Archive for the 'Deeper thought' Category

26
Jul
11

What is Amy Winehouse (in case you didn’t know)! RANT or REVIEW?

Nelson George’s 1987 book, The Death of Rhythm and Blues is a must read for anyone that might, even, begin to construct an opinion on the state of today’s black music.  In the book, Mr. George cites the failure of the black culture to preserve ANYTHING, from family heirlooms to family or cultural traditions or customs and thus separating ourselves from our past as one of the main reasons that true Rhythm & Blues no longer exist.  Subsequently, we leave all of our cultural treasures to be embraced and preserved  by others as we search for that new thing (btw, what the hell is neo (which means new) soul?).  Case in point, take the blues for example, let’s say B.B. King for example, go to one of his shows and who do you see in the audience.  Ask anyone in Texas and they’ll tell you that Stevie Ray Vaughn is the King of the blues.  Hell, I ain’t gone lie, I love hearing Eric Clapton when he hits his blues gear.

Call it what you will, but R&B is just R&B.  So when people attach the British R&B label to Amy Winehouse, I call bullshit.  Amy Winehouse is JUST  R&B.  Amy Winehouse is more R&B than most so-called R&B singers in America today, and for anyone not to have acknowledged that just because her outer casing ain’t what you think it should be, well I simply revoke you’re right to an opinion.  We’ve abandoned that Classic R&B  for a diluted hybrid version known as R&B Hip Hop.  Rhythm and Blues is a style; it is  well crafted lyrics that does a careful dance with the accompanyment, and is never over cooked.  Hip hop has opened a door and ushered in watered down lyrics and subjects as complex as a 2nd grader can understand with the vulgarity of a Compton Crip.  Search any list of best R&B songs for 2007 (the year of Winehouse’s Back to Black album) and see if you can find a mere mention of “Some Unholy War”, you won’t.  I’ll assure you, though, that you’ll find Monica’s “Sideline Ho” pretty high up on the list.  SIDEBAR: I’m a huge fan of the t shirt line “Smart is the new gangsta”.  As you can tell, i give no passes for the follies of youth. Translation:  being young is no excuse for stupid.  Did Hip Hop also usher in “stupid shit” is vogue?  I’m just saying.  Consider that Winehouse pinned every song on Back to Black before she was 22 years old, especially when listening to “Love is a Losing Game”.  Takes me back to the Burt Bacharach pinned Dionne Warwick songs of the 60’s and 70’s and other than Lauren Hill and a handful of other acts, I hadn’t heard much that good since then.  Perhaps I could grant a pass or two for the church singers out there disguising themselves as R&B singers, if they’ll promise that they’ll at least work on not overcooking every damn thing.  Remember, both Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye were preachers kids, and what they did in there day was straight up Rhythm & Blues, they never oversang the lyric.  Like I said, R&B is a style.  It was derived from gospel… but it AIN’T gospel.  I love some good gospel just like the next person but when I want to hear R&B, I ain’t necessarily trying to hear Marvin Sapp or Kim Burrell sing it.

Where am I going with this rant?  I’m merely suggesting that Nelson George add an addendum to his 1987 book.  Perhaps I am suggesting that R&b may have not been totally dead, but had been living on a respirator over the last few years by the name of Amy Winehouse.  R&B is a a treasured institution and like the pyramids of egypt, it should be protected so that it remains undefiled.  Amy Winehouse has been an I.V. to R&B like Jonny Lang as been to Blues.  She has been respectful of this treasure and careful to protect it.  Tragically she, herself, was left unprotected.  Amy Winehouse  simply got it. She was the total package. It is as if Amy had channeled into a supernatural and picked up the spirits of R&B’s past. Unfortunately, not only did she tap into the qualities that made all of the performers of yesteryear so iconic, she tapped into the demons that destroyed several of them, as well.  Perhaps I am suggesting that this time, Rhythm and Blues might really be dead.

23
Jan
11

What is..ENJOY THE VIDEO, PROCESS THE MESSAGE, AND THEN GO TO CHANGE.ORG AND SIGN THE PETITION!

If you missed my album listening event….
As we all know one of the biggest reasons to party is creeping up, the SuperBowl. SuperBowl is the United States version of “Carnival”, anything goes as long as you are having fun. Each year at SuperBowl, thousands of women, men and children are trafficked to the SuperBowl for the purpose of providing sexual pleasure for their perpetrators and making thousands upon thousands of dollars for their pimps. Yes, even children are trafficked for sex. There was a child rescued from this horrific atrocity at the last SuperBowl.  Please go to change.org and sign Traffick911’s petition requesting that Dallas’ SuperBowl committee help them take a stand against the darkness that is descending on the city. We applaud the committees each year for helping clean up some of the poorest neighborhood’s in the hosting city. Thank you, but let’s really clean up our cities! Visit www.traffick911.com to learn more about how you can help, every donation helps to save a poor child from being victimized and forced into the brutal life of sexual brutality, prostitution and pornography. As a citizen of Dallas/Fort Worth area, I am asking for your help. Let’s set the precedent for change and the example for all the SuperBowls, hereafter, to follow!
26
Nov
10

What is Traffick 911!

