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Who’s Not Invited: Chad Ochocinco

July 14, 2010

If your not black, thumbs up!

Black women had their panties in a bunch this past Sunday watching Chad Ochocinco on VH1, and within reason.

VH1’s newest reality dating series “Ochocinco:The Ultimate Catch,” starring the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco Johnson premiered Sunday. Like his predecessors, Flavor Flav and Ray J, Ochocinco is using cameras and “unscripted” television to look for love, and for 90 minutes, as a Black woman, I felt like the show was a slap in the face.

Maybe it was because Johnson, 32, one of the most narcissistic men in the league had the opportunity to choose from 85 women, and the pickings for beautiful brown faces were few and far between. When he finally decided to narrow his choices from 85 to 17 women, it seemed like the Black girls had a better chance at winning the lottery than staying on his roster. I watched in awe as almost every woman who looked remotely Black waved goodbye. The kicker came when Chad finally narrowed his options down to 17 “all-stars” to live in his house. Of those only three were Black women. The rest remaining?  Latinas, brunettes, redheads, and blondes.

Did I hear you say “so what, it’s his preference?” Well “preference,” is becoming the PC term used to mask what many professional players are really doing — which is avoiding women within their own culture at all costs without having to deal with the backlash of being labeled a self-hater.

Just last month an anonymous VH1 staffer and an eliminated cast member both sent letters accusing Ochocinco of purposely demanding that the Black women be cut and saying that the White girls were “better” for him. Ochocinco went on Twitter and vehemently denied these allegations. “Saying I don’t like Black women is like saying I don’t like McDonalds or the game of football, that’s past far fetched!!” he tweeted. Point taken, however, when the show aired Sunday, it looked as his denial was a cover up. In actuality maybe he doesn’t like McDonalds or Black women as much as he would like to admit.

It’s hard to believe that during his professional career he has fathered four beautiful black children by three different black women, and not show black women hardly any love on his show.  Maybe baby mama drama has him running from black women like the plague. It could also be that Johnson has issues loving a black woman because the first black woman obligated to love him, his mother, abandoned him at the age of 5. Who knows what the reason could be, but does his down low reverse racism on the show make some black women less irate? No.

Without being labeled a racist, I must say there is something that saddens me when I see Black men who are colorists; men attracted to a woman primarily because of the shade of her skin, who disregard Black women because we are too brown for their White, light, and olive tastes. Like who you like, interracial dating was and never will be a qualm of mine, but in the case of this situation where Chad was given a platform, a 60-minute show for the next six or so weeks, he could have evened the playing field.

I’m just calling a duck a duck, and if Ochocinco doesn’t think we hear him quacking, using his own tag-line….chile’ please.

Read more: http://www.essence.com/entertainment/commentary_4/commentary_ochocinco_catches_few_black_women.php#ixzz0tfN7FFqY

Who’s Invited: Lyfe Jennings

June 8, 2010

Just when we thought we heard enough about the hardships of being a single Black woman, Lyfe Jennings continues the conversation on his newest single, “Statistics.” The track, off his upcoming album “I Still Believe” which is slated to drop later this summer, unabashedly discusses — statistically — how hard it is for Black women to find a good Black man.

Known for delivering raw and honest messages in his songs, Jennings says this time around the message was actually inspired by comedian/author/radio host Steve Harvey.

“‘Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man’ was such a powerful book,” Lyfe explains, “I said to myself let me double up on his message, and do a song that would complement it.” In the song, Jennings sings how statistically — after factoring out men who are unfaithful, unstable, liars, gay, etc. — that women are left with just 10% of Black men to fall in love with.

Jennings continues to say that just because it’s slim pickings, doesn’t mean you have to lower your standards. In the chorus he offers four rules for women to abide by, in order to patiently snag a man. The cool, calm, and collected Lyfe Jennings sits with Shirea L. Carroll to explain the rules, the percentages, and how he responds to the hate.

INVITE ONLY: Where did you get these statistics, are they actual facts?
LYFE JENNINGS:
I asked a lot of females a lot of different questions, and out of the women I sampled, these are the percentages I came back with. When I say 10% is worth having, that is relative to your own personal likes and dislikes.

