In Milwaukee, the 110th Anniversary of the Founding of Harley-Davidson took place. No question that it’s was a sight to see in this era of Milwaukee’s side of biker heaven. Even though I have no HOG, or Buell Sport Bike, I will dab in on my commentary.  So here it goes.

Dear Harley-Davidson Motor Company:

It’s me, Stephen. You know that black blogging guy out of Milwaukee?

Happy Anniversary! Another blessing in which another successful anniversary in which was a successful one.

This past weekend, yes you have rolled out the red carpet for the stars, and also the bikers themselves by having the HOGs if you will revving up the Engines in the Brew City. That to me is tremendous. Tremendous of the fact that this machine that IS American born is still alive. Morely to add: Milwaukee Born! Many of the bikers I think who are not from Milwaukee but often to visit to see that yes, Milwaukee’s local dollars will rise up.

Recently up until the days and weeks before the start of the celebration, there was almost a concern. A concern about the African-American Community being left out of the celebration with nothing on the program. I read the Harley Bikers Guide courtesy of Visit Milwaukee, in which almost every organization or company had sponsored the event, but I didn’t see ANY representation of the African American Community that either was on the cover, nor in the ads! Come on, now! Just a thought that African-Americans do ride motorcycles, and are apart of the biker culture and network.  But until recently, the organization of the MLK Street Jam folks have added a line up, vendors, and live music for the 110th. Orginally, “The MLK Street Jam BBQ” was the name in the Black Community and yes 5 years ago, it was a listing among the Brady Street, and other Street Jams for the Harley Riders and non riders alike.

I was listening to WNOV last Monday about the concern, and about the concern of the black bikers not having a connection for the 110th in which the black community, I think I may have heard that, in means of where to go, and having black businesses to engage the support of the event. Personally that almost hurt. Did some businesses or connections from H-D or Visit Milwaukee, ever talked to the Milwaukee black community, or those along MLK Jr. Drive about hosting a spot for the 110th Anniversary ahead of time? Did anyone who is African-American that works for H-D in the Greater Milwaukee Area asked those in the black community or inform of the 110th events beforehand? That is a question I want to know.

Before the weekend was over, one of my favorite radio stations, Jammin 98.3 and afternoon host, Earl Stokes announced this:

I had to say: THANK GOD!!!! Also most of the credit goes to the Milwaukee Harley-Davidson dealership.

Also the story of the Black Biker Jam was featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and also Milwaukee’s Fox 6 News.

And by the way, if anyone thinks this is offensive or racist: GET THE BLANK OUT OF HERE! We can’t tell our stories as black folks?

And for the record, yes even the white folks and other ethnics showed up and visited the exhibits. Plus, Willie G. himself made a visit. And there were no complaints! And unlike other biker events, there was no Country Music or Rock Music, and no Kid Rock. But there was plenty of stepping music, R&B Music and Hip Hop. Even doing the Wobble! Just like at the R&B dance and Hip Hop spots. And to add: Giveaways! I got $10.00 gift card, plus a IronElite Patch. Where to put the patch? I’ll get a vest or a leather jacket.

Knowingly, Harley-Davidson Motorcycles attracts anyone! No matter the background or status. Or Ethnic. And yes Women bikers are on the rise. And yes every group or individual  has a story to tell of why they, he or she, had a interest to jump on the back of a HOG. I’ve seen the videos of the Black Bikers (aka the IronElite), and women bikers which handled them well. Just saying. But in regarding this on a another angle: I want to see Harley-Davidson reach out to more to minorities! I want the company, or those black HD riders tied to the company, to help draft a Greater Milwaukee Black HD Riders Club. Or a Milwaukee IronElite Black Bikers Club. Not just to embrace more than themselves, but what about the community? What about Social Responsibility? Matter of fact, ALL BIKERS need to enhance Social Responsibility! How many bikers ever showed up to the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington? Other than Rolling Thunder, 9/11, or Strugis? Or Atlanta, or Florida? Come on now! Don’t speak up at once! I thought H-D didn’t matter and I’m just asking.

The Harley-Davidson Museum was cluttered with motorcycles during the 110th Anniversary.

