Category: Black History Month

The Second Annual BET Awards Recap

Warning: this post weighs in at just under FOUR THOUSAND WORDS.  There will be an abridged Version posted tonight  for those of you allergic to posts of that level.  Proceed with caution. the jokes flow in bunches, even if all of them aren’t funny.

  • Powered by Mountain Dew Voltage(blue colored raspberry-citrus and ginseng flavored) my wife’s Hooters leftovers, and Fort Worth’s finest tap water.

And so it is, June 24, 2008 and it is time for another illuminating snapshot in Black History.

Yeah, folk, hate all you like, the BET awards are a snapshot in time for where the culture of our people is in 2008.

I am not endorsing this snapshot, I am merely putting it on display.

A fact that my wife just reminded me is an astounding misuse of my God-given ability.

7:00pm – The show opens with one of the many young men who should be paying royalties to Michael Jackson, one Usher Raymond Foster.

Who is apparently getting to the stage in his life where he is too old to be putting out club bangers and has been off the scene (getting his Broadway on, but still) long enough that he looks like he is biting Chris Brown and Ne-yo (who, as I stated earlier, are all biting Michael Jackson.

Speaking of Broadway, I am a bit annoyed that such an accomplished performer as Mr. Raymond is SHAMELESSLY lip-synching. As the elder statesman for male R&B singers, I find this most unacceptable. Surely he could slide in and and do a classic Usher Run or two…but, alas, no.

Michael Jackson is not going to be pleased.

MC Lyte is still doing voice work for BET.

What did I learn from all the names…That SouljaBoy’s last name is Tellem. (Tellem what?)

DL Hughley, (who clearly is the least busy of the Kings of Comedy these days) is the host this year and pretty much came out and proved why he is the ONLY King of Comedy who is ONLY collecting residuals from his show.

7:11 – Jennifer Hudson and Terence Howard prove that having Oscar Nominations won’t prevent awkward and unentertaining banter

Best Male R&B artist: Chris Brown, Raheem Devaughn, J. Holiday, Ne-Yo, Trey Songz .

Chris Brown wins and reminds us that his people skipped past the whole speech making part of artist development. Berry Gordy is mumbling about folk not learning anything from the Motown years.

The hierarchy is: Label, managers, momma, God…and then a promotion of the fans to number one.

Chrysler tries to sell us vehicles that just don’t fit in the modern $4 dollar a gallon economy. But LOTS of cool Gadgets.

Pepsi dusts off an old Super Bowl Commercial with Justin Timberlake. Apparently they don’t have anyone Black on the endorsement list.

Verizon breaks out a good random commercial.

Dreamworks highlights a movie with Iron man playing a brother. Apparently the irony is lost on them.

Hell Date is up for season number 2.

American Gangster season 2 is on DVD. Cause you don’t know nearly enough about the Criminals in our culture.

Oh right…HipHop vs. America.

7:18 – DL Hughley tells us that Jeezy is one of the most exciting rappers to come along in a long time and Jeezy shows us by appearing on stage without so much as a fuckin DJ. Flames and a big screen? Check. Some source for the music? Even a DJ as a prop? Naaaaah.

Apparently Jeezy is too big for HipHop Rule #5: EVERYONE sounds better with a live band.

Cue Kanye who I forgot was on this song. Shows you how much I listen to the radio. Sadly…The best verse is pretty much blanked out. Come on Kanye toda…surely you can clean up the verses for the chirren.

7:23 – Kevin Hart (whose claim to fame is….drumroll…Soul Plane. A Movie so bad even DL Hughley apologized for it.) and Mel B. (who IS fine, just not fine enough to overcome A. Being a Spice Girl and B. getting knocked up by Eddie Murphy only to lose him to the Former Mrs. Babyface(who went on to lose him to Johnny Gill…the Lesson? If Being fine and making a baby can’t keep a man, just being fine wont keep him either…especially if he likes OTHER MEN.)) present…well I still don’t know yet..they are STILL bantering.

Best Male Athlete.(Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Chris Paul, Tiger Woods)

Okay wait. I LOVE Chris Paul but, COME ON NOW…BEST MALE ATHLETE? He aint even the best BASKETBALL PLAYER LISTED…yet.

Tiger ain’t gonna win cause you know Tiger ain’t there. I know Kobe ain’t there cause he is off getting his Tony Romo on with Mrs. Bryant. (cause Kobe has the good sense to lose in the playoffs THEN go on vacation to Cabo).

Kobe wins. Kevin Garnett Paul Pierce and Ray Allen feel cheated…but only for a second.

Mel and her headlights show Kevin Hart the way back to obscurity.

