Sometimes, when I turn on the computer, I am sorry that I did. Everyone has gotten that e-mail or read something that has totally turned the day 180 degrees. Once, a girlfriend broke up with me via e-mail. It was shocking and showed little concern about my feelings. It took three days until I was back to myself. I tried not to let things like that effect me, but some things are too important or cut too deep to be ignored.

Unfortunately, today is already shaping up to be one of those days. Bernie Mac, the award winning comedian, succumbed to complications from pneumonia this morning. Outside of losing a positive role model, a funny comedian, and someone’s father, brother and cousin, it paints another picture of the fragility of life and a reminder to treat the ones that you care about in the best way possible. In some ways, you the reader may not be able to feel my concern. Bernie Mac was only 50. That is obviously not that old. My father is 62, having retired five years ago. Life in America is hard for a black man. I won’t restate some of the stats about being black in America, but we face some road blocks to a longer life than other races. Seeing a man struck down in what should be the prime of his life is a little deflating, especially when the publicist stated that he was doing better. Of course, she was covering for him, so I bear her no ill will; she was doing her job, which should be to protect the inner circle of Bernie Mac. I just hope that he had the chance to say goodbye to those how mean the most.

Death is just one of those things that you have no control of. I don’t condone suicide, but I understand some of the reasoning behind it. I am the type that is trying to live forever, although my habits don’t make it seem like it. I just like control… Well, Bernie, take your last curtain call. I am going to turn off the Olympics this morning and watch Bernie to brighten my day. Ronin pointed out Jangle Leg was hilarious in the movie Life. “Boy, your hand is nice and supple, like a woman!”

But, for some reason, I am feeling Dollar Bill. Who can forget Dollar Bill in the Player’s Club? IF I had a club that involved strippers and cooked books, then Bernie Mac as Dollar Bill is my man.


Dollar Bill: Stripping business started in Africa. Long time ago, long long time ago, white man went to Africa. And he saw all these beautiful black women, walking around, dancing, working, living, in the nude. Bucked Naked! You could see their public hairs. This white man went from village to village to seek out these beautiful black women, watching them perform, in the nude. TITTIES! Asses. Free. White man got an idea. He figure he go back to Europe and start the same type of business, taking away from our black women, trying to get them white bitches to dance the same identical way, huh? But to no avail. Wasn’t no shame in our black women walking around BUCKED NAKED! So he went over to Europe and tried the same thang. Them white bitches told that white man the most beautiful words you ever want to hear in our profession.


Ebony: What did she say?


Dollar Bill: Baby, them white bitches looked that white man dead in the eye and told him, “Fuck that. Pay me!” Ha ha! That’s why I get 30 percent.


Ebony: When can I start?


Dollar Bill: Immediately.

Dollar Bill, you can run my business anytime…

CHICAGO – Bernie Mac, the actor and comedian who teamed up in the casino heist caper “Ocean’s Eleven” and gained a prestigious Peabody Award for his sitcom “The Bernie Mac Show,” died Saturday at age 50.

Actor/comedian Bernie Mac passed away this morning from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital,” his publicist, Danica Smith, said in a statement from Los Angeles.

The comedian suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body’s organs, but had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently was hospitalized and treated for pneumonia, which his publicist said was not related to the disease.

Recently, Mac’s brand of comedy caught him flack when he was heckled during a surprise appearance at a July fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate and fellow Chicagoan Barack Obama.

Toward the end of a 10-minute standup routine, Mac joked about menopause, sexual infidelity and promiscuity, and used occasional crude language. The performance earned him a rebuke from Obama’s campaign.

But despite controversy or difficulties, in his words, Mac was always a performer.

“Wherever I am, I have to play,” he said in 2002. “I have to put on a good show.”

Mac worked his way to Hollywood success from an impoverished upbringing on Chicago’s South Side. He began doing standup as a child, and his film career started with a small role as a club doorman in the Damon Wayans comedy “Mo’ Money” in 1992. In 1996, he appeared in the Spike Lee drama “Get on the Bus.”

He was one of “The Original Kings of Comedy” in the 2000 documentary of that title that brought a new generation of black standup comedy stars to a wider audience.

