BornTooBlog Readers

January 23, 2012

A BornTooBlog Reader's Passionate Review of RED TAILS

I just posted my review for the new movie Red Tails that debuted in theatres this past Friday.  I'm sure we all heard about George Lucas' qualms about Hollywood not supporting the film due to its primarily all black cast, which was disseminated days before its release.  This information prompted many African Americans to urge their friends, family and co-workers to go see the film in its opening weekend in order to garner the Box Office steam to prove Hollywood wrong and show that moviegoers will show up and out for an African American WWII action flick.  Well, one of my readers also left his/her comments of what they saw in theatres this weekend and to say that we differ in opinions would be an understatement.  However, his/her review was written so passionately and poginantly presented, that I had to share and see what you all had to say. 

Comment posted today on BornTooBlog:

Anonymous - Jan 23, 2012 01:06 PM
I did see the film, and was extremely disappointed in its cinematic effort.  If it really took George Lucas 20 years to produce such a fiasco of African American History. No character development, tasteless dialogue along with acting, stretching of the truth and inverted embellishment of such a serious moment in WAR.. Flat out terrible, I can go on and on, but what should one expect with first time director: Anthony Hemmingway and Writers Aaron Mcgruder/ John Ridely who were responsible for the Adult Swim Cartoon The Boondocks and piece of shit film Undercover Brother starring Eddie Griffin. Why you (George Lucas) would recruit Sketch Comedy artist and Writers to script such a Pivotal Moment in Black History is beyond me, but I do have a BRAIN, and have always paid strict attention to those attempting to Wash it.

I'm sorry Maya, but I really have to disagree with the room on this one. I really love to support my Black Actors/Directors and Writers when I know they will reap the benefits of my support. In this particular movie, they will not. GEORGE LUCAS from Star Wars acclaim and fame will be the only one doing so who happens to be of Anglo Saxon decent of course. He also put up the 58Million independent dollars to Executive Produce the film along with 20th Century Fox (whom I've worked for also). As I know you know from being a business woman yourself, that in business whoever puts up the most Capital, will be the one to recieve the most Profit. He puppet mastered the whole thing, and knew we as blacks would all go see the movie based on the shallow fact that there is an all Black Cast. (It was actually his Selling Point/Marketing Tool).

When the movie went to Post Production that all Black Cast, Director and Writers were paid by him with out any consumer viewing the film yet. Furthermore due to Hollywood accounting their exist Net Points, and Gross Points. Hence Net Points are Box office bucks which will only go to LUCAS FILMS and 20th Century Fox. Gross Points are what big name actors like Denzel can negotiate or demand, based on it being (a percentage of some definition of gross revenue). None of those B List actors who accompanied each other in the film hold the weight to do the aforementioned. Terrance Howard whose last memorable role for Hustle and Flow should have said NO, along with Cuba Gooding, Jr., since they both are attempting to revamp, re-establish and rekindle their careers.

This movie is a Perfect example of how poor film making can hurt a very real and poignant story of bravery and overcoming the odds. It is also A GROSS MISREPRESENTATION and Portrayal of a Pivotal Point in African American History. Sadly disappointed in the Deliberate Scheme of Lucas and Hollywood at the Expense of BLACK DOLLARS.
Do you agree with him/her?
Do you agree with George Lucas' way of marketing the film?
Do you think the story was watered down or could've been substantially better?


Movie Review: Red Tails makes $19.1 Mil In The Box Office

I went to see Red Tails this weekend and I hope all of you did too being that Mr. George Lucas himself expressed his difficulty with getting an action movie, with an all black cast produced in Hollywood.  We all heard the shocking news that Hollywood all but black balled this film after telling Mr. Lucas that they did not know how to market a film of this nature and it would never make the money to deem it a success, in Hollywood film studio standards.  Telling George Lucas a WWII film about a special unit of Tuskegee Airmen that was a part of a military experiment to see if black soldiers could fly fighter jets in the war against Hitler and Germany would never sell overseas, nor produce enough DVD sales to make is profitable.

Well, thank God George Lucas believed in this cast of veteran actors such as Oscar winner, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Oscar nominee Terrance Howard, as well as, up and coming actors like Ne-Yo, Tristan Wilds and TV and movie vet Method Man.  Red Tails came in at #2 at the box office behind UnderWorld 4, which produced $25.4 mil this weekend.

Red Tails was a high energy, WWII movie that focused on a Tuskegee experiment that wanted to prove black men could fly fighter jets and actually be good at it.  Although this squadron was often given the most menial flying missions in the military, they took on every mission with pride and performed to a level of excellence that the U.S. military had ever seen.  They were approached with racism on every front, as their own fellow soldiers discriminated against them and constantly underestimated their abilities.

