Posts Tagged ‘Civil Rights Movement’

If anything today while at work and the classroom taught us today, it’s about one word: Respect.

We all just witnessed the homegoing, or funeral of Aretha Franklin. Whom we all know died 2 weeks ago in her home in Detroit at 76 years old. And to think that she died on the same day decade wise as Elvis Presley, whom passed at 42 in 1977. The fact of the matter is, Aretha you really can’t say too much about her. And yes she had her “rival” moments selling the shade of those wanting to get into her personal realm. But all in all, respect was the keyword.

Like many artists before her, she was raised in the church. Her father was a minister in the south before migrating north to Detroit. And yes, we all know about Detroit and the Motown Sound which also escalated during the Civil Rights Movement. Like many others in the famous side, she was honorary pledged into the black sorority of Delta Sigma Theta, and I’m sure many that heard about this sorority, like assuming. If not check with your friends whom are apart of the Divine 9. Plus the Deltas had conducted a “Omega Omega Service” for their departed honorary Sorority Sister. Now if anyone has been to a funeral in which a Fraternity or Sorority member is funeralized, they usually have a moment of reflection and towards the end, they declare that the deceased member is apart of the “Omega Chapter.” Omega is the end, by the way. Many of us will have an Omega Service in a somewhat fashion in our departure.

Now, we know the hits from Respect, Pink Cadillac, A Rose is Still A Rose, Rock Steady, and even many Gospel hits. Winning numerous awards, even acted movies like The Blues Brothers. For her live performances, we can talk about the Grammys, President Obama’s Inauguration Day ceremonies, and such. But I also saw her doing renditions of America the Beautiful on which wrestling program you asked? WrestleMania. Both at the Pontiac Silverdome and also Ford Field. Now I want to say something here. When I looked at the WWE Facebook Page about her, many of the “WWE Universe” had no idea who she was. Like really. For all of you wrestling fans who don’t know Aretha, does the WWE Network still work? I’m just asking! Do you still google in all? Hello!! Do any of your relatives or black folks you know have any Aretha Franklin songs or albums in the house? You better study! You better ask questions! And that goes for those whom are under 21 and into trap music.

Fast forward to the long nine hour funeral. Oh yeah it was long! If many folks complain about long church services, I’m sure you probably complained about the long preaching, long songs, testimony off script, the eulogy didn’t match up well enough, the dozen of families, dignitaries, special guests, folks protesting about (oops) Donald Trump, and oh it wasn’t just a Homegoing, it was also a time for action of what’s going on in the country. Oh yeah have we heard this before when Coretta Scott King was remembered? And George W. Bush was hammered! Don’t act like we know!

Some of the positive highlights of the service:

Rev. Al Sharpton and his comments about mistakenly spelling respect and telling folks that Donald Trump should use the word describing Aretha.


Rev. Jesse Jackson and the part of him commenting about famous deaths and minimal voting lines.


Michael Eric Dyson and that knowledge. Plus the shade on 45:


These to me were the highlights of the funeral as Aretha was remembered. And yet, even many questioned it. But it had to be said at this funeral because of what the country is going through despite the commentary of 45. You say, what was all the Civil Rights and Activism about? This is supposed to be a funeral! Um….it has happened before. Reference AGAIN Coretta Scott King’s Funeral from 2005 and there was a lot of talk about George W. Bush’s blunders of Weapons of Mass Destruction, and many others. Go back and read it.

Now, music-wise: I’m not going to say, Ariana Grande. But I will say, Jennifer Holiday, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, and yes Stevie Wonder. All to me were the highlighted singers that cameout to perform.

Plus we cannot forget, Cicely Tyson who was the oldest in the room giving the knowledge and truth as she always does. When Cicely Tyson talks, we all better listen.

Of course the funeral couldn’t be without the commentary from her family mainly her Grandchildren whom were raised well. And yes there was support from the men, whom looked after Aretha to check on her to make sure that things were well kept and taken care of. Oh, by the way the men were black looking out for the Queen!