Um..i don’t know WHO these two are pimpin that whole viewers choice thingy.

Target tries to help Usher sell records. Or tries to help remind Black women to buy records at Target while they buy their towels.

Pizza Hut sells Calzones to black people with only one black dude in the commercial.

Southwest Airlines tells you that the only thing worse than getting your Black Girlfriend’s hair wet is damaging some random Black Man’s classic Mustang.

Post shows you that regular lack folk make cereal for them.

Eddie Murphy has a movie. It’s only PG so it might be funny. Uh oh…Kevin Hart sighting…the movie is doomed.

T-Mobile thinks that Black people know who the Hatfields and McCoys are. Props to them.

O.B. sells tampons…with cartoon ants.

Baldwin Hills is back…and it’s still painful to watch.

I think DL Hughley changed his clothes, but I wasn’t paying attention.

7:31 – Keyshia Cole is singing a song I don’t know from way up in the air only to descend into a puff of smoke. with no band wearing a shredded bed spread..which gets pulled off in exchange for go go boots and shorts.

Yup…she could still get it…

Lil Kim…not so much. You know you are short when Keyshia Cole towers over you. Apparently Missy Elliot is busy.

I kinda wish Keyshia had lip synced.

7:36 – Now we see MC Lyte Read. Toni Braxton wonders if Lyte can afford to pay royalties to her for jacking her 1992 hair game.

Oh look…a Boyz in the hood reunion. Cuba, Cuba Cuba….sigh.

Best Female HipHop Artist (Missy Elliot, Eve, Kid Sister, Lil Mama, Trina)

Wow, Missy’s album isn’t even out yet…Eve dropped a hot single (or two) and was rewarded with a postponement of HER album…Kid Sister is on the periphery of HipHop at BEST(although the video is rather intriguing)..Lil Mama is fighting off one hit wonder status with all she’s got and Trina is currently best known for being the woman who broke up Lil Wayne’s marriage…We should just give this to Lyte, Rah Digga and Jean Grae and K.I.M.

Missy won, but she’s too busy finishing the album she won this award for to attend.

Hancock is coming out soon. Mr. Independence day strikes again. Hard to imagine this being another Wild Wild West.

Subway and Get Smart….hard to get whiter than that.

Chrysler is still selling that mini truck.

AT&T sells black people a cool phone with a commercial they obviously made for use during the Hills.

Two people I don’t recognize tease a show called Somebodies…BET’s first scripted show. 28 years later…I can smell it already.

Baldwin Hills again. Sigh.

DL Hughley rushes through crap written for him to get to a reasonably funny joke that fails because he mangled the lead (Ne-Yo has been with more fine Black Women than Robert DeNiro )…proving again why he is the only King of Comedy without a regular gig.

Ne-Yo gives the performance Usher SHOULD have given.Here is a hint for all yall Michael Jackson wannabes. If you run around and dance for us…we will allow you to sound kinda out of breath. We aren’t that wack.

Ne-Yo gets WAY out front on performance of the night. Shame BET wouldn’t spring for any of these folk to bring out a band. So sad.

LL Cool J leads out Ashanti. LL is so moved by the moment that he didn’t bother to dress up. (BTW…if you haven’t heard LL’s mixtape with Kay Slay…you are missing out)

Ashanti looks like she stole one of Alicia Keys old dresses from the Grammys

Best New Artist (Dream, Estelle, Flo Rida, Chrisette Mchele, Soulja Boy Tellem)

The Dream wins. He didn’t bother showing up because he was so sure Soulja Boy was gonna win.

Ashanti can’t even walk in her heels.

Diet Pepsi Max revives their Grammy Commercial.

Nissan shows Chrysler how to build a car for 2008. If you are too embarrassed to mention the gas mileage…you ain’t got the right car.

Back comes the creepy Verizon wireless commercial.

Pizza Hut and their Calzone.

Roscoe Jenkins is now on DVD, for all y’all bougie mofos too good for bootlegs.

State Farm puts out a decent commercial for Black Folk, reminding me to include them in my hunt for Life/Car insurance.

O.B. again.

Cadillac sells Black folk the Escalade Hybrid. 50% more efficient in the city…which means instead of TWELVE miles a gallon…you’ll get EIGHTEEN MPG. Yeah…that will show those greedy Oil Companies.

Baldwin Hills gets more irritating with each promo.

Yes, I will be watching HipHop vs. America II so you won’t have to.

7:54 – DL Hughley points out Queen Latifah, who clearly doesn’t have anything to plug, or else she would be ON the show. Diddy and mini-him. Then comes Alicia Keys.

Alicia Keys brought her curves and her band and her back up singers dancers. We are grateful. Greens and Cornbread clearly agree with Miss Keys.

