Saturday, December 29, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday.
"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us," long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference.
A delegation of Lakota leaders delivered a message to the State Department on Monday, announcing they were unilaterally withdrawing from treaties they signed with the federal government of the United States, some of them more than 150 years old.
They also visited the Bolivian, Chilean, South African and Venezuelan embassies, and will continue on their diplomatic mission and take it overseas in the coming weeks and months, they told the news conference.
Lakota country includes parts of the states of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.
The new country would issue its own passports and driving licences, and living there would be tax-free -- provided residents renounce their US citizenship, Means said.
The treaties signed with the United States are merely "worthless words on worthless paper," the Lakota freedom activists say on their website.
The treaties have been "repeatedly violated in order to steal our culture, our land and our ability to maintain our way of life," the reborn freedom movement says.
Withdrawing from the treaties was entirely legal, Means said.
"This is according to the laws of the United States, specifically article six of the constitution," which states that treaties are the supreme law of the land, he said.
"It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and put into effect by the US and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independent," said Means.
The Lakota relaunched their journey to freedom in 1974, when they drafted a declaration of continuing independence -- an overt play on the title of the United States' Declaration of Independence from England.
Thirty-three years have elapsed since then because "it takes critical mass to combat colonialism and we wanted to make sure that all our ducks were in a row," Means said.
One duck moved into place in September, when the United Nations adopted a non-binding declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples -- despite opposition from the United States, which said it clashed with its own laws.
"We have 33 treaties with the United States that they have not lived by. They continue to take our land, our water, our children," Phyllis Young, who helped organize the first international conference on indigenous rights in Geneva in 1977, told the news conference.
The US "annexation" of native American land has resulted in once proud tribes such as the Lakota becoming mere "facsimiles of white people," said Means.
Oppression at the hands of the US government has taken its toll on the Lakota, whose men have one of the shortest life expectancies -- less than 44 years -- in the world.
Lakota teen suicides are 150 percent above the norm for the United States; infant mortality is five times higher than the US average; and unemployment is rife, according to the Lakota freedom movement's website.
"Our people want to live, not just survive or crawl and be mascots," said Young.
"We are not trying to embarrass the United States. We are here to continue the struggle for our children and grandchildren," she said, predicting that the battle would not be won in her lifetime.
Posted by Mr. Ellington at 4:36 PM
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul has received a $500 campaign donation from a white supremacist, and the Texas congressman doesn't plan to return it, an aide said Wednesday.
Don Black, of West Palm Beach, recently made the donation, according to campaign filings. He runs a Web site called Stormfront with the motto, "White Pride World Wide." The site welcomes postings to the "Stormfront White Nationalist Community."
"Dr. Paul stands for freedom, peace, prosperity and inalienable rights. If someone with small ideologies happens to contribute money to Ron, thinking he can influence Ron in any way, he's wasted his money," Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said. "Ron is going to take the money and try to spread the message of freedom."
"And that's $500 less that this guy has to do whatever it is that he does," Benton added.
Black said he supports Paul's stance on ending the war in Iraq, securing U.S. borders and his opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants.
"We know that he's not a white nationalist. He says he isn't and we believe him, but on the issues, there's only one choice," Black said Wednesday.
"We like his stand on tight borders and opposition to a police state," Black told The Palm Beach Post earlier.
On his Web site, Black says he has been involved in "the White patriot movement for 30 years."
Ron Paul and His KKK, White Supremacist, and Neo-Nazi Supporters
Written by SJ Reidhead
Published November 27, 2007
During the past month or so the conservative blogsphere and media has finally discovered the fact that GOP Presidential hopeful and Texas GOP Congressman Ron Paul has some very strange supporters. During the past months on Blogcritics, I have been exposing various and sundry rather tawdry aspects of the whole anti-immigration movement with profiles on John Tanton and Tom Tancredo.
The Blogcritics piece I recently did about the white supremacist assault on Senator Lindsey Graham is garnering some interesting comments from the far right. But no series exposing the extreme and far right forces distorting the once-honorable conservative agenda could possibly be anywhere near complete without a commentary about some of the supporters of Ron Paul.
This isn’t the first time Ron Paul has run for President. In 1988 he did so as a libertarian candidate, attracting little attention. This time, though it is different as Paul and his supporters have mastered the art of the internet candidacy and almost defined a new and improved way to raise funds. Instead of going for a few high dollar supporters, they are going for large numbers of small dollar donors, and are rewriting the way fundraising is done.
Conservative bloggers are patting themselves on their ramrod straight backs for finally facing the fact that their movement is being hijacked by white supremacist forces from the far right. Unfortunately they are miles behind the curve, and just a little too little too late as far as I am concerned. Congressman Ron Paul has some very nasty white supremacist friends. If the problem dated only to this election cycle it would be one thing, but Paul has a past history of making some rather racially insensitive remarks, on a rather consistent basis.
In 2004 Paul made a short statement from the floor of the US House of Representatives about his refusal to vote for the renewal of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
"The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society. Federal bureaucrats and judges cannot read minds to see if actions are motivated by racism. Therefore, the only way the federal government could ensure an employer was not violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to ensure that the racial composition of a business's workforce matched the racial composition of a bureaucrat or judge's defined body of potential employees. Thus, bureaucrats began forcing employers to hire by racial quota. Racial quotas have not contributed to racial harmony or advanced the goal of a color-blind society. Instead, these quotas encouraged racial balkanization, and fostered racial strife….”
In 1996 in an article, in the Houston Chronicle, “…Paul, a Republican obstetrician from Surfside, said Wednesday he opposes racism and that his written commentaries about blacks came in the context of "current events and statistical reports of the time." ... Paul, writing in his independent political newsletter in 1992, reported about unspecified surveys of blacks. "Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty and the end of welfare and affirmative action," Paul wrote. Paul continued that politically sensible blacks are outnumbered "as decent people." Citing reports that 85 percent of all black men in the District of Columbia are arrested, Paul wrote: "Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the `criminal justice system,' I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal," Paul said. Paul also wrote that although "we are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers.”
The Stormfront (white supremacist, neo-Nazi leaning) website has a promotional page for Ron Paul. Paul’s campaign accepted $500 in campaign donations from Stormfront founder and known neo-Nazi Don Black, and until recently Paul refused to return the donation. While Paul’s campaign has a fascinating number of ties to Stormfront, they refused to return the calls of Daniel Siederaski of the Jewish Telegraph Agency. Siederaski wrote:
Any other candidate would unequivocally reject that money as soon as its donor’s identity was known. That Paul’s campaign needs time to think about it is shocking. Also of concern is the fact that Paul’s campaign has ignored my repeated attempts to interview the Congressman for JTA, the Jewish newswire service by which I am employed. I had intended to write a story about the Congressman, and to provide him with the opportunity to distance himself from his extremist supporters, to clarify his position on Israel, and to state his case to the Jewish community. Yet, after three weeks of repeated telephone calls, two chats with his Deputy Communications Director, and several left voicemail messages, I have yet to receive a callback to schedule an interview….
In Tennessee one of Ron Paul’s biggest internet organizers is neo-Nazi leader Will Williams, who is a southern point person for the National Alliance Party, the largest neo-Nazi organization in the US. According to Andrew Walden, author of the American Thinker piece, Williams is in part responsible for the extreme numbers of “meet-up” individuals who have registered for Paul. Some 61,000 Ron Paul supporters are registered, compared to 3,400 for Barack Obama, 1,000 for Hillary Clinton, and 1,800 for Dennis Kucinich. Williams may also be responsible for the enormous amount of spam and comments received by anyone who dares criticize Ron Paul.
Williams is not the only white supremacist, KKK, or neo-Nazi supporter Ron Paul has. He is supported by David Duke and Pat Buchanan. Ron Unz, editor of Buchanan’s American Conservative magazine is also a Ron Paul supporter. Strangely enough Barry Manilow is also a Paul supporter as is Cindy Sheehan. There are ties to the American Nationalist Union and several serious anti-Semitic sites and organizations. Also supporting Paul are long time “Christian” conservatives like Howard Phillips and Chuck Baldwin who is closely associated with the Constitution Party.
Dave Neiwert, quoting Chip Berlet, wrote “Those neo-Nazis have a First Amendment right to endorse Ron Paul, but Ron Paul has a moral obligation to disavow that donation." He added: "There's two issues: Why would anyone have to ask Ron Paul to disassociate himself from the endorsement of neo-Nazis? And the second is that when they did ask him, his silence spoke volumes about his values. You know, 'I don't enjoy the endorsement of neo-Nazis' — how hard is that to say? And why hasn't he refunded it? It's not like this is a gray area."
Currently Paul is polling about 7% in New Hampshire and 8% in South Carolina.
SJ Reidhead is a writer and political junkie who lives in Lincoln County, New Mexico and is the author of two western novels, and has several non- fiction books about Tombstone and Wyatt Earp. She is currently counting hits her Pink Flamingo blog and is working on an expose of the anti-immigration movement as well as forming her own publishing company.
Posted by Mr. Ellington at 2:58 PM
Monday, December 17, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Ryan Shaw is a man with a mission.
This 26-year-old singer/songwriter from Decatur, Georgia is out to revive the passion and soul of the Golden Age of Rhythm & Blues (1960-1972) for a new generation. His debut album, This Is Ryan Shaw, combines a powerfully expressive voice with a clutch of great songs both classic and new—and a state-of-the-art, in-your-face sound that makes it impossible to sit still.