Now let me shift back to Ariana: And that touching thing….let me say this: the bishop who of course apologized to Ariana had his hand according to the live footage, was near Ariana’s breast. And many called foul that he shouldn’t have his hand near there, and of course many of the former church crowd cried foul of the hand as well. And if you are of the “former church crowd” that pisses on the church so much, why does this concern you? And I’ll agree sharply that the way it was: totally disrespectful. But as a bigger man, the bishop did infact apologize. He was in the wrong. And of course that when things go wrong on live TV, they go wrong! So yet he did apologize. However, many were calling for his head to be charged or sued of the “illegal touch”. Dude, he hasn’t been charged! There was no indication about him going to jail, or facing court. Until I see any DOCUMENTED PROOF about him being charged, and found guilty, and having his title and leadership stripped, and being banned from his church in all, then you can kick his butt! I haven’t heard the remarks of Ariana. She hasn’t said anything. Not one sentence. Nothing! Come on #MeToo movement! Where are you? And keep in mind that the jury is still out. And here’s the thing: many of us don’t know the Bishop Charles Ellis III well. We don’t! We don’t know him, his education, his family, his finances, and justly we don’t know if he went through a background check.

So if you call these Pastors “janky” after one tiny mistake, that is out of bounds. We don’t know him! Even you non/former church goers should know better! And no I’m not defending him.

And as far as the minister who did the eulogy Rev. Jasper Williams. I will agree that eulogies should be about the deceased. All the way. But if you eulogize or give your final analysis of a person that is not matching, it’s not cutting it. This reminds me of my cousin’s funeral from 2002 in Milwaukee that the minister gave the eulogy but his comments was about George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. But it was not about my departed cousin, who was killed at 21 years old in late July of that year! So I get where the Franklin Family is coming from on that part. On the other hand, the minister’s sermon was like the talk of the town. Folks still slamming it. Then there was a news conference about what was said. This is stupid! Was it a slow news day? Of all the things popped up on Social Media, as well as news outlets, you have this man, this minister had to further explain his eulogy of Aretha Franklin to a worldwide audience after mostly it was sharply criticized. You got to be kidding me! In the words of my Dad. Again, like the bishop, we don’t know him nor done a background check! Many folks already said that he told the truth. In regarding black households not up to par of what was previously. And many houses need to turn back into homes. And to think, partially many kind of missed the mark completely.

I hate to say it but many of you whom are sensitive at darn near everything, and I know many of you are in school and college: Take a class on Public Speaking! Please take that course! Not only take the course, but also learn about “tone”. I’m not talking about music tones, I’m talking about tones in the speech. “Tone” is related to attitude. Um….hello! Learned that back in high school in the 1990s, actually my Senior Year called American Authors. And one of the items for discussion was: “On the Pulse of the Morning” by Maya Angelou from 1993. It’s 25 years old now, but still it’s one of the best toned poems out of the 20th Century. Oh, it was Bill Clinton’s Inauguration.

What will go from here? Besides Aretha’s music. Her videos from the Blues Brothers singing Think. Us Milwaukeeans remember her performing at Summerfest 3 times and the last time I saw Aretha perform was at Summerfest in 1996. And the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra was on stage at the time, during the 4th of July holiday. I kind of shy away from that, but now after her passing, I was glad to see her perform but also glad to see a piece of black history. A piece of Civil Rights History. She was woke before woke was a thing. Not only she was woke and conscious, she acted on it. Not just saying some one liners to get all engaged. Like many before, its hard to pickup the torch and carry it forward for another era. But I think that we know that Aretha’s lessons of her life and entertainment will long be remembered and really can’t say nothing bad about it. We can’t. Now some may argue about her not having a will or not being married. But the fact of the matter is, her mark was felt by many those who packed that church on that August 31st morning, and mostly stayed for 9 hours. And the broadcasts like BET or Bounce TV having to stay on for the 9 hour duration. Plus, even having the now former TV One host Roland Martin filling us in with the summaries via Twitter. Look: I need to say something. When I was looking at my Twitter feeds, there were dumb questions on why Roland was tweeting during a funeral. I think we all know that he is a journalist. And part of what he did, Aretha liked! There were times folks called me out for Tweeting in Church, but guess what it is part of my communications ministry. It’s part of my job! So to those whom say that, I dare you to try it. See how it feels. Oops, I’m sorry, many of you are sensitive! Just let us do our jobs and you can do yours. If you have one.

