Monday, September 29, 2008

Pharrell Is Having A Tattoo Identity Crisis

A couple months ago I was intrigued to see that NERD frontman Pharrell was going to push the envelope of science/technology in getting his tattoos removed. Actually it was going to be more like covering them up, because apparently you can grow skin in a lab nowadays.

And the reason he wanted to do it was because he was getting too old (35) to be having "fire on his arms."

So I sort of agreed with that, at some point fire on your arms does look ridiculous, and I've since been looking for news on if the operation turned out successful.

But I guess the tug of having edgy graphically-designed arms was too much, because according to this interview with Inked Magazine Pharrell has apparently backtracked on removing the fire and is even considering some new artwork,

"I was talking to Kanye recently, and he was telling me I should get all of the Billionaire Boy's Club and Ice Cream logos tattooed on me,"

It's too bad Kanye doesn't explain why he thinks that, 'cause at 35+ years of age I think the only thing more embarrassing at the PTA meeting than fire on your arms is fire AND an "Ice Cream logo".

We probably need to set an age limit on tats, there's no need for any adult to add them after 35+. I mean we all struggle with our mortality, but there are many better ways to try and hang on to your youth.

Plus, on the negro tip, we need more adult role models with perspective; going forward the challenge for many of these hip hop entrepreneurs is to demo how rappers can grow old with grace and class, knahmean?

After all, life isn't all boobies and bubble gum...

flat top (kinda)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ad Wars: Micosoft Strikes Back

I was on the fence with the Seinfeld & Gates as 1-2 punch, but whether this was the designed "Phase 2" or a total repurposing of the original campaign, I like the new Microsoft ad:

What I like best is how the ad positions Apple as veering too far into youth-hipster culture, it keys on how Apple has costumed their campaign. Apple says "Think Different" but when they clown the guy with the suit and glasses they're really thinking the same as anyone else operating inside the box. Just with different taste in clothes/accessories.

PC is populist, they need to take advantage of that (I'm an elitist Apple-head, btw). But I also love the celeb sparkle they sprinkle in -- Pharrell and Eva were critical gets.

Well done, Microsoft. Now you just have to hope Apple doesn't announce new laptops come October 14th.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Black Vs. Black

I love Elon's spoof on the Mac vs. PC commercials, Black vs. Black. It's a little dangerous when you put the "more urban" negro in the clown position -- i.e. I'd be a lil' worried for E if he played the vid for his homies in Bedstuy -- but it's a great premise and "n looks like he suck white man d*ck for fun" is pretty funny (though tough to actually spell out without looking around to see if you're gonna get in trouble).

Anyelon, nice spot for his new series This Week In Blackness ...word

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

See, What Do You Expect When You Blog Like A Soft Punk

No dissing... I just loved this pic on Gizmodo. Beyond seeing BDP cover art on a mini phone-computer-thingamajiggy, it's the whole context of me seeing it on the "internet" and retransmitting via my "blog", called "TAN", etc. etc. Craaazy.

And fresh for 2008... you suckas ... suckas ... suckas.

RIP Scott LaRock.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dear TAN: The Color-Wheel of Feminine Attraction

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: Interracial: Girls, Girls, Girls!

First, I love your blog. And I even have you added as a friend on Facebook [ed: Yes!] (I kinda stalk other writers and bloggers, but whatever [ed: d'oh!!]). But the purpose of this message isn't to tell you that. The purpose, rather, is to pose a question in hopes of getting some enlightened, assimilated insight.

You seem to have a rapport with folks across the races, so I figured you'd be a good person to ask. So here goes -- when we look at stereotypical interracial relationships, black guys like white girls, Asian guys dig them too, and Asian girls pretty much have their pick across the spectrum. (There's some statistic that says Asian women have the highest percentage of interracial marriage, right?) [ed: research!]. So my question is this... who likes black chicks? And not mediocre black chicks, but hot, smart, funny and not-at-all-bitter black chicks. (Seriously, that Terry McMillan ish is SO last decade.)

