Childish Gambino’s New Video Made Me Cry

If you haven’t seen it. Here it is, in all it’s wonderful beautiful glory

Now, why did I cry? Why did the video make me cry?

Well for one, it’s named “This is America”.  This video is full of truths about our society as a whole, and as I sat there watching it for what felt like the millionth time, I started to shed tears, because the meaning continued to weigh heavy on my heart.

The main point in this video is basically showing how distracted or little we tend to care about what’s going on in society.  As we see Gambino dancing with these school kids, as if nothing is going on.  From the opening scene we hear a chant, basically describing that we just want to have fun and that we just want to have a good life.  Starting off the song with an up-beat, African influenced chant “We just wanna party, Party just for you, We just want the money, Money just for you…” and from there things get grim when Gambino pulls out a gun and shoots a man with his head covered…and utters the words:

“This is America, Don’t catch you slippin up…”

Like…WHAT?!?!?

And the scene afterwards, which was noted by many outlets online, showed Glover handing off the gun to someone else, who had a red scarf of some sort, taking the gun off screen ever so carefully.  And what does he do after all of this commotion? Starts to dance as if nothing happened.  It’s a mirror on how society is taken aback by the sheer horrendous nature of America, but will then turn their eyes to something else as if the event that just happened never occurred.

The dancing in the video is a distraction. The lyrics, while basic in delivery, tells a simple story of our country.  “Police is trippin”, “I got a strap, I gotta carry em”, etc.  but the song alone does not make this the epic experience you should be hearing. The video is what you should pay attention to.

Gambino even goes to murdering a church choir, symbolizing the Charleston shooter from a few years back, and again the gun, which looked like and Assault Rifle, was taken away with care, which Glover, in turn, decides to start dancing again.  Symbolizing the initial shock of a tragic incident, but how we are quick to move along and forget about things again.

And while Gambino is dancing around with his crew, the background is just full of chaos.  The world around us in burning, but we’re focusing on the wrong things. And while all of these things are going on, we’re dancing, rather the Hip Hop community is dancing, and “getting their money”.  That’s what it’s all about.  As a black male in America, the chaos in the background is what we deal with on a normal basis, but society is being blinded. These things continue to happen, and people are out here just “getting their money” but not out here striving to make a change.  Obviously this is just my opinion and how I view it, but as the chaos goes on in the background, we’re just out here doing our dance. Whether that dance be “dancing for the man to ‘get that money'” and not challenge the status quo, or the dancing around people do to avoid the hard conversations.  However, there is a point where  this video screams how much America loves our art, but not our lives.  The outro goes like this:

“You just a Black man in this world
You just a barcode, ayy
You just a Black man in this world
Drivin’ expensive foreigns, ayy
You just a big dawg, yeah
I kenneled him in the backyard
No probably ain’t life to a dog
For a big dog”

If this doesn’t scream “we’re just loved for our entertainment” I don’t know what is.  They don’t love us, they just love our culture.

This is America, where people want to believe it or not.  And this is why I cried.  Because while we are enjoying our lives, there will always be a next time, and a time after that, unless something is done about it.  Being a black man in America only amplifies the hurt, due to injustices that we have to worry about on a daily basis when it comes to police brutality and racism.  And that reality just breaks my heart…

Donald Glover, you are a genius and most of America doesn’t deserve you.

A Love Letter on Valentine’s Day

My Dearest Friends,

Thank you for the love and light you have given me in my life. At my lowest points, when I feel unworthy of love or incapable of being loved, you are there to remind me of my “enoughness” and that I am loved.

Valentine’s is a celebration of love and I’d be remissed to ignore the great deal of love that you put into my life. My oldest friends, those we cannot remember how or when we became friends, thank you. You keep me grounded in my roots, you remind me of the past and how much I’ve overcome, and your love always feels like coming home – familial, warm, and safe. You are my rock. We have withstood time.

