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September 14, 2006 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-14

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2B- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 14, 2006

{the b-side}

4

Once again paving the way for more
electronic-based modes of viewing film,
iTunes announced Tuesday its partner-
ship with Disney to present future and
75 previously released films for download
on the popular website. New films will be
available for $12.99 in the week prior to
their release and will jump to $14.99 once
they are released. Old films will sell for
$9.99. For now, Disney is the only major
studio that has agreed to the sales, which
other studios fear may hamper sales on
DVD and to television. The move came on
the same day as the Motion Picture Asso-
ciate of America's announcement that
it will prosecute Beijing pirates for ille-
gal copies of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," among
other films, signaling an escalation of the
MPAA's much-publicized effort to fight
digital piracy.
Much to the chagrin of national interest
groups and the better part of its fans, the
13th season premiere of "Survivor" at
the Cook Islands will premiere tonight at
8 p.m. on CBS, with four tribes separated
solely by their race. (The tribes will be
white, black, Hispanic and Asian, in case
you were wondering.) Blatant exploitation
and segregationist impulses be damned:
Expect the ratings to be huge.
...
This week in completely unsurprising
news, Whitney Houston has (finally)
decided to end her tumultuous marriage

Steffans is a huge Whitney Houston fan.
Poor Bobby. Maybe New Edition will cut
a greatest hits album and go on tour. Or
maybe not.
Apple nerds, open up your checkbooks.
Your iPods are all outdated. On Tuesday,
Apple announced updates to every model
in its iPod line. It's mostly predictable
stuff - the omnipresent MP3 players
all improved their gigabytes-to-dollars
ratio, the Nano got a more scratch-
proof chassis, the Shuffle is now literally
about the size of a postage stamp - but
there is one new feature that anal music
junkies have been yearning for: gapless
playback. Yes, you can finally listen to your
Radiohead albums, classical recordings
or the second half of Abbey Road (no one
should be listening to live Dave Matthews
albums anymore) without that jarring skip
between tracks. Steve Jobs, you are too
good to us.
Ashlee Simpson, everyone's favorite
almost-blond, has been chosen to play
lead character Roxie Hart in the London
production of "Chicago" beginning Sept.
25. She'll give the role her trademark all,
but maybe she'll leave the acid-reflux at
home for the six weeks she'll be in the
foggy city. Break a leg, Ashlee.
- Compiled by Jeffrey Bloomer, Caitlin
Cowan, Donn M. Fresard and Bernie Nguyen.

01' Dirty Bastard (1999)
Nigga Please
Elektra

We really do believe you can sing, Ashlee.
to singer and self-proclaimed bad boy
Bobby Brown. After 14 years of reported
crack habits, violent arguments and
Brown's too-real reality show "Being
Bobby Brown," Houston has apparently
had enough. The famous diva filed for a
legal separation yesterday. Rumors have
it that Brown has also been bedding
down with music video vixen Karrine
Steffans, who may have been partially to
blame for the split. The weirdest part?

MADGETT
Continued from page 1B
and showed no signs of slowing.
At the outset of her high school
years, Madgett's family relocated
to St. Louis. The move was a turn-
ing point for the ambitious teenager.
She discovered the unforeseen bless-
ings of a legally segregated, all-black
school, where it was popular to be
smart and academic achievement
was the top priority. Madgett had
finally found a place where lofty
aspirations were encouraged without
question, and she took off running.
But she wasn't alone in her
endeavors. Madgett not only found
support in her father, but also in
Harlem Renaissance poets Countee
Cullen and Langston Hughes.
In a meeting arranged by
Madgett's father, Cullen confirmed
the growing suspicions behind her=
bursting creativity: "Well, you're a
poet"
Hughes's influence proved to be
an even greater one. After an oppor-
tune book-signing session, the two
became lifelong friends and she still
strives to pattern herself after him.
"He was such a wonderful human
being" she recalled, "so down to
earth, so encouraging of other poets.
If he walked into a room, in 10 min-
utes you would be calling him by
his first name."
Around the same time, Madgett

was assembling a collection of poet-
ry with unfettered devotion, titled
"Songs to a Phantom Nightingale."
The book was brought to fruition
and published just days after her
high school graduation. After leav-
ing school, Madgett studied English
at Virginia State College and com-
pleted graduate work at New York
University.
By 1948, Madgett's first mar-
riage had collapsed and she was left
stranded with a young daughter and
a telephone-company job that paid a
$37 per week. Madgett was always
dead set against teaching, but with a
child to support she had little choice
and took a job at Detroit's North-
western High School.
But her future was hardly fixed.
With the Civil Rights Movement in
full swing, Madgett felt pressured
to pull away from the public school
system, especially after Detroit's
unbridled race riot of '64. She con-
ceded and accepted an offer to teach
at Eastern Michigan University,
where she remained until her retire-
ment in 1984.
In 1963, 100 years after the
Emancipation Proclamation,
Madgett wrote "Alabama Centen-
nial" The poem acknowledges per-
tinent events of the time - violent
police attacks in Birmingham, the
bus boycott in Montgomery - and
urges African Americans to perse-
vere in the face of seemingly inex-

haustible discrimination:
"Ride! And I rode the bus for
freedom. / Kneel! And I went down
on my knees in prayer and faith. /
March! And I'll march until the last
chain falls / Singing, 'We shall over-
come.:9"
Madgett hesitates to consider her-
self a social activist, but "Alabama
Centennial" and other poems denote
an undisguised call for justice dur-
ing a time of acute racial conflict.
The poem"Midway" made waves
in the sociopolitical arena too."Mid-
way" is a compelling demonstra-
tion of unshakeable determination;
Madgett's melancholy, yet hopeful
voice staunchly refuses to surren-
der to attacks on black equality.
The poem seems to be an obvious
response to the travesties of racial
prejudice, but it also sheds light on
Madgett's all-encompassing attitude
toward personal struggles:
"So whether you abhor me / Or
deride me or ignore me / Mighty
mountains loom before me and I
won't stop now."
In an attempt to expedite the
publication of "Pink Ladies In The
Afternoon;' Madgett and her sec-
ond husband launched Lotus Press
in 1972, which made significant
headway later when it assisted in the
publication of one of her student's
work. The name Lotus Press stems
from the Egyptian lotus flower - for
Madgett,it's a symbolof the'"African

