When Black Music Ain't Black

The British media snubs black artists: that's the gospel according to singer Estelle, and she's preaching to the converted, as far as I'm concerned. The list is long: Justin Timberlake, Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse, Robin Thicke - artists who are given huge media coverage simply because they're white artists doing soul. Now don't get me wrong - although I don't like white soul artists myself, I don't see why white artists shouldn't rap or sing soul, in principle. It isn't a case of black artists should stick to hip-hop and white artists to heavy metal. But there's a problem when amazing artists are overlooked because Justin Timberfake is stealing the limelight from, say, Nathan. As Estelle says,

"I'm not mad... but I'm wondering - how the hell is there not a single black person in the press singing soul? Adele ain't soul. She sounds like she heard some Aretha records once, and she's got a deeper voice - that don't mean she's soul. That don't mean nothing to me in the grand scheme of my life as a black person. As a songwriter, I get what they do. As a black person, I'm like: you're telling me this is my music? F*** that! They keep trying to tell me in the media what soul music is and I'm like, we know what soul music is, stop f***ing around with us! You're taking the p*** out of every black person in the country! And then they say, 'Oh, don't bring race into it.' We're not stupid, stop it."

There's dozens of talented could-have-beens littering the British music scene: Shaun Escoffery, Lynden David Hall, David McAlmont, Kevin Mark Trail (right), Beverly Knight, Tunde Baiyewu, Ephraim Lewis, Omar, Damage, Nine Yards... and the question remains: why would anyone want to waste a second on Justin Timberfake when you can have the real thing?

3 Teenagers Who Died Before They Lived

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the mounting death toll amongst teenage boys in London this year. At that time, eight young lives had been snuffed out. Since then, another three boys have been shot or stabbed to death.

A senior Metropolitan police officer had this to say: "There's no single thing that will stop 11 [murders] becoming 12. If you get to that age and you haven't got empathy with other human beings, then no amount of draconian policing will stop you becoming a violent offender. All murders have a signal event beforehand, be it a punch-up, act of [so-called] disrespect or a robbery, then it escalates and weapons are used."

The question of how to stop the killings seems to have eclipsed the issue of why. I doubt the kids know themselves.

9. Nicholas Clarke, 19, shot on 15/03/08

10. Amro Elbadawi, 14, stabbed 27/03/08

11. Devoe Roach, 17, stabbed 27/01/08

Does The DL Chronicles Feed The Machine?

Blogger and porn star Tre Xavier has condemned TV shows like The DL Chronicles and Keith Boykin's Beyond The Down Low as feeding the mainstream media's negative stereotyping of black gay men. In his latest blog for thugpornblog.com, Tre suggests the works "feed the racist white media machine with ammo to make it seem that guys having a secret gay life is a problem mainly among Black males, and not males of all races, ethnicities, and cultures."

The mere mention of that self-serving, hate-mongering separtist Boykin had my blood boiling enough for me to start cheering Tre on there and then, but I'm a fan of The DL Chronicles and I wonder if Tre might change his mind if he watched the four episodes of the show. One of the things I liked about the show was the fact that, although the main characters were all black or mixed race, they also came from different walks of life. Only in the third episode, Boo, did homothug raise his bald, gold-toothed head. The other characters (professionals and family men) could just as well have been white. And rather than living DL lives for one blanket reason (homophobia in the black community, as Tre suggests) The DL Chronicles delves into the numerous reasons why men might choose to live on the DL.

It also happens that The DL Chronicle's creators wanted to make a series about "men of color who by consequence and by choice, live sexually duplicitous and secret lifestyles" - in the same way that Noah's Arc is about men of colour and Queer As Folk is about white gay men. I don't see any problem with TV shows setting out to depict one particular racial group or another - should Seinfeld have had a black character crow-barred into the format for a bit of diversity, or should The Wayans Bros have had a white pal - just because? It's a fact, whether you like it or not, that most people stick with their own racial demographic. It's also a fact that plenty of people don't, but we've yet to see a TV show from the emerging gay television genre embrace diversity - only Rikki Beadle-Blair's criminally short-lived Metrosexuality (pictured above) managed to cram in the kind of racial (and sexual) diversity that you'll never, ever see on American television.

Being "DL" isn't the exclusive preserve of black gay men, and The DL Chronicles doesn't suggest it is. I haven't read Boykin's book, so I won't comment on that - but I bet I wouldn't have anything good to say about it if I had done...

Dalek Porn

Hmm, what could this be, I wonder?

The fourth series of the revived Doctor Who is to air on BBC One from Saturday 5th April 2008. See the full trailer here.

Screencaps courtesy of Doctor Who Online.

150,000 Americans Masturbating Right Now!