Ooh! And while I'm at it... do you think it's possible for a light-skinned black chick to be "not quite black enough" for those dipping into the interracial dating pool? I ask because, as a light-skinned black chick, I've seen that my chocolate sisters get muuuuuuuuch more play from white guys. Me? Not so much. Part of me thinks it's 'cause I don't have enough cocoa for them. I'm just beige. And if you're gonna go black, you wanna go "authentically" black, right?

I dunno. Maybe I just sound crazy. But hopefully you can offer some guidance.


-- Beige Black Chick


Dear BBC,

First off, these are the types of letters I have a blog for. Love it.


if we're talking purebreds (as much as you can be these days) , hot white girls remain a trump card and get their pick (all things being equal, which they never are).

i'm not quite 100% sure on Asians, or really any ethnic minority, getting their pick. and I def wouldn't give an asian an advantage over a light-skin black girl. or [even] a latina-mami.

in general i think the tweeners/light-skin blends are the top of the totem pole these days. everyone wants a little spice in them, just not too much. Unless it's yours.

i think the country works off the same white-american beauty standard. so you got lightish-skin, slim/fit build, symmetry etc.
(only in America, people.) i suspect since asians are not associated with dark, or by and large, chubby, they may seem to get an advantage. ... i do think black women get the shortest end of the stick, which i guess was part of the premise in the Mediocre Black Chick post....

as to the fetishizing of the dark sisters, I think there's still more of a conditioned fear than embracing, even in that alt-culture way. your case studies counter that, but i'm not convinced ... i'd have to see it in action. i think light-skin black girls are right with caucasian ladies, and if you've got that beyonce/claire huxtable complexion, it's a wrap...

anyways, we can't solve this in a letter, but I do looove this subject. makes me think something like the Melanin Matrix might be in order. some sort of visual spectrum. maybe a color wheel ranging from light to dark with all the accompanying varying shades? .... is that out there?

Thanks for the note,


Friday, September 12, 2008

The Melanin Matrix

There's a lot of buzz about post-racial this, and pre-internet that, but suffice to say those two things (race and the internet) have made the national conversation about our "American" Culture infinitely more complex.

And of course everyone loves to pin the post-racial hubbub to Obama, but I'm thinking a lot of this acknowledging-differences-yet-remaining-united sensibility actually started post 9/11.

I've long been a fan of NY Magazine's cracka-ass-crackatrix Approval Matrix; so on this post-9/11 day [I/TAN] thought it'd be appropriate to offer a more multicultural scatter-graph to help us analyze recent news happenings from a Post-Racial cultural context.

So after the jump: The Melanin Matrix for 9/12

The Melanin Matrix [Gawker]

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Obama Vs. The Lipstick

Gotta love Obama on Letterman last night smearing all the "lipstick hubbub" back on Republican faces.

I especially enjoy his ease and sense of humor when talking about how Sarah Palin has stolen all his magazine cover photo opps.

Can't we have a president who's funny and interesting when he talks? Please ma, please.

New York Is The Mind State

OMG. It's soooo cute how Buffalo got featured in NY Mag earlier this last week; I loved how it was all if you can make it there, in Buffalo, you can make it anywhere, there ... in buffalo. So true!

And omg, it's been so totally cute reading the comments. When I first spotted the piece there were, like, 40 comments, and, like, 35 of them were all "yeah, Buffalo rocks. The Chinese food is much-better-than-you-expect and the other day we went somewhere and saw ... *turns to significant other* ... what did we see the other day, dear? Oh yeah that's it, CULTURE. We saw Culture the other night and it was absolutely wonderful and really just as good as any Culture i've read about it in big cites. And, might I add, not as much a drubbing on the wallet. "

Now (as of last week) there's 150+ comments (Buffalo, stand up!), and I can only assume its still about 90% of them hollering for Irrelevant City Buffalo, New York.

Which is really really sweet.

It almost makes me want to get on the first Greyhound to Buffaloville and gather in the Town Square with everyone and celebrate the better-than-you-think culture scene with singing songs.

Maybe ones everyone knows and can sing along with, like this one:

ahhh, those little town blues... nice to indulge those every once in a while.

it's funny cause i shared this article with a friend and she knew i'd been in the dumps about some work stuff recently and she was like, does this mean you want to leave NYC? And I was like, god, heavens no! Shoot, if i need to find lower prices and a thriving, underrated culture scene i can just move to Astoria.

