Monday, August 3, 2009

State of TV: Death of Reality TV

“TV got real, music went fake.” Joe Budden

No matter what station you turn to, every station has at least one reality TV show. You have America’s Next Top Model, Top Chef, Millionaire Match Maker and of course the numerous love shows on VH1 and MTV. You can’t escape reality TV. But I am almost at my limit with Reality TV. The sitcom and drama has died. Am I the only person not fixated on Reality TV? I must admit some of the shows are addictive and can be a guilty pleasure, but every form of media needs balance. For every reality show there should be a sitcom or drama to watch.

We are no longer in the days with Must See Wednesday’s on NBC or TGI Friday’s on ABC, so good thing for premium cable. If I didn’t have HBO or Showtime I would truly want to give up watching TV as a whole. Shows like Entourage, True Blood, Weeds and Nurse Betty just to name a few are great shows with great writers. I think the recession has part to do with the overload of Reality TV on the air. It is a lot cheaper to cast people who just want their 15 minutes of fame, instead of signing actors, actresses and writers who want thousands of dollars per episode. That still isn’t a good enough reason for me to make TV so monotonous. “Reality shows cost an average of $400,000 per hour to produce versus $2 million for a dramatic series,” (Rome Neal, CBS News). It may be the economy in more than just paying actors and writers. It may be the fact the average viewers are working extra jobs and doesn’t have time for TV anymore, which lowers the Nielsen Ratings which causes shows to cut back on the quality elements to make a good show. There are a few good network sitcoms and dramas around, (Criminal Minds, The Office), but not enough to balance all of the reality TV.

The CW had the sitcom The Game, it had rave reviews, it was interesting—good actors and storyline, yet it was still canceled. Honestly, it would be a lot better if it was on HBO or Showtime. But if network TV doesn’t see a show as a cash cow, no matter how good it is they will drop it. The industry just like the country is run on the dollar bill. So to the top TV executives “If it don’t make dollars, it don't make sense.”

Sad to say I think an abundance of reality TV will be around for another 4 to 5 years before it filters through everyone’s system. By then only the good reality TV will have survived for example Real World and all of the horrific ideas will fade to black i.e. Megan Wants a Millionaire. By the way, who would have thought they would come out with a show that promotes gold-digging? And they get mad at rap lyrics (that’s another story).

By the end of the next 4 to 5 years the balance of TV will be back. You will have your sitcoms, dramas, sports and reality TV and this media outlet will no longer be over saturated with bad reality TV shows.

By Antwain Jackson

Kelis and Nas: Is this right?

According to the Associated Press, the rapper was ordered last week to pay $30,471 per-month in spousal support and $9,027 per-month in child support as well as $45,000 for Kelis’ attorney’s fees.

The amount of money per month that Nas has to dish out to his ex-wife and daughter is ridiculous. I understand paying the $9,027 for child support, but $30,471 for spousal support. The worst part of them all is the $45,000 in her lawyer fees. She filed for divorce—therefore she should be able to pay for her own lawyer fees.

Then when successful men get married and want a prenuptial agreement the women look at them like it is illegal and that the man doesn’t love them. No, they’re looking out for their best interest. No matter how much love you have for someone, there is always a possibility for that relationship to end.

The men are protecting themselves from a “Legal Robbery.” That’s what marriage without a prenuptial agreement is, “Legal Robbery.” There is no way the woman deserves that much money; especially in Kelis’ case. Maybe the question should be; is Divorce Court slanted to give woman the upper hand? Or better yet pay them back for years of not having rights. I don’t know what it is I know it needs to stop.
A lot of women responses to this is “of course women deserves it,” yes I know, you take care of the children, clean, cook, love the man even when is his cheating or beating on you, but is that really worth 50 percent of your ex husband’s income.

I think it all boils down to the horrific legal system we have in the United States. You have a football player gets sentence to 18 months in Federal Prison for conspiracy of fighting and killing dogs, then you have another football player who was high and ran someone over and killed them, but he only serves 24 days in jail. I just don’t know.

I know I traveled so far off of topic, but each sentence a new question risen on why did Kelis get that much money. I honestly can’t find anything to justify that. She is also a celebrity she should be able to keep up with her lifestyle without Nas. That isn’t fair. Now I can understand why a lot of men rather stay in co-habitant relationships with the women they love because you can’t take their money. For non-celebs alimony and child support can ruin your life worst than the IRS or SallieMae. Please love carefully, because you do not want to end up like Nas.

By Antwain Jackson

New American Dream: Graduate Then Move Home

According to “Among 2009 U.S. college graduates, 80 percent moved back home with their parents after graduation, up from 77 percent in 2008, 73 percent in 2007, and 67 percent in 2006.”

