Archive for the ‘Black Music’ Category


America:

As we know by Sunday Afternoon, we lost the legendary Alwyn Lopez Jarreau. Or to many, Al Jarreau. So far this week, we have heard tributes from News One, to those playing the music that gravitated us to hear.

Many of us are griveing and shocked that he already announced his retirement after 50 years in music. But also passed on way after that. At age 76 years old, he made himself well known.

Yes, he had to go west to get well known after he got his master’s degree in Iowa. And the saying goes, the rest is history. But there is ONE caveat that is part of this. One word: Milwaukee. The same Milwaukee that many don’t want to come back all because of whatever. More on that later.

Al got his start in my hometown of Milwaukee in church. He was a graduate of Lincoln High School (now called Lincoln Center of the Arts) from the class of 1958. Lincoln High School was a rival school to North Division High School which was way before Rufus King and Riverside University High School’s rivarly were thought about.His parents were in ministry and a pianist in the church where he got his start. From his high school days to his career in the music game as I said before, Al was getting noticed.

He had his share of hits from “We’re In this Love Together”, “Mornin”, “What you do to me”, “Boogie Down”, a theme song from the 80’s TV show, “Moonlighting”,  to  “In My Music.” Oh, he did a Christmas Album too. Plus he did a song in 1976 about his hometown, “Milwaukee” from his album “Glow” mentioning his move out west to California with the Old Milwaukee Road in between.

Speaking of the songs, and yes many of you went to his concerts over the years. And most definitely that Al did Milwaukee gigs at Potowanomi Bingo for his homecoming concerts. Even singing the National Anthem at a UW- Milwaukee Panthers Game.

Yes Americans, he followed his dream as summarized on the Because of them we can Facebook Page. BUT……He did came back to Milwaukee for not only other music concerts, he came back to visit the students in the schools to give them some knowledge and advice about their gift of music. Most recently, he was at The Milwaukee High School of the Arts, (for you MPS Alumni old heads, West Division High School) providing that notion. He also expressed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that the kids today in Milwaukee aren’t getting the same music opportunities as him back in his MPS days. Yes, Al Jarreau was a MPS Alumni member. Plus he hoped that the kids would get music in the schools to maintain just as science, technology, engineering, and yes math. Music is just as important in the schools like Gym Classes or sport teams. Period. I am a living witness to this as a music dude myself blowing Saxophones since 1989. 7th Grade. So yes, Music/Arts in Public Schools does matter.

Now I want to say this: For you fans, he was a great musician. For us in Milwaukee, he was our native son. Hope you all respect that. 

Now for us in Milwaukee: if we can get the stuff lit in orange,  or purple for Prince, we need to light up our landmarks in Al’s favorite color in symbolic of him. I’m dead serious. If we say we love him or admire him, light up Miller Park, his schools, City Hall, the Art Museum, Summerfest, or any other Landmark in honor of him. Light up all the Milwaukee Landmarks. Period.

For Summerfest: we know the 50th Anniversary is coming in June. Expecting all fest folks to come out. I would like to see a all star Milwaukee tribute in honor of Al Jarreau! I’m calling the locals who follow Al’s music, to the famous Milwaukee folks like Eric Benet, Speech from Arrested Development, to Tank even a Core DJ  that is really known famous and is Milwaukee Born, get yourselves to Summerfest this Summer and get this tribute thing started. If I can think of a good Summerfest 50th Anniversary Celebration idea, this could be it. So I’m challenging the Community, the Landmarks, the musicians, the famous fans like all over, and even us at heart, get that set up! If any relatives or family members are reading this, ponder this for a moment after your bereavement.

Not only that, expand that energy back to the students. They are looking at this and one day in the next era, they might pick up the advice that Al Jarreau said and keep playing. Speaking of that: we all know that Al Jarreau’s Homegoing is going to be private. And since the donation factor of his cause is still open, I urge all supporters to go to this website: UPAF.org. For you folks outside of Milwaukee, it’s the United Performing Arts Fund. It’s been around since 1967 in the recognitions of Milwaukee’s Arts of Music, Dance, Theater, and many of the fine arts that had produced locally. Matter of fact, read about the mini summary of the organization here:

https://upaf.org/what-is-upaf/

Let’s keep the name alive for him. Al Jarreau has given us 50 years of what he knew and let’s give him some love back in his memory!

 

 

 


I did this last year in Black History Month. And it’s back again. So yep, it’s time to scratch the noggin and actually boil the questions. Oh yes, we know we’re in the era of that dude named Trump, and many of us might loose our minds. So now I ask, what’s next for the future of Black History Month? And many of us have been spoiled that it’s supposed to be everyday, but hardly: we black folks DON’T acknowledge our history EVERYDAY! WE DON’T. Yeah, we can do this after March and get all charged up, but might ask where was the energy during February? Hmm……It’s the same ole thing we encounter every time.

Are we still believing this statement? Be honest.

Why are those saying that it’s “National African-American History Month”, than “Black History Month?” Black History Month is now global, not just for the United States.

Is the whole thing about the 45th President saying that the word “black” is outdated true? Last I checked: BLACK is BLACK!

Someone stop me: when we black folks say we celebrate our people everyday or I’m black everyday, are we meaning this or just saying to get the monkeys off the back? Just be honest!

Someone stop me again: are we really teaching our children more about black history everyday? Be honest.

I asked this last year many times: Have you missed Obama?

Is Donald Trump really supporting black folks? Or should I say, those whom are on his side are black?

When was the last time that many took their kids to see a tomb of a famous African-American Figure than to see a  pair of Air Jordans at the mall?

When was the last time that many saw a famous African-American figure that was still dropping knowledge and took the kids?

How many more of the New England Patriots whom are black will not attend the White House?

Dang MSNBC! Why did you kicked off Tamron Hall?!

Is it just me, or is America wants to be driven by those in office whom do not have experience or just being dumb?

You do know that 2017 is a voting year, right?

Is the black media still on point?

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I’m surprised that many in America didn’t know who James White was after the Patriots won the Super Bowl. Um, did anyone checked the Wisconsin Badgers for Reference?

How hard will “The Quad” on BET will go?

Is it just me, or what has gotten into BET with the added cussing in movies?

Had everyone seen Hidden Figures? Not Hidden Colors. HIDDEN FIGURES!

Should AFROPUNK make a Milwaukee Visit? Take my money.

When will President Obama release his memoir? If that happens TAKE MY MONEY!

Black Businesses: are you holding up well?

Was Maxwell out of bounds for his remarks about including whites for Black History Month?

Did The New Edition Story on BET really sparked new ideas for biopics?

