Bougie: Notes for the Post-Bling Generation

Hold up!Bourgie

Why Bougie? Where I come from, bougie is an insult, as in “Quit actin’ bougie.” Derived from the French, it’s a colloquialism of bourgeoisie. The word itself means an inhabitant of a town, and went on to mean a member of a class who obtained their goods as merchants rather than the inherited wealth of aristocracy. In America, the equivalent would be middle-class.

It’s amazing to me how this very old French word came to be something poor folks in the ghetto use to insult one another. Marx used the word as an “objective description of a social class and of a lifestyle based on ownership of private capital.”

Where I come from, we really like private capital. But some of us want to hold on to the nobility of poverty. Trying too hard to “keep it real,” thinking that means “keeping it broke.” Someone who we call bougie is a snob. They live in the suburbs, they talk white, they wouldn’t be caught dead in a hooptie. Acting bougie usually means the person is acting as if they’re too good for something.

But doesn’t it make sense? Aren’t we all too good for ‘jects and roaches and unequal jail time? Aren’t we all too good for broke-down cars and cheap clothes and overprocessed, fattening foods? Aren’t we better than malt liquor and too-high drop out rates and high fees at check cashing places and giving all our money to stay in cities that don’t protect and serve us?

I know I am. My name is Toni and you can call me bougie.

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GHz RewinD: MOVIE REMIX: The Devil’s Advocate

EDITOR’S NOTE: For Ghz Rewind we like to dig in the archives and repost a nice diddy you might have missed

The movies we pick aren’t necessarily classics, but we like them anyway. We might like them even better if they were recast like this:
The Devil’s Advocate

Kevin Lomax is a hotshot southern lawyer who knows how to play the game. He gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he is offered a job with a law firm that promises many opportunities. He takes his wife to the Big Apple in hopes of a better life and a good job. He only finds himself on the receiving end of trouble when his boss is the Devil himself and has some treacherous plans up his sleeve for Kevin. — From IMDB.com

The Devil’s Advocate is one of those movies where the revelation that Al Pacino is no angel comes as no surprise. It’s more of a journey watching him go to work on Kevin (Keanu Reeves) and seeing all the schemes, plans, and string-pulling he was in charge of as they are slowly revealed. Plus, Al gets his yell on in an over-the-top damnation scene.

Kevin Lomax: Keanu Reeves / Morris Chestnut


Morris did well as a young career-driven lawyer in Two Can Play That Game. He has the look of a well-intentioned but still a little dirty dude. Your typical All African-American kind of guy who might be going to hell. It may be difficult to hear his lines over all the Oohs and Ahs from female members of the audience.

 John Milton:Al Pacino / Morgan Freeman


We had to replace one Academy Award winner with another one (or at least a nominee), but unfortunately that leaves us with Sidney Poitier and Lou Gosset (both TOO old for the roles), Samuel Jackson–too predictable, “Training Day” Denzel, and Forest Whitaker, who even playing Idi Amin in Last King of Scotland just seems like too nice of a guy to be truly evil. Enter Morgan Freeman. He’s a talent, and he’s got to be chomping at the bit for a chance to break typecasting. The most magical Negro of them all might appreciate using his powers for evil for once. Besides, when was the last time you saw Morgan get any action on screen, let alone a menage?

Mary Ann Lomax: Charlize Theron / N’Bushe Wright


Now we need somebody who can play a strong woman, and N’Bushe has shown that again and again. But she has to lose it too — not N’bushe, right? Wrong, wrong. Check her out in a little movie from ’93 called Fresh, where she played a sympathetic heroin addict. WELL. And why not, the men need some eye candy too.

Mrs. Alice Lomax: Judith Ivey / Debbie Allen


The mama in the movie was all saved and going to church now, but as a teen, she got her freak on in one night of passion with a slick city boy—who was a little more than he seemed. Debbie looks like a Mama today, but we all know how she used to look on Fame (the movie and the TV show). So she’d be believable as a once-wayward saint, and way more relatable, too.

Christabella Andreoli: Connie Nielsen / Kerry Washington


Did I say eye candy? This character was brilliant, intriguing, a temptress. So we here at Grown Headz (okay, I) figured that the world needs more of Kerry Washington, not just looking good but looking DAAAmn good. Like in I Think I Love My Wife. Up until that movie she had always been cute, but after that movie the line of bruhs wanting to holla grew exponentially! In addition, she can be believable as an ambitious, big-time lawyer.

Check the trailer:

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5 Rappers We’re Surprised Are Still At It.

Rappers come and go. Some stay for awhile, while others burn hot for a minute and then go dark. When they first came out, these five seemed destined to fall into the latter category. Who knew we would still be caring about them years later? In no particular order:

Cee-Lo
Goodie Mob’s 1st album was pretty good, even spawning the hit single “Cell Therapy.” But it paled beside the brilliance of labelmates Outkast. So when Cee-Lo rolled out to go solo, many might have figured his 15 minutes was coming to an end. But the hits didn’t stop. It took awhile though; Cee-Lo dropped two critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful solo albums. Cee-Lo Green and his Perfect Imperfections and Cee-Lo Green. . . is the Soul Machine. But the little big man hit it huge partnering with producer Danger Mouse to form the group Gnarls Barkley and recording the smash single “Crazy.”