Why should you go to college and become thousands of dollars in debt, to have a low salary job and still live home with you parents? This is not the American Dream, but it is the stepping stone to obtaining the American Dream in 2009. You earned your degree and this gives you hope. It becomes a lot easier to market yourself with that degree. Even though, now a Bachelor’s just isn’t enough to make it. After the degree you get a job, you gain experience you either move up in the company or you find a better job that pays more. Your college degree puts you in the place to become successful, but it’s your work ethic that will help you become successful.

Does moving home with your parents make you unsuccessful? No. It is a smart move and probably the best move most college graduates can make. Either you move in with a roommate and struggle or move in by yourself and struggle or go back to school and struggle. Either option you do more than likely you will be broke. Of course there are few exceptions. The best options are: go back to school and get your Master’s or Doctorate, or move back home with your parents and start your career. If you decide to move back home, most college grads still have their same room, unless your parents changed it into a office or nursery, you get home cooked meals which is desperately needed after 4 years of EasyMac and Oodles of Noodles. You will have a decent job that will be barely getting you by if you lived by yourself. Even if your parents make you pay a small rent and help with utilities it is nothing like living on your own and covering all of that by yourself.

Living at home allows you to save money. Money you can use to move out later, pay back your outstanding student loans, car notes, credits card and whatever else bills you have accumulated in your 4-5 years away at school. You even have extra money to buy clothes and help your club or bar habit on the weekends. Nowadays moving back home with your parents helps you to continue to live your life without the extra stress. You’re able to go on trips—homecomings, spring break—and yes you’re never too old to do those things. Don’t get me wrong living at home isn’t stress free, but a lot less stressful than handling everything on your own in the “real world.”

Yes, you love the independence of living by yourself, but most graduates had that feeling right after they moved out of the dorms sophomore and junior year to find out what living the “real world” feels like. So for most it isn’t that bad to move home with your parents unless they’re too strict and that would keep you from wanting to move back and you prefer to struggle by yourself.

Also, just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you’re going to be there forever. No one wants to be the 40 year old living in the basement. Have a plan—give yourself 1, 2 years, but not however long as it takes. I believe the maximum amount of years you should live with your parents before you attempt to try the “real world” is three. After 3 years you should have a steady job and moving forward towards your American Dream. And if your Dream is hit with an obstacle you can always move back with your parents again to try and get your head on straight. It is a must that you have goals and do not stay stagnant.

The American Dream isn’t all about money and cars, but more about happiness, even though money and cars make people happy. Strive for greatness and you shall achieve greatness.

by Antwain Jackson

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Joe Jackson: As a Man...

So over the past few weeks or so I, like everyone else have been following news coverage, award shows, TV specials, urban gossip networks, memorial services, and whatever other media content available in order to accompany my Michael Jackson mourning/ life analysis/ listening sessions. In doing so, I’ve become increasingly interested in, and conscious of the portrayal of 2nd most controversial member of the Jackson family, Joe.

Joe Jackson, as a media figure, has not enjoyed the most glorious existence and public perception. As I skim pages, channel surf, and browse websites relevant to the life and death of Mike, I also come across a large amount of content related to Joe, his actions, and his influence in the family. From reading headlines which read “Shameless Joe” and “Joe Jackson…Just BAD”, to articles about Michael’s life which point out his negative relationship with his father, it has become evident to me that Joe Jackson has evolved into the archetype for the militant, destructive, overly aggressive, consciously insensitive, abusive, scary, and just holistically bad Black male icon. While the perceptions surrounding Joe are understandably conceived through a view of his relationships with his children and family, I feel that he has perhaps witnessed and been victim to one of the most detrimental examples of media sensationalism.

Given, I wasn’t there while the Jacksons grew up. Consequently, I don’t know the extent of the effects of his abuse, mean disposition, and relentless pressure. However, I do know a couple of things about Joe that people don’t really seem to discuss. Joe Jackson is a Black man, and a Black father who supported, cared for, and successfully guided his NINE children into not only adulthood, but an incredible amount of success and prominence. Providing for his family in a situation wherein they were Black in the 1950’s, poor, and not thinking big, Joe had a dream for himself and his family, took, a risk and worked incredibly hard to manifest his goals. While I don’t support many things about Joe, including his unapologetic demeanor regarding his abusive history, and his seemingly cold-hearted and selfish record promotion during Mike’s memorial. I can understand why the guy might be a little fed up, hard- shelled, and frankly apathetic in reference to his depiction by the public.

EVERYONE seems to blame Joe for the issues that Michael had as an adult. He took away their childhood and was verbally and physically abusive, Mike therefore never grew up and developed self image problems which led to a lot of his problems as an adult (Neverland Ranch, excessive plastic surgery, speculations of child abuse and the like). Interestingly people seem to ignore the positive influences that Joe’s actions had on Mike’s life. He only grew up to become one of the most celebrated people in the history of the world through music, something that Joe coincidentally pushed and trained him to succeed in. People also seem to forget that Joe has 8 other healthy, successful, skin bleach free children. One of whom is arguably the most celebrated female entertainer of the last two millenniums. So while you can look at Michael’s life to see what Joe has done, you can also look at Janet, or Rebbie, or Jackie or (you get the point), to see what Joe has done..

