Sunday, May 31, 2009

Roger Ebert Reviews American Violet

I posted the trailer for American Violet a while back. I thought I would pass along Roger Ebert's thoughts on the film along with a link to the real life inspiration for the story.

American Violet

by Roger Ebert

You may recall the story from the news in 2000. The cops in a small Texas town arrested 40 black people on drug charges in a sweep of a public housing complex. They were working on a tip from a single informant, a former mental patient who had good reason to cooperate with them. Dee, a young mother of four, who was not found with drugs and had no history of drug use, was arrested primarily because she went outside to drag her little girl to safety.

She, along with the others, is offered a plea bargain: If she pleads guilty, she gets probation. She refuses to plead guilty.

"American Violet" is clear about the motivation for such raids with little or no evidence. A guilty plea helps the district attorney build up a record as a crime fighter, even though he is the one who has committed the crime. A defendant who pleads guilty cannot continue to live in public housing and will always have a felony on the record.

But if Dee caves in, she goes free and is reunited with her children. Her snaky ex-husband has snatched his kids and moved them in with his new girlfriend, who has a history of child abuse.

This is all based on an actual case (the names have been changed). This stuff happens all the time, and is far from rare in Texas, a state with a shameful record of law enforcement practices. The movie occasionally intercuts commercials from the Gore-Bush campaign then under way, to no particular purpose, except to remind me that as Texas governor, Bush commuted the sentence of only one of the 152 people put on Death Row under his reign, even though public defenders presented no defense at all for 41 of them and a third of their defense attorneys were later disbarred or sanctioned.

"American Violet" stars Nicole Beharie, a recent Juilliard graduate in her second role, as Dee Roberts. It is a stunning performance: She is small, vulnerable, fearful for her children, but damned if she will plead guilty to a crime she did not commit. She stands firm even as her mother, Alma (Alfre Woodard), begs her to take the plea; Alma argues the harsh racial realities of their town.

When Alma vows to stay in jail, she attracts the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union, which sends a lawyer named David Cohen (Tim Blake Nelson) down to defend her. Because he needs a local partner, he persuades the lawyer Sam Conroy (Will Patton), a former D.A., to join him; Sam refuses at first, but agrees out of guilt because he knows full well how the system works.

The D.A. is Calvin Beckett (Michael O'Keefe), a man of whom it can fairly be said that he has no interest at all in whether the people he has arrested are guilty. How would it look in an election year if he went around dropping drug charges? And now the stage is set for a docudrama that may have an outcome we already know, but is a loud lesson about truth, justice and the Texas Way. I know I'll hear complaints from Texans of a certain stripe. They won't see this film. They know all they want about the ACLU from their favorite broadcasters.

Some critics have found "American Violet" to be too mainstream, too agenda-driven, too much like made-for-TV, with not enough "suspense." Say what? Dee is innocent, her lawyers are putting themselves at risk because of their outrage, and the D.A. is a heartless scofflaw. If the movie tries to have fun concealing that, it's jerking our chain.

What works for me was the strength of the performances, beginning with Nicole Beharie as the convincing heroine. Alfre Woodard in attack mode is formidable; Tim Blake Nelson underplays as a determined, methodical lawyer, not a showboat, and Will Patton in some ways steals the show as a good man who has done bad in the past, knows it and is trying to make up. As Beckett, Michael O'Keefe is rock solid as a man who has more important things on his mind than justice.

"American Violet," it's true, is not blazingly original cinema. Tim Disney's direction and the screenplay by Bill Haney are meat and potatoes, making this story clear, direct and righteous. But consider the story. How would you feel if this happened to you? What if cases like this were to lead to disregard of due process of law at even the highest levels? I wish I could convince ... hell, never mind. I can't. That district attorney? Still in office.
- Roger Ebert

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Officer Ricky V. Crockett & Tubbs

Those Spanish Boys are back at it again. Here is a dope mash up of Miami Vice & Rick Ross' Hustlin', by Cookin' Soul, one of my newer favorite producers.

Click Here To Download

Jay $tay Paid Release Party w/ Album Art & Track List

Order CD Of Jay Stay Paid

Order Digital Download Of Jay Stay Paid

01. KJay FM Dedication
02. King
03. I Told Yall
04. Lazer Gunne Funke
05. In The Night (Owl N Out) – While You Slept (I Crept)
06. Smoke (Featuring Blu)
07. Blood Sport (Featuring Lil' Fame of M.O.P.)
08. caDILLAc
09. Expensive Whip
10. Kaklow (Jump On It)
11. Digi Dirt (Featuring Phat Kat)
12. Dilla Bot Vs. The Hybrid (Featuring Danny Brown & Constantine)
13. Milk Money
14. Spacecowboy vs. Bobble Head
15. Reality Check (Featuring Black Thought)
16. On Stilts
17. Fire Wood Drumstix (Featuring Doom)
18. Glamour Sho75 (09)
19. 10,000 Watts
20. 9th Caller
21. Make It Fast Mega Mix [Unadulterated Mix] (Featuring Diz Gibran)
22. 24K Rap (Featuring Havoc & Raekwon)
23. Big City
24. Pay Day (Featuring Frank Nitty of Frank N Dank)
25. See That Boy Fly (Featuring Illa J & Cue D)
26. Coming Back
27. Mythsysizer
28. KJay and We Out

You can listen to a preview of the album courtesy of

Album Drops June 2nd

Friday, May 29, 2009

How cool are these?

