The Best of the Rest: Affion Crockett

In the magazine, we gave you One Q and One A with the Internet's favorite funnyman. Here's the full conversation with our own Clover Hope.

How do you come up with the ideas for your spoofs? Does it just pop up?
I honestly couldn’t tell you the process. Once I see something and I think it’s funny, I just kinda brainstorm and if it’ll make a good spoof or a good sketch, and of course based on my impression of these people ’cause I already have a Russell impression, a Jay-Z, a Chris Brown so if it's something that’s in my repertoire and I can nail it I just do it.

Shouldn’t you have your own show? Have you been approached about it?
Yeah, that’s in the works right now. I can’t talk too much about it but it’s definitely something… That’s what I’ve been working on alongside the stuff that I’m putting out online.

Well, everybody misses Chappelle.
Right, he left a wide-open lane so I’ma definitely aim to fill that void. It’d be the same as what I’m doing online. It’d be a sketch show in that Chappelle type lane.

Would you ever do Saturday Night Live? You know they need some Black people.
Yeah, it’s a weird thing over there ’cause they’re such an institution so I don’t know. It would just have to be the right business conversation for me to do it.

What do artists that you spoof say about your spoofs?
Jay loved it. I met him and he was like, “Yeah, you be doing that Jigga Man, love that.” Russell called me the same day, loved it and he wanted to do some more work so it’s a good situation. The people that spoof become fans of the spoof because the angle on it is I don’t really be disrespecting them. I just showcase them as them in funny situations.

The Drake one was funny ’cause no one was really doing it and it was so spot on.
Yeah, he really did that on Funk Flex. I couldn’t believe it. That was a sketch. I never saw anyone rhyme off their phone but that was funny.

Did you actually meet Jay in person or was that an over the phone thing?
Nah, it was backstage at one of his concerts. Actually at the Inauguration, the night before Barack was sworn in, I was in DC backstage. He walked up to me and we actually did a drop on my YouTube page so he explains the whole thing how he was flattered by it and he showed the love.

Did you speak to Nick Cannon about that Eminem beef?
Nah, to me that’s not even an issue. We all know Eminem is dope at what he does but part of what he does is battle people.

What’d you think about that?
Honestly I didn’t think anything about it. It’s none of my business. I don’t get involved in that stuff.

Do you still talk to him?
Nick? Yeah, that’s my man.

Have you tried a Barack impersonation?
Yeah, I have a Barack in the works. It’s coming. It’s a lotta other cats that’s trying to do Barack right now so I’ma let them phase out and do they thing and then I’ma just knock people over the head with it. It’s a couple cats that have the voice but they don’t really look like him. I think I already kinda look like him so we’ll make some things happen.

Where does the name Affion come from?
My mother got that name and the place of origin, I’ve been told, is Nigeria. And it means “love.”

Have you put an album out? I know you were doing some rapping and your own music.
Yeah, I spit too but it’s nothing that I’m actively pursuing ’cause I hate the rap music game right now.

Why’s that?
It’s just garbage right now. It’s nothing out there that’s really inspiring me with the exception of Jay. The usual suspects, the veterans, they’re pretty much holding it down—the Ludacrises, the Talibs, the Commons, you know. That’s real hip-hop music but rap, the stuff you see online all the time, BET, it’s like, Alright I’m done.

What artist do you wish would just disappear?
I’m not gon’ say any names. I’ma keep it real political.


Clover Hope is a Senior Editor for VIBE.

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Wendy Williams Reportedly Returns To Daytime Talk Show In March

In December 2018, Wendy Williams took a hiatus from her long running daytime talk show to tend to her “personal and physical well-being.” Since taking time to nurture her body back to good health, other entertainers like Nick Cannon have stepped in to keep the show running. Now, the 54-year-old host will return on March 4, the New York Post reports.

In a statement published to her social media channels, Williams thanked her staff for “tirelessly holding it down for me” while the program’s production company Debmar-Mercury praised the former talk radio host on her recovery. “Wendy Williams is an incredible talent with the most unique voice in daytime,” the statement reads. “We can’t wait to welcome her back to her iconic purple chair on the set of her show.”

— Wendy Williams (@WendyWilliams) February 21, 2019

Williams recently discussed her Graves’ disease diagnosis on her show, an immune system disorder that affects the thyroids. Under doctor’s orders, she was mandated to rest for three weeks. The revelation arrived months after Williams fainted during a taping of a Halloween-themed episode.

According to the American Thyroid Association, the health condition is found “7-8 times more common in women than men.” The disease also affects the muscles behind the eyes, onsetting inflammation.

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Charlamagne Tha God Calls Jussie Smollett A Clout Chaser In DOTD Roast

Thursday morning, (Feb. 21) Jussie Smollett turned himself into police after evidence proved the hate crime, in which he alleged to have been beaten by two MAGA hat wearing men as they hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him, was a lie.

After weeks of gaining support from some of entertainment's biggest names, news of Smollett's orchestrated attack disappointed many. The Breakfast Club co-host Charlamagne Tha God took Smollett to task and dubbed the Empire actor "Donkey of The Day" for his lies and deceit despite admitting he had doubts from the beginning.

"I gave him the benefit of the doubt because he's a black man and why wouldn't I believe a black man who tells me he's been the victim of a hate crime? Why wouldn't I believe a gay man who tells me he's the victim of hate crime?" the ShookOne author said.

Throughout the roast, Charlamagne played clips of Jussie speaking from index cards during his Los Angeles show shortly after the alleged attack, and his sit down with Robin Roberts. However, Charlamagne said Jussie dropped clues about his lie during both public appearances.

