Thursday, August 31, 2006
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Unless you've been under some sort of rock, we've all heard various takes on what the hell happened to Dave Chappelle and his critically acclaimed show. In recent months, Dave has slowly but surely been making his way back into the public eye and doing standup.
What you'll read below is a friend's recant of what Dave said @ a recent standup he performed @ Warner Theater in D.C. this past Saturday, as a small part of his comedic routine. It was too engaging not to pass along and there was no need to try to restate it because it was said good enough in it's original form.
Respect to MJPapa for allowing us to share it with you.
First off, Happy Birthday to Dave. He turned 33 last night and performed at the Warner Theater in DC. His wife and two sons came up on stage and the Howard University Marching Band surprised him at the end of the show.
His comedy was on point and he related his $50M contact to the life of Iceburg Slim, a Chicago pimp, who wrote a book about his life called, aptly, "Pimp".
In short, he told the story about a prosititue who was good for 2,500 tricks. She was called the "bottom ho". After about 2000 "miles", she wanted to quit--said she was all used up. Slim had to make a decision whether to cut her loose or ride her out for all she was worth and he called to meet her in a coffee shop.
Slim told her that he couldn't work with her anymore and that they needed to part ways. He asked that she turn one final trick for him tonight and she agreed. His instructions were clear--go to the motel across the street and knock on the door to a room where a man will be waiting. Slip a bit of this powder into his drink before doing the business and wait for him to pass out. When he does, take the briefcase on the table and come back to the restaurant.
The bottom ho does exactly as Slim tells her and heads off to the motel. Minutes later, she returns to the diner in a panic and tells Slim that something went wrong--she gave the man all of the powder and he was unconscious. Slim tells her he never meant for the business man to take the whole dose and they proceed back to the hotel where Slim checks his pulse. He then dials a phone number and soon later, a doctor shows up. After a few moments, the doctor pronounces the man dead. The bottom ho starts getting really scared and says, "We killed him!!"
Slim corrects her and says, "No. You killed him. And I'm here to help get us out of this." He tells the doctor and the prostitute to wait inside the room and he goes out into the night. An hour, or more, goes by and both the ho and doctor are terrified that Slim may never come back. Just then, Slim returns--now with two more men and a carpet. It's then that Slim opens the briefcase, which is filled with money. He pulls out two large wads and hand one each to the men. They take one look inside the room and know what to do, rolling the business man off the bed and up into the carpet, haul the body down a flight of stairs into the trunk of a waiting car and drive off.
Slim the pulls out another stack of bills and hands it to the doctor who thanks him and leaves. Slim then tells the bottom ho to grab her things and they exit through the bathroom window so as not to be seen by anyone. On the way out, the hooker is still stunned and what just transpired. Slim leans in real close and says, "That just there was a secret that you can never tell to anyone. Ever. We now have a bond that is unbreakable."
The hooker understands this and Slim allows her to keep working for him. She works for another year and ends up giving him 3,500 tricks - a thousand more than she was worth.
In the end, the whole scene was made up. The doctor was a friend of Slim's who happened to have a lab coat. The two cleaners were taxi drivers he met on the street. The money and briefcase belonged to Slim and the dead man was very much alive--Slim staged the whole thing. He closed his show with this story and said, "This is THE GAME. And when you can figure out what happened, you'll understand why I went to Africa". -Courtesy Of The Smoking Section
These women are awesome! I'm a huge wrestling fan, that's right! I never refer to wrestling as "fake", it's an insult to what these men & women put their bodies through just to entertain people worldwide. Scripted yes, fake?...Watch this video and you tell me.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Puttin' a boot in the A$$es of mindless music....Grand Verbalizer Brother J is bringin' it!
By the way.....vainglorious....This is protected by the RED,THE BLACK and the GREEN with the KEY (scroll to the bottom of the blog)......SISSSSSYYYYYY!!!!!!! Professor X R.I.P.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Someone please find this pill-popping Oedipus Rex and slap the taste out of his mouth!
Limbaugh handicapped races in new Survivor series, suggested "African-American tribe" worst swimmers, Hispanics "will do things other people won't do"
On the August 23 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Rush Limbaugh suggested that the competition in a new season of CBS' reality TV program Survivor, in which contestants are reportedly divided into competing "tribes" by ethnicity, "is not going to be fair if there's a lot of water events." In support of this assertion, he cited a March 2 HealthDay article reporting that "young blacks -- especially males -- are much more likely to drown in pools than whites."
During the program, Limbaugh suggested that "people at CBS" are "scratch[ing] their heads" and asking whether "the swimming portion" of the new Survivor competition is "going to be fair." When pressed by an African-American caller to identify "[w]hich team ... would be the worst swimmers and why," Limbaugh stated that "the white tribe would be the best swimmers" based on the performance of white athletes at "the Olympics." After apparently disconnecting or cutting the volume level of the caller, Limbaugh said: "[Y]ou're saying I'm being racist because I'm saying blacks can't swim." He further protested: "I mentioned the swimming comment only because it's not going to be fair if there is a lot of water competition in this. It just isn't. It is not a racial or racist comment at all."
In support of his assertion that his comments were "not ... racist," Limbaugh cited a March 2 HealthDay article reporting that "young blacks -- especially males -- are much more likely to drown in pools than whites." But the study on which the HealthDay article was based did not address the swimming abilities of African-Americans in general. HealthDay reported that "[r]esearchers don't know why black kids are at higher risk of drowning," that "[m]ost of the black [drowning] victims ... drowned in public pools," and that "[t]he study didn't examine whether the victims had taken swimming lessons or whether the pools were supervised by lifeguards." Additionally, the article noted that according to the study, "people from poorer families were more likely to drown" -- "regardless of race," and that one author of the study suggested "[f]uture research" will be done to "examine whether swimming instruction reduces the risk of drowning."
Regarding the new Survivor series, Limbaugh also stated that there "are many characteristics ... that you would think would give [the African-American tribe] the lead, and the heads up in terms of skill and athleticism and so forth." He also stated that "our early money" is on "the Hispanic tribe" -- which he said could include "a Cuban," "a Nicaraguan," or "a Mexican or two" -- provided they don't "start fighting for supremacy amongst themselves." Limbaugh added that Hispanics have "probably shown the most survival tactics," that they "have shown a remarkable ability to cross borders" and that they can "do it without water for a long time, they don't get apprehended, and they will do things other people won't do."
Limbaugh also asserted that "the Asian-American tribe" -- whom he called "the brainiacs of the bunch" -- "probably will outsmart everybody," but while "intelligence is one thing ... raw, native understanding of the land -- this is probably why the Native Americans were excluded, because they were at one with the land and they would probably have an unfair advantage."
He added that "the white tribe," "if it behaves as it historically has," will "bring along vials of diseases" and "will wind up oppressing" the other tribes by "deny[ing] them benefits" and "property," but will later "try to put [the other tribes] on some kind of benefit program." He further asserted that if CBS "allows ... cheating" and "oppression," "then of course the white tribe is going to win."
Limbaugh's statements about the swimming abilities of people of African descent recalled recent comments by Tramm Hudson, a Republican candidate for a Florida congressional seat who stated that "blacks are not the greatest swimmers or may not even know how to swim." Hudson has apologized for his comments, calling them "stupid."
From the August 23 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: The new Survivor is actually a race between races, ladies and gentlemen. It premieres on September 14th. They're going to pit four tribes of people against each other: the African-American tribe, the Asian-American tribe, the Hispanic tribe, and the white tribe. And they are going to actually have a battle of races on the next Survivor. They know that it's going to be controversial. They know it's going to -- and people at CBS, behind the scenes, who just have heard about this, sort of scratch their heads -- say, "What the hell are we doing? What are we going to do -- the swimming portion, how is that going to be fair?"
