LEMONADE: The Middle-Aged White Man’s Guide

Sick of having your daughters dancing around the house singing about Becky With The Good Hair and not knowing what they’re talking about. I’ll break down Beyonce’s latest “joint”, LEMONADE and you’ll be so far ahead of the other dads at the next soccer game, they’ll turn green with envy, boo

It comes down to four people:

JAY-Z: You know him. Hova, Jigga, the man who has 99 problems, but a b—h ain’t one

BEYONCE: You know her. Wife of Jay, Queen Bey, The Artist Formerly Known as Sasha Fierce, Duchess of H Town, the woman who made halftime at the Super Bowl completely infuriating to Fox News viewers

DAMON DASH: Co-founder (with Jay-Z) of Roc-A-Fella Records. Former friend and business partner of Jay-Z. Aaliyah’s lover at the time of her passing 15 years ago. Speaking of Fox News, Damon’s sister goes on there all the time, trashing Obama

RACHEL ROY: Former wife of Damon Dash. Mother of his two children. Fashion designer who worked for Rocawear, the clothing arm of Roc-A-Fella

If you can keep these four people straight, you hold the keys to the kingdom

Remember this?

In May of 2014, that footage was released, showing Solange Knowles, sister of Bey (I know I said you would only have to remember four people, but, trust me on this) trying to whoop Jay’s ass for some reason. At the time, no one could figure out what was up. Turns out, Solange was upset that Jay was getting a little too close with Rachel (Damon Dash’s ex). Allegedly, the Knowles sisters had approached Rachel and asked her “What’s up?” re her relationship with Jay-Z. So, that’s what the elevator drama was all about (Queen Bey sort of addressed it in the Flawless remix from two years ago)

And, so, I can reveal to you that (most likely) Becky With The Good Hair=Rachel Roy. In one of the most emotional songs on LEMONADE (Sorry), Bey sings

He only want me when I’m not there
He better call Becky with the good hair

Which means that Jay is hooking up with his “side piece” when Queen Bey isn’t around

That's pretty good hair, alright
That’s pretty good hair, alright

Rachel all but confirmed that she was Becky with an since-deleted instagram post that said “good hair don’t care” (Roy now denies this and says her instagram was misunderstood)

So, that’s it. Well, not exactly. LEMONADE also addresses police brutality against African-Americans, coping with fame, and Serena Williams (somehow), but no one is talking about that stuff. Also, there’s a companion piece on HBO, which evokes The Color Purple, among other things, but The Search For Becky has been topic number one in America for the past 72 hours or so. And now you know. This will make you the coolest dad EVER! But let’s be real: It also makes you SEVERELY uncool because you invested time into this. How you present the information is key

My recommendation: If you see someone acting weird while you’re taking your daughter to get frozen yogurt, say something like “He better call Becky With The Good Hair”. This should elicit some laughter and an “Oh, Dad!”. You’ve scored, but don’t push it. Put that one away for at least five days

Then, maybe you see some woman at church who is having a “bad hair day”. This is a great opportunity to slip in a “I bet she’s not Becky With The Good Hair” in a whispered aside to your teenage daughter. Perhaps you get a snicker. Perhaps you get a disgusted grunt. Fatherhood is all about taking chances

Don’t tell your wife about this information. She’ll just jump the gun and try to beat you to the punch on being cool. If your wife does get the info from you and then can’t keep it in her pants, tell her “stop biting my style”. This will help you save face. Also, don’t learn any lyrics from LEMONADE, some of which contain the “n word”. You’re playing with fire there, dad

Oh, you should also know that Jay-Z and Beyonce could be exaggerating all the stuff on LEMONADE or completely making it up to sell stuff. Be careful at how you break that news to your offspring: Kids are so fragile and naive to the ways of the world, boo

MLK, Public Enemy, and the NFL

It’s widely believed that the NFL is currently at the apex of it’s power. The league has the number one program on FOUR networks (five, if you count their own channel). Will Smith put out a film last month chronicling some fairly awful behavior by the league and the movie barely made a dent (Star Wars had something to do with that, which brings me to my ultimate conspiracy theory that the NFL worked with Disney to release SW at the same time as Concussion, so that everyone would go see the former and not the latter). And the league is going to get a franchise or two in LA and get more than $300 million from the Rams’ owner as a “relocation fee”. As a bonus, Mr. Kroenke will pay for new digs for the NFL Network and a new home for the combine at ZERO cost to the league. The stock market my be sucking wind in 2016, but money is falling from the sky for the National Football League

But, the NFL has had considerable political and socio-economic power for some time. In the 1990s, they even forced the state of Arizona to recognize a holiday honoring the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

A lot of people under the age of 35 could be forgiven if they thought that Dr. King was a pretty universally praised man when he was alive, who was saluted with street names and statues following his death. But, Dr. King was a polarizing figure in American history. He was mocked, incarcerated, and ultimately assassinated for trying to make sure African-Americans had the same rights and opportunities other Americans had enjoyed for nearly two centuries