To my friends who developed during hard times in my life. Who gave me a love wine and whiskey, fed me when I was too sad or weak to feed myself, and weaved yourselves into the fabric of my being, thank you. I love you for providing me the gift to grieve and reinvent myself with no judgement and lots of space. I’m thankful we are still friends, and I hope I’ve been able to return that.

To my friends who quickly became family. Who encourage me to dig deeper, stay authentic, and fulfill my potential on a level I cannot even see at times, I’m so grateful for your ability to believe and see the good in me when I cannot. I’m grateful that you hold me accountable to be the woman you see, even when I feel like shit. That you remind me of my worth on low days. You give me the gift of self worth.

I’m thankful for the friends who have stepped in as family in my travels. That have been the sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, and cousins when my biological family could not fulfill those roles due to space, time, and place. Thank you for inviting me to the metaphorical “cook outs” and family dinners, and keeping me safe and always making me feel like someone has my back.

Thank you to those who know me better than myself, and remind me when I forget. I’m grateful for my friends who tell me like it is, but with a gentle touch that reminds me, they love as they love themselves.

I love you all and the way you make laugh, cry, and rejoice. The way I could never truly be lonely because you all live in my heart and remind me often that you do.

I most of all you love you because you allow me into your worlds, expose your vulnerabilities with me, and trust me with your being and souls. I can only hope the love you feel from me is half the love I feel from you.

You all allow me to be me without condition or expectation. You are my soulmates and my Valentines forever. No matter what happens romantically in my life, I always know I have love because of you.

I love you. You matter. May your life be filled with the love you crave and desire, and not a penny less. Happy Valentine’s Day from the bottom of my heart.

XOXO,

LeAnna

“Filthy” is exactly that…

FUNK is BACK!

Childish Gambino started it, then Bruno Mars picked it up and did it justice, and now Justin Timberlake is riding the wave with them!

Upon first listen of Justin Timberlake’s new track “Filthy” I wasn’t really feeling it.  I felt disappointed. It was the first thing I woke up to. Like a child on Christmas morning, I was expecting the greatest gift, but got left with Socks and tshirts.

But then I watched the video.

Justin Timberlake, looking like Steve Jobs, walks out to a round of applause to his “fans” per se, to show off his newest accomplishment.  And to nobody’s surprise, the crowd is eating it up.  They love his new dancing robot machine.  A proud JT is standing on the sidelines watching his newest invention dance around and mirror Michael Jackson’s swag (we’ll get to this a little later) and then once he’s done showing off his robot, *POOF*, he disappears.

Now, again, I’m not a journalist.  I’m hardly an intellectual.  But there are some metaphors in the video that made me like the song a little bit more as a whole.  I still wasn’t a fan of it mostly, and the reason why was just that it was kind of like SexyBack when it first came out.  Just a Pop beat with repetitive lyrics.  SexyBack wasn’t really supposed to be a “work of art”. It was there to serve a purpose of just being a banger, get everybody moving, and it eventually made it to that point.

But the video, long story short I think, represents how society is so zombified by tech in this world that we’re just ready for the “Next Big Thing” all the time.  And we’re so blind to maybe how simple this “big thing” is.  And JT, his character rather, is on the sidelines just eating it up.  He has his next wave of fans for the next year that will just buy anything.  Then at the end of the video, he disappears.  Where to? Nobody knows, but something tells me he’s put into the woods, to learn his “roots”.  Or whatever. Who knows…

This train of thought allowed me to appreciate the song a little better as a whole, accompanied with the video.  But then it was time to get my headphones and dissect the instrumentals, and MY GAWD, Timbo, Danja, and JT killed the instrumentals on this track.

