Happy Birthday Maurice White

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Master Of The Universe

There are a lot of people who make music, but there are few who create sounds that touch the souls of mankind that will last for all time. I am a diehard fan of Earth, Wind & Fire and have been from the first note that entered my ear-hole. I have every “album” and CD from their first to the last. If you follow my writing, you know I like to pay homage to my hero’s; those who have had a significant impact upon my life and the world.

Mr. Maurice White, founder and leader of the greatest band ever assembled – Earth Wind & Fire – I call the Master of the Universe because he was the divine spirit that created the musical legacy known as the elements of the universe. Although, medical concerns caused him to stop touring with Earth, Wind & Fire, he retains executive control of the band and remains active in the music business.

Reese, as he is called, is a singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, arranger and bandleader. He has won seven Grammys and has been nominated for Grammys twenty-one times in total. White was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame as a member of Earth, Wind & Fire, and he was individually inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.In addition, he’s worked with many famous recording artists: Deniece Williams, The Emotions, Ramsey Lewis, Barbra Streisand, and is sought after by many of the “New Jack Artists” as a producer.

3He has a pedigree unrivaled. He was a childhood friend of the one and only Booker T Jones. In his teenage years, he moved to Chicago and found work as a session drummer for Chess Records. While at Chess, he played on the records of artists such as Etta JamesRamsey LewisSonny StittMuddy WatersThe ImpressionsThe DellsBetty EverettSugar Pie DeSanto and Buddy Guy. Reese also played the drums on Fontella Bass‘s “Rescue Me” and Billy Stewart‘s “Summertime”. In 1962, along with other studio musicians at Chess, he was a member of the Jazzmen, which later became The Pharaohs.

In 1966, he joined the Ramsey Lewis Trio, replacing Isaac ‘Red’ Holt as the new drummer. Holt would go on to be a part of the Young-Holt Unlimited. As a member of the Ramsey Lewis Trio, Maurice played on nine of the group’s albums, including Wade in the Water (1966), from which the track “Hold It Right There” won a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Group Performance, Vocal or Instrumental in 1966. Other albums by Lewis that featured White included The Movie Album (1966), Goin’ Latin (1967), Dancing in the Street (1967), Up Pops Ramsey Lewis (1967), and The Piano Player (1969). While, in the Trio, he was introduced in a Chicago drum store to the African Thumb Piano or Kalimba and on the Trio’s 1969 album Another Voyages track “Uhuru” was featured the first recording of Maurice playing the Kalimba.

In 1969, Maurice left the Trio and joined his two friends, Wade Flemons and Don Whitehead, to form a songwriting team and got a recording contract with Capitol Records and called themselves The Salty Peppers. He then migrated from Chicago to Los Angeles and altered the name of the band to Earth, Wind & Fire, and the band’s new name reflecting the elements in White’s astrological chart.

2With Reese as the bandleader and producer of most of the band’s albums, EWF has earned legendary status winning six Grammy Awards and four American Music Awards, and selling over 90 million albums worldwide. As a member of the band, he has been bestowed with countless awards. As an innovator, he is responsible for incorporating the sound of the Kalimba also known as the African thumb piano and adding the world famous horn section, the Phenix Horns into the music of Earth, Wind & Fire. He has appeared on stage with Earth, Wind & Fire since his retirement from the road from time to time.

In 1976, White, with the late great Mr. Charles Stepney co-produced Deniece Williams’, a former backup vocalist for Stevie Wonder, debut album, This Is Niecy, which was released on Columbia Records. The album was the first project for the newly formed production company Kalimba Productions formed by Maurice White and Charles Stepney in the same year. In a 2007 interview, Deniece says”I loved working with Maurice White” and “he taught me the business of music, and planning and executing a plan and executing a show.”

