BET Awards 2016- Beyonce Peforms & Leaves- Sheila E “Prince” Tribute

I missed the BET Awards last night. Honestly, I never really watch them. Who needs to when Black Twitter and many other social media outlets are going to report the good the bad and the ugly and man it was plenty of it last night.

For the last few years I’ve always heard and seen BeyonceBETpeople say on Facebook and Twitter, “Where the hell is Beyonce?” and “I guess Beyonce too good for the Ratchet Awards”. So imagine my shock last night when I heard my neighbors hype because the Queen herself was opening the BET Awards with a bomb-ass performance with Kendrick Lamar. I tuned in for all of about two minutes and went back to what I was doing. I’m sure it was a dope performance but I already knew what was going to happen next. Mother Tina was going to pass her a towel, tell her to dry off on their way to the Bentley and they were going to get the hell out of dodge. So when her award was accepted on someone else behalf… (LOL) I did check out her BeyonceBET2performance in its entirety because you know folks don’t waste anytime uploading to YouTube and I enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed when she performed the song in Philly earlier this month. But like in her song lyrics “Middle fingers up… Tell ‘em Boy Bye”. Yup, that’s pretty much what she did last night. LOL!

That wasn’t the good. The good came later. In fact GREATNDesiignerBETESS came later. But what the hell was up with Desiigner last night? Peep the look on Fab’s face. LMAO He was looking like, these new fuck boy rappers about to catch these old skool hands. It was not that deep for Desiigner to be all ugly-jo with it. So that was the bad. And then it was the Prince Tribute from what I hear it happened periodically throughout the awards show. I was looking forward to it until I found out Jennifer Hudson was doing Purple Rain. Nope, sorry. I saw a video of her and the cast of the Broadway Play The Color Purple and I was not impressed with her part of the performance. Now the young lady that started it off brought tears to my eyes. But Jennifer Hudson screams too damn much. Her voice is already powerful. There’s no need to scream. And then what pissed me off with the performance she did back in April was she had a 3 x 5 card with the lyrics on it and STILL got the words wrong! Like got-damn it! You had one job! And who the hell is 30+ years old and don’t know the words to Purple Rain?? UGH! So no, I didn’t want to see Ms Hudson screaming all over the damn stage. I peeked in… and popped right the hell back out. Judging by Black Twitter, the tribute was not at all appealing outside of BPrinceShadeilal so I know Prince was more than likely looking down like… But don’t worry, it got better later on. Calm down Prince. I feel your pain. I get pissed when somebody flubbs on one of my poems or reads a part of my book out loud and don’t read it with the umph I wrote it in. But don’t worry, baby. Sheila E. finna come through for you. Keep Calm.

JWilliamsBETThen we had my man Jesse Williams. Fine, sexy, eyes make you want to drop down and be like the chick from Coming to America “Whatever you like”. A lot of people don’t know but Jesse Williams has been active in the struggle for equal and human rights for Blacks for a long time. Long before he was Dr. Jackson Avery on Grey’s Anatomy. Last night, he was awarded the Humanitarian Award and I can’t think of anyone else in the industry that is more deserving of it. He isn’t just on social media taking shots at the injustices that occur or the powers that be who allow these things to constantly go on. He is on the front lines in Ferguson, Baltimore, California, Flint Michigan. He is putting in work! He talks the talk and walks the damn walk! His speech last night gave… me… LIFE!!!! I was going to post the video of his speech but it seems that Viacom are being dicks and blocking claiming it’s copyright infringement yet I’m still seeing videos of Beyonce and Kendrick performing as well as Sheila E. on Youtube. Stop trying to silence this man. You really don’t want to be on the wrong side of this battle. So since I can’t post the video, let me put a few key quotes from his speech and then I will post the link to where you can read exactly what he said. Not as moving as seeing and hearing him say it, but just as good because his words are not being outdone by the loud applause and praises he received.

Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.

He also said-

Now… I got more y’all – yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear anymore about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that toEric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt.

Wooo and it really got hot when he said-

Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money – that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There is no tax they haven’t leveed against us – and we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so… free.

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.

Damn it! I need to post more! Reading it just lights a fire in my soul and I want you all to feel that same fire because it’s time for us to make moves. Enough of the bullshitting around!

And let’s get a couple things straight, just a little sidenote – the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander.That’s not our job, alright – stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

And this last part will lead me to my next section of this blog post and how Justin Timberlake got his ass dragged last night by Black Twitter

We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil – black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though… the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.

