‘The Simpsons’ to tackle hip-hop episode
We’re side-eyeing this one until further notice
9:20 AMWhen FOX announced earlier this week that The Simpsons will celebrate its 600th episode with its first hourlong show — one dedicated to a hip-hop homage, no less — many were excited. The most successful television cartoon of all-time was finally turning its lens on the rap world in a significant manner. Of course, multiple rappers have appeared as themselves in the 27-year history of the program. Ludacris, 50 Cent, Cypress Hill and Sir-Mix-A-Lot to name a few.
The question is: Do we trust the show to handle this?
That’s the problem with having a largely non-hip-hop presence for most of your existence. If you decide to go all-out, not everyone is necessarily going to believe that the joke won’t be completely on us, as in, the culture. “We haven’t done a huge amount of stories in the world of hip-hop and rap culture, so we just went for it,” executive producer Matt Selman told Entertainment Weekly. Let the side-eyeing begin.
The story is set at Mr. Burns’ mansion and the story revolves around a revenge tale, in two parts. According to EW, some side components include Lisa getting a rich boyfriend (likely Drake, if you ask us) and Marge opening a high-end boutique. Selman said, “It’s kind of like a two-part rap album.” Side groan, but OK. The episode is scheduled to air in January.
i heard simpsons gonna make an hour long hip hop episode, its lit 🕯
— numba5 ; May11th ♉️ (@hoodshordy) August 10, 2016
I am hype for the Simpsons hip hop episode
— Swaggy P (@Trife_City) August 10, 2016
Of course, the Simpson family is yellow in color, but let’s be real. They are the normative, which means in America, they’re white. That aside, the show’s history with characters “of race” isn’t the greatest. Again, we’re talking about cartoons here, but for the purposes of this discussion it’s worth making the delineation. Think about the wild stereotype that is Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. You just can’t create a character like that anymore.
And while the show has a reasonably decent history with black folks, a show entirely about hip-hop is another matter. This might be a good time to note that the show’s most regular black characters are voiced by nonblack actors. First of all, “The Great Phatsby” as the episode’s title already sounds like something straight out of 1996. To add some credibility to the project, actress Taraji P. Henson of Empire and actor Keegan-Michael Key of Key & Peele will guest star, as well.
We want this to work. We need this to work, on some level. But throwing in a couple of celebrity voices and asking music producer Jim Beanz (of Empire) to drop some original tracks doesn’t mean that this is going to work. This could be legitimately great, and we hope so. We’d hate to see the show get dragged on its big anniversary.
Shouts to Carl Carlson, though.
Chance The Rapper debuts new song in Nike ad
New video ‘Unlimited Together’ features USA Basketball
Chancelor Bennett can’t lose. For his latest trick, he’s teamed with Nike and director Hiro Murai for a new song and video titled “Unlimited Together.” According to the company, it “celebrates the strength of unity and power of team.” Aside from that, it’s just cool.
Focusing on the U.S. men’s and women’s basketball teams, we see a series of images projected on to buildings while Chance sings and raps over an inspirational piano-led track. It’s vintage uplifting music from the Chicago artist and if you’re the type who’s super into fist pumping for the red, white and blue every two years in the Olympics, this is a song for you. The choice of black and white as a color scheme makes this a particularly powerful visual.
While you’re at it, you might want to check out some more items from Nike’s Unlimited series, which have been dropping all summer.
DOJ: Baltimore Police Department is racist
New report details rampant unconstitutional, illegal practices
1:44 PMA new report released Monday by the Department of Justice confirms what many in the black community have said for years: the Baltimore Police Department has been violating people’s constitutional rights for some time, based on race. The 164-page report outlines a pattern of illegal behavior, a culture of discrimination and “systemic deficiencies (that) lead to constitutional violations and erode community trust,” according to the report.
The obvious reaction here is: no shit. One need not look any further than a half-dozen officers receiving no punishment in the death of Freddie Gray Jr., recently to understand how a system built to protect law enforcement first, residents second and more cynically, if you’re a black resident, not at all.
