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Shamontiel L. Vaughn "I'm boycotting Amazon's site due to them approving of racist reviewers like Abe Krieger." RSS Feed (Chicago)

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VANGUARD Xcenior 48T Photographic Equipment Bags
VANGUARD Xcenior 48T Photographic Equipment Bags
Price: $259.99
6 used & new from $258.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's handy with plenty of pockets, May 23, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I love the pockets, the extra cushion for electronics and the ability for my laptop to fit inside. This bag is incredibly handy and I'll definitely make use of it. It is full of little "cubby holes" to add extra equipment so I don't think it's useful for packing anything that's not small. I'd recommend this bag for all of your electronics (and maybe you could put in a few toiletries and roll up a shirt or two) but it's definitely not meant for equipment. Great carry-on bag, too.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 19, 2012 6:54 PM PDT

Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?: What It Means to Be Black Now
Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?: What It Means to Be Black Now
by Touré
Edition: Hardcover
74 used & new from $0.47

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most accurate portrayals of today's Black America I've ever read, May 22, 2012
I started off a little shaky about reading this book. I didn't agree with his antics on the Piers Morgan debate but then he apologized. I thought he was going way too hard with the Roland Martin jokes. Both times I got the book and then hesitated to read it because if I was going to end up reading more Twitter rants, I would've passed. I followed him for about a week before I couldn't handle another obnoxious tweet. But a co-worker (who doesn't know anything about hip-hop) complimented a library book she recently read "Never Drank the Kool-Aid: Essays" and I knew Toure's name from an interview with Jay-Z and a bunch of articles when I subscribed to "Rolling Stone" magazine so I gave it a whirl.

This was one of the most on-point books I've read about Black America today. I think he nailed it on the topic of the n-word controversy (embrace it, ban it, dispute it, love it but not in mixed company), the mixed feelings about the O.J. trial, the (incredibly aggravating) way that black folks have of marginalizing each other with "acting/talking white," the surprise/relief/confusion about today's America with Pres. Obama running the country (I was one of those stunned people walking around in Grant Park thinking, "He REALLY won? Like, for real? Whoa!"), how economic class may affect culture, the highs and lows of the hip-hop community and his own experience with race as someone who grew up around white people but then later on started hanging with black groups.

I liked this book because he kept questioning what is black and what's not instead of preaching a useless manual about what black people should and shouldn't do. (By the way, the opening chapter made me further confirm my urge to skydive.) Although some of the ratings I browsed through (from folks I don't think read the book) seem to think he concentrated too much on race, here's a thought: If you pick up a book called "Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness" and don't expect it to be about race, that makes as much sense as expecting The Fourth of July to not be celebrated with flags, fireworks and talk of independence (I prefer celebrating Juneteenth but that's another story). The book is about race so of course it'll explore race.

What I liked about the book is he gave an open-minded perspective from a middle class viewpoint of how it is to relate to several groups: the group who thinks they have the inside scoop on everything black, the group who doesn't know much about black other than sharing complexions, the group who probably believes they see no color, the older and younger generations, and quotes from other credible experts about their experiences. (Cornel West's story about the pool made me sigh one deep, long sigh.)

This was spot on. Another co-worker asked me if the book was any good. By the end, I was thinking, "No, this book isn't ANY good. It's ALL good."

On another note (5/23/12), due to Amazon's current ratings policy that allows a reviewer from this book to say blacks are not part of the civilized population and that 1 out of every 10,000 are criminals, I will no longer be reviewing anything on I've talked to two representatives who refuse to take it down although it goes against their policy of stating something that's "Obscene or distasteful content" or "Profanity or spiteful remarks." Their response was: "This review is within our posted guidelines. We won't remove the review in it in its current format, and we aren't able to consider the removal of this review any further." I don't respect this site. I will not buy or sell anything else from this site. I have removed myself from the Amazon Vine program. I have also canceled any orders and Wish List items I have on this site. If you don't respect my views, my dollars don't respect you. I hope that review was worth it, especially considering the amount of other sites that sell the same products YOU do. Boycott of Amazon starts now!
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 14, 2014 6:21 AM PDT

Sleeper Cell American Terror: The Complete Second Season
Sleeper Cell American Terror: The Complete Second Season

4.0 out of 5 stars Season finale wasn't very good, the rest was excellent, May 18, 2012
The season finale left much to be desired. While I understand Darwyn's (Michael Ealy) logic, the whole plan was ridiculous. What I loved about this show is it seemed so realistic through all of season 1 and most of season 2, but that final episode marinated in the only-in-the-movies theme that people who should've been dead are skipping around without a scratch.

