Friday, March 6, 2009

Rihanna & Chris Brown: Celebrities in Crisis

Brown Wasn’t the Only One That Abused Her

Excuse me! I have something to say to all the people in the recording industry, particularly those in the R&B and hip-hop community. May I have your attention, please? Thank you. I would like to begin this article by reciting a line from the opening of the Johnny Depp film “The Libertine”. “Allow me to be frank, at the commencement. You will not like me. The gentlemen will be envious and the ladies will be repelled. You will not like me, and you will like me a good deal less as we go on.

There are some very disturbing reports that have surfaced in the media regarding Rihanna and “Fist” Brown that need to be addressed. Comments are also being spewed in the hood that I believe are cause for great concern. Let me give you some examples. According to published reports, this is not the first time Brown went Ike Turner on his gorgeous, young girlfriend. Another indicated that Rihanna and Brown have reunited. Still, another report claimed that Rihanna is refusing to cooperate with law enforcement in the case. As far as word on the street goes, I’ve heard both men and women say things like “She must’ve really pissed him off. So what if he got a text from another ho! What does she expect? He’s Chris Brown!” or “He did the right thing. You can’t let these bitches violate, son!

Okay, here’s the worst part of it all. I know for a fact that there are many young, top-level executives, managers, publicists and performers that are walking around with the same fucked up mentality. As bad as this is, here’s something else to consider. If a police report stated this is not an isolated incident, it’s obvious that someone was paid a king’s ransom to keep it from becoming public! Sadly, whoever it was is also responsible for allowing it to reach a point where one gifted singer has become the poster child for domestic abuse…and the other may have to give up the stage for a prison cell. Nice work, you dickhead!

Knowing how insidious the music industry can be, I believe decisions are being made that have nothing to do with concern or the safety of Rihanna. It’s all about money, power and protecting your investment at all costs! Moreover, the alleged reunion of the music stars is further evidence of an all-out attempt at damage control by one or both camps. In my honest opinion, it was probably just a statement put out to the press to throw water on what was fast becoming an inferno.

Rihanna has not been cooperating with law enforcement or prosecutors in building a case against her boyfriend. That may be because she does actually love the guy and does not want to see him jailed or his career destroyed. However, I believe, as stated previously, decisions are being made that may not have been in Rihanna’s personal interest, but in the interest business, as well as Brown’s. Her choosing to remain silent is an eerie reminder of the hip-hop community’s “snitch code”, which says you keep your mouth shut. It’s all about money, power and protecting your investment at all costs! This is wrong, and Rihanna and her camp need to separate themselves from the standard bullshit protocol of the hip-hop community and face this incident head on. Treating this like it never happened, keeping silent or ignoring it entirely, won’t keep the press away and will only make things worse.

When all is said and done, everyone involved is setting an extremely bad example for millions of young fans. If Rihanna was forced to remain in an abusive relationship because of business as usual, the message conveyed is that beating women can and will be tolerated and overlooked for the sake of generating revenue. Women’s rights be damned! Furthermore, if she chooses to stay with Brown without a stipulation that he undergoes domestic abuse counseling, with or without serving a prison sentence, it will hurt her career in ways she cannot imagine. The backlash from women’s rights groups will be severe.

In Brown’s case, an apology won’t mean shit unless it’s backed up with action. If he does time in jail, it could serve as the great equalizer in all this and his fans may forgive him. If he manages to escape a prison sentence, he will have to dedicate himself and substantial sums of money to causes aimed at eradicating domestic violence.

All the people who think Rihanna got what she deserved or should simply forgive Brown for being a “true player” are damn fools. I don’t give two shakes of a rat’s ass what she may have done to set him off; he had no justification for putting his hands or mouth on her. Period! I wasn’t in the car that night to know what actually went down, but I do know a young woman was brutally abused and that people other than Brown must be held accountable for everything leading up to the unfortunate event.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Charlie Brown: Uncensored!

