Go Hard or Go Home!

Last weekend before the weekend of all the rain I had the greatest weekend ever. Saturday was like a worldwide vacation. New York (shopping at South-park Mall Charlotte), Miami (mojitos at Rum Bar and Grill), Cuba ( Taste of Havana ) & The French Quarters (dinner at Cajun Queen) all in one day. I love my life!! And my friends.

Whenever anything really great happens to anyone in our set, Kewon says, “I’m convinced God loves us more than anyone else.” LOL! I won’t go that far, but I think there’s a special place in God’s heart for a certain batch of Charlatans and their closest friends. It’s the only way to explain the constant level of joy and laughter that is our lives.

Anyway, like 15 of us gather at the great sangria spot on Thursday to celebrate Ariel’s up and coming trip to California. Somewhere between pitcher one and pitcher ten, Kewon mentions this new Grown Folks line dance/ dance craze I’ve never heard of called the Go Hard or Go Home. He insists it tops the Electric Slide, which we all denounce as impossible. The Electric Slide is a Black folks institution like church. Can it be “topped?”

Uh, maybe.

Kewon sent me the clip of the dance. I can’t wait to get on the hardwood at a real grown folks event so I can strut through this one.

Check out the chick in the blue dress. Mama is in stilettos and not playin’ with her Mary!:

Is this better than the Electric Slide?

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Men Cry Rivers just in different ways!

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“Why is it always the women who are heartbroken and disappointed, as opposed to men?” –S.D.

I’m unsure where this idea came from, but I’ve heard the assumption that “men don’t have feelings” enough to recognize that among some people, it’s a prevailing idea and one that couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course men get heartbroken and disappointed. They are human. Those feelings aren’t reserved for women.

It’s as though women who say this have never heard of Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak. That was a whole aching album from an incredibly heartbroken man going through the five stages of grief. Take it old-school back to Lenny Williams and “Cause I Love You,” in which he has a full-on meltdown singing about how lonely he gets: “Oh, oh, oh!” If you didn’t catch it, that was the sound of a broken heart. Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes let loose on “I Miss You,” making it clear to anyone listening that Melvin is disappointed, agitated and in dire need of his ex. Those are just a few of my favorites; I could make a list of hundreds if challenged.

For clarity, men are not women with penises. Via nature, they’re wired differently, and via nurture (i.e., socialization) they’re usually taught to respond differently from women — for instance, holding back tears that women might let flow or clamming up when women would want to talk.

Some women make the mistake of assuming that men don’t have feelings just because, in general, they don’t express them the same way women do. And some women use that faulty reasoning to treat men with less care than they should, which is never OK. Expressing their feelings differently doesn’t mean men don’t have them.

It sounds as if you may be in the midst of your own heartbreak and don’t understand why the object of your affection doesn’t feel the way you do. If it was a casual relationship, he may not. Guys don’t tend to put as much emphasis on being in a relationship as women do; nor do they tend to define themselves by their relationship.

However, men get incredibly hurt when a relationship in which they are emotionally invested ends. In fact, a 2010 study by the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that breakups take a greater toll on men than on women. The study also found that while women were more likely to be depressed after a breakup, men were more likely to turn to substance abuse.

Just because men don’t engage in the stereotypical activities that are assigned to heartbroken women in films — like consuming vast quantities of ice cream, crying incessantly or talking about their ex ad nauseam — doesn’t mean they don’t feel anything. Again, they just handle it differently — or, even better, they don’t do it in front of you.

I’m privileged to have several close platonic male friends who have been around for more than a decade. And unfortunately, I’ve been a listening ear for more than a few who were going through what I like to think of as post-traumatic breakup disorder.

I haven’t yet had one cry on my shoulder, but it wouldn’t surprise me if, in quiet hours when they got to thinking after drinking, some tears were shed. And yes, post-breakup, guys do talk about their previous relationship and ex to an annoying extent, but they tend to share their confidences with close friends and relatives, not necessarily anyone listening, as some women are prone to do. Never seen a man binge on desserts, but I’ve seen more than a few react by consuming more tequila shots or cognac than seemed humanly possible — not that it’s any better. Just different.

Why are black women still supporting Tyrese?