Amongst extreme criticism, being threatened of getting shut down by government higher ups, and substandard planes and machinery, the Red Tails ultimately prevailed and were and continue to be one of the most remarkable and exemplary military squadrons in United States history, with honors of the coveted 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, Legions of Merit and the Red Star of Yugoslavia.  What the Red Tails were able to accomplish at that time, with all odds against them, has never been accomplished to this day, as they never lost an escorted bomber to enemy fighters, which is unheard of.

I applaud George Lucas for stepping out on faith and producing a large part of this film, out of his own pockets, to bring the world an inspirational story about fighting against all odds and winning the war against racism and discrimination.  In doing so, Lucas has afforded many young black males, positive heroic examples that they can look up to and be proud of, when all Hollywood ever wants to show is drug dealers, gang members and negative stereotypes of black people in films.  I also applaud the original Tuskegee Airmen that were a part of this initial experiment to see if black men could fly and become pilots. Their bravery and courage under fire is what the American Dream is all about.

Did you see the film this weekend?
If so, did you enjoy the movie?
Who do you think was the standout character in the film?
Did George Lucas and Director Anthony Hemmingway do the film justice?

January 18, 2012

Musical Review: Fela! At The Ahmanson Theatre

My family and I went to see the Broadway Play, Fela! which is based off the life and music of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, "a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music, political rights activist and political maverick." (from Wikipedia - Fela Kuti Biography)  He ingeniously fused Jazz, Cuban rhythm, Funk and African drums to create the sound known today as "Afrobeat".  Fela focused on the happenings in the then extremely corrupt part of Nigeria known as Lagos and used his music as a political platform to evoke social change. 

The play was set in Fela's compound known as The Shrine, where he performed all of his work for the locals of Nigeria during the 70s.  Fela was arrested on several occasions in Nigeria for his political views that he shared through his music and soon became an international star with Reggae star Bob Marley, among others, wanting to work with him.  Fela died in 1997 of AIDS, but his music and legacy lives on as Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Jay-z and Questlove signed on to produce the play on Broadway in 2009 as it finally made its way to Los Angeles in 2012.

Fela! the play was vibrant and exuberant from the moment the curtains were drawn.  The music was melodic and rhythmic as the band played live and his dancers gyrated across and up and down the stage.  Fela was played by Sahr Ngaujah, who embodied the legend's cocky bravado and larger than life persona as he belted out Fela classics like "Stalemate", "Zombie" and "Black President".

There was even a moment when Sahr made the entire theatre stand to their feet to dance to his rhythms as he directed them verbally from the stage.  The show was very interactive and maintained a high level of energy just like many of Fela's songs.  The play took me back to that time of political issues and uncertainty in the United States and across the sea to Lagos, Nigeria, which was strictly controlled by a corrupt political system and police and military force.  The play touched on many of these occurrences and coupled them with the inspiration Fela experienced in order to write and create music about the dreadful occurrences at that time.

Fela Kuti is an inspirational artist that not only garnered influence from the states and James Brown with his civil rights music and The Black Panther Party, but his legacy lives on through this very inspirational play that shows a day in the life of Fela (meaning He Who Emanates Greatness).  The artist, activist, musician, composer and legend.  I wish there were more dates in Los Angeles as it tours throughout the country so that I could urge my readers in LA to attend.  However, check the website for upcoming dates of the tour and more information on the production.  I enjoyed every minute of it an was so thankful to get the chance to attend.

Have you ever heard of Fela Kuti?
Have you heard his music?
Are you a fan?
Have you seen the play or do you plan on seeing it?
What are your thoughts on his music and legacy?

Are Children From A Previous Girlfriend/Boyfriend Deal Breakers In A Relationship???

I haven't posted a relationship blog in awhile and I recently encountered a situation with a girlfriend that made me want to speak on this occurrence.  My close girlfriend was telling me about her and her boyfriend's issues with each other and they seemed to all stem from his son from a previous relationship.  I have had my experience with a man who had children and trust me, it was not easy.  However, the love I had for their father made me want to hold on and make things work, despite blatant disrespect from his kids and the lack of support from him at times.  I always wondered if our relationship went to the next level with marriage and children of our own, would he have the same excitement and exuberance when our child was born.  Another issue for me personally was the lack of time and commitment that I received, due to the priority of the child.  No one wants to be all dressed up and ready to go out and the father can't go because his son is sick.

