We recently took the plunge and participated in our first class at Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy here in New York City. If you don’t know who Renzo is (pronounced Hen–zo), as a 6th degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he’s from the legendary Gracie family of BJJ and has titles, awards, and trophies in every major Martial Arts prestige from the UFC to the Pride Fighting Championships.
The beginners class includes a 30-minute tutorial from one of the school’s many talented instructors, a practice Gi, and 2 additional classes (either BJJ or Muay Thai). All of this is free! They don’t try to hustle or harass you into joining. There are no questions asked and they really give you the opportunity to learn and see for yourself if you like the academy and martial art before discussing any kind of pricing or packages.
After learning the basics in the 30-minute intro class (Stance, Falling, Rolling, Half Guard) we joined the hour-long white belt class. The class was full of people of all shapes, sizes, color, ethnicity, and gender. Even though we were clearly new to all this, everyone was welcoming and accommodating.
We started with the warm-up (if you want to call it that). We’re typically pretty active ourselves. Dougie Boxes at Gleason’s twice a week and Idris lifts and crosses fools over at the Y on Thursdays. He’s nice with the fadeaway (RAINDROPS!). But the warm-up was still enough to get a good sweat going. I can only really describe it as a lighter version of circuit training designed to work every part of your body and get the muscles that you’ll be doing while practicing BJJ engaged. We can’t lie, we were both a little gassed afterward. Honestly, that shouldn’t scare you off. The warm-up and full program are very accommodating and although it designed to give you a full-body workout, you can go at your own pace without any meatheads screaming in your face.
Warm-Up — Several rounds of jogging, push-ups, rolling, sit-ups, side crawls, knee highs, squats, shrimp , etc.
Idris Grey: Yo, this is the warm up? How many laps we doing?!
F. Dougie: Stick with me fam! Don’t leave me behind!
Idris Grey: I need some milk!
F. Dougie: You’re fine fam.
Idris Grey: I think I pulled something. Yup definitely pulled my groin.
F. Dougie: Damn, you won’t be fucking for 2 weeks at least!
10 minutes later…
Idris: I’m done. I don’t know if I can do anymore…
Dougie: I’m drenched in sweat…I thought I was in decent shape. Hold’up, there’s more class left?! How long were we warming up?!
Idris: It’s all good. Everyone else is sweating too. We got this.
The basic principle of having a strong base is key here. This is so the opponent is less likely to be able to move or control your body. Keeping good posture is also paramount. This is done by keeping your head up, so your opponent cannot easily break your head down and control your body. Where the head goes, the body must follow. Strong frames keep your opponent at a fixed position and enable you to move in a fashion which will after proper positioning, allow you to escape the typical schoolyard bully strategy of headlock.
Keep your chin down to hinder their grips from reaching your neck. (You don’t want to get choked out. Your shoulders are up, making it harder for the opponent from choking you from behind. Your elbows are tight to your body and your hands are protecting your neck. We’re fairly certain that all members of the Wu-Tang Clan have mastered this technique. (“Protect ya neck!” ) Your head goes to the ground, your back moves to the ground. Here is where we look to escape. As soon as someone gets their hooks in, your head should be going down to the mat. Early prevention is best.
Better yet…never let anyone take your back. It’s the most dominant position in all of combat.
This one is more advanced but still worth a close look. Delariva is an old-school, new-school guard, named after BJJ legend Ricardo De La Riva. No guard is a real guard without the principle of kuzushi. A Japanese term which means to unbalance one’s opponent. Simply, no guard is a guard if it does not have a push AND a pull.
Overall, we highly recommend at least giving Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy a shot. It’s an amazing way to stay in shape. It’s a lot of fun too, once you get past that burning in your chest. It tests your cardio, flexibility, strength, and even your creativity. Like we mentioned, even the warm up had us looking for the nearest water fountain. But even more importantly, learning to defend yourself these days is paramount. Hate crimes are at record highs and people are more hostile than ever. People get into altercations on the subways and on the streets for as doing as little as accidentally bumping into one another.
We are not saying that you need to become a ninja or assassin or anything like that, but learning what you don’t know could help save you from bodily harm or worse. Do you know how to escape a basic headlock? These guys can teach you to reverse and control someone twice your size and strength with 2 easy motions. Learning not to panic in a difficult situation or knowing that the most simple technique can help diffuse a bad situation can give you greater peace of mind while you navigate through these mean streets.
We saw men women and even children with the confidence and determination to know that they were in control, and that is real power. Give ‘em a shot, and tell em OB sent ya.
We also noticed many of the students wearing what were called Rash Guards and Spats. These are base compression layer of protective wear that eliminate friction, rubbing, bruises, and are also antimicrobial & anti-fungal! They are like a layer of high-tech armor to eliminate damage and help you recover faster. Honestly, they are stylish and comfortable as well and are a great buy around $19.99 each.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running. Thank you for your support!
Jordan Peele’s newest film dropped this March, 2019. Since winning an Oscar for the thought provoking Get Out, he’s been one of Hollywood’s most sought after Director/Producers. Not only is he producing several upcoming projects, he’s been hired by CBS to relaunch “The Twilight Zone” this fall on CBS.
Ever since we heard the unmistakable low tones of “I Got 5 On It” during the trailer for Us last fall, audiences have been eagerly awaiting Peele’s 2nd feature film with anticipation. Get Out was not only horrifying and starting, it also delivered in making audiences socially and politically uncomfortable by commenting directly on how black and white Americans interact with one another socially, romantically, and politically.
Part of the anticipation for Us was the nervous wondering aloud: “Can Peele do it again, or was Get Out just a once in a lifetime film”?
The answer for us is a resounding “Yes”.