LIMBAUGH: All right. Back now to this Survivor story: A race between races. In just a couple of weeks, the new season of Survivor will take 20 castaways to the Cook Islands -- the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They will be split into four tribes and they will compete against each other. The four tribes are these: the African-American tribe, the Asian-American tribe, the Hispanic tribe, and the white tribe. Noticeably absent here -- the Native-American tribe. But I guess they had a full boat, so to speak, when they have -- when they have 20.
So, you look at this and you say, "OK, here we are. We live in a society where we're not supposed to cause racial friction. We've been getting away from this, so we're all one, we're all the same." This is -- this is incredible. Now, we've got the Survivor series segregating contestants into tribes. Not even groups! We're calling them tribes. I don't know how many people still watch this show; I guess quite a few, because it's still on the air. You might cause riots on this show, or in the country as a result of this show. But here are the -- here are the tribes: the African-American tribe, the Asian-American tribe, the Hispanic tribe, and the white tribe. Now, of these four tribes, just off the top of your head, who do you think has the advantage? Who do you think here is going to win? Do you think it's going to be the white tribe? The Hispanic tribe? The African-American tribe? Or the Asian-American tribe? We've been looking at this here amongst ourselves, and our early money is going on the Hispanic tribe, providing they stay unified.
We don't know who makes up the -- I mean, we've got the names here of all these members of the tribes, but Hispanic encompasses a lot. You could have a Cuban in there. You could have a Nicaraguan. You could have a Mexican or two. You could have any number. And you know, if they start fighting for supremacy amongst themselves, that could lead to problems. But our early money is on them anyway, because these people have shown a remarkable ability, ladies and gentlemen, to cross borders, boundaries -- they get anywhere they want to go. They can do it without water for a long time. They don't get apprehended, and they will do things other people won't do. So, our money, early money, is on the Hispanics.
The white tribe, I have to tell you -- I don't have a whole lot of hope in the white tribe. The Asian -- the Asian-American tribe probably will outsmart everybody, but will that help them in the ultimate survival contest? Intelligence is one thing, but raw, native understanding of the land and so forth -- this is probably why the Native Americans were excluded, because they were at one with the land here, and they probably would have an unfair advantage.
The African-American tribe, tough to handicap on this one, because you just -- it's -- it's -- there are many characteristics here that you would think give them the lead and the heads up in terms of skill and athleticism and so forth. The Asians, as I say -- the brainiacs of the bunch. The Hispanic tribe -- they've probably shown the most survival characteristics of any -- What? What are you shaking your head about for? What are you -- well -- well, I don't know that CBS is going to let them get away with that. The -- we were talking about the white tribe. We're speculating among ourselves that if the white tribe behaves as it historically has, they will bring along vials of diseases; they will end up oppressing the other groups; they will deny them benefits; deny them their property, steal it from them, and you know, put them on some kind of a benefit program. The white tribe put everybody else on some kind of benefit program, but the benefit program, of course, will not be enough. There will be no education. The white tribe will not allow any health care.
CALLER: You just made it something right here. When you said, right before your first break, right before your break, you said, "Who has the disadvantage for swimming?" You know, how can you say any team has a disadvantage for swimming? Which team do you think would be the better swimmers? Which team do you think would be the worst swimmers and why?
LIMBAUGH: The best swimmers?
CALLER: Go ahead and say it.
CALLER: Say the word.
LIMBAUGH: If you would just let me answer the question I'd be happy to tell you. OK, who's gonna be the best swimmers in this group. Ah, put those African-Americans, Asian-American tribe, Hispanic, uh. Well, no, I'm -- looking at the Olympics, you'd have to say the white tribe would be the best swimmers.
CALLER: The Olympics. You're judging by world-class athletes?
LIMBAUGH: Yeah, you just look at the Olympics.
CALLER: Ha ha. Nice. Good one. You're looking at world-class athletes. I'm an African-American man. You know, mid age, you know. I'm 35 years old.
LIMBAUGH: Well, now, wait, wait a second, though. If the Hispanic tribe has a Cuban in it, those people swim 90 miles, you know, sometimes for freedom. So you know, you just never know. That's why you've got to watch the show.
CALLER: Right, well, I like the way you play around with that. And what you do is you tease the racism card throughout this nation right now. And of trying elevate it and say you know what --
LIMBAUGH: Look at this! I am playing the racism card! I'm telling you what a major network is doing in its prime-time schedule. They're pitting races against each other in this stupid Survivor format, and you tell me I'm being racist. [laughs]
LIMBAUGH: Now, I want to address one thing. I heard you, [caller]. You accused me in a sly way of being racist by making comments about who would win the swimming competition. I know what you're saying. You're saying I'm being racist, you're saying I'm being racist because I'm saying blacks can't swim. I have here a story, and I read this from HealthDay news. "One of the largest studies of its kind confirms that young blacks -- especially males -- are much more likely to drown in pools than whites. In fact, almost half of all recorded drowning deaths among people aged 5 to 24 are among blacks, according to the study in the American Journal of Public Opinion [sic: American Journal of Public Health]. Blacks are especially likely to drown in motel and hotel pools, while whites tend to drown in private pools." Now, I mentioned the swimming comment only because since this is known, this is not going to be fair if there is a lot of water competition in this. It just isn't. It is not a racial or racist comment at all. It's an example of how we're so tightly wound. And I am by no stretch am the first person to reference these studies and these facts.
-Courtesy of Media Matters
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
This sista is THE TRUTH!!! I've got her CD in regular rotation. She has everything that's missing from modern R&B. She has SOUL, thought-provoking lyrics, and GREAT music! Check her out!
