Friday, April 25, 2008

TAN Guide to Astoria

TAN pops up at the new digital community for neighbors, or new neighborly digital community: neighborbee blog. A lot of good about-town peeps, blogging vets working with nice localized beats. I share some of my newly discovered Astoria knowledge (more on this to come!) and generally make a nuisance of myself, but cool blog for NY heads. Or those coming to visit.

4 Jewels in the Lost Town of Astoria [neighborbee blog]

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Caucasian Beatbox Renaissance

I remember when caucasians only beatbox'd to make jokes because obviously they couldn't beatbox, just like they couldn't rap, dance, or sexually please a woman. Well all those other things may be true, but it looks like they're trying to Tiger Woods the beatbox game. At least this guy is. The Martha Stewart/Julia Childs presentation definitely takes it beyond Doug E. Fresh and Biz Markie.

Related (that's fun, but I don't know if it trumps flute-boxers):
Beatbox + Flute = Hot Fire [TAN]

(thanks: LT)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Barack Album, In Stores (If Not Office) Soon

Seriously, if you're a presidential candidate, and you go ahead and get ...that ... dirt off your shoulders in a public appearance, as Obama does in the most awesome clip below (2:25), the race should be a [w]rap. 99 Problems but a .... well, you know.

via: Stereohyped

Obama Just Threw On His Du-rag! [Jewcy]

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Jeremiah Wright Has Black People On Lockdown

This video of Common freestyling in church came out early this year, and I kept forgetting to post, but in light of the Obama/J. Wright newscycle it has gained renewed relevance. Also, I hear the big G-eezy upstairs loves the hot buttery freestyles.

In any event, J Wrizzy can't be all bad if he's got Obama and Common in his cipher vouching for him. That's about as non-threatening negro as you can get.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Dr. Phil Doing His Part To Fight Black-on-Black Crime

Here's an amusing clip of Dr. Phil fighting the war for strong black negro-on-negro love...

"Lexi" appears to be setting herself up for drama. "Will only date guys who look like models?" Come again? Her body seems ok, but I don't think she's talked to her hair about that decision. They don't appear to share the same goals in life.

(Also ... Dr Phil's a little overearnest at the end with the matching hands and "ironically" pointing out how they have nothing -- NOTHING! -- in common.)

But honestly, the guy looks fairly well assimilated so Lexi shouldn't have a huge problem. If really attempting to diagnose and provide a solution, Dr. TAN would just recommend dude lose the cornrows. While more prevalent in the mainstream, cornrows are still a little too hardcore for many white people and would-be-white black people. It might be a shade short of showing up with gold fronts on your teef. Or a du-rag and some sort of prison-chic attire. Or bringing a burned Funkmaster Flex mixtape to the party instead of a bottle of wine.

Aww. Poor cornrows.

Mediocre Black Chick Reconditioning Program

Monday, April 07, 2008

Dear TAN: The Assimilated Downsy

I once started a neverending interview, but now we're switching to a "Dear TAN" feature. Send your questions/letters to theassimilatednegro [at] gmail [dot] com.

In this edition: The Assimilated Downsy (™) endorses Obama!

After posting the pitch-perfect "Color Me Blind" video, I e-befriended the writer/director Will Drinker. A short while later he sent me a longish video with footage of his brother, who has Down syndrome, going on a date. He asked about posting/promoting the vid, so i pulled a Michael Bay and suggested some things to spice up his brother's stuff.

the following is his most recent email to me:

Come on Tanny Boy,
You said you'd post something that was shorter, like a trailer. I think Dan's Obama Endorsement is better than a trailer, and it's short, political, moving, and will be enough to attract curious minds to his site. Dan Drinker is the Assimilated Downsy.

- Will


Dear Will,

I didn't respond in email, but as you can see, I am posting. For whatever that's worth. I think the vid is solid, but i am even more impressed and inspired by your pounding the inter-pavement on behalf of your brother. Incorporating your own interests of writing/filming etc with the love of your bro feels like what blogs, youtube and new media exposure/sharing is all about. Go you.