Many women, along with my close girlfriend, have warned me not to get with a man with a child.  Baby Mama drama is rampant in our era because men and women fail to get to know each other before they conceive a child.  But what if the child's mother gets along with the father and the child, itself, is really the issue?  I can recall my mother having a boyfriend while her and my father were legally separated for an extended amount of time and as a child, I definitely gave him a hard time.  A child will always want to see their parents together so you as the "new girlfriend or boyfriend" becomes his/her worse enemy. 

It is perfectly understandable that a woman/man would want their first child to be with their significant other in order to experience child birth for the first time TOGETHER!  However, you will be hard pressed in this day and age to find a young African American man that does not have a seed or a woman with no children.  Are these women/men who refuse to date a man/woman with kids significantly limiting their pool of eligible catches?  Is it realistic to think that you will find your soul mate while ruling out men or women with children altogether?  Can a man's child or a woman's child get on your nerves that much that you would want to end the relationship?   

I would love to hear from singles that have experienced dating the opposite sex whom has kids or even couples who are navigating through this journey as we speak:

Would you ever do it again?
Was the child too much to handle to not be your own?
Did you ever consider breaking up with the person because you could not handle the issues that came with their child?


January 17, 2012

Fashion Spotlight: A-List Celebrity Kids Style

Now that your favorite celeb fashionistas are all grown up and starting families, we have more celebrity style to look forward to in their offspring.  Celebs like Gwen Stefani, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kourtney Kardashian and Madonna are all A-List celebs that are well known for their daring and dashing style, but one would wonder, will this stylish flare carry on to their children.  Below BornTooBlog has featured a fashion pictorial on just that; the A-List Style of some of your favorite celebrity kids...CHECK IT OUT:

Kingston Stefani Rossdale
Mother: Gwen Stefani

The offspring of Pop-Rock royalty Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale spawned stylish Kingston Stefani Rossdale.  1 of 2 of Gwen's young boys.  Kingston is known for his colorful fashion palette and carefree style that mixes fashion genres and aesthetics.  Kingston seems to love utility pockets where he can store his toys and check the new bleach blonde do!  Look familiar?

Lourdes Ciccone
Mother: Madonna

Lourdes Ciccone is Madonna's only biological daughter, whom she had with fitness trainer Carlos Leon in 1994.  Although the courtship was short lived, it produced Lourdes, the spitting image of Madonna, blessed with an eye for fashion just like her mother.  I predict that she will soon be the talk of the town a la Nicole Ritchie and Paris Hilton.  Just give her a few years.

Mason Kardashian
Mother: Kourtney Kardashian

Mason Kardashian is the newest edition to the Kardashian Clan and his parents Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick are quite the stylish couple.  They love to dress Mase in mature stripes, with black, white and grey hues in his play time.  When its time to dress up, Mason is all about the glamour and prestige as he dons suits and sports coats much like his father Scott wears on a daily basis.  This kid definitely has inherited the style gene on both sides.

Suri Cruise
Mother: Kati Holmes

Suri is the resident DIVA of all celebrity offspring.  And with a father like Tom Cruise, one of the most wealthy actors in Hollywood, why wouldnt she be?  It has been said that Suri loves to dress herself, loves high heels, makeup and girly clothing and loves to tote a big girl purse/bag wherever she goes.  Suri loves colorful print dresses, fancy heels with embellishments and flashy accessories that make her look like a little Hollywood princess.

Willow Smith
Mother: Jada Pinkett Smith

Willow busted onto the scene at a very young age with a rock star attitude and a Pop hit to boot (with her hit single "Whip My Hair").  Fashion is at the forefront of her image and she has been spotted sitting front row with her mother at fashions shows in Paris and London.  Already known as the daughter of Hollywood royalty, Jada Pinkett and Will Smith, Willow has crawled from beneath the shadows of her talented actor brother Jaden, and has carved her own niche in fashion and music.  Her style would be described as punker/rock/pop diva meets couture fashionista, always keeping it lively and fun with her plethora of hues, patters and textures.

On A Side Note: The sad thing is that these kids throw away more clothes than I purchase in a year.  Still looking to see if the Smith's or Kardashian's would like to adopt a 31 year old African American Fashionista to add to their brood...LOL!

Which A-List celebrity kid fashion do you like most?
Who do you think is too over the top?
Would you dress your children like this and why?  If not, why not?

Fashion Spotlight: Golden Globes 2012

I'm not sure just how many of my readers watched the 2012 Golden Globe Awards this weekend, however, I know my fashionistas are dying to see what the Hollywood starlets wore on the red carpet, so lets get straight to business and see WHO was wearing WHO!

