Tell It Tuesday: Why First Impressions Aren't Always the Right Impression

BACA
 By Ta-ning Connai

By the time I got to my friend's church, it was already in session. You could hear a pin drop as I tried to quietly squeeze myself through the congregation while scrambling towards that one empty seat. And before my butt could even hit the pews, the pastor decides to integrate me into his already scheduled program..."Yeah fellas, look out for these light skin girls strolling into church with their big curly hair, batting their big blue eyes, wearing their fly fur coats and them high heel boots. Uh huh, the devil is just trying to tempt you, and you gotta be strong because ya know they ain't up to no good! Oh yes sir, you better watch yourself because all they gonna do is get you caught up! One look into they eyes and they gonna steal your heart and take you for everything you got! I'm telling you ladies you better get your life right, stop playing with God because he ain't playing with you!"

I was stunned.

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Tell It Tuesday: To the People in Church Who Don't Want to 'Hug Thy Neighbor'


By Ta-Ning Connai

I LOVE TO LAUGH! Just sitting here thinking about it makes me feel like belting out a huge Ahahahaha! And nothing brings me more chuckles than a Facebook page called Church of Laugh, where nothing churchy is off limits. From feathery hats large enough to be a lethal weapon to choir leaders that should be officially banned from the mic forever, get ready for some gotta-catch-your-breath hilariousness! I find their mix of humor and the Christian experience quite the clever combo; ‘cause I just don’t see why everything about loving Jesus gotta be so sad like those old gospel hymns (sorry but, no I don't wanna go up yonder, yes I can DEFINITELY wait to get to Heaven, yes His grace is amazing, but do not call me a wretch, thanks). And while they usually have me in stitches, one recent post pointed to something that happens to me, and lots of other people in church, way too often.

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Tell It Tuesday: Eminem Drops Surprise Album & Proves that Hip Hop Beef & Transparency is Still Hot

By Ta-Ning Connai

First, I'd like to give my sincere condolences and a heartfelt prayer for all the rappers and rap critics that got slaughtered by Eminem on his unexpected sneak attack album, Kamikaze, on August 31:


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Tell It Tuesday: Why Critics of BlacKKKlansman Need to Chill

Photo via The Hollywood Reporter 
By Ta-Ning Connai 

Spike Lee has done it again! He’s made a movie that has pissed some people off. The man who garnered iconic status for his thought-provoking, in your face, knock you upside your head black conscious projects back in the early 80s to late 90s has not deviated from his brand of cinematic flavor, all of which has always made him a source of irritation for the Hollywood film industry.

Well, now Lee is back with his film BlacKKKlansman (produced by Jordan Peele), but this time around, it’s quite a few black folk that are irritated and extremely bothered by what they feel is a way too gentle approach to his signature storytelling. From Do The Right Thing, to Malcolm X to School Daze and more, you could always expect to leave “A Spike Lee Joint” fired up and ready to justifiably slap a white jerk in the face, but instead be inspired to “fight the powers that be” without lifting one little finger. BlackKKKlansman didn't do that for a good amount of black critics, including some really disappointed black fans. Yet, white film critics, and both the Sundance and Cannes film festivals are all giving it a thumbs up. What's that about?

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Tell It Tuesday: Here's Why This 11-Year-Old Rapper is the Youngest to Get a Major Record Deal

Alaya High aka Lay Lay
By Ta-ning Connai

“Be ready so you don’t have to get ready” is a motivational quote worth repeating. Even Will Smith, Rupaul, Conor McGregor and Snoop have found them worthy of retweeting. 11-year-old Alaya High wasn't born when those words came together, yet she sure seems to epitomize them nonetheless.

Empire Records has some heavy hitters from representation to distribution... Kendrick Lamar, Remy Ma, Migos and the late XXXTentacion. And since That Girl Lay Lay (her hip hop moniker) is one of the hottest things in the game right now, they put her on their roster, now she's the youngest artist ever to get a major record deal!

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Tell It Tuesday: Naturi Naughton & the Art of the Comeback

Naturi Naughton 
By Ta-ning Connai
Naturi Naughton is the epitome of a saying that I love: Your setback is a set up for your comeback. ‘Cause no one can play Tasha from the hit show Power like the middle girl from 3LW! I honestly didn't think she would ever rebound from the drama around her 2000’s girl group. However, slowly but surely she took the world by storm, reaching stardom after many years of obscurity.

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Tell It Tuesday: What Slim Thug Gets Wrong About Ciara Leveling Up

Slim Thug & The Wilson's 
By Ta-ning Connai

We haven't heard from Slim Thug since he spit rhymes on Beyonce's “Check On It” way back in 2006. And based on the rapper’s recent backlash he’s incurred, he’s probably wishing we weren't hearing from him now.

