“If I wanted to see two negroes fight, I’d throw a dollar bill out my window” -Miss Blankenship

While no black people actually appear in this episode, “The Suitcase” was composed around the historic May 1965 fight between black heavyweights Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston. Despite having changed his name to Muhammad Ali a year prior, Ali is mostly referred to as Cassius Clay.

The episode opens with SCDP employees talking about the night’s upcoming fight. Don walks in on the conversation and puts his money on Liston.

When Don asks his crotchety (and apparently formerly hot) secretary Miss Blankenship if she’s going to watch the fight, she delivers this gem, “If I wanted to see two negroes fight, I’d throw a dollar bill out my window.”

Talking with Peggy in his office, Don later calls Ali “Moo-hamed” and says he doesn’t like him. Peggy counters that she thinks Ali is handsome. Then comes one of my favorite lines of the episode…

“I remember my mother talking about Nat King Cole in such a way that made my father throw out all his records.” – Peggy Olson

Peggy ends up skipping her birthday dinner to work on the Samsonite campaign with Don but, they end up on a crazy emotional adventure, sharing more with each other than ever before.

One stop on Don and Peggy’s Crazy Night Train is a bar where they listen to the boxing match on the radio. Don tells Peggy he thinks Ali, the boxer with the rapper flow, boasts too much. “Why does he have to say it; just do it,” says Don. Racism could very well be the basis of Don’s opinion on Ali but, it’s also likely that his own approach to life and work has something to do with it. He’s more of a shut-up-and-get-it-done kind of guy.

In the end, the now iconic image of Ali in white shorts standing over a fallen Liston inspires the Samsonite proposal. The image Don shows to Peggy in the closing scene is a Samsonite suitcase standing above a “knocked-out” American Tourister.


I interviewed Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders) and JP Jones about their new group, JP, Chrissie and the Fairground Boys for the August/September issue of Bust. The songs on their album are “written to, for and about each other,” of their May-December would-be romance. They couldn’t have a marriage, they say, so they created a musical marriage.

They were very nice people and smoked a lot of Bali Shag.

When I see black people on Mad Men, I’m as excited as I imagine my mother and grandmother were when they saw black people on TV in 1965, the year the show is currently set in. So I’ve decided to blog about the black people who make appearances on the show as well as the historical references to black people and the civil rights movement.

“The Rejected” aired 8-15-10.

One of the best scenes from this episode is when Peggy goes to a downtown party with her new friend, the very awesome lesbian Life magazine editor Joyce. The party is being thrown by the super edgy and pretentious photographer Davey Kellogg and we meet one of his (black!) nude models Sharon.

Sharon, who was only on screen long enough to tell a curious Peggy that her mom had no idea she was a nude model, was played by Kamirah Westbrook. Westbrook has appeared on Girlfriends and in the film American Violet.

Back at work later in the episode, Peggy asked Joey the freelancer if he was aware Malcolm X had been shot to death two weeks prior. Joey says he is aware and Peggy, who perhaps just learned of X’s existence at the downtown party, says, “Oh, like you knew who he was.”

Randoms: Peggy passed a young black couple in the hallway as she entered the party.

Also, as Don Draper left the SCDP offices the day his secretary Allison confronted him about his cavalier attitude following their sleezy hookup, a black guy was buffing the office floor.

In preparation for Season 4, I’ve Mad Men’d myself a couple of times this week. This is my interpretation of the Drapers – me, as Betty Draper, coming to drag Don out of a Manhattan lounge.

My interview with Jill Scott in the June / July issue of BUST magazine – while it’s still on newsstands. (Yes… I’m hella late.)

Jill talked about being a “character singer” – acting through her music. She discussed the effects of her divorce, the birth of her son and gave her take on dating now.

My world was rocked today. Questlove (my one and only celeb crush – seriously), Raphael Saadiq (Bay Area!!!) and Amy Winehouse will record an album together – at least if they can work around Winehouse’s limitations. She’s previously been denied a visa due to drug and assault arrests.

The group doesn’t have a name or a projected release date but I’ll be holding my breath for this one. It’s literally impossible for these three geniuses to mess this up even if the album is 90 minutes of mic checks and throat clearing.

Spotted on Rap Radar

It seems children will ALWAYS love Michael Jackson. I met this nine-year-old in the train station at 125th street on the anniversary of MJ’s death. (Excuse the crap quality of my iPhone pic)