How Booze & Jealousy Nearly Destroyed An American Icon

It was more than 40 years ago that Charles Schulz created a lovable group of characters known as the “Peanuts”. Linus, Lucy, Schroder, Sally and Snoopy have become staples of American culture, and millions of adults worldwide have grown up watching many of their classics episodes. Moreover, several members of the gang have gone on to enjoy successful careers in various fields. Case in point, Snoopy, arguably the most talented of the group, inked a long-term contact with Met Life, one of the leading insurance companies in the country. News agencies have reported that the beloved Beagle earned a cool $40 million in the deal, but there is nothing on record to substantiate these claims. Sadly, fate has not been as kind to the unsung leader and soul of the Peanuts group, the beloved Charlie Brown.

On October 16, 2007, Brown, along with Shaggy and Fred from the “Scooby-Doo” series, was arrested for allegedly assaulting a bouncer at the trendy Las Vegas nightclub “Spit”. On September 29, 2007, Brown was arrested by police officers in Los Angeles County for suspected DWI. He was booked, released and later sentenced to 30 hours of community service by Los Angeles Superior Court judge Alan Shore. In August 2007, he became the subject of tabloid cover stories after TMZ reported that he threw his I-Phone at a desk clerk during a heated exchange in a Beverly Hills hotel. The clerk received 12 stitches to close the wound, as well as financial compensation from Brown. Terms of the settlements were not made available to the public.

The Peanuts icon has experienced a great deal of negative publicity in recent months. To his credit, he has finally decided to come forward and address the allegations and offer explanations regarding his questionable behavior. An avid reader of my blog, Brown contacted me and requested this no-holds-barred interview. Given his strained relationship with the media, this is the only interview Brown will grant and allow to be published.

This is the official booking photo that was taken shortly after Brown's arrest at the trendy Las Vegas nightclub "Spit". The black eye and five o'clock shadow are firm indications that the TV icon has become the latest Hollywood casualty.© "The Raven"

G-Man: It is an honor, Mr. Brown.

CB: You can call me “C”, man. No need to be formal.

G-Man: Okay.

CB: Before we get started, I just want to say you kick major ass in your articles. I never miss one. That interview you did with that Dr. Morse guy, about bioterrorism attacks, was some intense shit! Made me go out and get that gas mask the doc was talking about. Those damn terrorists won’t catch old “C” with his guard down. Know what I mean?

G-Man: Yes, I do.

CB: Fire away with the questions, dude! I’m ready.

G-Man: I want to start by asking you about the incident at “Spit”. The hospital record shows that the bouncer sustained some very serious injuries. What happened?

At this point, an attorney representing Brown, who was seated a few feet away from the TV icon, intervened.

Attorney: I’m sorry, but because of the pending investigation my client cannot comment on the specifics of the case at this time.

CB: (Smiling) Sucks, right?

G-Man: I understand. Let’s move on. (Pause) You have a pending court date in November to answer charges involving a DWI incident in Los Angeles. Were you drunk when you got behind the wheel of your Shelby Mustang?

CB: I had one fucking beer…one! I wasn’t "Celebrity Rehab" drunk! It’s not like I was driving over the paparazzi or anything. I had a nice buzz going, but I wasn’t drunk. The officers said I was drunk and didn’t even bother to give me a Breathalyzer test. Doesn’t that seem strange to you? It’s all bullshit, G-Man. The cops rode me as hard as they did because I made a stupid comment about Jews when they put me in the back seat of the patrol car. One of them happened to be Jewish. Who knew? I intend to fight the charges. That’s all I care to say about it.

G-Man: This is one of many controversies you’re embroiled in. You’re also accused of assault during an argument that took place at a Beverly Hills hotel. You threw your I-Phone at the desk clerk simply because he didn’t refer to you by name. What did he call you?

CB: He called me a blockhead! Who the hell is he to call me that? Oh, he though it was real funny…. until I popped him in his fucking head. Do you have any idea how many times that little bitch Lucy called me that over a 40-year period, huh? A person can get a little sick and tired of that! He pissed me off! He doesn’t have any idea who I really am. He doesn’t know C! That pencil-necked punk is lucky I hit him with just my I-Phone!

