Saturday, February 28, 2009
James Joseph Brown, Jr. was an American entertainer. He is recognized as one of the most influential figures in 20th century popular music and was renowned for his vocals and feverish dancing.
As a prolific singer, songwriter, dancer and bandleader, Brown was a pivotal force in the music industry. He left his mark on numerous artists. Brown's music also left its mark on the rhythms of African popular music, such as afrobeat, jùjú and mbalax,and provided a template for go-go music.
Brown began his professional music career in 1953 and rose to fame during the late 1950s and early 1960s on the strength of his thrilling live performances and string of smash hits. In spite of various personal problems and setbacks he continued to score hits in every decade through the 1980s. In addition to his acclaim in music, Brown was also a presence in American political affairs during the 1960s and 1970s.
Brown was recognized by numerous titles, including Soul Brother Number One, Sex Machine, Mr. Dynamite, The Hardest Working Man in Show Business, The King of Funk, Minister of The New New Super Heavy Funk, Mr. Please Please Please Please Her, The Boss and foremost the Godfather of Soul.
James Brown's performances were famous for their intensity and length. His own stated goal was to "give people more than what they came for — make them tired, 'cause that's what they came for.'" Brown's concert repertoire consisted mostly of his own hits and recent songs, with a few R&B covers mixed in. Brown danced vigorously as he sang, working popular dance steps such as the Mashed Potato into his routine along with dramatic leaps, splits and slides. In addition, his horn players and backup singers (The Famous Flames) typically performed choreographed dance routines, and later incarnations of the Revue included backup dancers. Male performers in the Revue were required to wear tuxedoes and cummerbunds long after more casual concert wear became the norm among the younger musical acts. Brown's own extravagant outfits and his elaborate processed hairdo completed the visual impression.
A James Brown concert typically included a performance by a featured vocalist, such as Vicki Anderson or Marva Whitney, and an instrumental feature for the band, which sometimes served as the opening act for the show. Although Brown released many live albums, Say It Live & Loud: Live in Dallas 08.26.68, released by Polydor in 1998, was one of only a few audio recordings that captured a performance of the James Brown Revue from beginning to end.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, James Brown was renowned for his work with social activism. In 1966, he released the single "Don't Be a Drop-Out" as a lesson to young students who had thoughts of dropping out. He later made public speeches in front of dozens of children and advocated the importance of education in school. In 1967, he issued a patriotic single, "America is My Home", which was a "rap" about how he felt people, particularly in the African-American community, were neglecting the country that he said "could give (them) opportunities" explaining how at one time he was shining shoes and the next, he was greeting the President of the United States as he did when President Lyndon B. Johnson thanked him for donating money to school drop-out prevention programs.
A year later, he performed in front of a televised audience in Boston the day after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.. Brown is often given credit for preventing rioting with the performance. However, it was Mayor Kevin White who strongly restrained the Boston Police from cracking down on minor violence and protests after the assassination, and Boston religious and community leaders who worked to keep tempers from flaring. Also, White arranged to have the performance broadcast multiple times on Boston's public television station, WGBH, thus keeping many potential rioters off the streets, watching the concert for free. Brown demanded $60,000 for "gate" fees (money he thought would be lost from ticket sales on account of the concert being broadcast for free), and then threatened to go public about the secret arrangement when the city balked at paying up after the concert, news of which would have been a political death-blow to White, and possibly sparked riots on its own. White successfully lobbied the behind-the-scenes power-brokering group known as "The Vault" to come up with money for Brown's gate fee and other social programs; The Vault contributed $100,000 to such programs, and Brown received $15,000 from them via the city. White persuaded management at the Boston Garden to give up their share of receipts to make up the difference.
On December 23, 2006, James Brown, in ill health, showed up at his dentist's office in Atlanta, Georgia several hours later than his appointment for dental implant work. During that visit, Brown's dentist observed that Brown looked "very bad ... weak and dazed." Instead of performing the dental work, the dentist advised Brown to see a doctor right away about his medical condition.
Brown checked in at the Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia on December 24, 2006 for a medical evaluation of his condition, and he was admitted to the hospital for observation and treatment. According to Charles Bobbit, Brown's longtime personal manager and friend, Brown had been sick and suffering with a noisy cough since he returned from a November trip to Europe. Bobbit also added that it was characteristic of Brown to never tell or complain to anyone that he was sick, and that Brown frequently performed during illness. Although Brown had to cancel upcoming shows in Waterbury, Connecticut and Englewood, New Jersey, Brown was confident that the doctor would discharge him from the hospital in time to perform the New Year's Eve shows.
For the New Year's celebrations, Brown was scheduled to perform at the Count Basie Theatre in New Jersey and at the B. B. King Blues Club in New York, in addition to performing a song live on CNN for the Anderson Cooper New Year's Eve special. However, Brown remained hospitalized, and his medical condition worsened throughout that day.
On December 25, 2006, Brown died at approximately 1:45 AM EST from congestive heart failure resulting from complications of pneumonia, with his agent Frank Copsidas and his friend Charles Bobbit at his bedside.According to Bobbit, Brown uttered "I'm going away tonight", and then Brown took three long, quiet breaths before expiring.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Robert George "Bobby" Seale (born October 22, 1936, in Dallas, Texas), is an American civil rights activist, who along with Huey P. Newton, co-founded the Black Panther Party For Self Defense on October 15, 1966.