Joy Denalane was born in Berlin-Schoeneberg as the third of six children to a German Mother and a South African Father. At the age of six the family moved on to Berlin-Kreuzberg, a more racially diverse part of the city, where Joy entered school and spent the greater part of her adolescence. At sixteen, she left home and began focusing on music. The name Denalane is South African and means shining star (in Pedi); it is as if the young teen had no other choice but to muster the courage and follow her predestined path to eventual celebrity. Equipped with a mixture of political awareness, nurtured by an upbringing heavy on education, and self-acquired street smarts, the ambitious teen hit the Berlin music scene, playing with local soul and reggae bands. As with most stellar figures, the very gifts that come to define them often prove to be the biggest obstacles in the beginning stages of their careers. And so it was for the young Joy Denalane as she struggled to harness her eclectic mix of influences and find her own voice. Despite her obvious singing talent, problems with coming into her own continued to plague her even during a brief stint with a major record company. But brighter things were soon to come. Thanks to a phone call made by her BMG A&R, Joy was invited to Stuttgart for a session with already established producers DJ Thomilla and Tiefschwarz. One of the songs that ensued would become her first chart success, the international club hit Music. Around the same time Max Herre, a Stuttgart native and front man of the band Freundeskreis, was looking for a female vocalist to accompany him on the song Mit Dir. They were introduced to one another and hit it off immediately. The songs refreshingly bashful love declaration resonated with listeners and became a Top Five hit in the summer of 1999. The chemistry to be heard on the track proved to be more than just musical as the two became a couple and first time parents the following year. Joy joined the FK Allstars (Max Herre, Afrob, Gentleman, Sékou Neblett, Déborah , Brooke Russell, Don Philippe,DJ Friction) and for the first time found herself in an artistic environment equally as divers as her own upbringing. Over the next two years (2000-2002) she toured rigorously with the group and developed her own distinct vocal style. She later signed with Four Music (a sub label of Sony Music) and began working on her first Solo Album Mamani. The Album, produced by Max Herre and released in 2002, debuted at number 8 in the German charts and spawned 4 singles (Sags Mir, Geh Jetzt, Was Auch immer and Im Ghetto Von maneuver their way through an array of genres and subject matters so wide ranging, Soweto). Mamani was able to attract a wide range of listeners with its ambitious mix of R&B, Soul, Jazz and Afro-Beat. Most artists would have struggled to but Joys delivery, now alternately reminiscent of Aretha, Letta MBulu and Mary J Blige, not only held Mamani together, but turned it into a milestone of German Soul. After numerous sold out tours, a live album accompanied by a DVD, a slew of national awards and nominations (Echo / VIVA Comet / 1 Live Krone) and world wide critical acclaim the undisputed Queen of German Soul (MTV) has completed her sophomore effort. The album entitled Born&Raised is more than just a follow up to Mamani; its a triumphant march to entirely new horizons. Not only has she matured musically and vocally, she has also opted to address an international audience by singing in English. Hints of things to come could be heard in Joys vocal contribution to Kanye Wests remix of Commons hit single Go, released in the summer of 2005. This newest work, Born&Raised, although musically more focused than its predecessor, manages to preserve the multiplicity and dynamism Joy Denalane fans have grown used to. Teaming up with husband/producer Max Herre as well as songwriter Sékou Neblett, a long time friend and colleague, Joy has crafted a true masterpiece. Born&Raised is a timeless mélange of late sixties soul, contemporary Hip Hop/R&B, Gospel, and heart felt ballads. The songs were recorded in Philadelphias famous The Studio and engineered by the internationally renowned Axel Niehaus. Vocal guest-features include the legendary Raekwon of the Wu Tang Clan, to be heard on Joys remake of his classic Heaven or Hell and Jay-Zs newest prodigy, Lupe Fiasco, on the socially critical Change. Musical contributions were made by keyboarder, James Poyser (Hammond B3); bassist and producer, Anthony Tidd; acclaimed horn players, Matt Cappy (tp) along with Jeff Bone Deep Bradshaw (tb); and the internationally celebrated arranger/composer, Larry Gold and a slew of the best musicians from New York and Philadelphia including guitar player Chris Sholar (Q-Tip, Stevie Wonder), drummer Steve Mckie (Bilal), bassist Josh David, vocalist Erika Hicks and keyboarder Junius Bervine (Musiq, D´Angelo, Antony Hamilton). It was producer Max Herres vision to record all of the musical tracks with live instruments, while preserving the simplicity and grit of sample based music. Through this approach instrumentals that had originally consisted of samples, such as contributions made by Kanyes mentor No ID or Jake One (De La Soul, G Unit), BAB Garde ( Frankfurt / Main ) could be arranged and altered at will. This progressive production concept, which further sets Born&Raised apart, was, by Maxs own account, tedious but well worth it. In the end Born&Raised is one of those rare works of art that is both tantalizing and familiar, an instant classic that one listens to over and over again, revealing a new side of its self each time.
Two legendary dancehall artists...Supercat and the late great Nicodemus live on Stone Love inna New York.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
It is with extreme sadness that I report the passing away of Joseph Hill
the lead singer of the veteran reggae group Culture. Joseph suddenly took
ill and passed away in Berlin Germany this morning while the group were in
the middle of a European tour. Hill (born: January 22, 1949) enjoyed a
lengthy career in reggae music and will be greatly missed by both fans and
peers. The group plans to finish its current European tour and honor all
other commitments with Joseph's son Kenyatta standing in on lead vocals as
a tribute to his father. In coming days additional information will be
posted on the following websites:
CULTURAL LIVITY-LIVE 1998:
Introduction05 See Dem A Come04 Tribal War02 Love Shines Bright17 So
Long Rastafari Calling16 Never Get Weary15 Two Seven Clash14 I'm Not
Ashamed11 One Stone10 Land Where We Belong13 International Herb12 Down
In Jamaica08 Zion Gate18 Conquering Lion Of Judah07 Christopher
Columbus03 Slice Of Mt Zion09 Natty Takin' Over06 Jah Rastafari
Wicked combination featuring Buju Banton, Elephant Man and Big Tigger.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Imagine Jamaica at the end of the 1950s, already gripped by Independence fever as the new nation prepares for the lowering of the flag in 1962. In downtown Kingston the sound systems are booming and competition for the freshest tunes is ferocious. Of course the imported sounds of American rhythm & blues won’t satisfy these souls, so, at about that time, the coming of an indigenous Jamaican music for the masses was inevitable.
But this celebratory combination of nationalism and commercialism had another powerful element – Africa. Religion, in the form of Pocomania, and the drum music traditions of Burru and Kumina survived transportation to be embraced in Jamaica where Africanism was clung to fiercely and slave revolts were far more commonplace than on any other Caribbean island. Much later, Rastafari’s sophisticated drum ensembles would provide a living example of these ancient traditions, while the burgeoning music industry was never slow to absorb those influences.
Add to this a generation of classically-trained musicians, who had embraced bebop jazz’s sense of adventures, and crowds who just want to dance and it’s little wonder that this tiny island – a population half the size of London’s – has become such a force in global music.
Music is not Jamaica’s only gift to the world, but it is how so many Jamaicans chose to define themselves. People will talk about how music and singing lifted the spirits through slavery and colonialism as well as being a weapon against political corruption and civil disorder. It gave the poor people a voice and something to call their own, celebrated the joys of life on the tropical island and spread One Love throughout the world.
For fifty years, the natural medium for this music has been the sound system dances, with, traditionally, commercial recordings and release schedules playing second fiddles to these awesome ghetto-centric situations. Thus, for as long as there’s been Jamaican music it’s remained inseparable to the people and the environment responsible for it. Reggae remains one of the world’s last genuine folk musics.
S K A
Ska is the rollicking, raucous music that perfectly summed up the mood of the people as they approached Independence at the beginning of the 1960s and wanted to announce their Jamaicanness with as much gusto as possible. Even without Independence, ska happening when it did isn’t surprising at all. Kingston’s sound system owners were getting their own version of R&B, Jamaican boogie, specially recorded for them but the local musicians they were using were jazz buffs to a man, thus always looking for means to self expression. It was only a matter of time before things got turned around. Which was literally what Prince Buster and Clement "Coxsone" Dodd did. Looking for new sounds to thrill their dancehall crowds they changed the emphasis of the R&B from the first and third beats in the bar to the second and fourth, creating the offbeat style that became the fulcrum of Jamaican music from then on.
The pivotal ska group was The Skatalites, a horn led collection of musicians, many who were classically trained at the Alpha Boys School (a Catholic reform school/orphanage in Kingston that is still renowned today). They approached their task as if they were big band jazz players, with a tight, disciplined rhythm section allowing virtuoso soloists to show off their brilliance. The idea was to whip the dancers up into a frenzy, but keep the beat so that nobody loses their footing. When The Skatalites were in full flow it would be virtually impossible to keep still, as players like Tommy McCook (sax), Roland Alphonso (sax), Dizzy Moore (trumpet) and the great genius of Jamaican music Don Drummond (trombone) took the music into the stratosphere. Likewise when Prince Buster gets going on hits like "Al Capone", "Madness" or "Wash Wash" the excitement level doesn’t drop.
As the ultimate good times music (energetic and rebellious), ska was the obvious choice to be married to the British punk scene. It resulted in a ska revival in the late 70s that began in Coventry. It was here that Jerry Dammers set up the Two Tone record label and the band, The Specials. They were decked out in the original 60s rude boy fashions - mohair suits, dark glasses and the ubiquitous pork pie hats. It was this styling and Dammer’s black & white themed logo that were the emblems for a scene that launched Madness, The Beat and … Bad Manners….