Working with player/producers Jimmy Bralower and Johnny Gale, Ryan dug deep into the "soul mine" for overlooked gems by obscure artists like the Combo Kings and the Sharpees along with more familiar songs made famous by Wilson Pickett, Jackie Wilson, and Bobby Womack. Ryan's original tunes—"Nobody" (the first single), "We Got Love," and "Over and Done" —are most definitely of the moment but built on the old-school values of strong melodies and meaningful lyrics.
Ryan delivers every song with the kind of emotional commitment and vocal panache that have nearly vanished from the mainstream musical landscape. Compositional craft and studio technology blend in an album of irresistible appeal from the opening dance blast of "Do the 45" to the heart-wrenching ballad "I Am Your Man" and "Over and Done," the upbeat Ryan Shaw original that closes the set on a joyful, triumphant note.
On stage, Ryan brings it all together with a combination of Southern warmth and New York vitality. Using just a small rhythm section and two male backing vocalists, he's able to effectively reproduce the sound of his album while stretching some tunes into full-on vocal rave-ups. Ryan's thrilling voice and charismatic presence are all that he needs to get over with an audience. There's no posturing or mindless booty-shaking, no need for contrived antics: Ryan Shaw is the real deal.
Posted by Mr. Ellington at 4:11 PM
Courtesy of Essence.com
Karith Foster: Don Imus's New Sidekick Defends Her Decision to Be on the Show
Comedian Karith Foster talks exclusively to ESSENCE about her role on the Don Imus radio program, why she took the job and how she's not a sellout
By Tatsha Robertson
Months after Imus was fired from his job for calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy headed hos,’’ he’s back on the air, but this time with two Black comedians—Karith Foster and Tony Powell—at his side. Will it be back to business as usual for the famous radio talk show host, or will this new lineup really start an ongoing conversation on race in this country as he promised? ESSENCE news editor Tatsha Robertson caught up with Imus’s new sidekick Foster, a 33-year-old performer from Plano, Texas. In her first lengthy one-on-one interview, she talks about her new gig, her new boss and what she has to say to anyone who calls her a sellout.
Essence.com: Congratulations. Have you slept at all?
Karith Foster: (Laugh) I can sleep when I am dead.
Essence.com: What did your family say when they heard that you got the gig?
K.F.: They were not thrilled. Most of my friends were like, “Oh, my God, this is an awesome opportunity.” My parents were like, “Is this something you want to do? Is this is something you are prepared to do? Is this a person you want to work with?”
Essence.com: So they had questions?
K.F.: Of course. Absolutely. My parents are extremely protective. I am their firstborn. They have always done everything in their lives to help me have a better life and to keep me safe and happy, especially the whole safety issue. There are a lot of angry people out there, as it should have been.
Essence.com: What is it really like to work with Imus?
K.F.: He is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. He does have the grumpy old man demeanor. I’m not saying that is not who he is. That is definitely part of who he is. But he is definitely a very kind, gentle person. If I hadn’t seen that side, if I wasn’t aware of that side, then I don’t think this would be a position I would have considered. Our very first discussion—ever—was about the Rutgers situation and what he had said and my feelings about it. I’ve been in the comedy business for about ten years, and you (develop) a gauge for people; you can tell who is BSing you after the show. This man was truly, genuinely sincere and regretful for the hurt that he caused people. In that conversation he said he always made it a policy not to make fun of celebrities’ children or public figures and so forth because that’s not fair. And that (his comment) was wrong.
Essence.com: Did he call you first? I’m just curious how this happened.
K.F.: It was being at the right place at the right time. It was arranged through a manager. I remember very vividly when everything happened because my uncle had just passed away that weekend when everything broke, and he (Imus) was meeting with the Rutgers women. I remember thinking, Wow, I just wish I had been there to be able to say something. It’s kind of like the universe heard me.
Essence.com: I hear what you’re saying, but someone out there will say that you were hired to save face for Imus. Your reaction?
K.F.: (Long pause) Well, I am not here to defend the man. I am also not paid to be his policeman. I am here to contribute to a historically entertaining show. I have no issue whatsoever speaking up when I feel the need to. I feel as if I am here to represent. That is another reason I took the job. What an opportunity to be a positive role model, not just for African-Americans and not just for women, but especially African-American women.
Essence.com: Are you going to hold him accountable when he goes too far? Because sometimes he does.
K.F.: Absolutely. There is a fine line. The rules in comedy are this: All is fair in love and comedy, but it has to be funny. There is a fine line between being funny and malicious. But it’s a distinct line, and when you cross it, I think something should be said. And I think you should be held accountable.
K.F.: Listening to it and having heard the actual recording of the nappy-headed hos (incident), it was so obvious it wasn’t malicious. He was an old White guy trying to be young and hip and use the modern vernacular. And it wasn’t funny.
Essence.com: Hmm… Your life is going to be open. How do you feel about that?
K.F.: Of course I am still taking it in. It’s something I think I planned for—for a while. Even in college I kind of lived my life as if I wanted to run for political office one day. I don’t want anything coming back to bite me in the butt. So I’m afraid there won’t be any Internet photos or kids popping up out of the blue.
Essence.com: There is some confusion. On your Web site you say you’re a Jewish woman, and so many people think you are Black and Jewish. Can you clear that up?
K.F.: Oh, my God! Okay, again humor. Some people get it and some people don’t. In my act I joke about being a Jewish girl from Long Island trapped in this body. I have very dear friends who are Jewish…so it’s kind of an inside joke.
Essence.com: I got it. In one of your skits, you say you were “ebonically challenged,’’ and it was funny. But some people may think you’ll say things Imus can’t.
K.F.: I am going to say what I feel. I am going to say what is true to me. I am certainly not up there to hurt or humiliate my people. I am reading some things online that are saying, “Oh, they hired two comedians.” It’s as if we are there just to be funny. The job of a comedian is also to provide social commentary and make people think. That is what I use my comedy for. I get up on stage and show another perspective. Part of what I had to fight my entire comedy career is that I don’t fall into the stereotype of the fat Black, sassy woman rolling her neck and talking about having baby daddies. Not that I have any issues with that because comedy is hard and anybody who has the balls to do it I applaud. I talk about being a Huxtable because that’s my experience growing up. Ebonically challenged—I grew up in Plano, Texas, where I was literally in an all-White production of A Raisin in the Sun. So I joke about it (Plano) having the ethnic diversity of a Klan rally.
Essence.com: Do you think this is a dream job for you?
K.F.: This is only my second day on the job. I don’t want to go crazy (Laughs). I do see it as an opportunity. It’s definitely a turning point. If God didn’t want this for me, it wouldn’t have happened. If I couldn’t handle it, then someone else would have gotten the job. That’s how I see it.
Essence.com: Okay, last question. Someone is going to call you a sellout. What do you have to say about that?
K.F.: Absolutely. I weighed that and thought about that. What outweighed that is when I thought about what good I can do. If people would call me a sellout, I’d have to say they don’t know me at all, and I am sorry they feel that way. I would hope and prefer they would see this as an opportunity to have a form of representation where there previously was none.
Essence.com: Okay, gotcha.
Posted by Mr. Ellington at 3:57 PM
By Davey D
There's no excuse not to have a few stocking stuffers. Leading the pack is a new Chuck D/Public Enemy project that pays tribute to the late James Brown. Its done under the name The Peeps of Soulfunk and features SlamJam artists like singer Kyle Jason and his group the banned. It also introduces us to a new artist named Revue.The name of the album is 'Tribb to JB'
The project is off the hook as it manages to capture the musical essence and feel of many of Brown's classics like 'Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)', 'Funky President' and my favorite 'Get Up, Get Into It and Get Involved'. At the same time Chuck and company add their own twists to some of these songs, by either rapping new lyrics or adding little riffs and extra beats here and there. Kyle Jason's band is superb. Trust me on this you will not be disappointed...
On a more somber note, I spoke with Chuck D the other night for a long time about the significance behind this project. He explained that as soon as Brown passed away last Christmas, he thought about doing a tribute album. What surprised him was over the past year was seeing that no other group had come forth to do something similar. To date the PE project is the only tribute album. Chuck pointed out James Brown's legacy has pretty much been obscured when you consider the impact he's had on music and his global appeal. He noted how other pioneering rock icons like Elvis and the Beatles are celebrated while Black music icons like Brown and Curtis Mayfield who also passed away several years ago in late December are pretty much forgotten.
This oversight and lack of celebration is not by accident, but instead indicates a larger problem within the Black community where history is discouraged and downplayed. It seems to be a continuum of the edict applied to Black folks when we first brought over to this country, which was to strip away and erase one's cultural heritage. The lack of knowledge of our musical history is a microcasm for what is going on in the larger society.
For example, today the average African American 18 year old not only knows more about Souljah Boy and his new dance than he does James Brown, but he probably couldn't care less about the Godfather of Soul's immense contributions. That attitude may extend to a dis-interest in political and social history. So he may not know about James Brown, the Black Panthers, SNCC or the local heroes and sheroes who paved the way for him.
Part of this disconnect is elders in particular parents not taking time to pass down the info, but that disconnect is equally fostered by popular urban media outlets that rarely celebrate and expose that history to their audience. Aside from the BET Tribute during an awards show which Public Enemy participated, there has been barely a mention. During our conversation, Chuck noted what I had personally experienced where many urban radio stations refuse to play records more than 5 years old aside from an occasional specialty shows or old school mix. Not only is the soul and blues history lost to the masses but increasingly Hip Hop's recent history. If you don't belive it ask that 18 year old Souljah Boy fan if he ever heard an X-Clan, Big Daddy Kane or MC Lyte record. Contrast that with a 18 year old rock fan and see if he or she ever heard of Nirvrana, U2 or Red Hot Chili Peppers who were out around the same time as their Hip Hop counterparts. Chuck is on a mission to change that...
