Is Bruno Mars Even Black? The Cultural Appropriation Debate

This video addressing Bruno Mars cultural appropriation has sparked controversy.

Many Black fans have ran to his defense with fists in the air claiming, “the man is Black! Leave him be! Go after Iggy or Justin Timberlake!” But pointing our fingers at White people for cultural appropriation is picking the low-hanging fruit. We can hold Iggy, Timberlake, and Bruno Mars accountable. All at the same damn time. People are allowed to be concerned about more than one thing at a time.

People of color tend to get a pass for cultural appropriation merely because they aren’t White. And because the power dynamic isn’t as polarizing as a White person profiting off Black culture, it’s swept under the rug. So whether or not you agree with the claims that Bruno Mars is a culprit of cultural appropriation, it opens the important conversation about the relationship between non-Black people of color and Black people.

But first.

Bruno Mars has yet to confirm if he identifies as Black. Before we even accuse someone of stealing from Black culture, we must at least agree on whether or not someone is Black.

This isn’t the first time Bruno Mars’ identity was questioned. In 2017, he was accused of changing his name in order to hide his Puerto Rican heritage. He immediately cleared the air telling Latina:

 ““I never once said I changed my last name to hide the fact that I’m Puerto Rican. Why would I fucking say that? Who are you fooling? And why would anyone say that? That’s so insulting to me, to my family. That’s ridiculous. My last name is Hernandez. My father’s name is Pedrito Hernandez, and he’s a Puerto Rican pimp. There’s no denying that. “

In the same interview, Bruno Mars speaks about being mistaken for biracial(Black and White) while growing up in Hawaii. He’s identified with many things including Ashkenazi Jewish, Puerto Rican, Spanish and more. Everything but Black of course. Despite the numerous times he credits Black music as his inspiration, he never calls himself Black. He remains in the “safe zone” of racial ambiguity.

And I’ve already heard it.

Bruno Mars cultural appropriation? But How? Puerto Ricans are Black!

Nuance please.

If you’re Puerto Rican, chances are you MIGHT be Black. More African slaves were dropped off in the Caribbean than in the present-day United States. However. After the revolution, many Spaniards remained. Despite whatever ‘Latino’ label you want to give, Spaniards are White. Not even people of color. Spicy Whites perhaps. The ‘Mestizo’ race of people who were offspring of the White colonizers and indigenous Taino population in Puerto Rico also remained. Then of course you have the ‘Mulatto’ Black-Spaniards and tri-racial Creoles. Similar to Dominican Republic.

So to equate every person that’s Puerto Rican–especially when they specify that their mom is Spaniard– as Black is a grave generalization at best. An injustice to the Afro-Ricans that still experience anti-Blackness at the hands of non-Black people of color at worst.

Bruno Mars’ brown skin could just as easily come from his Filipino ancestry. Asians can also be of darker complexion. Cambodians. Filipinos. Indians. Vietnamese.

When a racially ambiguous person tells you they are all of these heritages except for Black, believe them.

Stop caping.

How I Broke Up with my Barber because of Race Politics

Breaking up with my barber because of politics seems silly to most.

But politics is everything. It’s how people treat us and view us according to sociopolitical structures. Especially when it comes to racism, you have a choice in who you offer business too in your neighborhood. In East Harlem, there are dozens of Black-owned barbers I could be a patronage of. So if I’m going to be a patron of a non-Black barber operating in a majority-Black neighborhood, it better be one that at least respects my existence.

Watch Almonte explain how he decided breaking up with his barber was the right thing to do when he featured in the Harlem-based “I aint talkin” Podcast.

Jordan Peele First Black Screenwriter to Win Oscar While Black Panther Hits $1 Billion

Jordan Peele first Black screenwriter to win Best Original Screenplay oscar– nominated for Best Director and Best Picture.

An oscar on your first feature film is a big deal. A huge deal for an experimental film coined as the first of it’s genre. “Social horror.” Coming from a comedy background with his “Key and Peele” series, it’s important to note his decision to roam away from what he knew was already working for most Black comedians. Black comedy movies. Parody movies. Movies we have plenty of. Some of the most classic and beloved episodes of the Key and Peele series were ones that felt more like political satire. But he chose to create something that he could call his. While Get Out had many comedic undertones, its socio-political theme was what made it a classic to many Americans that could connect to this.

And right on time with Black Panther just hitting $1 Billion at the Box office after just four weeks of its release. Black people really meant business when #OscarsSoWhite was trending on Twitter two years ago. Suddenly movies like Hidden Colors, Birth of a Nation, Get Out, and Black Panther started gaining steam all over social media amongst millenials. Were doors opening once Hollywood realized they could capitalize on this political interest?

