Michael Arceneaux, EBONY.com contributor and Master of Shade, calls out five of his biggest gripes from the past week. Rejoice and be read. Follow Michael @youngsinick.


1. We Don’t Need A Sanctified Version of Empire: Columbus Short is just trying to survive his post-Scandal employment world, but I’m concerned about his announced plans to help produce what is being described as a gospel version of Empire.

Speaking with Rolling Out, Short said: “And I’m producing a show at Bounce TV with my brother [Bounce TV president] Ryan Glover along with Russ Parr and Swirl Films. We’re producing a show that’s basically the gospel Empire. It’s going to be full of drama and great music. Kim Burrell is executive music producer. So I have a billion things going on, but it’s great. I love working to push the industry forward. I love to just be a part of this thing, and we’re making it happen.”

Do you know those gospel remixes they make of the good, heathen songs dominating radio at any given moment? Those are always terrible and my fear is this TV show will be the equivalent of that. Pray over it, saints.

2. No, Ben Carson: In an op-ed for the Washington Post, surgeon, GOP presidential candidate, and outlandish blabbermouth, Ben Carson, suggested that we all give up selfies. Carson writes, “The selfie stick ushers in a new, even worse and more dangerous era for the form. The stick doesn’t just validate selfies by building a cottage industry around them. It also says, ‘Snap them everywhere!’ Please stop.” Carson went on to complain about the “obvious narcissism” rooted in selfies.

While Carson himself reeks of narcissism, thus somewhat of an expert on the matter, unless he stops saying stupid things about President Obama, Black people, gay people, and women, I’m not going to stop talking 570 shots of myself from time to time in order to find the one perfect profile picture to upload on all of my social media apps – once a month. We all have our vices, and honestly, his is far more dangerous. Bloop.

3. Canadians Don’t Care About Your Man, Part II: I saw Justin Bieber groping Big Sean’s girlfriend, singer Ariana Grande, while the Detroit rapper sat in the audience, and all I could think was for all his public outcries of becoming more mature, he’s still a little twerp who isn’t even a fraction as talented as Justin Timberlake. If you’re going to be immature, annoying, and try to pilfer from Black culture for profit, at least be really good at it. Why is this Canadian twit still here?

Justin Bieber has a better security team than President Obama (although that doesn’t seem that difficult a feat to match based on numerous headlines) because for the life of me, I can’t figure out how someone hasn’t punched him in the mouth yet.

4. Take It Down A Notch, Tavis: In an interview with Larry King, Tavis Smiley had this criticism of Empire: “There is a debate in the Black community that hasn’t really surfaced, hasn’t really boiled to the top yet, but I hear it in barbershops and other places that whether the problem with Empire is that it advances the worst of every pathology that Black people have—crime and drug dealing and this and that and the other. A lot of people are looking for positive characters that may come out in the second season. But the first season, everybody is, ‘Ahhh!’”

A. This is not a new debate, it’s just a different program.

B. Didn’t Tavis Smiley have Jay Z and Nas on his show?

C. It’s a soap opera. At one point can we be allowed to be as messy and complicated, fun and outlandish as White people without this tired conversation?

D. What did Tavis Smiley hear in the barbershops about his relationship with certain banks in years past and his way of discussing President Obama?

P.S. Outsiders: Don’t assume Tavis is a Bishop of Black Folk and speaks for all of us. Many of us love our Cookie and can’t wait for her return.

5. I Just Don’t Think You Should Write Without Practicing More: There’s a post floating around called “I just don’t think Beyoncé is good” which is as ridiculous as it sounds. It reads like an entry in a high school burn book. Like, one of the pages in the back that you don’t even finish reading.

Here’s the thing: You don’t have to like Beyoncé, but I would advise writers to actually have something to say if someone is allotting you the space to say something. If you have legitimate criticism – and there’s some to be had about Bey – then spit your game, talk your s**t. However, you should also realize that personal taste doesn’t necessarily make something true for all. This person – whose name I am purposely avoiding because Beythiests don’t get life from me like that – argued that Beyoncé cannot really sing all that well. Um, you’re a natural lie, madam.  There also was something said about Adele, which made me laugh because…I guess, sis.

All I got from the piece was someone wanted to whine that Beyoncé isn’t as flawed and messy as what she defines “true artistry” to be. It was petty, small and considering that the writer is a young White woman, I could not help but to wonder if there were some other levels to her Bey-bitterness. No one said you have to like her, shut up and get over it.