Subsequently all around the world, but notably in the USA and Japan, ska lives and it’s still possible to find perfect replicas of the early-1960s Jamaican look.
R O C K S T E A D Y
For many, rock steady is the pinnacle of Jamaican music – indeed, so many recent dancehall tunes are built of classic rock steady rhythms from the mid-1960s. The rock steady era followed directly from ska to contrast it in several ways: it slowed the beat down; it was essentially a vocal style; and it was deliberately American as opposed from ska which had worked hard to establish a Jamaican identity. Rock steady was a much cooler, soulful, lovers rock type of music that began life as a means of giving the crowds a bit of a breather and, due to public demand, took over to dominate dancehalls for several years.
The backbone of rock steady was the singers as, after years of ska’s accent on musical virtuosity and general volume level, the Jamaican love of singing could come to the fore. Groups like The Heptones, The Melodians, The Uniques, The Techniques, The Paragons and, of course, The Wailers took their lead from the American soul of The Impressions (who regularly toured Jamaica) and The Drifters to produce a uniquely Jamaican approach to harmonising – the lead constantly swapped within the group. While solo stars such as John Holt, Slim Smith, Bob Andy, Ken Boothe and Alton Ellis all came to prominence with this very melodic style.
The top producers were Leslie Kong (Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, The Melodians), Duke Reid (The Paragons, The Tehniques, Phillis Dillon) and Coxsone Dodd (The Heptones, Ken Boothe, Delroy Wilson). They altered the sound of Jamaican music forever by introducing the electric bass and building their backing tracks on that and drums. Today, many of those original rock steady backing tracks remain so strong that they form the basis for a wide range of dancehall hits.
The only way to listen to reggae is at a sound system. Ideally, this would be at an open air lawn in downtown Kingston, where it’s 80 degrees at 2am and the bassline vibrates your bottle of Red Stripe, but a church hall in Bristol or a house party in Birmingham will do. The whole point is you’re packed in with like-minded people; you have ownership of the music; the rig is such that you feel it before you hear it; the deejay is vibing up the crowd; and every killer tune brings a noisy reaction.
Sound systems took over from orchestras in Jamaican dancehalls in the 1950s – why pay a band when you can play imported US R&B records? The cost of having your own record player or radio was also overcome by the systems putting their speakers in the street for all to hear the music. The first Jamaican record producers - Prince Buster, Coxsone Dodd (Studio One) and Duke Reid - were sound system owners, commissioning recording sessions to ensure a supply of exclusive tunes.
Because sound system dances were one of the few things ghetto people could call their own, they became central to downtown life, thus a barmometer of popular taste. Once producers started making records for sale, they’d test new styles out on their sound system and nearly every development in Jamaican music – ska, rock steady, reggae, dancehall and so on has been a result of competition between sound men to find something new to pull in the crowds.
Competition for the best equipment and the most exciting music was fierce and sound clashes – contests whereby two sound systems in the same dance played alternate records and were judged by audience reaction - frequently spilled over into violence. Clashes are still part of reggae culture, dub plates get cut with the DJ’s name being overlaid on the track. In London recently the DJ David Rodigan had Wyclef Jean and Tom Jones (!) singing his name live as part of the clash.
Wherever Jamaicans have travelled sound systems have been part of their luggage. In Great Britain sound systems established themselves almost as soon as The Windrush docked. They are also at the centre of the Notting Hill Carnival and proved crucial to development of UK urban music as outfits like Soul II Soul in London and The Wild Bunch in Bristol began life as local sound systems. In New York, hip hop grew out of a sound system set up by an ex-pat Jamaican - DJ Kool Herc – as he brought Kingston dancehall culture to American music.
D U B
Strip reggae – any sort of reggae – back to its essence and you’ll be back to the bass and drum, the groundation of everything that happens in the music. But if you then rebuild on that bass and drum with the imagination, the invention and the sheer mixing board dexterity of King Tubby, Lee Perry or Scientist, you’ll be dubbing.
The art of dub is more than merely remixing, although remix culture is an extension of the dubmasters craft, it’s redefining a tune by taking its essential elements and rebalancing them in a way that gives the finished article a whole different meaning but still exists within the same parameters. Witness the Augustus Pablo/King Tubby classic "King Tubby’s Meets Rockers Uptown", an edgy, altogether dangerous three minutes that was once the cool lovers rock of Jacob Miller’s "Baby I love You So".
Dub began in Kingston in the late 1960s, when deejays were looking for gaps in records’ vocal performances to toast both their sound system and their selves. "Version" was the name given to these instrumental sides, but, thanks to the 1970s’ rapidly developing studio technology, where was the challenge in simply dropping the vocals in and out?
Filters, faders and multi-track recording allowed any component part of the tune to be pushed backwards and forwards in the mix, while the echo chamber and reverb unit brought a whole new dimension to what they’d sound like when they got there. Suddenly, the mixing desk was the most important instrument in the studio and the man who could operate it was the biggest star. King Tubby’s, Scientist, King Jammy’s, Joe Gibbs & Errol T, Lee Perry, Mikey Dread, Gussie Clarke … it was this generation of Jamaican dubmasters that paved the way the way for today’s superstar remixers such as Fatboy Slim, Armand Van Helden and Masters At Work. Dub also had a major influence on the likes of Massive Attack, Mouse On Mars and a whole generation of sonic terrorists.
T O A S T I N G and M C s
Forty years ago, if you had a sound system you wouldn’t have dreamt of charging people admission to your dance if you didn’t have decent deejay on the mic, vibing up the crowd, bouncing off the records with his whooping and shouting, toasting the sound system itself. This was one more example of Jamaicans "borrowing" something from elsewhere and vastly improving it as they made it their own the sort of wild scatting and jive talking that was "borrowed" from the jocks on black American radio stations powerful enough to reach Jamaica from Miami and New Orleans. But as deejays like Count Machuki, Sir Lord Comic and King Stitt became the main attraction at a dance, it was only a matter of time before they started recording.
When a generation of deejays, led by U-Roy, Dennis Alcapone and Scotty began cutting records, they revolutionised Jamaican music. As producers started leaving gaps in the mix or leaving one side blank (the version) deejays then closed the gap between the crowds and the artists. They did this by going straight from the sound system dance to the recording studio where they accurately reflect, in rhyme, the life the saw going on around them – the styles, the dances, the slangs, the politics and so on. Hardly surprisingly, the roots era was heralded by deejays like Big Youth, Jah Stitch, I Roy, Prince Jazzbo, Trinity and Dr Alimantado who gave the new wave a voice with their conscious toasting on the sound systems before any producers would record them.
Likewise dancehall, the first big stars that style produced were the deejays Yellowman, Josey Wales, General Echo and Charlie Chaplin as, on the sound systems, they could respond to what the audience really wanted much faster than the recording industry. Indeed dancehall was a style made for the deejay and in the wake of Shabba Ranks’s global success it seemed dancehall had become deejay dominated, and today its biggest stars are the likes of Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Lady Saw and Sizzla.
Jamaican deejaying didn’t just provide the template for rap either – an irony in itself as the idea went from the USA to JA 20 years previously – the MC styles of UK garage, drum’n’bass and jungle owe more to reggae than they do to rap. Quite apart from the likes of So Solid Crew, Mis-Teeq and General Levy all growing up around reggae, the big reason is that Jamaica drives British street slang with its words, rhythms and sentence construction, meaning MCs will always lean more towards Kingston than New York.
