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By now you’ve probably (or not) heard about actress Danielle Watts being approached by police officers about a call they received that her and her boyfriend Brian James Lucas were having sex in their car. There is audio of the incident, and I must say the cop approached them with the upmost respect when asking for ID and informing them why he was there. Danielle Watts refused to ID herself and claimed it was her right to do so. And in a sense she’s right…but not at this moment. The officer had probable cause to do so, and in the state of California where the incident took place the cops can handcuff and detain you if you do not comply. She claims race was the determining factor and she also try to pull the I’m famous bullshit on the cop. The problem I have with this incident is, with all that’s going on in this country in regards to race. This will be the example that closeted racists and Uncle Toms alike will use to point out, that when dealing with “authority” people of color don’t know how to act. Kudos to the officer for keeping his cool. And maybe if Danielle Watts took her head out of her ass, then she’d know that having a white boyfriend and having minor parts in a movie and having a publicist doesn’t mean you’re above the law.

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If you have just clicked this to hear more about the Jay Z and Solange rift that recently exploded all over the Internet, then you have come to the right place but for reasons that may differ from your expectations (but keep reading). Before we begin, ask yourself, “Why did I click this and what drew me to it?” This is exactly the point RapRehab’s Sebastien Elkoubymakes with his recent excellent piece analyzing “gossip and celebrity worship,”what draws us to these subjects, and how the behavior has grafted our society as a whole.

Our days are filled with obligation–work, school, family, friends–and our rapid shift to a world filled with instant gratification is a product of our increasingly limited pockets of time for ourselves. When we come across stolen moments of pleasure, how do we fill them? Streaming videos, memes, apps, the latest in celebrity discourse and, of course, the hot new song of the minute.

As Elkouby states in his article, “[w]e crave distractions. Stories about people like Donald Sterling, Mimi Faust, Chris Brown, Cliven Bundy, and the Carters/Knowles give us a temporary escape from our own boring lives. Many of us spend 8 or more hours a day at a job we hate, working with people we can’t stand, making less than what we need, to start all over again the following day. And out of nowhere comes a story that instantaneously takes us away from endless spreadsheets, bossy supervisors, and grueling staff meetings. Our cell phones and computers are patiently waiting, a magical portal to an exciting world of superstars, fame, drama, and anything else to make us forget our tedious daily routine.”

We invest into this perpetually refreshing “feed.” We share, comment, re-tweet and open dialogue with others looking to escape. And then with a click, we are back in the Matrix of real life. Our phones and iPads shimmer with a blank stare. The fantasy world we visited sits still like a well-behaved hound on the other side of the darkness, ready to deliver the next story with the next slide of our fingers. But is there something bigger that we are missing? How long have we been living in this virtual world and how is it affecting us in reality?

Elkouby suggests that we channel our energies toward loftier objectives. “Rather than posting countless Facebook comments about Donald Sterling’s racist rants, can that same fire be used to advocate for racial justice…even if only within our own circles?  Instead of tweeting how outraged we are about Mimi Faust’s sex tape, can we do a better job of monitoring the sexually degrading entertainment our kids are exposed to?  Can we spend more time developing healthier relationships with our loved ones than we do trying to figure out why Jay Z and Solange don’t get along?”

If we are regularly using the limited amount of time we have everyday to engage with the latest celebrity gossip, it’s a safe bet that critical societal problems will go unresolved amidst all this seemingly useless discourse. Elkouby’s ultimate concern is that our “quality of life is rapidly decreasing” amidst the endless distractions. This premise is worthy of more than just a few clicks of consideration…but it does not allow for the totality of our needs as people.

It’s okay to click on celebrity news. It’s okay to eat junk food. It’s okay to escape the rigamarole of every day life. Sometimes. Like any good nutrition plan, the keys to good health (physical and mental) are balance and moderation. We all need moments where we indulge ourselves. By contrast, there also are times where we need to strive for greatness, in ourselves and others. Sometimes, the best way to move past life’s ennuis is to face them full on and change the life circumstance that is causing them in the first place. Build that business you’ve been considering. Lose that weight you’ve wanted to shed. Make that song that makes people’s lives better. Follow that dream…

Maybe next time you see another Jay Z and Solange-related post, you won’t click it. Or maybe you will. If you do, just remember to balance the scale when the opportunity arises.

