Good Ol’ Boys Jump For Joy Over Tiger Scandal

“He’s no Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer,” I heard a starch conservative talk show host say on the radio this afternoon.  Of course, the host was referring to the Tiger Woods fiasco that hit an apex today as Tiger admitted to regretting “transgressions” as more proof came out about his alleged extramarital affairs.

So, what do Tiger’s marital issues have to do with the other golf greats Nicklaus and Palmer?  Well, the host, who shall remain nameless, went on to describe how moral and classy these old-timers were and how such stories would never come out about them.  Hmmm, how can he be so sure of their moral caliber? 

Racists have always had a problem with Tiger Woods lauded as one of or the best golfers in the world.  Moreover, the host showed that as he kept repeating that statement in a sly voice that seemed to be screaming, “See, I told you he wasn’t good enough.”

When Tiger started making a name for himself in the 90s, many die-hard golfers didn’t want to accept that Tiger, a black man, could top their good-ol’ boys on the greens. For example, in 1997 golfer Fuzzy Zoeller made racially tinged statements about a 21-year-old Tiger, who won the coveted Masters golf tournament.

Zoeller said, “That little boy is driving well and he’s putting well. He’s doing everything it takes to win. So, you know what you guys do when he gets in here? You pat him on the back and say congratulations and enjoy it and tell him not to serve fried chicken next year (at the Champions Dinner). Got it?” He added after a beat, “Or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve.” Ouch!

After Zoeller’s statements were blasted all over, he made a mea culpa saying that he was just joking.  Still many in the golf world and beyond jumped to Zoeller’s defense.  Even Tiger said he didn’t pay too much attention to the Zoeller hoopla, which is another story.  Meanwhile, Tiger, whose mother is Asian American and whose father is black, became the first black person, to win a major professional golf tournament.

Now before I get feedback that I am going overboard, let’s not forget that golf has had its problems with discrimination and sexism for decades. People of color, women and Jews were openly banned from country clubs with their plush golf courses. Noted author Lawrence Otis Graham, wrote a biting book about this phenomena in 1996 called, “A Member Of The Club: Reflections On Life In A Racially Polarized World.” In the book, the Ivy League graduate, whom I interviewed, describes how he decided to go undercover as a busboy at a Connecticut country club to crack the code – why a black corporate lawyer was never invited out by his white colleagues?  Well, he got his answer – no matter how many credentials he had, he probably wouldn’t be accepted because of his skin color.

Of course, I’m not saying that most conservatives are like this. However, what I am saying is that some do relish when certain people fall and sometimes it harkens back to what many try to tell us doesn’t exist anymore – RACISM!

Yes, what Tiger did is wrong, wrong, wrong! Nevertheless, please, let’s leave his profession out of it.  He’s still the best golfer in the world!

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New Orleans Native’s Head May Roll In Crasher-gate Scandal

Desiree Rogers’ days may be numbered as President Obama’s Social Secretary.  Apparently, not only is the Secret Service taking heat for the Salahis’ crashing of last week’s White House Dinner, folks are also pointing fingers at the New Orleans native.

According to several reports, the Social Secretary’s office is supposed to be the keeper of all lists pertaining to invited guests at White House social events. So, checking lists and checking them twice to ensure that everyone on the list meets security requirements to enter the White House is top priority. The job also entails that at such events, the Social Secretary and/or her staff is to work the main entrance along with the Secret Service to once again ensure that those wanting in actually belong there.  Secret Service and staff should also have a list on hand just in case something goes awry.

Well, Rogers allegedly did not follow that protocol. While it’s not clear where the copies of the list actually were, apparently, Ms. Thang (known for her super-socialite status in Chicago) admitted to the Associated Press that no one from her staff was at a security checkpoint.  And, she was seen walking around the event as if she was one of the invited guests (just google her to see the photos).    

I have to admit that when I first heard rumblings of this whole Crasher-gate scandal being the fault of Rogers I was miffed.  Really, this is the President of the United States…of the free world – so, why would a staffer be responsible for checking in guests with all of the security around? Well, with some research on this matter, it looks like my partial namesake has some explaining to do.