Seale was one of the three children born to his mother a homemaker, and his father, a carpenter, in the segregated South of Dallas, Texas. After moving to various places within Texas, his family relocated to Oakland, California during World War II. Seale attended Oakland High but dropped out and joined the U.S. Air Force. He spent three years in the Air Force before being kicked out for disobeying orders given to him by a colonel in South Dakota at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Upon his arrival back in Oakland, Seale began working at different aerospace plants as a sheet metal mechanic and attending night school to earn his high school diploma.
In 1962, at the age of 25, Seale began attending Oakland City College, located on Grove Street, near the Berkeley city limits, where he would join the Afro-American Association (AAA) and as a result meet Huey Newton, later his co-founder of the Black Panther Party. Seale and co-member Newton became increasingly skeptical about the direction of the AAA, and in particular, the AAA's tendency to analyze rather than act on the problems facing black Americans.
Both Seale and Newton, heavily inspired by Malcolm X, a civil rights leader assassinated in 1965, and his teachings, joined together in October 1966 to create the Black Panther Party for Self Defense and adapt the slain activist's slogan “Freedom by any means necessary” as their own. Seale became the chairman of the Black Panther Party and underwent FBI surveillance as part of its COINTELPRO program.
Bobby Seale was one of the original "Chicago Eight" defendants charged with conspiracy and inciting to riot, in the wake of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, in Chicago. Judge Julius Hoffman sentenced him to four years of imprisonment for contempt because of his outbursts, and eventually ordered Seale severed from the case, hence the "Chicago Seven". During the trial, one of Seale's many outbursts led the judge to have him bound and gagged, as commemorated in the song "Chicago" written by Graham Nash and mentioned in the poem and song "H2Ogate Blues" by Gil Scott-Heron.
Seale was put on trial again in 1970 in the New Haven Black Panther trials. Several officers of the Panther organization had "executed" a fellow Panther, Alex Rackley, because they believed he was informing for the FBI. The leader of the murder plan, George Sams, Jr., turned state's evidence and testified that he had been ordered to kill Rackley by Seale himself, who had visited New Haven only hours before the murder. The jury was unable to reach a verdict in Seale's trial, and the charges were eventually dropped. The New Haven trials were widely decried as an example of political repression by such relative moderates as Yale University president Kingman Brewster, Jr., and were accompanied by a large demonstration in New Haven on May Day, 1970, which coincided with the beginning of the American college student strike of May, 1970.
In more recent years, Seale’s actions differ greatly from the radical ones of his past. In 1987, he authored a cookbook called Barbequing with Bobby and was also a spokesman for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. In 2002, Seale began dedicating his time to Reach!, a group focused on youth education programs. Also, he currently teaches black studies at Temple University in Philadelphia and is also launching an instructional, nonprofit group helping people develop the necessary techniques and tools to set up community organization within their neighborhoods.
The trial of the Chicago Eight was depicted in the 1987 HBO television movie Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8, whose script relied heavily upon transcripts from the court proceedings. Seale was portrayed by actor Carl Lumbly.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Sirah has got an ill, raw flow. She's a tiny thing, but with a voice that greatly outweighs her size. Sirah stays in LA but is from New York, and shows it to the fullest.
Here's her bio:
Sirah was birthed from Van Halen, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, Joni Mitchell, and Sam Cooke. Her father on the road touring in a Rock 'n Roll band fed her music that would one day inspire her to meld together song writing abilities of a poetic nature, and couple that with her affinity for hip-hop. At the age of twelve sirah started battle rapping; however slowly changed courses and grew into poetry. Spoken word was a lovely change of pace, since her voice was hard-hitting and her conviction apparent; however she couldn't stop there. At the ripe age of eighteen Sirah battoned down and went full force into the colorful and controversial world of MCing. Sharing stages and working with some of your favorite rappers, she has toured through countries such as Germany and Romania, also treking through Canada and most of the U.S. As of November 6th, 2007 Sirah & DJ Hoppa of Broken Complex Records released, 'Clean Window's Dirty Floor's. Sirah spent this Summer on Warped Tour, and is now working on her first album which is as ecclectic as she is. The nature of Sirah, which is the instrument that transcribes her music, could best be desribed as a young woman coming up in New York, with devastation biting at her heels, and the world in cupped palms. Those of you in Los Angeles can find her at local dive bars rapping/belting kareoke, at underground hip hop shows drinking water, in a bookstore riddled with hippies, on the bus (even though she's got a car), at your local coffee shop pretending to write a script, or eating sushi with the natives. Want to know the girl behind the music?
I first saw Simply Kat when she was an adolescent, spitting at A Mic & Dim Lights. It's hosted by Besskepp and takes place in Pomona, CA. Kat is a highly passionate poet and is not shy about her words. She is constantly making appearances on the spoken word scene and has mastered the art of slamming.