Spotted at Ambrosia for heads

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To commemorate the 25th anniversary of their debut album (3 Feet High & Rising) this year, De La is re-releasing their “entire” catalog on line for free. Now the reason I keep putting entire in quotes is because, while they’re claiming it’s their “entire” catalog. Nothing that was released past 2001 is included in the downloads, Like 2004’s “The Grind Date” (a personal fav of mine). Or the 2009 Nike and iTunes exclusive “Are You In?” None the less, if you’d like to brush up on the group’s work, you can do so here wearedelasoul.com The downloads will only be available for 25 hours, they started today @ 11AM and will end tomorrow @ noon. If you want to get in on this you need to hurry because at their website they’re saying it may be hours until the downloads are available for you after you enter your email address. Peace.

I’ve never been a fan of Beyoncé’s work, and have always had a disdain for her as an artist. Reason being is, she is immensely talented vocally and has a strong hold on the mainstream audience that grows as time goes on. But musically she doesn’t really offer anything to me sounds like anything other than…”right now”. She’s had a song or two on every release that I’ve liked. But nothing that really could hold a candle to my two fav songs of hers. (“Me, Myself And I” -2003 and “Work it out” – 2002) Not only was I interested in this project because of it’s secretive release on Friday the 13th (Dec 2013). But also because every album track is accompanied by a video. (No snark but I’ve had that idea since I was like 9 0r 10. MJ put that battery on my back.) I listened to the album and was truly impressed from the start. One thought that came to me was, this is like a Prince album. And what I mean by that is, this is the “Fuck Tape”. And in true Prince fashion she stepped away from the fornicating to talk about other things that are on her mind. It’s very bold to open an album (or a concert) with a ballad. And she did that 2x’s over with the power ballad opener “Pretty Hurts” and it’s painfully poignant lyrics “Mama said, “You’re a pretty girl.What’s in your head, it doesn’t matter. Brush your hair, fix your teeth. What you wear is all that matters.” This is something I can actually keep coming back to. The following track (“Ghost”) is another stand out for me musically and lyrically… “Spoon-fed pluralized eyes to find the beaches in the forest When I’m looking  off the edge, I preach my gut it can’t help but ignore it I’m climbing up  the walls cuz all the shit I hear is boring All the shit I do is boring All these record labels boring I don’t trust these record labels I’m  torn All these people on the planet Working 9 to 5, just to stay  alive” My two fav songs on this album “Blow” & Rocket are CLEARLY for afterhours romps. With this project she’s giving the audience a glimpse inside her mind. Which is why more than likely the project is self titled. I can’t help but feel like this LP is a victory lap of sorts as well, in between several songs/videos there are clips of her as a child in singing competitions. My fav one is in the beginning of “Flawless” where a clip of her then group Girl Time is introduced on Star Search, and at the end of the song it ends with the clip of the group losing and being dismissed by the host Ed McMahon. Where’s Skelton Crew now though? Every song is co-written and co-produced by Beyoncé. I hate to say this term, but this album is highly conceptualized pop art. (LOL!!!) With this release she has me automatically interested in her next project. But I’m more than good with this one for now. I give it a STRONG 4.5 out of 5.

We’ve known for a minute that Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) has become a presence around Cape Town these days. Aside from a few live shows and a monumental New Year’s set at Long Street’s Zula Bar, it’s been somewhat of a mystery what sort of musical endeavors Yasiin’s been dipping into on the continent. But alas we have answers c/o a strange but awesome trailer for LIVE FROM AFRICA– which arrives this Friday to commemorate the 72nd birthday of the champ Muhammad Ali. Reporting from “A Country Called Earth” in the teaser clips below, hip-hop’s poet laureate Yasiin drops a universal message, citing Toussaint Louverture, Black Thought to the Black Panther Party. Streaming live this Friday, January 17th, at 5:30pm (EST), Yasiin is set to unveil brand new exclusive material performed live on the continent (the location of which will be disclosed at the end of the performance). Stay tuned for more info on streaming the event. For now, watch these multi-angled teaser clips for LIVE FROM AFRICA below.