Top 10 Songs of 2016

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Happy New Year, y’all!  I know it’s been an extremely long time since I’ve posted anything on this blog (October, to be exact), but since I have a tad bit of free time for a change—and I’ve ended my Christmas vacay from writing—I’ve decided to do a little somethin’ somethin’ regarding the past year.

Now, 2016 wasn’t exactly the easiest year for most of us, and I’m sure that a lot of us are happy that it’s come and gone and we were blessed enough to survive.  However, I have to say that one of the good things about 2016 was that the music was on point.  2016 actually had a a resurgence of music, in my opinion, and I decided to make a top 10 list of the best songs the year had to offer.  Mind you, these are just the songs I’ve heard this year, and the majority of the songs I listened to belonged to the genre of Hip-Hop and R&B.  Most of the Pop songs last year made me promptly turn the station, and I’m more geared towards Classic Rock than the contemporary stuff.  With that being said, let’s jump right into this!

10.  “Hotline Bling” by Drake

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I realize this song was actually released in 2015, but it got some crazy airplay in 2016, and I first heard it around January or February of last year.  Drake isn’t a strong singer, but the tune of this song is really catchy, as is the music that was used.  I have to admit, this is the first Drake song I’ve liked (I don’t listen to a lot of today’s Hip-Hop), and I uploaded it to my IPod not too long after discovering it.

9.  “Phone Down” by Erykah Badu

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Like many of the songs on this list, I heard this gem while listening to The Steve Harvey Morning Show on my way to work.  It’s one of Erykah’s most straightforward songs, but the music and lyrics draw you in.  Lord knows it’s hard to make someone put their phone down in this day and age, but Erykah has you believing that she can easily make her man do it.  The video leaves much to be desired, but the song is gold.

8.  “In Common” by Alicia Keys

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A lot of folks say that Alicia hasn’t been the same since she got together with Swizz Beats, but in my opinion, she hasn’t missed a thing, and “In Common” proves that.  I came across this song this past summer while browsing for new music on You Tube.  The haunting tune and lyrics about still being in love with a man that she knows she shouldn’t be with got me hooked immediately.

7.  “Formation” by Beyoncé

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Y’all know “Formation” had to be somewhere on the list.  Pretty much every song on the Lemonade album was legendary, but I had “Formation” playing just about every day, twice a day on my IPod for weeks.  “Formation” had a bangin’ beat, as well as memorable lyrics (“I got hot sauce in my bag…swag.”).  Not only is the song itself the bomb, but the video is extremely inspiring with its homage to contemporary—as well as antiquated—African-American culture.

6.  “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd

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If you watched any videos regarding The Mannequin Challenge this year (which really impressed me, by the way), you’ve heard this song playing in the background.  There was something about the soft music and the hook that really got me into this song, which is saying a lot, considering I couldn’t get into too much of contemporary Hip-Hop nowadays.  Hip-Hop made a comeback in a major way in 2016.

5.  “Don’t Touch My Hair” by Solange

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Over the years, a lot of people slept on Solange and wrote her off as Beyoncé’s little sister, or the little lady that managed to whup Jay-Z’s ass in an elevator (I couldn’t resist).  However, when Solange released A Seat At the Table, she proved she was so much more and shut the naysayers up.  One of the many great songs on that album that stood out was “Don’t Touch My Hair.”  When I first came across the video, it had just debuted on You Tube, and what I thought would be a sassy tune about not messin’ with a black woman’s hair turned out to be a thought provoking song about the pride and culture of African-American people.  The video blew me away, too.  Much like Beyoncé’s Lemonade, “Don’t Touch My Hair” showcased the beauty of black people, but it did so in a more art house type manner.

4.  “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars

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Anyone that knows me knows that I love ’80s music, and “24K Magic” brought ’80s realness.  Just when I thought that Bruno Mars hit his peak with “Uptown Funk,” he released “24K Magic,” and I fell in love with it right off the bat.  The synthesizers and the lyrics take me back to a simpler time, when MTV was actually entertaining.  Yeah, I went there.

3.  “Crush” by Yuna feat. Usher

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I had never heard of Yuna before coming across “Crush” on You Tube, but I’m sure to hear a lot more from her, considering how well made this song is.  Yuna and Usher make a perfect duet about a man and woman that have both have feelings for each other and are just starting to act on it.  On a side note, Yuna has a very pretty voice that’s similar to Jhene Aiko’s, another artist that I just discovered this past year.  Ironically enough, on Yuna’s album Chapters, Yuna and Jhene do a duet together.

2.  “Lazarus” by David Bowie

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Like “Hotline Bling,” “Lazurus” was actually released in 2015.  I listened to it a few days prior to Mr. Bowie’s death, and I really enjoyed it, even more so than the title track.  Then, Mr. Bowie passed away and I realized what “Lazurus” actually was…a goodbye.  Now it hurts me to listen to the song, or any of the songs featured on the Blackstar album.  I certainly can’t watch the video.  Nonetheless, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a great song, and it’s had an extreme impact on music fans.  We still miss you, Mr. Bowie.

1.  “Cranes In the Sky” by Solange

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Yes, Solange made the list again, proving how good the songs featured on A Seat At the Table are.  I first heard “Cranes In the Sky” on The Steve Harvey Morning Show and initially, I didn’t think it was quite as good as “Don’t Touch My Hair.”  Then I gave the song a second chance, and realized just how beautiful it was.  The video for “Cranes In the Sky” was equally gorgeous with its artful images of landscapes and African-American people.  I’m lovin’ this new neo-soul side of Solange.  I’m more than happy to see that folks will finally look at Solange as an artist in her own right, and she’ll finally be leaving her big sister’s shadow.