Idris Gray: Going into the movie I had high hopes and preconceived notions about what I was about to see. I figured Jordan Peele was going to flip the typical scary movie/thriller on its head and give us something new and thought provoking. Something that made somewhat of a social or political statement. Here at Objectively Black we are not about spoilers or robbing our readers of any surprises so I’m not going to tell you if those expectations were met. But what I will say is that I came out of the movie thoroughly satisfied with what I had seen.
The movie scored high for me on the storyline alone. The plot and subsequent plot twist was so well written and led you on a journey that had you questioning what the fuck was going on for the better part of two hours. The movie gently grabs your curiosity and pulls you in more as you continue watching eventually you start trying to put all the clues together as you watch. Do yourself a favor and don’t try and figure it out, just watch the film.
As far as the cast goes, they all did an amazing job. If you’ve seen the trailers then you know at the very least that the main characters are confronted by antagonists that look exactly like them. No spoiler there. So essentially each actor played 2 separate roles through the course of the movie. And oh, lets not forget Lupita Nyong’o. She really went in on this role. If it wasn’t for the ominous music providing a constant reminder, you’d end up wondering if Us is a horror, thriller or drama. And that’s mostly because of her performance.
I don’t want to give away anything more than this. I know I’m not telling you much besides “It’s great”. But you really won’t be disappointed here. Whether you are a casual or die hard fan of the horror genre or more so someone who doesn’t watch scary movies but just liked how poignant “Get Out” was, you’ll enjoy this film. I’ll definitely be watching again.
F. Dougie: So first of all, I thought that the concept was incredibly interesting. The duality of playing people against evil versions of themselves has always been one of my favorite fantasy tropes. This iteration of that idea was expertly written and executed. The movie is very heavy on setup, but even though the first 20 minutes or so are big on exposition, the payoff (if you are paying attention) is huge. It has a way of keeping you on the edge of your seat because you just want to understand what the hell is going on.
This is a flat out horrifying movie in a genre that has a tendency to get kind of cheesy. I thought that Lupita Nyong’o did an amazing job leading the cast in a role that called for her to essentially play 2 different characters. She hit every emotion that you could hit as an actor and if this is the kind of performance that warrants an Oscar, she should definitely be in consideration.
Winston Duke bought the funny as the goofy, boat-loving and loveable patriarch of the family. Without giving too much away, his corny dad jokes are so on point, that by the time we actually need him to toughen up, it’s hard to believe that he could actually hurt a fly.
All of the characters were very developed and the new young actors did their thing as well. Especially the young daughter.
All in all, I’ll definitely be seeing this one again. Unlike Get Out, it’s not political per se, but there are possibly some heavy ideas here for you to chew on while Jordan peele is scaring the hell out of you. Aside from the above, I can’t help but shake the feeling that Peele is making some pointed comments about America and the way that we deal with others. We love to “point fingers”, but most of the damage to our country has been done from within. Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemies.
Recently, celebrities like R. Kelly and Michael Jackson (RIP) have come into the spotlight because of allegations of child molestation. These conversations have prompted people to stop playing their music. Some companies and media outlets have taken themselves out of the conversation by removing their content altogether. With all the recent conversations about not supporting problematic figures, we want to see what people think. Our question is:
Is it ok appreciate the art or contributions of allegedly or convicted ‘problematic’ artists?
The list of pop-culture icons who have been accused is becoming endless. These people were basically considered gods in their respective fields:
Bill Cosby (Convicted of rape)
Woody Allen (Alleged pedophelia and staurtory rape of his daughter)
Michael Jackson (Alleged molestation of children)
Harvey Weinstein (On trial for sexual assault)
For the sake of argument, considering those that have been accused and are alleged troublemakers, if we assume all of the allegations are true, (we have our doubts about MJ specifically) do we stop consuming the contributions these people have made to art and popular culture? Considering the issues with mass-shootings and white nationalism, the timing of these topics and coverage by the media seems odd at best.
Your President denies collusion with a foreign power and also denies the rise of white nationalism despite all evidence to the contrary. Black people are shot down like animals in the streets on what seems like a regular basis. The media barely shines a light on the subject and then the next week it’s on to the new Kardashian love triangle. It all seems like a distraction, but we digress.
So, if we are cancelling the contribution for one artist in a medium, why aren’t we doing this for every problematic contributor across the spectrum? These are the questions that we want people to discuss.
Also, as black men, we want to let you know that we see things differently. Listen, we aren’t defending the acts of any criminals but one of the main questions that we have about people ‘cancelling’ these men is, why is the media taking the microscope to black artists and not anyone who has ever committed an alleged atrocity?
Where are the crusades against the catalog’s of Elvis Presley, Woody Allen, and David Bowie for their supposed actions? It’s seems to us that acts by white artists or counterparts are not held to the same standards or scrutiny. If you do that for one you have to do that for everybody, right? Our point is if you want to get self-righteous and indigent for one artists issues, keep that same energy when they come for your Elvis collection.
Additionally, is this how we want to live? The sad thing is, if you look closely enough at anyone they probably have some dark secrets. That goes double for artists and politicians now in today’s digital age.
Again, our point is this, let’s not be hypocrites. Let’s dive in a little bit more to give you a few examples of problematic shit that has gone untouched by the media for years:
Our “Founding Fathers” — On our legal U.S. Tender we celebrate the pictures of U.S. heroes who were also oppressors. Think about that. We have Slave owners on our currency.
Catholic Church — These sickos are caught in controversy after controversy, year after year involving abuse against underaged boys. But sure, your scheduled vacation to Rome to see the Vatican ain’t sus. In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.
National Anthem —The anthem that we are told to stand for and support was written for Americans before slavery ended and even had a verse at the time that referenced slavery directly.
