@17th Is the New Mingles

August 17, 2007

Chris Rock said in his hit song “No Sex (in the Champagne Room)” with the late Gerald Levert: “Don’t go to clubs with metal detectors out front…sure it feels safe INSIDE, but what about all those Nyugahs outside with guns? They know you ain’t got one!”

About a year ago Mingles (where Too Short shot his video “Blow the Whistle”) shut its doors due to the excessive violence that took place outside the cabaret after closing hours. Basically, whatever arguments started in the club always seemed to turn deadly outside the club. As a result, Mingles had a reputation for being the last club you might live to party at.

They tried to enforce a strict dress code. They tried to change the format of the music they played. None of this could stop the fatal shooting of Shirley Deeane Smith and her unborn child last November 2006.

The incident played out through the U.S. as two Nyuguhs having a disagreement that couldn’t be settled without “Popping the Trunk.” And as it goes wit Nyuguhs, both parties had guns and neither had ever visited a shooting range, resulting in the murder of innocent bystander Smith. The club knew its demographic and decided to close for good. But where were the Nyuguhs supposed to go?

At the time of Smith’s shooting, Club @17 (cleverly named for its location on 17th Street in downtown Oakland) was already growing in popularity among the foxy young (as well as the older) vixens, and boasts an upscale atmosphere and furnishings. Even though their dress code was much stricter than Mingles ever was, it has been “scientifically” proven throughout the town that wherever vixens are, Nyugahs are not far behind (not only in clubs, but in street festivals like Festival by the Lake and Carijama, and even Fourth of July celebrations that no longer take place in Oakland). Nyugahs lined around the block on any given Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night attempting to push up on these young vixens. While some tried their hardest to conform to the dress code (think Baggy Girbaud jeans, Church Shoes, and Collared shirts..LMMFAO), others whose attire was rejected would hang around the area in order to “Parking Lot Pimp” – a common @17 activity that can last until 3:00am on weekends when the club closes at 1:30am. In addition, the club’s relentless promotional efforts made it the “go-to location” for A-List hip-hop & R&B celebrities like Lil Wayne, John Legend, and Lil Scrappy. It’s reputation made not only the club itself, but the area around it, the place to be.

Some Nyugahs in the club, feeling uncomfortable in their church shoes, are easily set off by getting their feet stepped on or a drink spilled on their “good shirt.” The drama that sparks inside can easily escalate outside. Other Nyugahs, who find it economical as well as comfortable to purchase alcohol from a liquor store and not even worry about dress codes and bar tabs, just come by to witness the excitement that ensues outside when 1:30am rolls around. But sometimes they get a little too excited when they see someone they had a previous argument with or when they get embarrassed in front of a vixen.

Both instances, inside and out, can result in “trunks getting popped” like on August 3rd, 2007, when Johnny Gaines and Andre Arceneaux were murdered outside the cabaret. While it’s not clear whether those young, twenty-something men were the intended targets, I know for a fact that Nyugahs are irritable and Nyugahs can’t shoot.

So if you are planning a night out @17th, do it big – it might just be the last function you ever hit up.


Internet Is the New Cable!

July 18, 2007

A young female was trying to make plans with me to get together, and since she had to depend on a friend for a ride, we were trying to figure out who would most likely have a relaxed easy going time with my ace boom. We looked through all of her loud, obnoxious, and “ghetto” associates and narrowed our options down to two calm friends of hers. She decided who was going along with her and shouted out “Oh yea, she’s hella cool, AND she looks like ‘Bootz.’” After explaining to me who Bootz was (a character from Flavor of Love on VH1), she immediately asked, “You don’t watch that show!?”

I had to explain to the young vixen that I don’t pay for cable television (That includes paying for the “HOOK UP”). My mama didn’t have cable at her house, so I was never used to relying on TV for entertainment. Now, living on my own, I can’t deem cable practical. My logic is this: If I pay $20-75 a month for something, I feel obligated to use it. I have bills for gas, water, electricity, garbage, my cell phone – but these are things I use (the cell phone I use in abundance).

If I paid for cable every month, I would feel obligated to see what’s new in Charm School with Mo’nique, mandated to check the BET awards – hosted by Mo’nique – or watch that movie Phat Girlz coming on later – starring Mo’nique. Instead, I bundled up and saved with AT&T for a houseline and DSL Internet connection.

