My Random Thoughts After Watching ‘Queen & Slim’

Disclaimer: Spoilers, brethren. Y’all know how this goes.

So, as I promised at the end of my The Irishman post, I finally went to go see Queen & Slim. Real talk, while my wife and I were waiting for our son’s chess tournament to conclude, we dipped away to see the movie. Now, to be transparent, this post is going to be more random (and much longer) than usual, son. Frankly, I have so many sporadic thoughts that I couldn’t put it in a decent narrative, man. All in all, I loved the film and here are some of my takeaways:

  1. Angela “Queen” Johnson annoys the shit out of me at first. On the real, during the first date with Ernest “Slim” Hines, I think she’s unnecessarily rude. Shit, the way my patience is setup, if I were Slim, I would’ve ended that date early, fam. But, as the movie goes on, I realize that her behavior is based on her trauma. She’s guarded but learns that she doesn’t have to be combative and simultaneously isolated all the time.
  2. There are several quotes in the film that resonate with me for different reasons. During a scene after the shooting, while trying to hitchhike, Slim says that he hopes the inhabitants are Black. Queen highlights the fact that this isn’t always a good thing. This ends up being some crazy foreshadowing since a Black man is ultimately the one who sells them out for the $500,000 reward. The phrase “it be your own people” is real as fuck, bruh. Next, when they’re at Uncle Earl‘s house, Queen asks Slim is he’s okay and he says that he is. She asks him how that’s even possible and he says “I guess I’m so used to saying I’m okay even when I’m not.” Son, I feel like that’s the story of my life. Sadly, a lot of us operate like that waaay more than we should, man. It’s okay to not be okay, brethren. Lastly, there’s a scene where Slim asks Queen if she’s a good lawyer. She says that she’s an excellent lawyer and he responds “why do we always have to be excellent? Why can’t we just be ourselves?” Now, I ALWAYS strive for excellence, but I understand where that quote is coming from. Growing up, I was always told that Black people have to work twice as hard as White people to get half as much. So, we end up (unjustly) putting LARGE amounts of pressure on ourselves and our loved ones. We just need to be us and do the best that we can.
  3. I was thoroughly triggered by that initial police stop. Listen, in my 34 years of life, I’ve had NUMEROUS interactions with the cops. The truth is, the vast majority of them weren’t positive, bruh. Hell, just two years ago, I wrote about a tense exchange that I had with four officers who were determined to belittle me. In addition, I lived through Rudy Giuliani and the Michael Bloomberg stop-and-frisk era. Son, I’m a Black man with a college degree and a federal job and I STILL don’t trust the police, man. In my eyes, I’ve seen WAY too much unnecessary aggression to ever release that fear.
  4. I’ve seen some criticism about the film not being “realistic.” However, I think people are missing the point that it’s still a movie and a form of artistic expression. With that being said, I can agree that a Black cop probably wouldn’t just let Queen and Slim drive out of that garage. I can agree that the Black community might not necessarily look at the two of them as pure heroes. But, I do believe that the community would understand their plight. All I can say is, there’s a feeling of hopelessness when it comes to police violence. I mean, there’s NEVER any recourse for us. Our murderers are almost never held accountable for their crimes. In the film, Queen and Slim rightfully defend themselves and I believe that minorities would empathize with their actions/pain.
  5. I’ve also seen criticism about the ending of the film. On one hand, a few people are upset with the way that Queen and Slim die. But, how else did they expect this movie to end? If we’re talking about realistic, there’s NO way that the two of them wouldn’t end up dead or in jail. Regardless of circumstance, a cop killer would be hunted to the ends of the Earth, fam. To me, death was definitely the most likely outcome, bruh. Also, I’ve seen people lament that the film doesn’t give any “answers.” Son, what fucking answers were they expecting? Since when was art designed to answer social issues? Now, I’m not comparing this movie to Do the Right Thing, but there are no answers at the end of Spike Lee‘s film, man. If anything, all of these works are designed to make us feel and think, brethren. No more and no less. From there, it’s up to us to come up with definitive plans of action.
  6. The death of Junior fucked me up, son. Keeping it a buck, this is another scene that I heard complaints about. Like, even my wife was uneasy about this scene juxtaposed with Queen and Slim having sex. Now, I get it, man. I definitely do. It’s a hard 10 minutes to digest, fam. But, I internalized it all in a different way, bruh. The way I see it, Junior’s just a young man who doesn’t know how to process his feelings. He’s enamored by the story of Queen and Slim, but he doesn’t fully understand what it all means and the ramifications. He doesn’t yet understand the nuance of the minority experience in America, but he’s hell-bent on action. This leads to extremely irrational decision-making. The truth is, Queen and Slim don’t want to be heroes. They don’t want to be martyrs. More so than anything, the people around them are elevating their meaning and importance. While Junior is in love with the idea of “immortality,” Slim just wants to be remembered by his family and his lady. From my vantage point, Junior’s death highlights the fact that we need to explain to the youth what’s really going on out here, instead of just leaving them to filter the information on their own.