Alicia has been in the sun lately. Quincy Jones nods in approval.

Alicia summons the spirits of SWV and gets me weak in the knees, stealing best performance from Ne-Yo.

Then comes EnVogue all of whom are STILL fine. Let us pause for a moment of silence.

Then comes T and C (L rest in peace)…T-Boz is hoarse and Chili is still Fine.

Then comes the reunion. What do we notice…that SWV sold the fewest records but have eaten the best.

8:02 – We love Neicy Nash. Fuck what you’ve heard. I love Neicy Nash so much I will watch the Style network to see her sans Reno 911 butt pad.

What passes for Comedy on BET ensues, but her delivery was on point and she’s Neicy Nash, so +100 for her. (silly me thought she was ACTUALLY trying to encourage the adoption of African-American children, but why would anyone let a critical issue in the Black Community get in the way of a good joke?)

Best Male HipHop Artist – Common, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West)

David Paterson can see this one coming. If Kanye had any integrity…yup…he does..he brings up Wayne. If only he had handed over the trophy. No such luck.

The Cast of Baldwin Hills proves they can read. Still can’t act. But they can read.

Tide sells Detergent with White-Tees, Drew from Everybody hates Chris and MC Lyte on the voice over.

McDonald’s sells Big Macs with HipHop.

Wanted is coming out Friday. Hello DVD.

Toyota shows Chrysler how to sell cars to Black folk.

Baldwin Hills STILL sucks.

Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka is pandering to Black folk.

Hell Date season Two…as if you didn’t know THAT was coming.

Wyclef Jean sells Voting in the US while wearing a Poland soccer Jacket.

BET’s American Gangster season two is STILL on DVD, in case you missed it an hour ago.

8:10 T-Pain is on stage with all kinds of props. Singing some random song that might be on his album…His lil magic Mic is working well. Noooo..hes Lipsynching.

We are regaled with all the hits Teddy Pinherass down has Sung um…. On.


Rick Ross

DJ Khaled

Big Boi wasn’t about to lip synch his verse.

Neither was Ludacris.

Let the record show that BET couldn’t be bothered to silence the N-Word.

8:17 – Derek Luke and Gabrielle Union don’t do the bad BET writing bit any better.

Video of the Year (Ashanti – The way that you love me, E. Badu – Honey, Mary J. Blige, Just Fine, Alicia Keys – Like you’ll Never See Me again, UGK n Outkast – Players Anthem, Kanye West, Good Life)

UGK wins, giving us a chance to hear from one of the smartest Rappers in the industry, Bun B.

I see Pimp C. had a wife…there is a certain irony in that just tickles me.

Big Boi doesn’t miss a chance to plug his solo project.

Target shows Black people they are classier than Walmart.

Ford makes better cars than they used to.

KFC has chipotle flavored Chicken. Seriously.

Ice Cube is STILL making kid movies. This one should be Called Akeelah and the Skinny Post. Apparently they are still trying to get the movie down to a PG rating, because it isn’t rated yet.

Lincolns are fly….even if they are gussied up Fords.

Baldwin Hills STILL sucks.

(dudes are calling women scrapes? SERIOUSLY?)

8:28 – DL Hughley just introduced Marvin Sapp as the man with the most recognizable Warren Sapp. Ima need a few minutes. *pauses the recording*

10 minutes later…

Ladies and gentlemen…the best singers still sing for Jesus. And OFCOURSE HE has a band (complete with string section)AND a choir.

8:31 cue the obligatory shot of Kirk Franklin.

8:32 so…FOUR minutes into the performance…I notice that there has been a slide show behind him…showing singular moments in our history, culminating with a shot of the Obamas in Iowa on June 6. The show SHOULD be ending right here…but this IS BET after all…and the notion of any kind of perspective is just anathema to them…so let the fuckery commence as soon as this is over.

8:34 and DL Hughley is apologizing.

8:35…Mary Mary and Lisa Lisa…I guess Mister Mister was busy.

Best Gospel Artist – The Clark Sisters, Kirk Franklin, Deitrick Haddon, Marvin Sapp, Trinitee 5:7

Marvin Sapp wins just for showing up and singing. Now someone get him back to humanity.

Dr. Ian Smith wants yall to lose weight.

Only white kids wear Pull-Ups but buy them anyway.

Go see wanted because Common is in it.

Wendy’s makes milkshakes.

What’s the best way to sell a sleek new Cadillac? White women talking bougie.

Baldwin sucks more now than it did an hour ago.

I still don’t know who this guy is BET gave a show to.

BET tells you why you should vote.

