Tag Archives: Kanye West

31. Michael Jackson

Ed’s Note: It makes perfect sense to start White Men’s Week off with a black man who has spent his adult life trying to be white.

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Transformer: Genius in disguise?

Dear King of Pop:

I finally realize why you are the world’s greatest musical icon. The logic came to me after I read about you selling out your final tour in four hours. In 240 minutes, you sold 750,000 tickets at a minimum of $105 a pop (the GA price). The simple math: at least $75 million made in four hours in the middle of a worldwide recession.

But it makes sense: You are the most genius crazy man the world has ever known.

What I’m trying to understand, though, is why you didn’t do this farewell concert tour four years ago in America. You made close to $200 million in a four-hour span off concert sales in England, a country with one-fifth of the population of the United States. Can you imagine what the receipts would have been on this side of the pond?

You could have kept The Beatles catalog and paid off Neverland Ranch. But I’m not writing this to belabor those points. I’m writing you to acknowledge your whacked-out genius.

I’ve come to the conclusion that you decided long ago to sacrifice some of your blackness with excuse. Yes, you’re still undeniably black. Mike, you were two hours late to your own press conference, your favorite food is KFC skinless chicken and you enjoy Crown Royal (see: Michael Jackson: The Magic and The Madness by J. Randy Taraborelli). But you blended your outer image to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people through your musical image.

Because I don’t want anyone thinking that I’m scheduling plastic surgery soon, I’m going to point out that I’m being facetious. Think about it, though. You’ve transformed yourself from an Afro-wearing, wide-nosed, dark-skinned black man into … the picture above on the far right. I’m not calling you white, but don’t you have a song titled “Black or White” where you transformed people’s faces in the video to prove a (valid and salient) point? It seems like what you’re doing with yourself.

Now that was genius. We should hope to live in a colorblind world, but we know we never will (see: The Lady & The Nutty Chimp). Maybe, that’s part of your transformation/genius. Who knows?

Thing is, your career was already off the ground before the surgeries. But it burst into a stratosphere unknown to most artists when you began chipping away at your nose and your “skin condition” started settling in.  Then you went Al Sharpton with your hair. Think about it: Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad. Your most successful era came after you started “experimenting” with plastic surgeons.

Does Michael know the man in the mirror? Either way, he's a man in the money today.

Does Michael know the man in the mirror? Either way, he's a man in the money today.

(Note: This letter doesn’t condone plastic surgery as a means to improve your image for monetary gain. Again, the love of money is the root of all evil.)

And because of what you’ve become — as well as your classic dance moves and Quincy Jones — your musical image has sustained itself for nearly 40 years. You continue to sell records — and 750,000 concert tickets in four hours.

No black man who accepts himself for who he is could ever do that. Need a list? James Brown, Ray Charles, Prince (a close second), Sammy D., R. Kelly, Kanye West, Jay-Z, etc. None of them could sell 750k in tickets in 48 hours.

Even white men come close, but fall short of the four-hour, 750k-ticket window: Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra, Eminem and Vanilla Ice. OK, Ice was a joke. But even he sold records because of a blended image. And he had as much talent as Milli Vanilli’s members … combined.

You see my point? There’s just cause behind people calling you Wacko Jacko, but also reasoning people see you as a genius. I wish you the best success with your one-location farewell tour (that makes no sense). And please, no pyrotechnics.

Sincerely,

Damon

P.S. Please, sell one of these concerts to CBS, ABC or HBO so we can see it here in America. Hell, even PPV.
P.S.S. “Man in the Mirror” is your greatest/my favorite song of yours. The world is forever indebted to Siedah Garret and Glen Ballard for writing it.

WMDs, Madoff & Good Reads

No letter. It’s a simple Saturday.

Click the WMDs link above the header (or the one in this sentence) so you can get an idea for what’s in store next week. I promise nothing but the truth, balance, intrigue and hilarity.

For the love of money is the root of all evil:and some whose hearts were fixed on it have been turned away from the faith, and been wounded with unnumbered sorrows. ~1 Timothy 6:10.

For the love of money is the root of all evil:and some whose hearts were fixed on it have been turned away from the faith, and been wounded with unnumbered sorrows. ~1 Timothy 6:10.

I won’t give him a full letter because it’s a waste of space. But super-thief Bernie Madoff is up first — a day early — on the WMD list. A quick take: If your moral code tells you to “get money at all costs even if you harm most of the people you know,” then odds are you’ll have a 2×2 fiery lodge reserved in Hell, Bernie.

I’m not wasting my time on Bernie. But there are a few good reads out there that I’m going to pass along concerning his dilemma, and few other goodies.

Whitlock: Column on Limbaugh
Raving Black Lunatic: On Michelle Obama’s arms and attire
The Comeback Girl: On Bernie Madoff & Facebook
Black Girl in Maine: On Madoff’s Wife
A Belle in Brooklyn: On Goal Digging … seriously.
Almost The Right Word: Pleasure In Details.

