel for frizz control and let my hair air dry.  Here are the results:

The Shea Moisture smells wonderful and left my hair feeling so soft and natural. However, my curls weren’t as defined as I would have liked and my hair was a little poofy. I used the product for an entire week and would use it again.  Maybe next time I’ll try it in conjuction with another frizz control product for better results.

·         Smells so good
·         Organic
·         Leaves hair feeling soft
·         Doesn’t seem to leave residue/buildup after days of use
·         Reasonably priced at $9.99 for a 12oz jar

·         Not a stand alone product
·         Doesn’t help too much with frizz
·         Website (www.sheamoisture.com) seems to not be fully functioning

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Posted by in ,  on 7:00 AM 6 comments
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