Friday, February 20, 2009

Notorious Movie comes up "B.I.G" in exposing the personal life of beloved rapper By: Gillateen




“Notorious” movie comes up “B.I.G.” in focusing the camera lens on the personal life, pitfalls, and triumphs of the world renowned Brooklyn rapper. Starting with his mysterious death then modest but rough beginnings, “Notorious” picks up with Christopher Wallace ( James Woodlard) a.k.a. “Biggie” as a young student in elementary school. He quickly came to the same realization that most young males do growing up in an impoverished area such as Brooklyn, New York that school may slowly lead to a glamorous life, but the world of drug dealing can give one a glamorous life quickly. So he starts to deal drugs which he uses as a means to fatten his pockets and manages to keep hidden from his mother until she receives a call from his high school saying that he had missed a number of weeks. The argument that occurred as a result from that call, forces his mother Voletta Wallace played flawlessly by Angela Bassett to kick Biggie out of the house. From there, he gets even larger in the drug game, meets Puffy (Derek Luke), and Lil Kim (Naturi Naughton) and is introduced to the dream of becoming a rap icon. He and his partner eventually get caught by the police for gun possession. Biggie’s friend takes the charge as a gun possession would end his career early.

In addition, “Notorious” dispels all myths surrounding the relationship between Biggie and his contemporary Tupac Shakur (Anthony Mackie). The film shows a time before the media blew escalated the “East/West Coast Conflict” out of proportion when Tupac and Biggie were friends and honored each others’ craft. In the midst of Biggie making relationships that would later define his life, Puffy proposes to make Biggie a major artist by making a duel project with Biggie and fellow artist Craig Mack to label owner Clyde Davis. Thus, Puffy gets Biggie a major deal making “Bad Boy” (Puffy’s label) public beginning Biggie’s amazing but short career. Biggie eventually then meets Faith Evans (Antonique Smith) and falls in love.

In the end, the Notorius movie highlights the personal life of Biggie and wins crowds. The overall theme it seems was to honor the memory of the great Brooklyn emcee. Movie critic Jamal Anderson states, “the B.I.G. is not out to prove anything to anybody but to lay the name of Biggie to rest and it does exactly that. It shows how he corrected all mistakes made in his major relationships, and in the end made a change for the better to become a father and role model". This film does fall short of displaying the lyrical prowess that impressed crowds and gained so many fans. If one were not familiar with Biggie’s music, he wouldn’t know what made him unique and such an influential as an artist. One could almost mentally take the face of Biggie off of his body in the movie and replace it with the face of any other rapper who had a “street to fame story”.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Political Cartoon in New York Post deemed Obama's Stimulus Plan Monkey Business By: Gillateen


The New York Post published a rather wild political cartoon that referred Obama's Stimulus Plan as Monkey Business. The cartoon displays two white cops. One cop, gun in hand, shoots down a wild chimpanzee. Immediately afterwards, the other cop says "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill". The New York Posts says "The cartoon is a clear parody of a current news event, to wit the shooting of a violent chimp in Connecticut. It broadly mocks Washington's efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveils himself as a publicity opportunist".

Intially, this cartoon was based upon an incident that occured in Connecticut on Tuesday. A woman kept a chimpanzee as a house pet and treated him as if he was human. She reportedly "slept, ate and drank wine" with the chimpanzee as obscene as it sounds. Later, the chimpanzee goes mad and attacks his owner's friend. As a result, his owner stabs the chimp and calls 9-1-1. When the police arrive, they shoot the chimpanzee dead.

Furthermore, Rev. AL Sharpton, on MSNBC, responds with the point of African Americans being sterotyped as monkeys since the days of the Transalantic Slave Trade and goes on to say that "that Pres. Obama is the face and representative of the New Stimulus Package. Thus, the New York Times is inferring that the Chimpanzee in the cartoon is Pres. Obama". Interestingly enough, a freelance writer, Eric Nelson points out a "beware of the dog sign" in the cartoon. Nelson believes that this sign is referring to the bloodhounds that were unleashed on runaway slaves and the police dogs that were used to attack blacks during the Civil Rights Movement.