Don’t let us get started on tech companies like Apple and Facebook selling your data. And apparel companies like Nike that employ problematic labor practices.
To get you thinking about how life is affected when we start removing art from our lives, we’ve created a playlist of artists who people say you shouldn’t listen to because of the alleged crimes they have committed.
This past week I attended what is to be the first of many moderated discussions on diversity in the workplace. I was grateful to be invited by an old colleague/mentor. And to be honest, at first, I didn’t really understand what was the event was really about. But having gone, it was a necessary exercise in self-affirmation and self-love that all black people need.
I feel like it recharged my batteries and allowed me to refocus on building my career and our brand here at Objectivelyblack.com. The event was a speaker panel called “Going Beyond Diversity and Inclusion: Real Discussions about Race” and was hosted by the folks at Patients & Purpose for OmnicomHealthGroup. The name of the panel pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the subject matter of the event. The panel of speakers included some very dope and very accomplished black professionals that have worked their way to becoming industry leaders in the area of finance Advertising/Marketing, Media & Communications:
Danny Wright (Moderator) – Chief Brand Officer – Adweek
Romel Lherisson – VP, Graphic Design Director – Hyphen Digital
Lauren Pattani-Wright – President – The Scienomics Group
Claudia Sampson – Chief Diversity Officer – NYC Department of Finance
Calvin Butts, Jr. – VP, Agency Partnerships – BioPharm Communications
Make sure you look up these brilliant individuals. But tell ’em your boys at OB sent ya!
Now before I get into some of the topics we spoke on, I want to quickly comment on the makeup of the room. Now, I’m guilty of this as much as anyone else, but sometimes when we have discussions about diversity or the unique struggles with being apart of a minority, we leave out the majority group. This is natural, but sometimes in order to see change, we need to share our experience with other groups that may not fully understand our plight. That wasn’t the case here. The room was mixed with all types of people, so big ups to @OHGVoices for practicing the inclusion that they preach.
Now for the good part. Over the course of about 2 hours we went into deep conversation about topics that are very common to you if you are like us; black in predominantly white industries… So all of them, I guess?
“The penalty for not being diverse on both measures persists.Now, as previously, companies in the fourth quartile on both gender and ethnic diversity are more likely to underperform their industry peers on profitability: 29 percent in our 2017 data set.” – Delivering through diversity January 2018 | Report | www.mckinsey.com
Here’s a little on what we touched on:
How many times have you heard:
“You sound white?” Or “You’re so articulate?”
How many times have you wanted to keep it real at work, but then remember that Dave Chapelle sketch (When keeping it real goes wrong)? Yeah, code-switching is something that we all have experience with. But the panel had some interesting views on this. Their feeling in general was that the ability to adjust to the conversations you have at work, vs. the conversations you have in other areas of your life is like having a 2nd language. You may as well use that “articulate”“white talk” to your benefit. But also know that this isn’t a practice unique to us blacks. There are are many different reasons why someone may play a part at work and not feel completely comfortable revealing their “real” selves in the office. So Go ‘head switch the style up, and if they hate then let ’em hate and watch the money pile up. – Buddha… I’m buggin, this was 50 of course.
The “Angry Black Women” Stereotype:
Why is it that when a male is unwavering, or headstrong he is praised, but when a female does it she’s labeled as a B****? Hmm. Seems problematic. But the situation is so much worse for our sistas. And judging by the nods in the room, this situation is a common one. The two esteemed ladies of the panel were able to shed light on this and share their experiences. One of them even told a story of being approached by a male counterpart with a balled fist during a heated exchange… That’s fucking unacceptable. We treat our sisters this way? Yeah I said WE. Lets not pretend that as black men we don’t participate in this behavior. We have to be better. Shout out to Gillette! – Although we’re Bevel brothas over here. The ladies were able to offer an approach to deal with things like this. They acknowledged how often they feel a sense of un-belonging, and even a feeling of imposter syndrome, but advised us to allow our expertise, knowledge, and our work speak for us. No one can argue with results. We probably haven’t seen the last of the stereotypes, but we can’t allow ourselves to be silenced just so others feel more comfortable. FUCK ALL THAT NOISE.
First Time in Corporate Spaces – Feeling Uncomfortable:
Each of the panelists took the time to explain their initial experiences with sexism and racism. I think this was important, but instead of summarizing each story, I’ll tell you that we all have these moments where we realize that we are either the only one that looks like us in the room or that we are one of few. I think its difficult to imagine reaching the goals you have set for yourself in place where you don’t see anyone else that looks like you. Especially if you’ve ever had discussions with other black people about how that world isn’t for you. But it was nice, no important to see all these successful black people on the panel as proof that your goals are not out of reach. That’s the takeaway.
Mentorship in the Workplace – Reaching Out.
I can personally speak to why mentorship is important. Even though my mentors don’t always look like me or share my culture, they push me to really take my career into my own hands. And that’s what this is about. We want to see you out here in these executive meetings killing it. You have a voice that needs to be heard. You have a unique perspective on the world that any company would be lucky to have. So how do you find a mentor? Well, if you are towards the beginning of your career, hopefully, someone in your company is out there looking for and reaching out to young people. If you’re not in a company like this, apply somewhere else NOW! If you are a more seasoned professional, black or otherwise, you should be reaching out, sharing stories, and bringing value to the minorities in your companies. Remember, mentorship prevents churn! Its good business.
So now, circling back to why we need discussions on inclusion on diversity in the workplace, with the racial tension in the country making people afraid to have even the most basic conversations about race and diversity, there’s something really special about seeing black professionals who are leaders in their industry doing so well and shining in their respective fields. This is the same reason representation is so important in TV, movies, and media in general. It serves as an inspiration. The same way seeing Michael B. Jordan, Serena Williams, and Barack Obama on TV inspires us, speaker panels like this can offer the same empowering message to today’s young professionals.