Overall: between the 4 dress changes, performances, Pink Cadillac Cars, poems, proclamations in all, it was really about one word: R-E-S-P-E-C-T!


Trayvon Martin Hoodie - Black and white

I’m still on the ball of my commentary for this Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman angle. Yeah, we know. We know for good reason. Some of us are sick and tired, with the same ol’ cliche’ about why we can’t talk local, and always going to the national stuff. The Trayvon Martin murder trial or tribute with the hoodies, Skittles and Arizona Ice Tea is an ongoing thing. For those who just want to whine, Here’s a reminder: yes, Trayvon Martin was shot to death, and yes George Zimmerman got off Scot Free with not guilty. Now many are realizing that George Zimmerman’s life is not the same after pulling the trigger on Trayvon. Not only he murdered a black teenager, but he may have started a new Civil Rights Movement. Uh-oh. Talk about a wanted man. Like I said previously, George Zimmerman now has a “bounty effect.” On his head, his life, his family, his gun, and anything that he touches or connects with. Face it folks, for those who like George Zimmerman after what he did, that’s a cop out. Now as we know, it’s open season once again on unarmed African-Americans. We know also that on July 20th, 2013 will mark a 100 city protests/rallies across the country in regarding this matter. If that movement does last another 2 or three or more years. There are those who think that the movement would last about 2 to three weeks. If those who are going to those rallies: PROVE THEM WRONG! I mean it. Prove them wrong to an extent that us U.S. Citizens who are just tired of this mess in our Justice System! Prove them wrong that us the U.S. Citizens who can hold our leaders, and those we put in office or many of our organizational leaders, accountable in regarding this matter. If we don’t, it’s on us. However in my last blogs, if the leaders or groups DON’T address or come up a plan, or to address the issues in general, we got the voting ballots on stat, and we’ll go with someone who will listen to US! No matter if they are republican, democrat, independent, libertarian, or constitutionalists. We see them. And I don’t care if it’s a green party person. Just saying! If one false move, they out!

Now: I want comment those who are on Facebook. Me also. Why is losing your facebook contacts are connected with this matter? Seriously?! I’m checking my news feeds, and one facebook connection that I got on my list was “unfriended” all because of his viewpoint about the case of George Zimmerman. Yes, many have mixed emotions about the case. My reaction was an utter shock. And I hope I wasn’t unfriended all because of this. Really?! I thought folks got unfriended because of pictures,  private decisions, or what was said that got them fired from a job or a group, but to unfriend someone because of this trial, is really stupid. REALLY?! Those on FB I ask, you want to unfriend folks all because the hate on Trayvon, or the Trial. Some of you who unfriended folks you used to have, maybe you don’t understand! You don’t get it. You haven’t had the bootstraps nor the boot prints to understand of relation. This is not some smoke and mirrors thing. This is the real deal. Now I see why folks were doing it. They all want folks to be on one accord. WRONG! Not everyone is going to agree or disagree with stuff like this all the time. Remember 1995? Sure you do. That’s when OJ Simpson got his not guilty verdict, and the white folks got mad. However us black folks were just jubilant that he didn’t go to jail at the time. But some were just still bitter about it, and yeah the same folks got their wish of him sent to jail. Oh check this: the late Michael Jackson in 2005. He had the not guilty verdict read to him 10 times and guess what, the same folks who got mad at OJ per say had to get mad at Michael all because his name and fame being Michael Jackson. That was that trial that had him accused of molesting a 13 year old boy, which we found out later after his death was a boldface lie to get his money! Ok, so Facebook wasn’t around at the time. But I’ll bet those who went to the yahoo boards back then had to vent. And it’s pretty sad that those had to do the “unfriendly” thing all because of the Murder Trial. Really?! I had to put that out because that is what happening here. They say be careful about choosing friends are, well that part is true.