Baldwin Hills sucks but Buy the 1st season on DVD, cause nothing eases the sucking like adding scenes that sucked so bad that it intensified the sucking to levels BET couldn’t tolerate.

HipHop vs. America II is coming on tomorrow.

8:43 – See, Ursh? Even Chris Brown is Singing…you know you dun Effed up, right?

Whoaaa….Easy with the gyrations Chris…Youll never get on Nickelodeon like that.

The shower in the back ground showed me that it was Ciara, cause my old ass wasn’t sure.

8:47 David Banner Brandon T. Jackson, Solange, Soulja Boy Tellem and Cassie represent Generation Now, even though NONE of them have had a hit in this calendar year. (no, Yaaah Bitch Yaaaah, doesn’t count as a HIT.) I had to look up Brandon T. Jackson to learn that he has a show on the N network…which I am sure I get, but I don’t know where it is.

What passes for a public Service Announcement happens.

Best Collaboration – T Pain and, TPain and, TPain and, TPain and, Keyshia Cole and Kim and Missy

Kanye and TPain win. But not before David Banner plugs HIS new album. TPain comes up in slow motion. Kanye says we should be blessed to be in TPain’s presence. This from the same cat who said Soulja Boy Tellem was on some Nas level. Kanye ya Killin me.

I wonder if David Banner knows that Nas’ album drops on the same day as his? The rest of the world knows…because Def Jam paid good money to advertise.

The recycled Pepsi Commercial with Justin Timberlake is back

So is the Pizza Hut Calzone commercial.

The Eddie Murphy movie looks funny, (it is 3am right now…so take that for what it’s worth)

Verizon sells black folk smart phones by showing a white man texting on a Black mans phone.

Lincoln sells Cars with classy innuendo. The Irony is totally lost on all parties involved.

Southwest sells flying to Black folk by showing uncomfortable white folk.

Crest shows you Black girls with pretty teeth.

Hell Date blah blah blah.

Baldwin Hills.

8:57 – John Legend gets a free plug while introducing Al Green.

John Legend misses the easiest Joke in the world by leaving out the most logical end to this comparison: Says

Al Green is Gospel He is Soul he is Rock and roll he is Collard Greens Cornbread Spades and Church Fans. But MOST OF ALL….he is Hot Grits.

Take notes chirren…see if you can learn something from this.


On comes Jill Scott to serenade us with an Al Green Song

No one lives Jilly from Philly like Inkognegro…but…isn’t there a certain irony in the stereotypical strong black woman singing Rev. Grits Green? Sorry…this is BET. The people who brought us Yolanda Adams singing Chaka Khan’s Sweet thing. They are impervious to Irony.

Let us bring on the man who will PLAY Al Green in the BIO PIC he deserves…Anthony Hamilton, who has finally sold enough records to not look homeless.

Uh…Maxwell steps in out of ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKIN WHERE AND KILLS simply beautiful. I think women all over southern California melted into a pool of bodily fluids and perfume.

Maybe NOW we can get another fuckin album dammit.

Ill even forgive him for the sneakers.

This is why I even bother with this damn show.

Shout out to Donna Richardson – Joyner (Ill never admit that wack yellow dude scored my favorite fitness diva)

Al sounds like he passed his speechwriters on to Chris Brown.

Then they let him sing.

But not from off his NEW album….only the young folk can plug their new shit.

Let’s stay together….and let us see random black celebrities mug for the camera.

The only thing this segment is missing is the Obamas.


And yes…the ENTIRE crowd knows the words.

Al Green takes it to the Gutter…err Pulpit…errrr…somewhere familiar to ALL of us.

He proceeds to RIP Love and Happiness.

There is a certain poetic quality to this moment. Which BET is about to fuck up by not allowing HIM to close the show. Cause we got more Fuckery to go.

Why close the show with history…when we got Lil Wayne in the house.

Only BET would let Wayne upstage Al Green. Like he can Possibly TOUCH Reverend Albert Green.

Now I am irritated.

Alicia Keys hands over the Inkognegro Best Performance award without protest.

Target reminds Black people that Target is cooler than Wal-Mart.

Nissan reminds GM, Ford and Chrysler why they are hemmoraging money.

Go see HellBoy II even if you didn’t see HellBoy I.

Yup…Its true….KFC has Smoky Chipotle Crispy Chicken.

There is that anonymous cat with the show on BET. I think I make more than he is getting for this show that I refuse to name OR Google.

Fuck Baldwin Hills. (the show…not the place)

HipHop vs. America II blah blah blah.

Wyclef says BET says vote for Obama…REALLY subtly.

This shit is STILL on 2 and a half hours later.