In closing, my "spidey sense" says OVERT RACISM!!!! In today's day and age, when verbally firing upon a person or group of people, one must be accurate and politically correct. This cartoon was in poor taste and should have not been published. If the New York Post wanted to "mock the government's efforts", then the cartoon should've have featured a donkey and or elephant being shot down. To say that this cartoon was not a direct attack on Obama is ridiculous. That's like saying the "Microsoft Company and all of its products suck" and expect Bill Gates not to be offended.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Here's a Cranium Cooker!!!

For the sake of this question, let's say that ever since you were five years old, you wanted to be a famous film director. For you, going to the movies is pure bliss. So, you buy a cell phone with a feature geared around your love of film. This feature gives you a listing of all movies showing in your area and their showtimes. However, this feature only works when you don't have enough time or money to spare to go to the movies. It's unclear whether it's a problem with the cell phone itself or the cell phone company. The question is, do you really have this feature on your phone if it never works when you're actually planning on going to the movies??

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The World Loses When.......by Gillateen


In no way, shape, or form am I claiming this idea to be my own. I'm sure that many people have heard this concept on destiny prior to reading this, but as a writer, I will always have a different viewpoint. The difference in my view is that I use a metaphor and different examples to explain my point.

Initially, when analyzing the human body, one can conclude that each part in the human body was created to fufill a specific purpose. For example, the heart pumps blood through the body, the brain controls body activity and so forth. If one of these parts fails to operate, this could result in sickness, hospitalization, or death. Moreover, one could also argue that the human race is exactly like the human body. Every person was created to fufill a specific purpose or destiny. If a person dies without fulfilling his or her destiny then, the world gets sick, cheated, and loses.

Furthermore, lets use Pres. Obama as an example. Of course it's important that he's the "First Black President", but what's more important is the ideal he represents "The American Dream". "The ideal that anyone can be what they were designed to be if they are willing to fight for it". Now imagine if Obama allowed fear, jealousy, and self-doubt to prevent him from becoming who he was destined to be. The world would have gotten sick and lost a shiny example of that "American Dream". What if Michael Jordan stopped playing basketball after college and became a dentist? Not to say that being a dentist isn't an important profession; stop and think about how many kids that MJ has inspired. Think about how many young men and women have left crime and drug infested neigborhoods to go to college and follow his example. Malcolm X had a great quote speaking on the lost talent among his peers during his time on the streets of Harlem. "Some of my friends could have been doctors, lawyers, and some could have cured cancer. West Indian Archie (Malcolm's old street mentor) was a mathmatical genius, but they all were victims of the American social order (pressures of a Jim Crow ruled America).

Overall, what's important is that we as humans strive to be our absolute best regardless of circumstances and adversity. It's vital that we as humans use our talents for the greater good and for the benefit of the entire human race.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Has Alleged Assault Put Brown's Career in a Sleeper Hold? By Gillateen


Brown's claim to fame has put his career in a sleeperhold because he's known as an innocent R&B/Pop singer. Conversely, his recent accused assault of comtemporary and girlfriend Rihanna has been anything but clean or innocent. Marissa Richardson, a columnist with the "B" newspaper in Baltimore, states "alleged assault of a woman may have devasting results because it unravels the wholesome image that fans know and love".

The genre of music that is currently generating the most albums sales is Pop. Light, happy, happy, dancehall records, that are easy for adults, teens, and kids to remember alike. It is in this realm of music that, Chris Brown reigns absolute singing the youth into a dancefilled frenzy. He is accredited for selling over 3 million albums over the span of his entire career.

No one knows for sure whether or not any accusations are true surrounding Chris Brown "assault" of Rihanna, but two facts are true. One of them is that he was a no show at the Grammys at which he was expected to perform and in the same night of his mysterious absence, he was being charged for an assault of a "woman". Richardson adds, "Wrigley has already pulled any advertisement associated with Brown, and a rep with the "Got Milk" campaign has said that their ads with Brown are also due to stop".