Switching to the national stuff. I want to comment Melissa Harris-Perry’s viewpoint in all of this:

I had to say something here: this is Melissa Harris-Perry the real person. A mother who is concerned. This is not the #Nerdland queen, Professor at Tulane University, Speaker, nor the energetic sorority Sister Member of Delta Sigma Theta. This is Melissa Harris-Perry speaking (not shooting) from the heart. She talks about my race of black folks being not safe in America. I hear this all the time. Blacks (especially black men) are the endangered species. Those of you who are non-black and think it’s all smoke and mirrors: SCREW THE MINDSET! This is our reality! This has been our reality. Some of the folks can’t relate enough of why this happens. Many think they do. But do they really? Yeah, at 36 years old, I get bugged by my parents about where I’m going or where have I been. I do. I get it. Why? I’m their child! I’m their son. And for those who think that Melissa is doing this for a mouthpiece for Barack Obama, SCREW THE MINDSET! Like the line from Boyz in the hood: “Either they don’t know, or don’t know what’s going on in the hood”. I’ll bet folks who like the right wing media of Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and the washed up Rocker Ted Nugent will never understand. Yeah I said washed up. Look at him. I can’t forget Rush Limbaugh too. And guess what also: I hate to go there but this includes Larry Elder. This is not about Race baiting. This is addressing a concern that is been around for far too long. We know it. I know it. The Fulton/Martin family knows it. Rachel Jeantel knows it. The families of Darius Simmons knows it. Marissa Alexander knows it. Derrick Williams’ family knows it. Bo Morrison’s family knows it. My family, friends, classmates, church members, community knows it. But we know it very, very deeply. Screw with the sensitivity mess, this is real. Real racism as it’s worst. This has fueled a new era for Civil Rights. Already in the same year in which the voting rights act of 1965 was shot down by our Supreme Court, which gave the opportunity for African-Americans a shot of equality for this in terms of voting. But no…..the barriers got in the way after 2012, when majority of my culture voted more in a Presidential Election than any other election year that I can’t recall.

And Melissa had a question also: what do we tell our children? How can my folks be safe (who are mostly young) without getting stopped or getting racially charged out?  Again, I don’t have any kids. I’m a single African-American male that just wants to be successful like any other American in the country. I had to go the extra mile and still going the extra mile just to achieve that notion. But yes I had racism and haterism stumbled in my path. I had folks cursing at me on some occasions, not just because I’m black, but also different. That has been around since I was a child. Growing up in the Milwaukee Public Schools, and being spotted by folks who don’t care! I’ve been told by my parents that when the cops pull you over if your license plate expires, show them the papers to avoid a ticket. That happened to me and I survived. Smoke and mirrors they say? This is hard for me to write, but I’m unleashing it like a dragon in heat. Yeah, racism in America is still beating like a drum. At times we tried to figured out the rhythm. But like most things, it can change it’s tune for another beat, but the song will still be the same.

I pondered this also: how does a beat change for the better?  It’s not an easy fix. But it sure it takes a lot of study. And I just found out that the month of July, is National Black Family Month. I can’t think of a better subject in regarding this matter in order to ask why and how.

On Twitter, I had to go to my music crate and had to pull out these songs in which I called – #easemymindplaylist:

  • What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
  • Freedom – Anthony Hamilton
  • Hard Times  – John Legend and the Roots
  • We Need a Resolution – Aaliyah
  • Our Generation (The Hope of the World) – John Legend and the Roots
  • Fight The Power – Public Enemy
  • How Can I Ease The Pain – Lisa Fletcher
  • You Gotta Be – Des’Ree
  • Waterfalls – TLC
  • Ain’t no love, in the heart of the city – Bobby Blue Bland
  • Storm – Lenny Kravitz
  • Searching for my soul – Amel Larrieux
  • Tell Me Why – Will Smith
  • Scream – Michael Jackson/Janet Jackson
  • No More Drama – Mary J. Blige
  • Won’t Back Down – Eminem
  • Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
  • Don’t Feel Right – The Roots
  • Dear Mr. Man – Prince

To conclude: in the words of Melissa Harris-Perry’s father and it’s real talk – the struggle continues.