I dropped a few names above, but I’d be so wrong if I didn’t mention Ed Frankel who was the brains behind this gathering. Thank you Ed for everything you’re doing, we appreciate you fam. You the real MVP.
We encourage you to find or create your own discussions on these topics. And of course, share the article, subscribe to Objectively Black and follow us on social media for more topics like this.
First things first, Shout out to writer April Reign (creator of #OscarsSoWhite) because without her starting the aptly named hashtag, most of the recent progress made around the Academy Awards would not have been possible. Not only would we still be passively complaining about how little diversity is spread throughout the Oscar nominees and films, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also would not have paid attention to the noise and finally changed their voting process.
We’re sure many people think that things like movies and movie awards are trivial (and maybe in the grand scheme of things they are) but since people spend so much of their lives consuming media, we actually think that films are pretty important. Movies are one of the ways for people to learn new things, encounter other cultures, and be represented in the world.
If ‘the black guy’ dies first in every movie, what does that subconsciously tell you? It tell you that the black characters are ultimately not important and disposable. It’s not a far cry for people to start to adopt these attitudes in real life.
If all the Latinx characters in movies are criminals and ignorant buffoons, how do cultures that do not encounter these people start to think about these groups?
If all the Asian characters in a movie are racial caricatures and stereotypes, it becomes harder and harder for people in those groups to be seen and treated as anything but by people who may not be as educated. You get our point.
Big budget films have been more popular than ever. Marvel and Disney films have been topping the box office for the better part of the last decade. It stands to reason that given their critical as well as commercial success, that one day they’d finally start to get some much-deserved Best Picture buzz.
Let’s not be cute about it, the Oscars have always been fairly bougie and pretentious. When fans, bloggers, and columnists started to make noise online about their desire to have the cultural powerhouse and phenomenon, Black Panther nominated for Best Picture, the academy’s response was to announce a new award for “Popular Films”. Funny that a film with a predominantly African-American cast, considering its standing in American culture would receive a “separate but equal” Best Picture award, fans revolted and called the move a total cop-out. It was a public relations nightmare for the already beleaguered academy. The academy relented and announced they’d reversed their decision.
As early as February 2019, the same month as the Academy Awards, the Academy also announced that they were not going to televise crucial film categories like Editing and Cinematography. Let’s think about this for a second…The Cinematographer or Director of Photography is the artist who ACTUALLY films the movie. The Director has the vision, but without a DP, execution is literally impossible. Let’s put it this way… If filmmaking is all about storytelling through the vision of the director, it’s the cinematographer who brings their vision to life.
Don’t get us started on Film Editing. How do you expect to put the vision together after all the footage is shot without the editor? We know the award show is long, but either do it right, or don’t do it at all. How does an academy that prides itself on artistic integrity decide to cut two of the most artistic categories in film? So after another PR backlash and subsequent nightmare, the academy announced that it will air the categories after all.
“In the history of CINEMA, masterpieces have existed without sound, without color, without a story, without actors and without music. No one single film has ever existed without CINEMAtography and without editing.” – Alfonso Cuaron
That brings us to tonight. We both love films of all types and 2018 was a record year for the box office as well as for critically acclaimed movies. The categories are stacked and our glasses are full. Let’s get into it:
F. Dougie: Ok, so the show is already starting off on the wrong foot. Kendrick is overseas and can’t perform at the awards tonight.
Idris Gray: Who’s replacing him?
Dougie: No one. They had all the ‘Best Song’ nominees performing but he couldn’t make it back in time and still put on a dope performance. But I’m off that Sancerre! So we’ll need to inject some much needed blackness into this ceremony!
Idris Gray: DAMN
PERFORMANCE – Queen feat. Adam Lambert
Dougie: Aight, here we go. Pour one out for Freddie.
….They shoulda just had these three ladies host! (Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey).
AWARD – OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS (REGINA KING)
Dougie: Pulling for Regina King here…
Idris: Regina for the win. It’s a celebration. Also, Chris Evans really out here being Captain America. Chivalry is alive and well, sort of.
Dougie: Ayyyyyyyyyyy!!!! REGINA! What an amazing actress. Its about time she got her due. How long she been out here doing this?! How many tv shows? How many movies?
Idris: Yeah it’s a long time coming for sure. She wearing that dress too.
Dougie: It’s her moment, Idris but I’mma let you have it too.
Idris: Damn. Now Helen (Mirren) out here. Still looking fine.
Dougie: Helen Mirren. That’s another legendary actress.
Wooooo, I can’t fake homie. Been trying to surf that wave for a loooonnnggg time.
Idris: I haven’t seen any of these tbh, I should watch more documentaries.
Dougie: RBG and Free Solo were dope.Hope she lives forever tho forreal.
Idris: Looks like the free climbing one would be cool.
Dougie: Son. In 4K? Forget about it.
Also, you’ll never see no brothas up there…. Sorry, I had to do it.
Idris: LOL. Well, real life is extreme enough ain’t it? These dudes looking for more “thrills”. I feel a thrill every time I see the po-po.
Dougie: LOL, “Oh look, the police. What is that, $0.25 across the street? Just gonna walk into oncoming traffic instead of possibly dealing with these dudes”.
Idris: Everything I do is extreme. Extreme living. Extreme taking this elevator. Extreme cashing this check.
Dougie: They call Idris “POINT BREAK”.
Commercial – Google Assistant
Idris: These google commercials are really good. They really opened the checkbook to sell that ‘OK Google’ functionality.
Dougie: You can do that when you don’t have to pay taxes.
Idris: Hate the game Dougie… Hate the game
Tom Morello. Great guitar player.