INVITE ONLY: You have four rules. 1. Don’t be a booty call; 2. Don’t get with a man in a relationship; 3. Maintain celibacy; 4. Don’t be a nickel out here looking for a dime. Explain the fourth rule.
JENNINGS:
That was a personal statement, because I’m single and kept attracting all the same type of women. I realized I was attracting what I was. If I’m always out at the club, or the strip club, those were the people I was going to attract. When you get yourself together, the right person will come. You want a man with good conversation, be sure to have good conversation…
INVITE ONLY:  Are you only speaking to women?
JENNINGS:
No, but I think men and women learn different, and there is so many negative messages in music for females. I think it warranted me to be the one dude that gives it to them real while glorifying the woman.

INVITE ONLY: In the song you say, “I’ll teach you how to expose the other 90% and how to keep the other 10.” Do you think men hate you for that?
JENNINGS
: If they are mad about it then they must not be a part of the 10%. An overwhelming majority love the song, and at the end of the day this is a song that you would want your little girl to hear…

INVITE ONLY: But, be honest, do you think you were a tad bit rough on the guys in this song, considering women have their faults as well?
JENNINGS:
No…(laughs) we will have a remix. A remake to the song to talk about the females too…(laughs)

INVITE ONLY: You tell women in the song not to settle and be patient, what do you say to women who say I have been patient long enough?
JENNINGS:
Patience isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. I don’t just mean be patient waiting for that man to come, but be patient with yourself too. Get your self in order. School is going to be hard, establishing a relationship with God is going to be hard, but be patient with things like that. That internal patience will lead to external patience.

INVITEONLY: Were you worried about a song like “Statistics” getting airplay?
JENNINGS:
I had a conversation with Kirk Franklin. Kirk Franklin said, ‘They’re going to play it on the radio, you have a purpose here. When you want something, you can’t worry about what the outcome is going to be. When it’s from your heart, blessings are going to come.’

INVITE ONLY: Good advice. Speaking of advice were there any rules you left out in the song?
JENNINGS:
There’s probably a billion others!  However if I had to add one more that I felt it was hard to put it the song, it would be: It’s not people that hurt people, it’s people’s expectations that hurt people. Expect people to be people.

HERE  THE FULL SONG!

Read more: http://www.essence.com/entertainment/celebrity_spotlight/lyfe_jennings_dont_be_a_nickel_looking_f.php#comments#ixzz0qHCfVCCq

Who’s Not Invited: Six Flags Theme Parks

April 30, 2010

Well damn, tell ‘em how you really feel!

Six Flags America did just that — disqualifying not one, but two Maryland women from employment candidacy for sporting their natural hair. According to ABC 7 News, who obtained a copy of Six Flags’ outdated corporate grooming standards for employees, the company does not permit “any hairstyle that detracts or takes away from Six Flags’ theme.”

With both women given the ‘chop’ for their refusal to chop their locks, Six Flags was forced to issue a statement to ABC News: “Six Flags enforces a conservative grooming policy across all parks. The policy does not permit certain hairstyles such as variations in hair colors, dreadlocks, partially shaved heads, tails, and hairstyles that impair vision. Braided hair is allowed but must be in neat, even rows and without beads or other ornaments.”

I guess no jobs at Six Flags for Rihanna, Beyoncé or Whoopi, if their careers were to ever falter. Obviously Six Flags doesn’t understand the complexity of Black hair care. A spokesperson from the American Civil Liberties Union might just be able to help educate them. The spokesperson told ABC News that the ACLU believes that, “defining locked hair as inherently unprofessional is racially insensitive at best — and potentially discriminatory at worst.”

Dreads are Beautiful

You think? Six Flags was out of line from the start, attempting to address a serious situation with such a weak statement. To address that statement to an area whose population is 93% African American, has me perturbed at best — potentially ready to boycott Six Flags this summer at worst.

There is no possible rationalization for Six Flags’ discriminatory decision on any level. First and foremost, I’m perplexed that Six Flags even thinks they are keeping their prejudiced racial views low-key. Did they think we wouldn’t realize who they are trying to keep off payroll by shutting down cornrows, beaded braids and dreadlocks? I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m confident I know ten times more African Americans wearing these styles than my Caucasian comrades.

