Urban haps of a grrrl on a mission to be a better writer, a new music master-blaster and a wonderfully brilliant razor-packing, MAC LipGlass wearing feminista...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Media Madness: The Wire, The Voice & Essence Mag

Last night as I was preparing for bed, I decided to flip to HBO to see what was popping and ended up catching the First Look for the upcoming last season of The Wire. Whoa, that joint was so fascinating that I ended up watching the entire segment! Featuring interviews with cast members about their roles and intertwining that with interviews with real life folk on whose lives these cast members base their characters and then juxtaposing all that against the real-city life of Baltimore it was very insightful and even a tad bit riveting. It totally resonated with me because this upcoming season, if you haven't heard, revolves around the media, The Baltimore Sun, in particular and how the media can distort, challenge and define what is considered factual, especially in criminal investigations and most especially when they involve Black folk, specifically Black men. Catch my drift?

Never mind that it's edgy plots, hard core portrayal of drug slinging and raw characterizations rendered Denzel's American Gangster into nothing more than Ken Burns fodder for me, The Wire ironically and simply is a testament to great screenwriting and amazing journalistic depth.

And I had no idea who or what would be exacted in executive producer David Simon's scope this season so this was a pleasant surprise especially after just griping that afternoon about the absolute booty crust attempt at writing record reviews in this week's Village Voice. Print advertising is down and newspapers are especially shook with corporate buyouts left and right and so I'm guessing editors just don't give a fluck about dope styles, personal voice, description, knowledge of subject matter and general literacy because what I read about Cassidy and Gucci Mane and the rest of dem rappers was most definitely fluckless. I felt like I was reading someone's blog, a scraggly one at that-- run on thoughts tapped out in the middle of the night in a drunken haze of overambition and idiocy. I can't believe this is the same paper that has published gems by writers like Greg Tate, Michael Gonzales, Joan Morgan and Nelson George. Not only did /do I value my work experience at The Voice, but I give soooo much credit to becoming a good writer from reading, writing and inhaling The Voice back in the 90's! Reading that review really hurt me and my sensibilities.

My other beef, no I'll say, utter confoundment, is with Essence Magazine. Can someone (and I know there are folks reading this that know) please explain to me why the January issue was only 170 pages? Either do a year-end double issue like most mags or publish a real full-bodied issue. That joint was so thin... my Pathmark circular is thicker. I knew it had to be a joke especially since Juanita Bynum is on the cover, especially since she was just featured in the previous issue, especially since the feature is based on the same interview from the previous issue. I could not believe they recycled info that was just used. Like I would have forgotten that I just read that mofo four weeks ago. Huh? Before I could even ask what da hell is going on over there, I get hit up by Miles Marshall Lewis about Susan Taylor leaving Essence. What?!? But she is Essence. Yeah something is going on over there. First of all she exits during the holiday break when everything is quiet and closed and then the Times article doesn't even feature quotes from current staff members about her exit. Can someone please hit me up about what’s really going on. You can post anonymously.

And even though this is kinda old, since I'm on the topic of exits and publishing mayhem. Here's some news about Len Burnett and other folk bouncing from Vibe.

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