There were a lot of great songs released this past year, but only 10 of them could make this list.  However, I wanted to post some honorable mentions, too:

“Can’t Wait” by Jill Scott

“Love Me Now” by John Legend

The Lemonade album by Beyoncé (yes, the entire album)

“Blended Family” by Alicia Keys

The TWENTY88 album by TWENTY88 (Big Sean and Jhene Aiko)

—Written by Nadiya

So what were your top songs of 2016?  I mostly listened to Hip-Hop and R&B, so I’m interested to read which songs got heavy rotation in your playlist!  Let me know in the comments section!

Top 10 Worst Sequels

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Hey, y’all!  Yes, I’m still alive.  I’m so sorry I haven’t been around for the last two months.  I’ve been extremely busy with my day job, as well as my other writing assignments.  I haven’t forgotten about y’all.  To be honest, lately I’ve been so inwardly stressed about not being able to do all my writing projects that I’ve had trouble digesting food.  No lie.  Frankly speaking, my time on here will be sporadic, thanks to the long hours at my job and the amount of time it takes me to get to and from work.  The only reason I have time to finish this post now is because thanks to Hurricane Matthew (we got most of the week off.  I would’ve finished this sooner, but we lost power all day yesterday due to that damn storm).  However, I promise that I’m not givin’ up on y’all.  I may not be postin’ once a week like I used to, but you will still here from me.  Bet on it.  Now, on to the article!

A little while ago, I watched the film The Huntsman:  Winter’s War.  Now, unlike most folks, I greatly enjoyed Snow White and the Huntsman, and y’all know how much I love Chris Hemsworth, so I was sure that I’d enjoy the sequel.  I couldn’t have be more wrong.  It wasn’t the worst sequel I ever watched, but Lord knows it wasn’t the best, and I had no desire to watch the film again.  The continuity was all screwed up, and they completely diluted The Huntsman’s character to a happy-go-lucky jokester.  Ugh.  After watching the movie, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “What are the worst sequels I’ve ever watched?”  It inspired me to make a top 10 list that I’m finally presenting to y’all today!  So, here it is!

10.  Graffiti Bridge

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Now, y’all know how much I love Prince…but this movie is shit.  I knew it when I was 10 years old, and I know it now.  If Prince didn’t come out and say that Graffiti Bridge was a sequel to Purple Rain, we’d probably never know it.  Aside from Prince, Morris and Jerome returning to the cast (and Jill; forgot about her for a sec), there’s hardly any connection between the two films.  Crazy lookin’ sets, an even crazier plot, and what the heck happened to Apollonia?  She’s not even mentioned!  Skip this one, or at least watch it on mute (Prince is so cute in it).

9.  Speed 2:  Cruise Control

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Speed was an exciting movie with explosive chemistry between the two leads and an unforgettable villain.  Speed 2:  Cruise Control was a dull movie with zero chemistry between the two leads and a completely forgettable villain.  Seriously, the only things I remember about this film is Sandra Bullock elbowin’ Willem Dafoe in the face (that was the only badass scene in the whole film), the ship crashing through the city, and thinking that Jason Patric couldn’t hold a candle to Keanu Reeves.  Sorry, Jason.

8.  Pirates of the Caribbean:  At World’s End

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Folks love to give Pirates of the Caribbean:  On Stranger Tides all kinds of hell, but I actually liked that film!  At World’s End was much worse!  In my opinion, On Stranger Tides went back to basics, whereas At World’s End was completely overblown and ridiculous.  This movie had the ship capsizing to go from one world to another, Elizabeth being elected the pirate queen, the crew “trapping” the goddess Calypso (by the way, who didn’t predict that Tia Dalma was actually Calypso?), a million Jack Sparrows running around, a big showdown between The Black Pearl and The Flying Dutchman (all while performing a wedding ceremony), another big showdown between The Black Pearl and the East India Trading Company (although I must admit, that ass kickin’ was kind of cool)…ugh, the list goes on and on!  Then the movie was nearly three hours long!  Have y’all ever heard the phrase, “Less is more?”  And I thought Dead’s Man Chest brought everything but the kitchen sink!  Lord!

7.  Once Upon a Time In Mexico

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When Once Upon a Time In Mexico was released the summer of 2003, I remember Salma Hayek saying, “It’s been seven years since we did a follow up to Desperado, and this film is seven times better than [the previous one].”  Why do actors lie to get us in the theatres?  Why not just make a good film?  In this case, the lie worked, and instead of me walking out the movie theatre hyped up, I walked out with a splitting headache.  Like At World’s End, this movie had too much going on, it was just executed in a different way.  Instead of too many over-the-top events going on, Once Upon a Time In Mexico decided to have fifty million characters introduced in the movie, each with their own storyline!  Ironically enough, Johnny Depp was the best thing about this film.  Antonio Banderas was pretty much wasted in his own film, sadly enough.  I hated how El Mariachi immediately went from being an ass kickin’ vigilante seeking to avenge his wife and daughter’s death (and why did he have to go through more heartbreak!?) to one of the “sons of Mexico” on a mission to protect the president.  Ugh.  Give me El Mariachi and Desperado any day of the week.  You what’s really sad?  El Mariachi probably cost all of $20,000 to make, and it’s vastly superior to this hot mess.

6.   Rocky V

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This is where the Rocky franchise started to go left.  First off, Rocky loses all his money, thanks to him allowing Paulie to handle his finances.  For all fans of the franchise, I ask this question:  Who in their right mind would allow Paulie’s silly ass to handle his finances!?  Secondly, Rocky moves back to his old neighborhood, falls out with his now teenage son—although just before he left for Russia to fight Ivan Drago, his son was about seven years old—and takes in some ungrateful redneck to train him for the big time.  In short, this film was boring and a pale shadow of what the franchise was.  Even the “big fight” at the end was just meh.

5.  Transformers:  Revenge of the Fallen

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This movie probably shouldn’t be on the list, because quite frankly, I didn’t watch the entire film.  I fell asleep on it, and I when I woke up again I had no desire to finish watching it.  Like a lot of the movies on this list, it had too much going on.  I only watched it once, so I can’t even remember all the shit that happened, I just remembered it was a lot of shit, and it didn’t impress me.  Not only that, but I got tired of all Megan Fox’s gratuitous booty shots, and if I heard Shia Lebeouf’s roommate scream like a woman one more time, I was gonna come through the damn TV and slap the hell out of him.

