In this week’s Pulse Report, we’re going to get very excited about the competition LeBron James has off-the-court but in the court, try to figure out what Jay Z is really about in this Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, shake our heads at why Lil’ Mo even talks and oh SOHH much more!

[Editor’s Note: The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of SOHH]

1. Ball Up

YO! Am I the only one who sees the genius in what NBA Live 14 is doing? Or maybe I should say EA Sports since they’re the ones with enough confidence to take a franchise that was clearly dying and on life support, that being NBA Live, and completely revitalize it with a must-have video game? For all of y’all that were too stuck in NBA 2K10 and NBA 2K11 to even care, EA Sports kinda killed the whole NBA Live series and tried to market it in a new game called NBA Elite. Yeah, you can take a guess at how long that lasted. LOL. Bottom line is everyone got tired of the block heads that NBA Live made and realized NBA 2K’s been hot since, well, since 1999-2000, when the NBA 2K game launched. Think about it, back during those Sega Dreamcast days, the 2K game was pretty solid. It took a few years, but pretty much everyone jumped ship and went with Team 2K. Well, EA is back at it:

In a year where EA Sports will be introducing games for next generation XBox, the video game maker has selected one of the NBA’s brightest young stars as the cover athlete of its upcoming NBA Live 14 game. Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving will grace the cover of the series, which hasn’t been published in four years. EA Sports touts a new in-game physics engine that apparently will allow gamers more precision-dribble control than in previous editions. It’ll be interesting to see how the game competes against NBA2K14, the latest installment of the segment-leading NBA2K series, which will feature LeBron James on the cover. (USA Today)

This is awesome for a couple of main reasons. For one, they did something very smart by going with Kyrie Irving. This has nothing to do with him being a gifted athlete and a star point guard, well, it does, but let me get this out. What team did LeBron last play for? The Cleveland Cavaliers. Kyrie is closer to 20 while LeBron is closer to 30. Are you seeing those subliminal messages EA Sports is getting out there? Yeah, LeBron’s got some rings right now but the future is Kyrie Irving. Hence, the future is NBA Live. Do y’all see that or is it just me? They even make this more evident by releasing the game for the NextGen consoles: PS4/X-Box One.

Believe it, y’all, this is really going down. Time will tell if this is just a really strategic move that pays off or just a flop like NBA Elite, but now we’re going to have to see how much NBA 2K can offer. No more conglomerate, choices will be made! LOL. Us, the consumer, wins!

2. Is Trayvon Martin This Or Peform In Florida That?

I’m having a very difficult time trying to find out where I stand with Jay Z right now. And please forgive me if and when I type his name “Jay-Z” I think this whole no-dash Jay thing is kinda corny and wack. Last weekend he really made me believe his movement, not only by playing a Trayvon Martin tribute track during his Justin Timberlake concert but by also appearing at a Trayvon Martin rally the next day. Very moving. And to really make things special? Jay said this:

“I was really angry, I didn’t sleep for two days. I was really angry about it. We all knew it was still a bit of racism in America but for it to be so blatant, if you just ask yourself the question, ‘Didn’t Travyon have a right to stand his ground?’ He was being chased, he fought back. He may have won. That doesn’t mean he’s a criminal. He won. If you chase me and you try to attack me and I defend myself, how can I be in the wrong? How is that right? This guy went to get some Skittles and go back to watch the All-Star game. He had plans. ‘I gonna get this Arizona, these Skittles, and go watch this game.’ … He had no intentions of robbing anyone’s home — it’s a thing where it’s like a reminder of, ‘We still got a long way to go.’ It’s beautiful because this generation right now, they don’t see color in that way. We’re a bit removed from those racist feelings.” (“The Truth With Elliott Wilson”)

^ Yo, Elliott, that was HOT! I haven’t finished both interviews he did with Jay, but give it up to EW, he’s corny but dope. YN is still alive! LOL. So Jay goes on to say a lot more about Zimmerman, notably that he’s a “f*cking security guard” and really going off on Zimmerman. GOT IT! Jay wins my vote for president after seeing this. So I figure, he’s paying homage to Trayvon, he’s appearing in public with his mother and he’s saying THIS stuff about Zimmerman? H*ll yeah, Jay! And then, of course, something like this comes out:

Representatives for Madonna, Jay Z, Justin Timberlake and several other stars have strongly denied reports suggesting the musicians were joining Stevie Wonder in his boycott of the state of Florida following the George Zimmerman verdict.

According to a list that surfaced on music blog American Urban Radio Networks, the 63-year-old singer enlisted several star performers, including Kanye West and the Rolling Stones, to join him in his refusal to play in Florida until the state rectifies its Stand Your Ground Law.

The report, which was picked up by MSN, the Huffington Post and the Wrap, claimed Rod Stewart, Usher and Rihanna were also boycotting the state.

“I don’t know where this list came from,” one rep said.