With that said, the rest of the episodes were great. I am still not sold on Darwyn's girlfriend (Melissa Sagemiller) and found her as awkward with Darwyn in this season as she was in the last one. Strange enough though, I was watching the clock just WAITING for Darwyn and his boss Special Agent Patrice Serxner (Sonya Walger) to get together. (I won't spoil it for you and tell you whether they did or didn't, but what did happen was FAR more than I expected. Side note: You can imagine my delight to see her on USA's new show "Common Law.")

Outside of Darwyn and his brooding, spontaneous actions, which get all the more random after a big event happens and he works with another person (no spoilers), the rest of the cast are just as impressive. Farik (Oded Fehr) is even more nuts on this season as he was in season 1, and I KNEW that "tea" scene would happen. I just kept waiting to see how long it would take. Bosnian chemist (Henri Lubatti) played a bigger role and seemed to be more confused than he ever was while trying to find his way solo with that wacky girlfriend of his. (His fascination with that Tribe Called Quest song is making me think of him more than I do Q-Tip. I always want to hear it right after he decides to rap completely out of nowhere.)

This show is definitely for adults. Every time I looked up there was a naked woman or a naked man or a stripper and sometimes all three. The language can be graphic and some scenes were cringeworthy. That made me like the show that much more. I'm getting on the nerves of everyone I know recommending this show, but I don't care. I'll continue to do it and would be elated to see another season. In the meantime, "Common Law" will suffice and hopefully I'll see more of Ealy and Walger together even though it's a little weird to not see them constantly unhappy at all times on the USA show versus this show, but it works.

Who Killed the Electric Car?
Who Killed the Electric Car?
DVD ~ Martin Sheen
Price: $8.83
88 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do black people buy electric cars?, May 16, 2012
This review is from: Who Killed the Electric Car? (DVD)
ABOUT THE MOVIE: The consumer was one of the groups found guilty for who killed the electric car, and I don't agree with that from personal experience. What I do agree with is the struggle that those who were supporters of the electric cars endured to get them to reach the public. Regardless of the demand, it has to be the manufacturers who will build the product. I learned a few new things from watching this DVD, too. I didn't know about the newer battery that would let hybrid drivers get further, the cars that were smashed down and the struggles with GM (although I'd heard rumors). This is an educational movie that'll probably answer all of the questions that consumers were never quite clear on about how a hybrid car works, why they were so rare and what slowed down the process of making them pop more than those unnecessary hummers. Watching this movie put me right back into hybrid curiosity mode.

ABOUT MY OWN STRUGGLE WITH HYBRID CARS: In 2008, I was obsessed with finding out everything I could about hybrid cars, and while watching this movie, I realized I was going through some of the same frustration as the average consumer but from a media standpoint. I couldn't figure out why was it that Black Americans weren't buying hybrid cars when gas had gone up so much that summer. Why aren't rappers rhyming about these "new" cars when the hip-hop industry is notorious for bragging about materialism? Why aren't more people who want to spend less on car prices taking advantage of these cars? Where do you fill up the tanks? Where do you plug it in? How does it work? I wasn't seeing any of this information in publications with a niche in the African-American market and I wanted to write about it. I kept hearing statements about "black people don't drive hybrids," "hybrids are too expensive for black people" and "hybrids aren't geared towards black dollars." I still believed it could be if we were informed. So I did it myself. I talked to the African American Environmentalist Association and went to a car dealership to talk to a car salesman. I was so adamant about proving my point that I interviewed a black car salesman and we drove a black hybrid car and I made sure to ask questions about black auto selling dollars. And still I was shut down by my editor (at a previous job) about why no one would want to read that. While watching this movie and hearing GM, the government and consumers get blamed, I want to go one step further and say the media struggled with getting the word out, too. I don't know if readers should've demanded more information from the media or did the media feel it was a conflict of interest because of car ad dollars, but I know one hand was not helping the other. I ended up publishing those interviews elsewhere since they were shot down from a past employer, but what really struck me was when I wanted to buy a hybrid and was told I was required to pay $500, the waiting list was for 200 and no more could be added and there was no clear date on when people would get their cars. Trust me when I say this movie was no joke and consumers got caught up in the crossfire.

