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Is Drake's Sophomore Album Too-Emo for Men?

Surely you heard Drake’s much anticipated (and leaked) sophomore album. Drake’s given listeners his blessing to, “Listen, enjoy it, buy it if you like it...and take care until next time.” So I have, listened, that is, and I like it. But then again, I favor R&B and introspection. “Take Care” is what I put on at the end of the day when I’m winding down and prepping for bed.

This, of course, annoys the men in my life. They all acknowledge that Drake can spit. That isn’t the problem. What is, is they felt duped by Drake’s first album, “Thank Me Later”, which they determined was for the ladies. “Take Care” was supposed to be hard and for the fellas, an assumption I’m not sure how they arrived at. He rocks Cosby sweaters on red carpets. There was no way this would be for the streets. Maybe the suburbs?

The first listen garnered the following reactions from my dudes:
“This is too f---in emotional man. He sounds like the male Mary J.”
“Softest dude ever.”
“Someone needs to email him the link to Childish Gambino. Help him get his testosterone back.”
“Nikki spits harder.”

It seems my guys aren’t going for emo-rap. No real surprise. In general, guys are never all that great with discussing (or dealing with) emotions. But maybe, every now and again, they need to be. 

On Take Care Drake brings up a lot of issues that men need to address, most notably his unresolved issues with his father. On “Look What You’ve Done,” (my favorite track. I replayed it four times) Drake addresses his daddy issues, an  idea that’s overwhelming discussed about women, but affects men with absent fathers equally. Drizzy also raps about a argument with his mother where she crossed the line, “And you tell me I’m just like my father, my one button, you push it/ Now it's "Fuck you, I hate you, I'll move out in a heartbeat." 

Later in the verse, he adds, “And my father living in Memphis now/ he can't come this way/Over some minor charges and child support that just wasn't paid/ Damn, boo-hoo, sad story, Black American dad story.”

Drake’s dismissal of his situation as just another “Black American dad” speaks to the number of Black males who don’t grow up with a father in the home—82% since 1990. And a father’s absence affects his son in every aspect of his life, from his self-esteem to his relationships to the way he views the world. It gives him a vulnerable spot, the one Drake notes when he blows up at his Mom, that few things other than a father or father-like figure (Drake addresses that in verse two) can fill.

The best way for anyone to get thru (not over) an issue—any issue, not just absentee fatherism is to confront it and talk about it. Stuffing it down emotions or avoiding them, or rejecting them in favor of bravado—what so many guys do—doesn’t make the issue better, rather just allows it to seep out in other forms.

Instead of guys dissing Drake as too emotional, I wish they’d give Take Care a chance and open up a little more. I don’t expect Drake to solve anything, of course, but maybe it could make them think, “it’s not just me” and be a first step to a discussion. --Demetria L. Lucas

Demetria L. Lucas is a life coach and the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk

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Idris Elba Is The Black Superman In The New 'Hobbs And Shaw'

The Fast & Furious enterprise is known for gravity-defying stunts, larger-than-life explosives, a few expensive cars going way over the speed limit and fight scenes so intricate and lethal, they look like poetry.

All that and more are on display in the second full-length trailer for the forthcoming Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw. Slated for a summer release, Dwayne Johnson plays Hobbs who must work with his nemesis Shaw (Jason Statham) to take down Brixton Lore, (Idris Elba) a genetically enhanced fighter who fancies himself the black Superman.

Shaw's sister, played by The Crown's Vanessa Kirby, stole a chemical from Lore that can wipe out half the population, and now Lore and his team of ruthless mercenaries are on a vicious hunt to retrieve it.

While Fast & Furious fans are curious to see if Johnson can carry a franchise film on his own, not everyone was supportive of the spinoff.  Tyrese Gibson seemingly took issue when rumors of the film were swirling. Johnson, however, didn't care and reportedly called  Gibson and Vin Diesel a bunch of "candy-asses."

The first Fast & Furious hit theaters on June 18, 2001, and was made with a $38 million budget. The film earned more than $200 million domestically setting it up to be one of Hollywood's most successful franchises. The series went onto have eight films, the last being The Fate of The Furious. It's been dubbed the final film since Paul Walker's 2013 death.

Fast & Furious Presents: HOBBS & SHAW - Official Trailer #2 Are you ready, we’re back with our SECOND WORLDWIDE @HobbsAndShaw trailer🔥THIS SUMMER AUGUST 2ND👀#HobbsAndShawpic.twitter.com/n8YHfa5SET

— Idris Elba (@idriselba) April 18, 2019

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Jussie Smollett Cut From Forthcoming Broadway Play

Jussie Smollett has lost a starring role in a forthcoming Broadway play in the wake of his hate crime scandal. The actor was reportedly nipped from the Broadway reboot of the Tony-winning play, Take Me Out, the Daily Mail reports.

Smollett was originally cast to play the main character Darren Lemming, an interracial baseball player who comes out a gay at the height of his career. Ironically, the character also suffers a racial and homophobic attack by a teammate.

