Underground is Cancelled: What Is We Gon' Do Now?

By: Robert Akeem Mays

 

Remember when Cedric the Entertainer had the skit “What is we gon’ do”? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t, but that is exactly how I felt when I learned the BEST show on television was cancelled. There has never been a show like Underground. They portrayed “Black Folk”, African descendants who were enslaved (not slaves) and yet still had power, agency, and narrative. They showed them resisting, and revolting against their oppressors, white people. They showed them not just trying to survive but trying to reach something else beyond what they could conceive. I appreciate the brilliance that brought this imagery to fruition. But now, its cancelled. And I am feeling some-type-of-way. Here are my points:

1)      It should have never been on WGN in the first place. Yes it brought millions of viewers to the channel and thus when new people acquired the station, they wasn’t feeling it and that was it. It honestly needed to be on HBO, STARS, something where it would have the budget and the viewership to recoup the cost.

2)      I’m glad OWN or BET did not pick it up. I love Aunt O. I love Queen Sugar and Greenleaf. But Underground does not fit into her programming. I mean do you really want to see commercials for The Haves and Have Nots, while waiting to see how Noah killed and burned down a plantation? And she will lose money. BET…no. Just no. They destroyed The Game and Mary Jane is still the same (aye that rhymes). No. No. No.

3)      Season 2 was not like Season 1. I LOVE UNDERGROUND. But the season really did not go to where it needed to go until episode 5. That’s too long for a show that only has 10-12 episodes per season. I needed more backstory, and I wanted to see the narrative of the people who escaped, the thoughts of those who were left in bondage and suffered the repercussions. I wanted to see more of the narrative from the Black folks both freed and enslaved.

4)      And lastly, Hey Netflix, I’m in your city for the weekend…what’s up? 

Black Sitcoms Are Back!

 Robert Mays

In college, I had to take an art course; as a science major and a Africana studies major I didn’t have the time. However, I managed to take this really interesting class called “The Future of Your TV”. I learned a lot about the history of television, the switch to all channels being digital, and the future of media. That was about 7 years ago (I am getting old). But I remember the professor stating that soon scripted television will be back. This is during the pinnacle of Reality TV. I mean Love and Hip Hop, Basketball Wives and all the other garbage we consume to make us forget about our mundane lives.

I’m glad to say, once again, we have real actors, with real scripts, plus solid production is back. First, we have to thank Shonda Rhimes. I mean she gave us Olivia Pope. Before Olivia Pope we had Grey’s Anatomy. I didn’t watch that particular show but with Scandal, she capitulated a black woman lead in the homes of 7 million people each Thursday. Then we got Blackish and Empire (not a Shondaland Production but she paved the way), from Empire we got How to Get Away with Murder. But when other networks saw that Shonda was getting all of those views (and money), they soon began to follow suit. That’s when we got Being Mary Jane, Rosewood, Greenleaf, Queen Sugar, American Crime Story : The People v OJ Simpson, Roots:2016, Atlanta (on FX), The Get Down, Money and Violence and Underground (please watch Underground – they are telling the narrative of black folk correctly. This is a shamless plug). And there are others. Other shows and pilots (some made it, while others we are waiting their fates), but nonetheless we have black shows and they are telling stories of the varying aspects of black people as people. We need them and I’m just glad that there are opportunities for black folks in the arts- both behind and in front of the camera.

I’m not anti-reality television either. I get hype when Joseline comes on my television screen with her extreme delusions. I have a solid hearty laugh. But, I believe we have the talent and versatility to create a myriad of narratives showcasing black people in everyday life. And with primetime, cable and online series the possibilities are endless. Personally, I’m just happy to see these black folks win.

And I am greedily waiting for the return of How to Get Away with Murder , to have me on the edge of my seat since Scandal is on break until January. 

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Black Boy Blues - An Original Play By the Jenkins Brothers Premiers Tonight!

www.BlackBoyBlues.com August 26-28 at C.H. Flowers High School Tickets and more information available at www.BlackBoyBlues.com! An original play brought to you by the Jenkins Brothers (Jimmy Jenkins and Joshua Jenkins.) The year is 1958. Carter Jones relocates to Maryland, U.S.A. to start his life over as a simple repairman.

The HallPass is excited to get to record live at the premier of this original play by the Jenkins Brothers... stay tuned for the show and interview to come. 

Tune into the HallPass station on Soundcloud today! http://www.chippeddiamondmagazine.com/hallpass/

DC Rapper Swipey Shot and Killed in Prince George's County Maryland at age 18

 
 
