Relentlessly speaking about 2012
Toronto’s DJ Relentless aka Jade Elektra and his year in review
You know….a man never forgets finding his first chest hair in his whiskey. Especially if it isn't his. And believe it or not, that's how I feel about 2012. While some great things happened during this year, there were quite a few moments I was extremely disappointed with.
I mean, don't get me wrong, I am overjoyed that Obama was re-elected, but the process was despicable! Watching the U.S. show the real underbelly of racism and ignorance was just embarrassing. Seeing how divided the country is on issues of gay marriage and women's rights really put in perspective how old white men are afraid of losing their hold over their world. But it was inevitable that "change" would have to come. From eating Chick-fil-a to assinine Republican mouthpieces like Reihan Salam, my home country really showed their asses. But it was kind of amusing to watch the Republican Party implode with all their old ideas and racist rhetoric.
And speaking of racism, it is a sad note the year that saw the United States' first African-American President's re-election has to also be known for what I believe is one of the worst films ever. Of course I am speaking of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained". From the moment I saw the first previews, I was disgusted. Tarantino's obsession with Black Culture is sick. I really wish he would stop writing scripts that allow him to use the N-word. And apparently the N-word is said about 110 times throughout the film. I was really happy to hear that Spike Lee came out against "Django" (as many should).
There's a situation that has happened here in Toronto with a popular drag performer named Donnarama that has opened a conversation about when is it racism or when it is art. I was not at this performance, but it sparked quite a controversy in the Huffington Post when Donnarama performed a medley of songs in a make-shift burka that also had fake bombs attached to her outfit at Woody's (a popular bar on Church Street in the Gay Village). So a social worker and writer for the Huffington Post decided to complain about how he was offended by her show. Sounds simple and clean, but it wasn't. It sparked a lot of outrageous reactions on facebook and other social media sites. I actually believe the comments that followed were worse than what was done on stage or the original blog.
There have been a few incidents in Toronto that have had racial overtones, like a burlesque performer named Dew Lilly who performed in blackface or the DJ team, Yes-Yes-Ya'll being boo-ed and told to get off the main stage at Pride. In all these situations there seems to be a consensus that our non-people of color have a sense of entitlement when deciding what is racist and what is not. I had major problems playing "N#%gas In Paris" (which has been nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Song) because I didn't like the idea of white customers coming to me asking for it. If they knew how that word has hurt and plagued so many of my people I don't think they would use it so easily. I'm married to a white man and I couldn't make him say the N-word for anything in the world. Why? Because he understands what a hateful and hurtful word it is. And no matter how many times Nicki Minaj, Azealia Banks, Jay Z or Kanye West use it in their songs, it still doesn't lessen the sting of it or change the meaning for me. Watching my grandmother being spit on and called a "nigger" in a grocery store in Florida in the 70's has never left my mind. And that is why I don't use the word. I say to all my friends, please try to listen and put yourself in someone else's shoes when you hear them speak against racism.
"The internet has created a space where people feel like they can say anything without consequences."
I can't stop anyone from using the n-word, but I can set an example for those around me. So, I can only imagine the unrest that Rahim Thawer felt when he decided to speak against Donnarama's performance. The horrible things that were said about him also reminded me of the comments that were said about Cecil Singleton when he decided to come forward with his story about his underage relationship with the voice of Elmo. The internet has created a space where people feel like they can say anything without consequences. But with all the suicides and folks losing their jobs because of facebook posts, you'd think that someone would get a clue.
And it was heartbreaking to end the year with the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. The noticeable absence of gun control as an issue during the election was really brought home with this shooting. And the one thing neither candidate wanted to bring up came back to bite them in the ass. So, now it's put up or shut up for Obama. But again, here's another U.S. issue that is so embarrassing to even talk about. Literally about a month before the shooting, I was trying to explain to someone here in Toronto that not all Americans carry guns and then this happens. I have never owned or held a gun. Most of the people I know are the same, but there are plenty of gun owners in the country and they believe that everyone should own a gun. They don't think that guns are the problem. They will blame anything and everything else except the guns. And honestly….they can put all the bans on assault weapons they want, there are too many guns already out there to fix this problem. That's just my opinion. I hate what happened and I hate guns, but what are they going to do? What can they do? And now folks are calling for Piers Morgan to be deported because he spoke out against the U.S. for their 2nd Amendment on gun laws. Really?
I normally write about music. 2012 was the year of Pop crap that you couldn't get out of your head. Kesha's "Die Young" got dropped off radio playlists and took a nose dive on the charts after the shooting. In my review, I actually said that it was irresponsible for her to write such a song. Then she lied and said she didn't write the song and had a problem singing it. What a stupid idiot!