Terrence Rocsi and some random dude present the Viewers choice award

Chris Brown and whatshisname – Kiss Kiss

Keyshia Cole and her and her – Let it Go

Alicia Keys – No One

Soulja Boy Tellem – Crank Dat

Lil Wayne feat some other dude I aint even know was on the song- Lollipop

Jordin Sparks and the dancing fella – No Air

Wayne gets his award and brings his family….or is that ALL of New Orleans with him.

9:30 – DL Hughley tells a Young Buck joke.

9:32 Rihanna has the unfortunate task of following Albert Green. That no one smacks the shit out of whomever thought this would be a good idea is a travesty of Robert Kelly verdict proportions.

Hey Ursh…EVEN SHE is singing. And better than usual.

And Jay-Z knew better than to send her out there bandless.

Number of obligatory Chris Brown shots during this song:

Other awards.

Best Group – UGK. Nothing like death to get you a posthumous award.

Best Video Director – Erykah Badu and Chris Robinson (Honey). But not best Video? THAT makes sense.

Best Actress – Halle Berry – did she even HAVE a movie last year?

Best Actor – Denzel Washington – DUH.

BETJ award – Raheem Devaughn. But…he aint even JAZZ?

GM talks about 0% financing….ill let that joke tell itself.

Will Smith’s kid sells McDonald’s

Verizon has the white dude texting with the black dudes phone. And then smackin the Black dude’s hand off. On BET…seriously.

The Lizard and Naomi Campbell sell that drink I remember.

Cartoon Ants and Tampons from O.B .

White folk and Garnier Fructis…can black folk EVEN USE that shampoo?

Disney tells black folk to go see Wall-E on Friday

Chrysler is STILL shilling that truck.

Hell Date….still.

Diddy and his BET Awards After Party by Ciroc ultra premium vodka.

Debra Lee comes out for her yearly appearance…and the words I am sorry don’t cross her lips ONCE. Aaron McGruder shakes his head in sadness.

She introduces Quincy Jones for the Humanitarian award. Cause NO ONE has done more for Humans this year than Quincy Jones. That was snarky. But the lionization of celebrity in our culture deserves some snark.

Congratulations, Mr. Jones.

Queen Latifah introduces Quincy Jones.

Quincy Jones says thank you. It takes a while…but he does say thank you.


Ford tries in Vain to keep up with Nissan and Toyota

White Folk black folk how to use Bounty Towels.

Wanted starts Friday.

Baldwin Hills

Hell Date.

Rap it up.

HipHop vs. America II….in case you didn’t see it the first three times.

Ashanti interrupts DL to talk about some stuff I don’t know ANYTHING about.

Nelly has no shirt on…Jermaine Dupri has a Jacket on…but

Now…um…this is a song about …Jordans. From a man about had a song about Air Force Ones…

Cause we ALL know what we need now is a song about Tennis shoes.

Universal must have REALLY ponied up to get Rihanna, Nelly and Wayne to close the show.

I guess Nelly knows this is his last shot to make it.

Diddy and Lauren London get their mutual Congratulation on.

Its been a Great year for Black folk.

Obama or die.

Bring out the liquor.

The fuckery is so bad my eyes are starting to glaze over.

Best Female R&B (Mary J. Blige, Keyshia Cole, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Alicia Keys)

Alicia Keys Kills the competition….as if there actually was any.

Clearly, Clive Davis showed Alicia Keys how to give a thank you speech.

10:05 – As we approach Overtime, Lil Waynes performance is teased for the 4,532,676,111th time.

The white dude shills for a Cadillac truckish vehicle.

Buy Toilet Paper

The really cool and smart State Farm Commercial

Southwest Airlines breaks out the shiv for the other airlines.

Pizza Hut doesn’t want black people to know they serve pasta…just pizza wings and calzones.

That show with the black kids in Southern California.

10:07 – He needs no introduction.

The perfect rapper has to have tattoos, sell a million a week, and be from New Orleans.

That’s what the boy said.

Three halves of a song later…it was over.

So…what did we learn…we learned that the show ended with Reverend Albert Green and then Universal came out to sell records.

Thank you BET.

See ya for the HipHop awards.


John Edwards isn’t on CP Time after all.

Shout out to Dottie Peoples…even though this is one of my 5 LEAST favorite gospel songs of all time, I spent a day with Ms. Peoples and she is the real deal.

If you could draw a script up for the ideal time to announce a John Edwards endorsement, 6:30 pm the day after West Virginia would be exactly the moment.

As irrelevant as West Virginia was in the grand scheme of things, it was truly a blessing for the babbling media hordes to have a different bone to chew on.

