My comedy special is out!
As you may or may not know, I’m a huge fan of the artist Mikel Ameen and his whole World Changer Life movement. What you probably don’t know is that earlier this year I became his manager and it has been a hugely rewarding challenge.
All of that is to explain why I have such immense pride in posting his latest video to the song “Humans” taken from the EP project, “My BBC: Season 1“.
I hope today is a lesson for all my brothers. The same people you’re banging ACs to impress will be the first to laugh the day you get shifted. Live your life with all of its ups and downs.
Yes, entertainers can be down to their last 18p in the account. Kanye is a 21-time Grammy award winning musician and he is $53 million in debt. Why is this? Because creatives tend to be passionate individuals who accept higher risks for higher rewards. When it works out it’s wonderful, but we also work in an industry that preys on weakness. For entertainers, especially male ones, to admit to financial weakness is like defeat in the highest. Not only does it kill you but also your perception as an entertainer. You may not realise how much you do it, but we all respond to displays of wealth. When someone lives a good life, we assume they’re doing well, then we want to know about them, support them and give them more money and free stuff. There are a few artists who can get away with appearing poor, but even that is a carefully managed publicity situation.
Here in the UK, so many of your favourite artists are living off illegitimate money to keep up appearances and supplement poor earnings. Some still have bricks in the hood as well as tracks in the charts. If all UK rappers acted like their bank balance, the UK market would value them less and continue valuing US rappers more (even though many of them still do dirt too).
It’s a tough thing to say, but I’m living my truth. I make a living. I’m grateful for the opportunity to make a modest living doing what I love. Is it enough to stunt with and be all “showbiz” with? No. I’m just one of a few professional stand-up comics working in this country, passionate about their craft and handling their responsibilities. I don’t put my finances out there because it’s between my wife and I, but I feel no way in making it clear that without my wife’s support there are times I may not have made it through financially and that’s real. I do this so when the millions come, she can really enjoy. That kind of loyalty should be rewarded, not tested. There, that’s where I’m at.
I can drive but I don’t have a car. I won’t get one so I can keep up appearances. I’m going to get one when I can afford to run one comfortably. It’s easy to talk reckless about how much SOME entertainers get paid but how many of you would do your office job if you had to be broke/in debt for 5 years and a 1/100 chance that after 5 years you may make anywhere between a modest living and an extravagant amount of money, with little guarantee of how long it will last? How about if in order to keep your entry-level office job, you also had to look and live like an executive to have a chance of promotion? Even forget about all of that, how many of you could handle only making money when you shine at your job? If you only got paid when you excelled and stayed on your game, how many of you would survive? I respect everyone’s hustle, because I know I’m not built for the office life, in the same way, most aren’t built for entertainment entrepreneurship. I have so many examples of how broke I have been. I do travel and eat out, but I know where I had to make sacrifices for this dream.
When my wife and I started seeing each other, I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor in almost traphouse conditions. The first time I went to America after graduating, I went to New York for 4 weeks. Halfway through week 3, I had run out of money. This forced me to make the 2 hour journey into Manhattan every night, regardless of how I felt and try to get a 10 minute spot somewhere so I could impress the crowd and tell them I’d be at the door with my DVDs. I let people pay what they want and by putting all those $2-5 donations together I would eat the next day. There was a time I used to only turn the boiler on when it’s time to do dishes only because my fingers would freeze trying to wash them with cold water. The day I met Chris Rock, I had zero in my account but I had a bus pass. It was because I worked in Abercrombie & Fitch that I had free VIP entry to the club he was partying in. I did the 90 min bus journey up, just to wait for him, hand him my sh*tty DVD and leave.
If you’re an entertainer reading this, I’m sure you have your own stories. Be encouraged. Be true. If you’re a civilian reading this, then I can’t demand your respect. However, I can simply ask that you have an awareness of how much money affects creativity. This life is not as easy as most entertainers make it look on Instagram. When it’s sweet, trust me it is sweet. When it’s not sweet, you’ll be surprised how quickly you consider deets.
Can Joseph Fiennes play Michael Jackson?
Who should play Michael?
Are we ready to boycott?
Have we forgiven Flex Alexander?
I finally finished binge-watching “A Different World” and this is my write-up.
It’s probably one of the few shows that’s just distant enough from Bill Cosby to still be on Netflix but, yes he did create it. His vision for the show and empowerment of those black women to direct, write and produce a show that became increasingly poignant and relevant cannot be overlooked.
As I pointed out earlier, it’s really weird because there’s a whole episode dedicated to date rape. Maybe it was a coded message or a cover up…who knows?
