Saturday, 22 January 2011

Letters by Greenberg:Vybz Kartel and the hospice for ashy midlife men.

Letters by Greenberg was born out of the Noah Baumbach film starring Ben Stiller and Rhys Ifans in which its namesake writes beautifully insulting diatribes to corporations. I write to anyone I think needs to check themselves that week. We've all wanted to tell Britney to stop wearing bad weave to get attention cos we all know she's got enough bank and medication to know a decent hairdresser when she sees one. We've all wanted to tell Alicia Keys to stop being such a smug married with Swiss shady Beats. We've all wanted to rant at another self important journalist who thinks he/she can define a genre/event/human being in the space of 20 words (ahem). 

Dear Vybz Kartel,



It's bad enough that Gucci Mane persists on being famous in my household, not for formidable music making, but for having the ashiest lips in the business. Now you, Vybz Kartel, a formerly acceptable artist to listen to pre rave/carnival/one of those 'after-parties' that involve you riding around in a run down audi TT from Bar Rumba to actually find yourself sitting in a room with 3 people smoking high grade and wishing you were asleep, have fallen prey to the ashy black man syndrome. I fear you may never redeem yourself; the level of ashiness screaming self hatred from this picture emanates from a deep Freudian level my poor blogger's mind cannot even attempt to penetrate thereby cocoa butter and a black barbie aint gona solve your inner ashy issues are they Vybz?

Male self renovation (we've moved on from reinvention to whole racial overhauls, what can I say? status anxiety has grown to monstrous proportions in a dire economy) post 40 is becoming alarmingly macabre. Gone are the days of laughing at the male mortality whiplash that made films like The First Wives Club so amusing. I mean just check out old skool basebell star Sammy Sosa's ash stricken face for this naughties shift in the proverbial male pattern baldness.  Witness how he chalkily cracks through the dry tension to smile a smile that says its ok to make yourself over into another colour half way through your life, it's not a political statement it's just the new sports car, the new penis enlargement, the new mistress with a more menial job than your wife's and better tits. Nobody wants to be a cliche and buy a Lambourghini when they feel close to death and distant from the young follicly acceptable man they once were. Similarly, nobody wants to or should necessarily have to be hemmed into an identity; it doesn't take an extensive knowledge of Michel Foucault and a bunch of french theory to understand that we are all increasingly resistant to the idea of complying to societal rules 'just because'.  However, Vybz, you seem to be dabbling in what many would justifiably call race-change. But this so called race change all depends on how much you believe color defines race, rather than culture.  In yours and Sammy's minds perhaps you are no less black/afro-cuban just because your skin is.  From an intellectual perspective i can fully appreciate this argument, race is, in my view, more than shades on a sample board, we are not curtains people we are not curtains...so in reality maybe tanning and bleaching will one day become exactly what Vybez claims them to be; extensions of each other. Indeed maybe the political will be shrugged off  the act of bleaching like an errant cardigan...However Vybz until post-racial becomes a reality (which btw is looking like a never so keep fighting the good fight) you're left looking like a victim of consumption circa 1809 who found himself a time machine. Either way, hello?... Vybez...you're just too damn ashy to be taking pictures and the like. Stay your ass inside. The light looks like it 's physically damaging your retinas! Check out the redness round the eyes! You look like an albino lab rat...this cannot be the great idea you thought it was, no? I know you probably half believe that statement you released that claimed bleaching "is tantamount to getting a tan" but a) I know you don't know how to use the word tantamount in the correct context never mind use it in a statement and b) it's looking more like an exercise in self mutilation than an exercise in civil liberty from my screen.



I assume Gucci was born with the lips of a gator who has been immersed in the desert or whose lips have dried up under a deluge of e numbers from the cool aid and gin he sipped on from the womb. Unlike Gucci you were not born with the face of the crypt keeper. Albeit you were never exactly a visual delight but who needs delight when your face isn't under the threat of imminent ruin. You just needed to remain facially consistent enough to not warrant quasi-intelectual outrage.

So here is my parting advice Vybz: a new look should never entail appearing as if you should be on dialysis. That is not a good look. It is not even a look. It is a mistake. A bit of an embarassment really seeing as your vanity has brought you to a fear of sun, water and all naturally occuring elements getting anywhere near a rapidly eroding visage.  Looking like the physical representation of apocalypse in these uncertain times is not a good career move. You don't want to get barred from industry events because people are becoming increasingly convinced your one of the four horsemen. Judgement day isn't sexy or welcome, some of us have a whole lot more living to do (preferably in living color as opposed to grey)

Wishing you a speedy recovery from what I can only "eat, pray and love" is a temporary bout of mental incontinence and general facial disrepair.

Greenberg.

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