Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Information about Life.

50 years later is a long time. On that day (on October 16, 1968), 2 courageous black men stood up for justice during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. They rose their fists up in the air to protest racial oppression and advocate for social justice. They suffered threats, discrimination, and the hardships of their livelihoods. Still, they never wavered in their commitment to human freedom. Their actions inspired us who are black people. We black Americans love our noble heritage and our resiliency. They also encouraged freedom loving people of every color. They inspired us in the strength of their outstanding convictions. They showed the power of Blackness in the full array. No one could stop them. They knew that they would be victors of the race in the top three finishers. Tommie Smith and Juan Carlos were the men who stood up in protest. Before Kaepernick, before Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, and before other NFL players kneeling, there were Tommie Smith and John Carlos. Smith was part of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR). The OPHR was a human rights organization. These men were the victims of poverty, and they wanted actions that would eliminate racism, poverty, and all of the evils found in this society. At first, Smith wanted a boycott of the Olympics unless different measures existed. Dr. King, before he died, wanted this 1968 Olympic boycott. Later, Carlos and Smith decided to go into the Olympics as a way for them to oppose inequality and injustice. Peter Norman (from Australia) was in support of Smith and Carlos. He won the silver medal during the games, and he wore an OPHR badge. When Peter passed away, Smith and Carlos came to the funeral as his pallbearers. Tommie Smith and John Carlos are legends (of the Black Power movement and the human rights movement). Their salutes with their fists changed history, and we salute their courageous sacrifice for our Brothers and our Sisters.

When I was in my 20's, I heard of Keyshia Cole's music all of the time. She was born in Oakland, California and she personified the power of exceptional talent. Inescapable power defines her voice. It's was her Birthday recently, and she is 36 years old. She was one of the few people who met both MC Hammer when she was 12 and later Tupac Shakur. When she was 16, she was involved in the local youth organization called the East Oakland Youth Development Center or EOYDC. The Way It Is was her debut album from 2005. Famous songs from her include I Changed My Mind, Love, and Never. The album Just Like You came about in 2007. Her singing gift is also about the flexibility of her majestic voice, and her music relates to the experiences of working-class human beings (especially in describing the real-life situations of women) who have been through the rain and the storm. Her songs readily have stories about heartbreak involving romance and finding the power to move forward in desiring a resolution in life. Yes, the way that she wore her cornrow braids is very fly. She admitted that she is inspired by Tupac Shakur, Mary J. Blige, Antia Baker, Brandy, Monica, and other artists. She has also praised other hip-hop artists like Queen Latifah, Big Daddy Kane, Kid 'n Play, Ll Cool J, and other musicians. Touring and performing more music are actions that relate to her life. I wish Sister Keyshia Cole more blessings.

The world economy is still very fragile. There is economic growth, but tons of workers work 2 or 3 jobs to survive. Income inequality has not radically declined, and the super wealthy control the vast majority of the wealth in America. A Just Capital study of the largest 1,000 U.S. firms found that 57 percent of the overall tax cut windfall went to shareholders, compared to only 7 percent that went to workers in bonuses or benefits. There is a trade war between America and China causing increased costs for many goods and services. When American economic growth is so reliant on other nations, an extended trade war will cause long-term damage to the U.S. economy. There is an increase in interest rates by the Fed. Also, the stock market has declined in over 1,000 points in 2 days. While Trump is opposed to Medicare for all, most industrialized nations have universal health care saving millions of lives every single day. Trump, Graham, and other reactionaries slander protesters as the "mob" when what these protesters are doing is exercising their First Amendment rights. They desire to expose an oligarch like Kavanaugh, and they do not want corruption to ruin democratic values.

Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion for humanity and wanted black people to experience freedom. She was born in Montgomery County, Mississippi in 1917. To know about black history in America and the Civil Rights Movement in general, you have to know about Mississippi. Mississippi is the land of black sharecroppers. Mississippi is the land of blood. That blood was of the blood shed by our Brothers and Sisters who just wanted liberty in the world. Medgar Evers also is from Mississippi at Decatur. Fannie Lou Hamer grew up as a sharecropper. She was religious. By the 1950's, she worked heavily in the Civil Rights Movement. She was threatened, she was beaten, and she was cursed at. Yet, her courageousness was inspirational. She was a black woman on a mission to promote the creed of justice for the human race. She confronted those in power from racist sheriffs to the President of America. Back in 1964 (which was before my time, but my parents were alive then), she spoke at the Democratic National Convention to promote seats for the MFDP delegation (who wanted to reject the seats from the Democratic white supremacists from Mississippi). In her speech, she condemned racism and exhorted America to live up to the ideals of human liberty and justice. During this time in 2018, our rights are threatened daily by people who care more for privilege, financial gain, and bigotry instead of human rights and tolerance. Fannie Lou Hamer was a leader and an organizer. She was part of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). Hamer worked with SNCC. She was a leader of Freedom Summer back in 1964 in Mississippi to organize the registration of voters. She was vital in getting laws passed and she opposed the Vietnam War as unjust (which it was). Also, she promoted anti-poverty measures like cooperatives to assist the lives of the suffering. She lived until 1977, and her legacy is golden and forthrightly powerful.
Rest in Power Sister Fannie Lou Hamer.

Many lawsuits are existing now that are fighting for health care (since the Trump regime wants to eliminate protections given to people with pre-existing conditions), fighting against pollution, and fighting against the xenophobic Muslim ban. In essence, Montesquieu was right to set the standard of the separation of powers, so one branch of government would not reign supreme over the other branches. We have an executive branch authoritatively dominating our society with little regulation. We see an insecure, racist, xenophobic, and sexist male who praises Robert E. Lee and uses vulgar language to describe black people who disagree with him including protesters. Therefore, this male (i.e., Donald Trump) is an enemy of democracy and an enemy of freedom loving people of the world. Graham is another snake. He once claimed to be against Trump, and we knew he was a liar. Today, he is one of the President's greatest supporters. McConnell is a hypocrite who wants his way and desires only GOP dominance over Congress. A party that is overt in claiming that a woman's testimony about Kavanaugh doesn't matter, that claims that immigrants should be placed in internment camps based upon their lack of documentation, and believes that cops can use stop and frisk against black people is a disgraceful party.

By Timothy



Monday, October 15, 2018

Trump and Women

Motown's Influence.

The illustrious cultural black American powerhouse of Motown exhibited excellent talent. Its history is extensive. Its music has been iconic for decades and influences today’s music near 2020 as well. It started with Berry Gordy Jr. He borrowed $800 from his family saving club (called Ber-Berry Co-op) to start Tamla Record Company in Detroit, Michigan. This event took place in 1959. Berry Gordy was once a songwriter for local Detroit acts like Jackie Wilson and the Matadors. Wilson’s single called “Lonely Teardrops” was written by Gordy. Later, the Motown record label established itself on January 12, 1959. Motown had an important role in causing many artists to have success, and it was the soundtrack (along with other music from Stax Records, and other record companies) of the Civil Rights Movement. Motown showed the power of the universality of music and the great cultural excellence of African Americans. Hitsville U.S.A. studio was the recording studio of early Motown artists. The Motown song was a style of soul music that made people dance. Joy and excitement consumed crowds when individuals listened to Motown music. The sound used tambourines to make the backbeat. It had melodic guitar lines and melodic plus chord structure. Motown included a call and response singing style that started from gospel music. The Funk Brothers helped with the cultivation of the Motown song too. During the 1960’s, Motown had 79 records in the Top Ten of the Billboard Hot 100 record chart between 1960 and 1969. Motown immediately grew fast. Its first hit was the song, "Money (That's What I Want)." which was sung by Barrett Strong. Berry Gordy Jr. and Janie Bradford wrote the song. Motown signed the Matadors who became the Miracles. Several of Gordy's family members, including his father Berry Sr., his brothers Robert and George, and sister Esther, were given key roles in the company. By the middle of the decade, Gwen and Anna Gordy had joined the label in administrative positions as well.  Esther Gordy Edwards was the Senior Vice President in charge of International Talent Management, Inc. This event took place in 1960. In the same year, the Marvelettes, Marvin Gaye, and Mary Wells signed with Motown. Mary Wells recorded “Bye, Bye, Baby” on Motown label. Early Motown artists included Mable John, Eddie Holland, and Mary Wells. The Miracles featuring Smokey Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Ron White, Pete Moore, and Claudette Robinson recorded the first Motown record to sell one million copies. The record was called “Shop Around.” Motown went to the Music Publishing Awards too where Jobete received an honor.