And speaking of stupid idiots…..Rihanna. Need I say more? What a set of balls on this one! Opens the year with a duet with Chris Brown with lyrics about having sex with him. He doesn't gets what he wants and then goes online and trashes her. Makes a mix tape version of Kanye West's "Theraflu" where he disses her again. Then she's spotted out with him over the summer. That breaks up his relationship with some other stupid girl. Now they have another duet together on her new album called "Nobody's Business". Three weeks ago, she is tweeting photos of Chris sleeping in her hotel room in Paris. Then she cries on her Oprah interview that she was worried about him and not herself when the beating took place. I know I'll have to play both of their music in order to stay employed, but I no longer have respect for her at all. She's a sad girl in my opinion.
"YouTube hits and Facebook likes are not a career."
But a musical highlight for me this year was hearing that Justin Bieber got boo-ed at the halftime show at the Grey Cup. I am so sick of this young lesbian look-a-like. I never really cared for him to begin with. And after I read his comments about being gay is a choice, I really had no use for him. And his acceptance speech at the American Music Awards this year really left a bad taste in my mouth as well. He accused his critics of just being "haters" and that they are jealous of his success. Bitch…you only have a couple of albums. Come back when you have a complete body of work as an artist. YouTube hits and Facebook likes are not a career. And like most of today's flava of the moment, you will slide down the charts into obscurity. Ask Eminem, Marilyn Manson, 50 Cent and Aaron Carter. And like I said early in 2012, your need to prove that you aren't a kid anymore is gonna be your undoing.
And I really hate Justin for helping Carly Rae Jepsen with launching the most unforgettable piece of crap to ever hit the airwaves…."Call Me Maybe". The only good thing about that song being a hit is that she won't be able to top it. So, "One Hit Wonders" here she comes!
Another person who irritated me this year was the lovely and talented Britney Spears (that was sarcasm if you didn't catch it). Like Christina Aguilera before her, Britney proved that being a judge on a singing competition reality show can really accentuate how much of a superficial bitch she is. She came off so condescending that I wanted to jump throw the television screen and choke her. Every time she said "sweetie" I wanted to vomit! The nerve of her judging anyone on their vocal abilities was just absurd, but I guess Simon needed a new Paula Abdul. And her new single with the ever-so-lyrically-deep Will.I.Am made me want to stop playing Pop music all together. Did you know that all the crap that they featured in the music video for "Scream & Shout" cost $808,284.95?. None of that crap had anything to do with the song. It's just a commercial for more things that we don't really need (except for an amputee who might need the prosthetic hand).
2012 also saw many deaths. Besides the death of Kevin Clash's career, we lost many musical and entertainment legends. We all heard about Etta James, Don Cornelius, Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, Phyllis Diller, Gore Vidal, Bob Welch, Adam Yauch, Andy Griffin, Marvin Hamlisch, Alex Karras, Dave Brubeck, Andy Williams, Larry Hagman and Jack Klugman. And they along with so many others will be missed, but the deaths of gay suicides by teens like Jack Reese, Phillip Parker and Jamie Hubley really stuck in my soul. The "It Gets Better" Campaign is great, but it seems like more kids are dying after being bullied at an alarming rate. I'm happy that there are more programs in schools and more outreach to get students who are bullied to go talk to someone, but it still breaks my heart that there are ones still slipping through the cracks. We will never know the extent of pain in one's heart. And I hope most of us will never know.
But with all my complaints about the past year, it wasn't all bad. I actually accomplished a couple of goals this year. I wanted to start another talent competition where new artists and performers could come and sharpen their craft and I did. TOP STAR debuted at Statlers on August 1st. It had a great run there until November. I had a great article written about my show and me in FAB Magazine by Paul Bellini (famous writer for "Kids In The Hall"). Unfortunately it was cancelled shortly after the article was published. But the good news is that it got picked up by The Flying Beaver a week later. We debut there on January 2nd.
And my other accomplishment was the launch of my POZ-TO Dance Party at CLUB 120. It's a monthly benefit for the POZ Community. There's no cover but we do ask that you donate $5 to go to ACT or donate nonperishable food to the PWA Foundation. Last year this time I wanted to do something for my community and now I am.
I'm hopeful for 2013. Sure…the U.S. may go over the fiscal cliff. Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey may be the end of American Idol. Hillary may consider a run in 2016. And I won't be seeing Tom Cruise's new effort, "Jack Reach-Around". Honestly…how many bad-asses can he play? For God's sake….we have seen him dancing in his underwear! All I know is that this is the best time in my life. I actually feel like I have the power to change my world. I hope that everyone realizes that if they represent change in their own lives they can really change the world. I've got a loving husband and an endless amount of creativity. Let's just hope that others in my community will be up for some change. I know I am!