This year, the execs at BET made sure they'd be in on that Twitter "Trending Topic" action, by nominating insta-trend himself, 16-year-old Justin Bieber.
In all honesty, I don't know what kind of ratings the Nielsen meter is handing out for BET these days. All I know is that I rarely contribute to those numbers and I usually don't give them more than an a few channel-surfing seconds. Until right about now. If you aren't an alien to the Twitterverse, you know that this is the time of year that fair-weather BET viewers, like myself, gather ‘round the tube to watch (and tweet) the spectacle that is the BET Awards.
It's what we did last year.
Lamenting over last year's Young Money performance of "Every Girl," featuring Lil Wayne and Drake for which 12-year-old girls strut around the stage. (The lyrics repeat: I wish I could f*ck every girl in the world.) Shaking our collective heads about the much anticipated Michael Jackson tribute, which, well ... sucked.
We watched together - on Twitter - because many of us were still getting our feet wet with the Twitter Whale and we finally understood what all the hype was about. The second-by-second updates from both amateur and professional pop culture critics gave viewers something similar to an online watch party with the entire e-vite list in attendance. The witty, the unapologetically mean and the hilarious with no-harm-intended commentary on every piece of the coon-tastic action is what has Twit's everywhere RSVP'ing to be apart of it all again in 2010.
This year, the execs at BET made sure they'd be in on that Trending Topic action, by nominating insta-trend himself, 16-year-old Justin Bieber for the Best New Artist award. Seeing as how pop culture's wonder boy is not usually marketed to BET's routine demographic, I'm convinced that his presence or even the mention of his name at the ceremony is all ratings motivated. Yes for hits on Nielsen, but more importantly for hits on Twitter.
It makes sense, considering celebrities with a lot of followers on Twitter have started to refer to him as "Justin B" in their tweets to avoid launching him to Trending Topic #1 for the millionth time. And although we're right in the middle of the website's 15 seconds, its ability for fame-making can't be denied. The New York Times reported today that CBS will be creating a television show based on a popular Twitter account. So even though veterans to the Twitter game already know that award shows are the best time to tune into Twitter, with the addition of Twitter royalty "Justin B." to the lineup, this year's BET Awards will be the talk of the Twitterverse.
-- JADA F. SMITH
Being the real-life white mom of an adopted black child is much different than playing one on the large screen.
When Sandra Bullock stepped on stage to thank the Academy for naming her best actress this year, she also gave a special shout out to “the moms that take care of the babies and the children, no matter where they come from.”
Now we know why. In January, Sandra Bullock and soon-to-be ex-husband, Jesse James, secretly adopted a baby. And yes - that baby’s a brother.
Three-and-a-half month old Louis Bardo Bullock was born in New Orleans. His adoptive parents chose to name him after jazz legend, Louis Armstrong. Although Bullock is going forward with divorcing James, she recently told People that she is enjoying every moment of her single mother status. "You wake up, you feed, you burp, you play, you do laundry," she said. "I'm still in that stage where I'm just amazed with him and at life."
As if surviving marital affairs and divorce proceedings isn’t enough already, Sandra Bullock now has the challenge of new motherhood in front of her. But the diapers will be the easy part. Being the real-life white mom of an adopted black child is much different than playing one on the large screen. When it comes to inter-racial adoption, many people feel that love isn’t enough.
Judging from that tearful acceptance speech, though, I have a feeling that little Louis Bullock will be just fine. His mommy has the next eighteen years – if not his whole life – to worry about race matters as they pertain to him anyway. For now, she should just enjoy these first months doing what any other new mom of a beautiful, brown baby boy would do: love on him. And just feel thankful she won’t have to do hair.
There’s a big difference between being grown n’ sexy and being young and dumb.
I'm sure Kiely Williams is so glad to be done with the Cheetah Girls and 3 Little Women. I mean, who wants to be associated with a played out animal print, tweeny-bopper pop music and the Disney Channel for the rest of her life? (Sorry, Raven-Symone.)
So in celebration, Ms. Williams decided to show another side of herself in her latest video, "Spectacular." What better way to tell the whole world you're grown than by pretending to go out to the club dressed like a call girl, getting stupid drunk and having passionate, unprotected sex with a perfect stranger? A perfect stranger who may or may not have date raped you?