Angelina Jolie looked amazing in her Atelier Versace cream silk gown with burgundy accents 
Charlize Theron in Dior

Claire Daines looked lovely in her white/black gown that draped the red carpet.  The up do and red lip was a nice pop of color.

Dianna Argon in Giles
Emma Stone in Lanvin

Rachel Evan Wood in Gucci Premiere. Beautiful color and detail!
Lea Michelle in Marchesa

Madonna's gown was beautifully ornate and the color and fabric was very rich. Thumbs up.

Michelle Williams' dress was very simple, much like her understated style off the red carpet. I like it.  It works for her.

Nicole Ritchie looked happy and healthy in her metallic beaded gown. Kudos!

Sarah Hyland in Dolce & Gabbana
I'm kind of on the fence with Sarah Michelle Gellar's blue and white Monique Lhuillier tie-dyed gown.  I'll let the BornTooBlog readers decide.
Zoey Deschanel's gown was pretty bland as far as design, but the colors matched her skin well.

Fortunately, I am happy to report that there weren't many train wrecks on the red carpet as I assumed there would be.  The attendees wowed in bold hues, as always, and forest green seemed to grace the silhouettes of many attendees that night.  Many attendees exercised some restraint when it came to design and flare with a minimalist factor.  Overall, I believe the ladies looked superb in the pictorial above.  Share your thoughts!!!!

Who do you think looked the best that night?
Who stole the show?
Who's styling surprised you for the better or worse?

January 9, 2012

Jay-Z and Beyoncé Welcome Daughter Blue Ivy Carter To The World Amongst Rumors and Drama

Jay-Z and Beyoncé released the following statement to the world today regarding the birth of their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter:
"Hello Hello Baby Blue!

We are happy to announce the arrival of our beautiful daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, born on Saturday, January 7, 2012.

Her birth was emotional and extremely peaceful, we are in heaven.
She was delivered naturally at a healthy 7 lbs and it was the best experience of both of our lives.

We are thankful to everyone for all your prayers, well wishes, love and support.

- Beyoncé & JAY Z"
BornTooBlog would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to the Carters on their new edition to Hip Hop/Pop royalty and the Carter family.  There has been so many speculations on whether the baby was actually going to be delivered by Bey, whether she was in fact pregnant, and when the actual birth would take place.  Even further, drama ensued while Jay & Bey rented out the entire floor of a New York hospital and left many parents angry while they restricted access to their children in the ICU unit of the hospital, trying to keep them secluded.  Amongst rumors that Bey had the baby almost a month ago, the baby is officially here and I cannot wait to see pics of her, which I'm sure won't be released for awhile since the Carters are very private.
Jay-z also released a track today called "Glory" with a top celebrity feature, none other than Baby Blue Ivy.  Check out the track of Jay and his first daughter, Blue Ivy Carter below:

What do you think of the track? Are you happy for the Carters on their new edition to the family?  What advice would you parents give the Carters in raising their new baby Blue Ivy?

Social Politics: Should "Others" Be Able To Use The "N" Word Freely?!?!

While watching Jay-Z and Kanye West perform at Staples Center in Los Angeles in December at the Watch The Throne concert, I was recently met with an experience that made me wonder is this type of occurrence something black folks should focus on or let go in this day and age.  On Kanye's song "All Of The Lights" off his 5th studio album "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy", he speaks of a world without pop superstar Michael Jackson, following his untimely death in 2010, with the line, "Something wrong. I hold my head. MJ gone.  Our n*&^% dead."  Of course this is one of my favorite lines on the song, but when all of Staples Center chimed in on this part, I can't lie and say that it didn't bother me and make me a bit uncomfortable.  Especially since the crowd was primarily comprised of "others". 

While performing, Kanye even stopped the music and talked directly to the crowd about using the "n" word in that instance and that he was giving everyone a pass that tonight.  The entire stadium laughed and as the music began again, Kanye repeated the line.  This time, it seemed as though the stadium said it even louder and with more enthusiasm.  Kanye said they could get a pass that night, but it really made me think.  Hip Hop/Rap music has exposed other races to black culture, specifically, our slang, swag, etc.  Is it wrong for Hip Hop artists or black people in general to expect "others" to bleep out the "n" word every time it is used in a song they are listening to?  Do "others" sing songs like this in the privacy of their homes and use the "n" word behind closed doors?

I recall several years back Latino artists like J.Lo and Fat Joe also being called on the carpet for using the "n" word in songs that they recorded.  Are Latinos who don't consider themselves to be "black" allowed to use the word because they maybe grew up in the same struggle or near and around African Americans? Or should they be restricted from using the word as well?

