Illuminati Free Playlist: Strong Black Women being Strong, Black and Womanly

Straight up, I didn’t really know who Jean Grae was until Christmas. That’s when posts announcing the debut of Life With Jeannie started popping up on my facebook newsfeed.

I knew about her. She was chick with the tattoos floating just outside of my pop culture periphery. But if you asked me to name one song, I’d shrug. I’m into music, but in a fashion that is absolutely miopic and bull-headed. So, as I play Fela Kuti’s, Expensive Shit, over and over and over, a lot of good music slips by.

The sitcom is great, by the way. Wierd and Black and totally urban while side stepping every single Black urban stereotype there is. But that’s not why I’m playing Kill Screen in this here blog. Nah, this is my response to the backlash against Lupita Nyong’o.
Didn’t know about the backlash? Yeah, it’s out there. A tiny, smug and vocal minority of people wondering what the big deal is.
They say the movie wasn’t that good (I disagree), and her performance wasn’t that good (I totally disagree), and the Oscars shouldn’t have recognized her anyway. To which I say, blame the Oscars, not her. Or, better yet, find a hobby.
What’s the big deal? Well, she was very honest about her exeriences with colorism in America. She was given an opportunity to tell her story, she expressed it eloquenty and it resonated. Maybe not with you, but with a whole lot of other people. But if you don’t get something, it’s okay. Maybe its not yours to get.
What’s that got to do with Jean Grae? Nothing. But, as awesome as Nyong’o may be, there are as many ways to be awesome as there are jaws to be dropped by said awesomeness.
Jean Grae is my Nyong’o counterbalance. A sista whose raised the quest for individuality to a fine art. And the beauty of it is, you don’t have to give a damn about either one. They’ll be okay.

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Illuminati Free Playlist: Forget Nicki Minaj. Hear this instead

Last week the Nicki Minaj set the world on fire with pictures of herself in her natural state. Natural for her, anyway. The hair? It was straightened, and maybe augmented by bionic weave hair, but at least it wasn’t the color of a Highlighter. And she had makeup on… And black electrical tape on her nipples, because that’s how she wakes up, right? But some folks were mighty impressed. 

Those pictures were behind the scenes photos of her new video, Lookin Ass Niggas. 

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The album cover featured this iconic picture of Malcolm X. I’m not going to put it here. Just look at it and imagine the words Lookin Ass Nigggas… Or, better yet, look at it and let the power of it sink in to your bones, and forget about plastic Nicki Minaj all together. Let’s all breath a collective Woosah… and remember that our music is so much deeper than that mainstream train wreck that is contemporary hip hop.

If you don’t like what she’s saying, or how she’s saying it, find something else to listen to. There’s actually a whole lot out there. Like this.

This is BLXPLTN, a Black punk band from Austin Texas. The second song is a middle finger to stop and frisk. All I know about them is what I learned on the Afropunk site.  Not much. But the song is the perfect antidote to Nicki Minaj’s ode’ to nigga, niggas, niggerism, and vacuous, plastic buffoonery.

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Nina Simone does not approve.

Illuminati Free Playlist – Betty Davis: If I’m Lucky I Might get Picked Up

A long time ago I started something called the Illuminati Free Playlist.
Whether or not you believe in conspiracies, you have to admit that most music tastes like corporate group-think. This play list was going to contain nothing but the best non mainstream programming, to get that corporate aftertaste out of your mouth.
She’s Betty Davis, and she was so bad that she had Miles Davis singing the blues. (They were married. She may or may not have cheated with Jimi Hendrix.) I’m posting this because it’s dope.
You’re welcome.