In the April 30, 2009 issue of WSJ, the Wall Street Journal’s magazine, the Harvard MBA graduate touted how she wanted to “brand” the new administration by using the White House as its “crown jewel.”  Then she put her foot in her mouth by asserting, “You have to think about it [my job], in my mind, almost like a business. Otherwise, you never get there. You get caught in linen hell and flower hell, list hell.” Oops! 

Well, it looks like Rogers’, “laissez les bons temps rouler” (let the good times roll) attitude isn’t hitting it in D.C.  I wish her luck at the upcoming hearing!

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‘Precious’ L.A. Premiere Does Not Disappoint

Well folks, last night I attended the Los Angeles premiere of the highly acclaimed film, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.” I wasn’t invited to the event because of my premium blogging skills, but rather because I was volunteering for the AFI Film Festival in Hollywood. And, this event was indeed the ultimate Hollywood affair. Executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry were in attendance, while the film’s cast Mo’Nique, Mariah Carey, Paula Patton, and Sherri Shepherd also walked the red carpet. The crowd was also excited to see newcomer Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe, who stars as Precious and singer/poet Sapphire, who wrote the book in which the film is based.

Inside of the theatre before the film started, director Lee Daniels gave a heartfelt speech about how he was sure that the movie would go straight-to-video until it won the coveted Grand Jury award earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. Winfrey and Perry sweetened Daniels’ appeal when they jumped on board as his main supporters. Daniels, who produced “Monster’s Ball,” and directed “Shadowboxer,” went on to lovingly thank the cast, the producers, and his boyfriend Andy, who could barely wait until his name was called before jumping out of his seat.

So, what about the film, which is about a poor, illiterate, overweight, pregnant teen, who tries to overcome her obstacles by getting an alternative education? Well, you’ve heard the buzz – the cast is excellent, especially Mo’Nique and Sidibe. As for the story, well, it’s very gritty with an extremely graphic rape scene, unimaginable physical abuse and harsh language. If you can stomach all that then maybe you will see that the movie has a point, which is all about redemption.

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” opens nationwide this Friday.

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BOOK REVIEW: “A Princess Found…”

A Princess Found: An American Family, An African Chiefdom, And the Daughter Who Connected Them All
 
The new book, “A Princess Found…,” just released in July by Sarah Culberson, is about Culberson’s journey to find her roots.  The twenty-something writer/dancer/actress/singer is a biracial woman, who was given up for adoption when she was a year old by her white mother and African father.  She was adopted by a white family, who raised her along with their bio children in a small town in West Virginia. While Culberson’s adoptive family loved her dearly and never treated her differently, she still felt a huge void by growing up in a mostly white town and attending mostly white schools.  Some of that subsided when she went off to college in diverse San Francisco, but she still yearned to learn about her bio parents.  Although she received tragic news about her mom, through a private investigator she was able to find her father – a chief, which would make her a princess – living in Bumpe, Sierra Leone.  But being a chief and princess in Sierra Leone was relative and she soon discovered that her visit in mid-2000 was not just about her bio dad, but also about connecting with people from a nation trying to recover from a brutal war in the mid-90s.
 
While the book starts out slowly in the beginning by weaving in the terror of the war-torn nation with her comfortable life in West Virgina, by the middle of it I became immersed in her journey.  She conveyed her feelings of meeting her father, his family and the people of Bumpe in great detail.  When she describes the celebrations, the dancing, the food, the weather – I felt it!  And, when she describes the people, even children, affected by the war (arms and other body parts hacked off, hunger, joblessness, no shelter, etc.)  – that impacted me as well!
 
In fact, I specifically wanted to read the book to get to the parts about her visit to Africa. My husband is Nigerian and I visited the West African nation twice – first while it was still under military rule and secondly when it was autonomous. While my trek mimicked Culberson’s in the small town in terms of the food, greetings, music and dancing, I did not meet people torn apart by war.  However, I did meet the starving, and others who did not know what life had in store for them.  I ached that I could not adopt, especially the little hungry babies, who gazed at me with their big brown eyes. One day I’ll put in a book.
 
But back to “A Princess Found…” – please read it and discover Sarah Culberson, who definitely finds her roots and much more.  Meanwhile, she has started a foundation to assist with the educational needs of the children in Bumpe. Check it out at bumpefund.org.     
 
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MINI MOVIE REVIEW: Is “Cadillac Records” Worth The Ride?