In 1961, the Temptations signed with Motown. They were once called the Elgins. Stevie Wonder signed with Motown in the same year too. Eddie Holland’s record “Jamie” is released on the Motown label written by Mickey Stevenson and Barrett Strong. The style of Jackie Wilson influenced the song. The Marvelettes release, “Please Mr. Postman,” by Brian Holland, Freddie Gorman, Robert Bateman, William Garrett, and Georgia Dobbins, on the Tamla label. This song was the first Motown song to reach the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart. The Vice President of Motown was Smokey Robinson in 1962. By 1962, The Motor town Revue left Detroit to tour the East Coast and South. Groups included in the tour were: the Miracles, Martha and the Vandellas, the Supremes, Mary Wells, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Contours, the Marvelettes, and the Choker Campbell Band. The Contours released “Do You Love Me,” which was written for the Temptations in 1962. As Gordy was unable to locate the group, Contours got the song. Mary Wells had a hit with “You Beat Me to the Punch,” written by Smokey Robinson. It reached #1 on the R&B chart and #9 on Billboard’s Pop chart in 1962. By 1963, disc cutting machines existed to cause demos to be on a record. Mary Wells was on American Bandstand with Dick Clark. Martha & the Vandellas were nominated for “(Love Is Like) A Heatwave,” written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Edward Holland, Jr. In 1963, Stevie Wonder performed at the Olympia Music Hall in Paris, France for a two-week engagement. In 1964, Motown’s Artist Personal Development Department started. This program allowed Motown artists to learn etiquette and other forms of presenting themselves to the wider public. Maurice King, Maxine Powell, and Cholly Atkins worked with the artists. By 1965, Motown employed 125 people. Motown reached into new heights by the mid-1960's.

Motown launched its international label, Tamla-Motown, in London, England back in 1965. The Temptations tape “Ready, Steady, Go” television show in England, and Brenda Holloway performed with the Beatles on their North American Tour in 1965. Temptations had its #1 hit with “My Girl,” written by William “Smokey” Robinson and Ronald White of the Miracles back in 1965 too. The Temptations reached into new heights after that song existed. Motown released its first eight-track tapes. Five Motown releases reached #1 on the top ten pop charts including “I Can’t Help Myself” by the Four Tops and “Stop In The Name of Love” by the Supremes in the same year of 1965. Norman Whitfield started to produce the Temptations in 1966. By 1966, Motown grossed $20 million. Gladys Knight and the Pips, Tammi Terrell, and the Isley Brothers signed with Motown in 1966. Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson signed with Motown as staff writers in 1966. Motown purchased another studio called Golden World Records (Studio B) and acquired Edwin Starr in that acquisition. In 1967, Motown had five labels called Tamla, Motown, Gordy, Soul, and V.I.P. Stevie Wonder toured Europe. Martha and the Vandellas recorded “Jimmy Mack” on the Gordy label back in 1967. Diana Ross & the Supremes performed at Expo 67, the group’s name changed to reflect Diana as lead. In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., recorded the album “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam” on Motown’s Black Forum record label, and he spoke out against the war in New York. Dr. King advocated racial, economic, and social justice without apology. In 1967, more than 150,000 people protested the war in Washington, D.C. A fifth label, Soul, featured Jr. Walker & the All Stars, Jimmy Ruffin, Shorty Long, the Originals, and Gladys Knight & the Pips (who had found success before joining Motown, as "The Pips" on Vee-Jay).