 4.  Ghostbusters II

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You know, The Karate Kid Part 3 was set to take the number four spot on this list, but as I was typing this out, I remembered…Ghostbusters II was much worse.  Folks love to put down the Ghostbusters reboot and credit it for ruining the franchise, but they seem to forget how horrendous Ghosbusters II was.  I adored the first installment (still do), and when this movie came out during my grade school years, I couldn’t wait to see it…and I was sorely disappointed.  This movie was full of lame jokes, a crazy plot (even for a comedy/sci-fi film), and even a corny theme song (sorry, Bobby Brown).  They even committed the cardinal sin of sequels:  rehashing all the jokes/plot lines from the original film.  God, I can’t stand that.

3.  Breaking Dawn Pt. 1

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Yes, I’m a fan of the Twilight franchise; the books and the films (the books more so than the movies).  Just like with the books, I was greatly enjoying the film franchise until it got to Breaking Dawn.  I wasn’t surprised, mind you.  The book was shit, and as Elvis once said, “you can’t polish a turd.”  Just like the Breaking Dawn novel, the movie was fine until Bella got preggo with that demon spawn.  Then it all went to hell.  It even had the gall to take it a step further.  I can deal with wolves communicating telepathically, but when they have hybrid human/wolf voices to do it, it’s time to change the channel.  And I still can’t stomach Edward giving Bella that damn C-section with his doggone teeth.

2.  Batman and Robin

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*Sigh*  Lord, give me strength…  There’s really no need of beating around the bush.  Batman and Robin is a horrible movie, and it completely ruined the franchise, plain and simple.  It’s the epitome of cheesy.  Cheesy writing, cheesy plots, cheesy sets, cheesy one-liners, cheesy acting—it’s enough to make you constipated.  And that sad excuse of a Batmobile?  Lord, have mercy!  This movie actually ruined some of the actors’ careers.  For some reason George Clooney—and to some extent, Arnold Schwarzenegger—walked away unscathed.  The only good thing about this movie is that it was such a bomb that there was practically no where else to go but up, and the The Dark Knight franchise rose from the ashes of this turkey.

1.  The Matrix Revolutions

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I’m getting sick to my stomach just thinking about this movie.  When The Matrix Reloaded was released, I was disappointed, but I was still anxious to find out what would happen with Neo and Trinity in the next installment.  What happened was a hot ass mess.  The dialog was even more cryptic and convoluted, the plot was boring as well as confusing, and the movie was dragged out to a torturous three hour run time, that felt more like five hours.  When the film finally got to the scene we were all waiting for—the big fight between Neo and Agent Smith—it was just as disappointing as the rest of the film.  Just a long, dull, drawn out mess.  Then, to top it all off, the ending wasn’t exactly happy.  After all that nonsense I sat through, y’all could’ve at least allowed Neo and Trinity to live happily forever after in Zion.  I walked out of that theatre with a flattened ass, severe aggravation, and a date who complained about paying for the mess we just watched.  Y’all should’ve just stuck with one damn movie.

Whew!  That was tough!  So tell me, do you agree with my list?  What movies do you think are the worst sequels ever?  Let me know in the comments section!

Oh, yeah.  Get out  and vote this November!

Top 10 ‘Outlander’ Moments

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What’s poppin’, y’all?  As die hard fans like myself may already know by now, season 2 of Outlander officially ended a few weeks ago, and we’re officially in the time period known as “Droughtlander.”  To be honest though, if I have to endure an entire season of bratty ass Brianna Randall, I’d rather brave the drought!  Anyway, despite losing Starz a while back, I was able to catch up on the last couple of episodes (and got royally pissed off at the events of the season finale, namely Claire’s spoiled brat of a daughter), and now I’d like to do a top 10 list of the most memorable moments—good and bad—of the Outlander TV series!  Let’s hop to it!

10.  Brianna Cusses At Her Mother

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In the season finale, 20 years have passed, and a 50 year old Claire and her rotten daughter Brianna travel to Scotland to attend Rev. Wakefield’s funeral.  While there, Brianna learns the truth about her father—her real father—and basically tells her mother, “You were just fucking another man behind Dad’s back!”  What’s even crazier is that Claire didn’t smack the child silly!  Okay, did Brianna have the right to be upset?  Sure.  Did Claire’s story about traveling to the 18th century sound ludicrous?  Yeah.  But did she have the right to drop an F bomb at her mother and basically call her a ho?  HELL NO!

I’ma need you to have several seats, Brianna.

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9.  The Spanking

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Yep, I went there.

In this scene, Jamie has just rescued Claire from Black Jack’s clutches, but feels the need to punish her since he ordered her to stay with Willie in the woods, but she “wandered off” towards the stones at Craigh Na Du instead, leading to her capture.  What does he consider punishment?  Puttin’ a belt to her behind.  Okay…I know I’m gonna catch holy hell for this one, but as I always say, I have to keep it 100%.  I’m a black woman from the south, raised during the ’80s and ’90s.  When I got out of line as a child, my mother and grandmother spanked me.  Some people look at this scene and see abuse.  I see a spanking.  Now, did Claire deserve the spanking?  Hell no, especially given the fact that she was running back to the stones to go home (which Jamie later learned and deservedly ended up with egg on his face).  Do I believe a husband should whup his wife’s booty with a belt?  Not unless it’s for kinks.  However, I laughed out loud when I first watched this …because Claire whupped Jamie’s ass more than he whupped hers.  Homegirl refused to go down without a fight, and she gave him the silent treatment for the next week, to boot.  Jamie had no choice but to literally get on his knees and beg for forgiveness.