Dougie: Legend, mate. He’s going in on Dick Cheney tho. Didn’t see that coming. Just be glad Zack DelaRoca ain’t out here keeping it 100 as well.
Idris: Yeah… Didn’t watch this (Vice). Looks really good though. We should check it out.
Dougie: I heard it was good. These guys did “The Big Short”? I really liked that one.
AWARD – BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING (VICE)
Idris: They really made Bale look like Dick Cheney. Scary what they can do with makeup.
Dougie: Then they definitely deserve this award. Christian Bale is too good. Dude can straight act.
Idris: Makes me wonder, what would you say is the most impressive makeup job you’ve seen? No CGI.
Dougie: Robert Downey, Jr. Tropic Thunder. lolol
Idris: Damn… He really got away with black face though.
AWARD – COSTUME DESIGN (BLACK PANTHER)
Idris: What are these fools doing? LOL (Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry)
Dougie: Clownin! Lol
Idris: DUH! Like how could it not be Black Panther? Wakanda Forever. This is a moment.
Dougie: Fam, Ruth Carther is a FUCKING. LEGEND.
Idris: Yes you got it fam!
Dougie: We did it. WE, IDRIS. ME AND YOU! YOU AND I.
AWARD – PRODUCTION DESIGN (BLACK PANTHER)
Idris: Another one in the bag here. This film was a moment.
Dougie: Black Panther just won again. I can’t do this….. I’m weak
Idris: I told you! I said it, haha. We all knew this was ours though? Right?
Dougie: *Cries into sweater* Don’t talk to me right now.
Idris: There, there. LOL. Honestly, this is the type of shit is what we need.
Dougie: For soooo many reasons.
AWARD – CINEMATOGRAPHY (ROMA)
Dougie: Can’t believe they almost didn’t televise this. Roma was a beautiful film.
Idris: Yeah. Really well done. We “Objectively Latin” right now.
Dougie: Arriba la Raza!
Idris: HAHA Emilia Clarke with a little funny.
Dougie: Imagine RGB with Khaleesi’s Dragons tho.
Performance – ”I’ll Fight” – Jennifer Hudson
Dougie: Her performance from Dreamgirls still gets me in my feelings. “And I am telllinnnggg you!”
Idris: Damn she was a little flat there though. Am I hating? It was still an amazing performance.
I need to turn on my VPN to the midwest and see what commercials they showing down there. I guarantee you there are no black dudes selling Cadillac Escalades.
Dougie: Hakeem Olajuwon ain’t got a dealership in Houston?
Idris: Houston got a strong Nigerian presence actually. The brand is strong out there.
Dougie: Nigerians been on that take over for a minute. Let me be down.
Idris: Oh nigga you in. Trust that.
AWARD – SOUND EDITING (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Dougie: Damn. This is a tough category.
Idris: Nah, this is a sleeper cat for sure.
Dougie: Wow. Bohemian Rhapsody coming in strong for Rock music. I’m trying to see a renaissance.
Idris: Wow. Well, I feel like that was the easy choice though.
Dougie: I mean, A Quiet Place was masterful. I haven’t seen a horror movie that took so full advantage of sound like that before. But then again, First Man went in as well. But that last 30 minutes of Bohemian Rhapsody, I thought I was IN the stadium.
Idris: Yeah I would have thought A Quiet Place for sure. But you have a movie full of some of the greatest rock songs ever written. Tough to beat.
AWARD – SOUND MIXING (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Idris: I have no clue. I guess Bohemian Rhapsody again?
Dougie: Yeah, it would have to be, right? Those teams work so closely together it would be crazy to not give them both awards.
Idris: Yup! This makes sense. Honestly, this is all off the strength of QUEEN. The music is too fire. “Fat bottom girls” is my anthem. That’s what I listen to when I’m feeling down.
Dougie: Also, your favorite IG hashtag.
Idris: Hey now, I see those likes on our handle. Those ain’t all from me.
Dougie: You know this is a team effort! I’m trying to gain us followers! We are partners! My likes are your likes!
Idris: I mean. Yes those are all me…….cough
AWARD – BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM (Roma)
Idris: ANGELA!! do we follow her on Insta? Damn, she speaks Spanish too?
Dougie: We do now. Has she aged? Seriously.
This is crazy. Roma is nominated here and for Best Picture?
Idris: Yeah, well deserved though.
Dougie: It really is a gorgeous movie. And Cuaron is a genius filmmaker.
Netflix gonna be feeling themselves if they win a Best Picture.
Idris: HAHAHAHA. Keegan Michael Key a fool.
Dougie: Yo, get your mans.
I’m saying tho, do we really need a host? These presenters are killing it.
Performance – “The Place Where Lost Things Go” – Bette Midler
Idris: Ok… Hmm. Thoughts…. Lol
Dougie: She’s a legend in many communities. I’m not touching this one.
Also, I heard Mary Poppins was good.
Idris: Nah you misunderstand. Helen Mirren or Bette Midler?
Dougie: I gotta rock with my girl Helen, but Bette still got some milkshake left.
Idris: Haha! I’m saying though.
Dougie: Trevor Noah. The future. Did you know he’s actually in the movie?
Out here speaking Xhosa.
Idris: Yeah, Africa stand up!
AWARD – FILM EDITING (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Dougie: Low Key, this is one of my favorite categories.
Idris: Of course Bohemian Rhapsody. Honestly thinking back on the film… They deserve this.
Dougie: I find it interesting that BR is winning many of these technical awards, considering all the controversy behind Brian Singer as Director. I mean, he’s not even nominated and its due to all the fuckery he bought upon his cast and crew. He’s probably be a shoe-in tonight if it wasn’t for his personal fuck ups.