Here's the video to the song 'Think Mamma for the Soul Sisters'
Posted by Mr. Ellington at 10:20 AM
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The above pic is of Lil' Wayne and his "father figure" Baby ....somethin' just ain't right with this picture. You tell me. Wayne and Baby are breaking a few rules on several levels, but having someone write Wayne's elementary rhymes for him is what we're addressing here. -Papa Robbie
Ghostwriting: Lyrical Steroids
by: Jason Fleurant
I remember a time when sounding like, or even appearing the slightest bit like anyone else was cause for a beat down in Hip Hop. To quote Steven A. Smith “Quite Frankly!" I want those days back. It’s bad enough nowadays that everyone wants to go into the booth and instead of taking time to concentrate on what they’re about to say, they want to freestyle on records. No, that was not a diss towards the Jay-Z/Biggie style of Writing lyrics in their heads. Unlike those chumps who imitate they actually took their time and wrote the words in their minds. Yet this is a topic for another day.
Lets address the plague that’s running wild like a headless chicken in Hip-Hop. The steroids of rap, ghostwriting. Lately we’ve seen the impact on sports in general with the whole steroids epidemic. Mostly standing out in baseball with Barry Bond’s chasing and then surpassing Babe Ruth's home run record. Now the allegations against Lance Armstrong as well as fellow cyclist Floyd Landis (who tested positive for substance abuse).
It’s been known for years that Puff or Diddy, whatever the hell he calls himself today is a notorious user of Ghostwriters. As Dj Drama said in a blog “Everyone ghostwrites for Puff”. But is it really fair? Well not even fair, the question should be is it right? The art of rapping isn’t like pop or R&B songs, where someone else writes the song for some singer because singers expressed themselves through actual singing. Rapping is about you expressing yourself through your own words not someone else’s.
Maybe the Hip Hop Gods need to come down with the Ten Commandments. Rule number one could be something like “If Thou Hast Not Written It, Thou Shalt Not Spit It” (hmm I think I‘m going to put that on a shirt). This has gotten ridiculous to think that someone would strut around claiming they’re ill but doesn’t even write their own rhymes. Bad enough people pretend to be something they're not in order to be famous, but this is another level of disgrace. The “Steroids Of Rap” scandal has a new face: Lil Wayne vs. Gillie.
Gillie the ex-Cash Money artist from Philly has been out and about trash talking Lil Wayne’s seemingly overnight lyrical growth. Stating that in fact he ghostwrote for Weezy F. Baby’s (please say the baby) ‘The Carter’. Which by the way is held as a critically acclaim album, some even consider a classic. I mean Gillie has been going full-force with this appearing on radio, magazines, and even an embarrassing moment that felt straight out of the Black Exploitation movies on MTV Sucker Free. Where he, accompanied by the Clipse let it be known to all the teenyboppers that Wayne was a fraud. Lets just say that it was silent enough to hear a fly land on a moving locomotive in the MTV studio.
The idea that the man that is most considered the prominent lyrical rapper from the south may have been so only because an east coast artist gave him his swag is a major blow to the south in general. Especially since The Carter II while a decent album fell short of what the first installment brought us and Gillie has gone out his way to claim he wasn’t there to right for that one. Could it of been a possible case of Barry Bonds being jealous of the love Mark McGuire and Sammy were getting that he decided to get a performance boost. In Wayne’s case being the only souljah left on Cash Money, while Juvenile and B.G. where getting love, could it be that in-order to stand out he possibly enlisted the help of Gillie to give his lyrical skills a boost? Or maybe a case of someone exploiting him to get some shine of their own.
Worst yet is the fact that a rapper like Young Joc had his number one song “Going Down” ghost written by his producer Netty. Netty exposed this and bashed Joc for his lack of skill in an issue of XXL Magazine. This has got to be where the buck stops. You mean to tell me you’re so untalented in writing rhymes that the producer has to write one of the wackest joints ever heard. “Verse number two, do the damn thing” Are you kidding me!? Who the hell starts a verse by saying verse number two, how can these guys get deals? Next you’ll hear D4L come out saying they didn’t write that “Laffy Taffy” mess.
Rumors have circulated for years that some of your favorite artists used ghostwriters. Puff of course, but even one so bold to say Nas wrote for Rakim. Yea crazy isn’t it. Almost down right blasphemous to even imagine. What are we to feel when you find out an artist uses a ghostwriter? I said it before that this isn’t R&B where you sing what someone wrote for you. This is Hip Hop, this is rap baby where you EXPRESS YOUR SELF! I can’t lie, I lose a lot of respect for those who use ghost writers (example: Eazy-E, Dr. Dre) but lose even more respect for those who write for them (Ice Cube, D.O.C. and Jay-Z).
I remember watching QDIII’s DVD on ‘The MC’, it’s a documentary brought to you by the man who made the infamous Beef series. Back on subject, Krs-One had said something that always stayed in my heart about the whole idea of ghostwriters. I’m going to pretty much paraphrase but it went along the lines of “when you sell something you write, you sell a piece of your soul. So in fact you're selling yourself because the words on the paper came from no where else but from in you.” Think about that, let it marinade for a minute.
I understand that we all can’t get inside the industry and get the shine some of the other maybe lesser deserving cats have. I understand and feel people when you say its good 'easy money'. Please don’t get me wrong and think I’ve never worn those shoes and considered going the ghostwriting route. I have, but I just can’t do it bro. I just can’t really respect anyone who will basically sell themselves to someone else just for some quick bucks. There is this thing I have that I like to hold on to called Integrity. It would actually sicken me to see or hear someone else quote my rhymes, fronting all over the T.V. like they were the genius that wrote it (not saying that I’m some genius, just using it for dramatic effect).
What if someone came out like Jaz-O exposing that he actually ghostwrote for Jay-Z or some dude wrote for Nas? Same thing for Pac, Biggie, Pun. What if someone out of the blue could prove they actually ghostwrote for them? All this time we’d have been giving props and arguing over lies. The fact of the matter is the fool that is in the limelight getting rich and famous by faking is a liar. Just like lip-synching is a huge no-no in the world or R&B and Pop, ghostwriting is a huge no-no to us that love Hip Hop.
What it may really come down to is the fact that creativity and originality in Hip Hop has come to a stand still. In large part thanks to the big wigs at these record labels who want to just clone artist success. Forcing the idea of being original out of the door and following a Mini Vanilli formula in. So now it is easier to not really give a flying (you fill in the blank) about selling a original piece of yourself for some money because it’s all about making money nowadays. People will do anything to get it. “Don’t worry if I write rhymes, I write checks” I guess that pretty much can sum up the mentality of the industry today. You know what the saddest part about that rhyme is? The fact that he didn’t even write it.
Posted by Mr. Ellington at 2:14 PM
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
* 1377 - Jianwen Emperor of China (d. 1402)
* 1443 - Pope Julius II (d. 1513)
* 1495 - Nicolas Cleynaerts, Flemish grammarian (d. 1542)
* 1537 - Ashikaga Yoshiaki, Japanese shogun (d. 1597)
* 1539 - Fausto Paolo Sozzini, Italian theologian (d. 1604)
* 1547 - Ubbo Emmius, Dutch historian and geographer (d. 1625)
* 1595 - Henry Lawes, English composer (d. 1662)
* 1661 - Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, English statesman (d. 1724)
* 1687 - Francesco Geminiani, Italian violinist and composer (d. 1762)
* 1782 - Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the United States (d. 1862)
* 1803 - Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev, Russian poet (d. 1873)
* 1820 - Afanasy Fet, Russian poet (d. 1892)
* 1822 - Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz, American college president (d. 1907)
* 1829 - Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, French Canadian politician (d. 1908)
* 1830 - Christina Rossetti, British poet (d. 1894)
* 1839 - George Armstrong Custer, American general (d. 1876)
* 1855 - Clinton Hart Merriam, American ornithologist (d. 1942)
* 1859 - John Jellicoe, British admiral (d. 1935)
* 1863 - Paul Painlevé, French mathematician (d. 1933)
* 1867 - Józef Piłsudski, Polish revolutionary and statesman (d. 1935)
* 1867 - Antti Aarne, Finnish folklorist (d. February 2, 1925)
* 1868 - Arnold Sommerfeld, German physicist (d. 1951)
* 1869 - Ellis Parker Butler, American author (d. 1937)
* 1870 - Vítězslav Novák, Czech composer (d. 1949)
* 1871 - Bill Pickett, American rodeo performer (d. 1932)
* 1872 - Harry Nelson Pillsbury, American chess player (d. 1906)
* 1875 - Sir Arthur Currie, Canadian soldier (d. 1933)
* 1879 - Clyde Cessna, American airplane manufacturer (d. 1954)
* 1879 - Nunnally Johnson, American screenwriter and producer (d. 1977)