Sadly, they are just about all sold out. You can try to cop one at

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Zune Is Back at it, but with Wale this time . .

Last year they did exclusive tour podcasts with Kidz In The Hall & Murs. This time Mr. Ovechkin gets the Zune treatment.

Also, some of this footage was shot at the concert I went to at The Abbey.

You can subscribe to the podcast download a Wale selected playlist through his Zune page.

Thanks for stopping by,


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Brittany Bosco Live In Detroit Friday 5/29/09

Looks like she's on tour with Algebra Blessett, who's promoting her album Purpose.

To find out more details on the show or to order tickets hit up the or SonicLiving.

View Larger Map

Monday, May 25, 2009

New Street Fighter IV Statues

Previously before the game dropped I blogged about the action figures that came with the Street Fighter IV Collector's Edition. These statues are different. According to Kotaku these miniature statues will only be available in Hong Kong & Tokyo.

You can see the entire collection of statues over at

Those thighs are official,


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Ah! the Brits have done it again. Cue in VV Brown, a quasi Amy Winehouse, with a tinge of Duffy. Her voice is seemingly mature but her style lingers on the young and carefree. VV is a singer/songwriter from London Town, she sites Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald as inspiration for her 50's groove. Her upcoming debut Travelling Like The Light, will be out this June. Look for doowop influenced sounds on I'm Crying Blood and Leave. I'm thrilled to see how her career goes, the marketing is definitely on point.

V V Brown - Shark In The Water

V V Brown talks about her influences

Marco Polo & Torae - Double Barrel: Cover/Track List

Order - Double Barrel CD

Order Digital Download - Double Barrel

01. Intro (Featuring DJ Premier)
02. Double Barrel (Featuring Cuts by DJ Revolution)
03. Party Crashers
04. Smoke (Featuring Lil Fame of M.O.P.)
05. Lifetime (Featuring Cuts by DJ Revolution)
06. But Wait
07. Rah Rah Sh*t
08. Danger
09. Stomp (Featuring Guilty Simpson)
10. Coney Island
11. Word Play
12. Hold Up (Featuring Masta Ace & Sean Price)
13. Get It
14. Crashing Down (Featuring Saukrates & S-Roc)

Album Drops June 2nd

Friday, May 15, 2009

I'm A Dumbass!

Why am I a dumbass, you may ask? Well, look over to the left of the screen. Do you see the e-mail address that's listed there for contact purposes? It's been there for sometime now. I created that e-mail account in late September, specifically for this blog. I then connected it to my personal gmail account so my blog mail could be forwarded there. I got a verification e-mail sent to the blog's e-mail address so I had known that I had set everything up properly.

As the weeks and months passed I never saw any e-mail from the blog's e-addy show up in my inbox. I just figured that no one was e-mailing me. My blog is a small little piece of the internet so I didn't think too much of it. Although, I'm not going to lie, I was a little disappointed that it appeared NO ONE was checking the blog.

Fast forward to yesterday. I decided to sign up to comment on another blog with my blog's e-mail address. So I go through your standard procedures in order to register. As what's normally the case, you must wait to receive a confirmation e-mail from the site in order to finally post a comment. After a few minutes I check my blog's e-addy for the e-mail and there's nothing there, yet. This time I go back to the website to have them resend the verification e-mail. Still no e-mail. At this point I'm really curious so I decide to send an e-mail from my personal e-mail address to my blog's e-mail address to see what happens . . . NOTHING!

Finally I decide to log out of my personal gmail account and into the blog's e-mail account to see if it had been deactivated or something. Once I logged in I find that I have 2 verification e-mails as well as over 200 other e-mails, including a Merry Christmas e-mail from The Socialite as well as a few artists who were looking to have their music on my small little blog. :-S

I'm sincerely sorry for any missed e-mails (people who don't reply to messages are a pet peeve of mine). I'm still wading through the ones that weren't time sensitive. Hopefully I will be hitting some of you up directly in the near future to touch base, because I appreciate anyone and everyone who actually takes a second out of their day to stop by and hang out on my little piece of the interwebs.

Thanks & sorry again,


p.s. BTW, I have fixed the linking issue.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Jay Smooth On Race & Racism

I couldn't have said it better myself. I hate the too cool crowd, too!



Sunday, May 3, 2009

Jon Stewart On Arlen Specter

I never liked you, Mr. Specter. I always thought you were the epitome of a politician. I got a nice long look at you while growing up in Pittsburgh. I felt that you would say whatever needed to make the right people happy. But, this latest jump from the Republican party to the Democratic party in order to save your seat is too much.

I wished the Dems would've turned you down & let you lose. Then a Dem could have your seat after you'd lost the Republican nomination. Hell, while they're at it I would've loved for Joe Lieberman to be removed from the ranks as well.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Once Again Floyd Mayweather Comes Up Small

According to's Dan Rafael, Floyd Mayweather will be announcing a bout with Juan Manuel Marquez after all.


I previously blogged about my dream of actually seeing Floyd fighting someone who I would actually care about. It looks like he is going to use the incredibly undersized Marquez as a tune up to fight the Pacquiao vs. Hatton winner that will be crowned tonight.

Floyd, stop retiring in an effort to duck the true welterweights out there.