Following his assassination in 1968, it became politically fashionable for people who had fought Dr. King’s ideals to soften and salute his memory. Many Americans came to realize that what Dr. King had been working for was good for America and was an important part of our evolution as a country

The first time an MLK holiday was introduced in Congress was 1979 and it was opposed because another paid holiday for federal employees would be unfair to taxpayers and giving a holiday for a private citizen would be against longstanding (if not arbitrary) tradition. The motion failed to pass in the House of Representatives (then controlled by Democrats) by 5 votes

In 1983, it came up again and the bill passed in the House (still controlled by Democrats) 338-90. Then it went to the Senate where North Carolina’s Republican Senator, Jesse Helms, fought it tooth-and-nail. On October 3, as the MLK Holiday Bill was being considered, Helms distributed 300 page packets to every senator detailing Dr. King’s alleged ties to communism. New York Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan stood on the senate floor and declared the papers a “document of filth” and proceeded to stomp on them right there in full view of every senator and the entire world

The bill passed the Senate and President Reagan (who had initially opposed an MLK Holiday) signed it into law November 2, 1983. The first MLK Holiday took place in 1986

This is where it gets fun

Wanna take a guess as to what year when all 50 states recognized a Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday? If you said 1990 then BUZZ! You would be wrong. 1995? NOPE

How about the year 2000?

Yes, as the 20th century was coming to an end and we were all recovering from those Y2K premonitions, the great state of South Carolina (yep, the same one that gave up the ghost on the confederate flag 150 years after the Civil War ended) threw in the towel and said “What the hell?”

Many states who “didn’t agree” with the federal government’s actions decided to slow roll MLK Day. Again, in 2016, it’s hard to imagine this. The man was killed. He was recognized as a historically monumental figure in getting basic rights to people whose ancestors had been enslaved. He got his own holiday after fierce debate. Still, some states said “Nah. Not for us”

In November of 1990, Arizona put the MLK Day up for a vote. A referendum was held and voters shot it down. Enter Public Enemy

Last Year’s Straight Outta Compton gave moviegoers insight into how hip hop can be reflective of elements of society and culture that they might not be normally exposed to. Specifically, N.W.A. shone a bright light on the gestapo tactics of the Los Angeles Police Department

Today’s hip hop centers on large posteriors, fat stacks of cash, and “poppin’ bottles”. But, there was a time when some artists were using the art form to educate and illuminate about what was going on in “the hood”. Public Enemy, fronted by Chuck D, had always been about telling America about things they turned away from: Racism, soci-economic disadvantages of African-Americans, mass incarceration of black men, and racist images from Hollywood (man, I’m glad the entertainment industry fixed that)

So, PE was keeping a sharp eye on the situation in Arizona and responded with a track called “By the Time I Get to Arizona” (they even nod to Glen Campbell)

The media decided to wring its collective hands over the violent imagery depicted. In the video, a fake governor is assassinated with a fake car bomb. Meanwhile, the REAL guy who REALLY got killed couldn’t get the state to recognize his holiday

Paul Tagliabue, the commissioner of the NFL was watching, too. After the referendum, he made his displeasure known

I do not believe playing Super Bowl XXVII in Arizona is in the best interest of the National Football League. Arizona can continue its political debate without the Super Bowl as a factor

 

The 1993 Super Bowl was moved to Los Angeles. Surely, today, Mr. Trump would call this “Succumbing to the forces of political correctness”

After suffering an economic penalty, the state of Arizona got it’s act together in 1992 (approving the Martin Luther King Jr./Civil Rights Day). The NFL rewarded their reluctant progress by awarding the Super Bowl to Arizona in 1996. The NFL had flexed it’s political muscle and won

Now, if we could just get Public Enemy on that Super Bowl halftime show

YO! BC raps!

If you’re Dr. Ben Carson and you’ve established yourself as a SUPER patriot as well as a pediatric surgeon who has done what few have ever done, you probably want to highlight your career accomplishments in your first round of radio advertising. Maybe you talk about coming from humble beginnings and, thanks to the greatest nation on earth, you were able to accomplish things that were beyond your wildest dreams

Or you make a terrible rap ad that sounds worse than suburban white boys trying to spit rhymes at midnight at The Sig Ep house

Yo! that’s dopity dope, G!

I would disagree with the Deadspin headline that says this rap is “for the blacks”. Most African-Americans will see through this and know that it’s so corny it will show up in tomorrow’s stool. Suburban white kids love the hippity hop and this is meant to appeal to the head-bobbers who reside in cul-de-sacs across America. I’m not sure if Brandon will be repeating these hot bars as he heads down Florentine Lane to go play X Box with his homies

Let’s look at some of the previous nominees for “Worst Rap Ever”

Uh! Feel that, dawg? That’s you losing your “black guy card”

Aw, son! Your drug free rant actually has me wanting to try some crack

I hate to kick sand in Robbie’s face a quarter of a century later, but, yo, Ice, tear THIS down, son

The Ben Carson outreach team needs to work on a line of BC vapes. ‘Cause you know, freedom could disappear in a cloud of mist, son