Here's her bio:
Simply Kat first stepped to a mic at age 17, and ever since then she has commandeered the stage with her heartfelt words, spirited presence, and universal topics. She captivates audiences from young to old, performing for group homes, colleges, festivals and everything in between. Kat has performed for numerous collegesfrom east coast to west coast such as U.C.L.A, U.S.C., Sarah Lawrence, PACE University, Whitman College, etc., etc., just to name a few. Not only does she seek to entertain but to educate. As an active member of A Mic in Dim Lites Alumni Collective she has conducted workshops based on the arts of writing and dance for local group homes, high schools, and summer camps to make an effort to improve literacy rates and creativity within the younger generation. Her work has been aired on radio stations such as 100.3 the beat, college radio from California to Hawaii, and KJLH. She performed for the taping of Def Poetry Jam and can be seen in documentary film, “SPIT”. At age 21 Kat decided to enter her first slam and was successful in attaining a position on the 2005 Hollywood Slam team. Since then she also has gained the title of Slam Champion of the Highways theater poetry slam 2006 and 2008 and won a spot on the 2006, 2008 Hollywood slam team and 2007 Los Angeles Slam Team. Kat has featured at numerous poetry venues across the country and continues to rock crowds no matter what the demographics of the audience. She is currently working on several projects such as a play entitled “Corner sweet”, a children’s book (Noahlani the Dancing Lion). Simply Kat strives to be limitless in her talents, but poetry still remains her first love. “Born with a Voice, Raised on a Mic, Feed with Style, Clothed in Truth…what else could I do but Poetry
Dick Gregory (born Richard Claxton Gregory on October 12, 1932) is an American comedian, social activist, writer and entrepreneur.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Dick Gregory is an influential American comic who has used his performance skills to convey to both white and black audiences his political message on civil rights. Influenced to stand up for civil rights by his early surroundings of poverty and violence, Gregory became the first comedian to successfully perform for both black and white audiences.
As a poor student who excelled at running, Gregory was aided by teachers at Sumner High School such as Warren St. James and earned a track scholarship to Southern Illinois University Carbondale. There he set records as a half-miler and miler. His college career was interrupted by two years in the U.S. Army where he got his start in comedy, entering and winning several Army talent shows at the urging of his commanding officer, who had taken notice of his penchant for joking.
After completing military service, he performed as a comedian in small, primarily black nightclubs while working for the United States Postal Service during the daytime. In 1961, while working at the Black-owned Roberts Show Bar in Chicago, he was hired by Hugh Hefner to work at the Chicago Playboy Club after Hefner heard him wow a largely-white audience with the following routine:
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I understand there are a good many Southerners in the room tonight. I know the South very well. I spent twenty years there one night.
Last time I was down South I walked into this restaurant and this white waitress came up to me and said, "We don't serve colored people here." I said, "That's all right. I don't eat colored people. Bring me a whole fried chicken."
Then these three white boys came up to me and said, "Boy, we're givin' you fair warnin'. Anything you do to that chicken, we're gonna do to you." So I put down my knife and fork, I picked up that chicken and I kissed it. Then I said, "Line up, boys!" 
Active in the civil rights movement, he came to Selma, Alabama and spoke for two hours on a public platform two days before the voter registration drive known as "Freedom Day" (October 7, 1963) (Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train [Beacon Press, 1994; rev. ed. 2002], p. 58).
Dick Gregory's first TV appearance was on the Jack Paar late night show. He soon began appearing nationally and on television and his 1964 autobiography, Nigger, has sold ten million copies. At the same time, he became more involved in struggles for civil rights, activism against the American War in Vietnam, economic reform, anti-drug issues, conspiracy theories, and others. As a part of his activism, he went on several hunger strikes. Gregory began his political career by running against Richard J. Daley for the mayoralty of Chicago in 1967. Though he did not emerge victorious, this would not prove to be the end of Dick Gregory's dalliances with electoral politics.
Dick Gregory at the Miami Book Fair International of 1984
Gregory unsuccessfully ran for President of the United States in 1968 as a write-in candidate of the Freedom and Peace Party, which had broken off from the Peace and Freedom Party. He won 47,097 votes (including one from Hunter S. Thompson) with fellow activist Mark Lane as his running mate in some states, David Frost in others, garnering more than the party he had left. The Freedom and Peace Party also ran other candidates, including Beulah Sanders for New York State Senate and Flora Brown for New York State Assembly. His efforts landed him on the master list of Nixon political opponents.
He then wrote Write Me In about his presidential campaign. One interesting anecdote in the book related the story of a publicity stunt which came out of Operation Breadbasket in Chicago where the campaign had printed $1 bills with Gregory's image on them. Some of these bills made it into circulation in cash transactions causing considerable problems, but priceless publicity.
The majority of these bills were quickly seized by the Federal Govt. A large contributing factor to the seizure came from the bills resembling authentic US currency enough that they worked in many dollar cashing machines of the time. Gregory avoided being charged with a federal crime, later joking that the bills couldn’t really be considered US currency because everyone knows a black man will never be on a US bill.
On July 21, 1979, Gregory appeared at the Amandla Festival where Bob Marley, Patti LaBelle and Eddie Palmieri, amongst others, had performed. Gregory held a speech before Marley's performance, blaming President Carter and the political failures, and showed his support for the international Anti-Apartheid movements. Gregory and Mark Lane did landmark research into the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which helped move the U.S. House Assassinations Committee to investigate the murder along with that of John F. Kennedy. Lane was author of conspiracy theory books such as Rush to Judgment. The pair wrote the MLK conspiracy book Code Name Zorro, which postulated that convicted assassin James Earl Ray did not act alone.
Gregory was an outspoken activist during the US Embassy Hostage Crisis in Iran. In 1980 he traveled to Tehran to attempt to negotiate the hostages' release and engaged in a public hunger strike there, weighing less than 100 pounds (45 kg) when he returned to the United States. In 1998 Gregory spoke at the celebration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Clinton was in attendance. Not long after that, the President told Gregory’s long-time friend and PR. Consultant, Steve Jaffe, “I love Dick Gregory, he is one of the funniest people on the planet.” They spoke of how Gregory had made a comment on Dr. King’s birthday that broke everyone into laughter, when he noted that the President made Speaker Newt Gingrich ride “in the back of the plane,” on an Air Force One trip overseas.