Should all of the black Alumni of High Schools or Colleges rock dashikis for Black History Month? Primarily with the school colors we know?

Who still reads books? Mainly African-American Novels?

For my Black Introverts, are we good? Are we are still holding up to resist?

This year in Music Anniversaries: 30 years of Jody Watley’s Real Love, Whitney Houston’s I wanna dance with somebody under the self titled Album, Whitney. Kool Moe Dee’s How You Like Me Now made the cut, NWA and the Posse made it’s debut by the group itself. Even Michael Jackson’s Bad was good.

25 years of R.Kelly & The Public Announcement’s She’s Got That Vibe and Honey Love. Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back. EnVogue’s Funky Divas of Free Your Mind, Giving Him Something He Can Feel, My Lovin’and Give it up Turn it loose. Mary J. Blige’s What the 411? Whitney Houston and The Bodyguard Soundtrack.  Boyz II Men (ALL FOUR OF THEM) serenade the women with the single, End of the Road. Also, Prince with the Love Symbol Album premiered,  and Bobby Brown had the joint Bobby out with Humpin’ Around as a hot single. Just to name a few.

20 years of Missy Elliott’s Supa Dupa Fly, Puff Daddy and Family’s No Way Out, Aaliyah had The One I gave my heart to and Hot Like Fire, Timbaland/Magoo debuted Welcome to our World, Will Smith was back with Big Willie Style, The Notorious BIG’s last album before his death: Life after Death, and Michael Jackson had the album out called “Blood on the Dance Floor.” Just to name a few.

15 years ago: Ashanti and Tweet both debuted with their albums, Musiq Soulchild had “Juslisen”, Meshell Ndegeocello had the album, Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape.  Plus Donell Jones had the joint Life Goes On, Will Smith was Born to Reign, Nelly had the joint Nellyville, Sean Paul had the Dutty Rock thing going, LL Cool J: 10,  Deborah Cox (one of my favorite black Canadian exports) had the album out called The Morning After, and Missy Elliott took us back in time with old school hip hop beats in Under Construction. Just to name a few.

And  10 years of Angie Stone’s The Art of War. Plus Timbaland took us a Shock Value favor with Keri Hilson singing hooks. What music are you celebrating….IN BLACK HISTORY MONTH?

This year in Movie Anniversaries: 10 years of I am Legend, Why Did I Get Married? and Black Snake Moan. 20 years of Men in Black, Soul Food, and Amistad. 25 years of Class Act, Mo’ Money, Bebe’s Kids, Diggstown, Malcolm X, and Trespass. 30 years of Beverly Hills Cop II, Leonard Part 6, Sign ‘o’ The Times, and Shaka Zulu.  What flicks are you celebrating….IN BLACK HISTORY MONTH?

This year in TV Shows that are Anniversary material: Martin. 25 years since WZUP, Martin Love the kids, get the steppin’, and many of the quotes that we know it like that. Also, Living Single debuted in the same year also of 1992. Plus, The Cosby Show ended the 8 year reign the same year.  Easy question: What shows are you celebrating in Black History Month?

Is Tyler Perry’s The Haves and The Have Nots show still rolling with new ideas?

Will TVONE continue to roll hard with shows and news?

We keep talking about the firsts in Black History. Who’s next?

I’m not easily fooled by the phrases, Black Future Month, or Black Conscious Month. Nope. Wanna know why?

I’m not easily fooled by this notion of blacks not referencing the ideals that Africans were sold by their own and America ate up the idea of slavery commodity. Wanna know why? (Hint: Part of it is the truth whether we like it or not.)

When will all schools acknowledge Black History? Not just in the cities.

When all those who hate the idea of Black History Month actually stop hating?!

When will all those who don’t like the thought of having a Black History Month actually read what Dr. Carter Woodson wrote about the miseducation portion of us not knowing our history?

And yet again, how will all of this be worthy for our children, especially our black children that need to know this? Not just in school, but in the homes, and certainly in other areas like the church and community centers?

I learned black history in the house, school, and church!

So, Happy Black History Month! or #HapppyBHM2017 whatever many prefer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Man oh Man.

What a way to summarize Black Music Month 2016.

If anyone had the chance to watch the 2016 BET Awards, on a deal by those that can upstage Madonna in a sense of who can do a better tribute to Prince, yes I will admit, the BET Awards put their monies where the mouths are. Just admit it, they had to do it on their word. And yes, the main portions of the show was dedicated to Prince. Artists from The Roots, Bilal, Stevie Wonder, Janelle Monae (with the outfit that had her butt cheeks shown – HEY PRINCE DID IT 25 YEARS AGO!) and others all paid homage to the Purple Artist.

Of all the artists whom paid homage to Prince the most to me I would think that would belong to Shelia E. Her mixes from HouseQuake to A Love Bizzare were definitely on point. Even Mayte made an appearance along with Jerome Benton. If that mix didn’t do justice I don’t know what will. And the look on Sheila’s face says it all toward the end. It was a job that had to be done. And a job done well that the group did. Hope Prince is happy. Now they  need to take that craft and continue to generate new artists that can follow that MPLS and Midwestern sound that Prince laid out in the beginning.

Another highlight of the event: Jesse Williams winning the BET Humanitarian Award.

If anyone had NOT had a chance to hear what Jesse said, I’m sorry to say that it was a MUST HEAR SPEECH! It was probably that MUST HEAR SPEECH that every single one of had to listen. Why? because it was the truth. And apparently he got some folks mad after what he said. You know what,let them be mad. Let them get pissed.

Here is the full context of the speech straight out of Time.com:

Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you Nate Parker, Harry and Debbie Allen for participating in that .

Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life.

Now, this award – this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country – the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.

It’s kind of basic mathematics – the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.

Now… I got more y’all – yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear anymore about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12 year old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt.

Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money – that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There is no tax they haven’t leveed against us – and we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so… free.

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.

And let’s get a couple things straight, just a little sidenote – the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander.That’s not our job, alright – stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil – black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though… the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.

Thank you.

I’ll bet many have probably said the same thing. But couldn’t get it out. But Jesse Williams did. And I’m glad that he said the words he said. You can call it powerful, real talk, on point, whatever. The fact of the matter is, it is happening. It’s not just denial. In the words of my former pastor, “they know its the truth, but they just don’t want to hear it!”

