Birth: Not Quite, Baby. And Baba Talks to R. Kelly Today

Well, I got done with Birth of a Nation on my plane ride to Connecticut. The best thing about plane is they are a great chance to catch up on reading. When I was in graduate school, my knowledge of the material would generally be much higher the busier I was writing and living. Why? Because for me to be busy writing and living means travelling, which would mean travelling, which would mean hour on plane with nothing to do but read. Every now and then, I’d have to turn around and give the ice grill to someone’s incorrigible bundle of joy to stop the lil’ fucker from kicking me in the back and doing a dead-on impression of a cracked-out banshee.

There was a bit of that on my flight back, but not on the way up, so I got into this book. It’s pretty clever, and it has some seriously uproarious moments. First, the idea that East St. Louis would secede is pretty funny. Really, if Illinois tried to give the East to Missouri, the loser of the ensuing Civil War would be forced to keep the 618. Think I’m playin’? If you do, you’ve clearly never seen that place. Just bad news. In fact, it’s worse than the VA enclave known as “Bad News.”
I’d be wrong to tell you too much about the book itself, but you could finish it while standing in the bookstore. The fun stuff about the book comes from the interpretations, which is pretty typical for a satire. It’s obvious that the John Roberts character is Bob Johnson, but I can see now why Bob would have no problem hiring Reggie Hudlin for that big job at BET (though I’m pretty sure Bob has nothing to do with BET anymore). This Roberts character is an obvious schiester, a cat devoted to self under the guise of assisting black people. What in that would offend Bob? That’s what he is. Game recognizes game, man. Bob may feign anger when people say these things about him, but I’m almost positive he knows that’s the deal. Bob does hate Aaron McGruder–and considering that Aaron was involved, this was pretty tame–but no one can be faulted for working with Aaron. Right now, he is the pre-eminent black commentator.
Does it disturb you that such a title goes to a cartoonist? It should, but it must be said that Aaron’s a helluva sharp cat. Catch me in conversation and I’ll give you a great story from the first time I interviewed him.
Anyway, the questions about Reggie’s hiring are pretty moot. Pretty soon, though, we’re going to hear a lot of questions about how Aaron feels about those of mixed ancestry. There’s a really funny character named Shannon/Kabilah in the book. She’s the total opposite of Jasmine in The Boondocks. Where Jasmine is confused, very much the “tragic mulatto,” this one here is a very Malcolm X-ish “angry light skinneded negro.” Funny stuff comes from that. In fact, ’bout every militant in the book is hysterical. They could all have run with Ben Buford in Shaft.
Those are the things I’d look for if I were looking at the book again. No one I know has read it, so feel free to peep those things so I can have someone to talk about the book with. Don’t buy it, though. Not worth the bread.
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Also, today, I’ll be part of a conference call with one Robert Kelly. That there should be something. That’ll be up on the bidness blog.

3 thoughts on “Birth: Not Quite, Baby. And Baba Talks to R. Kelly Today”

  1. Fred Batiste, A Weapon of Mass Destruction

    Haters wanna hate, lovers wanna love..I don’t even want..none of the above..I wanna piss on youuuu..piss on you i’ll piss on you i’ll pee…oops my bad…
    So..um. Reggie Hundlin’s over Coon TV/MTV Dark/MTV en Negro/BET….does that mean we get to see a remake of house party featurin’ Nick Cannon (he’s hilarious)….nevermind..i don’t watch BET anymore…
    But Bo..what kind of questions will you ask Robert Sylvester Kelly…”The American Urinator!!!!”

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