According to a June 2000 JET Magazine interview, Gregory stated that he was diagnosed with lymphoma in late 1999. Gregory reported that he was treating the cancer with herbs, vitamins and exercise which he believes has kept the cancer in remission.
Since the late 1980s, Gregory has been a figure in the health food industry by advocating for a raw fruit and vegetable diet. Gregory first became a vegetarian in the 1960s, and has lost a considerable amount of weight by going on extreme fasts, some lasting upwards of 50 days. He developed a diet drink called "Bahamian Diet Nutritional Drink" and went on TV shows advocating for his diet and to help the morbidly obese. He is probably best remembered for his attempts, chronicled in the media on daytime talk shows in early 1988, at helping 1,200 pound Long Island man Walter Hudson drop nearly 600 pounds in only a few months on a liquid diet.
Gregory married his wife Lillian in the 1960s, and they now have ten children. One of his sons, Dr. Christian Gregory, is a private Chiropractor at Advance Family Chiropractic. As of 2008, he resides in Washington, DC.
At a Civil Rights rally marking the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Gregory criticized the United States, calling it "the most dishonest, ungodly, unspiritual nation that ever existed in the history of the planet. As we talk now, America is 5 percent of the world's population and consumes 96 percent of the world's hard drugs", Gregory said.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
My first memory of Lena Horne was as Glenda the good witch in The Wiz. She was very beautiful and had an amazing voice. Since then, I've checked out some of her previous works. She's had a wonderful career!
Lena Mary Calhoun Horne (born June 30, 1917) is an American singer and actress. She has recorded and performed extensively, independently and with other jazz notables, including Artie Shaw, Teddy Wilson, Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington, Charlie Barnet, Benny Carter, and Billy Eckstine. She currently lives in New York City and no longer makes public appearances.
In the fall of 1933, Lena Horne joined the chorus line of the Cotton Club in New York City. In the spring of 1934, she had a featured role in the Cotton Club Parade. A few years later she joined Noble Sissle's Orchestra and toured with this orchestra. After she separated from her first husband, Lena Horne toured with bandleader Charlie Barnet in 1940-41, but disliked the travel and left the band to work at the Cafe Society in New York. She replaced Dinah Shore as the featured vocalist on NBC's popular jazz series The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street. The show's resident maestros, Henry Levine and Paul Laval, recorded with Horne in June 1941 for RCA Victor. Horne left the show after only six months to headline a nightclub revue on the west coast; she was replaced by Linda Keene.
Lena Horne already had two low-budget movies to her credit: a 1938 musical feature called The Duke is Tops (later reissued with Horne's name above the title as The Bronze Venus); and a 1941 two-reel short subject, Boogie Woogie Dream, featuring pianists Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons. Horne's songs from Boogie Woogie Dream were later released individually as Soundies. Horne was primarily a nightclub performer during this period, and it was during a 1942 club engagement in Hollywood that talent scouts approached Horne to work in pictures. She chose Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the most prestigious studio in the world, and became the first African American performer to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio.
She made her debut with MGM in 1942's Panama Hattie and became famous in 1943 for her rendition of "Stormy Weather" in the movie of the same name (which she made at 20th Century Fox, on loan from MGM). She appeared in a number of MGM musicals, most notably Cabin in the Sky (also 1943), but was never featured in a leading role due to her race and the fact that films featuring her had to be reedited for showing in states where theaters could not show films with African American performers. As a result, most of Horne's film appearances were stand-alone sequences that had no bearing on the rest of the film, so editing caused no disruption to the storyline; a notable exception was the all-black musical Cabin in the Sky, though even then one of her numbers had to be cut because it was considered too suggestive by the censors. "Ain't it the Truth" was the song (and scene) cut before the release of the film Cabin in the Sky. It featured Lena Horne singing "Ain't it the Truth," while taking a bubble bath (considered too "risque" by the film's executives). This scene and song are featured in the film "That's Entertainment III", which also features commentary from Lena Horne on why the scene was deleted prior to the film's release.
In Ziegfeld Follies (1946) she performs "Love" by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane.
Horne wanted to be considered for the role of Julie LaVerne in MGM's 1951 version of Show Boat (having already played the role when a segment of Show Boat was performed in Till the Clouds Roll By) but Ava Gardner was hired to play the part (the production code office had banned interracial relationships in films). In the documentary That's Entertainment! III Horne stated that MGM executives required Gardner to practice her singing using recordings of Horne performing the songs, which offended both actresses (ultimately, Gardner ended up having her singing voice overdubbed by another actress (Annette Warren (Smith)) for the theatrical release, though her own voice was heard on the soundtrack album).
Horne also is noteworthy for her contributions to the Civil Rights movement. In 1941, she sang at Cafe Society and worked with Paul Robeson, a singer who also combated American racial discrimination. During World War II, when entertaining the troops for the USO, she refused to perform "for segregated audiences or to groups in which German POWs were seated in front of African American servicemen", according to her Kennedy Center biography. She was at an NAACP rally with Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi the weekend before Evers was assassinated. She was at the March on Washington and spoke and performed in behalf of the NAACP, SNCC and the National Council for Negro Women. She also worked with Eleanor Roosevelt to pass anti-lynching laws.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Every day up until the show, I will be covering someone from the lineup. Last night the homies BP & Odds had an ill interview with Mike Nardone on 88.9 KXLU, which is a radio station at Loyola Marymount University. Nardone hosts a long-time hiphop show called We Came From Beyond. It was a really dope interview. They did well with plugging the event as well. Check the audio and video of the show below. Also, cop their album, Hi's & Lo's. Also, holla at Buttonpusha for your graphic design needs. He hooked up the flyer. Peace!