Speaking of that: of  course there are some “haters” that had to clap back with denial or anguish. Like Stacey Dash whom wished the death of BET and Black History Month back in January. Didn’t work Stacey! You have been exposed. If she hated BET or anything that pertains to African-Americans, why was she getting paid BACK THEN? And this millennial Tomi Lahren, she had to “clapback” about what Jesse said and having the gaul to call the BET Awards racist. LITTLE GIRL: GO TO YOUR ROOM AND SIT DOWN! She is a non factor trying to be paid like the likes of Glenn Beck on his Blaze TV  Program or whatever. She knows nothing! All it is, she is being played to say the things she does. She already got the Donkey of the Day by The Breakfast Club anyway.

CALLOUT: Should Stacey Dash and Tomi Lahren should have that “Come to Jesus Meeting” after all? My case is yes! And many of those like them and we know who they are better have those tickets punched for those seats! And this goes for those black men and white men who got mad after what Jesse Williams said also. If those men ACTUALLY got the balls to say what he said, in public, or on a Black Network, then why they mad? Even they need to go in the corner and SIT DOWN!

Or in this case: sit down and shut up!

Yes it was powerful. Straight up.

And a sidenote: the BET Awards also acknowledged one of my hometown residents Marcus Duke out of Milwaukee. He is the owner of ClubKids414 and has great things for the city in terms of Milwaukee’s youth and kids. If those have not checked this out, please do so.

 


I need all those Rockers, and those whom feel about Rappers and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame all one thing to realize, they have the right to represent. I heard about what Gene Simmons who wants to wait about 10 years to have Rap die due to “actual lyrics” being sung in all. Already, NWA is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recently, and ol’ man Gene had to go in all against Ice Cube just for the distain of Rap Music in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But here is something that is missing, and I think Ice Cube already said it:

“Rock ’n’ Roll is not an instrument. It’s not even a style of music. It’s a spirit that’s been going on since the blues, jazz bebop, soul, rock ’n’ roll, R&B, heavy metal, punk rock, and yes, hip-hop,” Rock ’n’ Roll is not conforming to the people who came before you, but creating your own path in music and life. That is rock ’n’ roll and that is us.”

Read More: Ice Cube and Gene Simmons Continue to Argue Over Hip-Hop’s Place in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – XXL | http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2016/04/ice-cube-gene-simmons-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame/?trackback=tsmclip

Read More: Ice Cube and Gene Simmons Continue to Argue Over Hip-Hop’s Place in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – XXL | http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2016/04/ice-cube-gene-simmons-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame/?trackback=tsmclip

So I guess the question is, does rap music and hip hop music in a sense have a place in this “Rock And Roll” hall of fame? In the words of Stone Cold Steve Austin, “Oh Hell Yeah!” So allow me to induldge the concept letter to all the “rockers” who feel that the Rap Music has no place in the hall. BUT IT HAS A SPOT IN THE HALL, period!

Dear Rockers and whatever you fans of Rock music:

It’s me, Stephen. That Black blogger you already know.

I got to see some scenes that did enlighten me about rap artists, rock and roll, Hall of Fame, and a place to be recognized. What I am referencing yet again is NWA having a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Despite what anyone thinks of Rap Music or Hip Hop being all garbage and not enough to play music or sing, it has been judged harshly as this music of non creation. But guess what, like Rock and Roll, rap music has a voice to those who want to let their hair down or to have collaborating effect on Social Conscious Minded topics, Freedom, Rebellion, Political Upheavals, and many others that many didn’t know or want to know. Partially, this is what I think that N.W.A got the nod and approval of getting to the Hall.

Many of you “rockers” or “music fanatics” who got so many many mods and wins, probably got Hall of Fame approval. But the issue is, Rock and Roll Music began and continued with those you heard from. The real originals. The real OG’s of Black Folks! So this may not come as a shock when you heard this in Black History Month, or a Black Related Music scene, you know darn well that Black Folks made the music that many reprinted as their own. Get mad all you want, but what I’m saying is the truth that many already know!

As far as Gene Simmons and his rant on Rap Music and dude gonna say like ,”let me know when Led Zepplin goes into the Hip Hop Hall of Fame “. That right there is a slap in the face! It’s so disrespectful. I’m just saying!

Does rap music or Hip-Hop music have a spot in future Hall of Fame of Rock and Roll? Ponder that.

In some ways, Rock and Roll and Rap/Hip Hop Music are similar. And yet both have been judged as being corrupting minds, poisoning the youth, bad examples of this and that. Don’t tell me I’ve heard this before! Other folks thought that Jazz was the devil’s music. Really?!

The old lyrics of Rock and Roll is here to stay. It will never die. That sticks. Hip Hop is here to stay. Know that line?

If Rappers or Rap Groups didn’t belong to the Hall, then what? Go ask Run DMC, Public Enemy or Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. They have a spot in the Hall. And some of the material was ” Rock and Roll” influenced. Did I mentioned that Rock and Roll was black created? I’m sure I did.

So I don’t know what the mess is . Matter of fact though, it’s nothing but hate. Nothing but complaing about  an artform of music that is totally different from the same ol stuff. Which also are “Afrocentric Created”. No need to use Google or Bing for me! I said for me.

There is rhyming and spoken word in music now. We know this. So again, what is the haps with that and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Somebody tell me something!

So with that let’s review and end what the group had to comment in their own way. Warning of Explicit Language here:

Plus also if KISS comes to town on their Freedom to Rock Tour this year, wear Straight Outta Compton shirts.All Black and White! You know!

Let them know straight up! Even if Gene Simmons goes to the Black Networks. Yeah I said it!

Like it or not, N.W.A. are Rock and Roll Hall of Famers for life. PERIOD! And no one can’t swipe that. Not even Gene Simmons or anyone who dislikes Rap/Hip Hop Music! They earned it fair and square.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Stephen

 

 

 

 

 


It’s time for a Double Take:  This is the post Easter Edition. If your belly is full from all that Easter Dinner, then it’s time to hit the track. Get out and jog. Ok back to the thing: Here we go. Time to put the world events on play and talk about Milwaukee and part of Wisconsin.

Take one: Us folks in Wisconsin are scratching our heads about the attitude of Senator Chris Larson. May I add, he running for office in Milwaukee County. Via the County Executive seat held by Chris Abele.

In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Black Radio Stations 860 WNOV, there have been a distain message about the words like this to Senator Lena Taylor in regarding this:

“Are you on your meds today?”

Meds? What Meds?!!! Really?

And the last thing that our Senator said that “Enjoy your last day here!”

This was made public and also via Text.