“Public trust is critical to effective policing and public safety,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement released shortly after the report went public. “Our investigation found that Baltimore is a city where the bonds of trust have been broken, and that the Baltimore Police Department engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful and unconstitutional conduct, ranging from the use of excessive force to unjustified stops, seizures and arrests. The results of our investigation raise serious concerns, and in the days ahead, the Department of Justice will continue working tirelessly to ensure that all Baltimoreans enjoy the safety, security and dignity they expect and deserve. I am grateful to all of the community members, local officials, faith leaders and current and former police officers who spoke with us during the course of our inquiry, and whose input will remain critical to our efforts as we move forward. Additionally, I commend the city and BPD for its proactive and collaborative approach to our inquiry and for demonstrating a strong commitment to restoring public confidence by already taking steps to make needed changes. I look forward to continuing our work together to implement urgent and necessary reforms.”
It’ll take us a while to comb through the entirety of the document, but some reporters have already highlighted some extremely disturbing details. Huffington Post‘s Ryan Reilly excerpted one particular passage that appears to indicate an extremely problematic ground rule.
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Man, the table of contents page of the DOJ report on Baltimore police … pic.twitter.com/qJJTc9I1Qf
— CJ Ciaramella (@cjciaramella) August 10, 2016
Of course, there are always people who don’t understand how the concept of institutional injustice works and why the very underpinnings of the system are based on the basic notion of white supremacy. The idea is basic: If you are black and are believed to be doing anything wrong, any punishment up to and including death is not only what you deserve but effectively, also your fate. Hence, #BlackLivesMatter.
"Baltimore Police Department found 'routinely' discriminating; using force against blacks."
…Well who is 'routinely' committing crime?…
— Amanda 🇺🇸 (@FreeMediaUS) August 10, 2016
Which political party has been in charge of the Baltimore Police Department and the city for the last 50+ yrs? Could it be Democrat?
— Puddy (@USAalwaysFirst) August 10, 2016
Baltimore PD had a template for trespass arrests: Officers just add name, date.
"BLACK MALE" was already filled in. pic.twitter.com/Rb3AqQ5kFV
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) August 10, 2016
You never want to call it a victory when the simple fact of being heard and believed that the very people paid by tax dollars to protect you are in fact the ones preying on you is validated. But for anyone who’s grown up black in the United States of America, you know that Baltimore isn’t even close to the only place where this has been going down for decades, at minimum.
Daily Dose: 8/10/16
Dwayne Johnson is not here for your petty games
12:00 PMOn Tuesday’s podcast, Justin Tinsley talked about his experiences as someone who doesn’t know how to swim. You can also watch him learn to swim with Olympian Cullen Jones.
Dwayne Johnson is coming for necks. Considering his size and smarts, that’s not something you want if you’re working with him. The man formerly known as “The Rock” recently wrapped up filming of Fast 8, a franchise he joined back in 2010 with Fast Five. But in a lengthy social media post, he’s gone after a few of his male co-stars. This is extremely out of character for Johnson, who is largely considered an extremely nice and fun guy. ABC’s George Costantino breaks down exactly what he wrote.
In soccer tournaments, there’s a definite home-field advantage. In professional sports, it certainly matters to an extent. But when it comes to something as widespread as the Olympics, where the entire globe is descending on one country, one must assume the potential perks are probably dissipated. I feel like it might actually be harder, because you don’t want to let your countryfolk down while they’re there. FiveThirtyEight’s Stephen Pettigrew and Danyel Reiche break down how the the theory of home-field advantage works when it comes to the Summer Games.
We’ve established in this space that Donald Trump says a lot of really scary things. Between the Republican presidential nominee’s flippant use of insults on the campaign trail and the murky at-best foreign policy tactics he plans to employ, rhetoric is not his strong suit, even if he believes it to be. On Tuesday, however, things went to another level. (I feel like I say that every three days, which again, is terrifying.) He made a loosely ambiguous reference to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton getting assassinated at best. Yikes. VICE has the video.