Idris: Hmm yeah. Can’t always separate the person from the art I guess.
Charlize Theron. Loved her in, everything she’s ever done haha.
Dougie: LOL, Testify.
AWARD – OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR (Mahershala Ali)
Idris: DUDE this is gonna be a good one. Great performances here. Who you got?
Dougie: My man Mahershala. Every time he hits the screen he’s fucking GOLD.
Sam Rockwell has always been one of my favorites too. He’s always great. But he just won last year so…
Idris: Yeah, Sam as ‘Dubya’ is fucking amazing.
Dougie: WOW. This is an incredible night.
Idris: Hey! This too is a fucking moment. And he, like me, likes to wear beanies inside. I think that’s what that is.
Dougie: That’s 2 for him, tho! In 3 years! I know this is the Academy Awards and I shouldn’t bring up TV, but whenever this dude steps on screen in True Detective he’s giving a master class on acting. The choices he makes on screen are brilliant.
Idris: Damn, going to the Academy museum would be lit. Future review coming soon!
Dougie: Holy shit. “I want to go to there”.
AWARD – ANIMATED FEATURE FILM (Sider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
Dougie: This is Spider-Verse or I’m out.
Idris: I’m with you.
Dougie: If any of you haven’t yet seen this film. It’s a swing through years and years of comic stories and characters, aimed at those who know everything about Spider-man and those who know absolutely nothing about him. It’s got heart, its funny, and it’ll keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s also groundbreaking from a technical standpoint.
It’s not only the best animated movie of 2018, but it’s also one of the best animated movies ever made. Comic book or not.
Idris: This was really an experience. A beautiful film and a great story. Also it’s a great example about why representation is so important in film. Seeing people or characters that look like you is important for any kid.
Dougie: You said it, fam.
Performance – “When a cowboy trades his spurs for wings” – Gillian Welch & David Rawlings
Idris: No no, no, no. What is Kacey Musgraves wearing bro?
Dougie: I mean, if you just won AOTY at the Grammy’s, you’d wear whatever the fuck you wanted.
…..Also, her outfit matches this song.
Idris: Not gonna lie… The legend of Buster Scruggs was actually kind of dope.
Dougie: Was it? I guess I gotta put it on the Netflix Queue.
Commercial – The Irishman
Dougie: Oh shit…
Idris: YOOOO. That title sequence though. With the bullet? Ok… Netflix has it’s big boy pants on
Dougie: I’m sold. Sold. Goodfellas is my favorite movie of all time.
Idris: HAHA Waynes World!
Dougie: “Party on Wayne”
Rami Malek DEFINITELY wins Best Actor later tonight. I don’t see how he doesn’t.
AWARD – ANIMATED SHORT (Bao)
F. Dougie: Bao wins this. People were crying in the damn theater before the main feature actually started.
Idris: Sorry didn’t see any of these. I was busy watching NBA youtube videos.
Dougie: Lol.They played this one before Incredibles 2. I see your point tho.
AWARD – DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT (Period. End of Sentence.)
Idris: OH I heard about a night at the garden. But again, I didn’t watch any of these. I think I need to watch more shit.
Dougie: I tried to watch as many films as possible….but I can’t lie…. I didn’t see ANY of these.
The short films are harder to come by tho. But a movie about menstruation just won an Academy Award. The ladies not giving a single fuck out here.
Idris: Yeah these aren’t on the radar as much I guess.
Dougie: They should play more of these short films before movies instead of bombarding us with 30,000 trailers before a feature.
Idris: Oh there’s a concept. But you know you like the trailers.
Dougie: I actually don’t watch them as much anymore. Too many spoilers.
Idris: Yeah they pretty much tell you exactly what happens in the movie now. Remember that dog trailer we saw before Spider-Verse?
Dougie: LOL, They showed all 3 acts of the movie!
They showed the kid losing the dog, the dog’s journey, and then the dog returning to the kid all grown up. WTF?!
Dougie: Diego Luna got that swag tho. That’s a smooth muthafucker.
Idris: Yeah, he did very well in the last season of Narcos. You catch that?
Dougie: Oh for sure. Great season. Like him in “Rogue One” as well.
Idris: Oh yeah true.
AWARD – VISUAL EFFECTS (First Man)
Idris: OK, who you got?
Dougie: This is tough. It’s a toss-up between Ready Player One and Infinity War
Idris: I LOVED READY PLAYER ONE but Infinity War was great too.
Dougie: Ok, First Man looked incredible. No 8-foot tall purple villain, but they made it look like they were really landing on the moon in the ‘60s.
Idris: Damn I’m missing on everything. Yea… but that shit ain’t exciting though. HAHA.
Dougie: The devil is in the details. It’s way more subtle, I guess.
Infinity War had the most special effects shots of all time. I’ll fall back, for now.
Performance – “Shallow” – Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
Dougie: Ok, let’s see what Bradley Cooper do. We know what Gaga working wit.
Idris: He don’t don’t have a bad voice. But he’s gonna look bad beside a pro like Gaga.
Dougie: He’s doing his thing for a regular dude. Love this song tho.
I heard that’s a $50MM diamond around her neck. Where are the snipers at? Is that a red dot I see?
Idris: Nah, that red light means we’re live, dog. Cameras recording. Man. The hood has really done a number on you.
Dougie: My hand is shaking, fam. I’m afraid for anyone that moves to quickly. *grabs a whiskey*
Idris: We gon’ pray for you fam. Leave it to Jesus. Good performance though.
Dougie: I’mma need all denominations tho… “In Nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti”
Idris: Damn look at these ladies… (Krysten Ritter & Kiki Layne). Kiki Do you love me!?
AWARD – LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM (Skin)
Idris: Congrats to them.
Dougie: Yeah, they seem ecstatic.