“The majority of his core fan base will remember that when they paid their money to see Bernie Mac … he gave them their money’s worth,” Steve Harvey, one of his co-stars in “Original Kings,” told CNN on Saturday.

Mac went on to star in the hugely popular “Ocean’s Eleven” franchise with Brad Pitt and George Clooney.

Comedian Carl Reiner, who also appeared in “Ocean’s Eleven” and its two sequels, said Saturday he was “in utter shock” because he thought Mac was improving. “He was just so alive. I can’t believe he’s gone,” he said.

Reiner told KNX-AM in Los Angeles that other comics had talked to the audience as Mac did on “The Bernie Mac Show,” but “he took it to a new level.”

“It was such a popular show because of his bigger-than-life persona,” Reiner said.

His turn with Ashton Kutcher in 2005’s “Guess Who” topped the box office. It was a comedy remake of the classic Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn drama “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” — with Mac as the black dad who’s shocked that his daughter is marrying a white man.

Mac also had starring roles in “Bad Santa,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and “Transformers.”

The comedian drew critical and popular acclaim with his Fox television series “The Bernie Mac Show,” which aired more than 100 episodes from 2001 to 2006.

The series about a man’s adventures raising his sister’s three children, won a Peabody Award in 2002. At the time, judges wrote they chose the sitcom for transcending “race and class while lifting viewers with laughter, compassion — and cool.”

In real life, he was very much like his character on that series, his daughter, Je’niece Childress, told The Associated Press on Saturday.

“He was the king of his household,” Childress said in Chicago, describing Mac as “a loving grandfather” to her daughter, his only grandchild.

“The Bernie Mac Show” garnered Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for Mac.

“But television handcuffs you, man,” he said in a 2001 Associated Press interview. “Now everyone telling me what I CAN’T do, what I CAN say, what I SHOULD do, and asking, `Are blacks gonna be mad at you? Are whites gonna accept you?'”

He also was nominated for a Grammy award for best comedy album in 2001 along with his “The Original Kings of Comedy” co-stars, Harvey, D.L. Hughley and Cedric The Entertainer.

Chicago music producer Carolyn Albritton said she was Bernie Mac’s first manager, having met him in 1991 at Chicago’s Cotton Club where she hosted an open-mike night.

“From very early on I thought he was destined for success,” Albritton said Saturday. “He never lost track of where he came from, and he’d often use real life experiences, his family, his friends, in his routine. After he made it, he stayed a very humble man. His family was the most important thing in the world to him.”

In 2007, Mac told David Letterman on CBS’ “Late Show” that he planned to retire soon.

“I’m going to still do my producing, my films, but I want to enjoy my life a little bit,” Mac told Letterman. “I missed a lot of things, you know. I was a street performer for two years. I went into clubs in 1977.”

Mac was born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough on Oct. 5, 1957, in Chicago. He grew up on the city’s South Side, living with his mother and grandparents. His grandfather was the deacon of a Baptist church.

In his 2004 memoir, “Maybe You Never Cry Again,” Mac wrote about having a poor childhood — eating bologna for dinner — and a strict, no-nonsense upbringing.

“I came from a place where there wasn’t a lot of joy,” Mac told the AP in 2001. “I decided to try to make other people laugh when there wasn’t a lot of things to laugh about.”

Mac’s mother died of cancer when he was 16. In his book, Mac said she was a support for him and told him he would surprise everyone when he grew up.

“Woman believed in me,” he wrote. “She believed in me long before I believed.”

I am pretty much done making myself depressed, but I just remembered him in Above the Rim, combining some of my favorites, Tupac (R.I.P.) and Bernie Mac.

Bernie Mac’s role in this movie was small, but really memorable for me, because it is a lesson on how to treat others. He plays a character named Flip in the movie that plays a homeless character that reminisces on the glory of Leon’s playing career. He eventually gets killed by Tupac for bringing up the fact that Leon and Tupac are estranged brothers. He also challenges the main character, Duane Martin to a game of hoop, where the bet is getting to kick the other in the hind parts, aka the behind.

We will miss you B-Man…

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