Now this…this was the real “Filthy” part of this song.  From the intro, the song starts out bold, like you knew it was about to be high energy.  It had this whole Rock “Now coming to the stage” vibe, then he instantly changes it to these calm, trancey sounding synth, and mysterious 808 pattern. It was almost like a disappointment of sorts.  Like, all of this fanfare and lights and sound, and you show up with THIS? But a lot of times, we’re looking for the excitement when the genius of the track is right under your nose.  If you listen to it closely, you’ll be nodding your head in no time.  8 bars after the true beat starts this NASTY ass Bass guitar comes in and just freaks it. Then you get the lead guitar putting a little country twang in there to give a little foreshadowing vibe of the “woods” part of this project.  The animal adlibs along the way helps out to identify this in the track as well.  And once you get every part of the song rolling, it’s a embodiment of some old funk, soul, country sounding pop. I also noticed a little Michael Jackson vibe in his tone as well.  This along with the dance moves of the robot in the video, definitely lets you know that he at least slightly channeled MJ on this track.

Overall, I think it’s a sick track.  The socks and tshirts that I hated so much when I first unwrapped my present on Christmas morning ended up being the best thing I could ask for. Justin never disappoints me so yeah, I’m biased.  However, the weakest part of this song is the beat change-up near the end; It isn’t one of my favorites, but once they bring that “Filthy” Bass solo back into play before the outro I’m back into the trance.

I can’t wait to hear the rest of this album!

 

Edit: Totally forgot that Donald Glover is a part of the Funk Resurgence in Hip Hop

To assume will only make an ass out of yourself, and leave me laughing at you.

In response to “Justin Timberlake is rebranding himself as a white Man” From The Outline. An article about upcoming album “Man of the Woods” by Justin Timberlake.  

Dear Ann-Derrick,

This is satire, right? It has to be. I hope it is.

But just in case it isn’t…

I’m not a journalist, and I don’t try to be.  I’m just a casual blogger that has a lot to say and I read your post this week, only because I’m a big Justin Timberlake fan.  So yeah I may be a little biased, but I’m not blind.

Or maybe I am…However…

Something tells me that you’re probably not a fan of Justin Timberlake.  Something tells me that you have no earthly idea of how he’s carried himself through the entertainment and music industry for the last 23 years he’s been doing this thing.  We’ll just focus on the last 13 or so though, since his solo career is what you seem to have a problem with.

“Justin Timberlake is rebranding as a white man”. 

???

When was Justin Timberlake ever not white?  Ok Ok, I know, too literal, right?  So let’s look at it from a cultural standpoint.  From the start of your article, you visualize the settings from which Justin’s album teaser is set from (You did a good ass job with that, by the way).  And for some strange reason, I don’t have any idea why, you immediately think “Damn this is some white people shit”.  Just because he’s in some wilderness setting.

“White colonialist fantasies aside, there’s something very familiar about this pivot in Timberlake’s style.” 

These are your words.  Mind you, the album, NOR the single has even dropped at this point when you posted your article, so how is this pivot familiar? What pivot? What are you basing your opinion on? Additionally, how is this quote even related to his race? Oh, the visuals? Because this is some “white people shit”?  White people love the outdoors and wilderness.  But here’s a news flash.  Probably not many, but black people tend to love this as well, but that’s beside the point.  You’re assuming here that Timberlake’s visual association of wildlife to be sort of a “celebration” of his whiteness, and we all know what assuming things get you.

Authenticity is quite marketable now, and for white pop stars that means shifting away from the hip-hop and R&B-influenced sounds that made them famous, and toward the sounds of Southern and country rock. For Timberlake, the pivot should be sonically natural: Originally hailing from Tennessee, Timberlake has never been shy about celebrating his Southern origins. And considering Pharrell and Timbaland are both producers on the album, Man of the Woods is likely to retain some familiar influences.

So why are you even typing this article right now?

But with his insistence in the video that this album will be his most personal yet, Timberlake is indulging in the inexplicably popular fallacy that music with heavy country influences is somehow more profound or emotionally acute than music that is electronic, lyrics that are rapped, or songs that inspire listeners to shake their asses.

Have you heard the track yet? Because all of this assumption is just really causing a problem for me.

