by (@shalapitcher)

Olivia Munn’s Plastic Couch To Rick Ross’ Velour: This Week’s Worst-Dressed Celebrities

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What were they thinking? We probably say that at least once a day around here, and it’s often in reference to the famous people nearest and dearest to our hearts. Maybe it’s because folks like Olivia Munn, K.Michelle and Rick Ross can have such enormous lapses in fashion judgment that we love them so much.
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The Problem With Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino’s idea of American slavery pictures Jamie Foxx riding horseback and spinning a pistol on his index finger while wearing a ridiculous blue getup with white ruffles, spewing corny-if-rebellious catch phrases like, “I like the way you die, boy.” Yes, the godfather of motion picture vengeance’s latest, Django Unchained, reverts to a significant era in history to swap victim with victor (much like 2009’s Holocaust-based Inglorious Basterds). Instead of a group of Jewish soldiers vengefully plotting against Nazi leaders, Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave turned bounty hunter, guns down any white man who impedes in the rescue of his enslaved wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). Despite Tarantino being an equal opportunity history books trivializer, the problem with Django Unchained is it’s being presented as the “hip-hop generation’s Roots” as opposed to the feel-good revisionist history it is.

Per usual, Tarantino wanted to make his audience uncomfortable. I cringed as I sat through an early December screening of Django amongst a predominantly white audience in New York City’s School of Visual Arts Theatre watching horrific, graphic scenes that included freshly welted black backs and canines eating an enslaved man alive. Even more unbearable, though, were the snickers heard during such a visually intense movie that makes light of centuries of injustice. Jonah Hill’s three-minute cameo scores cheap laughs off an amateur racist sect’s poorly constructed masks (“I can’t see sh*t!” one Klansman blurts). The word “nigger” is spat more than 100 times through the film’s two-hour-and-45-minute span.

To save you the $13 cost of admission, here’s a rundown of the plot: Two years before the Civil War in the antebellum south, German bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) purchases Django to identify three murdering thieves known as the Brittle brothers who have price tags on their heads. In exchange, Dr. Schultz mentors Django in the art of murder, playing Batman to Django’s Robin in the pursuit of his lady. They take off for Mississippi when they learn of Broomhilda’s whereabouts, at Calvin Candie’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) vast Candyland plantation deep in the racism-rich South. It’s like the King of Diamonds of plantations—female house slaves dress in fine bouffant dresses and his right-hand house slave, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), gives insight on business matters, and even sasses white visitors. Candie himself is a sarcastic, slick-talking overseer who indulges in violent Mandingo fights while his slave mistress watches, cocktail in hand. As the film nears its end, Tarantino’s signature twists lead to an expected bout of bloody, gory action.

All trigger-happy abolitionist fun, right? A good ol’ spaghetti western complete with Rick Ross and a James Brown/2pac mash-up on the soundtrack. You’ve got to wonder how many moviegoers will watch, munching on nachos and popcorn, and depart their seats thinking, “Slavery wasn’t too bad after all,” or worse, “Why didn’t all slaves just revolt?” Let’s get real. Django’s opportunity to shoot down slavemasters one-by-one would’ve never happened—he’d be hung after the first white man he killed, but most likely would’ve never sought revenge at all. The institution of slavery was deeper than whips and chains; it was a deep-rooted mental oppression that psychologically suppressed its sufferers.

Sure, Django Unchained is not a documentary intended to inform. But even though Tarantino has stated that he was “uncomfortable” presenting the slave experience, the whipping scenes and BS phrenologist comparisons of a slave’s skull to that of a free man don’t always play that way on screen. I wish that he would have put the same level of thought into developing Jackson’s well-acted role, which hardly surpasses the “house nigger” caricature. Or avoiding the Great White Hope meme (see: Glory, Dangerous Minds, Blind Side, The Help) that finds Foxx playing sidekick and Washington as a voiceless damsel. In reality, there was no nice German savior swooping in to emancipate the enslaved. Freedom was an impossible task seldom achieved by slaves making ultimate sacrifices.