I don’t know if anyone caught the news this morning, but apparently the SCOTUS probably doesn’t care about Voting Rights. Or maybe they do. In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court decided to strike down a key provisional element that prevents the discrimination portion to commence. Also the use of that, is really the decision in their words: “Outdated and Unconstitutional.”  Really?!

For those who don’t know, this act was a landmark decision in 1965 in which the act was made to made sure that the Voting Rights for all, including African-Americans were not to be discriminated when going to the voting booth. So technically this is the same “landmark voting act” in which Martin Luther King, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Rep. John Lewis,  and many other Civil Rights Activists went to the mat with the boots on the ground and fought and died for. And it was never passed nor processed. What I found it to be very shameful in today’s era in which Paula Deen was caught with N-Words with jokes! Well, what is my view of Paula Deen now? More on that later.

And I dare to ask, who is happy about this? If those who are happy about this,  I hate to say, but it’s time to go back to the woodshed! Back to the schools. The HARD OLD SCHOOLS in which you had to learn it from the ground up. Not just in the classroom. Many of the folks now probably don’t understand, nor don’t care about why stuff like this – like Clarence Thomas. Yeah, I pulled his name up because he favored it. This is the same Clarence Thomas that had run ins with Anita Hill back in 1991. Remember that trial? And over the years, he changed. Some say he changed like Stephen from Django Unchained or Uncle Ruckus from boondocks. Yeah I said it! And partially it was slapped in the face. According to Justice John Roberts, he noted that times have changed. But I often say that the more things change, the more things remain the same. Yeah, I also know by now that DOMA is getting struck down. But, I’m going to say this: I think that, along with the Gay/Lesbian rights Movement IS NO WHERE NEAR the Civil Rights Movement. I hate to say it, but it is. Now, don’t get me wrong. I respect the platform that the Gay/Lesbian folks are doing and expressing that notion. And no animosity from me who respect the cause. I don’t care about it. Let them have it. But they have to understand that the Civil Rights Movement in my view, built the road, built the table, or in this case, built the house for equality. Which also stood the bar for African-Americans to take part. And to you young folks who like to know what’s up in Milwaukee through my blogs on a different angle, are just trying to understand, go back and listen the elders. Don’t talk. Don’t comment. Don’t assume it’s well it was posted on Facebook and it’s all Cray. (I know what cray means) Don’t assume that it’s just for the older folks: GUESS WHAT! This could effect you also. And no, your favorite Social Media stuff will NOT SAVE YOU! This issue is bigger than what you think. Even bigger than Milwaukee’s Summerfest and the 110th Harley-Davidson Anniversary.

In a statement, President Barack Obama commented his view point:

“I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision today. For nearly 50 years, the Voting Rights Act – enacted and repeatedly renewed by wide bipartisan majorities in Congress – has helped secure the right to vote for millions of Americans. Today’s decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent.

“As a nation, we’ve made a great deal of progress towards guaranteeing every American the right to vote. But, as the Supreme Court recognized, voting discrimination still exists. And while today’s decision is a setback, it doesn’t represent the end of our efforts to end voting discrimination. I am calling on Congress to pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls. My Administration will continue to do everything in its power to ensure a fair and equal voting process.”

Elder Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. had to comment this on the real:

“Today is a sad day for America because a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court has undermined protection of voting rights for millions of citizens. Given all of the voter suppression we have seen in recent years, it is unconscionable for the majority to rule, in effect, that the Voting Rights Act is no longer needed. This ruling will go down in the history of jurisprudence in America as a betrayal of our democratic values.