For the last couple of days the news of this incident has hit not only WNOV,  but also the Black Milwaukee Newspapers. The Milwaukee Community Journal also picked up the story in a long sentence via the title, “The World According to Chris Larson” and all this stuff that has been noticed and publicly summarized is coming out. Matter of fact, it’s really out. It’s been out. It’s been out since day one. Now we got this election coming up on April 5th, and yes we got decisions to make. However, I will NOT support any candidate that has personal gut check thoughts, mean spirited feelings toward another person, like Senator Lena Taylor. I’ll say this, I’ve seen her work and ideas plus accomplishments as a State Senator. And a black mother woman! Now also, another scene in regarding Chris Larson, is about former State Senator Nikya Harris-Dodd’s Hair. Really?! Being all nappy. Seriously?! And I’m reminding myself that this is a Election Season.

For all you Chris Larson fans, that you probably casted a vote for him, I know he’s your pick. But if he is really your pick, YOU BETTER HOLD HIS ACTIONS VERY WELL like you “checked” Lena Taylor. And you know who you are! Speaking of that, let these videos do the talking in which has everyone paid attention:

Exhibit A: This one was on March 20th, and yes there were some folks who felt that an apology was need to commence.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/pv9jsag9yjpv7vk/20160320_154114.mp4?dl=0

 

Exhibit B:  This is the most recent one.

 

In this clip, it was like fireworks about to be set off! With this “apology” coming from Chris Larson to me was kind of weak. I don’t think if he’s sincere with an apology that has the black community on high alert. I don’t know if he knows that his “apology” is coming so late after all of this. All of this about Lena Taylor, Black Hair, and anything that black period in Milwaukee in a negative effect is so dumb. And also may I add that this on the side of the Democrats in Wisconsin? There are those in the state, that has been widely pointed out, that like Republicans, Democrats can be jerks and racists too. Especially those who are “Progressives”,  “Liberals” and so forth. Just saying. Now for you Republicans and Independents folks, don’t come to me and say I told you so! I’ve been knowing this! Thanks to the black radio stations and networks.  Like I said, I’ve been knowing this. And also, I’ve been knowing that there are some who are willing to “Sellout” to get their jobs saved for endorsements. Trust me, I’ve read about it. Even it concerns black politicians and yes black reps. That is what is happening here! And that makes the community even more scarred like those who don’t like working with black folks at the jobs. Or placing the black kids in other schools, or yes even the church, and also that particular group that they think  wouldn’t fit in. Trust me! I’ve seen it and read about it. What this angle of Chris Larson, Sen. Lena Taylor, or many others who aligned themselves to be saved up for that safe box for him or anyone else to go against things, will be realized, it was all dumb and stupid!

And again, an election is coming up.

Take two:  This hat though. REALLY?

As I was eating my dinner on Easter, I turned to this pic of Lalah Hathaway wearing a bucket hat that had the Greek Letters of Alpha Phi Alpha on it.

This is the pic that was deemed upsetting straight from Instagram.

image

I need all of you Alpha Phi Alphas to settle down. I need all of you A Phi A’s to help me to understand while your mottos and quotes are: “Onward and Upward”, and “Ice Cold”, and saying the numbers of 06! And being in the first of the Divine 9 that also says “First of All, Servants of All, We Shall Transcend All” with the seven jewels booming, why the HELL are you upset about Lalah Hathaway wearing her father’s hat of your Fraternity?! Many of you I bet didn’t know who Donny Hathaway was until you read his name!

CALLOUT: Like my mother used to say, I’ll give you something to cry about!

All she was doing was paying respects to her father. What is wrong with that? Nothing! I can understand the rules and regulations that the attire you wear is only for you. And yes, you worked hard for it. Some of you were “pledged harshly” for it. Admit it. But why the uproar of this? Have the lessons of your founders influenced this to be idiots of a hat?!

If I see you per say, wearing the Cross and Flame of the United Methodist Church (my denomination) and you wear like it’s nothing, I will call you out on it. I will school you no matter you had no knowledge of it! Or if see you wearing a UW-Stout shirt like it’s nothing, don’t expect me to get at you guys and asking do you know where the college is? Hint: its in Wisconsin. And that goes for the rest of the Divine 9 groups. You all supposed to help the uplifting and inspiration of the Community in all, but with this like any other groups, anyone can be a jerk and cry all because of an attire like a hat! Good Lord!!!

I still respect you. All of you have done work in the community, nothing but respect. And if I was part of that with this outburst, I just shut my mouth. It is pointless. That is not what I would agree to joining up.

Can I get an Amen?

I”ll bet many are laughing at this and saying that this “incident” is nothing more than a non-issue. What is a real issue: try voting. Try going to a doctor, both men and women who haven’t got one yet and fear of going. (Hint, it’s not just men fearing) Try clearing up a reason why Pfife Dawg’s death at 45 should not be a lone reason, but others like him should be mad because they’re names aren’t being mentioned the way they’ve checked out with precautions of Diabetes! Try going out and get lost folks back into Church. Try educating our young boys(and girls) not to drop out of school. Try finding a trade, a job, a house, start a family, raise/adopt kids, and I’ll bet many are not doing those because they don’t wanna be soft. Should I start a license to ill? Hell no! Or even tell Introverts like me that its alright not to apologize for being quiet.

Some of you, whom probably put Lalah Hathaway on blast over a f*ing hat must be those young frats. Older cats know well. Yeah I got respect for the Divine 9, and maybe probably getting a spot, but this you need to work on your skills! Lalah is not the problem. Nor probably didn’t know the rules. Who is the problem you ask? Alphas: Look in the mirror.

Get it together. You got kids watching.


With still being the month of Black History, we’re already in full swing about the ongoing learning stuff about our black figures and events that we know and soon to be known. With the rise of the introverts are on full swing, many folks whom were and are black have made or making great strides of political achievements, sports, activism and other fields of choice.

We know their names like I said, but they were and are Introverts! So who were they? Who are they?  Let’s go with it.

This introvert was apart of the Civil Rights Movement. She was as we know was one of the black women who sat on the bus and refused to be moved, but also working on as a Secretary of the NAACP and a Seamstress. Many  have called her the mother of the Civil Rights Movement: Rosa Parks.

This introvert was a megastar of millions. Entertained millions of fans! Made a breakthrough of new Videos, broke millions of records.  Even though was a bit shy, but when he was stage, he was at home: Michael Jackson.

This introvert is labeled as the “Greatest basketball Player in the World”. Won 6 NBA Championships, 2 Gold Medals, Multiple All-Star, did a video with Michael Jackson,  and many are still buying his shoes. Yes, I’m referencing Michael Jordan.