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I have a friend who looks similar to Tyrese. He has the same complexion and chiseled features, and a fondness for wearing plaid shirts, which Ty wore in a pivotal scene as Jody in John Singleton’s Baby Boy.

Last year, that friend and I were standing backstage at a music festival when a group of “mature” black women approached us to ask my friend for an autograph. He laughed, explained that he was not Tyrese and apologized for the confusion. One woman responded, “We should have known it wasn’t him as soon as you were polite. Tyrese is an a–hole.”

I wondered, “So why did you want his autograph, then?” But I didn’t say that, of course, because who in their younger right mind talks slick to a “mature” black woman?

I’ve thought about that incident several times, and I can’t find a logical reason that audiences continually flock to entertainers — not just Tyrese — who are repeatedly rude and disrespectful to them, whether in person or via their public persona.

Last week Tyrese engaged in another one of his infamous foot-in-mouth rants when asked by AllHipHop.com about his responsibility as an entertainer to inspire fans to live healthier lifestyles. It was an odd question, considering that the singer-actor-best-selling author isn’t a weight-loss guru, but Tyrese’s hateful response was even stranger (and inarticulate):

“If you are fat and nasty and you don’t like the way you look, do something about it,” he said. “It’s simple. When you take a shower and you put your fat, nasty body in the shower and by the time you get out, the mirrors are all steamed up, so you don’t look at what you did to yourself. That may sound offensive or insensitive, but ultimately, you are big as hell because you have earned that s–t. You worked your ass off to eat everything in sight to get big as hell.”

“Fat and nasty”? “Big as hell”? “Did to yourself?” Well, dang. Tell us how you really feel about some of your fans, Ty. It’s as if he’s never been to one of his own concerts or book signings, where the audience is populated mostly with black women (and their dates), and seen that many of them, including the guys, fall into the fluffy-and-fabulous realm.

Weight, of course, is an issue that many Americans need to address. More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, and non-Hispanic blacks, Tyrese’s core audience, have “the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity” in comparison with other groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But Tyrese is part of the problem, not the solution. Shaming fat folks as “nasty” and “big as hell” isn’t exactly providing anyone with inspiration — what the interviewer asked about — to head to the nearest gym.

I don’t wish to seem as if I’m unfairly harping on Tyrese. Plenty of entertainers make rude or offensive remarks. And if this were Tyrese’s first offense, he’d be a footnote to make a larger point about celebrities like Terrence Howard or Taye Diggs who don’t know when to give a politically correct or PR-trained answer or just shut up. But this is at least Tyrese’s third.
Prior to this most recent gaffe, he was doing his damnedest to explain (for dummies) why his video for “I Gotta Chick” was mostly devoid of black women. “I don’t do favors,” he tweeted in response to the backlash from his fans. “Doesn’t matter the race!! I’m black as [s–t]!! Love my sisters!! You do auditions and go for the BEST! Not race!! Love u!”

I didn’t make too much fuss over that one because the last thing the world needs is more objectified black women wiggling around half naked in a video. But still, I find it unbelievable that there was a call for models to be featured in a Tyrese video and only homely black women showed up for the audition.

In the unlikely and far-fetched chance that this actually happened, then yes, he should have done another audition to “do a favor” for the women who look like the majority of the ones showing up at his venues — who watch his shows and films and put his book on the New York Times best-seller list.

Oh, but he wasn’t done yet. Months later, when the flak for that gaffe had finally died down, he was back at it — this time taking shots “in particular” at “independent” black women” (and gay men) in an interview for Necole Bitchie.

“Then some women are so on this independent kick, they end up alone,” Tyrese said. “You’re going to ‘independent’ your way into loneliness. You go off and buy all the little poodles you want.”

Independence is a problem … except when women use their disposable income to buy his books, or purchase tickets to his concerts and summer blockbusters, right? Maybe his independent fans can curl up with their pups as they watch reruns of Baby Boy on BET.

Never have I seen an artist who is so ungrateful or disrespectful to his fan base but who feels all too comfortable pitching them products like his latest project, a self-directed and narrated documentary, A Black Rose That Grew Through Concrete. It’s a chronicle of his life, from his humble beginnings to becoming a singer-author-actor.

More Tyrese? Maybe for you, but I’m good. I’ve already heard enough.

Follow me on twitter @camronzoe