In the end, I know that I just said a lot, son. Ultimately, there was no easy way for me to write this post, man. By and by, I judge a movie’s quality by how much it stays with me. Truth is, my wife and I have been talking about this film all weekend, fam. So, shout-out to Melina Matsoukas (my Co-op City sister) and Lena Waithe for putting this together, bruh. Side bar, I still don’t like the way that Waithe handled the Jason Mitchell situation, but I give credit where credit is due, folks. Anyway, this movie gave me strong emotional reactions and I thank them for it. At the end of the day, everyone’s entitled to their opinion. All I can say is, I personally loved the movie, brethren. That is all. LC out.

Can We Get A Mansa Musa Movie?

So, I won’t lie, son. On the real, I may alienate some people with this statement, but I’m fucking tired of slave movies, man. Like, how many films about slavery can we possibly make, fam? I swear, every year, there’s another “critically-acclaimed” movie about the horrors our Black ancestors had to endure. Yes, it’s very important to give an accurate depiction of our history. But, slavery isn’t the only history we have, bruh. With that being said, can we please get a Mansa Musa movie?

Ok, for some background, the upcoming Harriet film inspired this post. Now, before I get chewed to bits, I absolutely believe that Harriet Tubman deserves a quality film. The truth is, Harriet isn’t necessarily my problem. In actuality, Harriet is just a symptom of a larger issue. Frankly, I think Hollywood is just obsessed with slave movies, son. I mean, whether we’re talking about Amistad or 12 Years a Slave or The Birth of a Nation or Django Unchained, there always seems to be a new slave film in the works, man. Keep in mind, I love all of the aforementioned movies, fam. But, the Black experience shouldn’t just be relegated to slavery, drugs, sports or fucking music, bruh.

In any case, I’d like Hollywood (well, Black directors) to venture outside of the usual subject matter. The way I see it, there’s no excuse for the lack of a big-budget Mansa Musa movie, son. Shit, we’re literally talking about the wealthiest person in human history, man. How is it possible that the richest man ever, who happens to be Black, isn’t bombarding our theaters, fam? In my eyes, it’s not a coincidence that we’re always depicted as slaves, but not as royalty, bruh. So, take that for what it’s worth, folks.

In the end, I’m putting all of Black Hollywood on notice, son. Ultimately, I’m not telling people not to see movies like Harriet. Hell, my wife and I definitely plan on seeing the film. However, I’m challenging Spike Lee or Ava DuVernay or Steve McQueen or whoever to tackle these types of projects. By and by, I’ve read that Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan have expressed interest in making a Mansa Musa movie. At the end of the day, I just want us to move away from the regular script, pun intended. The truth is, slavery isn’t the only thing that defines Black people. So, let’s talk about it, brethren. That is all. LC out.

What Did Ron Stallworth Actually Do?

Disclaimer: There are a ton of BlacKkKlansman spoilers in this bitch, son. Please, act accordingly.

So, on Friday, I saw BlacKkKlansman with my wife. Now, as a piece of art, I feel like the film is a return to form for Spike Lee. I mean, I’m a diehard Lee fan, but over recent years, his movies have been hit-or-miss, man. In any case, I feel like he nails it out of the park with this one, fam. With all of that being said, despite thoroughly enjoying the movie, I left the theater with one question in mind, bruh: what did Ron Stallworth actually accomplish?

Ok, for those who have seen the film or don’t mind spoilers, here’s how the story goes: Stallworth joins the Colorado Springs Police Department. Despite being new, he pitches his captain to become an undercover officer. From there, his first assignment is to infiltrate a Black Power rally featuring Stokely Carmichael, later known as Kwame Ture, as the keynote speaker. Next, he cold-calls a local Colorado Ku Klux Klan chapter and pretends to be a White man looking for entry into the group. After an elaborate ruse which includes using his White partner as a stand-in for Stallworth, he’s able to gain the trust of David Duke, the Grand Wizard of the KKK. Finally, Stallworth and his team thwart a bombing attempt by the Klan on the head of Colorado College‘s Black student union, who also happens to be Stallworth’s love interest.

Now, based on the story I just outlined, it would seem like Stallworth accomplishes a lot in this story. However, here’s my problem with all of this, son: the Klan isn’t really damaged in any significant way. Ok, yes, the police are able to stop a bombing, but “The Organization” is never really dismantled, man. Hell, as of today, I can still see Duke on my TV screen, talking a bunch of bullshit about Black people and Jews. So, did Stallworth’s work really achieve anything? Look, his department is most likely to blame, since they end the investigation early. But, the KKK is able to continue business as usual, fam.