G-Man: You eventually offered financial compensation to the clerk. How much did you give him?

CB: I can’t say. Let’s just say I won’t have a judge ordering me to give up my watch, as was the case with that dumb ass O.J. Simpson. That guy just doesn’t have a clue.

G-Man: I sense an enormous amount of anger, bitterness and resentment in your responses. Am I wrong?

CB: I’d say you were dead on. Yeah, I’m pretty angry these days.

G-Man: Why?

CB: Where do you want me to start?

G-Man: Wherever you wish.

Brown takes a box of Marlboro cigarettes from his jacket pocket. He taps the box three times, removes the plastic wrapping and begins to open the carton.

CB: G-Man, do you watch the show “Friends”?

G-Man: I have on occasion. Why?

Brown lights his cigarette and exhales the smoke.

CB: You’re a journalist, so I’m sure you know all about the residual deal they got once the show ended. Anniston, Cox, LeBlanc and the rest of them won’t ever have to work another day in their lives, thanks to syndication. They have so much money that it isn’t funny. Now, I’ve been on TV for what…. over 40 years? No checks are coming to my fucking house! It’s not right. The Peanuts are an American institution! Fuck Friends! They put 10 years in on their stupid show. What’s 10 years compared to 40? It’s just not right that my cast members and I have to live paycheck to paycheck these days by making 10-minute guest appearances at K-Mart and Target. Do you have any idea how this makes me feel? If not, let me give you an example. Remember the Halloween episode where we went trick or treating? Lucy, Linus and the others got candy. All I got was a damn rock in my bag! That’s how I feel today. You’re damn right I’m angry!

G-Man: Hold on. Hold on! You’re the only one that seems to be complaining about this. Other Peanuts members are doing quite well nowadays. Schroder has been opening in Vegas for Wayne Newton for the last 15 years. “Pig-Pen” is the co-creator of “Oxy-Clean”. Sally has a recurring role on “Law and Order, SVU” and Snoopy….

CB: Snoopy? Snoopy? Man’s best friend my ass. He’s a damn sellout! He wouldn’t have a Met Life deal if it wasn’t for Charlie Brown! I made him! Now that stupid-ass beagle won’t even take my damn calls! Where’s the loyalty, G-Man? C’mon, tell me! Where’s the love, bro'?

Brown blows smoke and promptly puts the cigarette out in an ashtray.

G-Man: Speaking of cast members, you caused a major uproar in the gay community back in May of 2008 by outing one of your cast members while on the set of “Deal or No Deal, Charlie Brown!” You allegedly called “Peppermint Pattie” a “butch” and confessed to doing so a few weeks later.

CB: I did use the “b” word, G-Man, and I’m sorry I did. It was a stupid thing to say and I deeply regret it. I really don’t know where all that came from. I received counseling, and I’m currently working with gay organizations to promote tolerance and awareness regarding gay issues. I’ve learned from the experience and I’ve moved on.

G-Man: Let’s discuss something of a more personal nature. I want to talk about the little “Red-Haired Girl”. You’ve been in love with her for many years.

Brown’s eyes become fixed and tense.

CB: Yes, I did love her very much. That was until I found out she was a two-bit, trailer park slut. Did you ever notice how high up her dress was? Watch a few of the old episodes and you’ll see what I’m talking about. She’s been with George Clooney, Adam Sandler, Dick Cheney, Jerry Springer, Mike Tyson and God knows whom else. Dude, you know what we called her on the set? We called her the doorknob…. because everybody took a turn!

G-Man: I’d like to ask you about a public comment she made last week.

CB: Okay, go ahead.

G-Man: In a recent appearance on “The View”, she told Barbra Walters that the reason she spurned you’re advances, particularly during your adult years, was because you suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Brown’s eyes remain fixed and tense. He reaches for his Marlboros. He says nothing.

G-Man: Do you care to comment?

Brown lights another cigarette and exhales.