BP & Odds on We Came From Beyond
Cop the album here!
Ok, so I recently saw a friend with a gold blackberry. I was like yo, where did you get that?? He told me about this website, Colorware. Apparently the site custom paints the casing for smart phones, ipods, hd televisions, and computers. You have the option of sending your devices in, or else they will send you custom painted casing.
For phones, you can paint the back, bottom, frame, and camera surrounding. The website is interactive to where you can choose what colors you would like and it will show you how it would look.
It surely ain't cheap. I was checking it out for the Bold, and for parts only, it's $149. To send in, it costs $189. They also sell the actual phones. For a brand new phone custom painted, it's $735.
I love my BB, but I would never spend that much money just to customize the colors. And I wouldn't dare try and paint it myself. This is for those hardcore headz yo
Muhammad Ali to most boxing enthusiasts is known as the greatest fighter ever. I've watched many of Ali's fights and I see why. He just ran through opponents.
Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He was named after his father, Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr., who was named for the 19th century abolitionist and politician Cassius Clay. Ali changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam in 1964, subsequently converting to Sunni Islam in 1975 and then Sufism.
Ali was known for his fighting style, which he described as "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee". Throughout his career Ali made a name for himself with great handspeed, as well as swift feet and taunting tactics. While Ali was renowned for his fast, sharp out-fighting style, he also had a great chin, and displayed great courage and an ability to take a punch throughout his career.
Muhammad Ali defeated almost every top heavyweight in his era, which has been called the golden age of heavyweight boxing. Ali was named "Fighter of the Year" by Ring Magazine more times than any other fighter, and was involved in more Ring Magazine "Fight of the Year" bouts than any other fighter. He is an inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and holds wins over seven other Hall of Fame inductees. He is also one of only three boxers to be named "Sportsman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated.
In 1978, three years before Ali's permanent retirement, the Board of Aldermen in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky voted 6–5 to rename Walnut Street to Muhammad Ali Boulevard. This was controversial at the time, as within a week 12 of the 70 street signs were stolen. Earlier that year, a committee of the Jefferson County Public Schools considered renaming Central High School in his honor, but the motion failed to pass. At any rate, in time, Muhammad Ali Boulevard—and Ali himself—came to be well accepted in his hometown.
He was the recipient of the 1997 Arthur Ashe Courage Award.Ali was officially diagnosed with Parkinson's Syndrome in 1984 by Dr. Stanley Fahn after seeing several doctors in the early 1980s. Despite the disability, he remains a beloved and active public figure. Recently he was voted into Forbes Celebrity 100 coming in at number 13 behind Donald Trump. In 1985, he served as a guest referee at the inaugural WrestleMania event. In 1987 he was selected by the California Bicentennial Foundation for the U.S. Constitution to personify the vitality of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights in various high profile activities. Ali rode on a float at the 1988 Tournament of Roses Parade, launching the U.S. Constitution's 200th birthday commemoration. He also published an oral history, Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times by Thomas Hauser, in 1991. Ali received a Spirit of America Award calling him the most recognized American in the world. In 1996, he had the honor of lighting the flame at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I love peanut butter, so George Washington Carver is definitely the man to me! I just hope I don't die from all of this salmonella madness. Haha...read on.
George Washington Carver was an American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor whose studies and teaching revolutionized agriculture in the Southern United States. The day and year of his birth are unknown; he is believed to have been born before slavery was abolished in Missouri in January 1864.
Much of Carver's fame is based on his research into and promotion of alternative crops to cotton, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops both as a source of their own food and as a source of other products to improve their quality of life. The most popular of his 44 practical bulletins for farmers contained 105 food recipes that used peanuts. He also created or disseminated about 100 products made from peanuts that were useful for the house and farm, including cosmetics, dyes, paints, plastics, gasoline, and nitroglycerin.
In the Reconstruction South, an agricultural monoculture of cotton depleted the soil, and in the early 20th century the boll weevil destroyed much of the cotton crop. Carver's work on peanuts was intended to provide an alternative crop.
In addition to his work on agricultural extension education for purposes of advocacy of sustainable agriculture and appreciation of plants and nature, Carver's important accomplishments also included improvement of racial relations, mentoring children, poetry, painting, and religion. He served as an example of the importance of hard work, a positive attitude, and a good education. His humility, humanitarianism, good nature, frugality, and lack of economic materialism also have been admired widely.
One of his most important roles was in undermining, through the fame of his achievements and many talents, the widespread stereotype of the time that the black race was intellectually inferior to the white race. In 1941, Time magazine dubbed him a "Black Leonardo", a reference to the white polymath Leonardo da Vinci. To commemorate his life and inventions, George Washington Carver Recognition Day is celebrated on January 5, the anniversary of Carver's death.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
James Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri. His mother was a school teacher, she also wrote poetry. His father, James Nathaniel Hughes, was a storekeeper. He had wanted to become a lawyer, but he had been denied to take the bar exam. Hughes's parents separated and his mother moved from city to city in search of work. In his rootless childhood, Hughes lived in Mexico, Topeka, Kansas, Colorado, Indiana and Buffalo. Part of his childhood Hughes lived with his grandmother. At the age of 13 he moved back with his mother and her second husband. Later the family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where Hughes's stepfather worked in the steel mills. During this period Hughes found the poems of Carl Sandburg, whose unrhymed free verse influenced him deeply. After graduating from a high school in Cleveland, Hughes spent a year in Mexico with his light-skinned father, who had found there a release as a successful cattle rancher from racism of the North. On the train, when he returned to the north, Hughes wrote one of his most famous poems, 'The Negro Speaks of Rivers'. It appeared in the African-American journal Crisis (1921). As an adolescent in Cleveland he participated in the activity of Karamu Players, and published in 1921 his first play, THE GOLDEN PIECE in 1921.
