What a season of discontent! With Donald Trump and comedy sidekick Sarah Palin rolling along oblivious to the world around them – from coffee shops to bars people are sounding off as if the person next to them just arrived from some alien planet. I’ve haven’t witnessed this level of divineness and paranoia since those air raid warnings occasionally sounded during elementary school. “Bombs are falling, everyone under your desk, the commies are in your parent’s garage.” Man, did I ever feel safe.
I get the rage against the Oscars all-white best picture category. You would think by now with ten potential openings, Straight Outta of Compton would have fit nicely. Yet, playing nice isn’t on the agenda these days. It’s go for the throat time!
Actress Viola Davis said it best, "How many black films are being produced every year? How are they being distributed? The films that are being made, are the big-time producers thinking outside of the box in terms of how to cast the role?," she told us. "Can you cast a black woman in that role? Can you cast a black man in that role?"
"The problem isn't even our pay," Davis added. "You could probably line up all the A-List black actresses out there [and] they probably don't make what one A-List white woman makes in one film. That's the problem. You can change the Academy, but if there are no black films being produced, what is there to vote for?"
All this comes at a time when black culture has never been more popular. Drake, Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar - these are white boy traveling companions. If you play hoops then you play Drake. No room for country John or Bobby Jo.
This is why many are curious about the selection of Sting as half-time diversion for coming NBA All –Star game Feb. 12-16 in Toronto – a big score for this basketball craved city – damn – we even have local players in the NBA playing at the highest level imaginable. The Raptors have two – Pickering’s Cory Joseph and Toronto’s Anthony Bennett, a number one NBA draft pick himself. You don’t get in the NBA with a bad song and half-ass skills. There’s also number one draft pick Andre Wiggins born in Toronto raised in Vaughan leading the Minnesota Timberwolves, Toronto’s Tristan Thompson 4th player picked in 2011 NBA draft – big muscle power forward sharing the front line with all-stars LeBron James and Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers and rising college star and bona fide five-star recruit, Jamal Murray from Kitchener playing for the Kentucky Wildcats, ready to make his mark.
Word is – the selection was made out of sight of Raptors from up top of the NBA – the place where suits listen 24 hours to a playlist curated by FOX Business News. “There is no get down, when you can’t get with it,” I’m quoting the guys on that park bench from back in 70s’ when those big Afros collided with those long haired white boys for two hours of five on five glory.
Come February we are courting the world. Basketball is universal much like the bouncing rhythms of rap music. The first twenty seconds of “Fields of Gold” or “Roxanne” will be timed as a perfect escape for another pink dog, bag of salt and vinegar chips, a cold brew and kitchen conversation.
Let’s dial it back a bit – Justin Bieber put on a fine display of street ball skills back in 2011 as part of the NBA Celebrity game. Why not a home boy? Drake likes to dribble – The Weeknd – drawing a blank here – Shawn Mendes – Badmitten? – I think we have more than enough star power right here on home turf to fill twelve quality half-time minutes.
One more time – Sting is not basketball!
Here are some real stats: The NBA has the youngest audience, with 45 percent of its viewers under 35. It also has the highest share of black viewers, at 45 percent – three times higher than the NFL or NCAA basketball.
I rest my case!