CB: Do I care to comment? (Laughs) Do…. I…. care…. to…comment? (Pause) Let me say this much. You know Halle Berry had a baby, right? Enough said.

G-Man: Are you implying…?

CB: (Blowing smoke) You’re a smart man. Figure it out.

G-Man: (Pause) As you’re well aware, a great deal of controversy was generated after “A Charlie Brown Christmas” aired on network television. There was one scene in particular, which I’m sure you’re familiar with.

Brown’s eyes begin to tear. He takes a long drag from the cigarette and wipes his eyes.

CB: I know where this train is going. Go on, G-Man.

G-Man: (Solemnly) It’s the scene where you and Linus return from your Christmas tree search with this pitiful excuse for a tree. It was terribly thin. You placed a huge bulb on it and the tree slumped over, as though it was dead. You exclaimed, “Oh no, I’ve killed it!” Last week, on “60 Minutes”, the director of that episode revealed that you did kill the tree by placing an actual bulb on it instead of a plastic prop.

CB: (Wiping tears away) Yes, I did.

G-Man: (Solemnly) Take us back to that horrific moment. What were you feeling?

Brown puts the cigarette out in the ashtray.

CB: (Blowing smoke) Oh, man! I was inconsolable. Those environmental groups were all over my ass. Damn tree-huggers. They picketed the studio for weeks. CBS wanted my head on a platter, and the tension with my cast members got worse. I was so distraught I was showing up on set drunk as hell. It was a really bad situation. What saved me was the fact that one of the writers reworked the script. The new script called for Linus to wrap his blanket around the tree in order to give it more support. We did a three-day re-shoot of that scene, which ended up saving the episode and making the brass at CBS very happy.

G-Man: My next question is one that many, many people have begged me, via email, to ask you. The Peanuts characters spoke very clearly, but the adults always spoke in a “Wha-wha-wha” type language. Why?

CB: That question is thrown at me all the time during my K-Mart appearances. Here’s the answer. The dialogue was sent up that way because it illustrated the point that kids often don’t understand adults or what they say. Some suggest, because the episodes premiered in the 60’s, that it made reference to the parents being stoned and were not able to communicate with the kids. While the latter explanation is plausible, I really don’t think that was the point my man “Schultzy” was trying to get across. God rest his soul.

G-Man: What’s next for Charlie Brown?

CB: I’m trying hard to clean myself up. I don’t want to end up like so many of the current Hollywood stars. They are completely out of control, and I almost fell into the trap myself with all the partying, boozing, whoring and jealousy. I admit I still have issues to work out regarding residuals, my dog and not being able to kick that damn football whenever Lucy holds it, but I’m sure I can get back to the person I used to be. Remember, it’s not how you start the race; it’s how you finish.

Brown’s I-Phone rings.

CB: Excuse me a moment, G-Man. Hello? Hey! How are you? Long time no… Uh-huh. Yeah. Great! I’ll see you in a half hour. Okay, bye.

G-Man: Wow! You sure seem happy.

CB: Snoopy and Woodstock just invited me over to have dinner and watch “American Idol”! How cool is that?

Knights vs. Niggers

How an Obama Presidency Could Force Ghetto Blacks to Change

Note: The following commentary was published a year ago. It is being reprinted because the prediction I made came true and the article is still extremely relevant.

Okay, here’s the scenario. It’s January of 2009, and the world is riveted to the media coverage of the swearing in of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. Cable and network news stations showcase an array of all-star commentators and pundits, all of whom are in a virtual state of shock because they never thought they’d live to see a black man obtain the most powerful position on the planet. President Bush and Dick Cheney have been purged from the White House, so the celebration is twofold. “The Term of Hope” has begun, and no sector of the American population is happier, prouder or more optimistic about the future than black people. However, I truly believe that with Obama acquiring the position of “Brother-in-Chief”, it would place greater emphasis on the endless and sometime brutal battle that wages between two very distinct groups within the black community: the knights and the niggers.