Here at the ka-os blog, it isn't all doom, destruction, devastation and despair - we like a laugh too. And who better to provide it than the Christian right? Our friend The Official Queen of Shade supplies the giggles today, with this story on "the REAL number one public health problem in America today: masturbation." Bet you never guessed, huh, kids. Put your hands where I can see them now, and read on...
Masturbation This page is dedicated to exposing the REAL Number One Public Health Problem in America today: Masturbation. If you have come here looking for Jokes or Humor about Masturbation, then you have come to the wrong place! But if you have come to be Educated on the Straight Facts about the EVILS of Masturbation, then Welcome! The Problem Masturbation is more dangerous than smoking. Doctors of a generation ago knew this, but since the Sexual Revolution of the 1960's, this fact has been lost in the "if it feels good, do it" mentality. Myth Masturbation is harmless. Reality Christianity proves that chronic Masturbation causes weakness, depression, forgetfulness and nearsightedness. Myth There are bigger problems than Masturbation, like drugs and AIDS. Reality Experts estimate that there are at least 150,000 Americans masturbating RIGHT NOW! Masturbation costs American businesses at least $3.14 billion in lost productivity every month! Myth Masturbation is not immoral. Reality Read your Bible. God was so offended when Onan spilled his seed upon the ground that God struck Onan dead! It is true that Onan wasn't Masturbating, but the point is that God hates it when men waste sperm, no matter what the reason. Myth Masturbation is a "Victimless Crime." Reality Theological experts on Masturbation have come to the conclusion that Masturbation is what is known as a "gateway" sin. This means that Masturbation leads to more serious offenses. In fact, practically all rapists, Sodomites, child molesters and pornography addicts started out as Masturbators. Myth Americans value their "Freedom" and will never stand for Masturbation being outlawed. Reality Oral and anal sex are already illegal in several States, and people like it that way! Masturbatory devices are already illegal in Texas, and the Police in San Antonio and Austin have aggressively enforced this law, even going as far as to torture clerks that worked in stores that sold indecently-shaped soap and candles, and there has been no public outcry. Myth But everyone's doing it! Reality Surveys have repeatedly shown that up to 5% of Americans don't Masturbate. The Solution How to stop the current epidemic of Self-Abuse in America? We need the same tactics and the same kind of get-tough attitude that has been so successful in the War On Drugs! Control of Paraphernalia Drug abuse has been slashed by the outlawing of drug accessories such as syringes and marijuana pipes. If we are to get tough on Masturbation, we must eliminate Masturbatory paraphernalia. This means outlawing such things as: *Personal vibrators and other Masturbatory devices such as dildos and blow-up dolls. *All candles, no matter what their shape, must be banned. *All indecent art. This includes paintings, sculptures and photographs. We don't need the Victoria's Secret catalog! Simple, modest underwear would sell itself and minimize unGodly temptations. *Certain food. If we outlaw dildos and require that all sausages, cucumbers and carrots be sold pre-sliced, we will make it much easier for the women among us to resist the temptation to Masturbate. Intensive Urine Testing Christians have discovered that men produce sperm cells constantly. All that sperm has to go somewhere! If an unmarried man doesn't masturbate, all the sperm cells he produces end up in his urine. It would be very simple to require unmarried men to submit frequent urine samples, which could then be examined under a microscope. If an unmarried man has a low concentration of sperm cells in his urine, it means he has been having orgasms one way or another! Therefore he is guilty of either Masturbation or Fornication and should be imprisoned! Random urine testing in the War On Drugs has been a very powerful weapon! We should not hesitate to harness it for use in the War On Masturbation! Zero Tolerance! Zero Tolerance has been a rallying cry in the War On Drugs, and is a policy that should be enacted immediately in the War On Masturbation! Any amount of Masturbation is too much! Any person caught touching his or her genitals without a solid, medically-approved reason should be imprisoned in a boot camp. We will teach our children that God did not give us genitals for entertainment. Property Seizure Many police departments will seize the cars and homes of people who are caught with drugs. Americans For Purity has called for the homes and cars of people who are caught Masturbating to be taken away without due process and auctioned off, with the money going to anti-Masturbation law enforcement. Surgery Certain supposedly "primitive" tribes in Africa have completely eliminated Masturbation among their women! How was this amazing feat accomplished? Through a very simple operation called a Clitoridectomy, which is analogous to circumcision in the male. (Clitoridectomy has gotten a bad reputation in the West, but only because in Africa it is often done with crude instruments, without anesthesia, and under unsanitary conditions. When it is mandated in America it will, of course, be done in a sterile, modern operating room with anesthesia.) A woman who has had a Clitoridectomy is permanently cured of Masturbation and other lascivious behavior, but the Godless bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. have had the audacity to OUTLAW this operation! One of the main goals of Americans For Purity is to not only repeal the laws against Clitoridectomy, but to make it mandatory for female children (who will never miss the part that is removed if it is done early enough). And surgery isn't just for Females! Many have suggested Castration or Clitoridectomy for adult Males or Females that are repeat Masturbatory offenders. Chemotherapy In the last few years, Doctors have begun to use a class of drugs known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs such as Prozac and Celexa) to combat the Depression that accompanies Chronic Masturbation. The primary Therapeutic benefit of SSRIs is achieved by enhancing the action of Serotonergic neurons in the Raphe Nucleus of the midbrain that inhibit the Orgasm reflex. A patient who takes an SSRI is cured of Masturbation because he or she finds that it takes an hour of intensive effort to achieve a disappointingly anti-climactic Orgasm. After the patient gives up on Masturbating, his or her Depression improves dramatically. Officials are studying a plan to routinely add SSRIs to soft drinks and school meals.