Not to straight up copy and paste your whole article here, but you are reaching SO MUCH.  I feel that you are reading too much into this.  Justin Timberlake has essentially grown over the years as an artist.  From a young teen heartthrob (Justified), to the sexy young adult (FutureSex/LoveSounds), to the experienced sexy adult (The 20/20 Experience) to full out husband and family man (Man of the Wild). He’s calling this his most profound and personal because this album is reflecting his personal life.  If writing about your family isn’t considered profound just on it’s own without including race then I’m not sure if you have a full grasp of the word.  How in the hell do you get “Justin is rebranding as a white man” out of this, is beyond me.

Timberlake has a long history with hip-hop and R&B, genres invented and dominated by black people(…)His first single as a solo artist featured legendary hip-hop duo Clipse and was co-written by The Neptunes.

Justin Timberlake has worked with Timbaland and The Neptunes for the vast majority of his solo career.  If anyone is to blame for him appropriating black culture, they share the blame.

Now that that is out of the way, Justin Timberlake’s first single “Like I Love You” with Clipse was a Pop track with a Rap feature. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that track on a single Hip Hop station growing up.  To add to that, Justified was solely a Pop album with hints of hip hop flare due to Timbaland and The Neptunes.  With the exception of “Cry Me a River”, Timberlake’s songs were rotated on Pop stations.

It wasn’t until FutureSex/LoveSounds when Justin got more play on Urban stations and even then only half of the album (if that) consisted of a straight up Urban tone. The rest of it was Pop.  Tell me the last time you heard “SexyBack” on a Hip Hop radio station? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

With the 20/20 Experience, Justin ventured into Pop Soul, which had his most Urban influence for an album.  But it wasn’t that he was straight up jacking the hip hop style, he involved Pop into something different. Into something great, and I implore you to go back and listen to it.

Again I don’t think that you’ve really listened to Justin’s music.  Which I guess you don’t really have to, to come up with this crazy notion of an article you’ve written here.  Also, I feel that people of color don’t really appreciate Justin’s music other than his singles that play on urban hip hop stations.  Justin has never branded himself as black.  People just tend to have this mindset that he’s appropriating the culture and I feel that that’s where you get this notion about him branding himself as a black person.  And you know what, it’s fine to feel that he’s appropriating the culture, because to an extent, he is, but I feel that he’s appropriating by association, and who’s to blame for that?

Maybe that’s a conversation for another day…

 

Edit:  After speaking with a few friends on this topic, I may have missed the ultimate point of the original article.  However, I do feel that the original author is jumping the gun prematurely at the fact that the music has not been released. So who knows if Justin will be embracing his “white roots”.  Being able to “play the field” due to privilege is more of a societal issue than it is a personal issue. And maybe one day we can work on that.

Much Love

 

Y’all…

Let it be known that as of RIGHT NOW, the first week in January of 2018 will be forever know as “Malc got his music life” week!

First Justin Timberlake…

Now Bruno and Cardi B?!?!?!?

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Now, I already LOVED Bruno Mars’ Album 24K Magic. AND “Finesse” was like my freaking JAM just because it had 90s flare dripping ALL throughowt that joint! When I first heard it I was legit mad I didn’t have anybody to do the “Kid N Play” dance with.  I started Bell Biv DeVoe’n by my damn self at work!  I was hype AF when I heard that joint.

So to my wonderful surprise, I open up Spotify this morning and see that one of my ALL. TIME. FAVORITE. artist had a new song out.  A remix.  With Cardi B? On one of my beloved songs off of 24k? (And yes I’m a Cardi fan, even though I don’t know her mixtape shit, I recognized her talent with “Bodak” don’t try it. I’ve been looking out for her ever since. Yes I’m late to the party, whatever.)

I played the track and to make a long story short, I LOVED IT.  Cardi kept true to the feel of the song, and did pretty great on her verse.  Even though the flow was 90s, her lyrics were 2010, and you know what. I’m down with it.