AWARD – ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY (Green Book)
Idris: Ouch. Sam Jackson going at the Knicks hard.
Dougie: I mean, he ain’t wrong. Trash. They are trash
Green Book, cool.
Idris: Very nice. It really was an interesting look at an old subject.
Dougie: Yeah, for sure. People are tired of these movies, but if they are told correctly and with care, it’s always worth a look.
AWARD – ADAPTED SCREENPLAY (Blackkklansman)
Idris: We owning this category. Lots of good black films.
Dougie: This is another tough one. Blackkklansman and Beale Street were both heavy-hitters.
DAMMMNNNN, Spike got one!
Idris: Wow. Congratulations to Spike Lee. You can tell that this means a great deal to him. Even shouts out the 2020 presidential election? He was prepared for this – “Let’s do the right thing”
Dougie: 20 years since Do the Right Thing. He’s been out here making films, trying to keep people “woke” since before it was fashionable.My man got NOTES up there. So happy for him.
AWARD – Original Score (Black Panther)
Dougie: Oh shit. It’s the Prom King and Queen. Michael B. and Tessa T.
Idris: Oh God, Tessa Thompson is a spirit. I don’t think she’s a real person.
Dougie: No, she’s beyond all of us. We are truly not worthy. I see Michael B. bought his mother to the Oscars. Rocking the crushed Blue Velvet tux. Fly.
Idris: I think Mary Poppins might have it. LOL
Dougie: Black Panther could win this one…
Idris: Wrong again. Well fuck. I’m glad I’m wrong at least. This dude just won a Grammy actually. (Ludwig Gorranson)
Dougie: ANOTHER ONE. That’s 3 for Black Panther!
Idris: Chadwick think he’s filming Black Panther 2 with that suit on.
Dougie: Lol, let him live in this moment.
AWARD – ORIGINAL SCORE (A Star is Born)
Idris: Easy Win. I’m not getting this one wrong.
Dougie: Yeah, it’s no contest.
Low key tho. Mark Ronson is racking up Awards behind the scenes.
Idris: What the fuck? I thought this was All the stars to win. Ronson is a great producer though so I’m not really that mad.
Dougie: Oh, Nah. Gaga been out here. People love this song.
I’m still singing “All the Stars”. It’s a classic. But I think we saw this from the Grammys.
Idris: RIP STAN LEE. And also Jussie Smollett’s career.
Dougie: LOL, Ugh. It just got dark. Kanye looks like a saint by comparison.
Idris: Well Kanye ain’t a criminal.
Dougie: Isn’t he tho, Idris? Isn’t he?
Idris: You talking about Yeezus? Yeah, I want my money back on that album as well.
Dougie: We’ve been hoodwinked. Bamboozled.
Commercial – Elton John Biopic
Idris: So this Elton John movie is a must see.
Dougie: Yeah man, keep the biopics coming.
Idris: Barbara Streisand is royalty fam. And she came with the Jokes.
Dougie: Barbara Streisand a classy lady. NY icon.
AWARD – OUTSTANDING ACTOR (Rami Malek)
Dougie: This gotta be Rami.
Idris: Yes. But another stacked category
Dougie: Yeah, Rami is too good. That man is on another level.
Idris: Well deserved. The Oscars belong to Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody. This is a moment, Rami said so. Another great example of representation in movies as well. This is really great on many levels.
Dougie: It has been a great ceremony so far. I really could not have predicted all this. Since they changed the voting process so many great things have happened. It makes me look forward to the future of films. I’d really love to see more female representation in the Best Director category. I’d like to see the studios put more women behind the camera, but if tonight is any indication, I think we’ll see more of that inspiring progress soon.
Idris: Yeah it’s an ongoing process. The work of inclusion needs to continue. We need to see different colors, sexes, genders you name it. Diversity only makes these films better.
Idris: That girl Amanda Stenberg. Super talented. Among another things.
Dougie: Hahaha, I see you.Yeah man, she is something else. I really think she’ll be a force to be reckoned with at the box offices for years to come.
AWARD – OUTSTANDING ACTRESS (Olivia Coleman)
Idris: I’ve been wrong so many times tonight. But I’mma go with Gaga. Nah, McCarthy.
Dougie: Fuck. Another tough category.
Idris: Ok. Not mad at this. This is why I need to vote on these things. I don’t.
Dougie: Yeah, Coleman has been sweeping the awards circuit. I’d like to see more of her, tho. Melissa McCarthy looked like she really wanted that one.
Idris: Yeah you’d want an Oscar if you had to be seen on TV like that too.
Dougie: You gotta know the competition tho. In some categories, depending on awards season, you know if you have a chance or not. At least you get the swag bag tho.
Idris: Representation. Do it for the ladies, girl.
Dougie: 2 to go! Best Director and Best Picture.
Idris: Good. I’m ready for bed.
Dougie: How much money has Childish Gambino made tonight off this Cadillac commercial?
Idris: That dude stay winning. “Turn all the lights off”! That weird energy winning.
Dougie: Where was that “weird energy winning” shit in middle school? Huh?!
I ain’t mad at him. It’s great for all of us.
AWARD – BEST DIRECTOR (Alfonso Cuaron/Roma)
Idris: It would be CRAZY if this went to Spike!
Dougie: Rooting for Spike again but this will be a tough one.
Idris: Wow! Ok, you know what? Alfonso deserved it.
Dougie: Cuaron is legit tho. That dude is a visionary.
Idris: I agree. Also we here for our Latin brothers and sisters too.
Dougie: Damn right.
AWARD – BEST PICTURE (Green Book)
Dougie: This has got to go to Roma, right? It always weirds me out when they don’t pair Best Director and Best Picture.
