Monday, January 27, 2014

Grammys, Weddings and Sippy cups

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The 2014 Grammys had some magical moments. In case there was a category you missed, CNN has compiled the list of winners in a very tidy format. Now that we have properly handled the business part, let’s enjoy some Grammy observations. Here are just a few random moments that seemed to particularly shine. Can we start with repeat host L. L. Cool J.? So suave, so tough, so rugged, so engaging and friendly that he is the perfect host to usher us into the Grammy festivities. He is the ultimate bridge between our real world and the other worldliness of celebrity life, because he relates so well to both. And he’s aging magnificently.

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Beyonce’s duet with her husband Jay-Z was definitely a highlight. It seems that behind the dazzle and glitz of their multimillion dollar blending of brands is a jolt of pure fun. That’s why it’s hard to find someone who can watch them perform together and not smile. Theirs seems to be a coupling that makes the audience eager to come along for the ride. In every group of married friends there is that one couple that everyone always makes sure to invite because they are going to ensure that all of the rest of the couples have a good time. Their performance thrilled the crowd because, as usual, during the song they were laughing, flirting and genuinely seemed to enjoy each other’s company onstage and off. (Although according to many viewers on social media, some of the more risque moves are better left behind closed doors.) And this is not just some act put on for the Grammy cameras; like Coke, it’s the real thing. See my past article to reminisce on how their love has long been lyrical and magnetic.

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Queen Latifah was the image of pure royalty last night. She rocked a black form-fitting sequined gown that was simply stunning. It was an off-the-shoulder concoction that was just perfect as her golden locks brushed against her shoulder. She is another celebrity that just instantly seems to bond with the audience the moment she walks onto the stage. She officiated 30 plus marriages in what was meant to be a heartwarming statement of the equality of all love. However, awesome as she was, it was just a bit too much. The Grammys is a night about performances and for the organizers to use this moment for a mass wedding was not the best idea.

Two performances practically brought down the house. One was Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert. Even listeners who totally disagree with the lyrics of “Same Love” were sitting at attention when Macklemore spoke. Watch the video here as he spits the words out with an intensity and passion that made his performance one of the best.
The other house burner performance was Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons’ combustible combination of “Radioactive” and “Good Kid, M.a.a.d. City”. Whether one likes rap or rock or neither, this performance had people talking. See the performance that almost blew the speakers.
Biggest robbery of the night: Kendrick Lamar didn't win any awards despite multiple nominations.
Best quote of the night: Rapper, mogul, businessman, performer Jay Z turned pure daddy as he held his Grammy upside down and said, “Look Blue Ivy, daddy got you a gold sippy cup.” When it all boils down to it, that’s what it’s all about. That’s real.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Death penalty case of 14-year-old child may be reopened by South Carolina judge

Photo: Courtesy of Reuters/South Carolina Department of Archives

"Stinney's trial lasted about 3 hours. According to reports, the defense presented no witnesses, no physical evidence, and did not file an appeal. It took a jury of 12 white men 10 minutes to decide Stinney's fate.” The article on dated 01/20/2014, uses these words to describe a 1944 South Carolina capital murder case that led to 14-year-old George Stinney’s death by electric chair. Stinney was at that time, and remains, the youngest child to receive the death penalty in South Carolina history.

Two things immediately jump out of this bone-chilling statement. The first is that George Stinney was a black child. This is at odds with the whole concept of jury of his peers. The legal definition given in The Free Dictionary for a jury of one’s peers includes the fact that “Jury selection may include no process which excludes those of a particular race or intentionally narrows the spectrum of possible jurors”. This trial was in no way a jury of George Stinney’s peers.
The second thing that is mind-boggling is that this seemingly thoughtful and thorough jury only deliberated 10 minutes. That means that they discussed the case, dissected the evidence, and carefully reached a decision to end a boy’s life in the time it takes to order a coffee and bagel at your local deli. And probably more concern would have been taken with the latter decision.
Stinney’s sister Amie was with him that day. She and the family were forced to leave town out of fear for their lives back in 1944. Now they are pushing to have the case re-opened and this time she will be able to testify. She proclaims that her brother is innocent, she was with him that day, and now she can tell the truth without fear of repercussions to herself and her family.
If Stinney, in his absence is given a fair trial and still found guilty, the verdict will stand. If he is found innocent, then at least his family and descendants deserve to have his name, as well as the family’s name cleared. But South Carolina must give this man the trial that every citizen has a right to under due process of the law. According to the Christian Post, a judge will decide this Tuesday if a new trial will be granted or no

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Robin Roberts admits to being in a 10-year lesbian relationship

Photo Credit:  Robin Roberts via Twitter;  Robert's girlfriend is standing to her left.
Robin Roberts, one of the co-hosts on Good Morning America (GMA), has had quite the tumultuous few years. First she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. She discussed her battle and feelings of depression in this Ladies Home Journal article. For a while things seemed to be going well, and then she was stunned by the news that she was suffering from the rare blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in 2012 which caused her to leave her post. Even scarier was learning that it might have been the treatment used for her first bout with cancer that caused the new cancer. After successful treatment and a bone marrow transplant from her sister, Roberts bravely returned to her position on GMA.
Now she’s facing a battle of a different kind, one that has nothing to do with her health; the battle of public opinion. Your audience can be your biggest supporter one moment, and then cut you like a knife the next. It was reported that Roberts came out and admitted she was gay on her Facebook page in December 2013. But Roberts took it a step further. She openly discussed her relationship with a woman on GMA, to include showing a photo. Is this going too far?
Whatever one’s stance is on gay or lesbian relationships is it necessary for the involved parties to discuss it in public settings? It seems to be crossing the line. It would be rather off-putting for every heterosexual news anchor or celebrity to make a point of saying they are straight. While everyone is very happy to see Roberts regain her health and back in her anchor spot at GMA, sexual orientations and other delicacies should be kept behind closed doors. What say you?