If you’re like most Americans, you probably aren’t aware that our own children are being forced into sexual slavery right under our noses. It’s an epidemic, growing at an alarming rate with the explosion of the Internet. Sadly, this growing tragedy is happening across our country in big cities and rural areas alike.

Each year, 100,000-300,000 U.S. children are forced into this evil industry for the profit and pleasure of their perpetrators. In fact, human trafficking is already the second-largest and fastest growing criminal activity in the world. It’s anticipated it will shortly overtake drugs as the No. 1 crime because you can sell a drug once, but you can sell a person over and over. They sell these children 10, 20 or more times a night.

I was horrified when I learned of this brutalization of innocent children and  wanted to make sure you are aware of it, too. These children are voiceless. Let’s come together and be their voice. And, let’s protect our own children. Most of us think something like this could never touch our families, but it can happen to any child.

This issue is urgent. Once a child is forced into it, his or her average life expectancy is just 7 short years. We must act now. Learn more by visiting www.traffick911.org or by following Traffick911 on facebook or on Twitter.

The scope is huge, but, together, we can make a difference one child at a time.

02
Nov
10

What is the gap!

This post was inspired by an article that I ran across with the headlines “Gap-toothed woman are in vogue.”  Oh really?  “In vogue, like… we get a season?  It never ceases to amaze me that at given times certain  “looks” are more in vogue than others. You hear the songs talking about ” light skin” being in, “dark skin” being out, tall dark and handsome being the preference for sistahs; “yellow bones being the preference for brothas, on and on it goes. I, even read, an article that El Debarge was bringing  ” light skinned back” with the looks that he equates are a  version similar to Clark Gable’s. I remember a recent conversation with one very well known rapper (even more World Famous than I) stopping to recompose himself after initiating a conversation with me that started with, “I just came from the dentist and got every space in my mouth closed up.”  Just recently, even more ,to my surprise was the recent attention that gap-toothed chicks are receiving. I read a blog that mentioned that now gaps are in vogue and that the models during Paris’ Fashion Week were sporting them just as confidently as they were sporting the latest runway fashions. The article speaks to the fact that the “mid-line diastema” has become intriguing as we become more tired with “cookie cutter” beauty(Btw, i learned that this ‘mid-line diastema’ is the dental term for the gap). As a result, the models, during this season’s Fashion Week, did not feel the usual pressure to “correct” this current beauty marker. I guess what I appreciate about myself is that I do not subscribe to the notion that any one look is more “en vogue” than another. I have always appreciated what was not “cookie cutter”. I remember having a crush on the lady on the original 1970’s “Electric Company”.  That same lady was used as cover art on one of my favorite GAP band albums.  Over the years, when the diastema was not vogue, one could not deny that Pam Grier, Susan Taylor, Madonna etc. were attractive women, moreover, it was probably that “diastema” that made them so appealing. Growing up, I recall how beautifully my Aunt Donda, (Kanye’s mother) sported her gap with that infectious smile that could light up any room. I inherited that same gap, so I guess my looks in vogue. Hope us, gap havers don”t go out of style anytime soon!

18
Jun
10

What is “Congress Dedicates Plaques Acknowledging Slaves Who Helped Build Capitol”

WASHINGTON — African-American slaves sweated in the summer heat and shivered in the winter’s cold while helping to build the U.S. Capitol.

Congress took note of their service and sacrifice Wednesday by erecting commemorative plaques inside the Capitol in their honor. Lawmakers said the memorials will ensure that the contributions of slaves in building one of the world’s most recognizable buildings are never again forgotten.

“In remembering the slaves who labored here, we give them in death some measure of the dignity they were so cruelly denied in life,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said at the plaques’ unveiling.

The plaques read: “This original exterior wall was constructed between 1793 and 1800 of sandstone quarried by laborers, including enslaved African Americans who were an important part of the workforce that built the United States Capitol.”

Lawmakers have been looking for ways to honor the slaves who were used in the construction of government buildings, including the Capitol and the White House.
Continue reading ‘What is “Congress Dedicates Plaques Acknowledging Slaves Who Helped Build Capitol”’

14
May
10

What is Bilal … “Airtight’s Revenge”

Back on my “state of the industry” soapbox, but this time I’m letting Bilal do the talking.  After fulfilling his obligation with Interscope, he is now with an independent label that he says allows him to “experiment … and do what’s inside of me and follow my own ear and spirit.”  He goes on to say that Interscope would “totally dumb down everything for mass production and mass sales.”  Dumb down? For WHO? Mass?  Who is that?  That’s YOU (or US)!!  That must mean that they think we’re DUMB!!  I hate it when someone attempts to insult my intelligence!!