So Justin Timberlake took to twitter giving Jesse Williams his stamp of approval (as though we needed it) And then things got ugly when someone asked JT if that meant he was going to stop appropriating Black Culture and finally apologize to Janet Jackson. Justin Timberlake hit him with the “We are all one” spew and then dismissed him with “Bye” Wait a minute. Hold the #$%& on! Justin, you pretty much missed the point of Jesse Williams speech. No we are not one because you can get pulled over by the Police today and I guarantee you won’t have your face buried in the concrete and then the roughest photos from your instagram plastered on the evening news while being called a thug with millions of onlookers saying that you deserved that mistreatment for being a “thug”. You will never taste that kind of fate simply because you have the complexion for their protection so sit yo ass down and hush. You my friend have built a career off of what Blacks made popular and trendy with your corn-rows in the 2000′s, riffing like your Wanya from Boy II Men and trying to do Foot Work like you’re James Brown and Michael Jackson while beat boxing like you’re Doug E. Fresh. And yes I jammed to his music for years but if you are going to long stroke the creative way Black People created Hip-Hop and remixed R&B so that it has thrived over the last 30+ years, the least you can do is acknowledge that no we are not all the same. No we do not all have the same rights and receive the same treatment for some of the same crimes and mistakes. So like Jesse Williams said YOU extracted our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil –black gold, tried us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit, which is exactly what you did when you decided to pull that diva like bitch move, dismissing that man on twitter with “Bye”. You gon’ learn real soon what happens when you piss off an awakened people.

Lastly, we have Sheila E. and her tribute to Prince which was epic! Man she beat the hell out of those drums and got her Princeboogie on! She even brought out Mayte and Jerome baby! I know that had to make Prince feel much better as he was looking down.  He probably pointed at her like “Damn it, I knew you would bring it on home for me Sheila! Bitch, you better work! You better come through!” And she did. That set twitter ablaze last night. It’s still hard to believe that he is gone. Michael Jackson is gone, Whitney Houston is gone, Natalie Cole is gone and now Prince. Who do we have left? Definitely not Desiigner with his weird ass. All in all, the BET Awards was okay. There’s a guy on the ave who always has it on DVD every year. I’m about to head on down there to see if I can find him and snag me a copy. RIP Prince. And RIP Justin Timberlake. (He ain’t dead for real but Black Twitter killed that ass last night #Petty)

 

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Is Urban Fiction Novels On a Decline?

What is happening to urban fiction? That seems to be a question that I am coming across a lot on Facebook. A question was posted the other day asking what people are tired of seeing in urban fiction and quite a few things came up that I’ve been saying since I first came on the scene.

  • Grammatical Errors
  • The same story-lines again and again by different authors
  • Authors using the same models for their covers
  • Kindle Unlimited
  • Hip-Hop and R&B song titles/lyrics as Book Titles

Just to name a few. And those were answers that were coming up more than once. Let’s address these issues.

Grammatical Errors

When I first came out with A Thug’s Redemption, I ordered 50 paperback copies. How embarrassed was I when I was reading it after having sold damn near all 50 copies as well as a few that was given away for reviews and promotional reasons not to mention the hundreds that were sold on Kindle, only to see that I had given the wrong PDF file to the printing company I was using which had MAD errors in it. Oh nigga I almost died. I wanted to crawl under a rock and DIE! I corrected that shit real quick and apologized to my readers for the mistake. I will admit that I was so excited to get my work in print that I confused one file with another. (AThugsRedemption1 was sent instead of AThugsRedemption1a) With my books after that, I scan through them with a fine tooth comb and have a back-up set of eyes (beta reader) to check for what I may have missed. So far so good. But man, I’ve read books where the author used hear instead of here (how sway???) didn’t know when to properly use there, their and they’re (how sway???) had two different names for one character and I don’t mean on some the character had multiple personalities and those were their names, just a complete rookie move on their part. Indie Authors are too busy trying to put out a large quantity of work instead of making sure they are putting out QUALITY work and it’s not a good look.

Same ass tired story lines! Example-

  • Hood chick snags big time drug dealer for boyfriend and lives the glamorous life until he is tragically killed.
  • Kingpin of whatever city is betrayed by his workers and doesn’t know who to trust
  • Project Chick is abused by her mom and meets prominent drug dealer who rescues her. She falls in love only to find out he has another family
  • Chick is molested by father, uncle, whoever and grows up to be a stripper with low self esteem sleeping with any man who pays her a compliment
  • Chick takes over drug business for slain or incarcerated drug dealing boyfriend

I’ma just stop right there. How many times are the same damn stories going to be told? Why are the same damn stories being told? Where is the originality? Where is the thought and effort in putting together a well thought out plot for an engaging story? Where, damn it? Where?