Secondly, does a twist in one’s hair really determine their work ethic or ability? Who decided “braids and ornaments” are unprofessional, but trendy huge flower headbands in straight hair to be okay? Who concludes which “hair color variation” is acceptable? I know when I was 15 years old working at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, I had a few White co-workers who often sported a blue mane. Attention Six Flags Human Resources: who do you think your fooling?

Clearly not former Six Flags employee Jackie Sherill. Ms. Sherill, 60, was initially asked to return for another summer of service, but then later told by a new supervisor that she would not be welcomed back unless she changed her appearance. Reading between the lines, “Your hair is a little too Black for us. Come back when you cut those things out of your hair.”

Is Six Flags really trying this mess is this day and age? Did they not get the memo: It is 2010 and America is made up of numerous diverse and varied people whom wish to work without forfeiting their own cultural identity. For some reason, parts of corporate America are still intolerant of head wraps, dreadlocks, twists, corn rows, and braids. As long as the hair, on anyone’s head, is neatly styled, clean, and properly maintained, why are specific and often African American-associated styles often deemed unprofessional?

More Flags, More Fun?

Add insult to injury,  with our national unemployment rate sky-high and a scarcity of new jobs, it’s alarming that Six Flags can disregard the same people they choose not to employ for bogus reasons, who are many of the same people who frequent Six Flags parks nationwide.

Bottom line: Six Flags’ famous slogan, ‘More flags! More fun!’ apparently is ‘Red flags, no fun’ to a number of African American job seekers.

Who’s Invited: Chilli and her Checklist

April 26, 2010

Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas believes “I was built to be someone’s wife.” However, in order to find her husband, he must make the grade. He can’t drink. He can’t smoke. He can’t eat pork, or have more than two baby mamas. He must be fine, with at least a four-pack. Last, but definitely not least, he must have a really huge penis.

Flawless

What?!? Do men like this even really exist? The beautiful singer/songwriter Chilli seems to think so. Every Sunday night at 10:30 EST, Chilli attempts to find him on her reality series “What Chilli Wants” on VH1. The “C” in the all-girl group TLC, makes no apologies for her laundry list of standards she calls the “Chilli Checklist,” while her matchmaker, author Tionna Smalls provides Chilli with some much-needed assistance in finding a boo. Thomas chats with me for ESSENCE.com about when she created the list, how Usher was instrumental in changing it, and how Floyd Mayweather, even with almost every quality on her list, is just a, um, *cough*…friend.

INVITE ONLY: The show is called “What Chilli Wants,” but if you are looking for a long-term relationship, shouldn’t it be what you need?
ROZONDA “CHILLI” THOMAS:
Well, my wants and needs are completely different. Like, I want a guy who doesn’t drink, but I need a guy who doesn’t smoke. In my wants area, I’ll compromise, but not my needs.

INVITE ONLY: The woman who is assisting you as your matchmaker on the show, Tionna Smalls, how challenging was it working with her?
CHILLI:
We are very opposite, but I had to put my trust in her. Tionna shoots straight from the hip, and all my inner-circle of friends are like-minded about relationships, agreeing more than we disagree.  So to get someone who is totally different from myself to show me another way with another perspective, it was challenging.

INVITE ONLY: Talk about this “Chilli’s Checklist,” why a list?
CHILLI:
A list will keep you from making a lot of mistakes, although I know it’s impossible to avoid all of them. It’s like we all go through experiences, and a list helps you remember to smell the trouble as it comes around the corner.

INVITE ONLY: When was it created and how has the list changed over the years?
CHILLI:
It’s gotten longer (laughs). I started the list in my 20s, an age when you make a lot of mistakes as you’re still learning about yourself and men. So, as I got older, I learned from the mistakes and figured out what I liked. I encourage younger women to keep their legs closed, but not worry about being committed. Date who you like to see what you like. At 25, instead of compromising some of the things I wanted, I compromised who I was a person, giving up too much too quickly. Now I know to preserve it, so [men] can appreciate it more.

INVITE ONLY: So far the show has mentioned six or so things on your list. Is there any more we should know of?
CHILLI:
I love a silly man, can’t be with a quiet guy, and he has to love the Lord.