Supported by his father, Hughes entered in the early 1920s the Columbia University, New York. For the permanent disappointment of his father, Hughes soon abandoned his studies, and participated in more entertaining jazz and blues activities in nearby Harlem. Disgusted with life at the university and to see the world, he enlisted as a steward on a freighter bound to West Africa. He traveled to Paris, worked as a doorman and a bouncer of a night club, and continued to Italy.
After his return to the United States, Hughes worked in menial jobs and wrote poems, which earned him scholarship to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. According an anecdote, Hughes was "discovered" by the poet Vachel Lindsay in Washington. Lindsay was dining at the Wardman Park Hotel, where Hughes worked as a busboy, and dropped his poems beside the Lindsay's dinner plate. Lindsay included several of them in his poetry reading. It prompted interviews of the "busboy poet". Hughes quit his job and moved to New York City.
In 1929 Hughes received his bachelor's degree. He was celebrated as a young promising poet of the generation, publishing his poetry in Crisis (1923-24) and in Alain Locke's anthology The New Negro (1925). His first book of verse, THE WEARY BLUES, supported by Carl Van Vechten, appeared in 1926. "My news is this: that I handed The Weary Blues to Knopf yesterday with the proper incantations. I do not feel particularly dubious about the outcome: your poems are too beautiful to escape appreciation. I find they have a subtle haunting quality which lingers in the memory and an extraordinary sensitivity to all that is kind and lovely." (from Van Vechten's letter to Hughes in Remember me to Harlem, ed. by Emily Bernard, 2001) Hughes valued Van Vechten's criticism and dedicated him his second collection of poetry, FINE CLOTHES TO THE JEW (1927). Their correspondence, which lasted until Van Vechten's death in 1964, was published in 2001. The Weary Blues assimilated techniques associated with the secular music with verse, while its content reflected the lives of African-Americans. "Drowning a drowsy syncopated tune, / Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon, / I heard a Negro play. / By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light / He did a lazy sway... / He did a lazy sway..." (from 'The Weary Blues,' the title poem of the collection)
Hughes was considered one of the leading voices in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s His first novel, NOT WITHOUT LAUGHTER (1930), Hughes wrote with the financial support of Charlotte Mason, a wealthy white woman. The book had a cordial reception and Hughes bought a Ford. He toured the colleges of southern America as a teacher and poet.
Hughes was one of the first black authors, who could support himself by his writings. In the 1930s Hughes traveled in the Soviet Union, Haiti, and Japan. During his visit in the Soviet Union, to write the English dialogue for a film about black American workers, he had also an affair with an Oriental ballerina. Hughes's poem 'Goodbye, Christ', written during the journey, was attacked by a right-wing religious group in the 1940s. Although Hughes decided to repudiate the poem publicly, he also embraced radical politics, publishing a collection of satiric short stories, THE WAY OF WHITE FOLKS (1943), and returned to satire and racial prejudices later in LAUGHING TO KEEP FROM CRYING (1952) and SOMETHING IN COMMON (1963). Hughes emphasized the importance of African culture and shared Du Bois's belief that renewal could only come from an understanding of African roots.
by Brian Bruce
A Sista's Poem and a Brother's Response
Do you qualify to be the man I need you to be?
Will you be able to recognize the things you
need to see? Will you be able to understand, that
I'm a good woman and in my life I need a good man?
Do you qualify?
Do you qualify to fertilize my unproduced seeds?
Can you fulfill, as I can, all of our needs?
Can you put me in my place if you see I am slippin'?
Can you talk to me, wholeheartedly, not
Do you qualify?
Do you qualify to be called all mine?
Can you leave the other women and temptations
behind? Can you come to me with your problems and
not wait until it's too late?
Can you stand up and admit if you made a mistake?
Do you qualify?
Do you qualify to be the honest ebony man I
would want you to be?
Would you be able to look me in my eyes and
admit your feelings to me?
Could you take me in your arms and make love to
me all night long?
Can you be sensitive and still be strong?
Do you qualify?
Do you qualify to be my friend as well as my
lover? Can you put our love before any other?
Can you cherish me as if I were Diamonds &
Gold? Can you make me feel like I'm the last
woman you'll ever hold?
Do you qualify?
Do you qualify to be called a GOD fearing man?
If I have doubts can you reassure me and understand?
Can your love intoxicate me as if I were High?
To be in my life, I need to know,
The Brother's Response:
You ask, do I qualify.
Can I fulfill your needs and become the man you need me to be?
My sister, are you prepared for what you've asked for?
Can you handle the responsibility?
Can you accept that, by GOD, I am the chosen
one, the authority, the comforter, and the head?
Will you submit and willingly follow my path?
As I am GOD lead?
Or will you fight with me instead?
If I am your King, will you treat me as such?
Will I get the best of your beauty and poise?
Or will I be subjected to an appearance
neglected, and checked with some serious noise?
When I talk, will you listen?
I mean whole heartedly and feel me?
Or will you rush me just to make your point too?
Can I be the man at all times? Even when it hurts?
Or is it just when it's convenient for you?
Can you love me for me, and not who you wish I could be?
