Monday, November 06, 2006

Tavis, Oxy and On the Phone With Ti-rone

Our interview with Tavis Smiley finally aired on Sunday 11/5.
We made another quickie trip to L.A. for a gig at Occidental College 11/6 to kick off their "Exploration of Blackness" conference. We got in late Sunday night and had arranged to meet with Brian Price, Nat. H's old friend from high school, and his wife, also an HU grad Nikel.
At Monday's talk at Occidental, students filled the auditorium of every hue. Introduced by theme music, we read the "Tyroninity" chapter which breaks down the Tyrone code, then afterward, we continued the discusssion with a roomful of select students. Thanks Alexandria for feeding us off your meal card, and the countless other Oxy students and administrators who ferried us around, paid our hotel and otherwise gave us the star treatment at the urging of Kenjus and Ryan, the two organizers extraordinaire of Oxy's Blackness exploration. We would have paid good money to see their conference earlier this year, the highly controversial "Exploration of Whiteness" conference. The study of Whiteness and privilege is one of the most exciting fields of academic research going. Strangely enough, there was no such backlash to the Blackness conference. Apparently to some people, it is still only OK to look at "black" problems, and "white" problems are strictly off limits.
After lunch we borrowed an Oxy administrator's office to conduct a 30 minute phone interview with "On the phone with Ti-rone" star Brad Sanders, who Brian agreed to hook us up with. (Good looks, Brian!) Both The Natalies grew up in the Midwest listening to Sander's On the Phone with Ti-Rone radio advice column Cla'ence Updates recapping the soaps. And of course, Brad tapped into the Tyrone code before Erykah. During an interview for his radio show, We had a giggle-filled repartee with Brad about our Tyroninity theory. We explained our thesis that Dave Chappelle aptly diagnosed the formula for deciding whether a media figure is good or bad for The Race. It is a blurry, ambiguous and fine line to straddle, but there is nothing in between: you are either dancing or shuffling, playing or getting played, a pimp or pimped. We gave Brad/Ti-Rone/Cla'ence a few examples.
Flava Flav--shuffling
Been shuffling for a minute. Was dancing with Public Enemy in the 1980s, but something went awry on cable.
Kanye West--dancing
KW is in full control of his trickster powers. Just listen to Kanye explain to MTV why he recently stormed the stage to protest losing at the MTV Europe awards: "It was not a publicity stunt, but I wouldn't be against doing something like that as a publicity stunt," Kanye told MTV. "How can you pull a publicity stunt at an awards show? Why are you there for? You at the award shows for publicity and to stunt...I think more people should drink when they at award shows...If you was in a dream world right now, what would you do? That's what I be doing...If anything, people should have an inspiration from it."SOURCE.
Later on that evening we sat on a "Blackness" panel with black Oxy faculty and the Natalies found ourselves in the bizarre position of defending Tiger Woods and Condi Rice from the black authenticity police. We don't understand Condi and The Cablinasian's choices but we don't blame them for the racism that drove them there. Let's keep it moving, people! Nothing to see there. To us, "Blackness" is about focusing on the real solutions to real problems facing black people. And sometimes it takes a trickster remind us about the crucial details.

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