8.  All of Gellis’s Moments

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Yes, you read that correctly.  All of Gellis Duncan’s moments are memorable.  Whether she’s worshiping mother nature, killing both of her husbands, channeling her inner Malcolm X at a Prince Charlie rally, whipping up her potions or announcing that she’s “going to a fucking barbecue,” when Gellis comes on screen, you know it’s about to go down.

7.  Angus Dies

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In the episode “Prestonpans,” Angus returns from the eponymous battle bruised from a cannon blast that exploded next to him, while Rupert was unconscious and seemingly circling the drain.  Ever the faithful best friend, Angus never left his side, and it looked as if he was going to lose his partner in crime.  However, it turns out that Angus was the one that was dying.  He passed out after bleeding internally for the past few hours from the cannon blast, and all Claire and the others could do was watch in horror as he bled to death.  Ironically enough, Rupert woke up the second Angus died.  This scene really broke my heart.

 6.  Black Jack Violates Fergus

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Just when we thought that Black Jack couldn’t get any more evil, we learn that Jamie found his ratchet ass raping Fergus, the 10 year old boy Jamie and Claire took under their wing.  Hence, Jamie broke his word to Claire about waiting a year to kill Black Jack, and went ahead with their scheduled duel.  I cheered when Jamie stabbed his no good ass in the balls towards the end of the fight.

5.  Dougal Gets Killed

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Another reason this season 2 finale pissed me off.  After realizing that crazy ass “Bonny” Prince Charles is going to send the Scots to their death no matter what, Claire suggests killing him via poison.  Dougal overhears this plot, goes into a murderous rage and lashes at Jamie, with Claire presumably to be next.  Jamie and Dougal fight, and Jamie eventually gets the upper hand with Dougal’s knife aimed at his chest.  Dougal’s a tough SOB, and he struggles to keep the dagger from piercing his body, so Claire, being the ride or die chick she is, bears her weight down on Jamie, causing to knife to enter Dougal’s chest.  Let’s face it, Dougal McKenzie was a bastard.  He cheated on his sick (and supposedly lonely) wife, 90% of the time he was out for self, he knocked up Gellis and forgot about her, and he tried to hook up with his nephew’s wife on his wedding day!  In spite of all that though, I liked Dougal.  Really, really deep down, he had a good heart, and his love and loyalty to Scotland were very commendable.  He also cared a great deal about Claire as well as Colum, although he had a shitty way of showing it.  That’s why it broke my heart that Claire and Jamie had to kill him, especially given the fact that Dougal went out of his way to save Claire’s life previously (which makes it even more hurtful, considering that Claire is the one that sealed his death warrant).  Hell, he’s the reason they’re a married couple in the first place.  I hated that his last thoughts of Jamie and Claire were that they were a couple of traitorous bitches.

4.  Claire Loses Faith

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“Faith” was the most powerful episode of season 2, hands down.  As previously mentioned, Jamie breaks his word to leave Black Jack alone for an entire year, and as a result, a very pregnant Claire goes into distress upon seeing him fight the no-good Englishman.  Claire goes into labor immediately after the duel, and the baby is stillborn.  Naturally, Claire is depressed and when the nuns allow her to see the baby, she holds the child for the remainder of the day.  In what’s possibly the most thoughtful and selfless act of her life, Claire’s friend, Louise de Rohan, convinces her to let the baby go for good.  If this episode didn’t pull at your heartstrings, I don’t know what will.  I wish the baby had lived and Claire and Jamie raised her.  I’d trade Faith for Brianna any day (it’s okay to say that about TV characters).

3.  The Duke of Sandringham Loses His Head

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We all knew that the Duke of Sandringham was an asshole, but in the episode “Vengeance Is Mine, ” we learned that the duke was damn near evil incarnate.  It’s revealed that he was the one that orchestrated Claire and Mary’s attack in Paris, and to add insult to injury, we also learn that Mary was the Duke’s own goddaughter, and he still allowed the attack!  Apparently, St. Germain (aka TFF) wanted Claire dead, but Sandringham suggested rape, because it “wasn’t as bad.”  WTF!?  After finding out about the duke’s evil deed, Murtagh, who promised Claire he would lay vengeance at her feet for what happened to her and Mary, promptly buries an ax into the Duke’s skull and proceeds to chop off his head.  He then lays the head at Claire and Mary’s feet and lets them know that he fulfilled his vow.  Go ‘head Murtagh.  I cheered at this scene, too.

2.  Wentworth Prison

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Jamie’s torture scenes in Wentworth Prison are stomach turning, to say the least.  Black Jack promised he would break Jamie…and he does just that, and makes the viewing audience cringe in fear and disgust in the process.  His tactics are enough to make Jeffrey Dahmer shiver:  brutal and multiple rapes, molestation, mutilation, and psychological games, all ending with a “mercy kill” that thankfully never happened, thanks to Claire and Murtagh.  When the founding fathers of America outlawed “cruel and unusual punishment” in the Bill of Rights, I believe they were thinking about Black Jack Randall (psych).  Seriously, I can hardly watch these scenes now, but you best believe they stayed burned in my mind.

1.  All the Times Claire and Jamie Hooked Up

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Real talk, we all love the drama and action Outlander brings, but what we all salivate over is Claire and Jamie’s sex scenes.  Whether they’re consummating their marriage, having a sizzling make up session, or Claire letting Jamie give her a “good morning kiss,” we live to see these two hook up.  Claire and Jamie have explosive chemistry, and together, they’ve had some of the hottest love scenes I’ve seen in ages.  So much so, that everybody and their mama was beggin’ to see Claire and Jamie get it on in season 2.  Unfortunately, they only had two measly hot scenes together this season (and one of them was a quickie).  Boo!  Maybe they’ll get together a little bit more next season after their 20 year separation (God, I hate that storyline), but it begs the question…do we really wanna see middle aged folks get their freak on?

Oh, yeah…honorable mention:

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“I’ll thank you to take your hands off my wife.”  I love it!