I’m old enough to remember when Prince Fielder was 12 years old and hitting baseballs out of Major League ballparks. His past was an interesting one. Similar to his dad, Cecil, he was a man of larger carriage, playing first base and hitting bombs. But Fielder’s relationship with his dad soured, and one of the great father/son duo stories never really played out that way. Then, he went vegan, a move that shocked almost everyone. Then, he started getting injured all the time. Now, it appears his career is pretty much over. Sad.
Coffee Break: Even when you volunteer to help the police, you might get killed. That’s what happened to a 73-year-old lady in Florida recently, who was shot in what was supposed to be a simulation drill at a police academy. This accident is going to haunt a lot of people for a long time.
Snack Time: If you like Currensy Spitta and Wiz Khalifa, you know they’re great friends. They’ve made music together and generally are just funny dudes. They dropped another song together Tuesday, in their classic style.
Dessert: Into old hoops footage? Check out Allen Iverson vs. Kevin Garnett from their high school days.
All Day Podcast: 8/9/16
Bow Wow’s retirement, R. Kelly being R. Kelly and a new segment, ‘Missed Connections with Miss Karin’
5:18 PMFresh from last week’s National Association of Black Journalists convention, the All Day Podcast crew — host Clinton Yates, staff writer Justin Tinsley and senior style writer Jill Hudson — were back in action in the studio Tuesday to discuss a plethora of topics, as well as debut a new segment.
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It’s Water Week at the Undefeated, so for the next few days we’ll tackle the topic of water and swimming in black culture. In honor of the week, Justin wrote this piece on his near-death experience at the pool when he was a teenager. He goes into further detail about the story on the podcast, accompanied by thoughts from Clinton and Jill on what swimming has meant to them over their lifetimes.
The discussion heats up surrounding the topics of 29-year-old rapper Bow Wow’s retirement announcement and the news of 49-year-old R&B artist R. Kelly’s relationship with a 19-year-old woman. One member of the crew respects R. Kelly’s music, but can no longer listen to it given the artist’s perplexing past.
Last but certainly not least, a new segment titled Missed Connections with Miss Karin debuts this week, in which Undefeated copy chief Karin Berry reads entries from the “Missed Connections” section of Craigslist.org and provides her own commentary. Keep a lookout for this segment on future podcasts.
Give it a listen, and if you have any feedback or show ideas, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donald Glover’s ‘Atlanta’ on FX
drops a half-dozen new teasers
5:09 PMOne is a total of 90 seconds and the other is 165 seconds. In the past two days, we’ve been blessed with two teaser releases from a couple of very anticipated television series. First up is Donald Glover’s Atlanta, set to debut on FX on Sept. 9. The second is Netflix’s Luke Cage, which drops on Sept. 20.
We’ll start with Glover’s opus, first. The series was greenlighted after his second studio album Because The Internet received a nod for best rap album at the 2015 Grammy Awards. After writing for 30 Rock, and appearing in The Martian following his ascent to a household name on NBC’s Community, things came together.
“I mean, it’s not a coincidence I got my pilot right after I got a Grammy nomination,” Glover told Grantland last year. “You think the people were like, ‘Wait, what? He got a Grammy, too?’ It’s harder to turn down a Grammy guy who also writes. I know I’m in a unique position. So I take that very seriously. That’s the thing, it isn’t for naught.”
"I wanted to show people what it’s like to be black. You can’t write that. You have to feel it.” Donald Glover on his show, Atlanta #TCA16
— Caroline Framke (@carolineframke) August 9, 2016
Donald Glover's "Atlanta" on FX, along with Issa Rae's "Insecure" on HBO, will do nothing less than change television this fall. #TCA16
— Roger Catlin (@rcatlin) August 9, 2016
With that backdrop, along with his penchant for drawing vastly different reactions out of people for his wide array of skills, this show will likely be highly anticipated among a certain creative class. Aside from rapping, acting and stand-up comedy, he’ll occasionally drop a randomly glorious R&B cover or release an eerily esoteric short film that feels like it could be completely autobiographical or not at all.