* 1886 - Rose Wilder Lane, American writer and reporter, daughter of 'Little House' books writer Laura Ingalls Wilder (d. 1968)
* 1890 - David Bomberg, British painter (d. 1957)
* 1890 - Fritz Lang, Austrian-born film director (d. 1976)
* 1892 - Ferdinand Schörner, German field marshal (d. 1973)
* 1895 - Elbert Frank Cox, American mathematician (d. 1969)
* 1896 - Carl Ferdinand Cori, Austrian-born biochemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1984)
* 1898 - Grace Moore, American soprano (d. 1947)
* 1898 - Josh Malihabadi, Urdu poet of India and Pakistan (d. 1982)
* 1901 - Walt Disney, American animated film producer (d. 1966)
* 1901 - Milton H. Erickson, American psychiatrist (d. 1980)
* 1901 - Werner Heisenberg, German physicist, Nobel laureate (d. 1976)
* 1902 - Strom Thurmond, American politician (d. 2003)
* 1903 - Johannes Heesters, Dutch singer and actor
* 1903 - Cecil Frank Powell, British physicist, Nobel laureate (d. 1969)
* 1905 - Gus Mancuso, baseball player (d. 1984)
* 1906 - Otto Preminger, Austrian-born director, producer, and actor (d. 1986)
* 1907 - Giuseppe Occhialini, Italian physicist (d. 1993)
* 1910 - Abraham Polonsky, American screenwriter (d. 1999)
* 1911 - Władysław Szpilman, Polish pianist (d. 2000)
* 1914 - Hans Hellmut Kirst, German author (d. 1989)
* 1917 - Ken Downing, British racing driver (d. 2004)
* 1927 - Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand
* 1932 - Sheldon Lee Glashow, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate
* 1932 - Little Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman), American singer and pianist
* 1934 - Joan Didion, American writer
* 1934 - Nikos Kourkoulos, Greek actor, artistic director of the National Theatre of Greece (d. 2007)
* 1935 - Yury Vlasov, Soviet weightlifter
* 1935 - Calvin Trillin, American writer
* 1936 - James Lee Burke, American writer
* 1938 - J. J. Cale, American songwriter
* 1940 - Peter Pohl, Swedish writer
* 1940 - Boris Ignatyev, Russian footballer
* 1943 - Eva Joly, Norwegian-born French magistrate
* 1944 - Jeroen Krabbé, Dutch actor
* 1945 - Serge Chapleau, Quebec caricaturist
* 1946 - José Carreras, Spanish tenor
* 1947 - Jim Messina, American musician (Buffalo Springfield - Loggins and Messina)
* 1947 - Tony Gregory, Irish politician
* 1947 - Jim Plunkett, American football player
* 1947 - Bruce Golding, Jamaican politician
* 1949 - Ray Comfort, New Zealand evangelist
* 1950 - Camarón de la Isla, Spanish flamenco singer (d. 1992)
* 1950 - Osvaldo Golijov, Argentine-born composer
* 1951 - Anne-Mie van Kerckhoven, Belgian artist
* 1951 - Morgan Brittany, American actress
* 1952 - Andy Kim, Canadian singer, songwriter
* 1953 - Larry Zbyszko, American professional wrestler
* 1956 - Brian Backer, American actor
* 1956 - Krystian Zimerman, Polish pianist
* 1957 - Art Monk, American football player
* 1958 - Dean Erickson, American actor
* 1960 - Jack Russell, American singer (Great White)
* 1962 - José Cura, Argentine tenor
* 1963 - Doctor Dre, American radio personality
* 1963 - Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards, British skier
* 1963 - Carrie Hamilton, American actress (d. 2002)
* 1965 - Johnny Rzeznik, American singer, songwriter and guitarist (Goo Goo Dolls)
* 1965 - Wayne Smith, Jamaican reggae musician
* 1966 - Patricia Kaas, French singer
* 1967 - Gary Allan, American singer
* 1967 - Konstantin-Assen, Prince of Vidin, titular Bulgarian royal family
* 1968 - Margaret Cho, American comedian and actress
* 1968 - Lisa Marie, American model and actress
* 1969 - Lewis Gordon Pugh, British swimmer, polar explorer and motivational speaker
* 1969 - Morgan J. Freeman, American film director
* 1970 - Robert LaMont Ellington, oh come on...you know about HIM!!!
* 1971 - Kali Rocha, American actress
* 1972 - Angela Shelton, American actress & writer
* 1972 - Mike Mahoney, baseball player
* 1972 - Cliff Floyd, American baseball player
* 1973 - Shalom Harlow, model
* 1973 - Luboš Motl, Czech physicist
* 1975 - Ronnie O'Sullivan, British snooker player
* 1976 - Amy Acker, American actress
* 1976 - Xavier Garbajosa, French rugby player
* 1978 - Olli Jokinen, Finnish ice hockey player
* 1979 - Matteo Ferrari, Italian footballer
* 1979 - Niklas Hagman, Finnish hockey player
* 1979 - Nick Stahl, American actor
* 1979 - Gareth McAuley, Northern Irish footballer
* 1979 - Evonne Hsu, Taiwanese singer
* 1979 - Marcus Stevens, Elk, California's first gay youth
* 1980 - Shizuka Ito, Japanese voice actress (seiyū)
* 1981 - Leila Tong, Hong Kong actress
* 1982 - Eddy Curry, American basketball player
* 1982 - Trai Essex, American football player
* 1984 - Chris Solinsky, American distance runner
* 1985 - Josh Smith, American basketball player
* 1985 - Frankie Muniz, American actor
* 1985 - Nico Verdonck, Belgian racing driver
Posted by Mr. Ellington at 11:07 PM
The writers are serious...I love it when "the industry" gets kicked in the pants.
"Late Show with David Letterman" - In repeats.
"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" - In repeats.
"Late Night with Conan O'Brien" - In repeats.
"The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" - In repeats.
"Jimmy Kimmel Live" - In repeats.
"Last Call with Carson Daily" - In repeats.
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" - In repeats.
"The Colbert Report" - In repeats.
"Real Time with Bill Maher" - In repeats.
"Saturday Night Live" - In repeats.
"Nightline" - In repeats.
"Desperate Housewives" - Nine out of 22 episodes completed; production shut down.
"Grey's Anatomy" - Eleven out of 22 episodes completed. Production shut down.
"Ugly Betty" - Will have 13 out of 24 episodes completed.
"Boston Legal" - Will have 14 of 22 episodes completed.
"Lost" - Expected to have eight out of 16 episodes ready. Scheduled to air in February.
"Private Practice" - Will have 10 of 22 episodes completed.
"Pushing Daisies" - Will have nine of 22 episodes completed.
"Big Shots" - Will have 13 of 13 episodes completed if production is not halted.
"Women's Murder Club" - Will have 10 of 13 episodes completed.
"Samantha Who?" - Will have 12 of 22 episodes completed.
"Cavemen" - Expected to have 12 out of 13 episodes completed; has not received an order for a full season.
"Men in Trees" - Will have 19 of 27 episodes completed, including five episodes left from the first season.
"Cashmere Mafia" - The premiere has been delayed because of the strike.
"Dirty Sexy Money" - Will have between 11 and 13 episodes completed.
"Brothers & Sisters" - Will have 12 episodes completed.
"Eli Stone" - Will have 13 of 13 ordered. Midseason premiere date is undetermined.
"Carpoolers" - Will have 13 of 13 episodes completed.
"CSI"- Will have 11 or 12 out of 22 episodes completed.
"CSI: Miami" - Will have 13 out of 24 episodes completed.
"CSI: NY" - Will have 13 or 14 out of 22 episodes completed.
"Criminal Minds" - Will have 11 or 12 of 22 episodes completed.
"Without a Trace" - Will have 12 out of 22 episodes completed.
"Cold Case" - Will have 13 out of 22 episodes completed.
"NCIS" - Will have 13 out of 22 episodes completed.
"The Unit" - Will have 11 of 22 episodes completed.
"Numb3rs" - Will have 12 of 22 episodes completed.
"Survivor: China" - Full season has been shot. Finale will air Dec. 16, 8-10 p.m.
"The Amazing Race" - Full season has been shot. Finale is scheduled to air in January.
"Kid Nation" - Full season has been shot. Finale is scheduled to air Dec. 12.
"Moonlight" - Expected to have 11 out of 12 episodes completed; has not received an order for a full season.
"Cane" - Expected to complete all 13 episodes; has not yet received an order for a full season.
"Shark" - Will have 12 of 22 episodes completed.
"Jericho" - Will have seven of seven episodes completed and will probably premiere sometime in January.
"New Adventures of Old Christine" - Production has been shut down. Will have eight or nine of 13 episodes completed. Midseason premiere unscheduled.
"Big Bang Theory" - Production has been shut down. Will have eight or nine of 13 episodes completed.
"Two and a Half Men" - Production has been shut down. Will have 11 of 22 episodes completed.
"Rules of Engagement" - Production has been shut down. Will have nine or 10 episodes completed.
"How I Met Your Mother" - Production has been shut down. Will have 11 of 22 episodes completed.
"The Office" - Production has been shut down. Will have nine or 10 of 30 episodes completed.
"My Name is Earl" - Will have 13 out of 22 episodes completed.
"Law & Order: SVU" - Will have 14 of 22 episodes completed.
"Medium" - Will have nine of 22 episodes completed.
"30 Rock" - Expected to have 10 of 22 episodes completed.
"Heroes" - Production has been shut down. Will have 11 of 24 episodes completed.
"Friday Night Lights" - Expected to have 15 of 22 episodes completed.
"The Biggest Loser" - Finale is scheduled to air Dec. 18, 9-11 p.m.
"Scrubs" - Expected to have 12 of 18 episodes completed.
"Journeyman" - Will have 12 of 13 episodes completed; has not yet received an order for a full season.
"Everybody Hates Chris" - Expected to have 22 of 22 episodes completed.
"Aliens in America" - Still in production. Will have 17 of 22 episodes completed.
"Girlfriends" - Still in production. Will have 10 of 22 episodes completed.
"The Game" - Still in production. Will have 10 of 22 episodes completed.
"Reaper" - Still in production. Will have 13 of 13 episodes completed.
"Gossip Girl" - Will have 12 of 22 episodes completed.
"Smallville" - Will have 12 to 14 of 22 episodes completed.
"Supernatural" - Will have 12 to 14 of 22 episodes completed.
"One Tree Hill" - Returning in mid-season; will have 12 out of 13 episodes completed.