Idris: Damn… it would make sense to give it to Roma I guess. But we can consider impact as well. No film had more impact than Black Panther.
Dougie: You are absolutely right. The Black community and American Cinema, in general hasn’t seen anything the level of Black Panther. It was a phenomenon. Roma is a sleeper tho.
Consider all the fuckery the current administration has been levying against Mexico. Another win for Cuaron here would be a huge statement.
Idris: I see what you’re saying fam.
All of the nominations are black it seems like. Just black black black… Very cool. I
Dougie: WHHATT??!!! I literally just yelled out loud.
Holy shit. Fam, I did NOT see that coming.
Idris: We are in here! It’s a celebration bitches. I am happy for this film. I think the point was clear. Not because of this win, but because of the nominations man.
Dougie: Yeah, so I want to have a positive take, here… Many people were more critical of this film because audiences are typically sick of the “white savior” trope and the black friend teaches a white friend about racism thing….but we can’t get where we want to be alone. These stories if told correctly are still very necessary. Mahershala and Viggo did an amazing job.
Idris: So when we talk about black people being tired of certain stories, I think we mean we are tired of being portrayed as just one thing. Usually negatively. Maids. Slaves, etc. But every movie in this category showed black people as people. Black and latin people are layered, like every other group. We aren’t a monolith, we are complex. You can’t just stereotype us all as one single thing. Each black film showed a level of creativity and boldness by telling a piece of the very large and complex story of black culture.
Dougie: Correct. We are not a monolith and that’s kind of the point of this blog, isn’t it? We try to be objective. We genuinely love films and I think that this year’s Academy Awards was something special. We have a long way to go but I think the future will be bright. When given an equal platform and an opportunity to tell our stories we will always shine.
Idris: Yeah man. That’s exactly why we write. We want to share our unique way of thinking. We love to see our people win, but more so we love to see our people having the chance to win. So shout out to the Oscars. And ALL the winners. Well done
OB: Ok, See you guys next year! Please leave us your comments, feedback, and share the blog if you like what you read.
“Wooooooo that man clean!” President Barack Obama recently turned up at the UNC/Duke game dripped out in a custom embroidered ’44’ Bomber Jacket from Rag and Bone. Sure, $595 is pricey for a Bomber, but when you successfully led the free world for 8 years and helped to navigate the United States through all kinds of perils in the birth of the digital era, you can pretty much wear whatever you want.
F. Dougie: Not only is this man embodying casual style, but he’s also doing it effortlessly. This look exemplifies a smart-casual sensibility and he’s also hitting us with unnecessary ‘44’ flex embroidered on the sleeve.
Idris Gray: Obama is the leader we need but not the one we deserve. You know for a fact that Trump could never in his life pull this look off. Stay beautiful Barack.
The good news is, you don’t have to drop $600 to look as stylish as ‘O’. Here are a few of our favorite Bombers that’ll keep you looking clean this spring or fall:
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running. Thank you for your support!
“Black Safe” – A discussion and review of restaurants and bars that we’ve visited. The point of these reviews is to give people of color a sense of how we felt or were treated when patroning these establishments. We’ll each give our take on what we experienced, then we’ll give a score out of 5 on the below criteria:
Madame Vo BBQ
For this week’s iteration of “Black Safe”, we visited Madame Vo BBQ in the East Village. If you don’t know, MVB is a joint venture by Chef’s Jimmy Ly and Yen Vo. Frustrated with the sameness of many Vietnamese restaurants in NYC, they decided to open a new concept and bring some unique new flavors to their traditional cuisine. On a good night, you might run into personalities like Aziz Ansari, Miss Vietnam, or fashion legend Calvin Klein.
The menu has many amazing flavors and options, but we went for the “Beef 7 Ways”. It’s a multi-course tasting of 7 different cuts of beef. Probably the best way to try Vietnamese BBQ, right? You get unlimited rice paper, greens, and accompanying fruits to accentuate the flavors of each special dish. We highly recommend going this route because it’s a really fun and interactive way to taste Vietnamese BBQ.
Our servers were very knowledgeable about everything on the menu. They recommended how to prepare and eat each and what paired well with what.
The ambiance was chill. It felt like you were at a pool party in the heat of summer. The playlist definitely helped to cater to this mood.
F. Dougie – So I loved the concept and I thought that the food was really good. The servers did a really good job of helping to navigate us through all of the different dishes. The smoke from the BBQ was a little much but I guess don’t cook your own meat at the table if you ain’t ready for a little fire, right?
I wasn’t a huge fan of the seaweed wrapped dish and I also thought that the steak was kind of bland but maybe we were supposed to be using the accompanying sauces they gave us? To be honest, I really wasn’t in the mood to drink because I been in the gym making sure I keep my rock hard abs, but if I was I’d be pretty disappointed that MVB doesn’t have their liquor license yet. They should have it very soon, but if you’re looking to get lit, you’re going to need to wait another week or two.
Black Safeness: 4.4/5
Idris Gray – I think it was very typical of a Vietnamese BBQ restaurant. The assortment of meats was good. It was a great suggestion to do the Beef 7 ways, although I feel like they can name it something different.
What was unique about this spot was the vibe and scenery. It was like being in a Miami Vice movie. The walls are covered with rainforest wallpaper and everything in the restaurant is either green or pink. And I can’t overstate how helpful and nice the servers were. Our server saw me struggling with chopsticks and immediately brought over the fork. He a real one.
Black Safeness: 4/5
We both liked this joint. The ambiance was dope but in order to capitalize on it and really keep people engaged with the vibe they have going on, they’ll definitely need to get that liquor license (they should have it before the end of the month). Overall, its a solid recommendation from the both of us but if you wait a week or two, I think this spot will really grab you. With that, “May mắn nhé”.