And a new nickname for Kanye’s new favorite color (Amber): Sinead O’Connor 4.0.

26. Music Recording Artists

To Music Recording Artists:

There are a few of you black artists who are still doing Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and your craft justice.

Jason Mraz: the artist I'm listening to most right now.

Jason Mraz: the artist I'm listening to the most right now. His live albums are unbelievable.

India.Arie. Musiq Soulchild. Anthony Hamilton. Erykah Badu. Andre 3 Stacks. Common. Jay-Z. T.I. Lil Wayne (the skinny jeans still aren’t cool). John Legend. Ne-Yo. Lupe Fiasco. Kanye West (again, thank you for cutting your hair). Jazmine Sullivan. Eric Benet (still can’t believe you cheated on Halle). Brian McKnight. Mint Condition. Raphael Saadiq. Solange Knowles (your album is killing Big Sis’ latest effort). Eric Roberson (MySpace him). Even Keyshia Cole (God bless her crazy family). I see you all.

You maintain what’s awesome about the music I love most and your efforts are appreciated. But the black recording artists who are ruining the game quintuple you all in number. For brevity’s sake, I’m only naming two: T-Pain and Young Jeezy … And one song: “The Stanky Legg.”

Part of me that wants to write a letter to T-Pain’s vocoder. In fact, I won’t even waste time here. It deserves its own memo. … Jeezy was doing OK until he decided to write a song entitled “My President Is Black,” which has the following ridiculous lyric for a hook:

My President is black/My Lambo’s blue/and I’ll be (gosh darned) if my rims ain’t, too.

What does your president being black have to do with the rims on your Lamborghini being blue? … Can’t come up with an answer? I can: It’s extreme coonery.

On to the one song: I refuse to write anything more than the title “The Stanky Legg” and won’t say anything about the accompanying dance to prove my point. The title speaks for itself.

But even to you most proficient bojanglers I say: Thank you. Why? Because the overall state of black music has forced me to avoid local FM radio. I find myself listening to Pandora.com and the AM dial, which features Rush Limbaugh’s chimp-like ramblings, NPR and a heavy dosage of sports talk radio.

I’ve gone so far as to open my mind/ears up to alternative rock and some pop music. I crave good music the way some of you starve for attention. A few years back, I’d only listen to white artists with “soul” (i.e., Amy Winehouse, Jon B., John Mayer and Robin Thicke). Now, I feed on the music of Jason Mraz, The Fray, Coldplay, Imogen Heap, Jack Johnson, Gavin Degraw, Colbie Caillat, Maroon 5 and Aqualung mixed in with artists at the start of this letter. Hell, I’ll even nod my head to a Dixie Chicks’ track.

Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” is quite possibly the most confusing, yet greatest song I’ve ever heard. I still can’t figure out what it means because it’s that abstract and well-hidden.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but the ineptitude of black music has forced me to consider the great non-black music I’ve avoided the last 10 years. Some of it is impeccably written. I apologize for being closed-minded for so long.

But I’m not anymore. I love the combination of good writing and good music that much. And I have you all, and Pandora, to thank for this wondrous gift.

Sincerely yours,

Dame (not Dash)

P.S. Leave a comment then click the graphic below in honor of National Women/Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day …

Click the Red Pump in honor of National HIV/AIDS Women/Girls Awareness Day

Click the Red Pump in honor of National HIV/AIDS Women/Girls Awareness Day

Kanye, Exclamation Marks, The Blonde & Strahan

No letter. But I’m gonna keep you well read. Here’s a bit of irony for you … an article by MSN.com columnist Martha Brockenbrough that combines two of my first letter subjects: Kanye West and the misuse of exclamation marks. Here’s the link to Martha’s column.

Amber, Kanye's new arm candy.

Amber, Kanye's new arm candy.

Brockenbrough examines a Kanye West blog entry that is 70 words in length. Somehow, the same entry includes 188 exclamation marks. No, that’s not a link to the infamous entry.

I have not, nor do I want to see that blog entry as it will likely infuriate me.

Also: Nobody should be surprised by Mike Strahan’s shenanigans. Remember, he was crazy enough to marry his loony ex-wife. That woman belongs in a nuthouse where she bunks with Octomom.

But back to Kanye. Here’s an interesting take on his new baldheaded, chain-smoking friend from A Belle In Brooklyn. It includes an insane, but insightful reference from the track “Stronger”: “Well, I’ll do anything for a blonde dike, and she’ll do anything for the limelight.”

Life imitating art, eh?

Breaking: Kanye Heard His Hair Screaming

OK, I’m a few days late to the party but … Kanye West finally cut his hair … less than a month after I wrote a letter to his hair. Proof this blog is change you can believe in.

Kanye went from too much hair to an even cut and arm candy with no hair. She's cute though.

Kanye went from too much hair to an even cut and arm candy with no hair. She's cute. But that cancer stick in her right hand certainly is not.