"We all should've known Jussie Lyon was lying when he went on Good Morning America and was more upset people didn't believe him, rather than him being upset about the crime that allegedly happened to him," he said.

Charlamagne sums up Smollett's actions simply on his desire not just for attention, but to also be a martyr.

"Now I know, the magic question everyone is asking is why? Why would he make something like this up? He wanted to be the gay Tupac. Jussie Lyon wanted to be a martyr," Charlamagne said.

"He wanted to be a symbol of someone who stood up against hate in America. He wanted the same admiration you see Kaepernick getting for taking a knee for black people. He wanted the attention that Meek is getting for standing for the rights of those in prison. Jussie Lyon wanted to be the gay Tupac."




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'American Soul' Episode 4 Recap: Don, You In Danger, Boo

We couldn’t help but focus on the men of American Soul during Episode 4.

The ladies are good, for the most part: Tessa found her footing, literally and figuratively, finally showing Flo and the Soul Train gang she ain’t nothin’ to play with on the dance floor, and checking Don for taking out his frustration on her with mixed messages and disrespect. Simone is still getting away with using a fake ID to chase her singing dreams in a jazz club and has emerged as a Soul Train fan favorite.

But the men are having a tough time.

JT avoided getting pinched for his role in the robbery and police shooting – but only because Chris (Trey Best) made sure the crime was pinned on someone else. Now we maybe understand why Benny (Kristopher Charles) was tearing up after giving info to the police last episode. He knew he was basically writing a death certificate. Chris has now told JT he won’t get any money from the heist, so all the stress and drama was for naught. Now his family’s finally being evicted. Just as it seems he can buy a little bit more time, Mr. Willard pushes JT past the breaking point with a comment about his mom’s “million-dollar mouth.” We knew this was coming; people been talking to JT crazy for 3 episodes now. JT knocks him out, and the family seeks shelter from Ma Mable (Elizabeth Omilami) in a storage room at the diner. JT wants to hide this from Simone and Kendall, even against Ma Mable’s grandmotherly advice, “Don’t lie to the people you love.”

Simone’s on a mission to save up enough money for Encore to cut a demo and gives JT the pooled cash to hold onto. She knows his mama’s a drug addict, why would she do that? We’ll bet $96 - the amount Simone passed to JT - that the money’s gone next episode. Also possibly gone next episode? JT’s mama. Soon he may have to cut her loose so he doesn’t drown along with her.

Kendall is still figuring out who he is in the absence of his father. Possibly still sorting his guilt for avoiding his father’s fate in the service, he’s trying patriotism on for size, hanging a gigantic American flag in his room. Simone reminds him their mom would not want it in the house, but he insists – to his sister’s amusement – that since he’s the “man of the house,” it’s his call. He’s also still juggling responsible fatherhood with chasing his dreams, bringing his son with him to an emergency show rehearsal. Our real worry, however, is that Flo now has Kendall in her sights. Kendall clearly isn’t a virgin, but Flo’s on another level. Pulling celebrities, locking people in rooms to get a look, on a make it by any means necessary level. Kendall’s not ready. Our hero (anti-hero?), Don, is going through it. He’s still not landing big enough acts for the show, and his primary sponsor is threatening to pull out. He’s taking it out on Tessa, the only other person working as hard on the show as he is, and she’s fed up. Motown, which moved to LA right before Soul Train, has shut him out because he was “difficult” with Gladys.

Don rolls through Club 100 Proof hoping he can again grab an act through Gerald, but Gerald makes it clear that the new BFF free trial period is over. “(The) first taste is hospitality, brotha,” he says. “Now you gotta pay to eat.” Eventually, the two businessmen come to a gentlemen’s agreement: Gerald will help Don land marquee acts for a 5% cut of the business. But what Don doesn’t know (that we do), is that Gerald is a for real gangster. Like killing people and then standing up to his gangster boss’ crew, gangster. Don, you in danger, boo.

Before settling on an arrangement with Gerald, Don tries one more time to land an act on his own. Following a tip that Ron Isley is performing at an NAACP fundraiser, Don crashes the event and runs into Motown’s Ilsa Dejarrnette (Shannon Kane). Isla and Don bond over a little coke (what’s a couple of lines between social acquaintances?) and Ilsa offers to help him navigate the black bourgeoisie and make an introduction to Diana Ross (Michelle Williams), who showed up in place of Isley.  Don, ever anxious and determined to do things his own way, charms Ross by knowing she sang Ray Charles’ “The Night Time is the Right Time” when she first auditioned for Berry Gordy. Diana, of course, is way too big of a star for a fledgling show, and she tells Don as much. Now, Don must get into Dejarnette’s good graces to get an in with Motown acts. Sounds like a scandalous tryst is on the horizon.

What this episode got right: Soul Train dancers indeed got paid in fried chicken. Members of the Soul Train Gang weren’t compensated, but there was free KFC on set every show taping for lunch.

What it could have done without: Johnnie Cochran showing up as the attorney for Dexter Brown might be a bit much. We appreciate incorporating black figures that we know and will recognize, and highlighting their backstory (Cochran made his name representing black victims in highly publicized police brutality cases), but the intersecting moments can feel forced.

What we absolutely don’t believe: That a record label’s legal representative is all up in lounges and parties, having final say on who performs where, and schmoozing with artists. Even at an everyone-wears-multiple-hats label like Motown. Ilsa is most likely based on long-time Motown senior executive Suzanne De Passe, but De Passe worked on all aspects of creative and artist development.

What we don’t understand: Why there wasn’t more of Janelle Monae’s Wondaland artist Roman GianArthur as Ernie Isley.

This wasn’t the strongest episode so far, but it was a necessary plot builder. Episode 5 looks lit, though. (Come through K. Michelle!)

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