After Stax Records became embroiled in financial problems, the girl group the Emotions looked for a new contract and found one with Columbia Records on which their album Flowers was released in 1976. With Charles Stepney co-producing their album with Reese Flowers became certified gold in the US. After Charles Stepney death in 1976, Maurice took over the reins of producing the Emotions and it was with this combo that the album Rejoice was released in 1977. Rejoice peaked at number 7 and number 1 on the pop and R&B charts and spawned the singles “Best of My Love” and “Don’t Ask My Neighbors” which reached number 1 on the Pop and R&B charts and number 7 on the R&B charts respectively.

1Best of My Love won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, and an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Single. “Best Of My Love” was also the third biggest pop single of 1977 and has been certified platinum. Rejoice was also the third biggest R&B album of 1977 has been certified platinum. He produced two more albums for the Emotions before they departed Columbia to record for Motown.

The list of singers and musicians White has produced or worked with is far too numerous to list in this writing. Frankly, I just don’t have enough space to list them all! Most call him “an innovator” and “someone who has had a profound impact upon the music industry as a whole” by such as Chaka Khan and Lalah Hathaway who believes that “his contribution as both a musician and a producer has been immeasurable”. He has been cited as a main influence by most artists in the last four score.

I don’t know how I rank, if at all, compared to the many great people who speak of him with such praise, but I am his most devoted fan. I can’t imagine what the world would be like without his genius. So I will just end by saying, “You’re a Shining Star” and “Keep Your Head To The Sky” and all is right with the universe. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Obama Launches Task Force To Examine Police-Community Relations

Thought Provoking Perspectives:

We resisted the messages of trouble-making Blacks like Washington, Delaney, Garvey, Bethune, Tubman, and Truth for fighting and dying on the battlefield for us all. No, the people of this lost nation did not listen to Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, Dubois, the Panthers, H. Rap Brown, Carmichael, nor Dr. King. Today all of the above mentioned would be and are ashamed of whom they fought and died for. Yet, Mr. Lynch’s message reigns supreme.

Originally posted on News One:

NYPD Eric Garner Chokehold Protests

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 04: Hundreds of protestors gather at Foley Square in New York on December 04, 2014. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

In the aftermath of ongoing nationwide protests against police violence in the Black community, President Barack Obama Thursday signed an executive order to create a panel that will gather recommendations to help strengthen trust between law enforcement and local communities, according to a White House news release.

SEE ALSO: 15-Year-Old Twin Died Trying To Save His Brother From Armed Robbers

The 11-member panel is comprised of law enforcement representatives, community leaders, academics, and youth leaders, including Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and Laurie Robinson, a George Mason University professor who is a former U.S. assistant attorney general.

“Recent events in Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland, and around the country have highlighted the importance of strong, collaborative relationships between local police…

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The Lost Tribe Of Africa

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It is a fact that the human species was born on the continent of Africa; except of course when you read His-Story or listen to people like Cecil Rhodes. Therefore, it is fair to say that mankind would not have existed; if not for the creation and innovations of the original man.

I have often said, “African American’s are a nation of people living in a land without a nationality.” Sometimes people respond negatively to that statement, in spite of being purveyors of that ideology imposed by others. The problem with people who don’t agree is that it is the so-called African American who does not know he/she is lost. For most people of this distinction, most of their waking hours are spent trying to assimilate to that which and those who do not accept you.

Upon our backs, laden with the stripes of punishment for what they believed was for discipline and in spite of our loyalty, diligence and tenacity – we loved America and oft-times not ourselves. Even when America refused to allow us to walk in the shadows, we followed, believing that someday we would come to be accepted and treated like men and women.

We wanted integration and what did we get “interrogation”! Actually, what we got was more poverty because without money or the means – you are still segregated. Just look at the New York City schools, they are more segregated now than they were in Mississippi back in the day, and it has been reported that every urban school district is the same. Oh yes, you can live anywhere you want! This then returns to economics can one afford to. On top of that, we went beyond the pale when we allowed our children to be turned over to the American educational system run by the people who suppressed this nation of people. No wonder we’re lost.

It has been nearly four hundred years since that day in August when the first of millions were dragged onto the shores of this place they called “merica” to be beasts of burden to build this nation. Today, we are in the same position as we were when they identified these stolen souls as colored and three-fifths human. In fact, I believe we are in a worse position because we have been “hoodwinked” and like fools bamboozled and as a reminder the Constitution’s language has not been changed.