Also ... umm maybe see if you can get Lindsay Lohan to sing him happy birthday, naked, a la Marilyn Monroe.

And maybe give Dan a gun? if someone other than Obama wins people should know he means business. Maybe some Iraqi war footage could work there also.

Just spitballin' here. It's coming along great. You're gonna put the "Dan" in SunDance!

Good luck ....

(oh, and "tanny boy?" ummmm, let's talk about that in private before we install that as a term of endearment. thanks!)


here's Will's endorsement statement and video:

My brother has Down syndrome. He's heavily caught up in the current political race. We are both Philadelphia natives. I'd like to share with you his very brief but very moving endorsement of Barack Obama. I believe this is newsworthy because my brother, Dan is symbolic. His judgement of character is just as valuable as the most famous or respected individuals currently receiving press for endorsing a candidate. Please allow his honest voice to be heard. Find out more about my older brother's impact on the world around him and the documentary we're making together at

Thank you for your time,
Will Drinker

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Can You Paint Better Than A 4th Grade Elephant?

There's plenty here to make one skeptical, but also plenty to make you wonder if this is in fact an Elephant Picasso. Regardless, it's highly amusing to think of this elephant stroking its ears, or the tuft of hair on its head while agonizing over the texture/tone/impact of this self-portrait.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Differences: Black Girl, White Girl

From the animated minds of the "Read A Book" PSA/video, Tyree Dillihay & Six Point Harness Studios, (fyi: I interviewed them and Bomani for King mag) comes the newest animated breath of fresh air for the ongoing dialogue on race. A series of shorts titled, "DIFFERENCES." Like most things that are awesome it is best explained by simply watching it:

The Wheel of Misfortune Does Not Discriminate

I was ready to scream "Nah Negro" and tell these girls that's what they get for skipping class to chew bubblegum at the video arcade:

But then I saw caucasians share in the retardation:

(she's even worse cause she's stupidly tempting the bankruptcy gods as well. although i guess that stupidity comes from her original stupidity of not knowing the answer so there's really just one stupidity to rule them all.)

anywheel, yay equal-opportunity ignorance!

via: Gawk

Try To Focus On The Letter From Bill Clinton To Jeremiah Wright, If You Can

I posted about the picture circulating with Bill Clinton and Jeremiah Wright and how that should effectively end the Obama/Wright drama (not that Obama didn't end it himself with his SPEECH), but now Alexis Stodghill at AOL Black Voices has unearthed a letter from Bill to Reverend Wright. I mean, again, at this point it shouldn't be a huge deal, but simply knowing that there can be all sorts of hubbub about Barack and Wright, without any reference to Clinton and Wright OBVIOUSLY having a relationship as well is kind of annoying with regards to fair balanced reporting etc. etc.

Of course no version of politics-by-association is as effective as sexy Halle wearing your t-shirt. Makes me want to put the "C" and "G" in "Change" if you know what i'm sayin'... and i suspect you do.

The Clintons: A Friend of Ref. Wright?
[AOL BlackVoices]
Obama-Chic [AOL BlackVoices]

My White Castle Romance

I wrote an essay about my "White Castle Valentine" and read some of it for my appearance at Gelf Magazine's Non-Motivational Speaker series. Here is that excerpt ...

It started very innocently. I read a post about a White Castle Valentine’s Day promotion on Gawker, a NYC media and gossip blog I was contributing to, and left a comment indicating how the news caused me to experience a small orgasm in my mouth. I subsequently blogged about it on my own site and figured that would be the end of it. But not long after posting I got an email saying, "If you have a contest to win a White Castle date with T.A.N., I’m so there.”