Black Millenials are the life-force of Black Panther

Black millenials have been tweeting about seeing Black Panther over 3 times at the movie theatre. Even calling bootlegging the movie blasphemy. Black youth is going to be a huge target market as they are the biggest, repeat supporters of movies with an almost-all-black cast. And even Koreans that don’t watch many Marvel movies found themselves to be particularly impressed with this one. Hollywood will start to realize that Black directed movies with a huge Black cast are extremely profitable. Everywhere.

Is there a catch? Will this lead to more doors opened for Black directors and eventual Black ownership over major film studios? Or will this just be a marketing phase to reel in more Black dollars? Leave us a comment letting us know your thoughts.

3 Signs You’ve Won An Argument

You already won the argument.

But how would you know?

Many of us continue going down the rabbit hole after we’ve already won the argument. Maybe to feel good about ourselves. Maybe because we’re being manipulated into thinking our point hasn’t been made clear. Nonetheless, here’s 3 ways to know if someone is bluffing to cover up their loss:

  1. “It’s just my opinion.”
  2. “Ad Hominems”
  3. “You just want to be right.”

Why I Bought a Cinema Camera — Unboxing the C100 Mark II

With so many affordable 4K options in the DSLR & Mirrorless market, why buy a cinema camera?

After years of contemplating what camera I should own, I decided to buy a cinema camera.

DSLR’s cameras have been an amazing low-budget option for aspiring filmmakers for the past decade. Especially with Technicolor’s FREE Cinestyle profile ‘hack’ that gives your Canon T3i  more dynamic range for a film look. More recently, Sony has been killing it with their affordable mirrorless cameras like the Sony A6300, boasting specs like 4K video resolution and slow motion 120 fps in full 1080 HD quality. S-Log is also a flat profile similar to Technicolor’s cinestyle that allots more room for post-production color grading. All for under 1,000 dollars. So does this render cinema cameras like the $3500 dollar Canon C100 Mark II with only 1080 60/fps obsolete?

Hell no.

Specs aren’t everything.

Look. I’ve gotten my hands on plenty cameras. From as humble as an Olympus T-100. To the Canon C500. Especially the top-notch iPhone’s F/1.8 lens with 4K 60FPS and Slow motion at 1080p 240 FPS. Sound fancy right? Already better specs than the dusty old $20,000 dollar C500 that only lets you record n00b frame rates of 30fps and no 4K. Womp womp. But specs aren’t everything. There’s a lot more science to image quality than just resolution. The 4K craze has been a marketing ploy to sell everyday consumers things they don’t need. Worse than when people obsessed over megapixels in cheap digital cameras. I cringe standing in the middle of a Best Buy seeing people awed by these on-screen 4K vs 1080P comparisons on 50-inch televisions… and seeing that the major selling difference are things like saturation, HDR, sharpness, and a whole bunch of other things that aren’t even pixel resolution. Looking at 720p footage of your favorite movie shot on film will look infinitely better than if they shot it in 4K on an iPhone. For obvious reasons.

As an online-based video content creator, having a 4K camera is about as useful as a bachelor’s degree is to a magician. It looks better on paper than it does in practice.

I can zoom in 4x while editing without losing quality. That’s about my only noticeable perk when using a 4K camera vs a 1080p one. For big-time cinematographers that screen on IMAX, it makes a huge difference. But here’s the thing. Big budget productions just rent cameras anyway. Being a poor filmmaker means the choice to own a camera is a commitment you should take as much time as you would to decide to marry someone. Buying a camera body only to sell it for half the price in a year or two is not resourceful at all. Especially with the rapidly growing technology and planned obsolescence that encourages consumers to treat pieces of equipment like stale chewing gum. I’m young yet old school. I want something that will deliver for a long time that feels good.

Yes. The feel of a cinema camera does make a difference.

And size and weight of a cinema camera. The light, run-and-gun feel of DSLR’s are a game changer for small filmmakers. Especially when you don’t want to spend thousands on steadicam and gimbal stabilizing devices. Cranes. Sliders. Rigs. Gear is usually cheaper when it’s used to handle lighter cameras. But there is such a thing as too light.

If you’re a fan of the handheld look, you will have less control and more shakes when your camera’s body is the size of your palm. Things feel a bit flimsy and definitely sketchy when you rent heavier cine lenses or even telephoto lenses for Sony’s mirrorless cameras. In extreme weather conditions, I don’t want to feel like the wind is about to blow away my camera. And all the physical buttons on a cinema camera allow me to skip the hassle of touch-screen nonsense in the cold. Audio and video ports right on-camera just make life easier during both production and post for a one-man crew. Cinema cameras are built for video. As opposed to being photo cameras that just so happen to have great video menu settings. So of course the practical limitations of DSLR and mirrorless cameras tally up heavily.