Authors using the same model for their covers

Whooo this one right here is grinding my gears and is the reason why here on out I’m using my own models or no models at all. When I first did the cover for A Thug’s Redemption back in April 2012, I specifically wanted a black guy in a hoody. When I came across the young man I’m using, I scanned the urban fiction section of Amazon Kindle to make sure nobody was using him AND THEY WEREN’T. Now all of a sudden I’m seeing his ass on so many different covers its a damn shame. And the only reason why I haven’t stopped using him is because number one, I used him first FOH with the rest of those covers and for two he fits my character Jamal to the letter.

Here are all of the covers that I have him on and he will be on the next cover as well.

atr1covNewATRCover2atr2atr3cover1

Something Thuggish This Way Comes
Something Thuggish This Way Comes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are all of the covers that I’ve been using him on since April 2012 when I first began prepping to release A Thug’s Redemption. Now his fine ass is everywhere. Ya’ll gotta fucking chill! Let me be GREAT!! Maybe I should find him and pay for custom photos that only I have the rights to use…

There is also a light-skinned chick with curly hair that is overly used in urban fiction. I’ve seen that chick on so many covers it makes me not want to read the book because my take on it is, do your research first! If you see another author using a person on more than one of their book covers, (whispers) use another person. It’s really that simple.

Kindle Unlimited

Man I’m not even going to get into that again. Go back a couple of blog posts and you’ll see my take on that. We’re getting raped. Period.

Hip-Hop and R&B song titles/Lyrics as book titles.

This is just lack of creativity and originality, period. If I can look at your book title and start rapping or singing a song, you’re dead wrong. I don’t know about some of these other authors, but I don’t want to be remembered as the writer who was too corny to come up with her own shit so she combed through the latest hot songs and used the titles or lyrics as the title of her book. Before I pick a title, I Google it to see if there are any other books with the title I have in mind or songs. If there are, I scrap it and go back to the drawing board. I had to change the title for Love’s Deadly Masquerade four times before I finally came up with Love’s Deadly Masquerade and honestly it fits better than the other titles I was thinking of. I’m at the start of a legal battle right now because I have to trademark A Thug’s Redemption since some chick decided to use that as her book title too. Oh hell no the fuck you will NOT! I changed that book title 3 or 4 times as well nine years ago when I first went with Publish America and was originally going to use A Thug’s Life but that was too Tupac-ish and I believe there was either a song or another book with that title. Any author who strives to be creative and original with their work would take offense with that fuckery as I did. I’ll update y’all soon on how this turns out because I do not like the idea of my books being confused or associated with hers especially after seeing some of home girl’s reviews. Not only did she STEAL my title but she had the nerve to use the same guy I used on her cover. Dick eating shit. This is what I mean when I say do your fucking homework because had she done so, a simple Google search would have shown her that my shit was EVERYWHERE. Who knows, maybe she did and just didn’t give a fuck. Well, she’s about to learn the hard way. I can’t get her for copyright infringement because titles aren’t protected under copyright law. But because my book was a series before her book came out and I also have merchandise and am working on the film for the book, A Thug’s Redemption will be trademarked and she can either take that shit down and change the title, or get ready to pay up.

Back to the matter at hand though…

There are still so many things wrong with urban fiction that is keeping it from being the well respected genre for African Americans. Urban Fiction is losing its flare because too many hacks (yeah I said it) are jumping into this field with poorly written novels. Blatant grammatical errors, authors being unoriginal with their titles, STEALING titles from other authors, hip-hop and R&B song titles and lyrics, and telling the same damn story again and again. It doesn’t take much to be original, to think outside the box, and to tell a story that has not been told before instead of remixing story lines and rehashing the same shit that was written time and time again. How many different ways can you tell the same story about a poor black girl who falls in love with the notorious dope boy only for him to be killed? We are so much more than strippers, dope boys, trap kings, and trap queens. There’s a beauty to our culture that is being left untouched because too many “writers” are putting out bulllshit because it sells.  The beauty of our culture is being overlooked by the ratchet shit.  Sadly, urban fiction is becoming stale like today’s hip-hop and R&B because not enough writers are being original, they are just hopping on the bandwagon for what’s selling at the time being. The mistake that too many writers are making is thinking that urban fiction is only about drugs, sex, money, designer clothes, bags and shoes and crime. Think outside the box for a change! There are readers out here who won’t touch an urban fiction book because they are worried it’s going to be the same shit, different toilet. We’ve gotta do better or soon White people are going to take this shit over too.

Put some RESPEK on my Books!

When I first came into the industry with my novel A Thug’s Redemption in 2012, I noticed a lot of authors were selling their ebooks on Kindle, Nook and other sites for $0.99. I said to myself, how the hell can anyone make money off of their books selling them for so cheap? But then other authors told me and I also read in various blogs that gave promotional tips for indie-authors, that pricing an ebook at $0.99 was a good way for new authors to reach readers. So I tried it a couple of times and sold quite a few books. But I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now.