Wonder made headlines last week when he announced at his concert in Quebec City, “I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again.” (Variety)

Now that really pisses me off. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the underlying theme is here: MONEY. I don’t want to believe it, I really don’t, but nothing else seems to make sense. Jay can put on this show and be pro-Martin but when he’s hearing chants not to perform in Florida and does not go forward with a boycott of that state? SMH. Don’t even say it’s about doing it for the fans. This is bigger than the fans, and it’s even bigger than Trayvon Martin. This is a boycott that could not only scare companies and the state of Florida, but it could wake up every doggy across the United States to say, “Eh, you know that Stand Your Ground law? We might wanna do something about that….NOW!” Laws like that can’t exist, y’all, and if Jay’s so down for the cause, what’s losing out performing in Florida going to do to him on the Forbes list? Help me understand, y’all because it’s not making sense.

3. Moment of the Week: Romany Malco’s Open Letter

Amazing. There’s been so much said about the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case and no matter what YOU believe is right, there’s someone who swears you’re wrong and will do anything to try to explain that to you. It’s become frustrating and then you add to it the media has honestly drowned us in this case. It’s so bad that this stuff happens throughout not only the United States but across the globe and yet we’ve been attached to Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. Take a minute, or two, three, four, five and absorb what actor Romany Malco is saying right here:

I haven’t touched on the Trayvon Martin issue because race matters in this country are the paralysis of the American people. To constructively discuss Trayvon would require empathy, introspection and an understanding of America’s social and economic history. This is why the open forums we have seen thus far seem to fuel more ignorance and bias than reasonable debate.

To be brutally honest, the only reason people are even aware of Trayvon Martin is because it became a topic within mainstream news and pop culture. Meaning: News directors saw it as a profitable, sensational story. Hundreds of blacks die annually in South Side Chicago without even a blurb. Trayvon isn’t in the mainstream news for any reason other than ratings and profit. The news coverage on the Zimmerman case almost implies that the killing of this young black man is somehow an anomaly and I resent that.

In this country, if it isn’t streamlined through mainstream media and pop culture, it doesn’t seem to warrant national debate. Our “government” continues to wreak havoc on our civil liberties and there is little to no protest from the black community because of media diversion tactics that keep such pertinent issues out of mainstream media. But if Jay-Z or Rihanna were to make mention of it, we’d suddenly be jolted out of our sugar comas and protesting on freeways.

My point being, people are up in arms about Trayvon based on regurgitated pundits and manipulated facts aired to elicit emotion while fueling America’s anger and division. That’s how you boost ratings. No different from Piers Morgan’s desperate rant over gun control when he knew his ratings were in the dumps. And from where I stand, anyone who still relies on corporate-owned media pundits to support an argument isn’t equipped to offer worthwhile solutions.

People are using Trayvon Martin’s death as an excuse to project their own deep-seated issues with racism and will not be capable of intelligent, empathetic debate until they’ve cooled down and afforded themselves an education.

Addressing Trayvon without first addressing the absence of critical thinking in our schools, the lack of introspection, the reasons for our low tolerance and our country’s skewed value system does nothing more than create a sounding board for the ignorant. So rather than facilitate more racism outcry, I’d like to address young black people specifically.

I believe we lost that trial for Trayvon long before he was killed. Trayvon was doomed the moment ignorance became synonymous with young black America . We lost that case by using media outlets (music, movies, social media, etc.) as vehicles to perpetuate the same negative images and social issues that destroyed the black community in the first place. When we went on record glorifying violent crime and when we voted for a president we never thought to hold accountable. When we signed on to do reality shows that fed into the media’s stereotypes of black men, we ingrained an image of Trayvon Martin so overwhelming that who he actually may have been didn’t matter anymore.

Don’t you find it peculiar that the same media outlets who have worked so diligently to galvanize the negative stigmas of black men in America are now airing open debates on improving the image of black males in American media? Do you honestly think CNN is using their competitive time slots for philanthropy?

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” – Rahm Emanuel

If we really wanted to ensure Trayvon Martin’s killing was not in vain, we’d stop perpetuating negative images that are now synonymous with black men in America. We’d stop rapping about selling drugs and killing niggas. The next time we saw a man beating a woman, we’d call for help or break it up, but one thing we would not do is stand by with our cellphones out — yelling WORLDSTAR! Instead of rewarding kids for memorization, we’d reward them for independent and critical thinking.

We’d spend less time subconsciously repeating lyrics about death and murder and more time understanding why we are so willing to twerk to songs that bemean women and boast of having things we cannot afford. We’d set examples of self-love for our youth by honoring our own hair, skin and eye color. We’d stop spending money on designer gear that we should be spending on our physical and psychological health. We’d seek information outside the corporate owned-media that manipulates us. We’d stop letting television babysit our kids and we’d quit regurgitating pundits we haven’t come up with on our own.