Saying you have a cinema camera has a similar effect as saying you have a 4K television. It just sounds and looks better to clients when you are shooting professionally. I’ve seen astounding results delivered on a Sony A7S II and the Canon Mark III for both commercial and film. Sure. It’s about the sculptor. Not the tools he uses. But that doesn’t stop clients from asking, “What kind of camera do you use? Does it shoot 4K? Should we rent a RED?” And to be fair, there is a significantly more noticeable difference in Sony A7S II vs RED dragon footage than the difference between 4K and 1080p. Behind the scenes photos look way more impressive to the standard consumer’s eye when you’re selling yourself as a cameraman. It’s always about the look. Including the look of the person behind the camera.

Without a doubt, you can make a great film on an iPhone. You can make a great film on anything really. It’s the impact of your story on your audience that determines the greatness of the film. The gear is just there to make it easier for what you are trying to achieve as practically as possible.

It always boils down to your personal needs. The Canon C100 cinema camera is what I need. I can count how many times I would really use 120 FPS slow motion footage. And my target audience isn’t watching 4K footage on their smartphones on the train from work. But they can definitely tell the noticeable difference in dynamic range.

Here’s the LINKS for my cinema camera gear:

Also check out this great video about picking a new camera:

Logan Paul is the Mascot of Selfie Culture

Logan Paul Suicide Video. The media’s new scapegoat for a worldwide sin.

Let’s be real about the Logan Paul Suicide Video.

Selfie culture existed long before the term “selfie” was a thing. Documenting everything from violence to natural disasters to famine. All in the name of “awareness.” But were we really unaware that these things existed? There’s a fine line between news and entertainment. But they’re not mutually exclusive. Gossip is both news and entertainment. As well as controversial sites like Best Gore that pride themselves in spreading the good news about all the dangers in the world. To spread awareness.

Do we need more ISIS beheading videos to know they happen? A month’s worth of footage of trapped bodies under cement after an earthquake? 17 Years’ worth of media coverage to know how bad 9/11 was?

Why are you even watching a video of me reacting to Logan Paul’s reaction to death? There’s articles everywhere to read what happened. But you want my opinion. It’s entertainment.

Was Logan Paul wrong?

Well. Duh. We can unanimously agree that Logan Paul’s actions at Aokigahara were disgusting. However. He is the low hanging fruit when we have a conversation about what’s wrong with humanity. This is the perfect moment to see ourselves in his tremendous flaw.

Plenty can guess what happens in a place called “Suicide Forest.” We know what content we will indulge in when we read a headline like, “Youtube Star Logan Paul Captures Suicide in Vlog.” But we still click anyway. Morbid curiosity? Mind numbing entertainment? Who knows.

Everyday tragedies have become a spectacle for us to indulge in. Even when someone decides to end their lives to get away from it all, the very same kind of person they’ve loathed is in their face with a camera to make sure everyone can see them against their will. The privilege of being able to capture a moment has made us desensitized to this same moment. Then addicted. Obsessed over capturing everything before the memory fades. A birthday boy on walking an endless winter, clamping onto the ribbon of a helium-filled balloon. Paranoid that he won’t even feel when it slips between his gloved fingers. He can only watch in awe what he couldn’t feel. The balloon our fleeting humanity.

Why I Quit Youtube

To quit Youtube isn’t an easy transition. But it’s a necessary one.

I quit Youtube as a primary video platform after ten dedicated years of grinding. Since before getting paid for vlogs in your room was a thing. My following watched the 11-year-old that made paper guns. The 15-year old-ranting about pet peeves. The 17 year old making amateur webisodes action-packed with martial arts in the hood. The 18 year old satirist comedy sketch director. The 20 year old political ranter. All life transitions loosely documented through videos on my channel.

However, it never really sat right with me whenever I was recognized on the street as “That Youtube guy.” Especially after the Youtube Ad-pocalypse, I thought to myself…

Here I am– basically an ambassador through my content, pushing all this traffic to YouTube for them to reap all the financial gain. I’ve gone viral quite a few times. I’ve even been on Pix11 News for my viral chopped cheese video. All of this monetized traffic was going to Youtube. While I struggle to pay my section 8 rent in the hood. And although Youtube pays a percentage to creators for their content, being branded as “that famous Youtuber” isn’t very empowering when you look at Vine’s demise. A mere reflection of Youtube’s inevitable doom. When Vine died, most Viners died. When Youtube dies, the Youtuber dies. Unless you…

Quit Youtube and seize the means of your own production.

There’s a lot for content creators on Youtube to complain about. False Content ID. Soft censorship. Demonetization. Views magically disappearing because of years of an unfixed bug. But at the end of the day, Youtube is a private company and they can do with their money as they please. It’s their platform. The only thing you can do is threaten to quit Youtube. And unless you’re someone as big as Pewdiepie, that’s not a big enough threat to make Youtube change their ways. There is always the next big star. But there is always the next big platform. Facebook freebooting has had content creators scrambling for solutions after they released their native video player. And the amount of traffic and shares Facebook video gets is ADDICTING. Naturally people started to just freeboot their own videos and post to Facebook. It feels better to see your video get 10,000 shares in a week on Facebook than to slowly watch Youtube’s shitty algorithm forward your video to a mere 5,000 out of 100,000 subscribers(and make $0 because you’re not ‘family friendly’). Wanna know what feels even better?