During a radio interview last week, the Houston native was asked if he thought a girl could date a good guy after having dated bad boys for a while. And that's when he decided, for no reason at all, to drag Ciara and her husband ‘cross the living room floor! He basically said that Ciara had a thing for street dudes and since she ended up with Russell Wilson, it must be all about the dough. He called Wilson corny, a square, lame and not cool...meanwhile, he just bought a pair of Russell's Nike shoes! Yo Slim, you had the nerve to tell the world you’re an undercover fan? But the worst part was when Slim said Ciara ain't changed and can’t adapt to a good man 😲.

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Tell It Tuesday: Hey Charlamagne, It's Still Rape, Even If You Marry Your Victim

Charlamagne & wife 
By Ta-ning Connai 

Charlamagne tha God has become widely known as the brash and in your face host of the syndicated radio show, The Breakfast Club. While notorious for rubbing many of his on-air guests the wrong way (like when Birdman said, “Put some RESPECK on my name!”), it's some disturbing information from a few years back that now has everybody up in arms.

A 2015 audio podcast has recently resurfaced where Charlamagne gives a chilling account of how he had sex with a woman after spiking her drink with Spanish Fly. He indecisively teeters back and forth about whether she was incoherent at the time and that's when my jaw literally hit the floor. 

Tell It Tuesday: Teyana, Don't Put Your Business in the Street if You Can't Stand the Heat

Teyana Taylor and Iman Shumpert
By Ta-ning Connai

Remember back in the days when Grandma used to say, “Don't go putting your business out in the streets”? Well, Grandma would be surprised to find that too much information has become WAY TOO MUCH information as the line between people’s personal and private lives have virtually been removed. This isn't just the case with regular folks, celebrities are doing it too. And in spite of having so much to lose and less to gain, they are handing us a VIP pass to stuff many of us neither want, need or deserve to know. The days of Hollywood mystique are gone and fans expect more transparency from the people they somehow have the power to make or break. But if a celebrity voluntarily spills their own beans, is it fair for them to shoot our opinions down?

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Tell It Tuesday: When All Else Fails, Climb the Statue of Liberty

Patricia Okoumou
By Ta-ning Connai

The Statue of Liberty on the 4th of July...what an ironic time and place to wage a protest against immigration laws, considering what both the monument and holiday stand for. It was the perfect place for Rise and Resist (a New York activist group) to oppose the Trump administration's asinine policy of inhumanely snatching innocent children from their parents.

And as disbelief swept across the globe and we saw children psychologically tortured and literally encaged, it was Patricia Okoumou, a member of Rise and Resist, who put her compassion to the test by making a statement of her own.

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Tell It Tuesday: A Lesson for Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson & Those Who Victim Blame


Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and Terry Crews
By Ta-ning Connai 

I use to love me some 50 Cent. Key words: USE TO. I know he got his start as one of the kings of Hip-Hop beefs, but now as a full-grown man with a bunch of kids and a whoooole lotta stuff to do, the beef he instigates on social media is RI-DI-CU-LOUS. Makes me wonder if 50 Cent will ever grow up, or will he keep acting like he's just a small dish full of loose pocket change?

The Power exec seems to take a peculiar kind of pride in trolling online conversations. The man who brought us “go shorty it's ya birfday" has taken on bullying like a sport and gossip like it's a part of his work out plan. And while most of his tweets had many of us cringing in disbelief, his most recent remarks about actor Terry Crews have many more saying, “Alright Curtis Jackson, ENOUGH!”

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Tell It Tuesday: Jay, Bey & the POWER OF FORGIVENESS


Jay & Bey
By - Ta-ning Connai

Whenever your doubters have you down for the count, here’s a list of things to do to show them you're still on top…
1. Shut down the Louvre in Paris
2. Rattle out some lyrics hot enough to burn down the Amazon Rainforest
3. Make sure you get it all on film

Simple right? Well, Jay and Bey sure make it seem that way. The famed museum was the backdrop for The Carters’ video for Apesh*t, the first single from their sneak attack album called Everything Is Love (dropped June 16).

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Tell It Tuesday: For Those Who Feel Like There's No Justice, Remember This

Tupac Shakur
By Ta-ning Connai

June 16 was Tupac Shakur’s birthday. And if he was still alive today, he would have been 47 years old. Often hailed as the greatest rapper of all time, he was Passion Manifested! Whether spitting prose like a modern Gil Scott-Heron, making gangsterish threats to a dope beat or dropping knowledge like the late Malcolm X...when he spoke, the brother made time stand still. And even while performing on the silver screen, he made the fictitious seem soooooo real. Like when Bishop killed poor Raheem and then went after Q in Juice...chiiiiile, I was so scurred, I wanted to jump off that ledge myself! The rapper turned actor deserved an Oscar for that piece and there was more great work to come.

Sadly, the thug life Tupac portrayed so well didn't end when the director said, “Cut!” The same passion that fueled his gifts fueled his anger too, ‘til one day he reached the point of no return.