Listen, I don’t know enough about Boots Riley‘s criticism of Stallworth to have an opinion. Shit, maybe Stallworth was nothing more than an agent of COINTELPRO. I mean, his undercover work on Ture does give some credence to that theory. But, in regards to the storyline of this movie, I feel like Stallworth and his team risk their lives for minimal return. Then again, like I said before, maybe their work is cut short before they can really make a difference. All in all, we’ll never really know, bruh.

In the end, BlacKkKlansman is still a dope ass movie, son. Ultimately, I suggest that everyone out there gives it a shot. By and by, I’m happy to see the rebirth of Spike Lee, man. Listen, I know he gets shit from people sometimes, but I still feel like he’s an important voice, fam. At the end of the day, we always need people who care, bruh. That is all. LC out.

Pusha T OD’d On Drake

Sheesh, it was all good just a day ago, son. I mean, I JUST wrote about how Drake got the upper hand on Pusha T, man. Well, it was good while it lasted, fam. All I know is, Pusha’s “The Story of Adidon” is one of the ROUGHEST diss tracks I’ve ever heard, bruh. Shit, it was direct and HIGHLY disrespectful at the same type, brethren. All in all, this is Hip-Hop, folks. Clearly, battling isn’t for the faint of heart, people.

Ok, for those who missed it, Pusha responded to Drake’s “Duppy Freestyle.” Now, when I say he responded, I mean Pusha went for EVERYONE’S jugular vein, son. My God, I don’t even know where to begin with the disrespect, man. In one long verse, Pusha talked about the frayed union between Drake’s parents and he talked about Drake having a son with a porn star. Hell, he even talked about the fact that Drake’s producer, Noah Shebib, is dealing with a lifelong illness. Side note, I won’t lie, fam, I took offense to those bars about OVO 40. Listen, my mother has multiple sclerosis, so I’m sensitive to that. But, if Drake can make fun of KiD CuDi‘s mental health and if Jay-Z can talk about leaving condoms in Nas‘s babyseat, then I guess all is fair, bruh. But, it’s still insane to say, folks.

In any case, this beef just got VERY personal, son. Apparently, Pusha took it there because Drake simply mentioned Pusha’s fiancée, Virginia Williams, in “Duppy Freestyle.” On one hand, I get it, but I still didn’t expect Pusha to OD the way he did, man. Real talk, if those bars were about me, we’d have to fight, fam. On the real, fuck a rap song, bruh. We’re ABSOLUTELY throwing hands after this, folks.

In the end, I don’t know what else to say, son. Ultimately, if we’re comparing “The Story of Adidon” to “Duppy Freestyle,” then Pusha won this round, man. Shit, I feel like a hypocrite because I was just giving Drake his props yesterday. However, I didn’t expect Pusha to come back like THIS, fam. By and by, Drake MUST respond, bruh. Keeping it a buck, he can’t let Pusha cook after this, people. The impudence is WAY too crazy now, brethren. At the end of the day, we have a REAL battle on our hands, folks. All I know is, Pusha is a MUCH different adversary than Meek Mill. Good day. LC out.

P.S. All jokes aside, Drake needs to explain that photo, son. Seriously, why the fuck was he wearing blackface, man? Look, unless Drake was an extra in Spike Lee‘s Bamboozled, I can’t condone this shit, fam. *Sigh* We need answers, bruh. That is all.

I Need That Black Thought & 9th Wonder EP NOW!

So, I’m going to keep this post brief, son. I mean, I just have a simple message to relay to the masses, man. Basically, I need that Black Thought and 9th Wonder EP NOW, fam! Good Lord, this is some of the best news I’ve heard in a while, bruh! On the real, 9th is known for making gloriously cohesive projects and Thought is one of the best rappers ever. With all of that being said, that record can’t come soon enough, folks!

Ok, for those who missed it, over the weekend, Black Thought told us the good news. Now, the story broke while Thought was hosting his Black Thought Cinema Presents event at the Gramercy Theater in New York. Anyway, while the event was focused on the viewing of Spike Lee‘s School Daze, Thought decided to drop a bomb on us. Apparently, not only is an EP with 9th coming, but it’s supposedly part of a series between them. Son! What else needs to be said about this?! I’m fucking excited, man!

In the end, I’ve said all I have to say, fam. Ultimately, this is GREAT news for Hip Hop, bruh! Frankly, I LOVE The Roots, but it’s about time that Thought got his just due, son. By and by, I already know this record will be motivation for me to get back in the studio. At the end of the day, I can’t wait, man! That is all. LC out.