"Beauty & The Geek" - Finale is scheduled to air at 8:00 p.m. Dec. 4. A new cycle will air in mid-season.
"Life Is Wild" - Will have 12 of 13 episodes completed.
"America's Next Top Model" - Season finale is scheduled for Dec. 12. An additional 13-episode run scheduled for early next year.
"Crowned" (the mother-daughter beauty contest) - Has eight episodes ordered. Scheduled to premiere Dec. 12.
"Farmer Wants a Wife" - Has eight episodes ordered; premieres Dec. 12.
"Pussycat Dolls 2" - Has eight episodes ordered.
"24" - Will have eight or nine out of 24 episodes completed. Originally scheduled for January, now premiere is delayed.
"House" - Will have 13 of 22 episodes completed.
"Bones" - Will have 12 of 22 episodes completed.
"Prison Break" - Will have 13 out of 22 episodes completed.
"Back to You" - Production has been shut down. Will have nine of 24 episodes completed.
"'Til Death" - Production has been shut down. Will have 11 of 22 episodes completed.
"K-Ville" - Production has been shut down. Will have 10 of 13 episodes completed.
"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" - Will have 13 of 13 episodes completed. Two-night premiere is scheduled for Jan. 13 and 14.
"Kitchen Nighmares" - Finale is scheduled to air in December.
"Family Guy" - Will have 19 of 22 episodes completed.
"King of the Hill " - Will have 21 of 22 episodes completed.
"American Dad" - Will have 22 of 22 episodes completed.
"The Simpsons" - Will have 22 of 22 episodes completed.
"In Plain Sight" - New show, episodes are nearly wrapped.
"Psych" and "Monk" - Enough scripts in hand to guarantee a full second half of each season.
"Law and Order: Criminal Intent" - Will have 10 of 22 episodes completed.
"Burn Notice" - Scheduled to start production of Season 2 in January.
"Starter Wife" - Scheduled to start production in March.
"Stargate Atlantis" - Currently airing; production completed.
"Battlestar Galactica" - Final season is scheduled to premiere in April. Will have 10 of 22 episodes completed.
"Eureka" - Third season is expected to premiere next summer, but will probably be delayed.
"30 Days" - Production on third season completed.
"Nip/Tuck" - Will have 14 of 14 episodes completed.
"The Shield" - Production on the series finale is underway. No air date set.
"The Riches" - Second season premiere is scheduled for March. Will have seven of 13 completed. Production is shut down.
"Dirt" - Will have seven of 13 episodes completed. Production is shut down.
"Rescue Me" - Production on fifth season scheduled to start in early '08.
"Damages" - Just picked up for two more seasons. Production on season two scheduled to begin early next year but will be delayed by strike.
"Entourage" and "Big Love" - Both series are scheduled to air in the summer of 2008 but are expected to be delayed.
"True Blood" and "12 Miles of Bad Road" - Have begun production.
"The Wire" - Fifth and last season is completed and scheduled to premiere Jan. 6.
"In Treatment" - New series scheduled to premiere Jan. 28.
"Dexter" and "Brotherhood" Production is completed; shows are currently airing.
"The Tudors" - Second season returns in late March, completed production Nov. 1 on 12 episodes.
A new Tracey Ullman series - Will have five out of five episodes completed.
Posted by Mr. Ellington at 9:56 PM
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
We all know what happened when Joe Namath had too much to drink & hit on Suzy Kolber ON THE AIR.....He told her how much he wanted to "have relations" with her. Apparently it's a Jets tradition.
Why Does Hip Hop Get Such A Bad Rap When This Is Going Down?
Bear in mind as you read this story this nonsense has been going on for years. Not months, not weeks, not days, but for years. As this is going on we have not seen or heard a call to end any Jets games. Also interesting to note we have not seen or heard a peep from that fat ass sports writer Jason Whitlock bashing on this the way he does Hip Hop. We don't see Stanely Crouch sounding the alarm calling for change. Nor did we hear dumb ass Don Imus point out that perhaps he was inspired to call women Nappy Headed Hoes after attending one of these games.
For the record, I have always pointed out the madness that takes place at my beloved Raider Games including two unrelated shootings last month in the parking lot. Hip Hop had nothing to do with it. I have also pointed out the riots that take place after every 'Big Game' between Cal-Stanford, two of the nations most prestigious schools. I have always pointed out the damage done and the injuries sustained make the worse Hip Hop shows seem like a church gathering. Reading this story in the NY Times about the NY Jets tops the cake.
The next time you hear a Bill 'Neo-Nazi Scumbag' O'Reilly rant or read a Jason 'Uncle Ruckus' Whitlock column tell them to shut up and stick to subject matter closer to home and from the looks of things-more dangerous. Hip Hop doesn't hate women. The New York Jets Do!
Ritual of Harassment At Jets Games
By DAVID PICKER,The New York Times
At halftime of the Jets' home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, several hundred men lined one of Giants Stadium's two pedestrian ramps at Gate D. Three deep in some areas, they whistled and jumped up and down. Then they began an obscenity-laced chant, demanding that the few women in the gathering expose their breasts.
Gabriele Stabile for The New York Times Men gather at the Gate D pedestrian ramp during last Sunday's game yelling vulgar chants to women to expose their breasts in what has become a halftime ritual at New York Jets home games.
When one woman appeared to be on the verge of obliging, the hooting and hollering intensified. But then she walked away, and plastic beer bottles and spit went flying. Boos swept through the crowd of unsatisfied men.
Marco Hoffner, an 18-year-old from Lacey Township, N.J., was expecting to see more. Not from the Jets — they pulled off a big upset over the Steelers. He wanted more from the alternative halftime show that, according to many fans, has been a staple at Jets home games for years.
"Very disappointed, because we're used to seeing a lot," Hoffner said.
The mood of previous Gate D crowds — captured on video clips posted on YouTube — sometimes bordered on hostile, not unlike the spirit of infamously aggressive European soccer hooligans. One clip online shows a woman being groped by a man standing next to her.
Sunday's scene played out for about 20 minutes, and at least one woman granted the men's request, setting off a roar as if the former star running back Curtis Martin had just scored a touchdown. Martin was actually nearby, being honored on the field in the official halftime show, which had a far less intense audience.
Throughout halftime, about 10 security guards in yellow jackets stood near the bottom of the circular, multilevel ramp, located beyond the stadium's concourse of concession stands and restrooms. One of the guards was smoking a cigarette; many fans do the same during halftime on the giant ramps, which are located at each corner of the stadium. Another guard later said they were not permitted to do anything about the chants at Gate D because of free speech laws. Yet when a reporter tried to interview two security guards after halftime, he was detained in a holding room, threatened with arrest and asked to hand over his tape recorder.
The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which provides security at Giants Stadium for Jets and Giants games, is aware of the raucous and raunchy halftime show. Patrick C. Aramini, the authority's vice president for security, parking and traffic for the Meadowlands Sports Complex, said men and women could be expelled and even turned over to the New Jersey State Police to be arrested for their participation — although he said he did not know if anyone was cited Sunday. He added that other measures, like blocking access to the ramps, were being considered.
"The problem is, you got to watch four or five hundred people sometimes in the one particular spiral," Aramini said.
"What do we do, arrest everybody that starts chanting?"
Such fan behavior is not uncommon at other sporting events in the United States, like Nascar races and the infield at the Kentucky Derby. There was even an infamous undressing in the National Football League's marquee event: during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, a "wardrobe malfunction" exposed Janet Jackson's right breast before a worldwide televised audience.
But the Gate D tradition at Giants Stadium apparently is unique to Jets games; the Gate D ramps are comparatively empty at Giants games. Perhaps forlorn Jets fans, who have rarely had a winning team to support, are seeking alternative entertainment on game days.
"This is the game," said Patrick Scofield, a 20-year-old from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who has attended several Jets games the last two seasons.
Denisse Rivera, a 23-year-old from the Bronx, was on a first date Sunday. When she arrived at the crowd at Gate D, several men pointed at her, signaling men at all levels to chant in her direction. After a brief moment of hesitation, she flashed them. Then she took a bow.
"I don't care," Rivera said when told that video clips of previous incidents, taken ..phones, ended up online. "I love my body and I like what I have, so let everybody share it."
Two security guards soon approached Rivera. The guards warned her about indecent exposure laws, she said, and let her go.
Jets officials declined to be interviewed about the halftime tradition at their home games. In a statement, the team said: "We expect our fans to comply with all rules at the stadium, and the vast majority do. For those who don't, we expect and encourage N.J.S.E.A. security to take appropriate action."
Greg Aiello, an N.F.L. spokesman, said, "I would defer any comment to law enforcement and the people on the stadium authority there that are in charge of fan-conduct issues."
The State Police staffs every Jets home game. But Sgt. Stephen Jones, a spokesman, said the State Police did not make an attempt to prevent fans from congregating in Giants Stadium. But he said that there were incidents of fans throwing money into the center of the spiral ramps. Those fans then threw objects at children picking up the money. Access to the center of the ramps is now blocked off by a chain-link fence.
"Our emphasis is certainly not general security," Jones said. "Something like you're describing, the stairwell behavior, is a matter that the security would handle. Now if they come up with something where somebody needs to be arrested, the troops will go out there and affect that arrest."
Some parents are not pleased with the halftime activities away from the field.
Randall Lazzaro, a 40-year-old from New Jersey, attended Sunday's game with his wife and two sons, ages 6 and 9. He was at the base of Gate D shortly before halftime and said that cursing at games was probably the main reason parents did not want to take their kids to games.
When Lazzaro was told what was about to happen on the ramps at Gate D, he said, "That's a disgusting practice and the police have to get involved, put a stop to it."