—Written by Nadiya

So tell me, what’s your favorite Outlander moment?  Did you agree with the list, or did you have a different opinion?  Let me know in the comments section!

 

Top 10 ‘Game of Thrones’ Psychos

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What’s poppin’, y’all?  I know Game of Thrones‘ sixth season has ended, but I’m quite sure some of y’all have been going through withdrawals.  With that being said, I decided to do a Game of Thrones Top 10 list, and what better way to do it than to name off the top 10 psychos on the show!  I mean, let’s face it, a lot of the characters on Game of Thrones aren’t particularly balanced.  Let’s hop to it!  By the way…do y’all like my house sigil?

10.  Sandor “The Hound” Clegane

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I know what y’all are thinkin’, “What’s The Hound doing on this list?”  Now I know that all of y’all love The Hound; I love him, too.  However, you have to admit that he’s a bit psychotic.  I can see why, though.  If my brother burned half my face for playing with one of his favorite toys, I’d be a bit off myself.  Yes, deep down The Hound is a good man, but he actually enjoys killing.  Remember when he told either Sansa or Arya (I can’t remember which one it was) that killing was the most wonderful thing in the world and that Ned enjoyed it, too?  Every time I watched Ned—or even Jon—kill someone, it was a necessary evil, but they got no enjoyment from it.  Only The Hound finds glee in murder.  Unless it’s folks gettin’ burned to death, of course.

9.  Euron Greyjoy

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That’s right, number nine is the king of the Iron Islands and the king of dick jokes himself, Euron Greyjoy!  It’s true that he just joined the cast this season, but right out of the gate, he proved himself to be an A1 nut!  First he killed his brother, proved himself to be obsessed with Theon’s no-longer-existing dick, and then uttered his famous phrase, “Where’s my niece and nephew?  Let’s go murder them!”  Cu-koo!

8.  Walder Frey

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He flirts with chicks young enough to be his granddaughters, he murders entire families at social functions, and always appears to be constipated!  The number eight spot goes to none other than ratchet ass Walder Frey!  Anyone that can watch folks get slaughtered at a wedding and get years of enjoyment from it (not to mention the fact that he imprisoned his son-in-law for God knows how many years after the massacre) is a pure psycho!

7.  Cersei Lannister

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Cersei was always a bitch, but she crossed into pure psychotic territory during the sixth season finale.  When a monarch commits mass genocide (and let’s not forget, she blew up a church!) in her own kingdom and smiles with joy, it proves that she isn’t playing with a full deck.  Plus, there were her past deeds:  trying to kill Tyrion, sleeping with Jaime (ill!), not caring when Jaime pushed Bran out the window, etc.  Hell, in the books, she murdered one of her close friends because the latter had a crush on Jaime!  With an ally like her, who needs enemies?

6.  Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes

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These ladies are so hellbent on revenge, they don’t care who they take out to get it, and if you’re not with them, you’re damn sure against them.  I get Ellaria and the crew being pissed at Cersei, but why kill Myrcella?  She was completely innocent!  Why kill Prince Doran and his son for (wisely) not wanting to wage war?  Let’s not forget how the youngest Sand Snake (her name escapes me) poisoned Bronn just for shits and giggles.  A family full of fools, indeed.

5.  Meryn Trant

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Meryn Trant was an arrogant, murderous pedophiliac who got his rocks off on following Joffrey’s sick orders and beating up little girls under the age of 14.  I cheered out loud when Arya messed his ass up.  Talk about just desserts!  The only reason this dude isn’t higher on the list because there’s much, much worse people on Game of Thrones.  You have to have a strong will and thick skin to enjoy this show.

4.  Lysa Arryn

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Lord, have mercy.  Lysa Arryn was the epitome of batshit crazy.  Considering that she’s the one that poisoned her husband and sent that letter to Ned Stark implicating the Lannisters for his murder, it’s possible to say that her actions put all the horrible events in the show into motion (Ned wouldn’t have gone to King’s Landing if the former Hand of the King—Lysa’s husband—hadn’t been murdered).  Some of Lysa’s favorite pastimes included dropping people to their death (which makes it fitting that she was killed the same way), obsessing over Littlefinger, and allowing her nine year old son to be breastfed.  Did I mention that she was a horrible parent, too?  Lysa was single-handedly responsible for raising the most spoiled and useless child on the face of the Earth, and I’ve seen some bad ones, boo.

3.  Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane

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The Hound made it on to the list, but his big brother, The Mountain, is waaaaaaay crazier than he is.  As I said earlier, The Mountain is basically the reason The Hound is on this list in the first place.  Much like Meryn Trant, he found joy in carrying out The Lannisters’ dirty deeds (i.e. raping and killing women and children), but he’d also go after anyone and everyone that pissed him off.  He tried to kill Loras Tyrell once for beating him fair and square during a game of joust.  And of course, there was that time he crushed Oberyn Martell’s skull (the very act that turned Ellaria and the Sand Snakes into vengeful nuts).  To add insult to injury, ever since he’s become a reanimated corpse, he’s gotten even crazier!  Smashing people’s heads, raping nuns…move over, Hannibal Lector!

2.  Joffrey Baratheon

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Now y’all know the king we all loved to hate was gonna be on this list!  Joffrey was a spoiled rotten young king that thrived on torture and humiliation.  He didn’t care who felt his wrath:  his uncle, his fianceé, his future father-in-law, innocent animals, random folks in King’s Landing, or some hoes that just wanted to show him a good time.  The very first episode of Game of Thrones I ever watched was “The Lion and the Rose” (the episode with “The Purple Wedding”), and I witnessed what an asshat Joffrey was.  I couldn’t say I was too upset—or shocked—when he was poisoned to death at the end of the episode.  Hell, I laughed out loud!

