Monday, May 23, 2016

Reel Talk : Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall

Synopsis: A look at the life of the late pop star from his early days at Motown Records to the release of hit 1979 album, Off the Wall.

Directed by: Spike Lee

Released: January 24th 2016

Review:  No stranger to documenting the life of the late musical icon, Lee's Michael Jackson's Journey From Motown to Off the Wall serves as more than a mere trip down memory lane or compilation of collected nostalgia. The documentary bobs and weaves between character study and  authentic tribute.Viewers will be treated to never before seen, or heard,  footage and audio as well as poignant interviews from those who knew him best and others whose careers and lives were directly, or indirectly, affected by his contributions to music  or aqutiance with the star himself. In lesser skilled hands, Journey could have come off as typical television fodder. However, Lee is able to evoke a spirit of wonderment through carefully chosen and edited material that makes the familiar seem novel and vital! - CgN


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Corner Spotlight- SZA - Babylon

Alternative R&B, for lack of a better term, has become a force to be reckoned with on the musical landscape thanks to such acts as The Weekend and Jhene Aiko. Though New Jack Swing will always be my favorite sub-genre of R&B, I can not deny that the voice of SZA  currently has me enraptured.  I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of her last EP, Z, however,the song Babylon, which is arguably her most popular offering, is what ultimately made me a fan. It doesn't hurt that her TDE label mate,  some guy named Kendrick Lamar, contributes some blistering bars to the eerie yet ethereal track. At least we don't have to front like we're "Down with Mount Zion" to enjoy today's entry! That last sentence was a reference to the Fugees  for all of those who are 25 and under.


Crucify, cru-crucify me
Crucify, cru-cru
I can't recall the last time I took advice from anyone
Shaped like a figure eight who trusts pretty girls anyway?
And I can't recall the last time I took advice from anyone
I'm sure I'll be the death of me
And I can't recall the last time I took love from anyone
I called daddy, who's got one anyway?
Not me
Are you hating yourself?
Do you really hate me?
Are you hating yourself?
Was it worth it?
Would you do it again?
Aren't you tired of always making amends?
I know you hate me now
I bet you hate me now
Bring on the thorny crown

(Kendrick Lamar)
Cross my heart then I hope to die with a peace of mind (a peace of mind)
Piece together my brain soon as this beat rewind (beat rewind)
Nitrogen and propane I spike your drink at times (turn up, turn up)
I make it hard to swallow this game, you throw up every line
I notice people got Napoleon complex but that's my confession
You said that we're equal but I know
You're beyond gassing that I'm beyond desperate (yeah that)
6AM on a Friday morning, my darkest hours
Them heartless hours
My apartment is lost in a coffin
I'm dead to the world like I popped me a couple downers
Down & Out on my luck
Salt water all on my tux and I call, she don't pick up
Then I fall when summer is ending
I mean there's no pretending I'm stuck in my ways and you're offended
That's life, that's you, this me, that's vice
You're wrong, I'm right, that's light
I belong somewhere on ice
I'm colder a new blood type? Even colder
Cold shoulder, Born Sinner, you know? Cole showed us!
I have nothing to lose, my dark side been well in-tuned
A Gemini go show them faces
And this here just one of my moves, Babylon

Was it worth it?
Would you do it again?
Aren't you tired of always making amends?
I know you hate me now
I bet you hate me now
Bring on the thorny crown
Crucify Me

Monday, May 16, 2016

Reel Talk - Miles Ahead

Synopsis: In the 1970s, jazz trumpeter Miles Davis tries to recover his new session tape from music producers.

Review: On one hand, Miles Ahead proves to be a fairly entertaining "movie" lead by Don Cheadle's well played rendition of the enigmatic genius and a formidable debut as  director. And though it has been labeled as an unorthodox biography, more focus on the "genius" of Miles as oppose to his idiosyncrasies, as well as the fictitious heist narrative, would have better served both enthusiasts of the legend as well as those eager to learn more about his contributions and achievements in the world of Jazz. (B) -CgN

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Take Five: Women of Hillman College

In honor of Women Crush Wednesday, I have decided to spotlight the gorgeous, talented and intelligent ladies of one of my favorite television shows: A Different World. I have discussed, in the past ,why I herald this show as groundbreaking for its' time. But today, we are going to shift our attention to five other reasons we may have camped out on the lawn of Hillman Campus once or forty seven times. When I laid my eyes on the abundance of beauty that graced my television screen on a weekly basis, I felt that I was transported to my local Cold Stone creamery and been supplied with a  number of collectible wooden spoons while given the task to try their assortment of flavors at my leisure. What's this? Butter Pecan you say? Of course I'll indulge! Oh my! Chocolate Brownie? For moi? Christmas comes early! Oh I see we a mocha flavor offering. Do you mind? Of course you don't! (yum yum yum)

I'm sorry, I know, I'm embarrassing myself. Let's get to the countdown shall we, but just one more taste of this...