We resisted the messages of trouble-making Blacks like Washington, Delaney, Garvey, Bethune, Tubman, and Truth for fighting and dying on the battlefield for us all. No, the people of this lost nation did not listen to Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, Dubois, the Panthers, H. Rap Brown, Carmichael, nor Dr. King. Today all of the above mentioned would be and are ashamed of whom they fought and died for. Yet, Mr. Lynch’s message reigns supreme.

In today’s business environment, we do not support each other and just keep doing business with the larger community or in fact any other community. Some say we, as a people, were very successful after slavery ended or even as recently as 1960. But we know, what happens when you began to build your own communities and do business with one another – you’re pitted against one another and destroy ourselves.

From slavery through segregation and under every Apartheid like system this lost nation of people survived; all while we bought into the “divided and conquer” mentality and fought against our interests. The great Curtis Mayfield called us “the people who are darker than blue.” This race is maligned everywhere on the planet and viewed as less than, when in fact, the African and people of African Descent are “greater than”.

My pain comes from this nation of people subjecting its children to the same mis-education leaving them helpless and used long after we are gone. So when you speak to your children; tell them how proud you are that they can look forward to at least another 50 years of despair. We can change that by simply understanding that education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair.

Otherwise the people stolen from Africa will remain the lost tribe of the place we were born! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


U.S., Cuba Patch Torn Relations In Historic Accord

Originally posted on News One:

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A Cuban woman wears a leggings with the design made of the Stars and Stripes flag of the USA, shortly after a live broadcast a speech by Cuban President Raul Castro about the re-establishment of official diplomatic relations with the U.S., on December 17, 2014, in Havana, Cuba.  (Photo by Sven Creutzmann/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — After a half-century of Cold War acrimony, the United States and Cuba moved on Wednesday to restore diplomatic relations – a historic shift that could revitalize the flow of money and people across the narrow waters that separate the two nations.

SEE ALSO: John Crawford’s Family Sues City, Police, Walmart In Fatal Shooting

President Barack Obama‘s dramatic announcement in Washington – seconded by Cuban President Raul Castro in Havana – was accompanied by a quiet exchange of imprisoned spies and the celebratory release of American Alan Gross, a government contract worker who…

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Malcolm X: The Real Story

Remembering the prophet and revolutionary who fathered the new generation of activist.


Happy Birthday Eddie Kendricks

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I am one of the Temptations biggest fans but most would agree that every woman who heard the sweet tenor voice of the man known simply as “Eddie” was in love with this man. He was a man with the sweetest and silkiest tenor voice of any man to sing a tune.

His persona was quiet and cool, with a voice that made women drool. The tall, lean and handsome tenor from Union Springs, Alabama was little more than eighteen when he arrived in Detroit, the town where he would eventually find fame as a member of the Motown super-group, The Temptations.

Eddie arrived in Detroit along with childhood friends Paul Williams and Kell Osborne. Together they formed a classic vocal group they called The Primes. Their tunes extended beyond the usual teenage Doo-wop tunes to include sophisticated material such as that of the Mills Brothers. So it was natural, or maybe fate, when Otis Williams first saw The Primes perform he couldn’t help but notice the vocal prowess of Kendricks, and the smooth moves of Paul Williams.

When the Primes disbanded, and all three members separated, Eddie came back to Detroit from Birmingham to visit Paul; he put in a phone call to Otis. The timing was perfect since Otis just happened to have two spots to fill in his group, The Distants. Paul and Eddie added a whole new dimension to his group’s sound, and the merging of the two groups became the Elgins. Now, they were ready to audition for Berry Gordy.

The audition went well, and the group was offered a contract right on the spot. It was 1961, but the group wouldn’t have their first hit for a few years. Meanwhile, the group worked hard on their singing, their moves, and their look. Eddie always dressed beautifully; he had a knack for being sharp and hip, but classy at the same time so his job in the group would be wardrobe, and he began putting together the group’s stage uniforms.

