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Handicapping the Grammys' Urban/Alternative Category

Once again, the Grammys' Urban/Alternative category continues the Recording Academy's tradition of rewarding minor innovation, if you can call the nominees that.  Baby steps to the left are all I see.  Or, this year continues the Grammy tradition of highlighting artists who only take baby steps to the left.  It's like this category has become […]

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Rockin' out of a hard place

NPR ran a piece this week by teenager Josetta Adams (right), a Caribbean-American girl who lives in Brooklyn’s East Flatbush and listens to rock.  She got into it as a way to deal with her depression.  She saw it as one of her only viable options because, as she goes onto talk about in the […]

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Scary white people

So, yes, I had to tune into the Republican convention to see what hymns and songbook they’d be singing from.  Not surprisingly, it was a night of negativity, the likes of which I don’t think I’d ever seen.  I mean, really: It’s one thing when–as was the case in 2004–it’s two white guys going at […]

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Doin' that crazy rock shit

Gina McCauley printed a letter from Keke Palmer, who played Akeelah in “Akeelah and the Bee”.  In the letter, Ms. Palmer, age 14, recounts how Atlantic Records basically let her album die because she and her family refused to record raunchy songs that were more “urban”.  Read the letter and you’ll find this situation sad, […]

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Psychology of rappers and wounded young, Black men

Your browser does not support JavaScript. This media can be viewed at <a href=""></a><br /><br /> This is also cross-posted at The fight is not only for creative freedom, but also for healing.  The problems that plague the African-American community are deep, to say the least.  And the responses need to be more nuanced.  […]

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Orlando Patterson on the violence against Black women

Black man Originally uploaded by afunkydamsel. Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson wrote a searing op-ed piece this past Sunday in the New York Times wherein he connects the injustice in Jena, Louisiana, the prison system, and the Anucha Browne Sanders-Isiah Thomas case.  Citing the Browne Sanders-Thomas case, Patterson writes: What is done with words is merely […]

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Why We Fight

Just came across Kandia Crazy Horse’s weigh-in on the now infamous New York Times "blipster" article.  Check this: The appropriation of the song "Dixie," likely based on the childhood reminiscences of Mother Ellen Snowden, and now the saddling of the Afropunk milieu with the spurious slang term "blipster," meant to cheapen the very real impact […]

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