P O P R E G G A E
Although Jamaican music has constantly commented on the social and political situation on the island, first and foremost its job is to get people on the dancefloor. It’s therefore hardly surprising it’s made huge impressions in pop charts around the world - Shaggy, Althea & Donna, Prince Buster, Maxi Priest, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Eddy Grant … summer wouldn’t be summer without the regulation big pop-based reggae record.
But then well-produced reggae is so basically strong it can withstand virtually any arrangement and still sound like reggae. Indeed reggae’s willingness to take on outside influences goes back to the late-1960s when shrewd Jamaican producers would send vocal and rhythm tracks over to the UK to have lush string arrangements added before releasing them into the British pop market. Orchestrated singles like "Love Of The Common People", "Young Gifted & Black" and "Pied Piper" were huge pop hits, opening up the marker for the bouncy but rawer likes of "Double Barrel", "The Liquidator" and "The Return Of Django".
Which proved that reggae had real appeal beyond its core following, and reggae acts in both Britain and Jamaica eyed up the international mainstream. Ken Boothe ("Everything I Own"), Rupie Edwards ("Irie Feelings") and John Holt ("Help Me Make It Through The Night") all proved that, provided you stay true to your reggae roots, you can make exciting sophisticated pop. Lessons learnt by Althea & Donna with "Uptown Top Ranking", Janet Kay ("Silly Games") and Musical Youth ("Pass the Dutchie") and surely not ignored by Culture Club…
Part of pop reggae does include UK bands such as UB40 who took original tracks and blended their own UK pop culture with Jamaican music.
Reggae’s pop sensibilities continued into dancehall too, Smiley Culture and Tippa Irie brought their sound system culture to the pop chart with "Cockney Translation" and "Hello Darling", Shabba Ranks teamed up with Maxi Priest for "Housecall" and Chaka Demus & Pliers are pop chart regulars. But now it’s moved on even further with Shaggy as on of the world’s consistently biggest pop acts, while No Doubt have felt the urge to call on the dancehall deejays Bounty Killer and Lady Saw to add a little Jamaican flavour to their last album.
R O O T S
Ten years on from Independence, and Jamaica’s people began to notice they were worse instead of better off. The island was gripped by unemployment, crime and violence, and as so many of the emerging generation of Jamaicans, who had grown up with Independence, were victims of this, they reacted with the most potent weapon at their disposal – music. As the 1970s unfolded, subject matter changed to give voice to the protests the people wanted to express against the government, while urging their fellow youth to stick to the path of righteousness.
Large numbers embraced Rastafari as being not only a manifestation of what they wanted from the government – a forcefully honest doctrine of peace, love and anti-corruption – but presenting an alternative way of living within the grinding poverty that had become commonplace. They espoused the teaching of Marcus Garvey (self-help and repatriation) to provide hope. As many musicians locksed up, Rasta’s influence over the sounds became obvious: much of reggae’s inherent sunniness seemed to cloud over: the bass got deeper and more pronounced; the tempo slowed down portentously; and lyrics frequently spat fire and brimstone. It was dread.
It was also the period that saw reggae being taken seriously by rock fans around the world as a music that had something to say - punks in Britian adopted roots reggae as a big part of their soundtrack, identifying closely with its sense of alienation. During the roots era, artists like Burning Spear, Culture, The Congoes, Big Youth, The Mighty Diamonds, Dillinger, Tapper Zukie, Lee Perry, The Ethiopians and Max Romeo became cult heroes, while the roots movement’s figurehead Bob Marley became the most famous Jamaican ever.
L O V E R S R O C K
When roots music carried the swing in the 1970s in Britain’s young black communities, the women had a saying – Rastafari was Rasta For Him and not Rasta For Us. In other words there were large number of black kids in the UK who didn’t feel part of roots and culture. They were upwardly mobile, didn’t want to go back to Africa, listened to a lot of soul music, liked dressing up on a Saturday night, were open about being influenced by their environment, but were as proud to be black as any dreadlocked Rastaman.
They were a generation that saw themselves as Black British, and they created lovers rock, the first indigenous black British pop style. Although the bassline always let you know it was reggae, its light, airey productions it acknowledged such influences as soul and pop music and its subject matter was almost exclusively devoted to matters of the heart. Hence the name. It found an enormous market that the mainstream music business never knew existed, and labels such as Lovers Rock, Arawak, Santic and Hawkeye put out a phenomenal amount of product in the late-1970s/early-1980s.
There were sound systems that played nothing but lovers rock and on more than one occasion it bubbled into the national charts. While the productions were deceptively sophisticated in many case the vocalists weren’t, but they were an accurate representation of the style’s audience – young girls and likely lads. The trio Brown Sugar were still at school, another were called 15,16,17 because of their ages, while the grand old ladies of lover’s rock, Janet Kay and Carroll Thompson, hadn’t yet turned twenty. As far as the guys were concerned it was largely matter of celebration of self – Victor Romero Evans sang about putting on his "Slacks And Sovereigns" and Trevor Hartley of simply "Hanging Around".
Lovers rock was also one of the rare instances UK reggae has influenced Jamaica, as artists like Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs and Johnny Osbourne spent so long in London they got into it and took it back home with them.
D A N C E H A L L
Dancehall reggae established itself through characters like Yellowman and General Echo and a penchant for slackness (as bawdy lyricswere known). This deejay-led, largely computerised, upstart music seemed to epitomise the 1980s with dub poet Mutabaruka maintaining, "if 1970s reggae was red, greed and gold, then in the next decade it was gold chains". So far removed was it from the gentle, almost hippification of roots and culture, that purists furiously debated as to whether it was genuinely reggae or not.
But this was the whole point. Dancehall represented a new generation of reggae’s primary audience reclaiming the music for themselves after ten years of roots’n’culture that: A) had not done a great deal to change the way they lived; and B) it had been adopted so thoroughly by the international mainstream it didn’t seem like "theirs" any more. This was a new wave’s way of reacting to the harshness of their environment and drew on hip hop’s brashness to express themselves with an impatience not seen in roots reggae. It needed a radical approach to shake reggae out of its seeming complacency and dancehall opted for the apparently obnoxious to satisfy nobody beyond the sound system crowds. Producers like Henry Junjo Lawes and King Jammy’s made deejay records that were as raw as those audiences wanted, with deejays like Yellowman, Josey Wales, Lone Ranger, Eek-A-Mouse and Brigadier Jerry. Not that it was all deejays, but singers such as Barrington Levy, Little John, Cocoa Tea and Frankie Paul had to struggle to be heard.
Of course the rapidly developing studio technology played a big part as it meant records could be made quicker and cheaper, with it becoming far easier to version a rhythm once it was made. This in turn allowed a flood of new talent into the business ensuring that dancehall reggae would continue to stay fresh for years to come.
R A G G A
In spite of the original dancehall reggae irritating the hell out of purists, it was relatively harmless compared to what it was to become. The music deliberately lost all sense of being played on conventional instruments, as computerised sounds were prized for being exactly that – computerised sounds. The rhythms sped up and took on a harshness made seemed designed to keep out the faint hearted, while deejay delivery gained an edge that removed all vestiges of one love.
Likewise the subject matter: the slackness, which was really nothing more than the good natured bawdiness that has featured in most Caribbean music since calypso, turned into outright misogyny and a violent attitude towards homosexuals, while an alarming trend for "gun records" reflected the growing gangsterism in Kingston’s ghettos. Shabba Ranks fell from international grace, when he endorsed Buju Banton’s single "Boom Bye Bye", a record which urged the shooting of gays; Bounty Killer toasted gun culture; Capleton’s approach to women was never on nodding terms with political correctness.