BUT

Somebody informed me there was a Video…

Say wha nah? (Pulls up YouTube)

Y’all…

IF THIS WASN’T THE MOST 90S SHIT I’VE SEEN IN MY DAMN LIFE.  Nostalgia isn’t something I dwell into much, but 90s music nostalgia, I AM ALL ABOUT.  From the opening cut,  they literally were dripping of Fresh Price of Bel-Air swag.  Fucking awesome! The colors! The Clothes! The…Vibe was just right!

Then Cardi’s verse finishes and you see Bruno “dancing”. (Like, I know he has SOME moves, but Bruno’s dancing needs a little work, just saying). And I’m like “OK, what’s this”. Because all you see is Bruno, and two other dancers and just some colors in the back during the first verse.

Then they show the wide shot…

IS THIS…IS THIS THE MOTHER FUCKING “IN LIVING COLOR” SET?!??!?!

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Then I thought back to the beginning of the video and was like, “Wait, THAT WAS THE IN LIVING COLOR INTRO!”

(My mind gets away from me sometimes)

I was done at that moment…I don’t even need JT’s new single tomorrow. I could die today and feel the love.

This video was so simple, that it was brilliant.  Showing a few flashes of Black Greatness through entertainment in the 90s and just showing how we just liked to dance and have fun and just let loose back then.  I do hate that they didn’t portray some other great images of the 90s in the video, but I’ll take this for what it is.

Music was fun in the 90s…This video helped me live that again for 3 minutes out of my day…

Justin Timberlake is releasing a new Album and my life instantly got better

So on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018.  In the midst of really feeling crappy because sometimes life just gets you down, I come across a friend’s Facebook post.  It was shared from Justin Timberlake’s fan page and I’m sitting here like…

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And I see something about “coming soon”… Feb 2?!?!?

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AND THIS WEEK HE’S DROPPING A SINGLE?

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I can’t!

When I heard the news, there was only one thing that I could do to celebrate.  I immediately put all three of his album’s in the queue on Spotify.  He’s back after like 5 years of hiding somewhere out in Hollywood doing some lame acting shit, I’m sure. JK JK. But Forreal though. It’s been 5 years JT….FIVE YEARS!

Justin…

Timberlake…

Mr. Sexyback!

Why did you do this to me?!?!?

I have to wait 3 more days for this!

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FILTHY?!?!

FILTHY?!?!?!

JT…Come on Bruh.  Why you gotta do this to me? Now I’m sitting here about to piss my pants because you want to tease new music and make the world wait a week to hear it?!?!  I swear if this song isn’t tight, I might have a mental breakdown.  And then I find out you have Timbo AND Danja co-writing this?!?!?!

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I can’t wait to hear what he’s back with!  (Please excuse me but JT is the Beyonce to my Beyhive…the Taylor Swift to my Swifties, etc.)  This man is a musical genius and if you aren’t on the hype train, CHOO CHOO Mother fuckers lets go for a ride! JT has been putting out nothing but fire since 02 with his debut album Justified.  And we all knew he was going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Creative doesn’t even begin to explain the genius of this man’s talent.  His sound constantly evolves. He’s not afraid to venture out and show people music that they’ve never heard before.  This guy, as popular as he is, is VASTLY underrated.  And it’s not that he’s underrated due to fact that people don’t know his music, because people do. But he’s underrated due to the fact that most people only know his singles.  His Catalog of music is just bonkers.

Let me break it down for you…

Justified, his debut showed that he was going to be a star. With the help of Pharrell and Timbaland by his side, he had all the tools there to help launch into stardom.  JT played it safe with this album, which for a debut is smart.  He stuck to his Pop roots and just really murdered EVERY. SINGLE. TRACK. on that album.  My favorite from this project will probably always be “Last Night”.  Classic Neptunes sound bring together Justin Timberlake’s melodies and slight harmonies perfectly.  And lets not forget Pharrell’s adlibs that just pull everything together.