Oh yes she did. Check the lyrics:
You can say what you want but
You can call me a slut but
What he did to me last night felt so good
I must have been on drugs
I hope he used a rubber
Or I'mma be in trouble
Promise I don't remember
Except for rolling over
Okay, we hear you - the sex was spectacular! In fact it was so hot, you can barely remember it!
There’s a big difference between being grown n’ sexy and being young and dumb. Beyonce’s smart about her career - she flaunts her sexuality without looking like someone who needs an intervention. Even smarter, she blames any behavior that would get the side eye from Mathew and Tina on someone else.
In an era when teen pregnancy is so prevalent, it’s reality tv fodder, and black women are still contracting H.I.V. at an alarmingly fast rate, I find Williams’ choice to make the video a bit irresponsible. Especially for someone who has more than a handful of young women and girls who look up to her. But I keep forgetting – she’s grown.
Still, she could have at least made the brother hail her a cab the next morning. Even Sasha Fierce would do that.
To some, the statement wasn’t enough to heal psychological wounds that have resulted from the fact that for far too long, media images of women of color have failed to show the full scope of their humanity.
According to artist Sofia Maldonado, the stylized female figures on her 92’ x 12’ mural at Times Square (on view now until April 30, 2010) were meant to represent working women who are seldom seen in mainstream media. They are working class Latinas, the kind of women that Rosie Perez brought to the large screen in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" more than twenty years ago. Beige and brown-skinned with hair colors that aren't usually found in nature, the women of Maldonado's imagination wear tight clothing, airbrushed fingernails nails and elaborate coiffures fit for a hair show. They skateboard and shake their hips to a distant dancehall beat. And although they're supposed to be enjoying themselves, the mural’s title, “Women Working to Get Ahead," explains why its subjects don’t exactly look happy.
Several African Americans, both male and female, took offense to the large-scale painting that was commissioned by the Times Square Alliance for Women’s History Month. In a recent video that features the painting, viewers stand before it, snapping photos and shouting in frustration. Speaking for the silent, somber figures behind them, the protesters voiced their fears that the mural might tarnish the reputation of dignified black women far and wide.
In response to the criticism, Sofia Maldonado, who was born in Puerto Rico and trained at Pratt Institute recently issued a statement in defense of her work:
“[My mural] illustrates strong New York City women as a tribute to the Caribbean experience in America. Inspired by my heritage, it illustrates a female aesthetic that is not usually represented in media or fashion advertising in Times Square. It recognizes the beauty of underground cultures such as reggaeton, hip-hop and dancehall and incorporates trends such as nail art and Latina fashion.”
But to some, the statement wasn’t enough to heal psychological wounds that stem from the fact that for far too long, media images of women of color have failed to show the full scope of their humanity. For many, these wounds are healing, but they still hurt.
It’s safe to say that the protesters wouldn't have had much say about larger than life sized painting of a wise Latina, like Sonia Sotomayor. But what about a streetwise Latina artist who uses vivid color to make people stop and take a good look at her people, for better or for worse? By giving viewers pause, Sofia Maldonado making them ask themselves questions they'd rather not answer. Is a Boricua popping gum any less worthy of visiblilty than a sister wearing pearls?
Looking forward to the Oscars? Not so fast. Damon Weaver gets the last word on the NAACP Image Awards. Watch his red-carpet interviews.
I can't get enough of cub reporter Damon Weaver. Last year I got a chance to interview him just after he sat down with President Barack Obama for an exclusive interview. He was at it again this weekend at the NAACP Image Awards, interviewing Morgan Freeman, Ben Jealous, Gabourey Sidibe, and Quinton Aaron on the red carpet. Take a look at some of his interviews.
Did you know the star of The Blind Side could sing?
Morgan Freeman: "You're 11 and have a protege?" Canal Point Elementary now has another budding reporter in Jalyn Mitchell.
Gabourey Sidibe gives him a soaring fist pump.
NAACP president Ben Jealous talks about the importance of the Image Awards.
Damon and Jalyn give me quite a bit of hope for the '90s babies out there. And I'm looking forward to their next big interview.