P.S. If anyone is confused about why I’m so hyped right now, then go back and watch this freestyle. At this point, the entire world should know about the damage he did on Hot 97 with Funkmaster Flex. Good day.

Damn, Darkness: RIP Charlie Murphy

Damn, son. *Sigh* All I can do is shake my head, man. On the real, Rest In Peace to Charlie Murphy. Cancer has taken yet another victim, bruh. Now, contrary to what some news outlets might say, Charlie was way more than Eddie Murphy‘s older brother. In fact, he was a master storyteller, a quick-witted verbal flame thrower and a dude who was hilariously menacing. All in all, we lost a great talent and his legacy should be celebrated.

Now, maybe I’m dating myself, but my first real memory of Murphy was in the movie CB4. Yeah, I know he was in a few films before that, including a couple of Spike Lee joints, but I vividly remember him as Gusto. Look, I got endless joy out of watching him terrorize Albert (Chris Rock). His aggression was always funny and it made every scene entertaining to watch.

Moving on, as time progressed, he found himself on every visual medium imaginable. However; no one will ever forget his role on Chappelle’s Show. Listen, everything he did with Dave Chappelle on that show was gold, son. EVERYTHING, man! Whether we’re talking about “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” or “The Mad Real World” or the “Player Hater’s Ball,” Murphy created nothing but classic material, fam.

Ok, keeping it a buck, Chappelle may be the greatest comedian of all time. With that being said, the most memorable material from his show might actually be Murphy’s stories about Rick James and Prince. Think about that for a second, man. That’s how great Murphy was. Even legends like Chappelle and his brother Eddie knew how phenomenal Charlie was. As Eddie always said, Charlie was “his best impression.”

In the end, Murphy deserves his respect. He put in the time and the effort to be considered an icon. Now, let’s celebrate his memory by slapping a “habitual line-stepper” and then eating a plate of pancakes. RIP Charlie Murphy!

P.S. Prayers up to Murphy’s children. Due to his untimely demise from leukemia, his kids are now technically orphans. Unfortunately, Murphy’s wife, Tisha Taylor, died from cervical cancer in 2009. I swear, cancer might be the worst thing to ever plague humanity, man. That is all.

A Letter To Chrisette Michele

Dear Chrisette Michele,

I rarely use the phrase “real talk,” but real talk, you need to go away now. At this point, none of us care about whatever logic you’ve used to justify performing at Donald Trump’s inauguration. The damage has already been done, lady. On the real, my main gripe with you is the fact that you don’t seem to understand how you’ve fucked up. As weird as it sounds, I would’ve respected you more if you just said you did it for the money. However; if you really think you’ve helped the disenfranchised in any way with your performance, you’re more lost than I was while watching Lost.

Now, ever since Black people began to drag you for filth on social media, you’ve been trying to explain your actions. I’ve seen a lot of bullshit about “being heard” and “helping,” and all of it made me want to barf. Listen, did you really think a falsetto was going to stop the Trump administration from its impending fuckery? Did your song stop him from appointing racists to his cabinet? Did your song stop him from vowing to continue DAPL? Did your song stop him from decreasing FHA mortgage insurance? Did your song stop him from threatening to send the Feds into Chicago? Did your song stop him from promising to cut a variety of cultural programs across the nation? Do you see my point, Chrisette? YOUR SONG DIDN’T MEAN SHIT!

Look, after all of that, I didn’t even mention the fact that Trump didn’t have the decency to shake your hand. So, in the end, you’ve sacrificed your integrity and the support of YOUR people for absolutely nothing. Shit, you’ve even admitted that some of your family members have now disowned you. So, ask yourself a question: was it all worth it? I didn’t think so, Chrisette. I didn’t think so.

Oh, by the way, how DARE you take aim at Spike Lee the way you did? You had the audacity to utter the words “fuck you” to Spike Lee? Shelton Jackson Lee?! A man who has dedicated his entire film career to speaking about issues that affect the Black community? That’s the dude you’ve decided to disrespect? All because he no longer wanted to use your song in his show? You’ve got a lot of fucking nerve, woman! I won’t front like I’ve enjoyed all of his latter movies, but he’s also never disgraced himself as a Black person. As of right now, that’s a crown you seem eager to flaunt and parade around.

All in all, just take your L and go home. Disappear. Poof, be gone. At this particular junction, you were already a niche artist who depended on a core fan base to keep your career going. Good luck selling tickets now, though. You’ve shitted on the people that always had your back. I hope that Trump paycheck is comforting. That might be all you have in the immediate future.

Sincerely,

A disappointed former fan who bought your first, second and fourth albums