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If Suicide Seems Like Your Only Hope, Try This Instead...

Anthony Bourdain
By Ta-ning Connai

I watched Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on a barely working television when I was living in a rinky dink hotel. It was a depressing period in my life and there was hardly anything that could cheer me up. By stumbling through the channels one day, I was instantly captivated by the professional chef’s people-loving skills as he effortlessly adapted to every culture he explored. From Koreatown to places I can’t pronounce, Anthony Bourdain seemed to love life, as delicious dishes and traveling the world were the vehicles he used to show it. Oddly enough, this interesting show about food was a vehicle God used to show me great possibilities beyond my surrounding circumstances. Although I knew in my heart things would change, Parts Unknown gave me a picture of what change could look like. I was encouraged by Bourdain’s struggles and the tremendous loss he had overcome and his “second time around” gave me the hope to hang on and wait for mine.

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Tell It Tuesday: How Football Led Kaepernick to a Higher Calling


Photo illustration by Cristiana Couceiro. Source photograph of Colin Kaepernick: Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/ Getty Images.

By Ta-ning Connai

There’s nothing like a man on a mission, especially a man who didn’t set out to be on one. Colin Kaepernick was getting busy on the turf when the call to activism came knocking. His stand against racial injustice came by way of a kneel and the rest, my friend, is history. 

Tell It Tuesday: Homeless to Harvard Teen Knows Real Success


Richard Jenkins
By Ta-ning Connai 

Sometimes the road to success is littered with disaster. For 18-year old Richard Jenkins, homelessness and lots of humiliation tried to obstruct his path. Yet, while living in a shelter surrounded by hopelessness and despair, he reached for books as his way of escape. As word spread at school regarding his obsession with reading, bullies taunted him relentlessly and called him “Harvard” as a joke. But his enemies had NO IDEA they were actually prophesying his future ‘cause baby boy can now officially say, “Whaddup Harvard University! I'm on my way and my scholarship is PAID IN FULL!” My my my, look who got the last laugh on his way to real success!

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Tell It Tuesday: Meghan Markle's #BlackGirlMagic is a Reminder of This


By Ta-ning Connai

Black Girl Magic is a big gigantic rainbow! And if Meghan Markle were a part of my 90’s inner city camp crew called Unlimited Flavors, she probably could've squeezed right in between me (they named me Nutty Coconut) and this girl we called Vanilla Almond Swirl! We were celebrating our black girl magic way back before the hashtag, loving what brought us together while embracing the ways we all stood apart.

Who knew decades later we’d be witness to an average sistah just like us plucked from obscurity and thrusted into royalty! Racists tried to deem the newly crowned Duchess unworthy right from the start, but Prince Harry was like, “Not today Satan!” and he shut that nonsense down!

Tell It Tuesday: Gabrielle Union's 'Breaking In' Will Have You Giving It Up to Mom.


By Ta-ning Connai 

Gabrielle Union was recently spotted wilin’out, throwing things and dropping bodies left and right! NO, not in real life (that'd be so weird) but in her new movie, Breaking In, which was released over Mother's Day Weekend. Instead of the same old “if you try to hurt me, my dad the ex-cop is gonna postpone his retirement, come after you and your crew, I'm gonna go free, and y’all gonna be dead and oh so sorry" flicks, we are finally presented with an exciting, refreshing storyline that's quite believable too.

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Tell It Tuesday: The Lesson in Jada Pinkett Smith's 'Red Table Talk'

L-R: Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Jada Pinkett Smith & Willow Smith 
By Ta-ning Connai

Jada Pinkett Smith is the realest! She's the perfect mix of class and sass, and will go gangsta on any fool who thinks she won't! She’s the reigning queen of killer abs and balances work and fam like nobody's business. All of which is why she'll always be my #WomanCrushWednesday every day of the week!

Red Table Talk aired May 7th on Facebook Watch, giving us a sneak peek into the real life connections between Jada, her daughter Willow and her mom, Adrienne Banfield-Norris.

Tell It Tuesday: Will Kanye Ever Be Great Again?

Photo taken by Ta-ning Connai in her Santa Monica neighborhood
By Ta-ning Connai

As soon as we think we've recovered from Kanye’s last outrageous stunt...SURPRISE!....he hits us with another dose of untapped foolishness! He recently poured out some pretty glowing feelings about the POTUS and I suppose he had to ignore Trump’s racist, misogynistic and morally decayed views in order to esteem him that way. The suck up continued with words like “brother,” “love,” and “dragon energy” (huh???) followed by a pic of Kanye sporting a Make America Great Again cap (again). But this isn't a person simply exerting the right to his opinion or political views, as his wife Kim tried to defend. Sadly, his comments point to his slow, but deliberate path towards “white is right, black is whack” (a phrase going back to the 70’s), and that alone is more disheartening than who he would cast his vote for.

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