8 Teenagers Who Died Before They Lived

Towards the end of last year, I wrote about London's horrible death toll in 2007: twenty-five teenagers were murdered - by other teenagers.

Well, three months into 2008, and London is on track to beat that record, with eight kids stabbed or beaten to death in the capital so far. By the end of the year, if that rate is maintained, thirty-two youths will be dead.

Here is the roll call of this year's lost boys:

1. Henri Bolombi, 17, stabbed on 1/01/08

2. Faridon Alizada, 18, stabbed 4/01/08

3. Louis Boduka, 18, stabbed 21/01/08

4. Fuad Buraleh, 19, beaten to death 26/01/08

5. Sunday Essiet, 15, stabbed 19/2/08

6. Tung Le, 17, stabbed 23/2/08

7. Ofiyke Nmezu, 16, beaten 15/2/08, died 29/2/08

8. Michael Alexander Jones, 18, beaten to death 13/03/08

How many more?

The Angels Of Edgware Road

The third anniversary of the 7/7 bombings is approaching, and Channel 4 will be screening two documentaries on the subject, 7/7: The Miracle of Carriage 346 and 7/7: The Angels of Edgware Road.

"There stories are not only incredibly powerful, but they also tell us something about human nature," Channel 4 say. "Bystander apathy does not always kick in, but here when it really mattered people risked their own lives to save strangers."

The events of 7/7 - and, of course, September 11th - are too often eclipsed by the subsequent political manoeuvrings; by the intrigue and the accusations and the self-aggrandising conspiracy theories. It's important to remember that people just like you and me - black, white, Christian, Muslim, atheist, gay and straight - were blown to pieces on their way to work, probably whilst doing nothing more than listening to an iPod or reading the newspaper.

Amidst the debate about Iraq and dossiers and oil, don't lose sight of that. We could be next.

Astoria To Close

Cult music venue - and home to the infamous G.A.Y. - Astoria Theatre is to close. The club is a victim of Crossrail, the multi-billion pound rail project linking Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west right, across central London, into Essex and Kent in the east.

Mayor Livingstone had this to say: "The construction of Crossrail means that the Astoria can't be saved. We're basically putting in a vast train station but the developers that have actually drawn up the scheme for the area are replacing it [the Astoria] with a larger live music venue."

The venue has been under threat for some years, with developers keen to sweep away the pound shops and low rent fast food joints that characterise the area. The crossroads of Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road, New Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road is notoriously scruffy and rundown, and it seems a shame that it's going to be "re-developed" (i.e. sanitised). Give me a bit of scruff and ruff and tumble anyday - luxury flats and yet more American multinationals are a bleak prospect. Take your Abercrombie & Fitch and shove it where the sun don't shine, Yankee scum!!


Rod 2.0 reports on the cancer-related death of Serapis Kephra, an Atlantis-based model and dancer who went by the name of K-Rock. He was 33.


Not so very long ago, exclusively gay TV shows were non-existent. Certainly, there were gay characters in mainstream shows, but no shows just for us. That's all changed in the last few years, and since Queer As Folk debuted in 1999 (with a superior US version appearing the following year), TV shows in which we're the majority - not the minority - have been springing up like erections in a Bel Ami flick. Noah's Arc, Dante's Cove, Metrosexuality, The Closet - and The DL Chronicles.

The DL Chronicles differs from its cousins in looking at a different set of characters in each self-contained episode, with narrator Chadwick Williams (Damian T. Raven) and the theme of "men of color" living sexually duplicitous and secret lifestyles the unifying factors. The four episodes that make up the first season are refreshingly varied, featuring men in various situations and of differing circumstance. But cast an eye over a handful of reviews of this series and you'll discover it's the third episode, Boo, which receives the most acclaim.

Undoubtably, Oneil Cespedes, playing Boo, is platinum grade eye candy, and turns in one of the strongest performances in all the episodes; it's also one of the best realised episodes. But the story - that of a downlow player and a thug - is the most obvious one; it's a crowdpleaser. Everyone wants to be a thug, and those that don't wanna get one. In particular, Boo has been trumpeted as the definitive vision of black gay masculinity, against Noah's Arc, which critics accuse of camping it up (presumably for showing some gay men acting fem). That isn't a criticism of the episode, however, just a rationale for its popularity amongst viewers.

Interestingly, Boo is shown sleeping with just about anyone - female, male, black, white, whatever. Despite being sold as a series about "men of color", the cast is actually racially ambiguous, and doesn't seem intent on perpetuating racial separtism in the gay community like Queer As Folk (which in five years didn't feature any non-white characters) and Noah's Arc (where the only whites seen on screen were gay bashers).

The other episodes are all strong in their own right, and often surprising. My only real gripe is the intrusive and dated background music - give me the intelligent, soundtrack-free experience of The Wire and The Shield. The ponderous piano employed on The DL Chronicles, so beloved of indie producers, is jarring.

Music aside, The DL Chronicles is hugely enjoyable, heartfelt, and perhaps most importantly, promises much more. Roll on season two.
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