From the Washington Post: The young rapper’s death triggered an outpouring of grief on social media, where friends described him as a promising rapper whose life and career were cut short.
His manager, Kevin Baldwin, chief executive of the record label M.O.P3, said that at 18, Brooks had already performed alongside big-name acts including rappers Wale, a D.C. native, and Fat Joe. His videos collected hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, and his Instagram following was upward of 40,000. One of his songs “Money Money Money” featured producer Jazze Pha, known for his work with Usher, Missy Elliott, Ciara and Lil Wayne.
“He only had been signed with me one year, and he accomplished all of that,” Baldwin said.
Brooks graduated from high school in the District and at one point planned to attend college at Morgan State University, Baldwin said, but ended up deciding to pursue a career as a rapper.
“Music, to Swipey, is everything,” Brooks said of himself in a recent radio interview with WPGC-FM (95.5). “I’ve got a tattoo on me: Music is life.”
The circumstances of Brooks’s death were not clear Sunday afternoon. Baldwin, who was grieving with family members Sunday, said they recalled an argument erupting following a party Saturday night. Later, a vehicle drove up and shots were fired, he said, according to family members’ recollections. Police did not confirm those details.
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The upcoming TICAD VI is set to further advance Africa as a growth center of the world.
In the interview with WPGC, Brooks said his passion for music began when he was about 14 or 15. Following the radio appearance, he boasted, “I’m from Southeast (Washington). I got a song with Jazze Pha — yeah, what?”
Baldwin said Brooks was raised in a home that was at times unstable but overcame his circumstances, emerging as a bright student who was “very intelligent.”
After signing Brooks a year ago, Baldwin said he filled in as a father figure.
“Basically, I was teaching him,” he said. “He’d never been on a plane — the first time he went on a plane was with me. He’d never been out of town.”
But Baldwin, 47, sometimes clashed with the young artist over the company he kept, he said.
“The issue was he was being successful on every level, but the hardest part was to get him away from his friends — the negativity,” he said. “That’s where him and I bumped heads.”
Brooks’s mother, Freda, was overcome with grief Sunday, surrounded by family as she coped with the news of her son’s death.
“He was a good guy, he was a nice guy, he never tried to start no trouble,” she said in brief comments to The Washington Post. “I’m crying. I’m crying because I love my son.”
On social media, friends and fans posted tributes. Among them: Grammy-nominated artist Wale, who was born and raised in the Washington region.
“God bless DMV,” read, in part, a tweet from Wale, using a moniker for the D.C., Maryland and Virginia region. It was followed by the hashtag #ripswipey.
www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/dc-rapper-swipey-shot-and-killed-in-prince-georges-county/2016/08/21/42b92de4-67d4-11e6-99bf-f0cf3a6449a6_story.html

Back to Warped

 

Vans Warped Tour has been one of my favorite days of summer since I was 15- only missing 2 times in 12 years . I missed last year because I was in a wedding, so I am super stoked that I can go back this year at the Merriweather date. This is especially due to the fact that the lineup is pretty much just all my favorite bands in one day. I’m looking forward to:

American Authors
Less Than Jake
Mayday Parade
New Found Glory
Reel Big Fish
Sum 41
We The Kings
Yellowcard

I’m actually afraid I won’t be able to see everyone, but I’ll try my hardest. I was talking to one of my newer concert buddies who has never gone to Warped Tour before, and her questions about the day of the show got me thinking maybe I should do a Warped Tour/ festival checklist as a refresher. I’m gone to enough of these things that I’ve learned a bit about the best way to navigate a sizzling hot festival with ease.

What to wear/ bring:

Safety first:

  • Bring an empty water bottle with you. Warped Tour, and I think most festivals now, have free water filling stations so you can and should stay hydrated. My venue usually makes people pour out their bottles at the gate to make sure nobody is trying to bring in alcohol.
  • If you do choose to drink alcohol while at the festival, remember you’re in there for the long haul. You don’t want to end up hung over before noon at all during the day. Plus, that’s really counter-intuitive if you’re trying to stay hydrated. Honestly, for the past couple that I’ve gone to, I’ve chosen to spend my money elsewhere than on drinks. You do you, but be responsible.
  • Eat something before you go and at least once while you’re in the festival, even if you don’t want to. You’ll keep up your strength for the rest of the day.
  • Sunscreen is your pal, burning is no fun.
  • I’ve crowd surfed and have been subsequently dropped. On my head. It hurts. But if the medic tent give you Tylenol, they have to med vac you. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Bring a little travel bottle of meds in case you get a headache for any reason.
  • Comfy shoes may not seem like a safety issue, but they are. Stay away from Toms + flip flops because you’ll be hoofin’ it and why be in pain?

What to do:

  • Find your favorite bands’ tents when you get in- you’ll find out about meet and greets and such there. Plus, your faves may just be hanging out and meeting their fans!
  • Feed Our Children NOW! will be accepting donations of (3) canned goods (Cannot be dented or expired cans), a $5 donation or a used cell phone. Bring your donation to the Feed Our Children NOW! tent, located by the main entrance gates near the Express Entry flag, to receive your Express Entry wristband. All donations go to feed hungry children in each city and fund their youth empowerment programs!
  • Pace yourself and know that you probably won’t be able to see and do everything. It’s one day!
  • Go with an open mind. I’ve made some great friends just by standing in line at Warped Tour.
  • Check out vendor tents but don’t feel a need to buy everything. So. Many. Shirt options.
  • Be kind to your fellow concert-goers. You’re all in this sweaty mess together for one reason- you love the music. Make a friend or 2, and live in the moment.

You can also check out their official list of tips here.

Have you been to Warped Tour? What are your tips?

Jace Nicholson: DC/Baltimore Candidate Chosen for Disney's Premier Program

SUPPORT OUR OWN, SUPPORT OUR YOUTH! 

Today is the BIG DAY, and voting starts with US! Help Maryland's own Jace Nicholson Iamjnicholson take over Disney as he participates in Disney's 2016 Premier Program! He is a bright young man, handsome and highly opinionated, funny talented and has a heart of gold. Voting ends today! Take the 20 seconds and cast your votes! Standing Ovation for Iamjnicholson, Black Excellence in it's prime.     ***Like and Share this Page***

 

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