INVITE ONLY: Speaking of the Lord, do you think you may miss out on finding your man being so specific with your checklist?
CHILLI:
God knows the desires of our heart, and before I even had a list I prayed and asked God to show me what exactly it is that I need. God’s plan will always be the bigger plan.

INVITE ONLY: You’ve never dated anyone that doesn’t meet your list’s criteria?
CHILLI:
I have and it was a disaster!

INVITE ONLY: Hmmm..so did Usher measure up to the list? Everything on the list, Ms. Chilli?
CHILLI:
(Laughs) Aww man…he helped to reform and reshape the list. During that relationship, I found out the things I really needed, and without going into a lot of detail, I can check off a whole lot on my list.

INVITE ONLY: So do you miss the relationship you and Usher had?
CHILLI:
I’m not answering that question.

INVITE ONLY: Okay, sure. Do you and Usher still speak?
CHILLI:
We’re not enemies, I’ll leave it at that…no bad blood.

INVITE ONLY:  I’m getting shut down on this topic. Still everyone continues to want you and Usher back together…
CHILLI:
It surprises me that people still say that, I hear it at least four times a week.

INVITE ONLY: Four times a week, that says something. Would it be possible to ever rekindle your relationship with him?
CHILLI:
I don’t try to think about the past, I’m on another journey now.

INVITE ONLY: I hear that. Does that journey include Pretty Boy Floyd? Are you two really just buddies?
CHILLI:
We’re friends, and not the type of friends that sleep together or have seen each others’ body parts. We are truly friends.  I’m comfortable in that area, I don’t want to ruin a great friendship. Yes, there’s an attraction you can’t deny, but if we cross that line we can’t come back to where we are right now.

Just Friends?

INVITE ONLY: The ball’s in your court, so to speak. If you wanted more, you and Floyd would be more than friends?
CHILLI:
Probably so.

INVITE ONLY: I don’t get it.
CHILLI:
I know, I know. I’m just trying to be cautious, maybe one day. He has a lot of the qualities [I like], I’ll tell you that. Mmmhmm, the really good ones.

INVITE ONLY: I respect you, your standards, and that you haven’t given up on love. You’re proudly still searching for love. What do you say to women who are getting older, harboring bitterness and resentment, and have yet to find the one?
CHILLI:
That ages you. I was an angry Black woman when I was younger. When you become bitter, you’re giving all those negative experiences the power to take you into a funk. Know yourself, both the good and the bad, and then figure out what you really like.

Who’s Not Invited: A Paternal Boo

April 13, 2010

“If you say daddy’s home, daddy’s home for me / And I know you’ve been waiting for this love in your day / You know your daddy’s home (daddy’s home), and it’s time to play (so it’s time to play) / So you ain’t got to give my loving away / So all my ladies say hey hey hey daddy / Hey hey hey daddy” –Usher, “Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home)”

Being Daddy

You Want Me to Call You What?

Currently #2 on Billboard’s Hip-Hop and R&B chart, it’s practically a given that I will hear the second single from Usher’s new album “Raymond vs. Raymond” over and over and over again on the radio. What bothers me is that while the tune is so catchy, I’m distracted by the lyrics, which when examined, are slightly disturbing. If I’m to be entirely honest, the song’s lyrics actually gross me out. There’s nothing that I find arousing or sexy about calling the object of my affection “daddy.” I know, I know–most people use the pet name as whimsically as “babe” or “sweetheart,” but because this term of endearment is particularly sacred to me (I have the world’s best father) it just seems perverse.

This isn’t a dig solely at Usher–last year, tongue-tying rapper Twista’s hit single “Wetter” took the use of the term “daddy” to another level. Featuring an unknown female singing, in the most salacious way possible, “I’m calling you daddy, daddy, will you be my daddy? C’mon and make it rain on me.” Seriously? Robin Thicke jumped on the bandwagon in December when his album “Sex Therapy” dropped, including the Nicki Minaj assisted track “Shaking It For Daddy.” I am beginning to feel inundated with music that’s making it acceptable to sexualize the word daddy.