It’s no secret to my loyal "G-Fans" that I absolutely loathe the word nigger. I have expressed my sentiments in an article or two on my AC page and during many speaking engagements, but I am using it in this context to describe a group of people, both male and female, that refuse to be recognized as anything but “real niggers from the hood”. The G-Man is about to piss a multitude of people off, both black and white, but it’s not like I haven’t before. I’ll be accused of stereotyping, being “bourgie” and not understanding “the black plight” in this country, but nothing could be further from the truth. Moreover, there isn’t one person out there that will be able to proclaim I don’t know or understand anything about the hood because I was raised in one of the toughest hoods out there: the Redfern Houses of Far Rockaway, New York. An intense love for the black community, as well as black history, is what prompts me to address this topic. If I have to kick a little ass, get ghetto or bruise a few egos to get my point across, then so be it! The truth is a powerful medicine, and no one said medicine is supposed to taste good. So, open wide!

The two classifications are as follows. The real niggers from the hood have no desire to pursue higher education, let alone finish high school. They are perfectly content with “keep it real” by urinating on the steps and elevators of their building or hanging out on street corners, or the courtyards of dilapidated housing projects, playing a dice game called C-Lo. They take great pleasure in walking into a neighborhood bodega and buying a “Philly” and “a 40” for the sole purpose of rolling a blunt and getting high. The word nigger has become part of their everyday language; they are obsessed with wearing their pant down to the middle of their ass; and a good number of them are extremely proud to say they have spent time in jail, beat a fellow nigger’s ass or have “a body” on their record.

The females are just as bad as the men. They curse worse than a drill sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and are very, very quick to start a fight. Sadly, many of these women, who are usually in the age range of 17-27, have very young children that are always in the direct line of fire during their vulgar tirade or physical confrontations. They brazenly display tattoos running from the small of their lower backs to the upper cracks of their ass. By the way, there is nothing cute or sexy about a tatted-up woman, in the area of 300 pounds, calling her girlfriends bitches…while chewing on a Twinkie and showing butt-crack. These men and women just don’t give a damn about anyone or anything but “staying weeded”, getting laid and finding quick ways to get paid.

Chris Rock displayed his comic genius while highlightng the differences between righteous black people and niggers in a previous HBO comedy special.
(Photo credit: Nightscream at en.wikipedia, Permission: CC-BY-SA-2.5)

The knights are the fighters, protectors and stalwarts of the black community. Contrary to popular belief, in the hood and in the mainstream media, they are not just people who decided to get an education, ascend the corporate ladder and now talk white. The knights, in all their honor and glory, are represented by people like high school and college students, ministers, teachers, local librarians, barber shop, gas station and business owners, and last but not least, “Miss Johnson”, the 92-year-old grandmother who sits on a housing project bench and tirelessly shares stories about Dr. King, Malcolm X and Emmett Till with curious, wide-eyed youngsters. These warriors don a coat of armor called pride, lift their swords of righteousness, and attempt to slay the black dragons that seek to tear the fabric of our African tapestry. They are the sole reason why the real niggers from the hood have been kept in check and not viewed as the dominant group in not just public housing areas across the country, but in America as a whole.

With Barack Obama being elected President of the United States, both groups would surely rejoice. The difference is the real niggers from the hood would no longer have an excuse to maintain their dangerous and self-destructive patterns and behaviors. With a black man seated at the highest level of government, no longer could “Whitey” be blamed for holding them back because Whitey, namely the white voters, will have played a pivotal role in helping place the Obamas in the White House. No longer could they claim that they aren’t smart enough to succeed. No longer could they claim that there are just too many racial barriers to prevent them from having a better life for themselves or their children.

The ones with any damn sense left would be forced to look in the mirror and do some real soul searching. Granted, it shouldn’t take a black man being elected president to spurn them to undergo this transformation, but an event of this magnitude could literally restructure their thoughts and attitudes about race, the future and the country. Racism will always be the ugly, three-headed dragon lurking in America, but with a black man as leader of the free world, and the real niggers from the hood promoted to knighthood status, the country would be well on its way to slaying it…once and for all.