Thursday, February 16, 2017

Brown Sugar Streaming Review

You've most likely seen the commercials and wondered what's up, as there's not much to be found online. Is is really like Netflix for black folks? Being the blaxploitation movie junkie that I am, I decided to give the free trial a shot.  

Will this rare movie ever make it Bounce TV's new streaming service?
So the sign-up process is pretty cut and dry.  I load this onto my Chromebook mainly because the memory won't have to fight with Adobe CC on my laptop for space.  Plus the device is less than a year old and because it's so finicky about what a person can download, there's room for a streaming service.

At four dollars a month, it's half the price of Hulu (with commercials) but in viewing the inventory, it takes a moment to see if it's worth THAT much.  Brown Sugar has the standards (the Superfly and Shaft trilogies), along with some flicks that are seeing new life like ABAR, the Black Superman and my favorites Willie Dynamite and Hit Man with Bernie Casey.

Upon second glance, I notice a few that aren't familiar but I remember that movies like Black Starlet have alternate titles (Black Gauntlet).  This was the case in one of my favorites that I don't own, Black Sister's Revenge, also titled 'Emma Mae' in the Brown Sugar catalog.  So what is my conclusion?

Basically, if you like to collect (VHS tapes included), this might be a waste of money.  Or, if you have a great relationship (as in you don't mind the interruptions) with YouTube, you can take a chance on movies that may be there one day and gone the following week.  If you're Amazon friendly, I've always had good service with Gateway Cosmetics and other vendors that specialize in Black movie sales.

Brown Sugar streaming is great for the binge watcher with no space for a bunch of discs or watches in the peak hours.

As far as the experience itself was Saturday and its me with the Chromebook.  I look up a movie from 1968 with Max Julien that I think I saw but not 100% sure.  It takes a moment to load, so I go get snacks (3-5 mins).  Upon return, I recognize the opening theme but sit for the first 5 minutes.  Not even into opening scene, there's buffering.  Okay, things take time and this movie is as old as I am so let's refresh.

Ten minutes in, there's no semblance of a plot and the thing is buffering when I remember that I never saw Charleston Blue.  It's not in Brown Sugar's inventory so off to YouTube I go where I get a clean picture with few interruptions and it costs...ZERO.  Not condoning bootlegging but if someone knows of a standing store in the L.A. where legit blaxploitation movies are sold, hit me up!

Anyway, I do have a suggestion.  Why not add the indie flicks that Bounce used to air before they got 90-early 2000s sitcom fever.  Seriously, I love Half and Half too but remember the show only aired for three seasons and was definitely affected by the writer's strike near the end.  Fine @ss Lamman Rucker made those episodes watchable before its unfortunate demise.

Okay, digressing here.  I'm really digging indie movie like the ones Aspire shows in the afternoon but my favorite from the early days of Bounce are Drop Squad, The Stick Up Kids, and the one where a pre-nose job Kerri Washington was a window dresser/booster.  Sorry (hangs head but snickering).  

So Bounce, what's up?  Can we get something different since you don't quite have 100 movies in your catalog (more like 75 as of Feb 2017)?  About a third of those are shown on network and basic cable from time to time, so maybe faster load times.  I've had a similar experience with Google so I'm not knocking your efforts, just suggesting a little fine tuning for the long run.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Best of Al Jarreau (RIP)

Mr. Jarreau was a music icon and a 50-year veteran who has won many Grammys.  He was in the middle of touring when he was recently hospitalized for exhaustion, his songs have become a staple in American culture.  Read more at Yahoo.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Black New Wave for Throwback Thurs. (Late)

Yeah, sorry so slow.  I still haven't found a copy of the Right On mag featuring 1980s new wavers of color.  But, I have a good memory and other resources so here we go.

Most people remember The Bus Boys from that Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, "The Boys are Back in Town".  Long before a really funny Mr. Murphy decided to use the Gardena,CA natives (go South Bay!), they made a few other hits that were memorable - just too much for pop radio at the time.