In 1968, Vice President, public relations, Mike Roshkind accompanied Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, and Martha and the Vandellas on a Far East Tour. Motown moved its headquarters from West Grand Blvd. to a new downtown office location at 2457 Woodward Avenue at the Fisher Freeway in the same year. In 1968, Marvin Gaye’s version of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” hit #1 on the pop chart. Suzanne de Passe worked for Motown as Mr. Gordy’s Creative Assistant. The Supremes met Queen Mother. Under Norman Whitfield’s production of more psychedelic-based material, The Temptations released “Cloud Nine.” This record was known as part of “psychedelic soul." Motown had 5 of the Top 10 records on the Billboard Magazine chart in 1968. Holding the number 1, 2, & 3 positions for an entire month. The Jackson Five performed at the Daisy Disco in Los Angeles with an introduction by Diana Ross in 1969. Michael Jackson was the lead singer of the group, and Michael Jackson later became an international superstar in his own right. In the same year of 1969, The Temptations’ “I Can’t Get Next To You” reached #1 on the pop chart. Motown senior vice president Esther Gordy Edwards met with Motown licensees in Czechoslovakia, Romania, Finland, Austria and also visited Russia. In 1970, Berry Gordy and entertainer and recording artist Sammy Davis, Jr., started Ecology record label. Motown addressed the issues of the Vietnam War with the release of “Guess Who’s Coming Home, Black Fighting Men Recorded Live in Vietnam", on Black Forum label. Edwin Starr released “War”, written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong in 1970. Motown signed the rock act Stoney and Meatloaf on the Rare Earth label. In 1971, Stevie Wonder turned 21 and signed a more comprehensive and lucrative contract with Motown, and Michael Jackson appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone. The new Supremes (Jean Terrell, Cindy Birdsong, and Mary Wilson) appeared on the David Frost Show in 1971. In the same year of 1971, Sly and the Family Stone record “Family Affair.” Motown established branch offices in both New York City and Los Angeles during the mid-1960's, and by 1969, Motown had begun gradually moving more of its operations to Los Angeles. Gordy initially rejected several tracks that later became critical and commercial favorites; the two most notable being the Marvin Gaye songs "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "What's Going On.”

In 1972, Motown moved headquarters from Detroit to Hollywood, California, so they left branch office in Detroit at Hitsville, U.S.A. The songwriting/production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland left over pay disputes, so this situation of moving took place.  By this time, Motown loosened its production rules, allowing some of its longtime artists the opportunity to write and produce more of their material. More independence resulted in the recordings of successful and critically acclaimed albums such as Marvin Gaye's What's Going On (1971) and Let's Get it On (1973), and Stevie Wonder's Music of My Mind (1972), Talking Book (1972), and Innervisions (1973). Some artists, among them Martha Reeves, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and Motown's Funk Brothers studio band, either stayed behind in Detroit or left the company for other reasons. By re-locating, Motown aimed chiefly to branch out into the motion-picture industry, and Motown Productions got its start in film by turning out two hit-vehicles for Diana Ross: the Billie Holiday biographical film Lady Sings the Blues (1972), and Mahogany (1975). Other Motown films would include Scott Joplin (1977), Thank God It's Friday (1978), The Wiz (1978) and The Last Dragon (1985). Ewart Abner, who allied with Motown since the 1960's, became its president in 1973. Despite losing Holland–Dozier–Holland, Norman Whitfield, and some of its other hitmakers by 1975, Motown had many hit records. In 1972, Suzanne DePasse became corporate director of Motown Productions, which produced “Lady Sings the Blues,” a movie about the life of blues vocalist Billie Holiday starring Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams, and Richard Pryor. The Commodores signed with Motown and opened for the Jackson Five. The Four Tops released “(It’s The Way) Nature Planned It." MCA Inc. controlled Motown later on. Motown still had many successful artists during the 1970's and 1980's, including Lionel Richie and the Commodores, Rick James, Teena Marie, the Dazz Band, Jose Feliciano, and DeBarge. Motown started to lose money by the mid-1980’s. During the 1990's, Motown was home to successful recording artists such as Boyz II Men and Johnny Gill. By 1998, Motown had added stars such as 702, Brian McKnight, and Erykah Badu to its roster.

Motown was later sold to PolyGram in 1994, before being sold again to MCA Records' successor, Universal Music Group, when it acquired PolyGram in 1999. Motown spent much of the 2000's headquartered in New York City as a part of the Universal Music subsidiaries Universal Motown and Universal Motown Republic Group. From 2011 to 2014, Motown was a part of The Island Def Jam Music Group division of Universal Music. On April 1, 2014, Universal Music Group announced the dissolution of Island Def Jam; subsequently Motown relocated back to Los Angeles to operate under the Capitol Music Group. Motown now operates out of the landmark Capitol Tower. For many decades, Motown was the highest-earning African American business in the United States. The Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame inducted Motown during the class of 2018 on June 3, 2018, at the Charles H. Wright Museum. Motown legend Martha Reeves received the award for Motown Records. If anyone desires to know real music, he or she ought to study Motown.

By Timothy

Friday, October 12, 2018

Spotlight Series: Blogger Kelley

Friday Commentaries.