These introverts are for the Social Conscious folks. Yes you can introverted and be apart of the struggle. Since the on going review of the Black Panthers has been a hot button topic for the last 50 years, this may be a shock to those are or were apart of the movement. Recently, I watched the PBS special on the Black Panthers, and there as question that popped in my mind: Were any of the Black Panthers Introverted, or Introverts? I combed through the net by the use of articles in which I googled the idea question. And yes like many things that pop up online, I got my guess. In a book article called, Unrelated Kin: Race and Gender in Women’s Personal Narritives, a name appeared in the page online by the name of Gloria Abernerthy. Now I have not heard of this woman, nor her upbringing of her family or extended contributions to black history, but part of this was indeed with the Black Panthers. According to the book, the author(s), Gwendolyn Etter-Lewis and Michèle Foster described Gloria at first a “natural introvert” by the time she turned 17 years old. Around the same time she joined the Black Panthers in 1968. And even though she was one of the “comrade sisters” in her support of the programs and assingments in the Party, she like many other African-American women in the Black Panthers supported the organization with the roles provided.

Another Black Panther Party member that was on the introverted side, was one of the co-founders himself: Dr. Huey P. Newton. According the article Stephen Shames, whom was a Black Panther member himself, described Huey in his words at the time during the era:

Huey was more introverted. He was the intellectual. He liked to think about abstract concepts, the ideology of the Panthers. He was more the professor.

So after looking at the article, and more extensive summary of Huey Newton being this radical leader of the Black Panther Party, there was a side of him that was introverted with his thinking, his mind perspective, and also his well being of thought while leading one of the still well known, and sometimes understood Black Organizations in the history of America. Speaking of that, in between the movement,  he earned a Phd in Social Philosophy which also earned him the title of Doctor in 1980. Just two years shy of the Black Panther Party being disbanded. As a Introvert as described previously, Huey was a smart brotha! That knew his craft of activism in the era of Civil Rights, and his influence is often and reflected and reviewed today.

This introvert as we know is a first: First African-American President in the U.S. A One-Time senator from Illinois, Hawaii Born, Law Professor Educated, Picked two times, Married with 2 Daughters and I know whom we are talking about, that after 2016 is over, he’ll be missed: President Barack Obama.

Also, I am not a fan of this former NFL Running Back, and yes should have gotten the ball at the one at Superbowl 49. But in his preliminary interview Superbowl 48, NFL Network’s own and SB Champion, Deion Sanders (aka Prime Time) asked him these following questions in all:

 

Yes, that is the now former RB of the Seattle Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch. In the beginning he admitted that he’s not that shy per se, relaxed, kicked back kind of person. But he did say he was about that action. In a sense of the game. So maybe, I’m not assuming but I’ll believe that Marshawn might be an Introvert in his own right. I’m not saying that he is, but he seemed introverted in a sense of gathering thoughts in the footage. Which also led him to a Super Bowl Ring.

 

Whom else is introverted, and happy, face challenges everyday, and black? Reference Issa Rae. You know who she is right?  We see her shows on YouTube, and HBO. She also has a book out now called The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” in which the book pens her experiences going through awkward situations of relationships, love, eating out alone, and learning to accept yourself. And yes, she is a Black Woman that is an Introvert. Even though I have not read the book, but heard of her, I guess I’ll be buying the book to see and to read from a Black Woman’s perspective on being an Introvert.

Going back to music again: we’re all familiar with Cab Calloway. The man gave us “Minnie The Moocher” a household single jam. We all seen him in the first Blues Brothers Movie. And also other films and shows. But in his autobiography, “Of Minnie The Moocher and Me” with author Bryant Rollins, the author describe that Cab had a “inward” personality:

He’s a very introverted man; he has all the love in the world to give, but for some reason in personal relationships he keeps a lot of it inside.

Hold up! Cab Calloway? Introverted?! Wow. Yes, he had his thing with the music, but when it came to relationships away from the stage, he was introverted to keep more things to himself. That blew me away! You just never know.

As I summarize this blog story, yes there are and were Introverts of Color, pertaining to African-Americans that were mostly listening, mostly thinking and less speaking, and even thought that yes there are some extroverted elements in Introverts, but they were still and are introverted, and their gifts mattered and influenced and continue to influence to inspire.

So yeah, black introverts had and have exist! Who knows? There might be more Black Introverted Men and Women that will support loud voices and causes in between of the movements, eras, generations and current state of affairs.

Oh, and one more thing: #BLACKHISTORYMONTH4LIFE with #IntrovertsUnite! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


N.W.A's Straight Outta Compton.

N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Man, I gotta comment about this on two fronts: If many have not seen Straight Outta Compton, never mind those who actually saw it first, but if you actually saw the flick, it’s a hit. It’s really number one with a bullet! Per unintended. After seeing the flick TODAY, August 20th, 2015. In Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. In the AMC Theaters, at 11:50AM in the morning close to 12:00 CST, I got my chance to see the flick that is still killing the box office. Oh, yeah. You had to think, 11:50AM in the Morning! Why not. I paid my $5.06, about $13.00 of Popcorn and Water, I was straight. Then off to the movie I went. Keep in mind, this was around 11:50 in the AM!

For those who still haven’t seen it, this is what I won’t do: I will not post anything that is leaked here! My thing is you (for those who are over 18) MUST see it for yourself. No matter the theater, time or location. But I can say this to comment about Straight Outta Compton: ITS A HIT! But just to keep it PC here, there were times in the flick that the main members had to through based on structure, struggle, and something concerning the actions of the judicial laws, and fairness for musicians. That is only what I’ll say here! Nothing else. Don’t be in a rush to see the movie. Prioritize your time and effort to see it.

Speaking of that:

Now, since the movie has come out and those are so excited about that the biopic is on the screen. I had to read something that was so stupid to a point. Now usually, Facebook is the most source of things now and one of the comments on TheGrio’s Facebook page, someone said that many should skip church and go see Straight Outta Compton to see the truth in what’s going on. And oh yeah, there are those or that one guy had to talk about the charlatans about the church and etc.

Can I just be straight here?

Many folks today, TODAY are not very prioritized. They are not. That’s like saying “I’ll skip my daughter’s recital at her school to go to a strip club to see “Ms Ebonie Skillz” dance on stripper poles”. Hold up, for those who think this way, you would ACTUALLY just to go to a strip club than your kid’s recital? What is so important or special going to a Strip Club over something that is considered important, or almost important than filling in as a greeter for your church? Not judging but more like condemning. That will be like when Football Season starts, there will something like this on Sundays: And Ministers, Bishops, Pastors Associates, in all, you know this very well: “I can’t come to church today because……..I’ll be busy with a project.” Or this: “I can’t come to church because I gotta get home to make sure my Widescreen is set to for the football game after 12:00pm! 

You know you can record your games on DVR’s and having Smartphone apps that will save the day! Jeez!

