Watch From Scratch: The Webseries


Monday, May 22, 2017

Is Tommie Lee leaving Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta?

Last Night, while checking my Facebook feed, I came across a post from Tommie Atasha Lee. I'm not sure if this is the real deal, but her page has over 300,000 followers and her posts seem legit. Nevertheless, the post that caught my attention was one where Tommie says she is leaving LHHATL after this season. Tommie just became a full-time cast member this season, after winning over the hearts of us bloodthirsty, strife-obessesed, reality TV viewers during her first season as part of Karen King's crew. 

Karen King is the mother of Tommie's jailed ex-boyfriend Scrappy, who also dated LHHATL's Karlie Redd as part of his storyline. Throughout Tommie's first season as a recurring cast member, she made it clear that Karen King a.k.a. KK was her close friend, even after she broke up with King's son. This season, we saw less of KK and more of Tommie as she became an integral part of the full-time cast. Perhaps, Stevie J. being her manager really has helped her as Stevie J. was able to gain himself full-time cast member status a few seasons back. The origin Love and Hip Hop franchise only featured women as cast members, in a nod to the popular 'Housewives-esque reality show format. 

Her relationship also seems to be strained with KK as evidenced by KK's recent rant on Instagram Live. A week ago, KK went in on Tommie for 45 minutes, saying that she is waiting on Tommie to self-destruct. She also went in on Tommie about her shoe game or lack thereof and Tommie's drinking problem. Apparently, Karen is not here for Tommie's newfound success and exposure on the show. 

Karen also exposed the scripting behind the Love and Hip Hop series by admitting that she "put her job on the line" by refusing to say certain things about Tommie during the green screen segments. Karen went as far to say that the scripting is based on the storyline that they presented to the producers. KK also feels that she is responsible for Tommie's success and that she "put her in a place to better her life." 

I can speculate that maybe the beef is too much for Tommie, because she made it clear on her additional posts that she had to do what's best for her and her children. Maybe Tommie is deciding that the fame is not worth the negativity. She made it clear that she was not fired, so she is leaving on her own. We'll Stay Tuned! 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Dear Iyanla, you are not helping! AT ALL!

Do Black women really misbehave all that badly on reality television? I’m a reality TV aficionado and I’ve been noticing a lot of black women being critical of other black women who appear on reality television. Most vocal is Iyanla Vanzant, who won the NAACP Image Award for Best Reality Show for Iyanla: Fix My Life. Ms. Vanzant frequently behaves in the same fashion as the very women whose lives she claims to fix. Vanzant’s series gets it kick from produced digging, probing, and the creation of disorders for guests. Iyanla asks the same blanket questions each episode and morphs the responses into a disorder for each guest. Many times, she diagnoses her guests as angry black women, or women with bad behavior. Even as she calls her guests nasty, vile, guttersnipe, bitches with conviction, Iyanla presents herself as a being of higher moral and spiritual caliber. As a former fan of Ms. Vanzant’s show Fix My Life, I watched her reach deeper and deeper for reality television moments in recent years. I remember watching Fix My Life when it first came on the air and I was pleased and excited by the concept of an educated spiritual leader helping those who need it most. As years have passed, I no longer watch for Ms Vanzant, but to hear from her guests and see how she responds to them. 

Over the past three recent seasons of her show, Iyanla has made it her duty to highlight the bad behavior of black women, coming off as judgmental and often downright nasty. The first red flag was an episode with Karreuche Tran, ex-girlfriend of Chris Brown. Iyanla pressed Tran repeatedly to blame her dysfunctional relationship with Chris Brown on her relationship with her father. It was apparent to Karreuche and both the viewer that Iyanla was working hard to make a show. When Karreche’s managers threatened to pull the plug on the show, Iyanla backed off and took the interview in a different direction. That’s when I realized that Fix My Life was just another talk show, presented under Iyanla’s guise of spiritual healing and self help. 