Ghostface Killah
From the slums of Shaolin, The RZA. The GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon the Chef, U God, Ghostface Killer and the Method Man. Hold up..rewind that. When the Wu came bustin,’ through way back in ‘93 (dammmmn its been awhile), if somebody asked who would STILL be holding it down 15 years later, don’t front: NOBODY , none of y’all would have picked Ghostface. Well, take a look at him now. While Meth is still the biggest star in the Wu, thanks to Redman and The Wire, almost everybody agrees that GFK is reppin’ hardest on the music side. Since his debut, the Iron Man has dropped more gems than a one-armed thief and is still goin’ strong.

Ludacris
Who woulda thunk? Sure, he’s all big time now and has a pretty good catalogue (bout time for a greatest hits). But when Chris Luva Luva broke out his 1st single, “What’s Your Fantasy” had novelty hit written all over it. Now, eight years later the Ludameister is still rollin strong with his 6th platinum album.

Kool Keith
If you lived in New York in the late ‘80’s, the group that had the street hummin’ was a group from the Bronx, Ultra Magnetic MC’s. Critical Beatdown, depending on who you talk to, is considered a Hip Hop Classic. The albums cover is straight ’88. They’re all sporting their Dapper Dan hook-ups and the super tight high top fades (which may have still been called cameo cuts when the picture was taken). Anyway, did I say ’88? Janet ain’t the only one who can celebrate 20 years. Kool Keith been in it foe a minute. If the Wu popularized rappers having aliases, Keith elevated it to art. Dr. Octagon. Dr. Dooom. Black Elvis, Rhythm X and so on. Keith has blazed an underground trail like no other. Independent releases, major labels, limited editions, mix tapes, whateva. Kool Keith is proof that if a rapper is willing to take chances musically, conceptually, and lyrically somebody out there just might buy it.

Trick Daddy
With a name like Trick Daddy, how far can you go? Very far, apparently. When “Nannn” dropped in 2000, it looked like another novelty hit from the South (the other was some guy named Ludacris, see above). He even let another one-hit-wonder (or so we thought) rapper named Trina get a verse on it. Although the hits have slowed a little, Trick has put out bangers such as “Shut Up,” “I’m a Thug” and most recently “Bet That.”

Honorable Mention – Trina
“Nann” brought us more than just Trick Daddy. The diamond princess herself began her reign in 2000. Its eight years later and she’s still hittin,’ and this time she’s “Single Again”

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THE BEGINNING

Welcome to the first post! No need to mark your calendar or remember how it happened, or what you were wearing today. Just tell your friends, aiight?

First off, I am not a writer.

I’m a fan.

I grew up on hip hop. If you’re like me, when you kick back and reminisce, the soundtrack to those good and bad old days is hip hop. Yeah, there’s a little R&B in the mix, but the majority of it is beats and rhymes. I consider the Fatboys to be a serious rap group, remember when LL was a new jack, and can recall when RUN-DMC was the biggest rap group ever. The problem is I’m a little older now—not really a problem, it’s just a fact. But with age things change. There was a time when I had to have to work to hear a rap song on the radio, or wade through all sorts of rock videos just to see one rap artist or black artist.

Nowadays hip hop rules the land. As a teenager I never thought this day would come. Unfortunately, like myself, many of us older heads don’t feel at home in this brave new hip-hop world. What we see and hear; yeah, they call it hip hop, but it just ain’t hitting the same. When I get together with my friends and music comes up, we sound like our parents when somebody invariable says, “These kids today don’t know good music!”

But the question is “Do you still love hip-hop?”

I’m gonna guess yes, since you’re still checking out the site. Some of us have given up the fight, switched to smooth jazz, neo-soul, or just listen to Best of CDs from old school artists. But the new stuff? Hell to the naw. I felt the same way and I’m a DJ. But one day, I had an epiphany: I realized I’m not supposed to like the songs that the kids listen to today, ya know? Ask me why (pause).

Cause I’m grown! Think about it: when you were a teen did your mom or dad like your music? Nope. Couldn’t believe their ears. “What’s all that spittin’ and makin’ noise?” (beatboxin) or “I can’t understand what they’re saying.” Your parents, like my parents, were having the same conversations we are having today. What are these kids listening to? But that’s the conversation we’re supposed to have. To quote a wise comedian, I’m a grown-ass man! On the down side of my thirties, I shouldn’t like the same songs as a thirteen-year-old, or at the very least it shouldn’t mean the same thing to me.

When I realized this, I was straight. I didn’t take hip hop’s change so personally. I stopped being repulsed and disgusted when “Laffy Taffy” came on. Now does this all mean I’m done, that I’m going to leave hip hop behind? Not at all! I just have to take it back to the old school: go seek out what I like. Anyway, what is love if there isn’t some sort of test?

TO BE CONTINUED

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adults that love hip-hop