To catch up with these guys, check out their website.  There's a nice documentary that talks about the black L.A. experience that I will probably share in a future post.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Different Kind of Throwback for Thursday

Last year, I was doing the theme thing for my weekly music video post.  Some of you responded accordingly and it helped me keep on track.  There was mention of black rock artists and I thought this would be something special.

Still a work in progress but I was able to find a few times that we were allowed to express ourselves differently - no 3-piece suits or gowns, choreographed dance moves and babymaking music not allowed.

I bring you Nappy Cherry...

I was in the 7th grade when I first heard about this band.  It was in an issue of Right On magazine with a cover that showed Prince in his Dirty Mind phase and the entire issue gave props to brothers and sisters doing it differently.

Unfortunately, this classic cover is hard to find online more than 35 years later.  Even worse, my collection got jacked from my storage bin and has yet to be recovered since I moved nearly 20 years ago.  But I'll give a recap.

Prince, Nappy Cherry, the Busboys, and I wanna say Fishbone, were featured and not long after, some traditional R&B acts began to incorporate the high-pitch synthesizers, fast drum beats, and quirky lyrics into their albums.  Though some songs left a lot to be desired (like She's Only 17) and even marked the end of some acts like Ozone.

However, being different also worked for Cameo.  Though known to serious oldheads for babymaking music (Sparkle, Why Have I Lost You), they decided to switch gears (and gradually losing members, remember when there used to be like 10 dudes on the album cover?) to something more fun that incorporated the essence of R&B music.  This is my favorite track from that period.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Black Folk's Career Suicide

Video courtesy of Keyboard Gangsta
I decided to switch some things up for this month so the music is coming tomorrow.

Now, I never wanted to start a gossip site or use this as a platform to put people down but is the world going crazy?  I'm not talking about the Kardashians or barely literate athletes or rappers showing out before the camera.  What I'm referring to is people killing their careers over BS.

Last year, it was Nate Parker.  I didn't see Birth of a Nation though I heard it was very well-acted and the cinematic visuals went above and beyond.  However, I wasn't feeding into the hype as to whether I should support his work as a member of the black community.  It wasn't even like it was a Nat Turner documentary, so I chose to pass.  Just like he chose to display zero remorse for his victim on camera and deny Oprah an interview (which may have at least piqued more interest).

Kanye's been on a downward spiral for some time and I can only pray for a speedy recovery.  Got the feeling there's a real serious situation here but I won't speculate.  Just please stop supporting the Orange Monster, if you thought George W. didn't like us, then you're in for a helluva shock.

Which brings me to Chrisette Michele...a singer who has struggled for years to get the audience her voice deserves.  Well, she recently got an audience and a little extra change, in exchange for her dignity and lack of respect for what our ancestors fought against.  And there's nothing wrong with needing money (especially if you don't fit the Top 40 mold...musically or visually).  My issue is that the community has to stand strong because white isn't's people with common sense and a heart.

The last entry has jokes that write themselves.  First, Stacey Dash was never a great actress.  Before the BET awards scandal last year, she made her money making mostly straight-to-DVD movies with a weak plot.  Let me go on record by saying that if I had to play the Game's love interest in order to pay my bills, I'd call it a career (because Clueless was a loooong time ago).  Not that I'm special to look at but to be in hustle mode for decades...only to bite the hand that fed insane.  

Before FOX News came along, BET paid this hoe's bills pretty much.  Then she goes off on Jesse Williams after dissing not just Black awards show but the idea behind the month of February.  Her public support of anything against the Black community seemed to be getting worse before it got better (unfortunately, that strategy only works for Ann Coulter).  Then suddenly, the Orange Monster wins, and she's out of a job she wouldn't qualify for anywhere else, FOX News used her because she's vulnerable.

Didn't forget about Steve Harvey....he's too easy.