The Black Power Mixtape
The Black Power Mixtape
DVD ~ Angela Davis
Price: $14.99
40 used & new from $10.13

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give this documentary your undivided attention, May 13, 2012
This review is from: The Black Power Mixtape (DVD)
I kept trying to watch this while doing other things and finally I had to stop and just sit still long enough to see the entire film. It took me five times to get through it completely. The film is very interesting, but there's so much information in it that you may want to rewind a few parts, reread some subtitles and go back through some speeches. This is on top of getting familiar with faces of black history that aren't often talked about during Black History Month (or any other month) because they've been ignored in history textbooks (surprise surprise) or are considered too rebellious to hear about in your school days. Although I definitely think this is the type of DVD that should be shown in classrooms to explore other sides of American history (and not just in February), I'm pretty sure there would be some who would oppose. Not that I care about those who oppose, but that's just a forewarning.

The film talks about the contributions of the Black Panther party, The Nation of Islam and centers in on people like Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, Angela Davis, Huey P. Newton, Sonia Sanchez and more. I was happy to hear Talib Kweli's voice as one of the narrators, especially considering hearing him and Sonia reminded me of "Everything Man." Then came Erykah Badu, although for some reason it didn't sound like Erykah Badu to me and her singing was surprisingly out of pitch. Not sure what was up with that, but this wasn't a musical DVD so that's besides the point.

All of the people named on this DVD are folks I've heard bits and pieces of but never in one spot in one lesson at one time, and listening to the struggles and the fights they endured made me want to read more about them, as I will. If you haven't seen it and you're interested in black history, I'd strongly recommend it. Yes, we hear about Dr. King Jr. (as we should, he was incredibly important and I thought Stokely Carmichael's opinions on Dr. King stood out; that was one of the sections I listened to a few times), Rosa Parks and very rarely Malcolm X, but there are clearly more people who were apart of deconstructing segregation, Jim Crow and racism. (Still a long way to go but it's fascinating to watch how some of our leaders who are no longer with us deal with it.)

Bonus: I was fascinated with the interview about Shirley Chisholm. More importantly the views of the brotha who talked about why a black man wouldn't be president caught my attention. I would be VERY interested on his views a few decades later because he sounded so much like the older gentlemen I talked to right before Pres. Obama was elected.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 7, 2013 10:05 AM PDT

Marvel's The Avengers (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy + Digital Music Download)
Marvel's The Avengers (Four-Disc Combo: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy + Digital Music Download)
DVD ~ Robert Downey Jr.
Price: $34.96
97 used & new from $14.50

5 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Started off dreadfully slow but then picked up, May 13, 2012
This isn't the type of movie I'd want to go see in a theater, but it was Mother's Day and my mother has wanted to see this movie for two weeks so she got her wish. The beginning of the movie was painfully boring and I (who usually avoids food concession stands) grabbed a pink lemonade to stay awake. Because I'm not usually into superheroes I thought, "Maybe it's just me," but when I glanced over at my mother (who LOVES this kind of stuff) falling asleep I knew something was wrong. This movie did not pick up until Richard Downey Jr. came on the scene as Iron Man (and I own both "Iron Man" movies solely because he was SO good at blending sarcasm, humor, action, a great story line and the usual superhero come-to-our-rescue plot together). That's when I sat up and paid attention. Then Iron Man started messing with The Hulk, another character I used to get into as a kid. That's when I stopped daydreaming.

I shrugged through Captain America's heroism because it seemed forced like a Ken doll. Black Widow didn't do it for me, and the film spent entirely too much time showing the back of her costume or her glaring at someone. Again, too forced. I saw the movie "Thor" and neither Thor or Loki were interesting to me, although I did find Idris Elba's character Heimdall pretty cool. Unfortunately Heimdall wasn't in this film, which was a disappointment.

But right when I was all set to go to the bowling alley next door and let my mother watch the movie alone, the movie picked up speed. The more Downey's Iron Man and Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner (The Hulk) were on the screen, the less I slumped in my seat. And when Bruce Banner turned into The Hulk, I FINALLY got into the film. Watching superhero characters save the day just doesn't do it for me. It's the actors and the dialogue that'll make me cheer for those superheroes, and The Hulk and Iron Man were as funny in their costumes as they were outside of them. There were moments when I (and the huge audience surrounding me) laughed out loud at The Hulk's antics. Those saved this film.