I've been pondering this issue for awhile now and I wanted to speak to my readers and get feedback.  I really want to know have you ever experienced peers or strangers reciting song lyrics, thinking it is okay to use the "n" word, just because the artist does?  Do you let your friends who are "others" call you the "n" word or other black people that word in front of you?  Have you ever had to stop a friend, colleague or acquaintance in their tracks because they thought it was permissible to use it in a song or in a joking manner?

I know that black people have a tendency to be identified as "sensitive" when it comes to racial/social issues like these.  A lot of "others" use the fact that black people call each other the word and use it so much that in return, they cannot call others on the carpet for using the word as it would be a double standard.  I myself have limited my use of the word tremendously, and am still working to erase it from my vocabulary for good. 

Am I being too sensitive by saying "others" shouldn't be permitted to use the word whether as a joke, a line in a song, or term of endearment for any race or people?  Do you think these people should be called on the carpet for their use of the word no matter how much black people may still use the word?  Have you ever been in this predicament? How did it make you feel? How did you respond?

I would love your feedback!!!!!


January 5, 2012

Throwback Thursday: New Edition - "You're Not My Kind Of Girl"

I believe it is so important to stay up on what's new and what's hot, but also making sure to honor your roots and the history of the past.  Growing up in the 80s, New Edition was everything!!!!  They were B2K, Jodeci and Mindless Behavior all in one.  They were quintessential performers, combining new dance moves with the tailored group style dance of the 60s and 70s (think The Five Heartbeats or The Temptations) and were definitely the biggest R&B group at the time.  To say 80s babies grew up on the sounds/energy/fashion of New Edition would be an understatement.

Well, here we are in 2012 and New Edition still has so much relevance in this age of music and performances.  For instance, Beyoncé's "Love on Top" single off her studio album "4", incorporates audio and dance elements from New Edition's "If It Isn't Love" off their N.E. Heartbreak album released in 1988.  Not only did Beyoncé sample the music, but the video and the dance moves as well.

Another new artist that is taking cues from New Edition is popular Rap artist Big Sean of Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music label.  His debut single "My Last" sampled New Edition's "Can You Stand The Rain", also from N.E. Heartbreak.  I sincerely hope our youngstas learn to value the present and the past, as they journey into the future of music, artistry and entertainment.  Knowing the history of music and art is so rewarding and it gives an added value to our lives, as well as, a different perspective on trends, new and old.

Check out New Edition's "You're Not My Kind Of Girl" video for this installment of Throwback Thursday:


January 4, 2012

Fashion Forward: The Many Looks Of Rihanna

As far as iconic celebrity fashion status goes there are two reigning divas: Gaga and Rih Rih.  Not only has the pop Bajan sensation better known as Rihanna blown up the charts since her emergence in 2005, but she has claimed the IT GIRL title in the music and fashion industry, always pushing the envelope and inspiring new trends.  Rihanna was named the Sexiest Woman Alive by Esquire Magazine in 2011 and her hits continue to climb the charts, while her videos display fashion and artistic genius.  If she's not on the cover of top mags throughout the U.S., she's doing spreads in elite mags like Vogue, W and Harper's Bazaar abroad.

Rihanna's fashion sense is legendary, but her hair styles are even more dynamic.  After the Good Girl Turned Bad, she removed her long, highlighted and flowing extensions and downsized to a funky, choppy, black do.  Ever since her music and her artistry made that transition, she has been a force to reckon with in the game...period.  A bevy of beauties young and old follow her like its Twitter; she has 11.5 million followers by the way, with every color change, cut and style, her Navy, as she calls them, runs out to look just like her.

Rihanna's marketing and branding potential is endless with a slew of beauty contracts, product sponsorship, record sales and a world tour that grossed over $95 million last year.  Even the Dutch magazine that called her a "ni&#@ bitch" had to eat their words as Rihanna calmly responds, flipping the bird with a "f%* you".  Rihanna can't change her nail color, rock the new Louboutin's or get a new and unique tattoo without her fans running out to duplicate her look.

She is a rude gal, a murderer, so hard, yet so sweet and all she really wants is love.  But best believe whether you like her or love her, envy her or hate her, she is RUNNING THIS TOWN!

Check out a pictorial view of Rihanna's varying looks since her introduction to pop stardom in 2005:



Are you a fan of the pop princess better known as Rihanna?
Do you admire her flare and fashion sense?
Do you wish she would disappear from the scene?
Are you a fan of her music?