I disagree with those who felt that Edwards was late.  While it would have been nice to have him going into Pennsylvania, I certainly can see him wanting to lay low through Ohio and Pennsylvania so as not to be seen as piling on Senator Clinton.

I think the math has become so academic that it is time for EVERYONE to go ahead and ante up.

*Casts a glance at Mr. Gore, who IS flirting dangerously close to CP Time*

Meanwhile, Senator Clinton is jacking up threes and calling time-outs faster than Joe Gibbs and Chris Webber ever could.

(sidebar: have you noticed that EVEN in West Virginia, there is ALWAYS at least ONE Brotha behind Hillary?)

From Sit-Ins to Put-Downs: Why Dining Out Matters

Whether you

*swing through the drive-through at McDonald’s for a Royale with Cheese,

*Hit the buffet at Random Quasi-Asian (middle of the strip mall next to the Beauty Supply and the impromptu H&R Block office)Super Buffet

*Hit down for your fix of random pre-fabricated Applebee/Friday’s/Bennigan’s

*Take a stroll down memory land for what USED to be fine dining for common folk, Red Lobster or Olive Garden

*Or if you, like me, get your anti chain restaurant on with any number of singular dining experiences

*Or if you get your white tablecloth sommelier and chef’s table on

We all like to get our eat on and let someone else cook and clean.

In the 21st century, with more and more two income households, the notion of a traditional family dinner is virtually impossible.

With every advance in technology and alteration in personal priorities, dining out is becoming less and less of a luxury.

Add to that the simply jawdropping number of choices and you have a completely different industry from 20 years ago.

The explosion of the restaurant industry has opened up opportunities and challenges in the Black community.  With each passing year, it becomes apparent that while it is clear that the Black dining market is growing, the level of respect that it commands is not growing at the same pace.

Think for a moment about how much you spend every month on food that you don’t have to prepare and you will rapidly understand how much dining Out matters.

From Sit-Ins to Put-Downs: Black Folk and Restaurants (prologue)

with the inadvertent urging of Christina, I will be spending the remainder of my 16 days of the 32 Days of Black History Month addressing the relationship between Black folk and Restaurants.  Consider this Day 17.
I am a waiter.

A DAMN good one.

Good enough to go dollar for dollar with the average American and trump them on most days.

About 85% of the time, I am at peace with how I make my money.  For a man with an ample serving of God-given talent, I am often considered by others what is popularly referred to as under-employed.

My Take:  I am a master craftsman in a Skilled service profession who performs at an elite level and is compensated at the 90th percentile of those in my field.

At the end of the day, the Money is pretty good, and I genuinely love what i do.

I am going on 20 years in an apron.  From random spots no one ever heard of, to 4-star spots under award-winning/book-writing/national tv-show appearing,/reality show winning culinary geniuses, to well established regional and national chains, to strip joints, to music awards after parties, to national campaign fundraisers, to more lobbyist dinners than you can shake a W-2 at.

I have broken up fights over bills and run down folk trying to skate on bills and got robbed for some of my bills.
waited on such Bills as Duke, Cosby, and Bennett

Waited on John Mayer, Kerry,  and Lewis

Never waited on Denzel or Michael, but I waited on BOTH of their wives.

Waited on Tom Hanks AND the guy he portrayed in Apollo 13

I waited on Bill Gates (mind you this was more than a few Billion Dollars ago…Think right after Windows 95) and slipped food out of the restaurant to hit off the homeless dude who lived down by the parking lot where I parked.

I walked up to a table of 4 where the shortest person was 6’10”. (Thompson,Mourning,Ewing,Mutombo)

If I never wait tables again in LIFE…I got enough stories, theories, and experiences for 10 full movies.

But what is MOST important to me is the peculiar relationship between Black People and the restaurant industry.

(caution: there will be generalizations….bear in mind this is not ALLLLL Black people, but a significant number…perhaps a majority, perhaps not, but always a significant portion)

I have almost always worked in places that have a significant Black clientele.  Usually that clientele exists because of the cuisine that is served.

Black folk LOVE to eat, but they love to eat what THEY want, the WAY they want, HOW they want.

The Restaurant industry thrives on the APPEARANCE of “the customer is always right” but LIVES AND DIES on getting as much as they can while giving as little as they can.

Restaurants have service and hospitality as their foundation.

Short of having someone wash your ass, or getting hair or nails done there is no more intimate act than the act of serving someone food.

There is an inherent subordination that takes place when your job revolves around putting on an apron and running to and fro for strangers.

Add in the dynamic of race and privilege and you have an intriguing sociological dynamic.

Toss in on top of that a compensation structure that is 95% VOLUNTARY and hinges almost entirely cultural expectations, the whim of the person who receives the service and their perception of said service, and you REALLY have something to talk about.