For all those rushing to see Straight Outta Compton on a Sunday during worship time, or any other important time, if you feel that seeing that movie is far more important than assisting your church job or your important matter, then that is acting foolish! This might hurt, but the folks who would do that would act upon in a foolish manner! Now If you are a church going person, that wants to do the worship first, and then plans to go to the dinner, movie or somewhat of an activity after that, then I’m not talking to you. You’re doing something right. That’s prioritizing.

What is also prioritizing: actual preplanning! If you can’t plan, you suck. Really you will suck if you don’t have a plan B. I tell folks all the time that you must have a plan B! Period.

If there were a rule of not seeing Straight Outta Compton for any reason, I would put it like this:

  • If you are Under the age of 18, and still in High School (YOUNG BLOGGERS), you can’t EVER see Straight Outta Compton until you get really grown.
  • If you have been popping out babies and have no job to raise them, you can’t see Straight Outta Compton.
  • If you lose your job because you got fired based on your job performance, you can’t see Straight Outta Compton.
  • If you don’t have any money, don’t even think about seeing Straight Outta Compton!
  • If you don’t have some support for your family and it does involve being single or married, you don’t get to see Straight Outta Compton! And that includes paying your bills!
  • If you haven’t been voting in ANY Election (I’M GOING THERE!) YOU DON’T GET TO SEE STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON!
  • If you haven’t volunteered, donated to a cause, or even step into a freaking Church to help out a Pastor, NO SOC for you!
  • If you haven’t tutored a child, or a teen, or a struggling College student in the previous semester, no SOC for you!
  • Or if you haven’t use your Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, Meekrat, Blog, to help push further for a cause that matters, (i.e. #BlackLivesMatter) don’t even think about seeing Straight Outta Compton!
  • Or if you one of those folks who can’t wait to get those Air Jordans, or the IPhone, or that Back to School fun thing for your Son or Daughter, and this is to the grown folks who have to stand in line: NO STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON!

Now I know that, here it is: that’s harsh! I know. Have I done these things or any of the above things? In an opposite: Yes. And yes, like many others who actually will see it regardless. And unlike those on Facebook that have a backwards mentality that skipping Divine Time or a important needy thing to see a movie, I will show them that there is another way, and it’s not a serious as it is. And today, I just proved it that you can plan, and organize without any worries.

Don’t worry dwellers, the movie just came out, and there are many more days for you to check it out.

,


It’s a three way dance: the black music month edition. This dance will be focused on the summaries of Black Music Month itself, the remembrance of the Emanuel Nine that were killed in Charleston, and for you LGBTQ folks, I have a short summary and letter to you since the Marriage Equality is now open. And yes I will address the concerns, but most of all, I will address the ideas as well.

First Dance: June is Black Music Month!

Or as I like to call it, Black History Month Part II. The idea of behind Black Music was an act of activism, and purpose, and objective of the use and vision of celebrating the creation of Black Music in which many either play, perform, or just want to sample to make it their own without acknowledgement. Black Music Month, for the record, is not racist! It is not to separate anything from anyone. Every ethnic culture has a story behind the music that was created. And yes, black music is no exception. Research the co-founder of Black Music Month, yes there is a co-founder by the name of Dyana Williams. She is also known as the “Godmother of Black Music Month”. Of course anyone can listen to it, BUT to those who think it’s just music without any merit of recognition, appropriation, respect, and even dignified of reason should have their heads on straight! And for the record, Black Music Month has been around since 1979 when President Jimmy Carter was in office, but it also took nearly a decade plus to put Black Music Month officially in calendars and proclamations when Bill Clinton was President in his tenure! This year in Black Music thus far, like any other music year has it’s newbies coming out, while the old vets still have enough run in the tank. For the old vets, I’ve paid attention to Nile Rodgers with his new hit “I’ll be there.”  And with that bring the old 70’s funk in a new light, yes admit it, you have some funk in the playlist.

Second comeback for the vets:

For those who are still stuck on Beyonce, or any other “diva” that is a current fave making money, it’s time to bow down for just a moment. It’s time that Janet Jackson gets her crown back. By now, we have heard her voice of making a new rhythm nation, a new world tour, and new movement. I hope that everyone got the message! If not, to quote the DJ’s you’ve been sleeping. Just to think that 20 years ago, when Michael Jackson came back with Scream, and here we are in 2015 in the same Black Music Month, Janet comes back with No Sleep.

Thus, this song No Sleep should be on rotation on every single radio station, every DJ Club, Reunion, and those playlist that could use more dance music than the same ole’ trap music that many don’t like. But, if you like trap music that’s you, no disrespect. Did I mention that Jodeci made a comeback? And for you the 90’s born millennial folks, many of you were out of the womb when they were on stage. Just saying. For those who don’t know, check their hits. Many of us KNOW the hits!  And as for those we lost, this year it’s most likely that the remembrances of Ben E. King, Johnny Kemp and B.B. King will be hugely reminded that their music in Blues and R&B will most likely be summarized. Mostly I think BB King the most because of his influence on Blues and also on other music platforms (in which blacks started) that are still heavily rotated to this day. Black Music Month, like Black History Month, still matters and it still never ends.

Second on the Dance Card: The Emanuel 9.

We know what happened. And we all know who got killed in a Legendary black AME Church. This week, as we know, President Obama gave a eulogy about the life of State Senator and Pastor, Clementa Pinckney. For almost 37 plus minutes of the message, the President tied in all of the recent acts of domestic terrorism, racism, and also his version of the song Amazing Grace. But for this message, before the solo, he had to comment in which many should realize that Clementa found that grace that many of us are still looking for right now. His grace was not just making bills for putting body cameras onto Police Officers in his native South Carolina. His grace was also in the AME Church in which he began his preaching since a young age. From 13 years old to 18 years old, and when he was 23, he was in public service. Even being a member of his Fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. In addition, the President said that “Our faith demands deeds, not just words.” Yes we say Grace and Peace, Giving honor to God, and many others, but those words demand deeds of us, the faith community each and every time we put in action for our communities in which we reside. And plus, they shouldn’t just be on a Sunday in the sanctuary. We know that many of our non-believers friends and family members who had the negatives to show in person or social media about church, but they need to realize that even though they are out, they shouldn’t denounce those in the church who are trying to better the building and congregation through them to make that difference. In other words, for you non-church goers, don’t denounce your friends, family members or acquaintances who are trying their DEAD LEVEL BEST to help improve the church from when it was nasty when you were there back in  your youth, young adult, or just there to visit and never got enough knowledge. We’re still learning. Even fighting Church District Superintendents against those who are retired pastors that have disabilities, or have majority experience that can be useful. This is going on in the Midwest region in a state that I will not disclose. And I know the state very well. At the end of the speech, the President himself did the solo that many viewed. For those who don’t know, the song Amazing Grace was written on a slave boat. It has history of talking about twists and turns, and going though trials and triumphs. Even though that the song was written back in 1779 by John Newton, but African-Americans backed it for spirituals and also notable music charts in the United States. So yes, Amazing Grace is not just some song that was made up to tick off the haters. It’s really one of those old songs that were, and are a call to action, just like “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” At the end of the eulogy, the President listed all the 9 Emanuel members that found their grace of what they went though before they were killed by the mixed up minded 21 year old boy (yeah I said BOY) Dylann Roof.