Posted by Mr. Ellington at 5:41 PM
By Rick Hampson, USA TODAY
CHARLESTON, S.C. — For years, this city has debated whether to erect a monument to one of its most divisive figures — Denmark Vesey, the convicted plotter of a 19th-century slave rebellion.
Now, just when the monument builders have the upper hand, there's another question: Which Vesey should be memorialized?
The one who incited slaves to burn down the city, kill the whites, steal the ships and sail to freedom in Haiti? Or the one who, says the author of an upcoming book, was an innocent victim — framed by one white politician to discredit another?
In 1822 Vesey was found guilty of planning what would have been the biggest slave uprising in U.S. history. He was hanged along with 34 other blacks in what historians agree was probably the largest civil execution in U.S history.
Today he's marked only by a plaque on what may have been his house and by two paintings based on artists' conceptions of what he may have looked like. He left no records or writings. His descendants scattered.
FIND MORE STORIES IN: SC | African-American | Charleston | Michael Johnson
Quest for a monument
At the time of Vesey's conviction, Charleston was America's chief slave port and one of its tensest cities. Whites — outnumbered three to one by slaves — were haunted by memories of a 1791 slave rebellion in Haiti.
The Vesey affair seemed to confirm those fears. Afterward, whites became more militant in their support of slavery and more antagonistic toward Northern abolitionists. South Carolina cracked down on blacks' rights and Charleston built a fortress and military academy, The Citadel.
Then, in 1831, a slave named Nat Turner led an actual — though futile — rebellion in Virginia. A fuse had been lit that would burn until the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor and the start of the Civil War in 1861.
Ever since, many whites in Charleston saw Vesey as a killer, while many blacks saw him as a freedom fighter.
About 20 years ago, an African-American social studies teacher named Henry Darby decided that Vesey, buried in an unmarked grave in an unknown location, deserved a monument.
Although Charleston is obsessed by history and filled with memorials, he says, there's none to the blacks who built the city. "I thought we should do something for Denmark Vesey," he says. "His story needed to be told."
According to historical accounts, the story began around 1767 in the West Indies, where he was born into slavery. He was sold to a slave ship captain named Vesey, whom he accompanied on voyages around the Atlantic. The young slave learned to read and write, mastered several languages and became a skilled carpenter.
Around 1783 the captain moved to Charleston with his slave, who hired himself out as a carpenter and became a lay leader of the African Episcopal Methodist church. In 1799 he won a lottery and bought his freedom for $600.
Vesey was outspoken — he read the Book of Exodus as a liberation lesson for slaves — and charismatic — "looked up to with respect and awe" by others of his race, according to the judges' official summary of his trial.
In 1822, according to the summary, a slave told authorities about a planned uprising. Vesey was arrested, and subsequent testimony put him at the center of a plot.
According to one witness, Vesey secretly urged followers to allow "no white soul (to) survive." When asked about innocent women and children, he allegedly replied, according to trial records, "What was the use of killing the louse and leaving the nit?"
Those words were handed from generation to generation in Charleston. When Darby advanced his proposal in 2000, a flood of letters to the Charleston Post and Courier accused Vesey of having plotted "ethnic cleansing"; "nothing less than a Holocaust"; "mass murder."
Plans move ahead
Within a few years, however, the city had promised $20,000 toward a Vesey memorial and provided a site in a municipal park. This summer, the Charleston County Council voted $40,000 for the memorial, and the city tentatively approved the design, which features a 7-foot statue of Vesey holding a Bible in one hand and carpentry tools in the other.
The news provoked virtually no negative reaction — a sign to Darby (who was elected to the county council four years ago) that "Charleston has come of age. We no longer marginalize black history."
Mayor Joe Riley, who is white, attributes the change in part to curiosity: "We all want to know what happened. We want the empty pages of history to be filled in."
There lies the rub.
Historians such as Michael Johnson of Johns Hopkins have replaced the old Vesey question — good guy or bad guy? — with another: Was he the author of a black conspiracy or the victim of a white one?
Johnson has concluded "there was no plot. … Slaves and free people of color talked about freedom a lot, and at the trial that talk was amplified into a conspiracy."
In a forthcoming book, Johnson argues that testimony against Vesey was coerced under "emotional duress and sometimes torture" from slaves who feared for their lives.
Johnson says the real motive for the trials was the desire of the city's hard-line mayor, James Hamilton Jr., to embarrass Gov. Thomas Bennett Jr., a moderate on slavery, and that Vesey's real heroism was his refusal to give false testimony.
Douglas Egerton, a historian at Le Moyne College in New York, who has written about the affair, says Vesey indeed was the plot mastermind.
Egerton says that just because testimony is coerced doesn't mean it's false, and that other blacks, including some who'd reached safety in the North, agreed there had been a plot led by Vesey.
If Vesey was a victim, will there be enough enthusiasm to raise the several hundred thousand dollars still needed for the monument?
Darby says that although he believes Vesey did plot rebellion, it doesn't matter: "Whether one looks at him as a freedom fighter or as a victim, the fact remains that he was a black man who hated slavery and was executed for a cause."
........"He then read in the Bible where God commanded, that all should be cut off, both men, women and children, and he said, he believed, it was no sin for us to do so, for the Lord had commanded us to do it." --Testimony of Rolla, belonging to Thomas Bennett, recorded in the Trial Record of the Denmark Vesey Slave Conspiracy of 1822
In 1771, fourteen-year-old Denmark Vesey was transported from St. Thomas to Cape Francais by slave trader Captain Joseph Vesey. Upon a return trip to Cape Francais, Captain Vesey was forced to reclaim Denmark, who his master said was suffering from epileptic fits. Denmark accompanied Captain Vesey on his trading voyages until the Captain retired to Charleston, never again showing signs of epilepsy.
In 1799, Vesey won the lottery and bought his freedom for $600. He could not purchase the freedom of his wife and children, however, and some claimed that this fact motivated his crusade to destroy the institution of slavery.
Vesey joined the newly formed African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1817. He became a "class leader," preaching to a small group in his home during the week. White Charlestonians constantly monitored the African church, disrupting services and arresting members. An angry Vesey began preaching from the Old Testament, particularly Exodus, and taught followers that they were the New Israelites, the chosen people whose enslavement God would punish with death.
In 1822, Vesey and other leaders from the African Church began plotting a rebellion. His chief lieutenant was an East African priest named Gullah Jack, who led conspirators in prayer and rituals and gave them amulets to protect them in battle. Vesey's theology of liberation, combined with Gullah Jack's African mysticism, inspired potential participants, and word of the rebellion grew. Vesey set the date for revolt on July 14, and men from Charleston and surrounding plantations planned to seize Charleston's arsenals and guard houses, kill the Governor, set fire to the city, and kill every white man they saw. But in June, several nervous slaves leaked the plot to their masters, and Charleston authorities began arresting leaders. Vesey was captured on June 22, and he and the conspirators were brought to trial. Despite torture and the threat of execution, the men refused to give up their followers. On July 2nd, Denmark Vesey and five other men were hanged. Gullah Jack was executed several days later, with the total number of executions reaching 35 by August 9th.
In the aftermath of the Vesey rebellion, the African Church was burned down and authorities passed a series of laws further restricting the rights of Charleston slaves. Vesey became a martyr for African-Americans and a symbol for the abolitionist movement, while the increasingly militant politics of white America dragged the country toward Civil War.
"At almost every meeting, it was said, Vesey or one of his comrades 'read to us from the Bible, how the children of Israel were delivered out of Egypt from bondage.' That theme was struck insistently: the deliverance from Egypt, the movement of God among his captive people. (No wonder, then, that in some black tradition it was said that Vesey or his fellows were the inspiration for the ageless black song of faith and struggle, 'Go Down, Moses'...)" --Vincent Harding, There is a River
KEY MOMENTS OF FAITH
VESEY LEAVES THE WHITE CHURCH
In 1815, whites in Charleston discovered that black Methodists had been secretly pooling money to buy freedom for enslaved congregants. Whites moved to restrict black autonomy. They planned to construct a hearse house on top of a black burial ground, a move Charleston blacks saw as a final insult. Over 4,000 black members left white churches in protest, and formed an African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Denmark Vesey followed them, leaving the segregated Second Presbyterian Church, where slaves were taught the words of St. Paul: "Servants, obey your masters." In the AME Church, Vesey found the freedom to preach his beliefs.
PLANNING A REBELLION
At weekly AME "class meetings" held in his home, Vesey taught a radical new liberation theology. He spoke only from the Old Testament, particularly Exodus, casting his followers as the new Israelites, whom God would lead to freedom. In 1818, white authorities disrupted an AME service attended by free black ministers from Philadelphia and arrested 140 people. Vesey considered leaving Charleston for Africa, but he decided to stay and "see what he could do for his fellow creatures." With a new urgency, he preached that freedom for slaves would be realized, and he began plotting a rebellion.
VESEY ENLISTS AN AFRICAN PRIEST
Following the 1818 raid on the African Church, Vesey enlisted Gullah Jack, a Church member and an Angolan priest and healer, to recruit native Africans to join his rebellion. As a conjurer who could control the supernatural world, Jack was respected among the slaves working on Charleston's plantations. At secret nighttime meetings, Jack led men in prayer, singing and ritual meals that transformed them from powerless slaves to rebels with a common purpose. He prescribed a special diet and gave them crab claws as amulets to protect them in battle. Through Jack, Vesey was able to reach many more recruits.
BETRAYED BY A CHRISTIAN
Like Denmark Vesey, George Wilson was a class leader in the AME Church, but he followed the Christian doctrine of loving one's neighbor, and was devoted to his master. When fellow slave Rolla Bennett told him of the rebellion, Wilson pleaded with him "to let it alone." Five sleepless nights later, on June 14, Wilson told his master of the plot, confirming the confession of another man and leading to the arrest and execution of Rolla Bennett and his conspirators. Although he was granted his freedom as a reward, Wilson eventually lost his sanity and committed suicide.