The actor previously read for the role only one day before his alleged attack in Chicago in Jan. 2019. A source close to Broadway told the British newspaper that Smollett and his co-star Zachary Quinto's castings were going to be announced in Mar. 2019, but "everything shifted" after Smollett was arrested and charged on the suspicion of staging his own hate crime and stalling a police investigation.

Smollett's disorderly conduct case has since been dropped, but the city of Chicago is suing the actor for $130,000 for the time wasted on his extensive investigation. Jussie didn't appear in the last two episodes of Empire's fifth season, but he is expected to return to the hit Fox series in the upcoming season.

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‘The Chi’ Recap: Ep. 2 Shows That Hustling Humanity Is The Key To Surviving The Jungle

How does one survive in a jungle? How does one survive in an environment where volatility is the norm and there’s no observed rule of law outside of one’s own self-interest?

The characters in The Chi have had to figure that out for more than a season and especially after the vicious assault on 73-year-old Ms. Ethel in the Season Two premiere. Detective Toussaint (Crystal Dickinson), the new detective investigating the assault, described Chicago as “a f**king jungle.” The new episode, entitled “Every Day I’m Hustlin,’” made the primary survival tactic in this jungle clear: You must hustle your humanity.

Out of all of the nefarious characters in The Chi universe, it’s Brandon’s girlfriend Jerrika Little (Tiffany Boone) who employs that tactic the clearest in this episode. She does so in pristine offices, decadent fundraisers in expensive courtyards and her fancy apartment. In The Chi, a jungle can take many shapes, but the hustle remains essential.

Jerrika comes from affluent parents who are real estate developers and judge people’s value by what they do for a living. Her father, while disparaging her choice to date Brandon, says he didn’t “spend 100 grand on Spelman for [her] to marry a cook,” as if his daughter’s life is a property he’s added improvements to in hopes of a large return on his investment. Even though Jerrika is displeased with her parent’s emotionless pragmatism, the episode shows how she’s internalized their worldview and it is that view that is the impetus of her hustle.

As a real estate agent of her own, Jerrika abandons her blackness in order to land a six-figure deal for a housing property funded by black business woman Harriet Brown (Jacqueline Williams). Sitting in her office, with her degrees and achievements decking the walls behind her, Brown rejects Jerrika’s proposal for the inclusion of low-income housing and pejoratively refers to black people seeking low-income housing as “those people” that will ruin your property. You can almost see the battle between Jerrika’s blackness and her career aspirations waged in her head as she twitches in her seat, rattles her fingers on the desk and leaves an uncomfortably long pause between Brown’s dismissal and her response.

But, Jerrika changes her stance and even says she personally wouldn’t recommend low-income housing because, for her, upward social mobility is tantamount to survival, and not that easy to vilify. This idea of feeling forced to abandon your blackness in the pursuit of mobility in business is an obstacle millions of black women face in their respective fields. In 2010, Chasity Jones had a customer service representative job offer rescinded from Catastrophe Management Solutions due to her having dreadlocks; a decision the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals deemed legal in 2016. When the law of the land doesn’t protect you, then jungle rules apply, and sometimes that involves camouflaging.

Young Money APAA sports agent Nicole Lynn is one of the few black women certified to be a sports agent. She’s made it to a rarified space partly by not fully being herself. “I still have never worn braids at the NFL Combine. I’m not there yet. I still have an act of ‘covering.’ Covering is when you hide something about yourself to conform to dominant culture,” Lynn said in a recent interview. Realities such as these show how dismissing Jerrika’s decisions as simply bad belies the difficulty of being black in a world where advancement is harder for you than for anyone else.

Jerrika isn’t the only one in the episode with their humanity and their hustle at odds. At a mediation between Emmett and the mother of his son, Tiffany (Hannah Hall), to establish financial support for the child, Emmett learns he’ll have to hustle to get a piece of his humanity back. The normally boisterous Emmett whimpers to almost a despondent whisper when he rhetorically asks the mediator, “I got to pay for my son, but I can’t see him?” Emmett’s situation evokes similar emotional conflicts as Jerrika as the cards seem to be stacked against Emmett, but it’s largely due to his own personal faults.

The most vicious example of the battle between hustle and humanity occurs following the passing of Junie, a friend to Reg (Barton Fitzpatrick) and the gang he leads. For a few minutes, as the young black men that are part of the gang watch social media videos of their fallen friend in their dilapidated trap house, you can see the compassion in those young men who, more than likely, have had to do inhumane acts for their gang. But, in less than a minute, Reg convinces his group to abandon any emotional mourning of their lost friend and instead honor his legacy by hustling more to get money to pay to the leadership of the 63rd St Mob to avoid being murdered.

In The Chi, emotions can be hindrances to survival, leaving a chasm between one’s hustle and one’s humanity that, for some, is irreparable. It’ll be interesting to see what’s left of the people in The Chi after they’ve given away pieces of their humanity to survive.

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