The following is why I reject the views of the moderates. For years and decades, some desire us to be moderate, so we can please people who don't think as we do. That is fantasy since historically, many people have awakened not by moderation, but by the truth. For example, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a letter while he was in a Birmingham Jail back in 1963. He didn't criticize progressives. He exposed white moderates since they were more concerned with the status quo and comfort than freedom and justice for black Americans. This fact is accurate today. Not to mention that the American political mainstream is so far right today. FDR called for universal health care in the 1940's. Dr. King called for a guaranteed annual income for Americans in 1968. Hubert Humphrey called for direct government investment in employment back in the 1970's via his Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, the first attempt at full employment legislation. The political establishment is much more conservative on economic issues today (since the 1980's) than back in the 1960's and the 1970's. The moderate professes to desire people to experience peace, but they refuse to engage in an ideological struggle for that peace. At the same time, the Right scapegoats the Left for polarization while this same Right ignores Trump supporters assaulting protesters and crowds of Trump acolytes enacting hate crimes at a high level. Peace is not attained by compromise or giving in.

Historically, sacrifice and solid effort have caused tranquility to flourish. The Confederacy lost by a conflict, which Union leaders of many colors were active in defeating the bigoted rebels. A unified front against fascism defeated the Nazis. Jim Crow apartheid in America ended by a courageous confrontation against evil. I can go down the list of other occurrences as well. Therefore, either we are hot or cold. We aren't lukewarm. We are clear that we desire universal healthcare for all, social justice, and racial justice. There is no question that we want to end to police brutality, to have our civil liberties protected, and to witness workers' rights. We believe in the rights of women, the human rights of immigrants including undocumented immigrants, reparations (as have been given to Jewish people, Native Americans, and others throughout human history), and the flourishing of black communities (as I am a black man). The creed of promoting the general welfare is part of the progressive credo. We cherish that credo permanently including the goal of justice for all.

Kanye West gave a 10-minute monologue to Donald Trump. He wanted to support Trump. It discussed race and culture in America. His purpose was to desire to do something about the situation in Chicago and the prison industrial complex. Trump made this a show, and Kanye brought a provocative presentation. The truth is that we have issues in the African American community, but Trump is a person who doesn't represent what we, who are black Americans, desire. We are a compassionate people. We also desire what other communities want. We want community development, investments in education, the ending of police brutality, respect outlined to our families, and healthcare being more available and affordable. It is easy to target Kanye West since he's an easy target. He has mental health issues, has self-hatred, and is wrong in agreeing with the Trump agenda.

What is important is promoting a progressive agenda for our people and our descendants. Also, Jim Brown was there in league with Trump. Brown disappoints me, but that isn't shocking since Jim Brown believes in rigid capitalism and he rejects nonviolent resistance. I believe in nonviolence and self-defense at certain circumstances. Therefore, we are clear to oppose Trump, because of his sexism, his racism (as proven by his comments about the Charlottesville tragedy, his words about majority countries of black African descent, and his views on the Central Park Five), and his xenophobia. Trump used Kanye as a prop to advance his cause. We don't believe in torture and stripping net neutrality. So, we desire the general welfare to be advanced.

Legend is an apt description to describe her. For decades, she has not only performed in crowds internationally. She is a constant advocate for helping others and building communities. Her name is Lana Michelle Moorer or MC Lyte, and it was her birthday yesterday. She is 48 years old, and she was born in Brooklyn, NYC. At the age of 12, she started to rap involving hip-hop. She made classic records found in albums like Lyte as a Rock. She worked in the new jack swing genre with music as well. She is the first soloist woman rapper to be nominated for a Grammy. Cold Rock a Party was a song shown by her including Missy Elliot (she is from my state of Virginia) back in late 1996 when I was in middle school at the eighth grade. MC Lyte is an actress too. She has been on Moesha, Cousin Skeeter, New York Undercover, My Wife and My Kids, and other shows. Lana Michelle Moorer appeared in the films of Train Ride, Civil Brand, and other movies. She donated a turntable, records, and her diary to the Smithsonian Institution. MC Lyte opened Shaitel or a Los Angeles boutique that sells accessories from belts to sunglasses. She has spoken in colleges and wrote a book too. MC Lyte is a leader in building up great skills for future generations. She recently married Marine Corps veteran and entrepreneur John Wyche in August of 2017. Bless their Union. Exquisite talent, personal excellence, and golden, charismatic swagger relate to her life. I wish Sister MC Lyte more Blessings.

By Timothy