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Big Macs or Sirloins (Spike Lee Vs. Tyler Perry) Do We have to Choose?


By Miguel Lloyd

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This week, I was visiting family in Phoenix, when what started as all pleasure trip turned into a bit of a business. My little brother, who is a student at Arizona State University, informed me that Spike Lee would be there while I was in town. He asked me would I like to attend. Of course my response was an emphatic “yes.” Man, that’s Spike Lee! Of course I want to hear what brother Spike has to say. Than my mind started to work. There are many people who don’t know how influential and impactful that brother was through the late 80s and early 90s with his Spike Lee Joints.

Spike Lee seems to have become a bit of a caricature of his former self. Much more Mars Blackmon then himself. That little guy at all the Knicks games screaming at everybody from Reggie Miller to Lebron James, all while his beloved squads have sucked! The little dude with the funny rimmed glasses, the funny walk, clap and loud mouth. The dude according to writers like Terrell Jermain Pryor are certified “haters” for being openly critical of the “quality” of work that the black community is receiving in cinema.

Spike Lee has been put in that “crotchety old man” group with the likes of Bill Cosby, Danny Glover and Dick Gregory. These media figures that came through the game when you had to really have a compelling storyline in your works to gain the appeal of the audience. An era when Black artists truly wanted to make a difference and educate their audiences, because they knew how much that lacked in schools and in their homes daily.

When Spike made movies like “Do The Right Thing”,  “Jungle Fever”, “Mo Better Blues” and “X”, he always had the goal to teach while he entertained. During his appearance at ASU, he spoke of his love of history, which has always been a focus in his work. He has been one of the few mainstream black filmmakers that was had that desire and success at doing just that.

On the flip side, brother Tyler Perry’s direction has always been that of telling the same story with different characters. It’s like how, McDonalds takes the same hamburger patties and puts different sauces and vegetables ( I use that word loosely) on them to make them more appealing. When you take that bite ultimately, it’s still the same meat, that many of us consume incessantly to our detriment.

Now before you put me in that Tyler Perry “hater” group, chill out. Admittedly, I think I have seen all of TPs movies and support them regularly, just like once every six months I crave a Big Mac. I enjoy it, but I know, if I eat too many of them to often, my waistline and my wife won’t be happy with me.

To me, Tyler Perry is like fast food and cookies. They need to be enjoyed in moderation. For example, For Better or Worse was too much for me. Way to much drama, too little substance, especially when a quality show like Reed Between the Lines had my attention. But that’s a blog I’ve already written.

Spike Lee’s flicks have always been event-like to me and many of my generation. For 10 years starting in the late 80s, a Spike Lee Joint was the talk of the community. Sure he has had some misses like Girl 6, but for the most part, he exposed his audience to different aspects of the African-American experiences that a lot of us became interested in due to his introduction. Admittedly, the floating platform shots that have been his signature have been annoying at best, but you don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Spike has always wanted to do things his way to put his signature on his work so that it would resonate for years to come.

What am I saying? Well, that Spike and Tyler are truly different filmmakers that make work that are equally as important in telling our story. Their work is a direct reflection of their backgrounds. Spike is a child of a Jazz music instructor and a teacher. He is a legacy Morehouse man, and not to mention he’s a New Yorker. While, Tyler Perry openly expresses his personal battles and experiences with molestation, homelessness and the gun-toting, Bible thumping, weed smoking, “Christian” relatives he put in a blender to come up with Madea.

Unfortunately film studios seem to believe that our market can only ingest one type of film per generation, while general market filmmakers can tell any story they like and get major distribution.

The easiest argument is the one that is often used in this case. Perry’s films make money, while Spike’s not as much. Let’s be clear. No one including Spike, can knock Tyler Perry’s hustle. No one does that better. But do you think that Lil’ Wayne is a better emcee than Nas or KRS-One because he sells more downloads? Do you believe that a Big Mac is better than a Ruth Chris sirloin because they sell more volume? The fact is that it is undeniable that Perry is a better business man then Spike, but not a better teacher.  Ultimately, when it’s all said and done, if I had to choose what to put in the time capsule for generations of the future to use as a case study of what our generations film making legacy would be, I’ve got to go with the little dude from Brooklyn. I guess that’s the professorial, Obama trait in me, overtaking the hustler, Diddy trait in me. I just think our future would be better off.