I feel the title “daddy” should be reserved for a responsible father who has done his job as man in raising his child.  Without enough actual “daddy’s” in our community, you would think they could at least claim this small token of their kids’ appreciation. Is the term “daddy” being extended to men by their female partners who are perhaps subconsciously attempting to fill that father-figure role they never had growing up?

A few nights back, I was playing billiards on a first date and we decided it would be flirtatious to up the stakes and make bets for the winner. “If I win, at some point I get my toes painted and feet rubbed,” I said. His response, “And if I win you’ll have to call me ‘Daddy’ for the rest of the week.” While in my mind I screamed, “Check please!” I decided to play out the game, knowing I had to win.  After I did just that, (8 ball, corner pocket) I revisited his request to see if that was something he coyly requested because it was in fact a relationship requirement.

“I mean it’s no biggie, but when I’m in a relationship I would prefer it be ‘daddy’ over ‘honey’ or ‘bay’, it… just makes a man feel good,” he chuckled. Gag! He wouldn’t understand that the man I call “daddy” showers me with unconditional love, not dependent on what I do or don’t do. Whether or not the word stroked his ego because of the implication of power, I just knew it was a request I could not fulfill, whether in jest or seriously involved.

In the big scheme of things, it’s all relative. The sexual world is filled with caliginous psycho-sexual quirks and kinks, and one may seem a bigger deal to some than others. Personally, without hesitancy, if a man ever asks me, “Who’s your daddy?” I will be compelled to shut the situation down fairly quickly, answering: Willie Carroll.

Who’s Invited: A Few of the Grammy Nominees

February 1, 2010

The 52nd annual Grammy Awards are less than a minutes away!  With all the nominees, a MJ tribute, and performances….anticipation builds our excitement! There are few categories we are looking forward to, and thought why not see how I do with our predictions and possible choices. Tune in Sunday @ 8 PM ET/PT, to see if I’m on point!

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance

  • “This Time,” John Legend
  • “Love You,” Maxwell
  • “Make It Mine,” Jason Mraz
  • “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” Seal
  • “All About The Love Again,” Stevie Wonder

Prediction: If you shelled out the cash to purchase Seal’s Soul album, you already know!

Possibility: Isn’t it great to see Maxwell in another category than R&B?  Who would of thought Maxwell would ever be pop, but if the track was good enough to be nominated, it’s quite possible the performance is good enough to win.

Best Female R&B Vocal Performance

  • “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” Beyoncé
  • “It Kills Me,” Melanie Fiona
  • “That Was Then,” Lalah Hathaway
  • “Goin’ Thru Changes,” Ledisi
  • “Lions, Tigers & Bears,” Jazmine Sullivan

Prediction:  If we take into consideration the word vocal only – SRC/Universal newcomer, Melanie Fiona, moved us. When she sings “It makes me go oooo ooo oooo,” I get goose bumps.

Possibility: Jazmine Sullivan sang that song. Period. (Disclaimer: Weird lyrics)

Best Male R&B Vocal Performance

  • “The Point Of It All,” Anthony Hamilton
  • “Pretty Wings,”Maxwell
  • “Sobeautiful,” Musiq Soulchild
  • “Under,” Pleasure P
  • “There Goes My Baby,” Charlie Wilson

Prediction: No brainer. Maxwell please.

Possibility: There can only be one winner, but I feel Uncle Charlie also has a really good chance. After the industry shut him out, he made his way back to the top.

Best Contemporary R&B Album

  • I Am… Sasha Fierce, Beyoncé
  • Intuition, Jamie Foxx
  • The Introduction Of Marcus Cooper, Pleasure P
  • Ready, Trey Songz
  • Thr33 Ringz, T-Pain

Prediction: Although Beyonce is Beyonce, when it comes to listening to a whole album without fast-forwarding, Trey Songz deserves it. (I hate to admit that)

Possibility: Anything is possible when Jamie Foxx is a nominee.

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

  • “Ego,” Beyoncé & Kanye West
  • “Knock You Down,” Keri Hilson, Kanye West & Ne-Yo
  • “Run This Town,” Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West
  • “I’m On A Boat,” The Lonely Island & T-Pain
  • “Dead And Gone,” T.I. & Justin Timberlake

Prediction: Jay Z runs everything. Rihanna is everywhere. Kanye well…will get a Grammy for this track.