OK, I'll stop. When the coolest man that ever walked the earth supplies you with the side eye, you know it's time to move on with the show! (RIP You Beautiful Soul You)

5. Gina Deveraux
Portrayed By: Ajai Sanders

Nom Nom Factor: Gina was your resident "Round The Way Girl" who supplied an ample amount of attitude, shade and wise cracks along the way.On top of that, she was *ahem* well proportioned. Usually regulated to a supporting role to more prominent characters, Gina did manage to showcase her more courageous side when she finally stood up to her abusive boyfriend. She would have been the girl that probably thought I was too corny to kick it with while simultaneously, annoy the hell out of me if she ever did give me a chance.

4.Lena James
Portrayed By: Jada Pinkett Smith

Nom Nom Factor: The brash and rarely unapologetic Lena James could at times be a hard pill to swallow! However, she also possessed the spirit of a poet and a revolutionary whose  goal was for her and others, who were ignored or mistreated by society, to be seen, heard and respected for the gifts they possessed.In addition, her sense of  style was incomparable!  Lena was the type of woman that would watch the game with you but would punch you in the chest if you disrespected her! Furthermore, she would also embarrass you on the dance floor.I likes'em sassy!

3.Jaleesa Vinson:
Portrayed By: Dawn Lewis

Nom Nom Factor: Being that she was one of the more mature students on campus, Jaleesa would often serve as the voice of reason and giver of sage advice. She was poised, unflinching, and strong willed, sometimes to a fault though. Rarely did you see her wavier in her stance as she was a true beacon of sophistication. Not to mention, she possessed a  beautiful singing voice that could stop you in your tracks. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!

2.Winifred "Freddie" Brooks
Portrayed By: Cree Summers

Nom Nom Factor: Who didn't have a crush on Freddie? Was it the curly fro? The off kilter and quirky personality? Or the fact that she truly was an original character and depiction of African American womanhood that had never been seen in popular media before? All of these unique factors encompassed my overall attraction to this "black hippie". Sure she could be a bit of a goofball, but she could be soul stirring when she was serious. I'd picket next to you anytime Ms. Brooks!

1.Whitley Gilbert
Portrayed By: Jasmine Guy

Nom Nom Factor: I am just as shocked as you! I never could imagine that Whitley would be my number one! She was superficial, extremely materialistic, shallow, and at times arrogant. However, it was  the fact that ,over time, Whitley evolved into an individual that possessed substance. Furthermore, she grew to be independent of her lineage or a male lead, showed glimpses  of comedic flair, and most alluring, became socially conscience as it related to the rights of both African Americans and women! That growth is what made me fall in love with her (and the fact that she was more fine than two unicorns splashing through waterfalls on a Saturday night!)
Another impressive feat was the fact that she gave the champion of the everyday brother ,Dwayne Wayne, a chance! I mean this brother had flip up glasses and his middle name was Cleophus!! Really? Cleopheus sounds like the name of a Greek God who only brought napkins to the grand feast but would leave with the biggest "to go plate" once the affair was over! Anyway, Ms. Gilbert's drive not only caused her to evolve, but also forced Mr. Wayne to realize his full potential. No one but Whitley could have done that! A true testament of a down sister!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Reel Talk: Captain America: Civil War

Synopsis: A new, political initiative ,created to install a system of accountability for all members of the Avengers, threatens to divide the team and shake it to its' very core!

Review: With the threat of "super hero fatigue" upon us, the task for comic book adaptions to up the ante continues to grow more challenging with each new film. Already this year, we have seen one such blockbuster fail at gaining both critic and viewer approval due to poor execution  of narrative ,character development and balancing tonality. Such feats of film making aren't easily achieved due to the grand nature of the spectacle and for this very reason, an abundance of praise is due to the Russo brothers for their second entry in Marvel's cinema universe: Captain America: Civil War. Not only are the Russo brothers able to juggle various moving parts of this film, which  includes effective introductions of new characters, screen time for both major and minor players alike, and a tone that isn't bogged down in trite sentiment, but they also are able to keep the film grounded in reality due to its' dealing with  the consequential actions for each hero's choice as well as the genuine ethos produced for each character. For these very reasons, this movie is indeed  the true successor of the original Avengers film .The only blemish on this other wise exhilarating movie was the choppy editing during some of the action sequences, shaky cam be damned! But all nitpicking aside, this film truly lives up to its' lofty expectations and makes it easier for me to request to "Make mine Marvel! (A)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Corner Spotlight : Sepalot - Go Get It (Featuring Ladi6)

Awwww! Are you still sad because  a session of intense role playing with your action figures, don't act like you don't have any tucked away in your "man-cave", proved to be more enjoyable than the movie you've been waiting on for the better half of two decades? Well Sepalot's  Go Get it, with the help of Ladi 6, should put some pep in your step, some "tude" in your mood, some "wamo"  in your "camo"...OK ,I'm just making up words now. Enjoy, and hopefully this can hold you over until a REAL epic movie is released: Angry Birds!!