BEYOND THE GRAVE
After the executions of Denmark Vesey and 34 others, Charleston authorities exiled the African Church leaders and razed the building. Although devastated by the destruction of their church, black Charlestonians continued to honor Vesey's revolutionary Old Testament theology in secret. For abolitionists such as David Walker, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, Vesey became a symbol of resistance and an inspiration in their writings. White Charleston responded by increasing efforts to convert slaves to New Testament Christianity, and by passing legislation to further restrict the rights of slaves. This increasingly militant path eventually led to the Civil War.
Posted by Mr. Ellington at 4:21 PM
Saturday, November 17, 2007
I've decided to compile a list of the most soulful singers of the last 50 years....In no particular order. I dare you to dispute my list.
1. Sam Cooke
2. Otis Redding
3. Bobby Womack
4. Al Green
5. Aretha Franklin
6. James Brown
7. Isaac Hayes
8. Johnnie Taylor
9. Mavis Staples
10. Marvin Gaye
11. Eddie Levert
12. Wilson Pickett
13. Terence Trent D'Arby
14. Etta James
15. Charlie Wilson
16. Barry White
17. Chaka Khan
19. Jill Scott
20. Lauryn Hill
21. Johnny Gill
22. Joe Simon
23. Anthony Hamilton
24. Hil St. Soul
25. Gladys Knight
1. Sam Cooke
2. Otis Redding
3. Bobby Womack
4. Al Green
5. Aretha Franklin
6. James Brown
7. Isaac Hayes
8. Johnnie Taylor
9. Mavis Staples
10. Marvin Gaye
11. Eddie Levert
12. Wilson Pickett
13. Terence Trent D'Arby
14. Etta James
15. Charlie Wilson
16. Barry White
17. Chaka Khan
19. Jill Scott
20. Lauryn Hill
21. Johnny Gill
22. Joe Simon
23. Anthony Hamilton
24. Hil St. Soul
25. Gladys Knight
Posted by Mr. Ellington at 9:35 PM
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thu Nov 15, 2:59 PM ET
LONDON (AFP) - Troubled soul singer Amy Winehouse kicked off her 17-date tour with a shambolic performance that saw fuming fans booing and marching out, reports said Thursday.
The concert at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, was a chance for the 24-year-old to get back to singing and put her woes behind her.
Winehouse has had "health issues" -- widely reported to be drug and alcohol abuse -- and her party-loving husband Blake Fielder-Civil is being held on grievous bodily harm and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice charges.
But Wednesday's gig at the NIA, which can hold up to 13,000 people, was slammed by angry fans as a "disgrace" after she turned up late and stumbled about the stage.
When punters started jeering, Winehouse snapped: "Let me tell you something. First of all, if you're booing, you're a mug for buying a ticket.
"Second, to all those booing, just wait till my husband gets out of incarceration -- and I mean that."
The Birmingham Mail newspaper's music critic Andy Coleman said it was "one of the saddest nights of my life".
"I saw a supremely talented artist reduced to tears, stumbling around the stage and, unforgivably, swearing at the audience," he wrote.
James Dyas demanded his money back, according to London's Evening Standard newspaper.
"She came on stage half an hour late. She managed four songs but was slurring her words and swaying all over the place," he said.
"She fell into the guitar stand and dropped the microphone -- it was atrocious. The song dedicated to her husband was so bad it was like swinging a cat round your head."
An, from Birmingham, commented on The Times newspaper's website: "Her singing was awful, out of tune and slurred. She sang for around 50 minutes -- drinking throughout.
"I have never seen so many people leave a show. 'Valerie' was my favourite song -- she massacred it!"
Pete Massera, from north-west England, added: "It was an absolutely atrocious gig. I, like many others in the audience, got our coats and left before she even finished the set."
Gary Atwell, from nearby Rugby, said "streams" of fans walked out, according to the BBC website.
"I went out for a sneaky cigarette half way through and at least 40 people left, just in that five minutes," he said.
"Valerie", the closing number, descended into chaos when Winehouse stopped singing, dropped the microphone and walked off stage.
Winehouse, named best British female solo artist at the Brit Awards in February, has rarely been out of the newspapers in recent months due to her lifestyle issues.
Posted by Mr. Ellington at 8:17 PM
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I would never consider him to be the "King", but I certainly admire his music & his performances. There are at least 5 other artists that could lay claim to the title of "King Of Rock n Roll" before Elvis. Say what you want, but Elvis was still a BAD MAN...
Elvis & Racism - Elvis Presley Legacy is cloudy through lens of race
By: Christopher Blank
In April 1957, Sepia magazine, a white-owned sensationalist monthly for black readers, took up a discussion as controversial then as it is today: the case of a white kid who adopted black music and became the most successful artist of his time.
The headline: 'How Negroes Feel About Elvis'
"As one of the most-debated subjects in the land, Elvis Presley arouses white-heat discussion everywhere. But among Negroes, the controversy over Elvis is even more explosive than among whites. Colored opinion about the hydromatic-hipped hillbilly from Mississippi runs the gamut from caustic condemnation to ardent admiration.
"Some Negroes are unable to forget that Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, home town of the foremost Dixie race baiter, former Congressman Jon Rankin. Others believe a rumored crack by Elvis during a Boston appearance in which he is alleged to have said: "The only thing Negroes can do for me is shine my shoes and buy my records."
And there it is. The first time ever that statement appeared in print, says Michael T. Bertrand, author of the book Race, Rock, and Elvis (2000, University of Illinois Press) and a Southern studies professor at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.
"Each time I teach a new class on popular music and Southern history, I still have African-American students come up after class and say, 'You know, I heard from my uncle what Elvis said.' So I eventually had to find where it came from."
Twenty-five years after Elvis' death, people still want to know how black people feel about Elvis Presley.
Was he just another white Southern racist? Was he an impostor or worse, a thief?
Many black artists have spoken out to honor the singer. From bluesman BB King to rapper Chuck D, these influential musicians are helping to change perceptions of Elvis.
Elvis couldn't do it himself.
Soon after the Sepia rumor started, Elvis broke his media silence for an exclusive interview in Jet, another magazine targeted at black readers.
Some said he made the remark while in Boston. Elvis had never been to Boston. Others said they heard it on Edward R. Murrow's CBS TV show Person to Person. But after Elvis' manager Col. Tom Parker demanded an appearance fee, CBS balked and Elvis didn't go on the show.
The Jet article of 1957 further confirmed what friends and associates knew about Elvis all along: He truly loved and respected black musicians.
"A lot of people seem to think I started this business," he told Jet. "But rock n roll was here a long time before I came along. Nobody can sing that kind of music like colored people. Let's face it: I can't sing like Fats Domino can. I know that."
Musicologists scoff at talk of a racist Elvis. A dirt-poor outcast at segregated Humes High School, he wore pink shirts and pomaded hair like the folks he admired down on Beale Street.
He listened religiously to Memphis's black radio station WDIA and became friends with then-disc jockey BB King, who later defended him in Sepia: "What most people don't know is that this boy is serious about what he's doing. He's carried away by it. When I was in Memphis with my band, he used to stand in the wings and watch us perform. As for fading away, rock and roll is here to stay and so, I believe, is Elvis. He's been a shot in the arm to the business and all I can say is 'that's my man'"
Elvis attended black church services. Two early No. 1 hits - Don't Be Cruel and All Shook Up - were by black songwriter Otis Blackwell.
Who's the real king?
While Elvis rocketed to stardom, resentment grew among talented musicians whose similar-sounding records weren't getting the same play. The hip swiveling that merely disgusted conservative whites amounted to theft for blacks. More than one player laid claim to Elvis' gimmicks.
Blues shouter Wynonie 'Mr. Blues' Harris told Sepia: "I originated that style 10 years ago. The current crop of shouters are rank impostors. They have no right to call themselves the kings of rock and roll. I am the king of rock and roll."
In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, guitarist Calvin New born said Elvis hung out in a black bar outside Memphis where he played. "He would sit there and watch me every Wednesday and Friday night," he said. "I'd wiggle my legs and swivel my hips and make love to the guitar."
In 1956, the Amsterdam News said Elvis had "copied Bo Diddley's style to the letter."
Flamboyant singer Little Richard pointed out stinging economic disparities: "Elvis was paid $25,000 for doing three songs in a movie and I only got $5,000, and if it wasn't for me, Elvis would starve."
But Elvis also couldn't change the times. In the same month of the Sepia article, singer Nat King Cole was famously attacked onstage by five racists during a concert in Birmingham. The 3,000 white audience members booed the assailants, but did not intervene during the beating, which the men claimed was to protest "bop and Negro music."
"It's unfortunate that Presley eventually became the white hero," Bertrand said, "because during his lifetime he represented the possibility of racial reconciliation."
What Elvis believed
Bertrand suggests that Elvis' song choices - such as If I Can Dream, Walk a Mile in My Shoes or In the Ghetto - revealed his true feelings.
But the singer's move to Hollywood struck many as an abandonment of his musical roots. Credibility with struggling black musicians faded when Elvis jumped to the big screen.
"When he first started out in his career, Presley blurred racial lines," Bertrand said. "But later on in his career he became, for lack of a better term, whiter. When he tried to become more middle class, he lost what people perceived were his black characteristics."
After Elvis' death in August 1977, white America's continued idolization of the singer didn't ride well with many black people who, particularly during the 1980s, saw their contributions to pop music overlooked and underexposed.