The group continued recording on a regular basis with either Paul or Eddie leading on all the early songs, but none of the 1962 singles did much, including the unique “Dream Come True”, and “Paradise”. Both tunes featured Eddie’s vocals, and they are appreciated today, but at the time they didn’t even make the pop chart.

In early 1964, David Ruffin joined the group, and coincidently things began to change. Smokey Robinson told the group he’d booked the studio for them to record a song he’d written with Bobby Rogers, one of the Miracles while driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. That night the five of them met at Eddie’s house and set out on the familiar walk over to Hitsville. The song, “The Way You Do The Things You Do”, was charming and perfect for Eddie’s voice. It was like a dream, finally; the song would peak at number 11 on the pop chart, and the group went off on their first full Motortown Review tour.

Before the year was over, the guys knew that success was not only possible, but probable, and they would get their share of good times and beautiful women, and Eddie, as it would turn out certainly had the power to attract women. Eddie was ahead of his time in picking the clothes, although the guys at first objected to some purple suits he had chosen. Otis thought the suits would make them look like pimps, but in the end they trusted his judgment and he ordered five purple suits with a white button. He was right, when the crowd saw them in those suits; they went absolutely wild.

In 1965, Smokey Robinson, who was writing mostly all of their material, turned his attention away from Eddie momentarily to hand over to David Ruffin who sung their big breakthrough hit “My Girl”. The song would hit number one and stay there for eight weeks. Over the next few years, many of the songs would be cut on David, but Eddie would not be left behind either. In 1966, Smokey would hand Eddie the song “Get Ready”, but it didn’t do as well as the songs Norman Whitfield wrote with David in mind, such as “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.” Norman’s song did much better on the charts, and shortly thereafter, Norman Whitfield would begin writing and producing the group almost exclusively. David would get most of the leads, but Eddie would still have his chance to shine.

The guys were tight and hung out together at one another’s houses where Melvin would cook up a pot of beans and cornbread. Eddie loved cornbread so much the guys playfully nicknamed him “cornbread”. As time passed, and David Ruffin was dismissed in 1968, Eddie changed, upset with the attitudes of some of the group members, he formed an alliance with David outside the group. In the late 1960’s, times would change and so would Norman’s material. Eddie still preferred the harmonious love songs and wanted to do some of his own material separate from the group. The group said no, and Eddie became even more dissatisfied.

It was after a performance at the Copa in 1970. Eddie walked out after the first show, and it was decided, mutually, that it was time for him to leave the Temptations, and so he did, leaving them with one of their all time biggest hits. Eddie went on to have a very respectable solo career and later toured with David and Dennis until the end of his life.

Eddie’s legacy is profound, on October 16, 1999, Eddie Kendrick Memorial Park , was dedicated to the Birmingham native The memorial features a bronze sculpture of Kendricks by local artist Ron McDowell, as well as sculptures of the other Temptations, set into a granite wall. Inscribed on the granite are the names of Temptation’s hit songs. Recorded music can be heard throughout the park, featuring songs by Kendricks and the Temptations.

I will say this: Eddie left the world a lot of music that others are trying to imitate and duplicate! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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NewsOne Minute: New Bill Would Require DOJ to Track Cop Killings, Plus Beyoncé Sued

Originally posted on News One:

HandsUpProtester_640x427

BOSTON – DECEMBER 13: Thousands of protestors marched through the streets of Boston as part of the #BlackLivesMatter protest to bring attention to black justice and the recent police killings of blacks. Protestor Chrintina Thomas puts her arms up in front of a line of State Troopers blocking Nashua Street. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Following the murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner—both at the hands of the police—law enforcement officials and their practices for policing black communities have been under scrutiny. When the topic of police brutality was pushed to the forefront of the national conversation, there was clearly no data as to how many people have been killed by the police. A new bill, which was proposed by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), aims to require the Department of Justice to track how many people have died in result of police violence. “Before we can…

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