Having your own website.

It can get pretty expensive having a native video player when you’re an independent video maker like me. Youtube is a free platform that doesn’t charge you for any video space. They just make the money back easily with ads. If they wanted to, they could just pay you jack shit. Facebook does it. It doesn’t halt creators from constantly uploading content on Facebook. There’s an entire culture of Instagram comedians & models that rely on external sponsorships from apps like Brandbassador and hired commission work. The truth is, Youtube’s terms of service is subject to change without notice. It’s their site. We can complain about how they treat the creators that fuel their money all we want. They’re not obligated to make us comfortable on their site. So investing in your own brand and keeping all the glory to yourself is one of the most empowering things you can do. Not easy. But necessary.

And simply more professional. As opposed to sending someone a Youtube link to your director/actor reel, you can send clients to YOUR website. It adds value to your name to have your own platform. “Youtuber” doesn’t have to prefix your name any time someone talks about you. And you won’t be scrambling to find the next best thing when Youtube dies out.

Having your own platform is hard work. But it is at least more rewarding than working for days on a piece of content only for Youtube to block your video in some countries just because you said a dirty word. 


Harlem Gentrifier Silences Mister Softee Ice Cream Truck

Or at least she tries.

First they came for our chopped cheese.

Now they are coming for Mister Softee? You can’t be serious.
This new harlem resident AKA gentrifier complained that Mister Softee’s ice cream truck was too loud. This is an iconic staple of New York City in general. She really tried to call the police on this man doing his job. The weaponization and threat of force is continuously used by these invaders trying to redefine the pace of the hood.

What’s the Big Deal about Almonte’s Nails?

Almonte joins Black Girl Politics to talk about Masculinity.
Of course, Almonte’s nails are a crucial point.

That’s the most concerning thing about masculinity, right?

It comes up at around 34:14

Even in the most casual, day to day choices like Almonte’s nails or tucking your shirt in, your masculinity is constantly challenged.

Almonte talks about being “otherized” even as a cis straight male by his cishet peers growing up in elementary school for wearing a messenger bag.

Do children even have a sexuality before they’re even thinking about sex? From birth we are bombarded with ideas of sex conflating with other dynamic ratios like masculinity:femininity , manhood:womanhood ,  etc. These challenges to your identity come from people all over the political spectrum.

Right wingers ask, “Are you gay? Why would you paint your nails if you aren’t?”

Leftists will ask, “Are you androgynous or agender? It’s great to see you reject the idea of gender.”

We constantly allow ourselves to be defined by these labels as if we weren’t the ones to create them in the first place. Even things as rigid as labels are fluidly defined according to how society changes. Otherwise, being called a bundle of sticks wouldn’t have been considered a slur if I had been in elementary school in 400 BCE.

So why does Almonte paint his nails?

Because he wants to. Nothing more nothing less.





PS: Real Men Suck Dick.

Gary V Hiring Slaves– Ahem — Interns. He’s Hiring Interns.

Are you looking forward to Gary V hiring you? Your pay is $15.


Look. I love Gary Vee. He’s the best motivational speaker leading this generation of entrepreneurs. But what could possibly justify paying someone McDonald’s money for video work?  He’s looking for dedicated young folks with the skills to create videos but, you know… young and ‘inexperienced’ enough to pay crumbs. The saddest part is that people would be STOKED to work with him. And that’s the exact issue with Gary V hiring young interns that would do anything to breathe the same air as him.

The problem is much bigger than Gary V honestly. Brands do this all the time. They gain a large audience and use their notoriety to exploit fans for cheap labor.

Keep it a stack. You would love work with big names like Jay Z, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga just for bragging rights.
At least your resume looks good(even if your bank account doesn’t).

Young creatives are just looking to get their foot in the door and establish some credibility. Getting paid crumbs can be overlooked if it means being able to hone your skills with their favorite celeb. Especially since being young usually means having less financial responsibilities like a mortgage or paying off a house. We even see this exploited when the social dynamic ratio of celebrity:fan is not so polarized. Example, videographers have to lower their prices to compete with the young cats unknowingly devaluing the market by doing extremely cheap work. I’ve been there; working entire music videos for 30 hours of shooting + editing for $150 commissions.

Popular brands continue this ageist tradition of targeting younger, impressionable creatives with too much ambition for their own good. It’s cheap and it works in a practical sense.

Look. Capitalism has never claimed to have the moral high ground. It’s up to us to take a stand and not engage in things like this.

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