In 1990, anti-Elvis sentiment exploded from black artists. The group Living Colour lashed out against the music industry through their song Elvis Is Dead: "I've got a reason to believe / We all won't be received at Graceland."
Raging against gang violence, poverty and inequality, rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy shouted what have become some of the group's most enduring lyrics.
"Elvis was a hero to most / but he didn't mean (expletive) to me you see / Straight up racist, that sucker was simple and plain / Mother (expletive) him and John Wayne / Cause I'm black and I'm proud, I'm ready and hyped plus I'm amped / Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps."
Recently, Chuck D explained that his attack was against the Elvis whose roots were whitewashed by his legacy.
"The Elvis that died wasn't the same Elvis that was coming up", Chuck D said. "They said he was king. Based on who and what? Based on the quality of the people judging or the quality of his music? What does 'King of Rock and Roll' mean growing up in a black household? My Chuck Berry records are still in my house. Little Richard is still in the house. Otis Redding and James Brown. The King of what?"
Memphis, Elvis' kingdom, is a near perfect reflection of the problems with the music industry and society at large.
The Bluff City is known for its blues. Known for its soul. Known for BB King, Isaac Hayes, Aretha Franklin, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Booker T. & the MGs, Al Green and one of the most influential recording studios of all time: Stax.
While Elvis shrines were popping up all over town, black contributions were being dismantled. The Stax recording studio was demolished in 1989. The same fate nearly befell one of the Civil Rights era's most important landmarks, the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated.
As much as singer Mavis Staples loved Elvis and his music, his unbridled legacy bothered her.
"What helped Elvis was that when he did interviews, he would tell that he got it from blacks," Staples said. "Now one thing that I could say for myself was that when I came back to Memphis after Stax closed, maybe about five years later, I only saw Elvis. And that's when I said, 'wait a minute.' Something should be out here about Stax. Just because it folded doesn't mean it didn't happen. And the people of Memphis should have remembered all of the music."
Soul singer Isaac Hayes, back into the limelight after his stint as South Park's Chef, said he understands how Elvis' memory became entangled in broader issues of race.
"Elvis was due the respect he had. No animosity. No sour grapes. Elvis was the man", he said. "The thing was that we didn't get what we (the black artists) deserved. Ignorance is one of the main things. Racism? It's one of the factors. I would say it took the whole world outside of Memphis to recognize what a treasure black Memphis had."
In the past 25 years, the world has improved for black people not only in the music industry, but in other areas as well.
Again, Memphis exemplifies this. Graceland isn't the only tourist attraction anymore.
The Rock and Soul Museum traces the history of the blues. The National Civil Rights Museum (which rescued the Lorraine Motel) depicts the 20th Century's great American struggle. And the Stax Museum of American Soul Music is on the original site.
Folks in the music industry now have more respect for black artists, says Chuck D, including the new artists who seem to be walking in Elvis' shoes.
If ever there were a modern parallel, white rapper Eminem is a shoo-in.
Like Elvis, Eminem grew up poor and honed his gift by studying black music and culture. Like Elvis, he's popular with whites. Like Elvis, he's become one of the most successful in the business. And like Elvis, Eminem has caught the acting bug.
Eminem doesn't hesitate to point out the irony on his latest album The Eminem Show, produced by rapper and mentor Dr. Dre.
"I'm not the first king of controversy / I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley / To do black music so selfishly / And use it to get myself wealthy (Hey) / There's a concept that works."
Chuck D, a founding father of hip-hop and pop musicologist, said that accepting Elvis, and by extension other white crossover artists, might be easier for black Americans now that black artists are getting more credit and exposure.
Several years ago, the Fox TV network sent him to Graceland to do a black-perspective news story about Elvis. The assignment opened his eyes.
"Elvis had to come through the streets of Memphis and turn out black crowds before he became famous," Chuck D said. "It wasn't like he cheated to get there. He was a bad-ass white boy. Just like Eminem is doing today. The thing about today is that Eminem has more respect for black artists and black people and culture today than a lot of black artists themselves. He has a better knowledge where it comes from. Elvis had a great respect for black folk at a time when black folks were considered niggers, and who gave a damn about nigger music?"
The battle for Elvis' 'soul' continues. The Disney cartoon Lilo & Stitch, one of the first Elvis-themed films to show minorities (in this case, Hawaiian natives) digging Elvis' music, is a step in dismantling the racist rumor and acquainting a young, multicultural generation with his music.
Race relations are a constant effort, says Jack Soden, CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises. (This article written 2002)
"Time and time again in marketing sessions it ends up on the list of things we want to continually put forth," Soden said. "We've got a responsibility for the history, the pop culture and the legacy to find a way to correct those misperceptions."
Improving business is also a factor. Not just in record sales, but in getting the community to support the headquarters of Elvis' empire.
After all, how much pride could the mostly black neighborhood of Whitehaven take in Graceland if its celebrity occupant represented racism? How does that affect the morale of the 400 employees, many of whom live nearby? How does that rub off on the mostly white tourists who are a major source of income for Whitehaven businesses?
"Let's face it, 98 percent of our visitors are from outside the city," Soden said. "We know that we're an economic contribution to the neighborhood. We know for a fact that we're going to be here five years, 10 years, 20 years from now."
Graceland wants the Memphis community to know it cares. Its biggest charity effort is Presley Place, a 12-unit apartment complex that houses homeless people until they're back on their feet.
Despite the efforts by historians, musicians and corporate executives, getting the word out means reaching one person at a time.
Hip-hop singer Mary J. Blige apologized after singing Blue Suede Shoes on VH1's Divas Live.
She told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "I prayed about it (performing the song) because I know Elvis was a racist. But that was just a song VH1 asked me to sing. It meant nothing to me. I didn't wear an Elvis flag. I didn't represent Elvis that day. I was just doing my job like everybody else."
The extra exposure in 2002 will have helped change minds, certainly. That, and the continued efforts of Elvis' black acquaintances.
Before his death, Rufus Thomas gave an interview to the TV program American Routes, which aired yesterday on WKNO. The former WDIA disc jockey and legendary Stax singer said: "Well a lot of people said Elvis stole our music. Stole the black man's music. The black man, white man, has got no music of their own. Music belongs to the universe."
Thomas went on to say that he played Elvis' tunes on the radio until the program manager told him to stop because black people didn't want to hear them. Then Elvis showed up at a WDIA fund-raising event for black handicapped children.
"When Elvis wiggled that leg, the crowd went nuts. He walked right off the stage and people were storming that stage. The next day I started back to playing Elvis again. Going to show you that no one person can tell you what another group might like."
Quotes about Elvis
"Elvis was my close personal friend. He came to my Deer Lake training camp about two years before he died. He told us he didn't want nobody to bother us. He wanted peace and quiet and I gave him a cabin in my camp and nobody even knew it. When the cameras started watching me train, he was up on the hill sleeping in the cabin. Elvis had a robe made for me. I don't admire nobody, but Elvis Presley was the sweetest, most humble and nicest man you'd want to know." - Muhammad Ali
"A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man’s music, when in fact, almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis". - Jackie Wilson
"I wasn't just a fan, I was his brother. He said I was good and I said he was good; we never argued about that. Elvis was a hard worker, dedicated, and God loved him. Last time I saw him was at Graceland. We sang Old Blind Barnabus together, a gospel song. I love him and hope to see him in heaven. There’ll never be another like that soul brother". - James Brown
"That's my idol, Elvis Presley. If you went to my house, you'd see pictures all over of Elvis. He’s just the greatest entertainer that ever lived. And I think it’s because he had such presence. When Elvis walked into a room, Elvis Presley was in the f***ing room. I don’t give a f*** who was in the room with him, Bogart, Marilyn Monroe". - Eddie Murphy
"I remember Elvis as a young man hanging around the Sun studios. Even then, I knew this kid had a tremendous talent. He was a dynamic young boy. His phraseology, his way of looking at a song, was as unique as Sinatra's. I was a tremendous fan, and had Elvis lived, there would have been no end to his inventiveness". - B.B. King
"Elvis was an integrator. Elvis was a blessing. They wouldn't let Black music through. He opened the door for Black music." – Little Richard
"Early on somebody told me that Elvis was black. And I said 'No, he's white but he's down-home'. And that is what it’s all about. Not being black or white it’s being 'down-home' and which part of down-home you come from." – Sammy Davis Jnr
"I have a respect for Elvis and my friendship. It ain't my business what he did in private. The only thing I want to know is, 'Was he my friend?', 'Did I enjoy him as a performer?', 'Did he give the world of entertainment something?' - and the answer is YES on all accounts. The other jazz just don't matter." – Sammy Davis Jnr
"On a scale of one to ten, I would rate Elvis eleven." – Sammy Davis Jnr
"Describe Elvis Presley? He was the greatest who ever was, is, or will ever be." - Chuck Berry
"Elvis loved gospel music. He was raised on it. And he really did know what he was talking about. He was singing Gospel all the time – almost anything he did had that flavor. You can’t get away from what your roots are." – Cissy Houston
He was a mild tempered, quiet, nice guy. He treated everyone the same. There have been rumors about him, saying that he said 'The only thing blacks can do for me is shine my shoes.' Now, I don't believe that. I never saw him act in anyway like that." "I overheard one of Elvis' friends at the time ask Elvis 'Why do you call him 'mister' -- he's just a barbecue guy?' Elvis looked at him and said 'He's a man.' " "That," Withers says, "Was the humility in his temperament." - Ernest Withers
"Elvis was a great man and did more for civil rights than people know. To call him a racist is an insult to us all." - Ernest Withers
Posted by Mr. Ellington at 10:28 AM