An up-and-coming producer challenged me to watch the entire 2008 movie “Cadillac Records.”  The film, the young producer absolutely loves, is about the famed record label Chess Records, which was instrumental in making artists such as Etta James, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, and Howlin’ Wolf famous. The challenge came after I told him that I caught the last few minutes of the film recently on cable and I didn’t like what I saw – Beyonce as Etta James doing a painful goodbye song to the label’s co-founder Leonard Chess, played by the  Oscar-winning Adrien Brody.  I thought Beyonce was overacting and that she didn’t do the song justice.  The young producer told me that I was not being fair and that I should go back to review the whole film.  Well, I did! While it’s not the best bio film I’ve seen, as usual Jeffrey Wright, who should have a few Oscars by now, really embodies Muddy Waters.  Additionally, Eamonn Walker howls as Howlin’ Wolf, while Columbus Short does Little Walter proud. But, I’m sticking to my Beyonce assessment.  What do you think?  Send me an email!
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MINI MOVIE REVIEW: Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself

Tyler Perry’s latest film, “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” is a mixed bag. After three kids break into Madea’s home, she sets out to find their next of kin. Enter Taraji P. Henson as a drunken, affair-having nightclub singer, who reluctantly takes in the kids, who turn out to be her niece and two nephews, after tragedy strikes their guardian/grandmother (also Taraji’s mom). Meanwhile, Adam Rodriguez (from “CSI: Miami” fame) plays a handyman from Columbia, who needs a place to stay. And, with the help of church elders (Marvin Winans and Gladys Knight), Rodriguez’s character finds himself living with Taraji and the kids. How convenient! If  only love was that easy to find. Like so many of Perry’s films, there are way too many stories going on and not enough focus on the main plot and ONE subplot. In this film, we jump from one scene to the next, that may or not be related, and then we get a rushed ending that does not compute. Overacting by Taraji is also a letdown. We know she can act, but she needs to tone it down. Additionally, long solo singing performances by Marvin Winans, Gladys Knight and Mary J. Blige (who plays a bartender where Taraji works) also slows things down. The only bright spot in this film is that of the young actress, Hope Olaide Wilson, who plays the 16-year-old niece. She is definitely a talent to be reckoned with.

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Michael Jackson Memorial Coverage Went Too Far

The wall-to-wall coverage earlier this week of The Gloved One’s memorial on major network TV, small network TV, local news channels, radio news channels, and everything else in between, was a bit much. I kept thinking, ‘Am I watching the passing of the President of the United States or what?’

Of course, I agree that Jackson is one of the greatest entertainers in the world and indeed a great humanitarian in terms of donating to charities, but I simply was not comfortable as I listened to the various song tributes and speeches lauding this man as if he was a great civil rights leader, and an all-around great human being.

Let’s be honest, when Rev. Al Sharpton got on stage saying that Jackson contributed to everything from having black music played on music television, to being partly responsible for Barack Obama being elected the first black President of the United States, I cringed. And, when Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Texas), showed up with a resolution honoring Jackson for his charitable acts, his music and for being a world humanitarian, I nearly fell out of my seat. The resolution has since been tabled by the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. However, Jackson Lee will continue to fight on. At this writing, only one other person, Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA), co-sponsored the resolution.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t recall Jackson being someone who spoke out about racial injustice or demanding civil rights for African Americans in some major way. In fact, it can be argued that Jackson lightened his skin and changed his nose to erase his blackness. Sure, he did songs and projects that brought people together, such as “We Are The World,” but he was definitely no Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. –  as some of the memorial speakers would have you believe.

Now, what about his other weird behavior? While he was never convicted of child molestation, it still puzzles me about that $20 million settlement paid out to shut up the earliest alleged child molestation abuse claim. That’s a heck of a lot money if one didn’t do anything wrong! And, what about the wearing of the mask and the same clothes (red shirt and black pants) all the time? How about his alleged addiction to prescription pills (which may be the cause of his death)? The list goes on and on.

I’m not saying that I believe all of the stories about Michael Jackson, but from what I have observed on the outside, some of Jackson’s actions should be questioned and scrutinized. Should Jackson have been recognized in the media in a special way? Of course.  But, I still say it was over-the-top.

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