Hmmm. My mind raced with possibilities, but I knew I’d need reinforcements. So I passed the email on to one of the Gawker editors and told them if they were interested, I was game. They jumped on it; and next thing I knew a couple photos, setup posts and days later I was choosing the “Win A Date with TAN” contest winner. Her name was Rachel: white, graphic designer, and according to her, in possession of a booty that made guys stop on the basketball court. And yes, she had me at "booty that makes guys stop on the basketball court."

Now who knew you’d be able to use the words “media buzz” about an ironic White Castle Valentine, but over the next couple days the promotion and contest were mentioned in the NY Times amongst other papers and websites. On Valentine’s Day I was getting text messages and phone calls from people I hadn’t heard from in years, all wishing me good luck with the “White Castle chick.” It was surreal.

But at that point in my online life, Surreal and I were good friends. We met in the fall of 2005, soon after I started blogging, and quickly became close. Fact was my whole dating life had transformed into some type of new media reality show — one with no producers, cameras, or television slot mind you — but all based on the premise of me exclusively dating people I met through my blog for about a year and a half. I imagine Mark Burnett would call it “Beauty and The Blogger,” or “Romancing The Blog,” or “For Negro or Love.” Some such thing.

Now this wasn’t a conscious decision mind you, I never solicited for dates, or posted about my personal romantic life. I was coming out of a long-term live-in relationship and had zero experience with online dating. So who knows how it began; maybe it was my oft-mentioned prep school pedigree; or the avid peppering of prose with parenthetical “hollas”; maybe it was because I showed more than a little love for alliteration; or maybe this was just status quo for a new blogger on the scene. Whatever the reason, somehow or another, my site had become a chick-magnet. An incredibly weak chick-magnet, that barely stays on the refrigerator without help from other magnets, but a magnet nonetheless.

My series premiere was a rousing success. A couple months after starting TAN I was invited to the 30th birthday party for a local sex columnist, and at the bar I could hardly mask my snickering as I got my first taste of people complimenting “The Assimilated Negro.” “Haha!” I thought. “They just used the word ‘negro’ with a straight face. Victory is mine!”

A few hours later, episode one would close with me making out on the street with the girl who invited me. The critics — who also freelanced as my friends — raved. The season looked promising.

But the bloom fell off the rose in the next episode when an otherwise average evening on the town would devolve into an unexpected one-night stand with a psycho-blogger. During a display of coital schizophrenia that would make Norman Bates grab his meds, and other guys grab a meat cleaver, she manic-depressively pulled me in and placed my hands on her body, before turning her head and telling me to “please, go away.”

When I then backed off she’d plead, “No, wait! Come back. I want you.” I almost wished I had viewers to text message in and tell me to “Go for it!” or “Get the hell out of there!” I didn’t know what I was doing.

But only a couple weeks after checking out of the Psycho-Chick motel, I found myself downtown in a writer’s apartment discreetly fingering the fishnet stockings of the femme-blogger sitting next to me. We had just met in person for the first time earlier that evening, but our numerous prior IM flirt sessions provided a more-than-adequate comfort level. There we were sitting on the floor in a circle of six people — four girls, two guys — when my hand decided to go confidently in the direction of its dreams. And I can only imagine her shock when five minutes later, I was lying down on the kitchen floor with two other girls on top of me; one kissing me, the other doing something that would probably be pulled down from youtube.

Now there had been some drunken talk about orgies earlier, and I distinctly remember using the word “girth” in an inappropriate way (is there any other?). But I thought those were jokes. And I thought these were all-talk-no-action bloggers. Who knew they were so ready to make it happen in the real world? Where was this going to lead? I remember the image of me waking up in a ditch somewhere with my laptop and the word “Fidelio” spray-painted all over it briefly flashing across my mind.

But for better or worse, the orgy never actually came to pass; the mood shattered when Fishnet-Girl would announce she was leaving. As everyone sobered up and sheepishly acknowledged they didn’t really want to participate in an orgy with relative strangers, Fishnet-Girl pulled me aside and asked, “what are you doing?” The question felt so familiar.

