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Don’t blame it on the A-a-a-a-a-auto-Tune…

Photo Source: Getty Images

I don’t consciously seek out T-Pain’s music, but I don’t smash a radio when his songs come on either. It’s music that, with a few exceptions, isn’t for me. When I encounter it, I recognize that I’ve probably walked into the wrong room. So my first reaction to listening to T-Pain recount an encounter with Usher in which the R&B icon told him that he “fucked up music for real singers” was indifference. …


The controversy surrounding ‘Kim’s Convenience’ highlights a sad truth about diversity

Photo: CBC

When the Canadian television series Kim’s Convenience arrived on Netflix in the summer of 2018, I was instantly smitten. It wasn’t the funniest show I’d ever seen, or slickly produced in any way, but it had loads of charm. The largely self-inflicted pratfalls of the titular Kim family marked the first time I could recall seeing a Korean family starring in a sitcom, which also went a long way for me.

The whole affair seemed progressive, even though some of the humor did not. What can I say, I grew up in the 1970s with Fred Sanford and Archie Bunker…


Photo: Robert Ector

Level Q

Fresh off ‘Verzuz’, the R&B legend discusses everything from prison concerts to his pandemic beard to a disgraced collaborator

Don’t be fooled by the saccharine lyrics and melodies that ooze from Isley Brothers classics. The songs’ authors are gladiator competitive. Their iconic lead, Ronald Isley, is nothing short of loquacious when addressing this fact.

The man formerly known as Mr. Biggs admits that since the 1950s, he and his brothers studied the best with the clear intention of besting them. When Marvin Gaye made “Sexual Healing,” the Isleys birthed “Between the Sheets.” When Teddy Pendergrass released “Close the Door,” they followed with “Don’t Say Goodnight.”

Ronald wouldn’t even oblige Michael Jackson’s request to be produced by him — he…


The Emmy-winning drama reminded us that gay White men aren’t the center of the LGBTQ universe

Clockwise from top: Billy Porter, Mj Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson. Photos: FX

“Live. Werk. Pose.”

From the day it debuted on our television screens in 2018, announcing itself with those three words, Pose simultaneously told LGBTQ+ history and made it. The FX drama celebrated the same 1980s New York City underground ball and drag culture that the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning explored nearly three decades earlier to ecstatic reviews.

Paris Is Burning is a groundbreaking piece of cinema that gave LGBTQ+ people of color the unprecedented screen time that made the mainstreaming of RuPaul and his Drag Race possible. Similarly, Pose — which recently completed its three-season run — was a…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

Don’t make things awkward, son

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

5. “Ain’t Your Mama,” Jennifer Lopez

Just what your Mother’s Day soundtrack needs: an audio skewering of man-babies who refuse to grow the hell up, instead, playing Xbox all damn day and expecting a significant other to handle simple adult responsibilities like cooking and cleaning. We’re not gonna tell you what to do — we ain’t your mama, either — but we doubt this is the vibe you’re going for.

You see, this is exactly why you can’t rely on a keyword search to power your streaming choices. You’ll end up looking as bright as Prancer’s nose, playing a Christmas carol dead in the middle of…


Reckoning with the mortality of music gods

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium. Source: Getty Images.

In the span of two weeks in April, hip-hop lost DMX, Black Rob, and Shock G. Their ages were 50, 52, and 57, respectively. Fans could barely show proper respect for one fallen rapper before the next one passed. I won’t belabor the specific details of their deaths here, as the circumstances behind them are only now becoming fully documented—but also because the telling of them is painful. Besides, this isn’t a eulogy. It’s a plea.

For a time, the fatal shootings of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. seemed to have a chilling effect on hip-hop, drawing a line…


After years of making us laugh at our pain, the most likable man in comedy focuses on the most painful thing of all: our jobs

Photo courtesy Roy Wood Jr.

Roy Wood Jr. is the kind of guy who makes everyone comfortable. He has a talent for making strangers feel as if they grew up with him on his street in Birmingham, Alabama. Even if you have dissimilar viewpoints and values, you’d still want to sit and have a beer with him. It’s part of how Wood has been able to spend his career tackling difficult topics. It’s also why the 42-year-old comedian has remained busy, even in the midst of a pandemic.

In addition to being a correspondent on The Daily Show, Wood recently launched Roy’s Job Fair, a…


365 days ago, a group of actors learned that money and fame didn’t mean as much as they’d thought

Gal Gadot speaks at the 26th Annual Critics Choice Awards on March 7, 2021. Photo: Getty Images for the Critics Choice Association/Getty Images

A year ago, we were scared. The world had shut down, and nobody really knew how dangerous Covid-19 was going to prove to be. We were wiping down groceries, thinking that being anywhere near anyone else was a death sentence. Jobs were vaporizing; entire industries seemed to be shutting down. And we had a president we knew was constitutionally incapable of saving anyone’s life.

On this morning a year ago, Gal Gadot saw this dire state of the world and decided to do something. …


JUST RANKIN’ SH!T

‘All due respect, you got no f****in’ idea what it’s like to be #1'

The cast of The Sopranos posing
The cast of The Sopranos posing
Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

6. Season five

We fuck with Steve Buscemi as much as the next guy, but the blandness of this season is ultimately tied to his character, Tony Soprano’s cousin Tony Blundetto. As much as he seemed like a habitual line-stepper — in the mafia world, that means killing folk he probably shouldn’t — dude seemed more like an embarrassment of a relative than a true threat to Tony’s place in the mob.

This felt like an Italian homicidal acid trip. Focusing on character development rather than plot, it looked so deeply into its own navel it got lost in the lint it found…


JUST RANKIN’ SH!T

Yo, Adrian, they can’t all be champs!

Photo illustration: Save As/Medium; Photo: Hulu/Warner Bros

8. ‘Rocky V’ (1990)

Not only is Rocky damn-near brain dead after his narrow victory in this movie’s predecessor, he’s also broke as a joke, thanks to a shady-ass accountant. What’s left to do but [rewinds VHS] defend your honor by squaring up with your former protégé in the streets before patching things up with the estranged son you’ve been neglecting? All those haymakers to the head really started to take their toll on the script.

The American propaganda has always been as heavy-handed as one of Rocky’s left hooks, but there’s a line — and this film crossed it with a primary antagonist…

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