1.  Ramsay Bolton

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Real talk, if you were surprised Ramsay made the number one spot, you must be a new fan.  Ramsay is on a whole ‘nother level of insanity that even Joffrey’s spoiled, maniacal ass can’t touch.  Even Joffrey had a limit to his craziness.  Ramsay, on the other hand, had no chill.  He killed his dad, his step mother, and even his 10 minute old newborn brother!  Like Joffrey, he got off on torture, but he took it a step further than beatings and using folks for crossbow practice.  He cut off appendages and peeled the skin off people.  He raped and used psychological torture.  We have Ramsay to thank for Euron’s never ending dick jokes and for Theon being the poster child for PTSD.  What made Ramsay even scarier than Joffrey is the fact that Ramsay was actually intelligent, whereas Joffrey was a vicious idiot.  Ramsay used his insanity and mind games to his advantage, and he came out on top just about every time…until Jon beat his ass and Sansa turned him into Dog Chow.

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—Written by Nadiya

So who do think is the biggest psychopath on Game of Thrones?  Do you agree with the list?  Also, do you like my house sigil?  No, really.  Do you?  Give me your thoughts!

Top 10 David Bowie Album Covers

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Last week, I was in Columbia, SC visiting one of my favorite stores, Manifest Discs and Tapes (for those of y’all that love all things pop culture and live in the Columbia area, or if you’re located in Charlotte, NC or Charleston, SC; go to this store!).  While I was there, I came across something that made my entire day…they had Mr. Bowie’s earliest albums on vinyl!  Vinyl, doggone it!  I spent a good 10 minutes just salivating over those legendary records.  Too bad I didn’t have any money!

However, looking at the albums gave me inspiration for another Top 10 list.  At first, I decided on doing a Top 10 of Mr. Bowie’s greatest albums.  Then I realized that I’ve only listened to ten of Mr. Bowie’s albums (don’t judge me, the man had a 50 year career and 28 albums!  I haven’t gotten around to all of them yet!).  However, I have seen all of the covers for the albums, and truth be told, Mr. Bowie’s album covers themselves have changed the face of pop culture.  So, I decided to make a top 10 of Mr. Bowie’s best album covers!  Shall we begin?

10.  “Heroes”

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It’s always been something about the “Heroes” cover that’s been eye catching to myself and so many other fans, but I’ve never been able to put my finger on it.  Maybe it’s the pose, which according to the legend himself, was inspired by the painting Roquairol (as was Iggy Pop’s The Idiot, which was produced by Mr. Bowie and also released in 1977).  Or maybe it’s the fact that Mr. Bowie had debuted his new “Berlin Bowie” look on the cover (he officially changed his look when he did the Low album, but that album cover still featured his Thin White Duke persona).  Either way, this has been one of my favorite covers.  Mr. Bowie must’ve loved it too, considering that he recreated it for his 2013 album, The Next Day.

9.  Lodger

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Mr. Bowie is barely recognizable on the cover of this album.  For the longest time, I didn’t even think it was him until I came across the behind the scenes photos.  Basically, the artwork shows an accident victim in a bathroom, whose picture is taken with what may very well be a Polaroid camera (are there any 80’s babies in the house that remember those?  I LOVED those things!).  His nose is completely busted, hence the reason I didn’t recognize him.  The bottom half of the album shows Mr. Bowie’s distorted legs with his feet pointing inward (it was a gatefold cover; you know, when you unfold the album to reveal the entire picture…once again, something only folks born before 1989 know about).  This cover was damn ballsy.

8.  Earthling

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I’ll be honest, I never cared for Mr. Bowie’s Earthling era look.  No disrespect, but he was a little too mature for the spiky red hair after a while.  Please don’t get me started on that mohawk he sported for a minute during this era.  Despite all that, I always liked the Earthling album cover.  I’ve always been sort of an Anglophile, and as a lover of most things English (except the food), I think that Union Jack coat is the bomb!

7.  The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

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No, Ziggy is not number one.  To be honest, if I did decide to do a top 10 of the ten albums I’ve listened to, Ziggy wouldn’t be number one on that list, either (*gasp!*)!  However, this album and its cover are both iconic, so it still has a place here.  At first I didn’t care for the colorization of the picture.  I didn’t think it was really needed, especially given that Mr. Bowie didn’t have that bright blond hair color until 1983.  Later I realized the colorization may have been a necessary evil after all, considering that the pic was taken at nighttime.  Plus it makes the images stand out more, hence making the picture more memorable.  Another cool thing about this cover is that the location of the photo (23 Heddon Street in London) has since become legend, and there’s even been a commemorative plaque placed on the building that once had the “K. West” sign.  By the way, this was one of the gems I saw on sale at Manifest last week.  Man, I wish I could’ve bought it (I said the album wouldn’t be number one on my list; I didn’t say I didn’t love the album).

6.  Station to Station

1976-station-to-station-david-bowie-billboard-1000Simply put, I love this cover because it’s a still from Mr. Bowie’s greatest film, and one of my favorite movies, The Man Who Fell to Earth.  Let’s not forget, The Thin White Duke is one of my favorite Bowie personas.  The album has been re-released in color, but personally, I prefer the black and white version, and they thankfully brought the original cover back when the deluxe album was released back in 2010.  To all my fellow Bowie fans out there, if you haven’t listened to this album yet, please do so (this would’ve been number one on my list!)!  Sadly, this album was not at Manifest…but it should’ve been.

5.  Diamond Dogs

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Once again, this is another kickass cover.  Between 2009 and 2010, it was the wallpaper for my very first smartphone.  It was another gatefold album that opened up to show that Mr. Bowie was a half man, half dog hybrid.  Back in 1974, when the album was released in the good ‘ol U.S. of A, this cover caused a lot of controversy—but not because Mr. Bowie had a dog’s lower half.  It was because the lower half actually showed the dog’s junk.  Wow.  Being the puritanical party poops that we are, the U.S. version made sure to cover up the dog’s wee-wee, so the American cover looked like this:

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Much better.  On a side note, I was walking my dog just yesterday and I caught a view of his junk when he went to mark his territory.  Sweet Jesus, my eyes are still burning.