The Harley-Davidson Museum was cluttered with motorcycles during the 110th Anniversary. (Photo courtesy of Stephen’s Spot) @smcclintonjr

So in the next 5 years: the black community has to come out more for Harley-Davidson related events, and vice versa. And if a possible Milwaukee Harley-Davidson IronElite Black Biker Group is formed: I see some causes to jump into. Pay attention IronElite folks:

  • Education – We know the concerns of education that the black community faces of dropouts, etc.
  • Health – The concerns of cancer, diabetes, etc. Black community related.
  • Jobs – Black unemployment is at 12% nationally. Here in Milwaukee is near 50%. Need to start an Milwaukee HD IronElite Black Biker Club employment group. Have donations, and sell merchandise. (I.E. IronElite Shirts, patches, etc.)
  • Community Concerns/Call to action: We know what it is: Block clubs, Security, Awareness, Crime, Supporting Black Businesses, local churches and other non-profits.
  • I know this is cheesy (not Wisconsin related) but start an IronElite Supporters Group, for those who don’t ride motorcycles, but want to support!

All related to the black community.

On a side note: The women bikers here in Wisconsin had a Breast Cancer Awareness event over the weekend that was important. Some have beaten breast cancer and still empowering others to remain aware of the disease.

An IronElite Vendor site was on display selling T-Shirts and also displaying the history of the Group (Photo courtesy of Stephen's Spot) @smcclintonjr

An IronElite Vendor site was on display selling T-Shirts and also displaying the history of the Group (Photo courtesy of Stephen’s Spot) @smcclintonjr

For the record, the highlight of the event, was the Harley parade. I haven’t been to one in 10 years, and if you haven’t seen it, check out the highlights from Milwaukee’s Fox 6 News Website. Plus also, all around Milwaukee, especially in the downtown area near the H-D museum, there was sea of chrome everywhere! Even on the 6th Street Viaduct. A sea of Bikes! If you are a rider that enjoyed the parade, the events, or activities, and I don’t care if you got married at the H-D Museum. Or saw Common or Lupe Fiasco, or had a chance to see Chance the Rapper, or Katey Sagal. DJ Devast8, Kid Cut up or others in the rock catagory, were you happy? were you satisfied of the performances?

Those of us went to the free street festivals in Harley’s honor: were we pleased with the turnout? Or the last minute block party street jams, or radio events Harley related?

The IronElite Black Biker Jam had folks doing the Wobble and other R&B Related moves. (Photo courtesy of Stephen's Spot) @smcclintonjr

The IronElite Black Biker Jam had folks doing the Wobble and other R&B Related moves. (Photo courtesy of Stephen’s Spot) @smcclintonjr

If you have enjoyed yourself, give yourself a hand!  And be blessed. No matter if you’re in Wisconsin, or from Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Brazil, England, California, Canada, Iceland, Wales, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, Hawaii, Alaska, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico, part of the Women Bikers, Harlistas Group (Latin HD Bikers) those served in the Military or Veterans that served, and yes the IronElite, Thank You for coming. And many others who had to come in on a Honda, Yahmaha, or a Can-Am Spider, why crash the party? But I hope you got respect. Anyway, to all bikers, thanks for coming and do it again in 2018, which will be the 115th Anniversary of the company’s founding. You know the city. Same place.

Police Motorcycles, and yes, Fire Motorcycles made an Harley Appearance (Photo courtesy of Stephen's Spot) @smcclintonjr

Police Motorcycles, and yes, Fire Motorcycles made an Harley Appearance (Photo courtesy of Stephen’s Spot) @smcclintonjr

There was a question that was raised on Facebook recently, in a “Your from Milwaukee” group posting about Harley-Davidson doesn’t do nothing for the Hood! That was what transpired. Knowing yes, Harley-Davidson has supported causes for the MDA and many others for years. But the hood? Never seen it. Ok it maybe sponsored African World Festival years back. And this year, the same.

Maybe Harley-Davidson needs to have Inner City Session on jobs, or outreach. Or have a parade to route along MLK Drive or Sherman Boulevard to Milwaukee’s Washington Park for a fellowship. I heard that portion on WNOV. In addition, that might get those of African Decent to get engaged of riding a Harley, or matter of fact, maybe constructing or to design the next generation of Harley Davidson Motorcycles. To the future designers not yet born, or just coming up: I want a Harley-Davidson that is energy efficient, way less expensive, have an automatic gear shift, and geared safety features. Here’s an Idea: have or invite the well known black pastors from the area to do “biker blessings or anoint services”. And it doesn’t have to be in church! I hope that someone or somebody is paying attention to this from Harley-Davidson and getting some ideas! If they don’t pick up, we the black community well, you know that goes. Plus, add the IronElite Campaign to Juneteenth Day and African World Festival in Milwaukee! And other black events in the city if possible.

Black Milwaukee: In the words of Rep. John Lewis: “Get in the way!” “Make some noise!” (To paraphrase: Get in Harley-Davidson’s way and make some noise!)

So H-D: keep revving the engines for the machines. And the future. Who knows, there might be more folks in the future might just want to ride.

Sincerely,

Stephen

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