Many Americans made great sacrifices, and some paid the highest price, to achieve the protection of voting rights that was provided by this historic legislation. We must press forward with ever-increasing resolve to restore the full protection of the Voting Rights Act and to secure federal, state and local government protection of voting rights for all Americans.

I call on congress to act swiftly to pass legislation to restore the Voting Rights Act to its full strength. If it takes a new era of citizen action to persuade congress to restore protection of our voting rights, then I encourage all Americans of conscience to rise to the challenge. Indeed, it is a challenge we must accept as we prepare to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the great dream my father shared with the world on that occasion.”

Even Al Sharpton on MSNBC commented that King’s dream, in regarding this: “Canceled”.  Yep. Those who have marched and had the boots on the ground from Montgomery to Selma, to the March on Washington and others that had a hand in the Voting Rights Act, are either rolling over in the graves or in discontent beyond belief. And stuff like this keeps slipping with excuses.

And again – The 4th of July is around the corner. Is this the expression of Independence, or that so-called right of being Americans? Really?! We all going learn today!

Well, guess what also. 2014 is next year. And yes it’s a voting year. If you feel that those who are 18 and up, that is not happy. VOTE! I don’t care if you vote in person or absentee: VOTE. Either you stand in line, or get an Absentee Ballot in the Mail, Email or Digital, VOTE!

And one more thing: CALLOUT – This what happens when and if you don’t vote, you don’t count!

Today is February 1st, 2012. The first day of Black History Month 2012 which is one of the most recognized (and not racist) celebrations on the calendar.

But today we lost a legend who was indeed a legend with soul. You know the name Don Cornelius. And know the name of Soul Train. Just so you know that I was born in the 70’s when the show came out. I did watched the footages in later years when it was in it’s peak during the eighties and nineties until 1993. And an additional 13 years until 2006. But Soul Train wasn’t just a show. It was a statement. There were times that my African-American folks had to bust down doors and borders to make way. Lots of us know probably don’t know that. But what I have learned that Soul Train was the black side of American Banstand, and stood the standard for standing up proudly. No matter if it was the 70’s with the funk music of James Brown. The R&B music such as Aretha Franklin, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & The Pips, and The Four Tops. The 80’s in which artists like Grandmaster Flash, LL Cool J, Run DMC, Fab 5 Freddy,  and Shalamar came out.The late 80’s and  The 90’s of course had hip hop with Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg. Until 2006, it was passed to Shemar Moore to command the ship.

The dancers from Rosie Perez, Cheryl Song (aka the Asian lady with the long hair) Nelson George, Jody Watley, and all have made their mark. Of course I talk about Yo MTV Raps and others. But Soul Train to me was the blueprint for those other shows. Never forget the Soul Train line! Some of you probably do soul train line at your weddings, dinner functions, picnics, class reunions. Admit it! You have soul now! The name Soul Train has grown from a show to Award Shows. Even it was endorsed by Afro Sheen Hair Products, a first for African-Americans commercials.

Technically, Soul Train opened new endeavors. In which most of us, and especially African-Americans to learn and appreciate the value.  It also opened the door more for Hip Hop, and also yes, Caucasian artists like David Bowie, Elton John and yes Teena Marie. It opened the door to fashion from the Afros, to the Braids, to the High Top Fades. From the Bell Bottom Pants to Hip Hop Jeans. From  Local to National. From Hosting to Producing.

Talk about Love, Peace and Soul. It was important to have that then, and is what is needed now. Especially in 2012. We need to have the Love, Peace and Soul monkier in Milwaukee, where 50% of African-American Men are not working based on variety of issues. Including Racism. We need “Love Peace & Soul” NOW  in ways to mend fences, stop poverty, get healthy, and more importantly ending the constant bickery, mockery, and insane tyraids against those we don’t understand nor things that we don’t comprehend at times that are neutral in American culture. EVEN if it’s against President Obama, or against the new right to vote with Voter ID’s.

Don Cornelius ran his race. He ran it for 75 years. Part of his years during the Civil Rights Movement, was dedicated to Soul Train. Which overall, in my book, had his soul to shine.