Friday, June 16, 2017

Why Do We Do These Things:A "Trap House" is Not a Home!

by Da CogNegro

I was already ready to write about the Black Panther reveal last Friday! Eagerly, I began to jot down notes on the wording and format I would utilize to express my excitement. I had decided that I would use the fan favorite "Take Five" as the framework to explain the road this unprecedented film will travel as it relates to universal appeal as well as the grand task of creating a brand new narrative in the realm of heroes of color. And then I stumbled upon this:

Here is the official breakdown of this "wondrous" experience:

 2 Chainz new virtual reality Trap House guides fans through the personal story of his own “trap house” aka drug den, on Riverdale Road in Atlanta.The rapper teamed with VRTGO and VRLIVE to create the immersive, interactive virtual reality experience.Fans can go room-to-room, where they can discover new songs off the Pretty Girls Like Trap Music album, while interacting with new characters and objects inside of the 2 Chainz’ Trap House
Good to see that college education being put to good use sport ! So basically, we are transforming the concept of a drug house into some interactive exercise of amusement! Now I can spend the bulk of this entry meticulously dissecting this puppet and shaming him for being a tool in the exploitation of his own people. But let's do something a bit different. Let's focus on what contrarians are bound to say:

Why are you getting bent out of shape. It's just entertainment!!
You know what else was entertainment? Mandingo Fights!

Mind you, these are the same individuals who are persistently telling you to "Stay Woke knowing damn well I've been up since 7:30 am! What I find interesting, about the whole "entertainment" argument ,is that it is clearly justification for such exploitation to exist. But what some of us seem to be oblivious to is that such experiences are not based upon  fantasy. This isn't some simulation where a person is fighting dragons or someone is riding a winged horse. No, these experiences, and tales, are steeped in a reality replete with despair and pain that comes at the expense of others. Take a look at the following pictures mind you:

Did you find yourself two stepping to these pictures? Did the following illustrations put you in the mood to gather a couple of your partners or round up some girlfriends to purchase a bottle at the club? Disconnection is the foot that kicks the crutch from a handicapped reality! I highly doubt that the virtual trap house will have rooms displaying these images!

Why are you hating on this man's hustle? He's making money!

If anyone else was peddling this contraption, we would call it racism. Since it's one of our own, however, it's cultural. And giving way to such reasoning proves that we have fallen for THE ULTIMATE JEDI MIND-TRICK! We have allowed outsiders to dictate what is deemed culturally significant! And you know what's more mind boggling? When the "others" attempt to emulate these manufactured symbols of culture, we label it appropriation! That's right, we fight for ownership of symbols and depictions that negatively represent us!  "Hey! You can't rap about weed and hoes! You're not authentic enough to do so!? That's all ours! So the real question is this: Why do we allow ourselves to be duped ,especially those of us in the know,  into participating and defending our on cultural demise? The answers may surprise you! CgN

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Ji Spot- Q&A With JiJi

by Jihan Ji Ji Michael

But first, a word from Da CogNegro:

The summer is upon us and it seems like you’re still unable to find that special someone.  What’s the matter? Binging on “All Natural” Naked beverages didn’t result in the summer body you wanted? Well, here’s a tip: get a dog, no, a cat! Hear me out. The majority of your relationships have ended in great balls of fire, no? This obviously means that you are a glutton for punishment and your ability to judge a person’s character falls somewhere between a Migos Christmas special and a tall cup of Cofveve!


So in a last ditch effort, you’ve come to the blog in hopes at some type of redemption. Well, I can’t save you! I’m too busy reorganizing my Matchbox cars and polishing my Marvel steelbook collection to worry about your trivial pursuits of love and happiness, no offense Al Green! Maybe the homey Ji can help you with her latest vlog. In the meantime, put the romper down and see if you can find a Groupon for some self-respect- CgN 


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Reel Talk- Wonder Woman

by Da CogNegro

It’s no secret that DC Comics and WB have struggled to create another successful franchise outside of the Batman property. Though Man of SteelBatman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad have all done relatively well at the box office, critics and fan feedback has ranged from apathetic to downright vitriolic. To say thatWonder Woman has a considerable amount of pressure, to break “the curse”, is an understatement. What has always been baffling though is why it has taken so long for this film to be released when she is arguably one of the most iconic characters in pop culture! Put it this way, Green Lantern, Steel, and even Jonah Hex have had their time on the silver screen. Even Swamp Thing has had two films dedicated to his adventures in the…the…Swamp!  But with the female empowerment movement being at the forefront of our current social-political sphere, the release of such a movie could not have come at a better time.

First and foremost, all who may have worried that Gal Gadot would not be a suitable successor to Lynda Carter can put their worries to rest. She is powerful, intelligent and a stunning presence on the screen who  seamlessly pulls off an authentic balance of regality and naivety that does not come off as being contrived, or hammy, especially since the film serves as a variation of the “fish out of water” tale.

From a cinematography perspective, the contrast between the vibrant Themyscira to the drab European backdrops is quite effective and really gives the viewer a sense of two vastly, different worlds. Chris Pine is charming and believable enough as our human tour guide for this adventurous romp.  Furthermore, the cast of supporting characters generally works well to flesh out the humor and drama of the narrative. Sure the villains are a bit 2-D, but this is forgivable because the majority of the film reminds of us of the magic of super hero movies. Yes, we enjoy films that are grounded in reality and defy genre expectations. However, there is nothing wrong with evoking a true sense of nostalgic escapism in these films as well.

However, being that Zack Snyder has his fingerprints on this, the movie has some glaring flaws which unfortunately, prevent it from being great! Without giving too much away, there is one scene, within the climax, that is truly profound and if examined further, could have really made the film something special. Instead of leaving well enough alone though, the film descends into eye rolling; madcap final battle that strips away the more subtle nuances the movie spent so much time developing. The viewer is then overcome with a “been there …done that” feel that could have easily been avoided. Speaking of action, we get a mix bag  of dazzling array of fisticuffs  to scenes that rely too heavily on slow motion , choppy editing, and unnecessary close ups. All in all, Wonder Womanis a step in the right direction for DC’s answer to Marvel’s cinematic universe. It’s just too bad that it is a step as oppose to a leap. And you don’t have to tie me up to receive that truth!  (B-)-CgN