Miguel Lloyd is a blogger, radio host and Media entrepreneur.  He hosts a weekly talk show called Life Full Circle Radio. The show includes super producer, Nikkia Ganey with hot topics, Seshmi Robertson with Entertainment, Elton Gumbel with Sports and Alton Drew with the Politics365.com Politics segment. Join us this and every Wednesday night for the lively conversation by clicking HERE!

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In the Realm of Winners, Lebron is more Shaq than he is Kobe


By Miguel Lloyd

Check out Life Full Circle Radio to catch the best Radio on Radio!

This week versus the LA Clippers, Lebron James proved that he is a lot more Shaq than he is Kobe.

Between Kobe’s 5 rings and Shaq’s 4 championships, they have been key members of the basketball royalty over the last 15-20 years. One thing that I have expressed over the years, when the Kobe haters and I get into debates, is that Kobe was always option 1. First in his mind, than in the minds of Phil Jackson, the Lakers coaching staff and the rest of the league. Why you ask? Because the main reason that Kobe is so polarizing is because you can’t tell him he is not the best that has ever done it. Not when he was bald headed, wearing number 8 shooting air balls versus the Utah Jazz before they won championships, or now in his 16th year in the league, put together, literally, with tape on a damaged wrist and (God knows what) in his knees. He is simply a “killer” in the vain of athletics and winners.

On the other hand, there is Shaq. Now before you guys start bugging out, pulling up Youtubes of him breaking baskets and catching alley oops, I want you to think about the personality of Shaq. Very jovial, fun-loving Shaq. The pitchman. Superman. Kazaam, and all the other names he’s coined for himself. The difference between Shaq and Kobe? Kobe’s only names he’s known by besides his own are Black Mamba (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_mamba) and some other names that because they are profane, won’t make it on this blog.

Their off the court personalities tend to match their on the court personalities. Although Kobe is probably never the leader in FT percentage on his team, he is always the one who steps to the line to shoot the techs. Why? Because in his mind, there is no one better to handle the pressure. On the the other hand, Shaq’s futility at the free throw line helped coin a phrase (Hack-a-Shaq) that has been adapted to use on many big men, with the inability to come through in the clutch at the line. Just last night, the new age Superman, Dwight Howard, set a new record in most FT’s because he hits less than half of them, night in and night out.

You see, during the great Lakers run that featured Shaq and Kobe (and the Heat run with D. Wade for that matter), the big fella was no good to his team most of the time in the last 6-8 minutes of close games. Why? Because passing him the ball was in most cases a “lost possession” because he couldn’t get past the mental hurdle of standing at the line, with everybody looking at him to sink the big shots. Kobe has never had that problem, whether at the free throw line, or fading away with three 6′ 8″ plus defenders using every inch to block his game winning heroics.

So what does this all have to do with King James? The anointed one? Well since he has come into the league, the pundits have tried to find who Lebron is most like. His game is truly like no other, that I can recall. He’s built like Kevin Willis, is fast and powerful offensively like Karl Marlone, can handle the rock and score, like Jordan and pass like Magic. What he doesn’t have is the heart of a champion. At least he hasn’t shown it yet. If I had to pick a player on the Heat that has shown that, its D. Wade…hands down.

No one with the ability of Lebron James, should defer to anyone unless its an Olympic Dream Team roster. But this isn’t NBA 2k is it? This is real basketball. Although Magic could have only dreamt of having the overall athletic ability of Lebron, King James still hasn’t achieved what Earvin achieved based on a killer instinct that drove him to move from PG to C his rookie year to win his first championship, or channel is inner Kareem with the running hook to beat the Celtics in the eighties.