"What are we doing?

Rachel was asking me what we were going to do after White Castle.

The dinner had gone about as well as $10 Valentine dinners for two go, and Rachel was as advertised. Face: cute and smiley; Personality: charming and bubbly; Dress: short and clingy. My kind of girl. But I couldn’t quite tell if we were really connecting, or just getting along out of obligation.

After getting random emails and text messages throughout the day, it felt like me, Rachel and everyone we know were rooting for this zany rom-com sequel to Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. We couldn’t disappoint and do something like not like each other. Every laugh we shared premised a question: Were we just acting for our invisible audience? Was this a one-off publicity stunt, or did this Blind Date 2.0 have legs?

Well when in doubt, I always consult my own personal Oracle: alcohol!

“I thought we’d go to this wine bar I know a little further downtown.”

I lived nearby in East Harlem (or SpaHa, as I like to say the kids like to say), so further downtown meant the Upper East Side, where ambience and atmosphere go to die. A little risky, but I knew I’d receive points for knowing the one oasis of downtown style yet to be smothered by the stench of generic beer and interminable “Now That’s What I Call Music!” soundtracks.

Sure enough as Rachel and I loosened up over a bottle of Pinot, the specter of the contest began to loosen its grip on us. During a typical work day you take in a healthy dose of cynical “Valentine’s-Day-is-for-suckers” talk; but that chilly night we basked amongst couples who were as earnest as sunshine in july. And as our glasses filled with red, our hearts filled with romance; and slowly but surely Rachel and I transformed from "The White Castle Couple," to just another boy and girl looking for a connection— with sliders on our breath.

And our connection, like the tension, was building by the glass. When we stepped outside in the freezing cold to share a bummed cigarette (neither of us "smoked"), we had that wonderful moment when bodies hover over each other, still respecting that last vestige of personal space, yet bracing like a sea captain for the imminent breach. Kisses never lie. And ours was the kind that booked a second date without saying a word.

But before the second date, came the Inferno….. and The Inferno was the challenge that lurked in every episode when weird internet life and dating life intermingle....

(to be continued ...)

Every Negro Is Black, But Some Are More Blacker Than Others

So Stereohyped had their two editors do a couple essays exploring what "the black experience" means to them. I personally think all editors of blogs, certainly ones that rely on the subjective tastemaking skills of the writer/editor, should indulge this exercise, it's great.

I left a couple comments because both raised interesting underplayed, in my opinion, questions w/ regards to the black experience.

Lauren (who I've interviewed), raises the dynamic of gender and sexuality in relaying her first out-of-black-body experience. In a moment when she's trying to look pretty/cute she is felled (scarred?) by the whole white beauty image issue.

When I jokingly wrote about the Mediocre Black Chick Conditioning Program, some of the feedback/comments made me think about significant differences in the "black experience" for men and women. The universal condition of gender/sex/sexuality influences how we receive and respond to our "blackness".

In other words, I think black women have the blackness more tied up in the american beauty complex. But you don't hear as much about black women, say, going to jail for holding a DVD. Which opens up a whole other bag of worms.

I was also struck by Cord's essay, one which he says was triggered by repeated questioning of his "blackness." Of course, for the most part, that "indictment" being tossed at educated "assimilated" black people is a familiar trope. But while Lauren raised the question of gender differences, I thought Cord raised the question of ultimate comfort level with said "blackness."

We all deal with existentially questioning ourselves, but black people can often have that framed in the context of their "blackness," and since the existential angst goes away, i wonder if being resentful of your black experience[s] can be permanently problematic, forever unresolved.

Anyblack, check them out if such explorations intrigue you.

Lauren Asks, Am I Black Enough For Ya [Stereohyped]
Cord Asks, Am I Black Enough For Ya [Stereohyped]

True Negro Confessions
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