As I continued to watch, I witnessed each episode move further away from helping the guests toward exploiting them. The hardest episode to watch was the recent episode with Neffe, Keyshia Cole’s sister. Iyanla called Neffe out of her name on so many occasions that I thought Neffe was well within her rights to snap on Iyanla. She didn’t though. After each commercial break, Iyanla reminded us of Neffe’s “bad behavior” on reality television. Shortly after reminding us of Neffe’s behavior, Iyanla reffered to her as a “nasty bitch”. When Neffe became offended, Iyanla added “vile,” “guttersnipe,” and “from the hood” to that bitch she had just called her. This is the point when I felt that I had to put out something into the universe in defense of Neffe and all other black women on reality television. I watched Neffe on Keyshia Cole’s reality show and the spinoff Frankie and Neffe. Neffe’s “bad behavior” was her inability to deal with her mother and sister’s in an effective way. Why is that bad behavior, Ms. Vanzant? Isn’t that exactly why we are supposed to watch shows like Fix My Life, so that we can learn how to cope with out struggles. Neffe was not acting out for television, she was acting out of pain and hurt that had been long overlooked because she lived in poverty. Yes, Neffe is “from the hood’ as many African-Americans are. That doesn’t mean that every person “from the hood” is a nasty bitch. Furthermore, if the behavior is so nasty and vile, why does Iyanla seek to exploit the very same behavior that is so undesirable. 

I say this to anyone who wants to dog black women on reality television: Watch five minutes of Mob Wives, any of the Real Housewives franchise, especially the Beverly Hills and Orange County  franchises. Yes, the affluent Beverly Hills and Orange County housewives, regularly use vulgar language such as the C-Word, accuse each other of drug abuse, and have even become physically violent on many occasions. When your done watching them, turn to Teen Mom, where white teen pregnancy is just the backdrop for other issues such as drug abuse, pornography, and violence. The truth is, we can stop bashing black women for their behavior on reality television, it’s part of the business. The real reality is, these women have parlayed the platform into successful careers and black women shouldn’t be held to a standard that doesn’t exist for anyone. More importantly, other black women or men shouldn’t be the ones creating this standard!

Kevin Gates is sentenced to 30 months in jail.

Im not judging...just documenting. He will come out and be better received as an artist because of this. Especially in hip-hop, jail often makes an artist credible or more credible Boosie, Gucci Mane, Remy Ma, and even 2pac served time during their careers and experienced a resurgence afterward. Not to be forgotten is Martha Stewart, whose career rebounded after her time in federal prison. Rapper Lil' Kim was incarcerated shortly after Stewart and was dubbed by some as the "black Martha Stewart"
for her sentence in 2005. Sometimes your struggle furthers your  success. In our jail culture, that success seems inevitable, if you get out!

Read more at 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


“What the hell is a sex pistol?” I asked, as I admired my husband’s Chuck Taylor Converses. The shoes were white and I had NO on one shoe and FUTURE on the other. A true millennial, I took to Google to see what I could find out about sex pistols. I learned that Sex Pistols were an English rock band who pioneered the punk rock genre. I also learned that the Sex Pistols only released one album and that one album is all it took for them to be considered one of the most influential groups of all time, according to multiple music publications. That was enough to inspire me about the recent release of my first book. The Sex Pistols did not sell very well out of the gate and they never released a second album but they were still held in such high regard amongst music aficionados. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006! Of course, I plan to release more than one book, but knowing that these guys made their mark off of only one album inspired me.

A few days later, I ventured to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at the USC campus. It was my big debut of my first book, which I self-published myself. I met other authors, publishers, and a swarm of undiscovered creative geniuses undiscovered. I sold my very first book to a person in real life and followed up with selling more copies, to people who I never thought would buy anything from me. That’s when I realized that books have the same power as music. Art truly crosses all cultural and demographic lines.

That energy carried over to the second day of the festival, where people continued to celebrate the stories that we share with each other. I went to the festival hoping to sell books, and I did, but what was more amazing was meeting people from all walks of life, who wanted to hear my story, share theirs, and celebrate literature. The festival reminded me of what writing meant to me. I wrote my book to share my story with the world, and that is the most powerful way to connect with other people.