Education, introspection, self-love and excellence are the only ways to overcome the wrath of ignorance. So before going back to popping molly and getting Turnt Up, I urge you to consider the implications of your actions. Your child’s life may depend on it. (Huffington Post)

DEEP. Let me just point one thing out that’s really made me wake up after reading this. You have Jay Z appearing at the Trayvon Martin rally last weekend. You have him playing a Trayvon Martin tribute at his concert. YET, he won’t boycott performing in Florida? Can any doggies say, “MONEY, MONEY, MONEY” anyone? As much as I want to say I’m wrong, I can’t help but agree with Romany and say this is starting to look like a profitable tragedy for not only media outlets but the artists as well. Think about it for a second. Some no-name rapper comes out of nowhere and posts a ‘GET MONEY & JUSTICE (TRAYVON MARTIN TRIBUTE)’ on World Star Hip Hop and he’s down for the cause? SMH. Wake-up, y’all.

4. Mrs. Butterworth: Tracee Ellis Ross

Weird crush, right? One thing I can promise you all is that we’re getting older and as much as we swear that those Rosa Acosta‘s and Nicki Minaj‘s are all we need to survive in life, it’s really complete BS. As much as I used to swear that Rosa would be the idea wifey, the bottom line is that she’s just really hot eye candy. Could she have a good personality and like to read? Very possibly, but in my eyes and every doggies’ eyes that would spot her, the first thoughts would be “THAT A**” and “THOSE T*TTIES!” Sadly, it would take a long relationship and getting past her physical sexiness before you could see her for who she “really” is. Well, as I have gotten older, I’ve started to notice I can have the best of both worlds with very little sacrifice. I present to y’all, Tracee Ellis Ross. Sure, she’s cute but she’s not GORGEOUS like Beyoncé. She’s got a CRAZY nice fatty but it doesn’t stand out as much as Nicki’s or Rosa’s. Bottom line? She’s the ideal woman. She’s the type you could wifey up and really enjoy her for her personality, goofiness, seriousness and everything else, and then appreciate the fact that, “Oh yeah, d*mmmmmmmmn, boo’s got a booty too!” LOL. I’m putting y’all up on game today, big ups to Smoking Section for catching my attention to her ass-ets. She’s money!

SMH. Assmazing.

5. Rappers Say The Darnest Things

Lil’ Mo, Lil’ Mo, Lil’ Mo, Lil’ Mo and Lil’ Mo. Y’all know my routine, I like to stretch this section out with the best of the best, typicaly five RAPPERS that are saying something slick and need to be placed on blast. However, due to the coverage this Trayvon Martin situation has received and the effort of Stevie Wonder to take a stand against Florida and the existence of Lil’ Mo, we’ve got to just dedicate this to her. Honestly, what was she thinking? There’s so many things wrong with this. Unlike some truly heartfelt words from the “Moment of the Week” we have basically the complete opposite from an artist that’s not even relevant anymore. She was barely hot when she was with Ja Rule and this has completely made me care less about what she’s done. You can read this for yourself but keep a few things in mind. For starters, you NEVER diss a legend, especially Stevie Wonder. Even if you feel a certain way, you know to keep your comments to yourself. Lil’ Mo thinks she’s being righteous and making a valid point when she’s really coming across very silly. This is about Trayvon Martin but saying do a benefit concert and give the money to his family is NOT what Stevie Wonder is boycotting. This is about STAND YOUR GROUND and getting that law abolished. If it’s not Trayvon Martin, it’s any other minority having their lives taken away and the shooters getting away with it by laws like this. Errrrrr……. I’m tight y’all. Judge for yourself:

Lil’ Mo won’t be boycotting Florida for Trayvon Martin, as many of her fellow entertainers have done since the shocking verdict came down. The R&B Divas: L.A. star took to Twitter to explain her reasoning. “Ever since the verdict, a certain artist is boycotting the state of Florida. The fans don’t deserve to be deserted,” she posted. Artists like Stevie Wonder and Mary Mary have officially refused to play any gigs in states with “Stand Your Ground” laws in place.Lil’ Mo wants them and everyone else to reconsider the protest. She even took a jab at Stevie’s blindness to prove her point. “If the coin was right, would HIS staff accept or deny the gig? And if so how would he know? They could say it’s sumpter, sc or nah?” she wrote. “TBH some artists have staff that dedicate their LIFE to that artist so when that artists expires the TEAM outta work. Think abt it b4 u buck,” she tweeted. While she isn’t a fan of the protest, she does have other ideas for taking a stand. “I’m merely stating don’t boycott. “Do a benefit concert give the proceeds to the family,” she said. “My family normally vacations in FLORIDA july 22-aug 2, BUT, As of today we have reneged and will go to Another state instead.”

***Weekend time! Apologies for this being such a political Pulse Report today, y’all, but sometimes we just gotta wake up and really see what’s going on in this society of ours. I don’t know about y’all, but the summer has really sucked in terms of really good movies. When I see some flick called “2 Guns” starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg coming out in a week or two, I realize there’s nothing popping at all. Man of Steel was a long time ago now. LOL. Aight, y’all be good and I’ll catch y’all on Tuesday! –BB***