Possibility: It is VERY possible that Kanye will receive a Grammy, as he is nominated 3 out 5 times.  The question is: It possible for Kanye to stay seated until called?

Record Of The Year

  • “Halo,” Beyoncé
  • “I Gotta Feeling,” The Black Eyed Peas
  • “Use Somebody,” Kings Of Leon
  • “Poker Face,” Lady Gaga
  • “You Belong With Me,” Taylor Swift

Prediction: The Black Eyed Peas have it in the bag.  “I Gotta Feeling,” went on to replace “Boom Boom Pow” at Number 1 on the US charts and eventually reach Number 1 on twenty charts worldwide. It is also the longest-running Number 1 single on the US Pop Charts, and the Canadian Hot 100. It was named 5th on the Billboard Hot 100 Songs of the Decade. What else would you expect?

Possibility: Thanks to Kanye 2009 was Taylor Swift’s year, I wouldn’t be surprised if she walked away, sans the “Kanye interruption,” with this one.

Song Of The Year

  • “Poker Face,” Lady Gaga
  • “Pretty Wings,” Maxwell
  • “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” Beyonce
  • “Use Somebody,” Kings of Leon
  • “You Belong With Me,” Taylor Swift

Prediction: We love Maxwell, but please let it be Single Ladies. After the video, the YouTube parodies, and Obama doing the single ladies “wave,” Ms. Carter needs to take this one home.

Possibility
: Lady Gaga po po po po poker face.

Who’s Invited(Always): Oprah

December 16, 2009

Who could freely say to the President of the United States, “Yes, I noticed you’re a little gray around the temples?” Oprah can, and she did. Sitting with President Barack and Michelle Obama for ABC’s primetime special last night, we learned it is possible to love the Obamas even more.

Walking into the oval office suited and booted, Mr. O greeted the Big O with a casual, “Hey you..you look very Christmas-y,” for the first interview with the Queen of Talk since he took office in January. Giving Oprah a mini tour of the room he calls his workplace, he pointed out his view along with some family pictures and reflected on the first 10 minutes he sat in his chair taking it all in. “I’m praying all the time,” he admitted, evidence that the presidential family continues to have genuine concern for the state of this country.

While the interview balanced the subject of Barack’s presidency as well as holiday traditions amongst the Obama family, you couldn’t help but respond with awe at how unrehearsed and ultimately candid the interview was conducted. The most honest moment? Sitting in the Green room and Oprah asking the 44th President what he would grade himself for the year, his answer, “A good solid B +.”

After discussing his connection and “lineage” to previous presidents, his tough decision to send more troops to Afghanistan, and economic vs. unemployment growth, he skillfully set the record straight for his haters, “There’s a lot of political nonsense that serves as conventional wisdom.” Behind that bold statement, he credits his fierce “extraordinary” wife and daughters, for staying grounded.

The poised Michelle with her nicely coiffed updo, merlot-colored top and matching skirt, wasn’t but a segment away. After first giving Oprah the grand tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the preparation, the decor, and the process to create a White House Christmas she described as “absolutely magical,” she later sat down with her husband and talked relationships and how they define their marriage.

“He still checks me out,” Michelle stated flirtatiously when asked about the state of their relationship. To withstand the hard times she revealed that not only do you have to trust and respect the person you are with, but simply like the person as well. “I tell Barack, as mad as he can make me, I can look at him and still say, I really like you,” Michelle admitted.

The talk of love turned into family and the holidays, a subject that caused Mr. President to blurt out, “I give nicer stuff than I get.” In a playful tiff who gives the better gift, Mr. and Mrs. O battle it out until Michelle finally admitted defeat, and said, “You do give nice gifts, good job.”

When asked how they plan to spend the holidays, the couple said they would spend it as they do every holiday in Hawaii with family and friends participating in an annual talent show. Michelle spoke of Barack’s lack of talent jokingly stating the fathers always do, “Some lame lip-sync.” While the Obamas spend time in the islands opening gifts and singing, Barack sent hope for the holidays. Promising a bright future, he said, “Know that [American people] have a President that is thinking about them every single day.” Ahhhh, now we know where those gray hairs around the temples come from.

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