Will you see the strong Black Man within?
Or will you always remind me of the all
the past brothers behind me and make me pay for their sins?
If I don't send you flowers the day your co-worker
received some, will you know that I love you still?
Or will my good name be uttered along with those other doggish brothers?
Will you question if my commitment is real?
Will you be patient and teach me to understand you,
and allow my knowledge of your needs to grow?
Or will you shut me out when I ask, Baby
Or will you respond with, "Well a REAL man would know!"
When we first met, what was it that caught your
eye? Was it my mind, my heart, my personality?
Or was it my suit, or my job, or do you love
what I drive, instead of what's driving me?
Yes I can, and I will, make love to you from midnight to the dawning of the sun.
But, if I tell you I'm tired, will you trust
I'm sincere or believe that there must be another one?
My sister, I love you and my heart can be yours. No woman could lead me astray.
But like you, I have needs, so I beg of you, please, in this love thang meet me half way.
In life's tough times I'll hold you, in the rough times I'll mold you;
your simplest wish will be my command.
My life is yours if need be.
Yes you can fully bleed me, and when hell comes, in your place, I'll stand.
A good relationship is a powerful institution that must be built on a foundation of two.
GOD FIRST AND THEN MY LOVE FOR YOU.
So to answer your question,
YES sister, I do qualify.
Now, more importantly...do you?
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Michael Jordan was the illest that ever hit the courts. I'm glad to have been old enough to see Jordan's entire career. MJ's will to win was unparalleled. Happy belated birthday to MJ. He turned 46 yesterday.
Michael Jeffrey Jordan is a retired American professional basketball player and active businessman. His biography on the National Basketball Association (NBA) website states, "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time." Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.
After a stand-out career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Jordan joined the NBA's Chicago Bulls in 1984. He quickly emerged as one of the stars of the league, entertaining crowds with his prolific scoring. His leaping ability, illustrated by performing slam dunks from the free throw line at Slam Dunk Contests, earned him the nicknames "Air Jordan" and "His Airness." He also gained a reputation as one of the best defensive players in basketball. In 1991, he won his first NBA championship with the Bulls, and followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a "three-peat." Though Jordan abruptly retired from basketball at the beginning of the 1993-94 NBA season to pursue a career in baseball, he rejoined the Bulls in 1995 and led them to three additional championships (1996, 1997, and 1998) as well as an NBA-record 72 regular-season wins in the 1995–96 season. Jordan retired for a second time in 1999, but he returned for two more NBA seasons in 2001 as a member of the Washington Wizards.
Jordan's individual accolades and accomplishments include five MVP awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game appearances and three All-Star MVP, ten scoring titles, three steals titles, six NBA Finals MVP awards, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He holds the NBA record for highest career regular season scoring average with 30.12 points per game, as well as averaging a record 33.4 points per game in the playoffs. In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press's list of athletes of the century. He is currently a finalist to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Jordan is also noted for his product endorsements. He fueled the success of Nike's Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1985 and remain popular today. Jordan also starred in the 1996 feature film Space Jam. He is currently a part-owner and Managing Member of Basketball Operations of the Charlotte Bobcats in North Carolina.
Monday, February 16, 2009
So the 2009 NBA All-Star game for the most part was pretty damn boring. It started off competitive, then the West took over and never looked back, with a 146-119 spanking of the East. Kobe was on fire from the jump, finishing with 27 points. Shaq put up 17 in only 11 minutes. Shaq had the illest play of the night in which he played the perimeter and passed the ball to Chris Paul through Dwight Howard's legs and then threw it down on a give and go. So, before it was announced, I mentioned that they would probably give Kobe and Shaq both the MVP award, which indeed is what happened.
That performance will warrant a million more rumors of Shaq's possible return to Lakerland, but I'd rather not take him back. He's old and he makes too much money, and we'd have to give up Lamar for him, so no thank you.
It's obvious that Shaq wishes that he was back in LA based on all of the comments he made over the weekend, but Kobe has also made it obvious that he'd rather not take it back. I'll give it up to the big man for his intro coming out with the Jabbawockeez. He held it down up there. But Shaq, just stay in Phoenix. It would have been nice had you never left, but it is what it is yo.
I actually met Nina Simone when I was a baby. Not that I can remember, but my mom has told me the story quite a few times about Nina. My dad actually had her over his apartment back in the day. I believe she was an acquaintance of my dad's roommate. Anyways, she was not all that enamored with being left alone in a room with me, some random baby. So she threw a hissy fit about it. Also, she was not pleased with the wine that was served to her and proceeded to throw it on the carpet. Now Nina was an ultimate diva with a bad attitude, but she was also one of the best musicians of all time, and a political activist.
Eunice Kathleen Waymon, better known by her stage name Nina Simone (IPA: [ˈniːnə sɨˈmoʊn]) (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), was a fifteen-time Grammy Award-nominated American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger and civil rights activist.
Although she disliked being categorized, Simone is generally classified as a jazz musician. Simone originally aspired to become a classical pianist, but her work covers an eclectic variety of musical styles besides her classical basis, such as jazz, soul, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop music. Her vocal style is characterized by intense passion, a loose vibrato, and a slightly androgynous timbre, in part due to her unusually low vocal range which veered between the alto and tenor ranges (occasionally even reaching baritone lows). Sometimes known as The High Priestess of Soul, she paid great attention to the musical expression of emotions. Within one album or concert she could fluctuate between exuberant happiness or tragic melancholy. These fluctuations also characterized her own personality and personal life, worsened by bipolar disorder with which she was diagnosed in the mid-1960s, but was kept secret until 2004.