Amid furious debate as to whether this was reflecting or influencing Jamaican ghetto reality, reggae performed an admirable act of self-regulation, with a roots revival that vociferously rejected what dancehall had become and sought to replace its subject matter with something a little more wholesome. Deejays like Buju Banton and Capleton saw the light, grew dreadlocks and changed their ways to those of righteousness, while still retaining all the excitement of delivery usually associated with dancehall.
Beenie Man likewise turned his back on the more nefarious aspects of his repertoire and these new roots deejays were joined by Anthony B and Sizzla, two exponents of Bobo Ashanti, the hardline end of Rasta that sought to reclaim it from the "fashion dreads" of the 1980s. Another development was, in the wake of the late Garnett Silk, a new wave of roots singers who managed to combine Bob Marley’s sensitivity and spirituality with a modern approach to their music. Luciano, Tony Rebel and Morgan Heritage lead the way, while a resurgent Cocoa Tea seemed more than comfortable with the new rhythm patterns.
Courtesy of BBC.
I have my own ideas, but this video highlights the President's ummmm best moments.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
The hottest artist inna dancehall right now.
Earlier this year all of
I remember those days when Hell was my home
When me and Mama bed was a big piece a foam
And me never like bathe and my hair never comb
When Mama gone a work, me go street, go roam
“Ghetto Story” was an unlikely candidate for cross-over success. Too many words, too many local references, too much slang. It’s a crime narrative, not a dance song.
And yet “Ghetto Story” just won’t go away. The New York hip-hop radio station Hot 97 started playing it, betting that listeners would get sucked in by Cham’s fervid voice, even if they didn’t catch all the words. A low-budget music video found its way onto MTV. Cham recorded a remix with Akon, and then another one with Alicia Keys, who sang about the old New York: “Hookers and ho’s/On 11th Avenue, selling bodies for dope.” Cham’s record company, Atlantic, commissioned a new music video, one that doesn’t look like a straight-to-DVD crime flick. All this is buildup for Tuesday, when Cham’s second album, also called “Ghetto Story,” will arrive in stores.
Reached in a hotel in Rochester, where he was working his way through a not particularly glamorous American promotional tour, Cham said he was surprised by the success of his single. “It was the biggest song in Jamaica after, like, two days,” he said. “Then it went from Jamaica to New York, and it started to rip New York to pieces. Then to
But will people buy the album? As Cham knows better than anyone, he’s merely the latest in a long line of reggae stars trying to figure out how to convert momentum and a major-label budget into a viable career. Sean Paul has done it, partly because he never really seemed like part of Jamaica’s rough-and-tumble reggae scene. But others, from Damian Marley (last year’s great reggae hope) to Elephant Man (who was, briefly, an unlikely hip-hop star) to the respected veteran Beenie Man (whose new album is due later this month), have had a harder time negotiating the American pop charts.
It’s not entirely the audience’s fault either. If there’s one thing more fickle than the American record-buying public, it’s the Jamaican reggae scene. And the story of reggae in the last few years has largely been a story of false starts, minor triumphs and — most frustrating of all — self-sabotage.
By the time Bob Marley died, in 1981, he was far and away the most beloved musician in the history of reggae, but he was hardly a representative figure. Reggae fans were already embracing a new form, dancehall reggae. It had fewer notes: the music consisted of stripped-down tracks, known as riddims. And it had more words: singers were gradually adopting more conversational styles.
In 1985 a pioneering electronic riddim called “Sleng Teng,” composed by King Jammy, helped push dancehall into the computer age. Since then, as electronic beats and forcefully declaimed lyrics have become the norm, dancehall has grown closer in sound and spirit to hip-hop, just as hip-hop had borrowed many of its sounds and strategies from early dancehall. As it happens, Cham’s “Ghetto Story” is in part a tribute to that first wave of computer-generated dancehall. It’s based on an old-fashioned electronic riddim called “85,” in homage to that watershed year. The “85” riddim is the work of Dave Kelly, a brilliant producer who could (but wouldn’t) claim to be the Dr. Dre of dancehall.
Mr. Kelly has been making reggae hits since the early 1990’s, when he worked with the ferocious dancehall roarer Buju Banton. And he has been paying close attention over the last decade, as the genre has endured a handful of triumphs and a fistful of setbacks, while steadily pumping out wild, weird singles.
He was referring indirectly to the reggae boom of 2002-3. That was when Sean Paul was taking off, when Elephant Man’s frenetic club hit “Pon de River Pon de Bank” could be seen on BET, when the dancehall crooner Wayne Wonder was enjoying a surprise pop hit with “No Letting Go.” Reggae was on the verge of a major breakthrough. But since then reggae has gone back underground, and Jamaican tastes have changed.After the boom the Jamaican charts filled up with old-fashioned roots-reggae songs, which weren’t quite as compatible with American hip-hop. And this year two of the biggest (and best) Jamaican hits — “Badman Forward, Badman Pull Up,” by Ding Dong, a dancer, and “Dutty Wine,” by Tony Matterhorn, a D.J. — aren’t really songs at all: they are dancing guides, with yelled instructions in place of lyrics. Try explaining all that to a casual pop fan, looking for the next Sean Paul.
In recent years reggae stars have also had to reckon with a controversy of their own making. Many of the top performers have recorded songs with antigay lyrics. In 2004 gay-rights activists started an awareness campaign, and concerts by Beenie Man and other dancehall stars were canceled in
The furor seemed to die down after the top reggae stars privately agreed to avoid recording violent antigay rhetoric in the future. But the effect lingered: nonfans all over the world now think of dancehall as the genre with the antigay lyrics. And last month Beenie Man learned that the anger hasn’t subsided: his
This is what Beenie Man is facing as he promotes his new album — and umpteenth crossover attempt —
But elsewhere Beenie Man sounds a bit flat, as if his frustrating recent years had sapped his usual wit and verve. Outside Jamaica his long career seems more like a trail of damning evidence; an abject apology might help, but it would be a gamble: Jamaican fans would likely view it as an unacceptable capitulation.
Maybe all that makes Cham (formerly Baby Cham) the ideal reggae star for this complicated moment. He’s a clean-cut but versatile vocalist, equally capable of unleashing a barrage of threats or delivering a bouquet of lover-man promises. He sounds equally at home on an American radio station or in a Jamaican club. He has avoided the antigay lyrics that helped derail Beenie Man’s career. And with Mr. Kelly in his corner, Cham has a steady supply of simple but elegant electronic beats.
“Ghetto Story” begins with half a dozen hard, brash, unimpeachable tracks. In “Tic Toc” he turns a nursery rhyme into a warning: “Tic, toc, tic goes the clock/Informers dance to the sound of my Glock.” While he doesn’t pretend to have an American accent (as some hit-hungry reggae stars have done), he delivers many of his lyrics slowly (by dancehall standards), so Americans can follow along.
“You have to find some way without watering down the lyrics, to break the language barrier,” he said. And to that end, he often lets his voice crack, like an adolescent’s, when he gets worked up. It’s a nonverbal cue that is never lost in translation.
There are a few missteps around the album’s halfway point. The thug-love choruses and hip-hop beats seem like an unnecessary concession to hip-hop listeners; besides, Cham never sounds better than when he’s got an old-fashioned digital dancehall beat to work with. Which raises a question. Is the focus on crossing over a mistake? Shouldn’t reggae stars be satisfied to make music that reggae fans like?
Part of the problem is the obvious economic one: You can’t make much money from CD’s in Jamaica. Mr. Kelly says he gave away about a thousand copies of the “85” compilation (which includes the “Ghetto Story” single) on the island.
“We’re not even trying to sell records in Jamaica,” he said. Instead he wants to keep Jamaican listeners satisfied (Cham recently did a free tour of the island) while reaping the rewards in America and overseas.
