Brown & White, hailing from Atlanta GA, is the most exciting rap duo to emerge out of the south since the likes of OutKast and UGK!!!Brown & White is comprised of Dilemma Onassis and Tha Real MG, both Atlanta natives that received their upbringing on the South and West Side of Atlanta. Through rap, these two talented individuals push the boundaries of music with infectious melodies and tactical wordplay that produces an eclectic sound rarely imagined in today's musical arena.

Real MG aka The Southside Shark, is known for his undeniably catchy hooks, the kind that get stuck in your head and make you want to party like its the weekend, even at 7am on a Monday morning! He then immerses you into his descriptive and vivid storylines that weave tales of life on the southside. From cruisin through the streets of Atlanta, to getting dances and advances from exotic vixens, The Real MG will have you seeing movies in your head.

Onassis is a force to be reckoned with, delivering wordplay and rhyme schemes that will make you rewind the track over and over in an attempt to memorize each verse, line for line! Dilemma prides himself on being able to "adapt" to any beat or melody, allowing him to span across genres in an effort to expand his musical repertoire.Brown & White is the group to keep your eyes on for years to come if you are a true fan of Hip Hop, and want to experience great music from two of the most talented writers making their way independently.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Vanessa Williams is the only Miss America who matters

By Lauren Duca

Try to name another Miss America besides Vanessa Williams. You can't. Who even won this year? I'm not kidding; I actually watched and I don't know the name of the person who won. I mean, I could definitely Google it, but without Googling it, all I know is that Vanessa Williams was there. And that one of the gowns had a crop top.

What is even the point of the Miss America competition on 2015? Don't say scholarships. John Oliver proved that isn't true. Even if it was, making women wear bikinis to win money for college is only slightly less barbaric than if it was just a sandwich-making pageant judged by Hugh Hefner's penis.

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The Miss America Competition is formalized objectification with a question-and-answer portion that lets the hosts pretend it's what's on the inside that counts. Given that logic, it's especially absurd Vanessa Williams had her crown snatched for posing nude. Shouldn't we be thrilled she was offering up her body for the male gaze and eliminating the trifling sex obstacle that is the two-piece?

Alas, American sexism is more complex than that.

Let's go back in time. It's 1984. Here, play Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do with It." Williams is the first ever African-American Miss America, she's experiencing hate from people upset that she's black or not black enough. She rejects all the backlash, taking a strong pro-choice stance and actively discussing civil rights. She's proving everyone wrong and blowing critics away. Then disaster Puritanical nonsense strikes.

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Now play Lionel Richie's "Hello."

News breaks that Penthouse will release nude photos of Williams. She's blindsided. As the story goes, when Williams posed for the photos, the photographer said he wanted to experiment with silhouettes. She agreed, thinking it was an experimental shoot that wouldn't be published. Despite that information, the Miss America committee tells Williams she has 72 hours to resign or have her title forcibly removed.

After she steps down, the photos hit shelves. Penthouse makes over $14 million in sales, because PornHub doesn't exist yet, I guess. Williams is disgraced, and not just by the purveyors of her tiara. She auditions for "My One and Only" on Broadway and is called a "whore" by a producer who refuses to cast her. At least eight record labels turn her down, including one executive who tells her manager and now-ex-husband Ramon Hervey that he will never pay to resuscitate Williams' image.

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And yet, she perseveres. If anything, as one friend put it in Williams' bio-documentary, the struggle "put a fire in her belly" to succeed. She eventually breaks through singing backup vocals for George Clinton. In 1988, four years after her public shaming, she is signed as a solo artist and releases "The Right Stuff."

OK, now play, "Save the Best for Last."

The rest is legend. Williams' current list of awards and nominations is almost as long as the list of total Miss Americas. She is a symbol of perseverance and excellence in the face of adversity. Still, it took more than 30 years for the Miss America organization -- now couched in her wild success -- to come around and admit they were wrong. While part of the fallout she faced was a product of the time, the way we treat nude photos today isn't much different.

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It's only in recent years that the "shamed starlet" narrative has began to crumble.

Consider that when private photos of Vanessa Hudgens were leaked in 2007, she was forced into contrition, with Disney making a public statement on her "lapse in judgement" and media outlets having the nerve to ask how Zac Efron felt about the whole thing. In 2011, despite refusing to apologize, Scarlett Johansson's nude pictures sent to her then husband Ryan Reynolds were still charted as a scandal narrative. It was only with the massive hack in 2014 that defeating the stigma became remotely possible, with Jennifer Lawrence rightfully calling the leak a "sex crime."

Still, the awful/wrong/sexist/definitely wrong questioning of why each woman took nude photos in the first place lingers. The cycle of blame reinforces a culture of misogyny that allows us to police women's bodies while still treating them as objects. Whether the photographer ran into Williams' dressing room and snapped a picture or she Snapchatted her fallopian tubes to Phil Collins, we'd find a way to stigmatize the act -- not based on whatever agency she played in releasing the photos, but the very fact of her lady bits existing.

That Williams' rise coincided with such a sexist ritual of bikinis and sequins makes for an itchy juxtaposition of the paradoxical standards by which we regulate female sexuality. The Miss America that was founded in 1921 started with points awarded for head and limb construction. If you want to argue that, since then, asking contestants about #Deflategate has elevated things, well, then, sure, live in that fantasy world. It sounds terrible. In Williams' case, the ritual succeeds only in casting our gendered oppression in sharper relief.

We're happy to indulge female sexuality, just as long as the women we're objectifying are under control. That's the reality in and outside of the Miss America microcosm; it's just a bit more obvious during their annual parade of beauty standards. Without an overhaul of the very structure of the event -- without it being canceled altogether and replaced with a two-hour Vanessa Williams tribute event, really -- the committee's three-decades-late apology is about as useful as a strip of butt glue immediately following the swimsuit competition.

Everything Else You Should Know:

  • Here's that video of Matt Damon interrupting a successful black filmmaker to explain diversity. He's since (not really) said sorry for doing that. Read Paula Young Lee's piece for Salon on the power of the non-apology.

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  • Earlier this week, some guy from "The League" was revealed to be lying about escaping 9/11, so that's despicable. It's not on Netflix anymore, but you should totally watch "The Woman Who Wasn't There" if this at all interests / horrifies you.

  • Demi Lovato bravely shared with the world that she loves mugs. Based on that loose peg, read HuffPost Editor Jill Capewell's brief history of Demi's fav dish.

  • Hillary Clinton appeared on "The Tonight Show" on Wednesday. Jimmy Fallon dressed up as Donald Trump. It was all very fun and relatable (ish)!

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  • Finally, are you still all, like, "What are YouTube stars? What is YouTube?" If so, sorry you're 900 years old. Head over to The Daily Beast for Kevin Fallon's piece on taking Tyler Oakley seriously.

  • Middlebrow is a recap of the week in entertainment, celebrity and television news that provides a comprehensive look at the state of pop culture. From the rock bottom to highfalutin, Middlebrow is your accessible guidebook to the world of entertainment. Sign up to receive it in your inbox here.

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    Brown & White is comprised of Dilemma Onassis and Tha Real MG, both Atlanta natives that received their upbringing on the South and West Side of Atlanta. Through rap, these two talented individuals push the boundaries of music with infectious melodies and tactical wordplay that produces an eclectic sound that is rare in today's musical arena.

    Brown & White has just released their debut EP: The Fifthe Vol.1, and it is now available for download in iTunes, Google Play, Rhapsody, eMusic, and digital stores across the internet. You can also purchase the EP directly from Brown & White on this website at a discounted price of just $4.99 via Paypal.

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