4.  Pin Ups

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Never listened to the entire Pin Ups album (what did I say about judging me?), but I’ve always loved this cover. The makeup is brilliant.  I love how Mr. Bowie and the model both appear as if they’re wearing masks.  I also like how they made Mr. Bowie’s face less pale (or at least attempted to) and made the model’s face more pale, although she clearly has a tan.  Just in case you’re wondering, the lovely lady in the photo is Twiggy, one of the earliest (if not officially the first) supermodels!  Oh yeah, this was another vinyl classic I found at Manifest.

3.  The Man Who Sold the World

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Do you even have to ask why this is on the list?  Look at that dress.  Only Mr. Bowie could pull off that dress and boots.  When asked why he chose to wear a woman’s dress on the cover, Mr. Bowie cheekily told reporters that it was a “man’s dress.”  The album itself kicks ass, too.  I found this one at Manifest as well, and nearly screamed out loud.  It turns out the vinyl version has a cover made out of a sort of canvas material.  Very cool.

2.  Hunky Dory

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Not only is Hunky Dory one of Mr. Bowie’s best albums (better than Ziggy, I might add), it’s one of his best album covers.  He’s just so pretty here, and I welcomed the colorization more here than I did with the Ziggy album.  The pose was inspired by the legendary German actress Marlene Dietrich, and the picture was taken by one of Mr. Bowie closest friends, George Underwood.  A bit of trivia: George Underwood is also the person responsible for Mr. Bowie having a permanently dilated pupil in his left eye (it gave the appearance of him having a blue eye and a brown eye).  The reason is because back in high school, Mr. Bowie stole George’s girlfriend and got a punch in the eye for breaking bro code (George had a ring on when he delivered the strike).  Mr. Bowie later thanked him for giving him his signature look.  I found this beauty amongst the Manifest bunch, too.

1.  Aladdin Sane

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This may be the world’s biggest cliché, but I don’t care.  Aladdin Sane is my all time favorite David Bowie album cover.  Everything about it is just ethereal and iconic.  The makeup, the hair…everything.  When I saw this cover for the first time as a young girl, it just stayed with me.  Remember when I said Mr. Bowie’s album covers changed pop culture forever?  Aladdin Sane did that more than any of Mr. Bowie’s other albums.  Whenever someone sees a lightning bolt—especially a red and blue colored one—the first person they think about is David Bowie.  When Mr. Bowie passed away, I used this photo as my profile pic on my Facebook page for the next few months.  This image from this cover is everywhere:  coffee cups, t-shirts, posters, etc.  Even Grace Jones and Homer Simpson paid homage to it:

Not only was this baby was in Manifest’s crates too, but they also had an Aladdin Sane poster and a t-shirt for sale.  Talk about a girl being in nerd heaven!  Man, I really need more money.  Can I take up a collection from you guys?

—Written by Nadiya

Do you agree with my list?  Which David Bowie album covers do you think are the best?  Also, if you’ve listened to more than ten of Mr. Bowie’s albums, which ones do you think are the greatest?  Give me your thoughts!

Top 10 LGBT Films

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What’s up, y’all?

Today’s blog post may stir up some controversy, but as I promised, I’m going to keep it 100% with y’all.  The LGBT community is a part of life, and deserves some recognition.  What better way to do that than to post my very first top 10 list of my favorite movies that are LGBT themed?  And yes, some of these films I’ve watched have been written off as, “Oh, that’s gay.  I’m not watchin’ that.”  Yes, these movies are gay, but they’re damn good, and I highly recommend them.  So, let’s get on and poppin’!

10.  Rent

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I remember first hearing about Rent when I was in 8th grade, and I really wanted to see the play.  I never had the chance to go to Broadway as teenager though, so I settled for the film when it was released on DVD.  The movie is really great, and delivers powerful messages about friendship, love and dealing with the AIDS virus.  The songs are also on point.  Idina Menzel loans her vocal talents to the film (this is before she struck worldwide fame in Frozen).  Rosario Dawson and Tracie Thoms sing their butts off, too (and they said they didn’t think they had great singing voices!  Girl, bye!).  I have to say though, if you’re not into musicals, this movie may not be for you.  The songs stay stuck in your head for years, and years, and years.  Trust me, nine years after I watched this film, I still remember just about all of the lyrics.  No lie.

9.  Kinky Boots

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This film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (one of my favorite actors, by the way), as a drag queen named Lola, that befriends a reluctant shoemaker named Charlie.  Charlie just inherited his father’s shoe factory and wants no parts of it, especially considering that the boring shoes he and his workers make hardly sell.  Lola pitches him a wild idea:  sell high heeled boots made specifically for transvestites and drag queens.  This movie is extremely funny, and as usual, Chiwetel Ejiofor does an outstanding performance.  I especially loved the ending (I won’t spoil it for y’all).  Another thing I loved is that there’s a scene where David Bowie’s original version of “The Prettiest Star” is played.  Y’all know I love David Bowie.

8.  The Crying Game

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OMG…I remember when this movie came out.  I was still in elementary school, and every time I turned on the TV, someone was talking about The Crying Game.  There wasn’t a soul (and I believe some of my classmates were talking about it, too) that wouldn’t shut up about how Dill, the leading lady, actually had a pickle.  A few years later, my mom and I checked the movie out for ourselves, and we were pleasantly surprised.  It’s a tense thriller, with an unorthodox love story, and I’m a sucker for love stories.  Y’all wanna know something else cool about this film?  Dill’s hair.  That child had some beautiful hair, and it sucks what happened to it towards the end (once again, I won’t spoil it).