I’ll say it again.. support our independent artist and always support those that are consciously trying to deliver pure and uncut “good” music.  Go purchase Bilal’s new LP, Airtight’s Revenge.

21
Apr
10

What is an Achilles tendon rupture! just asked Beckham, Tiger, Kalin Lucas, Memet Okur, etc., etc.,

This year on the 10th of January, I suffered a rupture of the Achilles tendon in a G.O.O.D. Music crew “pick- up” basketball game in Honolulu ( Jan 12 blogpost).  I had recently had a conversation with someone, I don’t remember who, when or where, about an Achilles rupture and I remembered it being an injury about which I understood very little.  I recall the eery feeling I had felt when the conversation drifted into a vivid description of the severed tendon crawling up the back of one’s leg and then having to be surgically pulled back together and sewn.  I remember thinking that it must be something very uncommon because I couldn’t remember anyone I had known to have ever experienced it.  I remember remembering that conversation the instant I fell to the court.  Anyway, what had happened wuz..  Cousin Ricky was bout to inbound the ball from the half court line (in a full court game) and I’m playing ‘D’ on Kanye who was the closest player to him.  I’m anticipating the pass and thinking I’m gonna break on the pass and make the interception and head the other way, but the moment I shifted my weight to the front left foot to make the move, it popped.  I don’t even think I moved – it was like I was thinking about moving.  It felt like either someone had hit me with a bat or a ninja had run up the back of my leg.  My first thought was that someone was getting “a little over zealous out here”.  Who did that ?!” Everyone was looking like, “What the hell he talkin ’bout?” I wasn’t buying it,  so I said it again, “Who kicked me?”  I looked around and everyone else was still in the same spot as they were before the play had started…. because the play had never started. That’s when I knew what I knew…

The myth of Achilles is an interesting one.  Here’s Wikipedia’s version: Thetis, Achilles mother was informed in the state when Achilles was a baby, that in one of his battles he would die from an arrow. Thetis being only a mother, did not want her son to die. So Thetis took Achilles to a river and dipped his body into the magical river; holding him by the heel. But Achilles’s heel would be unprotected because the water did not touch it. The magical river was supposed to release its powers to someone who touched it in a specific spot, and would only work on that spot making who ever touched it invulnerable. So as he grew up, Achilles grew to be a man of war. He survived many great battles. But one day an arrow was shot to his heel, killing him instantly. Therefore destiny is destiny and shouldn’t be over-looked. But in his years people will remember Achilles as one of the greatest fighters who ever lived.

I remembered the emergency room personnel saying that everyone who had suffered that injury described the sensation exactly as I had.  I remember random strangers, countless times, say how they had experienced the same injury, while playing tennis or basketball. How could this be?   I remembered thinking it was maybe like when you buy a black Mini Cooper with racing stripes (you know I’m obsessed with those cars), you instantly start to see black Mini Coopers with racing stripes, everywhere.

So last month  in a soccer match, David Beckham tore his Achilles, completely!  No World Cup for Super Dave!  A few days later, Michigan State basketball star Kalin Lucas ruptured his, just as the NCAA tournament began.  No Championship dreams for Sweet Lu!  Recently, as Tiger Woods embarked on his comeback, he revealed that he had suffered a rupture of his Achilles in 09 and still played??  I don’t know how in the hell he did that. maybe it was just a nick.. nonetheless, uncanny!  Game 1 of the Utah vs. Denver N.B.A. playoff series, Utah center Memet Okur goes down… ruptured Achilles tendon… Good luck Jazz..

So where am I going with this?… frankly, I don’t know but, I do believe that such occurences sweep through the universe in waves  and a season of Achilles ruptures seem to be on the land.  Also, Achilles was supposedly invincible and wore a coat of armour for additional protection, yet still an arrow to the heel, the only exposed area of his, otherwise, inpenetratable body killed him!  A chink in the armour.

The lifestyle of an entertainer is a fast one lived in fast cities and airports.  Sometimes multiple countries in a day.  It’s a lifestyle that could easily give someone a feeling of invincibility.  Okay, I think I may have my bearings now.  That Achilles rupture… that little snap in that little bitty heel that renders you, ummm, basically cripple is a symbolic occurence.  There’s a chink in all of our armour, somewhere. It’s been four and a half months now and the strength in my left leg is still only about fifty per cent, I still can’t do a toe raise, I still have  a slight limp, can’t run or jump and the left calf muscle is only half the size of the right one. I remember sloooooowing down, not by choice, but slowing down so much that I saw life a different way, seeing things that you just don’t see when your moving fast.  I seem to notice the small details now and that’s a good thing… but I can’t wait to run again!!!






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