As I look twice and really analyze Joe’s exploits, the thing I could most concretely shame him for would be the sexual abuse allegations made by Latoya (who is also living comfortably) some years ago, which she later retracted. And while his relationship with his family might not be ideal now, we have to remember that people do have differences. I mean Jon Voight and Angelina Jolie are estranged to the point where he hasn’t even seen his grandchild to my knowledge, and no one accuses him of being a bad father or man. Sure Joe probably engaged in a number of highly illegal means of discipline, and pressured his kids more than the average person might. But I got pressured a lot when I was a kid, and am no stranger to the belt/switch/spoon/right hand. Conversely, I’m not a millionaire and I love and appreciate the hell out of my father.

What really concerns me the most is the Joe Jackson crucifixion that the Black community has partaken in. We really treat that guy as if he’s a cold baboon.( Male baboons are known to practice infanticide) For all of the dead, jailed, ignorant, irresponsible, and non-existent Black fathers out there, I feel that Joe has to be one that we can give a little respect to. It’s hard enough for any Black man to not only succeed for himself but successfully raise a family in American culture. When we do see an example of that responsibility and ambition albeit flawed, it is consequentially our responsibility to recognize it and establish its presence so that we can start to change this negative and defeating self image. I mean who else do we have? Chris Gardener, Matthew Knowles lightweight, and John Q….and he’s not even real. While Joe may not be perfect, I feel that it’s time to give him a little slack and a lot of respect regarding his role as perhaps not a person, but certainly as a father through the definition I understand. We give the benefit of the doubt to O.J., we give to Jim Brown, and we certainly gave it to Mike. I for one am willing to view Joe in a brighter light considering the all the darkness surrounding him right now. Happy belated father’s day brethren…

By Jason Rainford Burr

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Drink of the Week: Week 11

Drink of the Week: Week 11

This is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of a nice summer drink. It does not matter if the drink is frozen or chilled it still relaxes the body and takes your mind off of the summer heat. The great thing about Margaritas is that they come in all different types of flavors so if you don't like one you can always move to the next. But, I'm warning you be careful when drinking these. A good margarita will sneak up on you in an instant and will take you to the place where you need to be.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Drink of the Week: Week 10

Drink of The Week: Patron and Lemonade. I discovered this drink by browsing Twitter and rapper Fabolous said he was having this drink and ask people to try it. So while on my weekend getaway to Virginia Beach I tried the drink. It was actually pretty good and I'm not even a big fan of tequilas. So you try and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Friday, May 22, 2009

No Nuvo!!!

As a man I think it is important that we put an end to this Nuvo nonsense. It’s a major epidemic of guys running around thinking they are really doing something with this bottle in their hands I just want to let all guys know that drinking Nuvo is not a respectable.

Here is my Anti - Nuvo Top 5 list:

5. It is not a stunt
Any dude walking around the club showing off his bottle of Nuvo is a straight up lame. First off as I have stated before, Nuvo is a chick drink nothing more nothing less. Secondly, there is only a short list of drinks that you can cop in the club and not look like a dweeb. They are: Goose, Belve, Ciroc, Absolute( which is a push), Henny, Remy, Courvosisier (only the high end kind), Various types of champagne(This does not include White Star Moet), and Patron. That’s it. Final.

4. Rappers don't determinate what’s cool

Just because you see Kanye and T – Pain with the bottle does not make it cool. As a grown man you should be able to identify what is and what is not acceptable behavior. The only thing more suspect than popping bottles of Nuvo trying to be like Yeezy is getting a lip ring to be like Weezy.

3. The terrible taste

I would go easy on this nonsense if it had a real good taste to it. But from what I have been told it does not do the job in this department either. Unlike real liquor which is made for its power and not being easy to drink, Nuvo should be a pleasure to drink and have a great taste. But, I’ve seen people get the bitter beer face off of this like they just downed a shot of vodka. And if a drink does not pack the power that vodka packs I’m good off of having to deal with the other side effects of it. This is pretty much like drinking an expired wine cooler.

2. It doesn't get you drunk

This is my major problem with this drink. Nuvo is supposed to be some special combination of vodka and champagne, but the fact that there is only 15% of liquor in the drink is a travesty. Champagne is made up of 12.5% liquor. Vodka on the other hand is made up of 40% liquor. This drink is nowhere close to being vodka. If I can drink the whole bottle and only get a slight buzz then I might as well stay with the champagne.

1.It’s a "GIRL DRINK”

On the official Nuvo website, they classify Nuvo as a Sparkling Liqueur". Which means if the color didn’t already let you know, Nuvo = GIRL DRINK. No man should ever try to stunt with any drink that is classified as a “Sparkling Liqueur”. If this info doesn’t make you believe me, just visit the I am sure that will.