Finally this short letter is for the LGBTQ Folks: and yes it directed for you and to you. Everybody else, chill out. Since June is about Pride Month.

To the members of the LGBTQ Community, It’s me Stephen and I’m a black blogger out of Milwaukee:

We know! We know! Since the Supreme Court Ruling that in a decision that Marriage Equality is officially valid in all 50 states. We know! Now my thing is, well, I’ll let my Facebook post from last week do the talking:

I know probably everyone had commented about the legality of Marriage Equality. And yes the votes are valid. Personally, I’m going to say this: I have no haterism against the LGBT folks. I know many don’t agree with the lifestyle choice or decisions made, but I was reminded years ago in my 20’s that one of my late grandfathers once said, whom was an Emeritus of Sunday School: “Treat people as if you want to be treated!” That wasn’t just church, it was also in the house too. Another is a quote is familiar of not judging folks. Or in the book, Judge not! I know there are those who have this “hypocritical mindset” of people, places, things or ideas that they don’t understand or criticize. Of course, there are those in the churches (that many or some of us encountered) that probably carried that trait. However, this might be the first time that I mentioned this, but it’s not just the church. There could be other places who may have the trait of the “hypocritical mindset” also. It could be our surroundings, hangouts, clubs, jobs, other organizations, and many others that we go to donate our time, and etc. And we already know that not everyone is not going to be on the same page. I’m just saying! I read about this, I blogged about it, (amen!) encountered conversations at the dinner table of discussions. So I get it! Some might say, “really?” Yeah! Even though that the rule has been placed and it may not sit well with everybody. Which is expected. But, I’ll say this also: even though that the lifestyle may not be suitable for many, I’m still going to respect that person or persons. I was raised by this. And continuing to do so, it will be.I think I poured in my 2 cents! And by the way: The Struggle Continues!

For that, I say this as a Christian, a member of the United Methodist Church, an African-American Male, Straight male, a voter, a citizen, a person who has and still donates to functions and charities, Alumni, and most of all, a person who was brought up and raised in a well rounded, nuclear family household. And takes darn good Nikon pics!

Any questions? All I’m saying is, I was brought up this way. And I’m still a respectable person that does not discriminate no matter how Gay, how Lesbian, how whatever you maybe! Makes no difference. Plus, as an advice for a while to get accepted and respected: know this and remember it well: It takes respect to get respect. But other than that, no shade.

Sincerely,

Stephen


Oh, I know. Let me guess. A Spokane Washington NAACP Leader is getting the card pulled all because she’s white. Or is it lying to be black to get that pass? The name Rachel Dolezal is getting the buzz right now. And apparently she had to lie to kick it. What is up with folks who are trying to be something they are not. Long time ago on this blog, I questioned about why folks can’t be real? UM HELLO?!!! This wannabe real stuff is getting too much. And Lord knows it’s getting WAY TOO MUCH!

So this, Rachel Dolezal or whatever her name is, trying to be black and lead the NAACP’s Spokane Washington Group. Ok, she’s got a good educational background in all. Nothing wrong with that. (Or lack there of!)  But still, why’s she trying to fit into some knowing she does not have the background or experience regardless? Now for those who feel that I’m being anti-white, I’m not. I’m being anti-fake! Knowingly yes, the NAACP does have white members. And the founding of the NAACP had 6 whites and one black when it was founded in 1909. When the NAACP Convention was in Milwaukee back in 2005, (approximately 10 years ago) I saw many blacks in the Wisconsin Convention Center downtown as well as White folks. Oh yes, they came. Plus also even the current VP of the United States himself Joe Biden is a member of the NAACP representing the Delaware Chapter. He said that with his own voice at a convention and he did complement that the Delaware Chapter was the dance per say got him started in his home state.

Now you might ask, what is up with the title, “Case of the Fake People”. That was so 1994. Actually, it is. But in the era where fake names on Social Media go floating around, and folks trying to be promoters, and rappers, and anything else that they, he or she, go on to pretend that they’re not, of course they need to be called out. Yo, I got this on my 90’s High School Playlist and still play it. Even though that the song centered around fake men who play women alot, but partially that can go both ways with fake women also. Watch yourselves, females! Don’t just assume that it’s all men doing the Fake jobs!

And also, what is up with Rachel trying to have this “comparision” with the likes of Bruce Jenner, or Caitlyn Jenner? REALLY?! Man, I know I’m late on this, but with all due respect to what Bruce Jenner had done in HIS life by getting those Olympic Medals in 1976, the exact year that I was born in, and all. Yes he repped the country well and others.  And many of the folks who backed him in being this “hero” for his transformation, to me that doesn’t really make a hero. I’m sorry to say this! And just to happen that I stumble on to a Meme on Facebook that looked like this:
image

Oh yeah, lets talk about this!

Back in the day, many of us “loved” the darker Michael Jackson and hated his lighter side in which it was revealed that it was a skin disease. Remember that? And many of us thought he “bleached” his skin to look white. Um, First of all, who in the living heck does the skin bleaching? What is it? And about 2 decades later in all, Bruce Jenner gets the bravery award for going to….Caitlyn. Is this society full of perpetrators?! Hate one thing, like another. Sounds like the hypocritical minded doing the work. And by the way, don’t just assume that the hypocrites are in those buildings every sunday. Open your eyes and your brains that Hypocrites are everywhere! I dare anyone that uses that on Facebook, Google, Instagram, or many others. Don’t be surprised.Even your neighbors, or that guy you just ran into at the ballpark drinking Miller Lite. Or getting that hair done at the beauty palor or the barber shop. Or at the cubicles at work, or in your bosses office for board meetings. Guess what citizens, those places can carry hypocrites also! So do your Fraternities, Sororities, or any group you fall into interest with. Trust me, ITS NOT JUST THE CHURCH! Like my former UMC pastor used to say, “beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing!”