That said, this new show looks like something in-between that promises to fit the network’s largely darker drama tone. On Monday, six new 15-second trailers named Close Calls, Curry, Deja Vu, Alive, Hard Day and Work released. Earlier this summer, the network had released four other trailers, titled Walk, Flyers, Porch and Wake Up. Glover’s series looks gritty, while somewhat melodic and ultimately funny. Directed by Hiro Murai, Glover plays an up-and-coming rapper. That song you hear is Tame Impala’s New Person, Same Old Mistakes.
Do your own thing in Atlanta. FX's new series from Donald Glover premieres 9/6. pic.twitter.com/biOwFUny9o
— Childish News (@ChildishNews) August 9, 2016
So far, the series has been picked up for 10 episodes.
Daily Dose: 8/9/16
It’s official: Young Paulie is headed back to England
9:25 AMA cool thing happened when I was in Connecticut. I ran into the All-Star team from my kid brother’s old Little League in the hotel. The team was playing the next day, so I went and checked it out. Fun game. Got the win.
Polls are a tricky matter in politics. On the one hand, they’re one of the best ways we have to give the rest of the country any sort of indication of where things stand among presidential candidates. On the other hand, the math and science they use is not exactly airtight. Then, you have people who don’t understand how they work at all, and claim that if results deviate from the polls, then everything is somehow rigged. FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten breaks down how they aren’t skewed this year, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is just really skewed.
Beyond the sports, the Olympics have a ton of random features that you’d never know of unless you were there. One of those things is hospitality houses. Certain nations and companies set up side luxury sites, so that outside of the Olympic Village, athletes, their families and other VIPs have a place to chill, away from the apparently overly dangerous towns of, you know, the host nation. Anyway, while first designed to be a sort of gimmicky perk, they’ve evolved into behemoth operations. VICE Sports‘ Aaron Gordon reports.
The history of hip-hop has become its own big business. The unsealing of archives, creation of documentaries and serializing of origin stories have grown from what it once was, just a cottage industry for nostalgists. The Get Down is a new series from Netflix, created by Baz Luhrmann, that will explore what New York in the late ’70s was like. If you’re wondering how authentic this drama series is going to be, Nas wrote all the raps. Check out this interview with Grandmaster Flash about the series that launches Friday.
It’s official, Paul Pogba is headed back to Manchester United from Juventus. The well-coiffed Frenchman’s return to the English Premier League drew a record transfer fee of $116.4 million. What’s funny is that the announcement, which was long in the works, was leaked by rapper Stormzy, who is a huge Red Devils fan. So, instead of the usual pomp and circumstance, it happened in the dark of British night. Anyway, the midfielder’s signing is obviously the biggest news of the offseason. ESPN’s Arindam Rej reports.
Coffee Break: If you think income inequality isn’t real, you’d be very, very wrong. It’s hard for some people to understand a world in which at least something isn’t passed from generation to generation. But this report says it would take more than two centuries for black people to catch up to white American families.
Snack Time: When you play in the NBA, you get used to certain things. Like constantly having fresh towels and people at your beck and call. Team USA’s Paul George forgot where he was for a second while in Rio, haha.
Dessert: Here’s Usain Bolt dancing. It’s as good as you think it’ll be.
Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart
to co-host new dinner party series on VH1
6:11 PMWould you attend a dinner party hosted by two ex-convicts? What if the dinner party was on television and those two hosts were Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart?
As crazy as it sounds, the weirdest pair of
former felons friends is making it happen. On Monday, VH1 announced a new, and unscripted, series set to premiere this fall starring the 44-year-old rapper and 75-year-old businesswoman and TV personality, titled Martha & Snoop’s Dinner Party.
“At our dinner party, we will exemplify America’s fascination with food, entertaining and celebrity,” Stewart said. “Martha & Snoop’s Dinner Party will redesign the traditional food competition shows in a new, different and very funny way.”