7.  Dallas Buyers Club

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In 2014, I made it my business to check out nearly all the Oscar nominees for Best Picture.  Captain Phillips didn’t really do much for me until the end (Tom Hanks killed the ending).  American Hustle bored me a bit.  I couldn’t sit through Gravity (admittedly, I’m thinking about giving that one another chance…maybe).  12 Years a Slave was good, but damn depressing, and The Wolf of Wall Street was wild as all hell (but I still enjoyed it)!  Then there was Dallas Buyers Club.  For the longest time, I refused to watch it, because I knew it would depress me.  Then one night, it came on HBO…and I actually wasn’t depressed.  I was moved, and ironically enough, the Oscar movie nominee I thought I’d despise was actually the one I liked best.  Seeing a homophobic, ne’er do well promiscuous man use his fatal diagnosis to transform himself into a sensitive philanthropist sent a very powerful message.  Not only that, but I loved seeing how the relationship between Ron and Rayon (Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, respectively) goes from one of animosity to true friendship.  Check it out if you haven’t already.

6.  The Birdcage

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The premise:  Robin Williams’ son is getting married to a young lady with a conservative political family, so he and his fiancée fail to tell her mother and father that his parents are actually a gay couple that run a drag club in Miami Beach.  Think that’s weird enough?  The conservative parents make a trip to Miami to meet their future son-in-law’s family, including his “mother”…who’s actually Nathan Lane in drag.  Y’all, this movie is so hilarious that I watch it every time it comes on, and when I do, I laugh so hard my side hurts.  Everyone in the movie gives a great performance, and there’s never a boring moment.

5.  The Rocky Horror Picture Show

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VH1 played this movie for its 20th anniversary when I was in 9th grade (which shows how old I am), and it scared the shit out of me.  Why?  Because Meat Loaf got chopped up with a pick ax midway through the movie.  Hey, I love Meat Loaf (the man, not the dish.  Actually, I can’t stand that kind of meatloaf).  I didn’t touch this movie with a ten foot pole until I was in my late 20’s or early 30’s, and after I was done laughing my behind off, I couldn’t believe I was actually afraid of it (the red lips against the black background in the opening credits still creep me out, though)!  Most of y’all know the plot:  Brad and Janet (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon) have a flat tire and they end up stranded at Dr. Frank-n-Furter’s (Tim Curry) house.  The doctor’s a sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania and he’s about to unveil his greatest creation…a human boytoy.  When Halloween comes around this year, be sure to pop this classic in the Blu-Ray or DVD player.  It’s funny as hell.  Also, if you haven’t had the chance, please watch The Rocky Horror Show stage play.  The audience participation alone will have you rollin’!

4.  Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

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I know what y’all are thinkin’, “You only have this movie on the list because David Bowie’s in it!”  As I always say, just because my favorite celebs are in a movie, it doesn’t mean the film’s good by default.  If that were the case, I’d consider Just a Gigolo to be cinematic gold (God, I hate that movie).  No, Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence is a very well made film with an interesting story about British soldiers trapped in a Japanese POW camp and both sides trying to work through cultural barriers.  I know what else y’all are thinkin’, “What’s this have to do with LGBT themes?”  The camp leader (Ryuichi Sakamoto) has a crush on Mr. Bowie’s character, which was a no-no in 1940’s Japanese society.  But hey, who can blame him?  By the way, Ryuichi Sakamoto not only plays the hell out of the lovestruck Captain Yonoi, but he also created the kickass score for the film.  I have two versions of the title track downloaded on my IPod.

3.  Milk

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No, this movie isn’t about my favorite dairy product/drink.  It’s the true story of the first ever openly gay politician in California, Harvey Milk, played by Sean Penn.  Harvey was a San Francisco supervisor during the 1970’s that fought for gay rights until he was assassinated in 1978.  Whether you’re gay or straight, seeing how Harvey fights for what he believes in and continues to get back up even when he’s knocked down (he lost three elections before he was finally voted into office) is completely inspirational.  Once again, this is another film I watch every time it comes on.

2.  Velvet Goldmine

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At its core, Velvet Goldmine is about a well renowned 70’s British rock star by the name of Brian Slade (beautifully played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, another one of my fantasy men) who fakes being shot, is made a pariah by his former fans and disappears into thin air.  In 1984, Christian Bale is tasked to do a story on the singer’s career and disappearance, which stirs up good and bad memories, since he was part of the glam rock scene during the previous decade.  I’m not gonna lie…Velvet Goldmine is strange.  Very strange.  The structure of the movie is completely non-linear, and there’s musical numbers scattered throughout that don’t make sense, but at the same time, they do.  Don’t get me started on the surrealistic aspects of the film (i.e. the spaceship that’s flying around in certain scenes).  The character of Brian Slade was based on David Bowie, whereas his love interest, Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor), has a combination of personalities from Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Marc Bolan.  Ironically enough, Mr. Bowie hated this film and refused to lend any of his music to the project.  I’ve always loved this film, though.  It’s weird, but it’s also interesting.  Plus, the movie has the extra added bonus of one of my favorite men playing a character based on one of my favorite men.  By the way, the costume and hair designer had Mr. Bowie’s looks down pat!  I can’t say this movie is for everyone, but I will say that the scene where Obi Wan Kenobi is gettin’ his freak on with Batman can’t be missed.

1.  To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything!  Julie Newmar

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C’mon!  What did you think would be number one?  I’ve loved this movie ever since I was 14, and yes, it’s another film that I have to watch whenever it airs.  Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze (may he rest in peace), and John Leguizamo killed their roles.  For those of you that haven’t seen this classic, it’s about three drag queens that travel cross country to a pageant and get stranded in a small town that’s near dead.  Naturally, the three vivacious ladies breathe life into the inhabitants of the town, all the while being pursued by a racist, homophobic cop, played by Chris Penn (may he rest in peace).  This is one of the sweetest, most heartfelt movies ever, and it’s damn funny to boot.  Every time I watch it, I forget that the three main characters are drag queens, and I see them as just women bonding during a road trip and using their flamboyant personalities to give some small town people life.  Plus, RuPaul makes a cameo.  You gotta love that.

—Written by Nadiya

Do you agree with my top 10 list?  What’s your favorite LGBT movie?  Give me your thoughts!