A lot of readers are becoming too cheap and it’s sad. And honestly it’s not entirely all their fault when indie authors are placing numerous books in front of them costing next to nothing. After a while, they’ve come to expect books to be $0.99 or God forbid, FREE! Shenanigans. I can see if it is a book that is 125-200 pages long. But a full length novel! SHENANIGANS!  Once kindle takes their cut, we get a whopping $0.35. Put some respek on my books. $0.99 ain’t happening. And if that means I lose out of a portion of readers, so be it. My work is worth more than $0.99 and unless it’s a pre-sale for a book I’m getting ready to launch, if it’s more than 300 pages, it’s going to cost between $4.99 & $6.99 for ebook and $15 for paperback. And to me, that is a fair price. I’ve seen authors charge $15 for ebooks. $4.99 is still cheaper than a pack of cigarettes in most cities. Hell it’s cheaper than a meal from Mckey Dees.  Put some respek on my books!

On a serious note, I know there are probably plenty of quality books out that authors price at $0.99 for marketing purposes and in part because some don’t know their worth. But I look at $0.99 ebooks the way I look at any dollar store. Most of the shit in the dollar store is cheap, falls apart and is of poor quality. Sadly a lot of $0.99 ebooks I’ve come across were the same way- cheap, stories fell apart because there was no real structure and the quality of the story was just poor. No shade though. *Shrugs* it is what it is.

Beyonce Formation Concert in Philly was LIT!!

 

Destiny in Formation
Destiny in Formation

So for Destiny’s 13th birthday, I got us tickets to go see Beyonce in concert yesterday at the Lincoln Financial Field and she had a blast! This girl screamed and jumped up and down and sang along with practically all of the songs. The only downside to the concert was that it rained. Oh lawd it rained! And we got caught in it, We were cool when we first left. It was when we got off the sub that all hell broke loose with the skies opening up and pissing on us. Even with our umbrellas, we got soaked. The messed up part was we had to stand outside for a bit before we could even go in and even when we made it inside, we couldn’t go to our seats because of the rain. So Beyonce, the next time you decide to include Philly in your tour, please have your concert at the Wells Fargo Center. I’m sure it holds just as many people if not more.  Here are a few pix from that night. I took so many videos and pictures. DJ Khaled opened and he brought out Yo Gotti, Meek Mill, Rick Ross and Freeway. Lawd when Meek did All Eyes on Us Destiny screamed the lyrics like no other. LOL! And you know when Freeway did Roc the Mic Right I had to get it popping. That song was from my senior year in high school. Shockingly Des knew part of the words LOL.momndaughterslay After the concert, no lie, I took my heels off and walked barefoot to the sub LOL. And because the bus wasn’t coming when we got to Broad n Olney and it was already after 1 o’clock n the morning, since we were still so amped from the concert, we just walked the rest of the way home. And yes, I was barefoot.

It was a great mother-daughter birthday experience for us. My birthday was June 4th and her birthday is tomorrow, the 7th. A lot of people threw shade on the low because of how much I paid for me and Des tickets. A lot of people don’t know (and wouldn’t care no how) what me and Destiny have been through over the last 2 1/2 years. I won’t get into it because it is our business and no one needs to be in it. But the fact of the matter is, whether I paid $300 for the tickets or I paid $3,000, it was my money that I worked for. I didn’t borrow from anyone to get the tickets, I didn’t sell ass or skip a bill or anything underhanded so we could go. With all of the tragedies that we’ve seen and faced these last 2 1/2 years, this mother-daughter outing was needed and the experience was well worth every dollar that was spent. beyonceslay

Happy Birthday to me- RIP Muhammad Ali

muhammadaliAs I celebrate my 32nd birthday, I am saddened at the news that Muhammad Ali has passed away. He indeed was the world’s greatest in more ways than one. Muhammad Ali wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. He was unapologetically Black and unapologetically Muslim. What separates him from so many artists, athletes and people in general is that he did not let money dictate his stance on politics and the ills that plagued the black community.

I ain’t draft dodging. I ain’t burning no flag. I ain’t running to Canada. I’m staying right here. You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I’ve been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for four or five more, but I ain’t going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I’ll die right here, right now, fightin’ you, if I want to die. You my enemy, not no Chinese, no Vietcong, no Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won’t even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won’t even stand up for my right here at home!

What artist today would sacrifice their millions of dollars and their lavish lifestyles for their beliefs? Which artist have done that in last 40 years since Muhammad Ali? Name one.

Laila Ali posted a message stating that even after her father’s organs failed, his heart continued to beat for more than 30 minutes. Muhammad Ali was a true warrior, a true fighter and his spirit, his strength and his courage will truly be missed.