Now all Cham needs is for “Ghetto Story” to keep climbing in popularity, and for the next single to do just as well; it’s a tall order but not an impossible one. He knows that, in a globalized music economy, real success depends on attracting listeners who don’t know — or care to know — about the genre’s rich history.
Staying home isn’t an option. “You just sit in Jamaica, making records that mash up Jamaica? It doesn’t come like that,” he said. “So I’m willing to do the work.”
Monday, August 14, 2006
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Friday, August 11, 2006
Because it gives me a sensation that cannot be adequately described by words. I get to edutain people and spread the positive vibes of reggae/dancehall music. It touches me every time that someone comes up to me and says "I didn't know that I liked this music until I saw and heard you play..." It seems that every time I feel like my music isn't really reaching people that way that I desire, some stranger will walk up to me at the grocery store or in the street and say something like..."Man, you tore Moja up!! When are you gonna be playing again?" It never fails. About two weeks ago, I was walking to my car and a young lady ran up to me screaming "PAPA ROBBIE!!! You came and performed at my school 5 years ago and you told us 'Don't Chase Him, Replace Him'"...If I could make that impact on that young lady after one assembly appearance, how in the blue hell could I ever think about stopping? It's time to make some more music!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Wow, it looks like G.W. is havin' a tough time with all this "terror". Robin Williams, Mel Gibson and now Dubya have fall off of the proverbial WAGON. I personnaly believe that the President (elected or selected) should be randomly tested for drugs and roids...Just my opinion.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Dyson a few years ago. I've read a few of his books and I usually agree with what he has to say. Check out Dr. Dyson layin' it down. FLAT.
White supremacy is the conscious or unconscious belief or the investment in the inherent superiority of some, while others are believed to be innately inferior. And it doesn't demand the individual participation of the singular bigot. It is a machine operating in perpetuity, because it doesn't demand that somebody be in place driving. That's the vicious ingenuity of white supremacy. It has become institutional.
And when white supremacy becomes institutional, it begins to harm the very people who are not simply outside of it because of their race, it begins to harm the folk who look like the folk who want to be in charge. Martin Luther King, Jr. understood this, Malcolm X understood this, James Baldwin really understood this. And so, so much of my life has been trying to lay bear the presuppositions of white supremacy, because they have damaged the very people who would allegedly and ostensibly benefit from some of that madness.
Martin Luther King, Jr., once in the jail said to his jailer, "You are white and poor. You will never benefit from Jim Crow. You will never be able, except psychologically, to derive benefit from your white skin." What we now know as white skin privilege, what DuBois in 1935 in his magisterial tome, Black Reconstruction, called the psychic wages of whiteness. King said, "You will never be able to derive benefit as a result of that. You are more like me than you are like them."
And so when we think about warring against white supremacy in American society, it is so seductive to believe and invest in the mythology of superiority, especially among white ethic brothers and sisters, who having been closed out of so much in American society, hold fast to that lie, hold fast to that myth, hold fast to that illusion, because they have been so disenfranchised otherwise that they have to pump up the mythology of their inherent superiority.
I've tried to fight against that, but I've also tried to fight against the occupied minds of people of color who pay uncritical deference to dominant culture, who, without understanding, they have internalized the vicious mythologies by which others have been made to live. James Baldwin, in reflecting on his own father, said in that poignant phrase he "believed the lie." And so many of us have believed the lies.
And I have tried to spend some of my career, some of my vocation, some of my time as a professor and preacher and social activist and paid pest, trying to get at some of these I ideologies that challenge the fundamental dignity of our common humanity. But it's also true that I have tried, as Dean Richards has so graciously said, I've tried to also ask the question within the community from which I emerge, because if we take the notion from our Quaker brothers and sisters speaking truth to power, then it can't just be power outside the community. It's got to be power within that community.
So, for me when I wrote a book about Bill Cosby, it's not that I am trying to playa-hate on a great iconic figure, the American patriarch, but don't forget he emerged simultaneously with Ronald Reagan in the early '80s, when the Reagan junta and the Reaganomics, the Reagan regime came forth in 1980, and Cosby emerged in the shadow of Reagan, Reagan as the great grandfather, Cosby as the great patriarchal father. It was an achievement of sorts, because for the first time the imagination of the seminal father figure rested in black pigment. That was an achievement, to be sure. And yet, at the same time the outlines of that patriarchy have been viciously revealed to be contradictory at their heart, because this great father of African American and, indeed, American society, laid waste to the most vulnerable people in our culture.
And so, I chose to speak back to him to try to leverage whatever fame, authority, visibility, teaspoon of influence that I might be able to muster and to say, "Those people who will never be able to talk back to you – Shaniqua and Taliqua and Mohammed and Shanene – those people who will never have a voice, those people who will never be able to stand up on their own two feet and to speak back to you, because the global media landscape is so deep and your bully pulpit is so wide, it stretches across the world, how can they justly speak back to you?"
And so, my work was just a small effort to express an outrage and an edifying resentment of the premise by which Mr. Cosby or upon which Mr. Crosby rested. That is to say, that poor black folk have let down black communities and the Civil Rights Movement, more broadly. Well, my Bible tells me to whom much has been given, much is required. And that means you don't start with the folk at the bottom, you got to start with the folk at the top. And whether you agreed with him or not, when you saw Mr. Harry Belafonte on Larry King's show, he was picking on somebody his own size when he went after Colin Powell, when he said that Colin Powell was a lapdog for the empire, when he said that Colin Powell was nothing more than a house Negro on a white plantation whose inability to tell the truth made him in league with the master. That's picking on somebody your own size.
And then the difficult assignment of trying to parse in public the shades and nuances of racial discourse even among enlightened liberals who reproduce the pathology of elite racism. What dat mean? I'm saying that when Ms. Goodman so brilliantly called attention to how the Fourth Estate, as sister [inaudible] spoke about it, holding the collective feet of the media to the fire, what I'm saying is that often it is not the bodies of those who are minority that cause the minds of those who are blessed to move into action. The difficult truth is that we live by narcissism, and when it happens to us, we better understand it.
But by the same token it does suggest that for so many years, those who have been dying before our eyes, those whose lives have been poured out measure by measure, and it never affected us because it didn't happen to us, we never understood until the plight became personal. And I am not suggesting by any measure that most of us are not moved by having personal experience catapult us into politics. That's the beautiful story of Sister Sheehan, is that because of her particular loss she began to understand the broader implications.
But travel with me now to imagine that so many other mothers have lost their sons without so much of a peep by a dominant media that refuses to acknowledge the nature of the loss. Come with me as we tour the inner city and the barrio and the Native indigenous people's reservation. Come with me through the post-industrial urban collapse of mothers who have long since surrendered the ability to exercise and leverage authority over the lives of their children, because the state has been in cahoots with an underground economy, expanding the possibility of a drug economy, while the above-ground economy takes the jobs away from their men and their mothers and their sisters. The state has conspired to do dastardly deeds and to do ultimate damage to vulnerable black and brown and yellow and red people, without so much as a peep from a media that has been standing there agog, arms akimbo, wondering about the penetrating madness that these people must inevitably experience.
If you ain't a white girl and you disappear, you ain't got much luck. If you a black mama -- a black mama might not even had the possibility of being a martyr and a hero like Ms. Sheehan, because they might have been disallowed to even get near the Bush compound and ranch, because they would be suspicious already. Thank God that Cindy Sheehan went undercover. Thank God she looked just like a feckless, harmless white woman who just was going to the ranch. Who knew that she had a behemoth inside of her that was going to challenge the dominant society? But there are so many others who have the same impulse who will never be acknowledged, because they can't even get that far.
