Charles Barkley rips rhetoric about Russell Wilson not being ‘black enough’


Today’s pop-culture roundup includes a guy who’s never at a loss for words, a spooky weekend box office, an unearthed version of a classic rock song, our mystery music video and much more.

SIR CHARLES: He has Russell Wilson’s back, per The Wrap, “Charles Barkley is dishing out some tough love for what he describes as ”unintelligent” African-Americans who embrace thug culture and criticize others for not being “black enough.” Barkley, an NBA Hall of Famer and TV analyst with TNT, made the comments in response to a question regarding a report that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson isn’t seen as “black enough” by some of his NFL teammates.

“ “For some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough,” Barkley said. “If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person.” He made the controversial comments in an interview with CBS Philadelphia radio’s “Afternoons with Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis.” ’’

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Given the season, this makes perfect sense, per The Hollywood Reporter, “Pre-Halloween horror pic Ouija easily won the North American box office race with $20 million from 2,858 locations, while Keanu Reeves’ action pic John Wick exceeded expectations in a needed win for the actor following the disastrous 47 Ronin.

“John Wick, from Lionsgate, placed No. 2 with $14.2 million from 2,589 theaters to rank ahead of holdover Fury, the World War II pic starring Brad Pitt that won last weekend’s contest.”

OBIT: Just the facts, per Variety, “Actress Marcia Strassman, known for her roles in such hits as “Welcome Back, Kotter” and “MASH,” died Friday after a long fight with breast cancer, her sister Julie Strassman confirmed. She was 66. Along with her many TV credits, Strassman co-starred opposite Rick Moranis in the 1989 Disney live-action hit “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” and 1992 sequel “Honey I Blew Up the Kid.” She was also a longstanding member of the national board of the Screen Actors Guild.

“. . . Strassman’s first major TV role came in 1964, when she appeared in “The Patty Duke Show.” She would go on to play Nurse Margie Culter in several episodes of “MASH.” She’s best known, however, as Julie Kotter, wife to the titular school teacher on “Welcome Back, Kotter.” The series ran on ABC from 1975-1979 and featured a young John Travolta in the cast.”

HONEY BOO BOO: Of ominous develpments, per People, “Following reports last week that June Shannon, matriarch of TLC’s once-hit show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, is dating Mark Anthony McDaniel, a man who allegedly served time for molesting her eldest daughter Anna Cardwell, TLC swiftly pulled the plug on the family’s show.

“Now, a spokesperson for child services in the family’s home state of Georgia says that in a case like Shannon’s, TV fame may not be the only thing she stands to lose. “Generally speaking, when we receive a report that children are living around a sex offender … it would certainly rise to the level of concern of us looking into it,” Susan Boatwright of Georgia’s Division of Family and Child Services tells PEOPLE.”

A COUP: On a couple of fronts, per Deadline, “Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl will be joined by Mikael Nyqvist (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) in German helmer Florian Gallenberger’s period pic Colonia.

“The short film Oscar winner just wrapped in Luxembourg with the production now moving to Germany. The shoot will conclude in South America later this year. The thriller is inspired by true events and sees Brühl’s Daniel and Watson’s Lena entangled in the Chilean military coup of 1973.”

STING’S PLAY: Opens to mixed reviews, per The Los Angeles Times, “Sting officially opened his musical “The Last Ship” on Sunday at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York. The pop star not only wrote the show’s songs, which can be found on his 2013 album of the same title, but used his life as a template to tell its quasi-autobiographical story of romance set against tough economic times.

“ “The Last Ship,” which debuted earlier this year in Chicago, stars actor Michael Esper as Gideon Fletcher, a young man who returns to his working-class town in northeast England. The musical follows two plotlines — the growing labor unrest among the town’s shipbuilders, and a romantic conflict between Gideon and his former girlfriend.”

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN: As you’ve never heard it, per USA TODAY, “What’s all this bustle in the hedgerows about an unheard take of rock epic Stairway to Heaven? Will air guitarists have to learn new parts? Will the lyrics finally make sense?

“Don’t be alarmed now. In the latest phase of Led Zeppelin’s re-release campaign of its nine studio albums (1969 to 1982), re-mastered versions of the untitled fourth album and Houses of the Holy arrive Monday. And just like the deluxe packages of Led Zeppelin, II and III released in June — all three hit the top 10 on Billboard’s album chart — these next two albums contain companion discs filled with unreleased material.”

JACK BRUCE: Tributes aplenty, per Rolling Stone, “Following the news of Cream bassist Jack Bruce’s death at the age of 71, countless tributes have poured in for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, including remembrances from his former band mates like Eric Clapton. “He was a great musician and composer, and a tremendous inspiration to me,” Clapton wrote on his Facebook page. The guitarist’s official website also shared a long history of Bruce’s career in music.

“Ginger Baker’s official fan club also delivered a quote from the Cream drummer, “I am very sad to learn of the loss of a fine man, Jack Bruce… My thoughts & wishes are with his family at this difficult time.” Bruce also occasionally served as a member of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band, and the Beatles drummer shared his condolences. “We lost Jack Bruce today an incredible musician writer and a good friend peace and love to all his family,” Starr tweeted.”

AND FINALLY: Today’s mystery music video:


Skip Wood