Tarantino lauded himself for being familiar enough with the subject of slavery and black culture to critique Roots, Alex Haley’s thorough cinematic exploration of American slavery. “When you look at Roots, nothing about it rings true in the storytelling, and none of the performances ring true for me either,” he told The Daily Beast of the film adapted from literary fiction masterpiece Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The enslavement of Africans in the U.S. for more than 400 years was much worse than could ever be portrayed on screen, yet Roots is still the closest depiction of the often-closeted atrocity. Django Unchained is no Roots. The problem, however, is Tarantino’s packaging of his latest effort as some type of eye-opening, thought-provoking, progressive piece of art.

Slavery has long been America’s dirty little secret that’s often left untouched. Most Americans aren’t versed enough on the effects that unfortunately linger today. Any film, entertainment or not, has a responsibility to address the topic with a certain level of information—and acknowledgement of slavery’s lasting effects—presented.

Jamie Foxx told VIBE magazine that “Every two, three years there is a movie about the holocaust because they want you to remember and they want you to be reminded of what it was.” He argued African-Americans should recall slavery with the same urgency, and that’s why this film must be supported. Difference is, America doesn’t wish to forget the Holocaust. And Django Unchained may very well remind America of its dark twisted past, it does so by misinforming and making the masses feel good about it first.

[Photo: IMDB]

by (@hallekiefer)

Rick Ross Cancels Weekend Concert After All Those Seizures

There are only so many airplane seizures a man can have before he absolutely has to have a vacation. Two, to be exact! TMZ reports that Rick Ross canceled his L.A. concert this weekend in the wake of the rapper’s twin medical emergencies last Friday. Rick Ross’s recovery following the seizures he had while traveling from Fort Lauderdale to Memphis seems to be going well, and he will reschedule his Los Angeles gig for 2012. “Pushing [Ross] to do a show that he was not prepared to do was not beneficial to anyone,” Ross’s reps explained. Now we’re imaging the Teflon Don wrapped up in a Snuggie, drinking tea with lemon and watching The Talk. Still with his shades on, though. The man’s not going to give up his swag for anybody.

by (@hallekiefer)

Rick Ross Is Okay Following Seizure, Still Giving Concert Tonight

We knew Rick Ross would be back on his feet soon. Or in his case, back on a private plane immediately. Hours after TMZ reported about Rick Ross’s seizure, which left the Teflon Don unconscious on a plane flying from Ft. Lauderdale to Memphis, Ross has posted a video to his Twitter account in which he looks as healthy as ever. Personally we demand a full-body cast whenever we feel strep throat coming on, so we have no idea how this guy is already upright.

Even more impressive (and baffling!) than the quick turn around time on Rick Ross’s recovery is the fact that rapper is still planning to perform at his concert in Memphis tonight, writing with the video, “#Memphis here I come….” We don’t know how concerts work, so maybe Rick and his people would lose so much money it would bring on another seizure, but still! How can anyone be all business so soon after a medical emergency? Take a long bath and watch some Breaking Bad, man! No need to be a hero.

by (@hallekiefer)

Rick Ross Suffers Mid-Flight Seizure, Falls Unconscious

Not the Teflon Don! TMZ reports that paramedics found Rick Ross unconscious after he suffered a seizure mid-flight earlier today. An eyewitness says that Ross blacked out shortly after takeoff while traveling from Ft. Lauderdale to Memphis. The plane reportedly made an emergency landing in order to get the rapper help; EMTs performed CPR before hustling him off to a hospital.

While there’s been no official confirmation or statement from the rapper, we consider the fact that the Boss’ Twitter account has been updated to be a great sign! “never dat homie..we outchea #mmg powercirle!!!!,” Ross’ account reads, after a fan tweeted his concern. Rapper Wale also tweeted that Rick was doing well, writing, “I just talked to Ross … he’s 100 pct ok..” We hope Rick Ross continues to do well, though we can’t say we’re surprised to hear he’s feeling better. Have you seen this guy? You’d need a tank to take him down.