Would I buy it? No. But I'm definitely looking forward to seeing "Iron Man 3" as soon as it releases and would be interested in "The Hulk" movie (if there ever is one).
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 13, 2012 9:47 PM PDT

A Lesson Before Dying
A Lesson Before Dying
DVD ~ Don Cheadle
Price: $8.38
16 used & new from $3.66

5.0 out of 5 stars Wouldn't want to watch it again but it was a great movie, May 11, 2012
This review is from: A Lesson Before Dying (DVD)
I recently turned down an opportunity to read "The Help" because the movie left me so annoyed for the rest of the day. You have to really be in the mood to see (or read) something that you know is going to irritate you to no end, and this was that type of film. While I wouldn't be able to stomach seeing it twice, it was an excellent film. I've read countless books in school about innocent men unjustly sent to Death Row or prison because of a racist jury, neglectful lawyers or without even being able to tell his story at all. In this film, Mekhi Phifer's character Jefferson was in an extremely awkward position. What the movie did was show the wrongs of the legal system as well as the wrongs of his so-called friends who pretty much set him up. The two black guys in this film with Jefferson were as wrong as the sheriff, the lawyer and the judge. But what's more important to the film is how the family deals with knowing that Jefferson is just not going to survive. It's bad enough to find out a family member will be doing prison time but to know he's definitely going to die is torture in itself, especially if you know he's innocent. In comes Grant Wiggins (played by Don Cheadle) who is forced into teaching him some educational tools. This part seemed pretty useless to both me and Grant, but I saw the reason for it by the end of the film.

At some points the movie was just hard to watch. The chains he was put in reminded me (as it should) of slavery. The children coming in made him seem like a museum exhibit up until one particular girl did exactly what I (think I) would've done in that situation. Mekhi Phifer and Don Cheadle were great in this film, and I appreciated Mr. Wiggins being on the other side of religion to show that not all black people agree on faith. It was an interesting take on both sides of the coin. As expected, Irma P. Hall (who plays Miss Emma) and Cicely Tyson (who plays Tante Lou) were superb at their roles. Actually the entire cast held their own. Great movie but it'll definitely leave a bitter taste in your mouth.

Sleeper Cell
Sleeper Cell
DVD ~ Michael Ealy
Offered by American_Standard
Price: $18.41
89 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have no idea why this show was ever canceled, May 8, 2012
This review is from: Sleeper Cell (DVD)
I'd never heard of this show and didn't have Showtime, but I have to thank Angela Yee for getting me to watch it. She asked Michael Ealy on "The Breakfast Club" about whether he's ever had to wear a sock for his lower region during a sex scene and he said in this show he did. So that's why I got a copy of Season One. Yes, I realize that's an incredibly superficial reason to do it, but hey, Michael Ealy is gorgeous, I wanted to know why he had to wear it, so there you have it.

Now as goofy as my reason for getting the first season of this show was, I was so impressed with the actual show. I had no idea what I was about to watch. I just knew Michael Ealy was in it. The show has a realistic and intelligent plot. The background of the characters were believable. The action and strategy in this film was well-researched. The script was fast paced but viewers could keep up, and I enjoyed observing each character's reactions. In this film, Michael Ealy (Darwyn Al-Sayeed) plays a Muslim undercover cop who is trying to find out what plans a group of terrorists will do in America.

The crew is made up of a handsome and serial-cheating Frenchman (Alex Nesic), a Bosnian chemist (Henri Lubatti), and a younger guy who had a strange childhood and a beef against the military (Blake Shields). The four of them are lead by Farik (Oded Fehr), who has completely opposing views of the Quran and Muslim principles from Darwn, who actually is Muslim. In the middle of Darwyn trying to convince his Jihadist terrorist "brothers" that he's loyal to them, he ends up in a relationship with a single and meddling mother (Melissa Sagemiller). I think his relationship with her (the reason I even wanted to see the film) was the only part that seemed awkward to me. I never saw much chemistry between the two no matter how hard they tried and it reminded me of Eve and Michael Ealy in "Barbershop 2: Back in Business (Special Edition)." They tried, but I couldn't stay interested in her character; I think it was more the actress than it was the dialogue but I'd need to see her in another film to confirm that.

However, I loved every minute of the show and after renting copies, I bought the set. I thought it was REALLY important to show the similarities and differences between two people of the same religion who have differing views on how they should live, and the kid who was smuggled in to help them was the most powerful episode on the entire first season. Can't wait to see Season 2.

Talk to Me (Widescreen Edition)
Talk to Me (Widescreen Edition)
DVD ~ Don Cheadle
Offered by WeeBee CD's N Stuff
Price: $7.25
207 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Don Cheadle showed his comedic side in this one, May 8, 2012
I remember being on a bus to Jena, Louisiana and this film was playing. At the time everybody was too loud for me to even hear the film and I was thinking, "Why did the leader choose THIS film to show?" From first glance, it just looked like a film about a radio jockey. Fast forward five years, and I have no clue why it took me so long to give the film another shot. I loved this film. I wish I'd have seen it sooner because now I understand WHY the film was shown during that Jena 6 trial.