Check out the promotional video the duo released on Good Morning America on Monday:
For some, the pairing of these two celebrities for a series that each week will produce “a half-baked evening of cocktails, cooking, conversation and fun where nothing is off-limits” might seem random. Those people, however, clearly don’t know Martha and Snoop. Oddly enough, these two celebrities are very close. And perhaps their most apparent commonality is the fact that both have had run-ins with the law over the years.
Snoop Dogg has a long criminal history dating back to shortly after his high school days in the ’90s when he was arrested for drug possession, forcing him to spend the three years in and out of prison. In 2004, Stewart was sentenced to serve five months in federal prison surrounding an insider trading scandal.
When the media mogul was released and made her comeback in 2005, her pal Snoop Dogg was there for her — especially when the cameras were rolling. Snoop appeared on Stewart’s cooking show in 2008 to make mashed potatoes. The two were also guests on Comedy Central’s Roast of Justin Bieber in 2015 and recently went on ABC’s game show $100,000 Pyramid together.
They even made brownies on her cooking show once, too.
Maybe those brownies will reappear at these dinner parties. And maybe they’ll include Uncle Snoop’s secret “ingredients.”
“Martha is smoking in the kitchen,” Snoop says in the promotional video, ” … and she can cook, too.”
Good thing those “ingredients” are legal now. Don’t want to risk any more jail time!
On this day: The Dream Team wins Olympic gold in 1992
The iconic squad made the world fall in love with hoops
2:45 PMLong before guys were accidentally walking into Brazilian brothels and inadvertently posting pictures of their anatomy to social media, there was a group of 12 basketball players that tore through the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, with a vengeance we’d never seen before. On Aug. 8, 1992, the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team, known as “The Dream Team,” won gold. They smashed Croatia, 117-85, capping off the tournament run.
These days, anything less that a beatdown from the Americans is considered an embarrassment. Watching them play is borderline not fun, because there’s really no competition. But back in the ’90s, we were really here to watch the Chuck Daly-coached team run roughshod all over the world. And their uniforms are still some of the most fire this country has ever seen.
The most important thing about that tournament is that it definitely redefined the concept of success for a program that had quite a few ups and down in its history. In 1988, the team had won only the bronze medal in Seoul, South Korea, under head coach John Thompson. It would be the last time the United States did not field a team with NBA players.
In 2004, under Larry Brown — a squad featuring Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, Tim Duncan and a young LeBron James — the Americans finished third again. Then, USA Basketball decided it was time to rethink things altogether. Duke University men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski took over, and after a rocky start in the 2006 FIBA World Championship (bronze), the team got things back on track with two straight gold medals at the Olympics.
Despite stories of late-night gambling and all-night parties from the ’90s in Spain — in an era when that kind of info wasn’t going to be leaked nor get anyone in trouble — it was a time when playing for your country meant a lot to everyone on the team. Losing was not an option, and the players who were famously left off the team (Isiah Thomas and Shaquille O’Neal) still don’t like talking about it much, because of the bitterness.
Perhaps most importantly, though, this team jump-started the globalization of the game on another level. Everyone saw the likes of Michael Jordan in his prime alongside Earvin “Magic” Johnson and an aging Larry Bird, all doing their thing. By the time the next Olympics came around, it was clear what happened.
The 1992 Dream Team was iconic not just for Americans, but the entire world, too.
Daily Dose: 8/8/16
The Williams sisters bow out of Olympic doubles
10:11 AMHappy Monday, gang. I got to do some radio Sunday night. ESPN’s Aaron Boone and Raul Ibanez joined me to talk about the legacies of both Ichiro Suzuki and Alex Rodriguez. If you want to listen, here you go.
What is the NFL doing with all that money it has? Because game-day operations don’t appear to be getting any cash funneled their way. In a bizarre sequence of events, the league canceled Sunday’s Hall Of Fame Game, because of poor field conditions. I’ve pretty much never heard of that happening, but apparently there were problems with the paint for the midfield crest, that just made things too unsafe. It seems that, depending on the issue, player safety really is a concern for the NFL. The Associated Press’ Barry Wilner reports.