Knowing this Rachel or whatever her name is, she’s getting a lot of hate because of her fake status while serving in a legendary Civil Rights Organization. Now since she got caught, who’s next? Background checks are coming! And just to think that her parents and sibling had called her out on this “lie”.

So for all those who feel that you know it all, and having this assumption of knowledge about the term “African-American” or being “African-American” or having this so-called knowledge of “African-American” just because it’s whatever, you really don’t! Did I mention that the month of June happens to be Black Music Month? As in Black History Month Part II? Better research right now!


This past week, we lost one of the best blues musicians in the business. He may have been born Riley King in Indianola, Mississippi, but we all know that he was B.B. King. He ran his race of life since 1925 and was finished at 89 years old last week. No matter what we have in our music collection, many of us know a B.B. King song, or a guest appearance. For me, I wasn’t a blues fans like my father or those older than me growing up. But like any other fan of black music, I do give B.B. King respect of what he had done and influenced. Plus also, this would be a good chance to see more black musicians to explore Blues Music for the future. So with that, here is my blog letter.

Dear fans of the Blues world, and fans alike to B.B. King, and fans of good music in general:

It’s me Stephen. A blogger from Milwaukee in which I don’t get paid to write.

I share this message today, to not only offer sympathy, but to offer a thing of rally cry to action. First, shout out to the family of the late, great Riley King. As many as know as B.B. King. Thank you for allowing him to show his craft, his lessons, his music and influence on Blues Music as well as many other forms of music in his craft and talents. We all know mostly as this famous Blues Musician, but to you, yes he was your father, grandfather, uncle, cousin and many other extended family member branch of advice. And yes many of us understand that he was your family member first. And I say this out of respect.

For those whom are a fan of Blues Music of his, many of you were probably dusting off the records of your old Vinyl Collection to hear the music that your father or grandfather used to play with B.B. King on it. For my family, many of you don’t know this, in Milwaukee there was band that used to be called The Chefs, and at the time, they used to open for acts for a Summerfest performance of a Tina Turner, the late James Brown, and the now late B.B. King. One memorable story in which one of members I know that when they were playing one of their songs, B.B. King was critiquing them of playing loud. Which he did commented. But that didn’t stop the talent of them performing their hit music piece at the time. However there was positives.

For those of us whom are music fans alike, that probably didn’t follow blues music or weren’t blues fans, but do appreciate the work of B.B. King, it’s ok. The only song that many capture out of him was “The Thrill Is Gone.” That was to me one of his strongest songs, and well known songs. But I also realize that wasn’t his only song that was hit. Many other songs ranging from Blue Boys Tune, to Lucille (as in his guitar), to Rock Me Baby, to Bad Case of Love, Paying the Cost to Be the Boss, to How Blue Can You Get, to his collaboration with Eric Clapton of Riding with the King, to the song: To Know You Is To Love You, Let the Good Times Roll,  and A Story That Everybody Knows. Just a few. Some of that were his best hits. Lifetime hits. Not one hit wonders and that’s it. Many of us whom I think are of Gen X,Y and yes Millennials, we only recognize him as that one strong hit. But like many other musicians like Prince, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson (whom is reviving a new movement), James Brown, and a host of others weren’t only known for a strong hit song, but many hit SONGS!  And B.B. King was one of them that needs to be recognized in his music career. Even B.B. King (as on the forefront as he was) performed at jails of Cook County, and San Quentin. How many of these artists TODAY would play at a Jail House or a Federal Pen for extra performances? Probably NONE! Imagine Jay Z or Beyonce or Lil’ Wayne, The Roots, Ice Cube, Kanye West, or even Kendrick Lamar doing a Hip Hop/R&B Session at a well known Federal Jail or State Jail since prison are big enterprises now per say. Step up for that! If B.B. King had the guts to perform at a San Quentin or Cook County Jail why not some of these today artists that are blowing up the billboards with music ratings, to give the prisoners some music love while serving time!

In the wake of his passing, knowingly there might more blues artists blowing up. But I want to see more blues artists whom are African-Decent show this to their craft. I hear Gary Clark Jr and if you have not heard his songs, it’s mind blowing. Electric Blues in his own craft! The reason why I say this is because black musicians are more than hip hop and rap and R&B mixed with Neo Soul in it. I know that is what we mostly hear. Blues however is like hearing the songs in the Backwoods in the South that many had that natural talent of singing and playing the guitar. Which couldn’t be taught in school folks. It has it’s roots in Afrocentric beats with jazz, gospel, chants, shouts, work songs, juke joints (lot of the older crowds know this well), Rock and Roll and a host of earlier to almost modern forms of music.

Throughout the month of June, I challenge all of my readers and those who just looking, to explore the value of Blues Music. After all, the month of June is Black Music Month and I can’t think of a better way to learn about this style of music for this occasion.There is no question or secret, that B.B. King ran his race. And even the strokes and the Type-Two Diabetes ended his life of 89 years old, what didn’t stop the fact that his influence of Blues Music will not die!

For the TV side of things, the three things I’ll take away was his cameo appearance of him playing the solo on Married…..With Children. Yes he was on there! Plus his guest appearance as Pappy on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air from 1995, and also the moment that he among with other blues musicians played at the White House and having President Obama singing Sweet Home Chicago. Oh, what a moment y’all! Even moments of winning his share of music awards.

May the man of B.B. King rest on in the vision of God.

I know many are gearing up for his Homegoing this week. I’ll bet many will dream about B.B. King going to the gates. And after he checked in, he might go to a room full of guitars and he probably picked out the one that looks like Lucille, but not like Lucille, and the Almighty put him in a heavenly band and he’s just jamming along with Jimi Hendrix, Z.Z. Hill, 2 Pac, Biggie Smalls, Whitney, Michael, Johnny Kemp, Aaliyah and a host of previous musicians that God called home!

So B.B. King fans, be not dismayed with his passing. Hate to sound like the church that pretty soon, we all will have to take this walk. We all have to make the mark to leave. But while we’re here and alive, keep playing his music. Turn it up at your family reunions, your class reunions. For you music teachers, incorporate his music in your lesson plans. For you Black History teachers, please add him to your list of musicians to learn from to your students. And to music lovers everywhere, download, purchase or have your older relatives to bust out the pictures that were valuable with B.B. King in it. Dust off the records that were stored up for years, and do the juke joints well like never before! For the younger folks who probably never heard of him before, it’s OK to listen to your favorites. But NEVER forget, that your favorites of Hip Hop, Rap, Neo Soul, Dance, Electronica, Techno, Rock, or Metal were probably influenced by B.B.King as well. And like many, will probably pay their respects this week in memory.

Keep telling the blues. Literally.

Sincerely,

Stephen


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