About the film: Don Cheadle plays ex-con Petey Green, an incredibly outspoken guy who pushes his way into a spot on the radio with the same ballsy attitude he was used to in prison. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Dewey Hughes, is the best of both worlds. He's street smart enough to hang out in the hood (and has a brother [played by Mike Epps] doing hard time in prison) but would much prefer living the life of Johnny Carson. He wants to dress like him, act like him and talk like him. On the surface, Petey and Dewey seem like incredibly different characters and Petey tries to take advantage of that. But one night in a pool hall, Dewey shuts Petey up and both realize there's more to the other than they expected.

Petey turns out to be a success story on the radio because he speaks to the everyday man in the hood (and some out of the hood), but when Dewey tries to make Petey mainstream on his own talk show and pushes him to other shows (the big one is "The Tonight Show"), both have to come to grips with the idea that they may have different goals. I know quite a few Petey Greens who I wouldn't dare recommend for radio shows, but the shock jock factor has grown normal in today's radio. I'm guessing it was completely taboo in the '60s. But the way Petey handled the news of Dr. King's death made me respect him as a deejay regardless of his vices. And the way he talked to the receptionist had me crying laughing. I would've never expected some of the stuff that Petey said to come out of Don Cheadle's mouth but that tells me not to judge Cheadle's versatility the same way people shouldn't've judged Petey from his background.

Great movie. I enjoyed the entire cast in this one, including the loud-mouthed girlfriend Taraji Henson played. I'm definitely going to purchase a copy of this.

Women from the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us
Women from the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us
by Rachelle Bergstein
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.76
160 used & new from $0.01

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much diversity, more like reading a really long Cosmo article, May 4, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book talked about the history of shoes but more from a who's who perspective and less about WHY women like shoes so much or WHY the shoes revolved over the years. I was more interested in the last two perspectives than celebrity names so the book never quite kept my interest. I was a little surprised that there weren't big color photos of each shoe before it was discussed. That seemed like a no-brainer to me, but I assumed maybe the Amazon Vine readers weren't getting the final cut so maybe that's why.

Another problem I had with it was the lack of diversity. I can run off a list of women who could name a shoe and people would run out and buy it, and it's not just women like Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Blake Lively and Alexa Chung. Quite frankly, I don't pay attention to ANY of these women and what they're wearing. Considering I couldn't be happier that the super tacky Marilyn Monroe statue in downtown Chicago is finally coming down this weekend, I was thinking about the chipped toenail polish the entire time I was reading about Marilyn and her shoes. (I did find the myth about her making one shoe heel longer than the other interesting though.)

In the entire book, Sarah Jessica Parker was the only person mentioned who I would check out to see what shoes she had on. Again, the book wasn't bad, but it just didn't seem to expand past the (un)usual suspects. I rolled my eyes to the sky about the comment in the book with cowboys perfecting swagger. When I think "swag," I don't think some guy with pointy heels. Again, a cultural difference. It seemed like if you looked like Alicia Silverstone and Brittany Murphy, you got major credit in this book. Anybody else? Not so much. It went from being noticeable to just flat out close-minded for the people I personally glance at for fashion trends (outside of Parker). Not even fashion icons like Iman, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks were mentioned.

I bought six pairs of shoes today (intended to buy one pair) so shoes grab my attention, too, but I'm more interested in the build of them than any celebrity who is wearing them. I can't think of one pair of shoes in 30 years that I bought because ______ wore them, but I can think of many, many female celebrities whose shoes I've checked out and said, "Yeah, those look nice on her." However, I read this book because I was curious about shoe trending over the years.

I kinda wish celebrities weren't mentioned at all because it was a distraction and made me pay more attention to the pattern of celebrity similarities and less on the shoe history. When the book got to the part about the Kennedys being "by far the best-looking couple to ever inhabit the White House," then I just kept waiting for First Lady Michelle Obama's fashion and shoes to be talked about, especially considering the copyright date is 2012 and Mrs. Obama is constantly written about as a fashion icon. With shoes so diverse, is it too much to ask to expand the people, too? I raise an eyebrow at those who can appreciate versatility with shoes but shut down on those of people. Some may love the read though if these are the people you look to for mainstream fashion trends. Others like me? Nope.

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