However, I did come really close to getting cable television for one reason. I told my brother I was thinking about cable just for the music videos over AOL Instant Messenger and he sent me a link to an old MC Hammer video. I went CRAZY! I started searching videos and sending them to my brother trying to one-up him, but the boy’s imagination was way too swift. He hit me with Ini Kamoze’s “Hot Stepper,” E-40’s “Practice Lookin’ Hard,” and Billy Ocean’s “Caribbean Queen.” The biggest one-up I did have on him was Baby Ray’s 90’s local Oakland anthem “Aint Nothin’ Like The Town.” By the time I had thrown in the towel, five hours had passed and I was thoroughly entertained. Whenever I got the urge to check out something, I had access to it on the web.


It used to be if you missed the old-school cartoon lineup on USA Saturday Morning, (Savage Dragon, Mortal Kombat, and more) come Monday, you were left out the conversation. Nowadays, if you haven’t seen the Jiggaboo Jones video’s, some fool dancing in their room wearing a Dora the Explorer suit, or young Kellin windmilling on a young intimidator while trying to do a bedroom “Tell Me When To Go (Trackademiks remix) video, you are trippin’!  And as far as that young vixen trying to hook up my patna was concerned, all I had to do was “Google Search” ‘Bootz Flavor’ and her pictures, myspace website and VH1 came right up.  That’s a solid young Feeemale.  Besides that though, if you spend money on cable every month, but don’t have access to the internet, YOU ARE REALLY TRIPPIN’! Internet IS the new cable.


Hippes are the New Yuppies

May 8, 2007

Hippes are the New Yuppies!  The generation made famous for its out of the box thinking and rebellious pacifism is now the timid, nihilistic generation of pretension.  Yesterday’s rebel is today’s elitist.

I, myself already knew this to be true and have adapted to this reality.  However, it is hard to come to terms with the fact that the youth are being told their expression and points of view are needed at the table and are being welcomed with one hand, but are being slapped in the face with food scraps thrown at them out the other.  It is hard to explain the difference between the nihilistic power structure that suppresses and oppresses a population of people, and the free radio organization who, while a loud opponent of the current power structure, have their own political bureaucracy that cannot be ignored.

They both work under the pretense that the public is being served by their work, and they both have bottom lines that serve as their driving force.  When KPFA decided to burn a 15 year bridge between themselves and Youth Radio over a single blemish in the relationship, it confirmed the rumors I had been hearing about KPFA holding Youth Radio in an unfavorable light due to lack of fund-raising on Youth Radio’s part.

Aside from the fact that KPFA never invited Youth Radio to the table to participate in fund-raising events (KPFA even preempted several Youth Radio shows unprofessionally without notice) it is highly hypocritical to claim to be champions of “The People” while treating “The Future” in a less than equal manner.

I explain it to the youth and the youth understand the hypocrisy even at the high school level.  What I can’t explain to them is whether the relationship has been damaged because KPFA as an organization feel there is no place for free radio, or just one person at the helms navigating the ship built for “The People” off course.  No matter how much spin and diplomacy you employ, KPFA will always be known as KPF-U in the eyes and hearts of youth.  Because they know just as well as I that Hippies are the new Yuppies!

Husbands are the new Boyfriends

March 7, 2007

Did you know that if you are in a relationship for long enough (7 years I believe), the rules of marriage apply? It’s called “Common Law Marriage.” The virtues of marriage today are what going “steady” used to be. Marriages begin and end in about the same time as regular boyfriend-girlfriend relationships. In fact, I know boyfriend and girlfriend relationships that lasted longer than my own parents’ marriage. Hell, I know pimp and hoe relationships that last longer
than marriages.

I think everybody has heard the saying “fools rush in.” But I agree also that “fools rush out.” People are all too willing to ditch their vows in signs of trouble. Steady relationships used to start with establishing a family as the goal at the end of the tunnel. Today, with all the speedy “hook-ups” of strangers and the “clothing-optional hug” benefit to friendships (remember that Friends are the new Lovers), when I hear someone say, “I have a boyfriend,” or “I have a girlfriend,” I automatically hear, “I have a sex arrangement.”

