Archive for December, 2018


The story I tell most often when asked for a Hollywood anecdote is when I chose to work with a still up and coming Issa Rae over the fried chicken commercial my agent at the time tried to talk me into. It’s funny, it’s a name my people recognize, it’s a good anecdote.

As this year comes to a close though, there’s another story that now feels like the definitive ‘Malik in Hollywood’ episode to this point. It’s not funny in the same way, it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But looking back, it says so much more about how my life has played out.

Early in my acting days, I was hired to work background for a courtroom scene. Easy money, make some new connections. That was the plan.

Number one on the call sheet was a white comedian. I wouldn’t say I was a fan but I knew his style: goofy stuff. Didn’t give it a second thought until he came out dressed as the judge.

In full blackface.

And when I say full, I mean not just the makeup, but the voice, the mannerisms: I was having a full Tropic Thunder moment. At this point, I could care less about the money (remember that for later). But I also lost any desire to ‘play along’…

I fell back into my film school knowledge for the most dignified solution: I figured out which camera was focused on me, and as soon as the director called ‘Action’, I deliberately sat up/slouched/leaned forward or leaned backward so there was never a clear view of my face during the scene.

I have to give credit where credit is due; someone in Video Village noticed.

The highest ranking brother there was playing the bailiff: six foot four, forearms like tree trunks, a smile for everyone in the cast and crew. He’s who they sent over to get me on board.

And he told me about his life: he gets cast in all of Comedian X’s projects. He has a place out in Malibu. He runs into Emma Stone all the time at the grocery store.

The message was clear: You play ball, and everything you want is on a silver platter. So come on Malik, let’s get you on camera smiling and laughing at this white boy doing blackface!

To this day, I believe that brother thought he was serving my best interests. Consistent work in an industry that pretty much guarantees the exact opposite? A place on the beach? Hanging out with movie stars on the weekends? That’s ‘the Dream’ right?

As this year ends, I think of how much faster I could have made it to financial stability. The path I’ve chosen, in the most literal sense, has meant I have yet to permanently sell out the Muslim community or the black community for personal gain. My base feels stronger than its ever been. And it’s growing.

The people closest to me know I also end 2018 with a Muse. I sincerely stopped planning for ‘that’ years ago. Not through any particular cynicism, I just came to the conclusion that just wasn’t part of Allah’s plan for me. So by my own admission, the storyteller in me can appreciate watching my heart go through every romantic comedy cliche: ignorance, denial, self-sabotage, annoyance at my inability to turn it off, and finally, sitting on the 101 in wall to wall traffic, singing along to ‘Footsteps in the Dark’ like nothing else in the world matters.

Submitting to whatever or whoever decides to put in my life now feels inherently right. I feel completely set in my individual Calling. The dirty secret behind me building a public persona as ‘Batman’ is this: perhaps the single greatest achievement of my life has been surrounding myself with mutually respectful, sincerely loving relationships of every possible type. In my mind at least, I’m genuinely not looking to fill an ’empty’ space. I have been opened up again to the idea of sharing what I’m building with a woman I’m passionate about.

Maybe in 2019.

Happy Holidays everyone. See you next year.

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I’m not super high on SNL at the moment, but we are STILL out here saying ‘Susan’ and ‘Karen’…

Enjoy!

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – FEBRUARY 26: Singer Janelle Monae attends 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Homegirl definitely had a girl year. Not the only one who thinks this was the album of the year.

One of many good videos from that album.

Enjoy!

Motivation.

Last week of posting til 2019; let’s do some ‘greatest hits’ of the year before I talk about everything this year has been for me.

Can’t talk about videos this year without starting here.  Just can’t.

Enjoy!

The weekend is upon us.

One of the little homies told me this morning, he’s about the positivity now, and I half jokingly told him, ‘Like Father, Like Son.’

But not joking at all, it made my day.  

Spread love people.  It’s the Brooklyn way, and it’s my way.

Have a good one folks.

Still in my karma.  Spotify put me into old school, so this one brought make me memories.

Besides the obvious later ‘ice cold’ allusions for me personally, I always wanted to be one of the brothers in the back dancing all goofy while Erick and Parrish flowed.

WHO ARE THOSE BROTHAS?!?

Enjoy!

Is today a good day to post some EWF?

Yeah, I know… everyday is a good day to post some Earth, Wind and Fire.

This song is eternal.  I don’t regret being too young to have missed most of my chances to see the original lineup live, but thank you YouTube.

The obvious love between the guys here gets me more than this performance.

Enjoy!

I was muted this weekend and I thought, ‘My God, I haven’t been to the movies in a month!’

I went to the calendar to double check how long it had been…

It was Thanksgiving.  

Film geek season does that to a man.

So how about we start this week with music? It’s definitely been a while.  

Hype Williams at his peak.

Enjoy!

A few weeks back, my Twitter feed went nuts with black film geeks famous and not famous all saying Netflix dropped a series called ‘Pioneers of African-American Cinema’ that is mandatory viewing if you’re a student of the history or the artform or the culture.

And they were all right.

Streaming on Netflix, twenty episodes total.  A few shorts in there, but mostly features, none over 100 minutes I believe.  Most everyone who knows their history has heard the name Oscar Micheaux; off the top of my head there are four of his films here.  Paul Robeson makes an appearance in one of the features.  If you’re any type of black film geek, it’s the best kind of homework.

Now, a few notes from me as an observer:

It’s to be expected I guess when you know how historically expensive filmmaking is as an art form, but as far as the stories here: it’s almost exclusively from a ‘Talented Tenth’ point of view.  If you’re hoping to see some pre-cursor to ‘Menace II Society’ or ‘Boyz N Da Hood’… nope, this ain’t the place.  I believe it was in one of the Micheaux films that a fast light skinned woman was repeatedly referred to as ‘that yellow hussy’.  That tickled me good, but be ready for a lot of that.

In terms of things off the beaten track, there’s a black Western(!) in the later episodes.  That’s the good.  The bad?  Shockingly, there was a blackface preacher who showed up in one of the more musically inclined films (in front of a black choir, which made it extra jarring.)  There was also a yellowface character who briefly showed up as a minor character in one film.  I’m not even going to psycho analyze that, I’m just telling you it was there.

But this is still mandatory viewing as a historical document if nothing else.  (I want to say the National Film Archive and the Library of Congress were the two DC groups most responsible for preserving these films, but don’t quote me on that.)  

Streaming on Netflix.