During the last two hours of the festival, I snuck away from my booth to use the restroom. As I made my way to the indoor bathroom inside of one of the school’s buildings, I noticed a line of people wrapped in a line around the building. Is Steven King here? I couldn’t think of any other big name authors at the moment. What writer could draw such a rock star line of people, waiting to get their book signed. Finally, I asked someone standing in line. The answer blew me away. It was Steve Jones. Steve Jones of Sex Pistols!

Just days after I first found out that this group existed, I was at a book festival, where Steve Jones was promoting his book, Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol. Did I care that he was a celebrity? No. I had just learned about this group the other day. I was blown away that the universe had presented me with yet another example of how it operates. The law of attraction is very real, and I wrote about its power in my first book, From Scratch: Book One (Inheritance). As I worked on book two, I continued to work on myself and the ways that I utilize the law of attraction. Perhaps, the universe just wanted to remind me of its power and to keep on going! 

Steve Jones wasn't the only celebrity at the festival. I didn't leave my booth very often thanks to the heavy foot traffic, but following the #bookfest hashtag I saw that Chris Hayes, Rep. John King, and Foo Fighter Dave Grohl were just some of the famous faces who came out to celebrate books. BOOKS ARE LIT! Pics from the festival are below. 

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Academy Award© winners dig deep into archives and hearts for LA 92, a documentary exploring the deep racial roots of the 1992 Los Angeles riots on National Geographic Channel.

By Dennis Huffington
April 12, 2017

There’s a saying: There’s no time like the present. Except there is a time like the present, and National Geographic is premiering LA 92, a documentary that dug up every nook and cranny of 1992 in the City of Los Angeles, a time just like the present. LA 92’s edge comes from the use of only archival footage tell its story. There are no interviews or experts, just raw footage of each and every catalyst, narrated by everyday people and news media alike. Even though I knew the outcome, I still sat in suspense because every second is authentic.

About 35 minutes in, my stomach began to burn and I felt the same disappointment and resentment as the real people in the documentary. America hasn’t recovered from Ferguson, Baltimore, and police brutality continues to deepen America’s political and racial divide, just like the divide in LA 92, the divide that has always been in America. LA 92’s tagline, The Past Is Prologue, couldn’t be more fitting. Just as the LA riots preceded Ferguson, riots in Watts preceded LA’s 92 riots.

From the opening of LA 92, it is crystal clear, that racism and police brutality have long been intertwined. We see a police department that not only criminalizes a group of people but also fails to protect that same group of people. The LAPD has long been tarnished by accusations of racism, and there is enough footage in LA 92 to uphold those accusations. In their own words, LAPD officers admitted they performed actions that were “violent” and that “police work can be brutal.”  The smoking gun was the admission that, “In Los Angeles, the chokehold is associated with death for blacks.”

One officer’s testimony in the Rodney King Trial sounds like the blueprint for George Zimmerman’s testimony during his trial for the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Both Zimmerman and the officer defended themselves by saying they were so scared of being killed by their victims that they acted violently and brutally in self defense. This mindset that African-Americans are inherently violent is the dangerous societal side effect of the systematic criminalization of African-Americans that has led to the murders of Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling, and countless other African-Americans.

At one point of LA 92, someone shouts out “Black lives matter!” long before the hashtag. That is the importance of LA 92. This documentary is a case study that examines a system and not just a city or a year. LA 92 could easily be BALTIMORE 2015 or FERGUSON 2014. The buildup, explosion, and aftermath were all the same, yet we still have the same problems. The hysteria we see in LA is the same hysteria I witnessed firsthand living in St. Louis during 2014. I remember the boarded up storefronts and closed off highways. I also remember the burning buildings in Ferguson and military tanks parked in random locations, ready to pushback against any resistance.

Did we learn anything from any of those events? The answer is yes, but there is still much more to learn and that is what makes LA 92 a must-see.  

 LA 92 premieres at Tribeca Film Festival on April 21, followed by a screening tour including St. Louis on April 29, before premiering on National Geographic on April 30.