Then FutureSex/LoveSounds comes around.  And at first when you first heard this track you were probably thinking “What in the hell is this?” (I know I did). Then over a few days you probably heard the track about a million times on the radio.  “I’m bringing Sexyback (YEAH)”, JT dropped that Pop club banger on your heads that you just couldn’t get away from. FS/LS was exactly what its namesake said. Just sexyness from the front of the album to the back, and with Timbaland producing most of the album, you already knew it was going to have future flare to it. There’s still no producer better than him in the game and probably won’t be until he’s hung up the cape.

Then mother fucking 20/20 Experience.  This one went over a LOT of peoples head.  This album was on some grown and sexy shit. Unlike “FS/LS” where the sexy factor was there, but the grown factor was slightly lacking.  It had the “fun” vibe to it.  But with “20/20” you can tell that JT had grown into this beast of a performer and songwriter.  Most of the songs had a deeper vibe, showing his growth over time and part of the reason I’m looking forward to his new album.

Man of the Woods is supposed to be about his family life and I don’t even know if I’m ready for that JT yet.  But just speculating off of the name, I think the first single is going to show us some of that “old” JT before he slaps us with that family man stuff.

All I need now is for him to announce a tour after his Super Bowl performance and I might just die a happy man this year.

I don’t think my body can handle it…

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My Safe Place

There’s this safe place that I have…It’s located in my home; The living room to be exact.

When people think of the term “safe place” it’s usually thought to be a place where someone goes to be isolated. To not be seen.  Somewhere to get away. And yeah, this one is kind of like that, but this safe place, is just a little different. It’s a place where I am technically isolated, but I’ve decided to share it with the world every so often.

Now, there’s only one time a week where I crave this safe place, and that is on Fridays.  Somewhere between 12p and 4p my body starts to shut down to the work week, and becomes pretty much uselss. But somewhere between 4.30p and 6p Eastern time I regain my energy. Driving home, I begin to feel the joy of having two days not worrying about anything. I stop by my favorite beverage store, Frugal MacDoogal down here in South Carolina. Then head home, and once I’m in comfortable clothes, I pour up a glass, Say “OK Google, Play my Dance N Shit Playlist”, hold my hand up as to say “aaaayeee”, and start moving my hips in the most uncoordinated way imaginable.

No one is around, I’m comfortable being by myself, and dancing how I want without the stares of others. Letting the troubles of the week fall by the wayside, and I’m reborn again. Ready for the weekend;  Which may involve hanging out with friends, or could involve not doing a damn thing at all.

At first, I used to just go home and start doing it just to get all of my frustrations out. But over time its become therapeutic.  Then I used to talk about it on Facebook often. Then I started Snapping it on SnapChat. Looking goofy af.  Then I started posting it on my Instagram Story, and it’s just become a thing that people ask me about on a regular basis now.

I haven’t had a solo dance party in a while though. Maybe today will be the day. If so, I invite all of our ATOTC friends to join in with their own dance party.  I actually make specific playlist to dance to and have shared them with you all below, but if you don’t like mine, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, whatever tickles your fancy can hold you down. But if you’re interested in mine and you have Spotify, here they are!

(Click the images to be taken to the Spotify Playlist)

DNS  DNSTE  DNS90s

DNSLE  DNSAE

Dance N Sh*t – Consists of just a random hodge podge of up beat songs that tend to get your body moving to the beat.

Twerkable Edition – Is full of the classics like “Back Dat Azz Up”, and “Shake That Monkey”. If you looking to shake your booty, this the playlist for you

90s Edition – Songs we used to hear at all the parties growing up.  The songs that just reminded you of the good times during your childhood

Latinx Edition – This playlist will have you definitely moving your hips. And if you don’t know how to move your hips, just sit there and bounce up and down in your chair

AfroBeat Edition – Some of the hottest songs from the Afrobeat genre that you will most likely want to chill out to, but can also get your shoulders swaying if you don’t watch out.

Happy Listening and Happy Holidays!