And so my own truth telling, as far as I'm able to muster up the courage to say what needs to be said, and that thing is on a continuum because all of us are made cowards by the realization that ultimately we have never said everything we're supposed to say. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I have said so poorly what I have seen so clearly." And that's the truth.
We see it when we see the vicious forms of assault upon our women. The reason I wrote a book, Why I Love Black Women, I was just tired of these rappers talking about women in nasty and vicious ways. But they ain't started it. I knew that. I knew Snoop Dog didn't start misogyny. I knew that Tupac Shakur didn't start sexism, and God knows that Dr. Dre didn't start patriarchy. Yet they extended it in vicious form within their own communities. They made vulnerable people more vulnerable. But at the same time, we know that traditions of misogyny and sexism and patriarchy are deep and are profound and as American as apple pie.
And so we have to tell the truth, on the one hand, balancing our attempt to hold these young people accountable, while acknowledging the degree to which these dominant institutions in America have done the same funky file nefarious thing from the get-go. And so, for me, it means telling that truth.
That's why I'm with brother Damu in support of my man Kanye West. I ain't saying he's a gold digger. But George Bush don't f-- fool with no broke people. That's what Kanye was trying to say. Kanye said that "George Bush doesn't care about black people." He wasn't talking about George Bush, the individual. He wasn't speaking about George Bush, the private citizen. He's speaking about George Bush, the face of the government, George Bush, the face of democracy. He's speaking about George Bush as the symbolic head of a nation that refuses to acknowledge the humanity of black people.
And why is that so controversial in a nation that has lynched and looted and rioted and castrated, looting in the face of white riots, when lynchings were attended by families in their Sunday best to see the sexual organs of black men stoked by the sexual jealousy that continues to roil beneath the collective unconscious of the American psyche? How can we be surprised by the statement of a young person that America doesn't care, in the form of George Bush, about black people, when such rituals have never been consciously not only apologized for, but engage? And then beyond that, in a society that tells you through the poison of the media that you are not worth as much, because your face will not be on television, you will not be heard as much on the radio, you will not appear in ads that celebrate the inherent beauty of American society, is it any wonder that Kanye West is steeled and condensed into an acceptable and understandable, saying what so many millions of others have already felt and with greater analytical precision got down to?
And so now, we going to be mad, we talk about these rappers, talk about broads and behinds and boozing and bosoms. My God, we're sick and tired of this bling-bling culture. And yet, when one of them steps up, we are so cowardly that we can't even stand behind them. Our politicians start to making excuses, and they begin to have their statements die the death of a thousand qualifications. 'Well, it's not so much that -- well, it's not –' Just tell the truth! Just tell the truth! You're worried about whether you can get re-elected. Why don't you stand up to begin with? Why don't you come in with an understanding that maybe you gonna be a one-term brother or a one-term sister, because you are put there to represent the people. It said, "We, the people," not "We, the Supreme Court," not "We, the Congress." It said, "We, the people!"
And those profound words that were articulated by a mass of flawed but imaginative framers suggest to us that you and I are part of a democratic experiment that is made sharper and more luminous and incredibly lucid by the difficult work of struggle by the ordinary folk who never get the credit. And as I end and take my seat, that's why it's so important to link all this stuff going on. This war in Iraq has been terrible before it started. We've lost 2,000 lives. Iraqis have lost over 100,000.
We speak about these babies that these poor black women have. Where are they? They're on the front line. We talk about a society where young people are throwaway, poor white people, poor Latino people, poor African American people. These are the people who bear the brunt of the responsibility of waging war by people who will never step on that ground, people who send them, but who will never go. And so there's a relationship. Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about it. Paul Robeson talked about it. Ella Baker understood it. JoAnn Robinson imagined the day when we understood how fundamentally they were united.
And what I beg all of my constituencies and what I beg as a part of a multiple kinship group, as the anthropologists call it, I beg every community to understand we in the same boat. You might be in the anti-war movement and speaking out tomorrow, but don't forget the folk in Katrina. That's the beauty of what Sister Goodman was talking about and Brother Damu was talking about, what Sister Cindy Sheehan understands. It ain't just there. It's not when those bodies die, and God bless them, it's not simply when white bodies perish and white girls disappear, it's also about the unheralded casualties of people who are yet on earth, and yet the life blood has been sucked by the vulture of American empire.
And these people will never be spoken for, because they are the walking wounded and the living dead. And so I beg of you that as -- that those of us who are able to speak on behalf of the disenfranchised understand we in the same boat. The anti-war movement has been generated by this fearless woman who has moved forward in the name of a sense of outrage at the libel and the mis-telling of truth that has been put forth by this political ventriloquist whose strings are being pulled by corporate capitalism to make him say what he's saying.
And at the same time, don't miss how it's operating down in Halliburton and down in New Orleans and Mississippi and in Alabama. These black people, you see -- people say, 'Well, it's not about race, it's about class.' What you talking about? Race often is the language class speaks. Race makes class hurt more. See, even poor white brothers and sisters are not necessarily going to school in concentrated effects of poverty. Even some white brothers and sisters are able to escape their poverty, making more money than some black people who have gone to college. But the reality is, poor white folk got more in common with poor black folk and poor brown folk and poor yellow folk than they got in common with the white overseers and the black over-rulers and the Latino sellouts who have abdicated their responsibility to represent the people.
And so, as I end, I beg you, please gird up your loins and tell the truth where you are. You see in Palestine, and as the Palestinians were struggling for self-determination with their Israeli brothers and sisters, they both came to a common declaration. They said we want the quiet miracle of a normal life. That's what I want for so many millions of people both here in the country and around the globe. There's so many people who suffer, who don't have our education. They don't have our bank accounts. They don't have our sense of leisure and luxury. And if you and I can't see beyond our own myopic, narcissistic self-preoccupation to help somebody else, to open up our minds, so we can open up our hearts, so we can open up our lives, and God knows our pocketbooks.
But it is more than the charity. People said in the Katrina, 'Well, you see,' and some of the rightwing conservatives said, 'Well, the most people who were helping there were white folks trying to lift those helicopter things down to help those folk.' Well, charity ain't justice. Charity is beautiful, but you ain't got to be charitable to me if I already got justice. If I already got a sense of participation, you ain't got to be charitable to me. Just treat me right every day.
And as I end, that's why you and I are on the same ship. In fact, we travel in the same plane. You might be in first class eating filet mignon; I'm eating peanuts back in row 55. We're on the same boat. Don't cut a hole in the boat to suck water out, to sink the Titanic. And if you're on the plane, being in first class ain't going to stop you from going down with the rest of us. When there is turbulence, there is turbulence everywhere. Everybody be shaking. And if that plane goes down, you might die first in first class. Yes, some of us are in first class, but the plane is in trouble! What will you do to speak to the pilot, to tell the pilot to tell the control center that we've got to change directions unless the turbulence leads us to our own death? That's the truth we've got to tell. That's the courage we've got to muster, and that's the beauty of soul we must reveal to one another in the quietness of our own individual lives. Thank you so very much. -Michael Eric Dyson
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Friday, August 04, 2006
Reggae and dancehall is truly a music for the WORLD! Check out the wickedest sound system out of Japan, MIGHTY CROWN do their thing in Okinawa! It's almost surreal.
Here are some crucial live tracks by Bunny Wailer and Lucky Dube
Bunny Wailer- Bald Head Jesus,Rock& Groove,DanceRock,Rootsman Skanking, CoolRunnings,Keep On Moving
Lucky Dube-Prisoner,Born To Suffer,and Don't Cry
Get it while you can!
Click the link, scroll down and hit "free" follow directions and download! You'll need a program that can open rar. files.....ENJOY!!!