Wednesday, February 22, 2012

YouTube & Ellen Show Sensation: Sophia Grace Brownlee & Rosie - Should She Be Imitating Nicki Minaj?

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably know that YouTube & Ellen Show sensation Sophia Grace and her hype girl Rosie have become virally famous for their imitation and love of Nicki Minaj.  At this point, you can't even count how many times they've been on the Ellen Show.  

I have to admit, at first, it was all very cute.  You would see these little girls singing and dancing and thinking to yourself, wow they have spunk but at this point, as the performances continue to grace the Ellen Show stage every so often, its become ever more disturbing in hindsight if you analyze what they are singing about.  As a trendy 30 year old, I most definitely feel like I live life to its fullest and enjoy the spark of life, so I am not some old-fashioned purist who is ready to wag my finger in disapproval.  But should these little girls be singing Nicki Minaj songs?  With innuendos and words that are not so innocent I find it disturbing that it keeps being viewed as cute when these youngsters take the stage.  

Initially, the first performance was cute, the second time LOL, the third time -- smirk, now the 15th and rising I am like... oookay, so when are they going to stop this madness?  It is NOT alright for 5 - 6 year olds to be talking about the subject matter Nicki Minaj is known for!  Even I as a Nicki fan will  only listen to edited versions and then there are some I won't even listen to at all. I'm just saying, in a world where people are saying Chris Brown is a bad example to little kids, why is this all of sudden cute?  It's odd, Nicki is viewed as a living Barbie doll so of course she is going to be instantly like by little girls, that's why Sophia Grace and Rosie like her, why Willow Smith loves her and did a song with her, even why she is part of the Nickelodeon Kids show, but again, why is THIS acceptable?  ...WHY?

Miranda Lambert versus Chris Brown: Freedom of Speech versus Double Standard

A musical war has broken out pitting Country music singer Miranda Lambert against embattled R&B singer Chris Brown.  I try to remain neutral concerning issues like this, especially since there is no definitive right or wrong way for either party to react.  As we all know, 3 years Chris Brown brutally beat up his then girlfriend Rihanna.  

Ever since that time, his music career has gone on an downward spiral.  His album sales diminished, he lost his celebrity sponsorship and ad campaigns and was banned from attending and performing on award shows and stages he once electrified.  Fast forward till 2012, Chris' career is finally starting to see new light.  He is once again being welcomed back into the musical community and because of that many people are angry -- one such vocal person is Miranda Lambert who started publicly declaring at her concerts that Chris Brown doesn't deserve to ever grace the stage again after he was invited to perform at this years Grammy awards.  Here is where I straddle the fence.  First things first, Chris Brown was wrong for what he did.  No excuse, no down-playing, nada!  

However, how long does he have to be bear a past mistake?  What irks me is that people take it upon themselves to continue this ugly cycle of hatred targeting him, but in essence how is that hatred any better than the act he did?  How is that he has to continue to wear his scarlet letter, but we venerate others?  Case in point, Whitney Houston.  As you all should know, I have the utmost respect for Whitney, yet was she not an abuser of drugs and alcohol?  Yet, when she died some of those same people who smear Chris Brown praised her!  How is that any different?  Both international pop stars, both celebrities in the public eye with adoring fans who look up to them and both committed illegal and immoral crimes and acts!  Also, look at YouTube and Ellen Show sensations Sophia Grace Browlee & Rosie imitating Nicki Minaj and singing her provocative lyrics, this is viewed as cute and acceptable, but should little girls be singing and imitating that type of subject matter?  This is only a few celebrity example, but why is it that we choose to make some people "examples" and others do the same or even worse and it doesn't get the same response in the media?  Something to think about!  

My purpose in writing is to ask each and every reader -- THINK before you JUDGE, and LOVE before you HATE!  I wish that all in these embattled situations get the help they need, and certainly hating them every chance we get will not lead them to getting that help, it just feeds the problem!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Remembering Whitney Houston... (1963 - 2012) Her Untimely Death, Musical & Theatrical Legacy at age 48 - The Death of Music's Reigning Queen, but The Voice Will Never Be Silenced...

Whitney Houston... just saying her name evokes emotion.  Instantly you become reminiscent of the first time you heard "The Voice" or you may think of her past struggles and triumphs and now her untimely death.  To many people, Whitney was an unstoppable survivor, to have come through so much and now to have such a tragic end.

One of my first Whitney memories was when I was around 9 or 10 years old singing with my Mother.  We used to "battle" to see who could hold the final note of "Greatest Love of All" the longest.  She would  always be able to hold it the longest...but hey I was just a tike, my lungs where still getting stronger!  From then on, I kept practicing this note and other famous Whitney melismas (adlibs, vocal stylings) throughout my vocal training over the years.  This paid off in my High School glee club where I became the male featured vocalist and often had to sing Tenor solos.  In fact my voice became so well trained I would even have to sing with the Sopranos on some songs.  And I credit my love of music and tutelage of my musical progress to listening to Whitney Houston.  I am no exception to singers learning at the footsteps or should I say vocal cords of Whitney.  From Christina Aguilera to Deborah Cox, Brandy to Tevin Campbell, to a whole new generation of singers like Charice Pempengco and the list goes on and on... We all, male and female, Black, White, Hispanic or Asian wanted our piece of "The Voice"...

Rather than jump on the bandwagon and be one of the first racing to post about our Whitney, I decided to take a few days to contemplate my words and just let my feelings flow and so they have right now, flowing like those rich melodies of hers we have come to love.  We will always love Whitney, we always cherish our memories, our laughter and tears, and most certainly the music.  Whitney was more than just a singer, she was a talented actress, noted movie producer and philanthropist -- she also had this distinct personality that was all her own, she could be classy  and command attention when she walked in a room and also take you back to the hood or just be the girl next door we first came to know her as such.  Whitney is still leaving her mark even today, I know I like many other fans are waiting on pins and needles to see her final project, a now posthumous release of the remake of 70's film "Sparkle" that she executively produced which stars Jordan Sparks as the title character.

With that said, what more can I say than to give my condolences to her daughter Bobbi Kristina, her most loyal mother Cissy Houston who never gave up on her throughout her battles and to the rest of her extended family and friends.  With a style and grace unlike another, throughout all of her ups and down, Whitney had that special hold on our hearts that we will always remember -- and that's how I choose to remember Whitney Houston...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Soul Train" Creator\Host Don Cornelius Found Dead at age 75...

TV visionary and popular host of "Soul Train" Don Cornelius has been reportedly found dead due to an apparent suicide.  Reports are showing no foul play was discovered and this truly was a self-inflicted mortal injury.  Wow... no disrespect but what a way to kick off Black History Month.  Mr. Cornelius was known for his smooth voice and his undeniable "swagger", a word people in my generation use to refer to unique style and charisma.  I remember as a young kid watching his ground-breaking program and enjoying his interviews with all of my favorite artists.  

Its sad to hear about anyone's passing, but especially when someone takes their own life.  The last time I remember seeing Mr. Cornelius was at the 2009 BET Awards presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award to The O'Jays.  During his introduction he was forced to sit in a stool at the microphone and was noticeably out of character.  He seemed disoriented, possibly in the begging stages of dementia or Alzheimer's, but that's my own speculation.  I say that to ease my own mind why someone that is loved by so many people would do this.  Perhaps we will never know, but one thing I am for sure, there will never be another journalist, host or presenter quite like the ever smooth and elegant Don Cornelius.  To his family my condolences and may he rest in peace...

Picture SourceMichael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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