Yet, in this era of intense media scrutiny that only Jordan could probably relate to, Lebron still seems to fall short. As Lebron has become the pitchman, that sells you everything from shoes, to sodas to insurance he still hasn’t sold himself that he is truly, “the man”. We all know that he has WAY more ability than is needed to make it happen. What he has not exhibited yet is the killer instinct to close the deal. Maybe he needs to sit back and take the lead from someone who has already done it. His teammate, D. Wade. The one with the proven…killer instinct. NBA Champion 2006.

Lebron still has time to win at least one or more championships. Not sure about the 6 to 7…that may be a stretch. He just may need to be Shaq or even Pippen. Putting up big numbers in a support role. Theres no harm in that.

Of course, as always, we will have our super producer, Nikkia Ganey with hot topics, Seshmi Robertson with Entertainment, Elton Gumbel with Sports and Alton Drew with the Politics365.com Politics segment. Join us this and every Wednesday night for the lively conversation by clicking HERE!

Baseball The Lost Sport of Black America

In 1947, one of the most important events in American History occured. Jackie Robinson was the first African American to cross the color barrier and play professional in the Major Leagues. Many historians will tell you that Mr. Robinson was not the best black ball player, he was simply the most “ready” to deal with the scrutiny that was sure to follow this courageous act.
In 1975, as many as 27% of all MLB players were black. Today that number is at about 8%, down from 16% just a decade or so ago. What happened? Why are fewer and fewer African Americans playing the game of baseball? The same sport that was dominated, by Jackie Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Doc Gooden and others is now a shadow of itself to this generation. Do we blame this generations lack of attention span on what some would call a “slow and arduous” game? Or maybe its basketball and footballs stars like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Michael Vick & Lebron James demanding urban kids attention. Or is it the business decision made by MLB to use their recruiting resources in 3rd World countries instead of the urban centers like New York, LA and Chicago?
This week we will have Former Major League Pitcher Wayne Gomes (First Round Draft pick Philadelphia Phillies ’93) of the Virginia Baseball Academy (http://www.virginiabaseballacademy.com/). Also we will have James Ammons, Jr. Former FAMU Rattler and front office employee of the ATL Braves, Tampa Rays, Houston Astros, and Pittsburgh Pirates. We will dig into this topic with two guy who have loved baseball all their lives and are doing their part to keep baseball alive among the youth.
Join the Conversation on Wednesday! Click here to listen

Hate on Haters…Lebron James will be fine

by Miguel Lloyd

The NBA Finals have come and gone. It was by far one of the most compelling series that I have witnessed over the last 30 years of watching hoops. The games had compelling storylines, starting with the Big 3 Vs. Dirk, to Dirk winning despite flu-like symptoms and D. Wade returning from injuries. All 4 of the first games came down to a win or lose on the last shot! What drama! When the dust settled, the winners were the better team. The Dallas Mavericks. A team made up of guys like Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, Peja Stejakovic and of course the Finals MVP, Dirk Nowitski. All guys who came close over the last 10 years, but couldn’t get past teams like the Lakers, Spurs, and Celtics. Congratulations to them.

Alas, all the media, pundits and average “fly by night” fan wants to talk about is that Lebron and the Heat lost…period! Not about how great The Mavs played but how the Heat lost. Its like children on a playground pointing and laughing at the kid that trips and scraps his knee, or the high school pot head, who laughs at a kid who drops a touchdown pass or misses a dunk in the big game. Its a bunch of wanna-bees hating on the people that are doing it. To me its quite pathetic. People focusing on peoples “failures” than on their “victories”, when they aren’t good enough to be in the game in the first place.

Did Lebron choke? Did the Heat not live up to their billing? Maybe. Did the Heat play “down” to their competition? I don’t think so. I believe they ran up on a team that played superior team defense against a team that didn’t have a consistent outside shooter. That caused a crowded lane in which Lebron and D. Wade could not operate. I believe they were out coached during this series by one of the best head coaches in the league. But unfortunately, this is not about basketball. This is about people always needing a “villain.”