Simone recorded over 40 live and studio albums, the biggest body of her work being released between 1958 (when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue) and 1974. Songs she is best known for include "My Baby Just Cares for Me", "I Put a Spell on You", "I Loves You Porgy", "Feeling Good", "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", "Sinnerman", "To Be Young, Gifted and Black", "Ain't Got No/I Got Life" and "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl".
Her music and message made a strong and lasting impact on culture, illustrated by the numerous contemporary artists who cite her as an important influence (among them Mary J. Blige, Elkie Brooks, Alicia Keys, Jeff Buckley, John Legend, Lauryn Hill and Peter Gabriel). Many hip hop and other modern artists sample and remix Simone's rhythms and beats on their tracks. In particular, Talib Kweli and Mos Def routinely pay tribute to her outstanding and soulful musical style. Many of her songs are featured motion picture soundtracks as well, including but not limited to, the The Big Lebowski (1998), Notting Hill (1999), The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), Before Sunset (2004) and Sex and the City (2008).
Sunday, February 15, 2009
The Chef has got a new banger out, off the mixtape Blood On Chef's Apron. Of course we all want Only Built For Cuban Linx 2 already, but I guess the mixtape will do for now. Download below.
Below is the video of Nate chilling with D Howard before the competition and then dunk that sealed the deal.
James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens was an American track and field athlete. He participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he achieved international fame by winning four gold medals: one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump, and as part of the 4x100 meter relay team.
In 1936 Owens arrived in Berlin to compete for the United States in the Summer Olympics. Adolf Hitler was using the games to show the world a resurgent Nazi Germany. He and other government officials had high hopes German athletes would dominate the games with victories (the German athletes did indeed achieve a top of the table medal haul). Meanwhile, Nazi propaganda promoted concepts of "Aryan racial superiority" and depicted ethnic Africans as inferior.
Owens surprised many by winning four gold medals: On August 3, 1936 he won the 100m sprint, defeating Ralph Metcalfe; on August 4, the long jump (later crediting friendly and helpful advice which led him to triumph over German competitor Luz Long); on August 5, the 200m sprint; and, after he was added to the 4 x 100 m relay team, his fourth on August 9 (a performance not equaled until Carl Lewis won gold medals in the same events at the 1984 Summer Olympics).
Just before the competitions Owens was visited in the Olympic village by Adi Dassler, the founder of Adidas. He persuaded Owens to use Adidas shoes and it was the first sponsorship for a male African-American athlete.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Ray Charles was definitely a musical genius. Ray Charles Robinson, known by his stage name Ray Charles, was an American pianist, singer, and songwriter who shaped the sound of rhythm and blues. He brought a soulful sound to country music and pop standards through his Modern Sounds recordings, as well as a rendition of "America the Beautiful" that Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes called the "definitive version of the song, an American anthem — a classic, just as the man who sung it. Frank Sinatra called him "the only true genius in the business".
In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Charles number ten on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and also voted him number two on their November 2008 list of The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Idle Warship "Black Snake Moan" from The ICU on Vimeo.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Black Star @ the House of Blues 2/09 from gregthedude on Vimeo.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Yolande Cornelia "Nikki" Giovanni (born June 7, 1943) is a Grammy-nominated American poet, activist and author. Giovanni is currently a Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech. She has been teaching writing and literature at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA since 1987, and is a Distinguished Professor of English. Giovanni taught the Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho in a poetry class. She described him as "mean" and, when she approached the department chair to have Cho taken out of her class, said she was willing to resign rather than continue teaching him. She stated that, upon hearing of the shooting, she immediately suspected that Cho might be the shooter. On April 17, 2007, at the Virginia Tech Convocation commemorating the April 16 Virginia Tech massacre, Giovanni closed the ceremony with a chant poem, intoning:
On August 21, 2007, The Tennessean reported that Giovanni is returning to her alma mater as a distinguished visiting professor at Fisk University As well as teaching a writers workshop for about thirty students one day a week, Giovanni also wants to hold a workshop for the general public in order to reach out to the community. She will maintain her position at Virginia Tech.
The civil rights and black power movements inspired her early poetry that was collected in Black Feeling, Black Talk (1967), Black Judgement (1968), and Re: Creation (1970). She has since written more than two dozen books including volumes of poetry, illustrated children's books, and three collections of essays.
Giovanni's writing has been heavily inspired by African American activists and artists. She has a tattoo with the words "Thug life" to honor Tupac Shakur, whom she admired. Her book Love Poems (1997) was written in memory of him, and she has stated that she would "rather be with the thugs than the people who are complaining about them."She also tours nationwide and frequently speaks out against hate-motivated violence. At a 1999 Martin Luther King Day event, she recalled the 1998 murders of James Byrd, Jr. and Matthew Shepard: "What's the difference between dragging a black man behind a truck in Jasper, Texas, and beating a white boy to death in Wyoming because he's gay?"
Those Who Ride the Night Winds (1983) acknowledged notable black figures. Giovanni collected her essays in the 1988 volume Sacred Cows...and Other Edibles. Her most recent works include Acolytes and On My Journey Now.
In 2004 Giovanni was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards for her album "The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection." She also featured on the track Ego Trip By Nikki Giovanni on Blackalicious' 2000 album Nia. In November 2008, a song cycle of her poems, Sounds That Shatter the Staleness in Lives by Adam Hill, was premiered as part of the Soundscapes Chamber Music Series in Taos, New Mexico.