The show dealt well with many issues. Some were a little on the nose but its racial, class and gender commentary was impressive. It was the first TV show to openly discuss AIDS and the bigotry surrounding it. I think Tisha Campbell’s character (and herself as an actress) did a great thing in that storyline.
One of my hopes for my comedy is that it would firstly be funny and entertaining but it would transcend that and be “useful to society”. In the same way Jon Stewart’s aim in starting “The Daily Show” was to increase the youth vote, I can only hope to inspire real progress and positive change. This show did that by inspiring many to go to college which is tangible. I think it also did the intangible by giving an identity to educated young black people.
I must say I enjoyed the cameos and seeing people who went on to great success. To name a few, Jesse Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Aries Spears, Kris Kross, Marques Houston, Jada Pinkett, En Vogue, Lena Horne, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Whoopi Goldberg and the guy who plays Olivia’s dad in Scandal. It’s a real all-star show.
The show did a good job of showing the murky waters people wade through in university to find love. For such a bright and clean looking show, there was no shying away from the cheating, lying, indecisiveness and friendships that mar the perfect romance story.
The character arcs of Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert (-Wayne) are nicely put together. The growth in confidence and life lessons really make you connect with them as individual characters and eventually as a couple.
I learnt so many reference points of the day through their humour. Amongst others, I noticed a recurring joke about Michael Jackson being “a gentleman”. Upon further research I realised that’s the answer he gave Oprah when she asked him if he’s a virgin. He told her he’s a gentleman. I love how comedy can provide a snapshot of the time it was created.
One of the things I look out for when watching a series is how well I connect with the opening sequence. Most of my favourite shows have me singing the theme tune with glee and enjoying it even though I’ve clearly seen it dozens of times. The evolution of this one did exactly that for me. Having a show’s theme tune eventually sung by Aretha Franklin (and for one season, Boyz II Men) can never hurt. Due to all the musical guests you could be sure there’d be great musical performances in the show.
I think the concept of it being a spin-off was almost a trick to get it made. The link from the first season was a little tenuous. It’s a great concept having one of the Huxtable kids go to college but Denise never really carried the show. Then again, it may have been because not much was written for her. The show actually got better when she left which is a tough for me to say since I really liked her and rooted for her. They just made her character so disposable with no real strong bonds to the other characters. She really was a butterfly character. I find it weird when shows continue and characters disappear like they never existed so it’s weird when Marisa Tomei’s character disappears with no explanation after season 1 or how Jaleesa fades away after having a baby. There’s a part of me that finds it a little scary. That sounds stupid…but that’s the closest word. I’m unsettled when people disappear and just are never spoken of again.
All in all, it’s a great standalone show that doesn’t need to be mentioned as a Cosby Show spinoff. It displays wit and slapstick humour side by side. It displays black experiences in their ups, downs and most importantly, their diversity. It’s unapologetically educational and that’s how I think it should be after six seasons in a college based sitcom. I just wish there was a graduating ceremony I could attend to fully express how much I appreciated my 6 years at Hillman.
This is the weekly web show I do about the news with Toby Muresianu.
Please watch, share and comment on it.
It’s going to be huge one day…get in at the ground floor! lol.
I battled for a long time to work out why I wanted to agree with this article but couldn’t whole heartedly. I think I’ve figured it out.
It’s not about these artists speaking out. To be frank I don’t need to know Miley’s thoughts on Ferguson anymore than I need to know Ja Rule’s thoughts on 9/11 (Chappelle Reference). The real problem can be summarised by the phrase:
“Black culture is popular, black people are not”
It’s all well and good getting involved with hip hop for the clothes, jewels and the turnup but if you don’t know the struggle, leave hip hop alone.
To take hip hop without the struggle is to only love your spouse when it’s convenient. Love is made for the hard times and hip hop was made for the struggle…even the party records.
Hip hop isnt just a sound, a dance style or dress sense you can co-opt for the sake of fashion, it’s a collective consciousness that expresses itself through these outlets. Using it as fashion is the perfect way to enjoy its fruits whilst being distinctly uninvested in its toil.
Justin Bieber can put on his thug bravado but he wont get treated like Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown. When the police come for him, it will not be 6 officers, an illegal chokehold and a lack of accountability. He cannot speak to what the original purveyors of hip hop understand and that is in truth, the problem at hand.
I’ve been doing a weekly Youtube topical show and it’s just occurred to me that I haven’t let you WordPress Subscribers know!
Please forgive me.
I do it with a great american comic and friend, Toby Muresianu. We’ve been trying to improve week on week and so far we’re 12 episodes in. We’ve taken a break and we’ll be back on 7th January for the next season. Please check out the season finale below and then feel free to go back and watch the previous episodes (even though they are no longer current).
If you like the show, please let me know, shout about it, and share it as that will give us what we need to keep going.