James B.'s Recent Articles

Hair Brushes, Little Black Girls, and Whitney Houston

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Today would have been her 49th birthday, and it still feels a bit unsettling. While Whitney Houston’s voice was taken from us on February 11, almost 6 months ago, we have perhaps reached a place where we remember her as the same lady who made girls...

Hip Hop’s Father: What Rodney King Taught Us

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I didn’t grow up in Los Angeles. However, I felt as if I did. Black kids around to country were inundated with images of South Central, Compton, and Watts as a haven for gangs, violence, and police brutality. John Singleton’s Boys N The Hood was a blueprint...

Big Momma Thang: Black Women In Hip Hop Dominate LA Pride

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There has long been an adage that female emcees are gender-bending forces—undercover lesbians. However, many of them respect the freedom associated with falling outside of traditional gender roles. United Hip Hop women and the LGBT community may indeed propel a subsequent social movement for this...

I Seen A Rainbow Yesterday: Ten Years After We Lost Left-Eye

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  We’d just begun to accept the truth that Aaliyah was no longer with us, and then it happened, we lost dear sister Left-Eye. She left behind an indelible mark on pop culture which has yet to be duplicated. Left-Eye’s spontaneity, quirkiness, guts and soul...

Politicizing Beyoncé: A Pass or A Fail?

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Rutgers University recently made headlines for their Women’s Studies course entitled, Politicizing Beyoncé. The class, taught by Kevin Allred, identifies how “the performer’s music and career are used as lenses to explore American race, gender, and sexual politics.” Allred mentioned, “While other artists are simply releasing...

What Black Women Owe To Mary J. Blige

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If you ask her today, she’ll admit she never planned to become royalty, but to say that Mary J. Blige is merely another talented R&B singer-sista-friend is a considerable understatement. She is the grand dame Queen of the streets, the pioneering Soul heiress to Aretha,...