Ha! I'm just joshin' with ya, Buff. Just a lil' good-ol' apostrophe-needin' small-town humor, knowwhaimsayin'?

I mean, I get it. You're not a lesser person just because you live in buffalo.


Cause in some very irrelevant sense we all just go to work, talk to our neighbors, take the kids to school, etc. etc. And you can do that anywhere.

Well, anywhere except New York.

New York is tough, you gotta earn it.

Of course i'm a native NYer who has lived here his whole life. i'm obviously biased.

The thing is, it seems to me it's even more than a state of mind. New York is The Empire Mind State ..

Sure the center of the universe is separating into the haves and have-nots, but that doesn't mean rich and poor. NYC is by any means necessary: you don't have to be rich, you do have to be smart.

If you can make it here, it's because of your brain. When Hov says, "put me anywhere on god's green earth, i'll triple my worth." He means Buffalo too.

And I stress it because it's easy to get caught up in the handwringing over the accompanying superficial glitz and glam. And no question, the place is kind of dirty. In some places it's downright nasty even.

But that's just excess, in the Nietzschean sense: "The only proof of strength is excess of strength."

That's why our magazine is doling out props to Buffalo, instead of Buffalafrica Digest, or whatever they read out there, putting people on to Manhattan.

Now I'm pretty sure I'm not bursting anyone's Buffalopian Paradise or anything, and I totes-totally want to visit... I guess reading some of the comments got my greasy, oily NY feathers ruffled up.

I mean really people, if you go to Buffalo you might as well say you're going to Timbuktu, or going to Alaska, or even just going crazy cause all of them are more interesting.

[*rimshot* I'll be here all week ... in Buffalo!]

It's not that I think Buffalo -- or any small-town satellite -- is particularly unpleasant. They're definitely tolerable, like the citified embodiment of small talk... but—

I don't know, I guess I'm just an obnoxious pompous-assed New Yorker.

But I'll take it over Buffalo...

Could Mediocrity Make Someone Want To Leave New York And Move To Buffalo? Why Yes, Yes It Could. [NY Mag]


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dear TAN: What Is Modern Racism?

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: Back To Basics!

Dear TAN,

What do you think about racism? Although I am young, and of course impressionable, I see the world as one color. What separates me from the average black person is determination. Am I wrong? Of course I may be biased and you may be biased, maybe we should ask an Asian person =P.

But please give me your opinion on modern racism, as it seems near non-existent and the world looks opportunistic to all peoples.


hi sir,

well, certainly it's a complicated issue. There are opportunities for all people, there are also prejudices and conditioned biases for all people.

i was looking for a test/game that Harvard runs where they test your prejudices. it's often revealing.

i couldn't find it at the moment, but saw this article about unconscious prejudice via cursory google search. It's as good a start as any. I suspect it's more productive to think about how we all are "Afflicted" but manifest our prejudices/bias to varying degrees of offensiveness. Knahmean?!

Ooh here are the games:

U Chicago Shooter test

harvard Personal Bias test

Face Reaction Test 1

...And 2

i just did the shooter game and found I'm much quicker to fire at white people holding out their cellphone in a library. Gawd, those people are soooo annoying!

i do think intent and perspective-flexibility are most important when evaluating these things. which is to say, even if you have conditioned racist (or sexist, or other -ist) responses, it doesn't make you EVIL, it just means you were raised in america where there's a legacy of varying forms of prejudices and discrimination all around. asians, blacks, mexicans, indians, caucasians, women, short people, smelly people, everyone. so just the fact that you're willing to read a blog like TAN, and send an email, and question yourself and/or others is more than enough positive vibe for me...

just don't aim your cellphone at me in a library, cause i might shoot you as a reflex.

in any event, i'll be continuing to write on the subject. hopefully you'll continue to read and comment as appropriate.

thanks for the note,


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Quest For Obama

Apparently the big O might be in need of big dough. Helping out with 5 on it are ?uestlove and my beloved okayplayer peeps.

Where: Sutra Lounge is the place to be...
When: 9/11, doors at 9PM
What, Who: party, ?uest on the wheels
How: $10, recession special
Why: You want to support O or Sarah Palin's baby?


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