There are people who never watched basketball, who watched the Finals praying that the Heat lose. That was it. They watched for no other reason. The Networks loved it! The advertisers loved it! The ratings on this years finals were way up(http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/truehoop/miamiheat/news/story?id=6656975.) There was plenty of product sold, because of this years finals. Yet according to CNBC, Lebron’s image may never recover (http://www.cnbc.com/id/43377649/LeBron_James_Marketing_Might_Never_Recover). That may be true, but Lebron on his worse day will out sell anyone on the Mavs roster and will only be challenged by D. Wade on the Heats roster. Lebron and his family will be fine.

The bottom line is, almost a year removed from “The Decision” (that raised $5 Million in in scholarship money by the way), people need to let their hate go. Criticize him for his lackluster 4th quarter performances, not making his team better down the stretch, etc but because he supposedly “dissed” Cleveland? Please stop. In a word its “pathetic.”.

Tonight on Life Full Circle Radio, Lebron will definitely be a part of our Heroes or Zeroes Show. Tune in tonight at 7pm EST at www.blogtalkradio.com/lifefullcircle or if you missed it, go there and subscribe to our podcast. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/miguellloyd or www.twitter.com/lifefullcircle

Lebron James: Don’t hate the player, hate the game

by Miguel Lloyd

Well finally the day has come. LB23 returns to the city that made him who he is. To the place where his dreams of playing in the NBA were achieved because of the wonderful people of Cleveland and the surrounding areas. The place where he was on his way to multiple championships and a legacy that Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, and the logo, Jerry West himself would envy. The place where he should be thankful that they embraced him in such a way that only a fool would leave. Really? Is that what Cleveland was to Lebron?

The truth is that on a national level, Lebron did a lot more for Cleveland than they did for him. Truth is that Lebron was one of the first players that actually drew a national TV audience as a high schooler. Before Lebron, it was not normal to have a national primetime TV game featuring A prep star that was not a McDonald’s All-American game. I remember watching Lebron in that game with the tape over his tattoos in the Irish jersey and I immediately agreed with the scouts. He was the real deal. The only thing he missed (which is what he still misses), is a consistent jump shot. Other than that, he was the complete package. He was a redefining package. A wing player with the raw skill of Jordan, with the combination of size and passing ability of Magic. Other than that tangible jump shot, he lacked one intangible thing he missed that Jordan and Magic had and Kobe has is a killer instinct. This is the attitude that Jordan would use to motivate him to drop 50 on the Knicks, or destroy the Pistons, because they thought they had rules that effectively stopped him. Lebron’s well managed demeanor is the reason the people of Cleveland and the media feel they can push him around.

Lets not forget, that in 1996, without nearly the fan far, Kobe Bryant shunned the Charlotte Hornets, for the Lakers. Who was he to make such a demand? He was the 13th pick and largely unknown. Kobe was well groomed and we didn’t even know it. He went to a team where he was questioned as a starter and was the percieved “2nd” option for the first half of his career. He was the son of a former NBA player who was groomed to develop his own image, brand and legacy. Although, Lebron and his business “team”, have done an excellent job of managing his brand, they still need some work when it comes to his image and legacy. Funny thing is that it is because of his loyalty to the very people who “loath” him now, that he took this step back.

Truth is, Cleveland is not managed like franchises like the Lakers, Yankees, Patriots, Cowboys or Celtics. Prior to Lebron, they never truly had a franchise that raised above the level or respectability of the Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Blue Jays or Cincinnati Bengals. Teams that have periods of excellence but mostly middle of the road to bottom dwellers year to year. Truly not since Jim Brown, had the nation been so focused on the city of Cleveland sports. What they got from LB23 is 7 years of relevance, not to mention years of profitability for their ownership group. What does he get for his service? Total disrespect from the fans and the ownership of the team.

In spite of all that, all you hear are the media and the people of Cleveland, questioning his character and loyalty. Honestly, I expect that from the drunk fans in the nose-bleed seats, but not sensible fans of any reasonable level of intelligence. With that being said, the fact that Lebron has been relatively subdued in his response to all of this experience is to be commended. No wonder though that LB23 is making his list and checking it twice of all the people who have disrespected him.

Whether they win or lose tonight is relatively insignificant. I’m just glad it will be over.

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