Hopefully, these accusations againist Brown aren't true as they could end his career prematurely. For years, music and sports fans have adored their idols in spite of some of them being drug addicts, misogynist, arrogant, and just downright weird. Only time will tell if Brown's career will last through his current predicament. It would have done Brown some justice, before he supposedly raised his hand to strike that "woman", whoever she was, to recollect on how Ike Turner's career plummeted after it was proven that he was beating his girlfriend and bandmate Tina Turner. Fans may like their stars to be egotistical, crazy, and arrogant but no one likes an abusive man.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thoughts On Michael Phelps By Gillateen


I'm a firm lover and advocate of anything that is Baltimore as I've went to Cal Ripken's last game, bleed black and purple when the Ravens lose, and still get angry when the "Exodus of The Baltimore Colts" is brought into conversation.

To see our home town hero , Michael Phelps, blasted on news programs everywhere for smoking "pot", "weed", "reefus", or whatever the streetname it's called nowadays is an outrage. Yes, he is an eight time gold medal winner. Yes, being labled as a role model for young children comes with the territory of being a famous athlete. Yes, million dollar companies like Kelloggs don't want the athlete they're endorsing to be a million dollar pothead, but has the media gone too far this time? This was nothing more than a cheap attempt for some would-be photographer to get $30,000 for selling a photo of Phelps smoking weed to the New York Times.

Reporters and newscasters should stop throwing stones and ask themselves two questions: Have I ever smoked weed before and have I ever known the pressure of an entire nation breathing on my back while swimming in Beijing? The answer to the first question would most likely be yes and the answer to the second would most likely be no.

In the end, Olympic and Swimming officials should give Michael Phelps a suffcient number of hours of community service or even fine him, but don't rob swimming of probably it's greatest talent ever. Phelps is still a hero to kids everywhere and is still a kid himself. Let him learn from his mistakes and if he doesn't act accordingly, then the proper precautions should be taken.

A Review of "808's & Heartbreak" by Gillateen



Kanye West’s latest album “808’s & Heartbreak” disappoints some fans, but reveals West’s bravery and commitment to himself. It seems that Kanye West’s usual formula of doing the unexpected backfires. Instead of taking the soulful emcee approach, West chooses to sing this time around. “808’s & Heartbreak” serves a 1st person view into West’s chaotic and tragedy ridden world dealing with the loss of his mother and breakup with his ex-girlfriend. Throughout the entire album, West uses the popular auto-tune technique (a voice feature that gives artists a robotic-like sound, also correcting pitch) while singing, which magnifies his immense pain as he shares it with listeners.

Self- named the “Louis Vuitton Don”, Kanye is usually heard rhyming about
how insecure he feels if he doesn’t sport certain brand names when in the public eye. On the song “Real Boy”, Kanye expresses how un-important clothing is in the wake of his mother’s death: “There’s no Gucci I can buy/ there’s no Louis Vuitton to put on/ no clothing that I could buy/ that could turn back the time”. Furthermore, on the song “See you in my Nightmares”, West attempts to rid himself of the haunting memories of his ex girlfriend: “After tonight there will be no return/ tell everybody that you know/ that I don’t love you no more/you do you and I will be fine”. As one would imagine that, after two soul shattering events as a death and breakup, one would be speechless. Kanye exhibits a loss for words on “Say you Will and Bad news” as he lets the instrumental play for a combined 5 min.

In conclusion, this album lacks the vast topic range and flare which makes Kanye such a great artist as shown on his first two albums. The amount of heartbreak ballads and lack of rapping may disappoint even the casual Kanye fan, but Kanye's album defines him as a true artist as he releases whatever he feels not caring about negative media or opinion. One bright aspect about this album is that, it forces one to revisit times of heartbreak and loss which is believed to be its original intent.