Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
Wishing a Happy Valentine’s Day specifically and exclusively to Robin Roberts and Daniel Kaluuya, two people who are not in any sort of relationship with each other whatsoever. Kaluuya, an Oscar nominee for Get Out and a delectable snack-a-doodle-doo, appeared on Good Morning America this week to promote his new film Judas and the Black Messiah. The full 4-minute interview, which you can view in its entirety here, is great—Kaluuya talks about playing Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton and doing intense vocal training to prepare for the role. I’m always shocked when I hear Kaluuya’s natural speaking voice—he’s from London—because in Get Out, Judas, and Widows he had an American accent and I am unfamiliar with the concept of “acting.” (Actually, he had three separate American accents, a different one for each film. Apparently this is also called “acting.”) Every time I hear his deep lilting natural accent I’m like “Heavens to Betsy! How about this scrummy bloke, then? Wot’s all this?” Looking at the computer screen like:
Well, let me tell you that accent was on full display during this GMA interview, as was his considerable charm which jumps through the screen midway through the interview when Roberts asks him about his singing voice and he drops out of “serious movie actor reflecting on a historical role” voice and into a voice I call “swaggalicious” “It’s okay, man, it’s okay,” he says of his singing voice, breaking into a grin. “I might sing a little tune for you.” Robin Roberts seems quite pleasantly surprised by this but redirects the interview to talking about Kaluuya’s work in Black Panther. This, it turns out, is foreshadowing. Or, should I say, flirt-shadowing.
At the end of the interview, Roberts brings up the Black Panther sequel and attempts to, in her words, butter Kaluuya up, for insider information. And, as we say in Londontown, faster than you could cry Bob’s your uncle, a spanner gets thrown in the works and the chinwag goes a bit pear-shaped in the best way. (I’m “acting”.)
I have tried nine-thousand ways to get this video to actually embed in the email but alas. You have to watch it though. Roberts says “I’m buttering you up.” Kaluuya shifts his jaw (thirst journalists like myself know that shifting one’s jaw is the canary in the coal mine of flirtation. SWAGGER INCOMING.) Kaluuya responds, “You gotta give me more butter, man” and Robin Roberts bursts out laughing like Julia Roberts getting her hand snapped by the jewelry box in Pretty Woman. And from that moment it is on like popcorn! These two people just start flirting with each other on national television in front of God and everyone. And Robin Roberts gets full-time flustered! Like shifting in her seat, at a loss for words, Loretta Devine walking away from Gregory Hines in Waiting to Exhale flustered. It is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me personally.
First, Robin Roberts hitches herself up in her chair, looks off-camera to her co-host, and brushes her hair behind her ear. Out of sorts. Briefly lost for words, she starts to say “Oh my good—” before abandoning the sentence into a squawk. You know something’s going down when an award-winning career journalist is like “Well, I believe my girl Cathy the cartoon put it best when she said ‘ACK!’”
Is there any more pristine emotion than a delighted but flustered ack? The rarest of jewels!
Roberts hitches herself up in her seat and tells Kaluuya, “You better be glad we’re not in the same studio, I’d come right back atcha.” Kaluuya, meanwhile, has been just squinching up his lips and raising his eyebrows, which in flirt parlance is like when they rev their engines in Fast and Furious movies. At least, I think this is right. I have never seen a Fast and Furious. Sorry! I’m too busy scrolling Netflix for a movie that’s literally called “Two Hours and 10 Minutes of Two People Flirting With Each Other Consensually”. I’ll let you know when I find it. I’ll let you know!
In response, Daniel Kaluuya asks Robin Roberts “Why? What would you do?”
This is Roberts’ response to that:
Robin Roberts: If you were in the studio, I’d come right back atcha.
Daniel Kaluuya: Why? What would you do?
Robin Roberts: 🤯
When you look in the dictionary for the definition of the phrase “Lemme find out” it’s just this video. Robin Roberts was like “Lemme find out!” and then Daniel Kaluuya was like “Let me find out!” and then I was like “LEMME FIND OUT!” and I threw my computer across the room and ran around the block.
“What would you do?” Kaluuya repeats, rolling his head around his neck. And then, and then, he sticks his tongue out of the corner of his mouth! The Flirter’s Victory Lap! And it is all over. Game, set, ack!
I just love that video. I love that they’re having a good time together. I love that Robin Roberts straight up tells Daniel Kaluuya that he is time enough for her but she is time enough for him right back. There is nothing less magical than a Zoom interview on a morning show but these two people manage to make it flinty and fiery and as fun as if they were in the same place. Maybe it’s “acting,” maybe it’s ack-ting. All I know is that there was enough charisma on screen to power car in a movie called The Fast and the Flirtatious.
I didn’t watch any of the defense portion of second impeachment trial because my Zoom doctor has put me on a low-tomfoolery diet. According to my last physical, one more rage-tweet and I’ll turn into the Phoenix from X-Men, which would be fine except I have other plans next month and so I have to stay non-mutant. As per usual, the former president chose to retain the legal firm Tom Fool and Associates to embarrass themselves as they defended the indefensible and failed to win the majority of the votes, once again. While I didn’t see most of it, I did, of course, see the clip of the one chucklehead saying “Phillydelphia”. It raised the reading on my fool-o-meter to unhealthy levels, it was worth it for comedy reasons.
Look at this absolute asshole. Ole boy said “It says in the Constytution that the Vice President of the Unitee Sterts can’t get on Zoom to testify because John Adams didn’t know what the heehaw Zoom was. As a scholar of John Adams, I know that he wrote to his devoted wife Laura Linney of his ardent wish that Vice President be deposed in person. And not in Washington, DC where she is and I am and we are, but in my office in Phillydelphia. Which is an actual place just like I am an actual lawyer and this is actually happening. And don’t send Vice President Harris to the Rittenhouse office, by the way. Kamala Harris needs to get on the Market-Frankford Line and show up to be deposed at our other office on Lehigh and Aramingo. Rittenhouse is getting new carpets put in. It’s a whole thing. Tell her to come to Fishtown and answer for her crimes of ::checks notes:: something we will figure out. The office is a little hard to find. It’s on the second floor above a coffee shop that plays too much Phoebe Bridgers. Next to St. Anne’s. Yeah, that one. Tell her if she hits Taconelli’s she’s gone too far. The deeefense rests.”
I just hate all of this, but the faux-outrage is just too much. This joker went to the Brett Kavanaugh school of performative anger and, baby, that place is not accredited. This song and dance is that thing when you think you’re Delroy Lindo on The Good Fight, with a fire monologue, but you’re the tap dancing, top hat-wearing Looney Tunes frog. Boy, you better get the hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime girl out of here.
The American Library Association’s Over the Rainbow committee named their 2020 list of books that displayed “commendable literary quality and significant authentic LGBTQIA+ content” and Here for It is in the top ten. I am so flattered and so honored. While I need everyone’s approval in order to survive, the approval of librarians is particularly gratifying to me. Here’s the full top ten.
Random Thing on the Internet
On the Wednesday thread post we were talking about Supremes songs (and Michelle Obama’s new cooking show) so this week I’ve been on a tear listening to their hits and one outstanding Isley Brothers cover. Here’s a few to brighten your day.
LEMME FIND OUT,