As someone who loves Black people with the passion of his own Kin, I am very protective and watchful of how it is that Black People are treated and served where I work.  As the senior server on my staff and the head trainer,  I am in the prime position to affect how my coworkers handle themselves when dealing with customers.  For the rest of the week, I will be addressing the challenges that have affected the restaurant industry and the Black Folk who work in and patronize said establishments.

IF you have particular questions or comments that you would like for me to address in this series Kindly hit me on email @ Inkognegro07 @

Day Sixteen of Black History Month: The importance of Fried Chicken

So, I was getting my Google Reader on and reading my new addition, when I came across a lament that the author was afraid to discuss things that Black people love that would be classified as stereotypical.

Well, Guess what.


I wouldn’t marry a woman who was incapable of frying chicken. I believe, history of hypertension in my family notwithstanding, that chicken was MEANT to be fried.

With the skin on.

I remember my mother washing the chicken off, burning the hairs(?) off of the chicken wings using the bare gas burner and then soaking it in Cold Salt Water in a green Tupperware bowl.

Was it complicated? No.

Was it EASY? Hecky Naw.

If the oil is too hot, then the outside will cook too fast and the inside won’t be cooked all the way through (and you KNOW we cannot have that)

Now, am I advocating the wholesale frying of every meal? Certainly not.

I am merely acknowledging that I was born and raised on Fried Chicken.

2-3 days a week, My mother pulled out X pieces of Chicken (usually enough to feed us for two days) . There were days where we had fried chicken everyday for a week with a menagerie of starches and sides.

Occasionally the chicken would get baked or barbecued, but mostly, it got fried.

Just sitting here typing this makes me nostalgic for the smell of Chicken.

And it wasn’t just at home.

Many a gleaming church structure was built on the backs of stout Black Women and their yardbird.

Many a College Education was paid for by scholarship dinners that featured the finest in Fried Chicken.

Many a long road trip South (or North) was made affordable by Tupperware bowls full of fried chicken in a cooler to avoid stops to eat on the way.

Going to the Drive-In? Fried Chicken?

AM Munchies after a long night at the club? Cold Fried Chicken?

Cold Fried Chicken makes Cold Pizza simply unacceptable.


It is a vital part of my personal Culture and I am NOT Ashamed.

Oh wait…

I love chicken, but this shit here is uncalled for. Stop that right now.

Now playing: Who Stole My Last Piece of Chicken (Remix) – Organized Konfusion
via FoxyTunes

Day Fifteen of Black History Month: Grunt Work

While my comrades in the 32 Days of Black History Month are over there posting up all manner of Magnificence, I was apronned up, slinging around food for gratuity. I used to be slightly embarrassed, to have gone from medium range Capitol Hill Peon to full time waiter in just a few years, but my reality is far more complicated than that. My reality is that I am a professional. A highly skilled and reasonably compensated professional at that. I defy any of you who dine out with any regularity to search your memory bank and not have at least ONE subpar dining experience within the last 30 to 45 days. Combine that with the fact that I make slightly less than Mrs. Ink the Pedagogue (a crime in and of itself) and you have what makes for a fairly decent way to make a living.

It was my return to the restaurant plantation that prevented me from being as prolific as I had enjoyed during my time recuperating. Now that I am back in the flow, I will do my best to get caught up.

In that spirit, I would like to honor A. Philip Randolph, civil rights activist and labor organizer, who devoted his life to representing those who serve for a living.

(here is a link to the enire Conversation with Mr.Randolph)

“Justice is never given; it is exacted and the struggle must be continuous for freedom is never a final fact, but a continuing evolving process to higher and higher levels of human, social, economic, political and religious relationship.” (Randolph)

Fourteenth Day of Black History Month: Love Conquers All

Barack Obama took the day off to celebrate Valentine’s Day with his family.

Let that settle in for a moment, shall we?

if ANYONE could have earned a pass for Valentine’s Day, it would have been Mr. Obama.

But where is he?  At home.

THAT is a man I respect.

In the midst of history in the making, a campaign for the ages,  and the very notion of change in the most powerful nation on the planet bubbling all over the world, Barack Obama is at home with his family.

Not nearly enough attention has been paid to this fact.

Because when the Koolaid is all drunken up, and all y’all have pulled your levers and shook hands with history, All Barack Obama is going to have, win OR lose, is Michelle and the Girls.

That is all any of us have.

It is no accident that many of the Giants of our era, were buttressed by Women who were Giants in their own right.

Coretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz could have been every bit the peers of Martin and Malcolm but they chose to show that strength by playing the most difficult role of all.  I will pause at this point and mention that Mrs. King had a particularly difficult role to play in light of the um….er…extraneous issues that were involved in her life.

I could regale you with tales of the women behind the men, but I had a long night with the woman behind me, so I will leave y’all to connect the dots.

Thirteenth Day of Black History Month: United We Stand

Today was Black Love Day.

Yeah…was.  It’s Damn near Midnight.  Sorry I didn’t push this out when I was thinking about it, but I was off loving someone Black.

The concept behind Black Love Day was established in 1993, by Ms. Ayo Kendi. Feeling the strong need & desire for more expressions of “black love” among those in the community, Ms. Kendi quickly organized the first Black Love Day public observance in Northeast, Washington, DC. Her idea, vision & efforts were widely accepted by the public and the media in its inaugural celebration. With this success, the following year, BLD became an official day of recognition, observance and celebration by Mayoral Proclamation in DC.

Black Love Day is meant to serve as an alternative to Valentine’s Day. BLD is meant to be a celebration of all Black relationships…from self-love first to love for the family to love for the community & the race to finally love for The Creator. Instead of the trademark colors of red & pink for Valentine’s Day, people should wear or display the color purple for spirituality or black which is the blend of all of the colors.

You would think that loving someone Black was a fairly universal state of affairs, especially for Black Folk.

But Alas, such is hardly the case.

Thanks to the ongoing effects of a concentrated attempt to strip us from any semblance of humanity or dignity, enslaving us as mere property and instuments of investments; capital goods, if you will,  our ability to see the true value in ourselves and each other is severely compromised, to this very day.

And SURE, You, oh enlightened bougie Negro, you with the solid uppercrust privileged background grew up around Mr. Graham and ‘nem’s Kind of People, and would never think of yourself as less than, but you damn sure thought of ME as less than, conveniently ignoring that the business end of a Police dog, fire hose, service revolver, or burning cross, isn’t particularly interested in our different pedigree.

Black folk have come an incredibly long way since making the scene on this side of the world.  Considering the circumstances, that we even maintain a significant presence in Western Culture is nothing short of miraculous.

That kind of feat would call for a universal sense of love of self and all that we represent, if we weren’t still living in the denial that a history of brutal oppression can create.

However, in that we STILL can’t just BE Black and love on ourselves and each other based on that simple commonality, days like today were necessary.

Now go on out there and hug on a Black Person.  They probably need it.

Twelveth Day of Black History Month: Lincoln Logs Off

On today, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday I figured that I would entertain you all with a lil bit on whether or not Lincoln freed the slaves.


There was a time when every schoolboy learned that Abraham Lincoln was the “Great Emancipator” who freed the slaves. The Emancipation Proclamation, they also learned, was a critically important step in achieving that goal.

Many historians have called this old conventional wisdom into question, arguing that Lincoln was not really motivated by commitment to end slavery. The proof, they claim, is his famous letter to Horace Greeley in which he wrote that “my paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery, If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”

Many of Lincoln’s critics, especially African-Americans, go so far as to claim that he was no friend of blacks and did not want to risk the political fallout that would surely result from emancipation, but was eventually forced by circumstances to do so. In the words of Julius Lester, “Blacks have no reason to feel grateful to Abraham Lincoln. How come it took him two whole years to free the slaves? His pen was sitting on his desk the entire time.”

Mr. and Mrs. Nasir Jones, Lemme Holla @ Y’all for a Min.

First off, The T-shirt doesn’t bother me. The name of the album doesn’t bother me, much.

I wasn’t always a fan of yours. I liked your music, but I never did care much for you back in the Illmatic days. You reminded me of those kids I grew up with who were far more witty and creative than me, the universally acclaimed class nerd, but didn’t see the value in translating that genius to the actual work in school.

Your career is one long collection of shouldacouldawoulda. I could go into details, but I will let your boy, Mr. Carter summarize your career circa 2002

You said you been in this ten
I’ve been in it five – smarten up Nas
Four albums in ten years nigga? I could divide
That’s one every let’s say two, two of them shits was due
One was – NAHHH, the other was “Illmatic”
That’s a one hot album every ten year average
Yes, somewhere along the way you finally grew up and started making albums more indicative of your extensive verbal talents. And for that, Mrs. Jones, I actually thank you for slowin Nas down. Your entrance into his life has done WONDERS for his legacy.
But for real though, Nas. Ima need you to hit the books and the newspaper and stop relying on your inbox for all your news.
But Instead, of Beating you down, I’ma lift you up Nas, because lately you have really stepped your game up.
I choose to focus on THIS Nas instead:
Rock the Library Card before you Rock the Vote, Nas.