That’s all it is. If your boyfriend or girlfriend is really your one true love, they would already be, in my opinion, your fiance or your spouse. I plan to NEVER again have a girlfriend. If I feel strong enough about someone, and I want her to be my “wifey,” I’ll just make the gal my wife. If she can’t get with that, then it’s possible that marriage won’t ever be…therefore the “preliminary marriage” is absolutely pointless. Marriage has been downgraded. Friendship has been upgraded.

The new next step from friendship is a long walk down the isle (I personally recommend a less costly trip to Vegas). But how can you trust someone enough to know whether or not you want to go down that road with a person you call your “friend.” But damn, people change! So who do you really KNOW, and who can you really TRUST? And for how long!? I suggest you get to KNOW and TRUST yourself, and that will be what makes and breaks all of your relationships.

Some crazy people say that you should live with your partner for a period of time before you get married, to see if they are someone you want to even wed. These people don’t realize that since you are already sharing a living space and financial
responsibilities, often even children, you practically are married (especially after that 7 year mark). Why not be recognized by the government? A boyfriend or girlfriend can be costly. It is a known fact, however, that married people earn more and have more tax benefits.

Even hospitals don’t recognize “steady” relationships. If you don’t believe me, try visiting your girlfriend after visiting hours. It’s not going to happen. And someone correct me if I’m wrong, but the CONJUGAL VISIT (YEAH!) is strictly reserved for spouses of inmates, not girlfriends. The word steady is like SUSPENDED ANIMATION. The worst of both worlds: the commitment of marriage, without the financial benefits. My advice is, if you have a steady partner you should A. marry them, or B. dump them…

Friends are the new Lovers

February 21, 2007

I used to cringe when I heard a woman (or girl) I was interested in say, “Let’s just be friends.” It was a clear sign that you would be the one hearing all about her intimate life, instead of becoming a part of it…but now these definitions of friendship have changed and being friends doesn’t necessarily mean sex is ruled out.

Culture has been shifting to these paradigms as far back as the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s with mentions of “Kissing Cousins” in De La Souls classic song Buddy, as well as R&B icon R. Kelly’s yearning for that “Homie Lover Friend,”described in Bump and Grind.

The “Friend Zone” is so widely recognized today, I don’t even refer to my male homies (patnas’, cuzzins’, aces, rounds, folks) as friends. When I use the word “friend” I am definitely describing a female. Nowadays, I urge females to be “friends” with me, instead of trying to get them to be in a monogomous relationships with me. With all of the technological and social advances we’ve made over generations on all fronts, friendship has much more benefits than it used to.

One of the most significant benefits of this “new-age” friendship is that physicality has been upgraded from hugs to “clothing-optional” hugs. The intimacy of a consummate relationship has been added to the passion of your average friendship, while the commitment is all but ignored.

I can recall a time or two when I’ve felt some welcoming energy from a woman and approached her only to find out she had a boyfriend. In at least a couple of instances, this didn’t stop us from exchanging information and forming a “friendship,” even though the girl is supposed to be involved with someone else. I’ve exercised the clothing option when hugging a friend who was in another relationship both as soon as her relationship has ended, and also while her relationship was still “committed.”

I, myself, have only really been in one committed relationship that ended when she exercised her clothing option with one of her buddies and got freaked out when she missed her period, but we remained friends after. And while I’ve never cheated in a committed relationship, I’ve helped more than one of my “friends” cheat in theirs.

After all this, my mindset is that trying to maintain exclusivity is too much pressure…you have to be secure and insecure at the same time because you know once you’re in a monogomous relationship, it’s doomed to die. But a friendship can be on hiatus. You can be in and out of each other’s lives and keep it going.

I think this is happening because many young people are rejecting the traditional ideals of a relationship because they know that they are doomed for failure…and the new concept of friendship has evolved out of that. Young males and females have been experiencing, either through their parents’ divorces, or through their own romantic trials, commitment as a failed concept that pushes the notion of love to its peak. Once that peak is achieved, the only place to go is downhill. This downward spiral can be as slow as people just plain falling out of love, or as quick as one’s partner discovering that they are not the only one participating in love acts with their “committed” love.

But in friendships I’m safe from that pain, and so is my friend. We can share a spiritual and physical connection, without the arduous task of maintaining exclusivity. But it you are brave enough to enter into a committed relationship, I suggest you marry that person because the Husband is the new Boyfriend (or Wife the new Girlfriend). I’ll address this in my next installment, but for now…remember, Friends are the new Lovers.