The first family is officially on vacation. The Obamas are in Martha’s Vineyard for the next two weeks, for their final break while in the White House. If you recall, Sasha recently got a job there at a local restaurant. You know how when you used to work someplace and your parents or your friends would come in and eat or order something? Mainly to show support but most to embarrass you, to a certain extent? Imagine that scene with the president waltzing in to pick up a fish sandwich. Alas, we won’t get that pleasure, but hopefully they all find a way to relax.
Bernie Sanders’ supporters are really not giving in. The people who support the senator from Vermont are doing everything they can to make sure that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has major issues. Many of them have no plan to show solidarity with the Democratic Party, even though Sanders himself has implored them to. Whether or not this will have a significant impact on the general election, we don’t know. But according to FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten, it appears that a least a third of Sanders’ supporters are not switching allegiance.
Something really wild happened in Rio on Sunday. The Williams sisters lost a tennis match. That’s something that had never happened before in Olympic history. Not only did they lose, but it happened in the first round. They fell to the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova, not a particularly noteworthy pair. Venus also lost in the first round on the singles side. That means that Serena in singles is the only one in her family left. You’ve got to wonder if this is the beginning of the end, to some degree for their doubles career.
Coffee Break: If you’ve ever seen The Eric Andre Show, you know that it’s basically a completely ridiculous, marginally scripted cacophony of jokes and destruction. So when the notoriously serious rapper T.I. showed up for the season four premiere, my man wasn’t ready for the foolishness.
Snack Time: Reading letters to the editor is a great way to understand an audience. Every once in a while you get one that’s so on point that it needs to be shared. Such is the case with this writer, who completely nailed it.
Dessert: Hope your summer workout plans are going well. This guy’s are always on point.
Hillary Clinton gets covered up
Australian artist then has to remove image entirely after legal threats
The nature of street art is temporary, by design. You paint something on a wall. Eventually, someone paints over it. The time of its existence is part and parcel with the satisfaction of the experience of creating it and looking at it. So when a provocative piece goes up, there’s the chance that someone either complains or buffs it entirely. In the case of Lushsux, an Australian artist, both ended up happening.
Earlier this week, a mural of Hillary Clinton in a bikini that was designed after an American flag made a lot of noise. On the surface, the so-called shock value was obvious. Of course, local government complained, so the artist made an adjustment. He covered her in a niqab. Smart, no? Makes a good point about how ridiculous not only censorship is, but particularly in the case of allowing women to be themselves. A provocative mural doubled down.
Oh boy! Street artist faced with council fine for provocative mural of Hillary Clinton covers her up with a niqab! pic.twitter.com/4lIemepMdz
— Fifi Haroon (@fifiharoon) August 2, 2016
Then, guess what? He had to cover it up altogether. The council deemed it sexist. According to the National Post, he answered back on social media. “This is no longer a wall of a supposed ‘offensive and near naked’ Hillary Clinton, it is now a depiction of a beautiful Muslim woman. No reasonable person would consider this offensive,” the artist wrote in a post.
Looks like the council wins. GG pic.twitter.com/oHtynW8v2Q
— LUSHSUX (@lushsux) August 2, 2016
The Brujas are about that life
Meet the all-female skate crew from New York City everyone’s talking about
Skateboarding attempts to be inclusive. The notion that your board and your skills are all that matter are major tenets of the philosophy of the genre, but it doesn’t always work that way in practice. So, what you get is, per usual, girls being excluded because a bunch of dudes just can’t handle the basic concept of say, equality.
No matter for the Brujas, though. They’re a skate crew mainly from the Bronx, New York, that is not here for the nonsense and uses its collective genius to empower sisterhood. That’s what’s up. And they’re getting a lot of love these days. Vogue, The New York Times and Dazed, to name a few.
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These girls are dope.