voice transplanted to this country."
Lotus Press offers a rare oppor-
tunity for African-Americans to
publish poetry without the bureau-
cratic hassles of publishers who tend
to categorize their writing styles
as either "too black or not black
enough."
In 2001, Madgett was named
Poet Laureate of Detroit, an official
validation of her work after 55 years
of writing in the city. Honorary
titles typically fail to impress, but
Madgett's work deserves admiration
for the sake of its insight, regardless
of auxiliary labels.
Just last May, Madgett published
her autobiography "Pilgrim Jour-
ney'" the culmination of a thirty-
year work in progress. The book
was printed through Lotus Press
- typically reserved for poetry
- because she feared it would be
edited past the point of her own per-
sonal toleration.
"I'm 83 years old; I've lived a
long life,"she said. "There's nothing
that I want to take out of it."
Madgett seldom feels compelled
to write anymore. She believes that
poems "cannot be forced... [they]
should be something that you can't
help writing." She blames journal-
ism for her "ruined creativity" but
one can't help but doubt this when
she begins reciting verses written
decades ago with effortless ease and
grace.

By Chris Gaerig
Associate Magazine Editor
Why is it always the crazy
ones that everyone seems to care
about? Take Public Enemy for
example. Chuck D. has been lec-
turing about hip hop and race, all
the while Flavor Flav is being dry
humped on national television by
every club rat and gold digger in
the United States - for a second
time. How about Outkast? Big
Boi's clearly a superior rapper,
but everyone seems to like Andre
3000 so much more.
Another seminal rap group,
the Wu-Tang Clan, seems to
be in just about the same place
(well, without the flamboyant
film and primetime show with
amateur hookers). But this time,
replace Chuck D. with eight
stoned, kung-fu-worshiping kids
and Flavor Flav with a really
stoned character obsessed with
getting laid, high and drunk: Ol'
Dirty Bastard. But where Andre
3000 and Flavor Flav are clear-
ly the lesser of their duo, ODB
could contest nearly any of the
Wu MCs.
As the Wu-Tang were ahead of
their contemporaries lyrically,
ODB was ahead of everyone sty-
listically (absolutely no meter to
his lines and exercising the free-
dom to sing in the middle of his
verses even when he certainly
shouldn't have). No one, to this
day even, has matched ODB's
schizophrenic flows and few can
contest his vitriol and shameless-
ly extroverted cries. His throaty
screeches are so syncopated and
flushed with allusions they would
make Ludacris blush.
When ODB finally broke away
from the Wu to release his solo
material, people could only spec-
ulate what this madman might
concoct. His first solo effort
was Return to the 36 Chambers,
which ultimately proved a bit
sporadic. But when his second
album, Nigga Please, hit stores,
his legacy was officially cement-
ed as not only one of the most
deranged MCs of all time, but
also one of the most innovative
of the past decade.
Essentially, this album is as
close as music can get to "The
Wizard of Oz" (sorry Pink
Floyd, you're just not cutting it
anymore). Nothing is as it seems
and ODB is the Wonderful Wiz-
ard running the show. From the
intro "Recognize," which fea-
tures Chris Rock telling you "It
ain't the young DB / It's the O'
DB," you know shit's about to
get weird. And with production

done by the RZA and a not-yet
hipster Neptunes, there was no
way Nigga Please was going to
sound like anything else.
The disc give us one of our
first looks at the "Bossy" Steak
& Shake waitress Kelis on "Got
Your Money," and a little fore-
shadowing into the RZA's work
for "Kill Bill" on the climaxing
production of "I Can't Wait."
And it would be easy to con-
tinue track by track, but ODB
can't be summed up as that
crazy comic relief from the
Wu-Tang. Essentially, he's the
Charles Bukowski of hip hop:
you either love him or you don't,
completely ahead of his time,
not afraid to say and convince
you of anything.
Songs like "Back That Azz Up"
are often considered demeaning
because they instruct women
to pleasure men. ODB, for the
most part, stays away from this
political pitfall but is equally as
shocking and open about what he
wants. On "I Want Pussy," ODB
repeats: "I want pussy / for free."
He says it enough times that you
just start to believe him rather
than get mad. He really does
want pussy for free
He separates himself further
from everyone else on "Good
Morning Heartache." ODB
croons along with Lil' Mo's alto
throughout the cut. It's either
a fairly comedic and enjoyable
track or nails on a chalkboard.
There's really no in between.
But at least he did it. Few rap-
pers, if any, would have the gall
to do what ODB did on Nigga
Please.
Ol' Dirty Bastard was unprec-
edented and remains unmatched.
Following his untimely death
while working in the studio in
2004, the Wu-Tang have begun a
tour and several of the members
have continued their own work.
But none of them will be able
to fill in or emulate ODB. And
Nigga Please showed that people
care about the crazy ones because
they actually are the best out
there. Maybe "Flavor of Love"
isn't that bad after all.

4

4

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I

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Monday, October 2
8 p.m.

I

Call for tickets (734) 763-TKTS.
Tickets at Michigan Union Ticket Office,
all TicketMaster outlets and Herb David Guitar Studio
Doors open 112 hour before showtime.
Show your student ID for $1 off all Ark shows.

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