Tag Archives: al jolson

Amos ‘n’ Andy: The Mystic Nights Of The Sea

aWhen I was a child, there was a television show called “Amos ‘n’ Andy.” Considering the way thing were during that time, the only black people we saw on TV were maids, nannies, and Buffon’s; you know the subservient type of “colors” white folks liked so much. This show was a comedy, but these black folks lived like whites – professionals and owned businesses.

However, the NAACP and others decried the show, protested and had it removed from the airways. It is worth mentioning that at the time white folk still dressed in black face until the 1950s, yet the NAACP had no problem with those performances and images! I have spoken about the NAACP and consider them not much better than Messy Jessie and Brother Al. I have asked, and nobody can answer the question; what significant thing has the group done for black people? Other than keep black people passive and quiet!

Moving on: here is the back story of the show that might surprise you:

It was on this day in 1926 that a two-man blackface comedy series “Sam ‘n’ Henry” debuted on Chicago’s WGN radio station. Two years later, after changing its name to “Amos ‘n’ Andy,” the show became one of the most popular radio programs in American history. The show later became one of the first television series to depict black people as something other than maids and servants.

Though the creators and the stars of the radio show, Freeman Gosden, and Charles Carrell, were both white, the characters they played were two black men from the Deep South who moved to Chicago to seek their fortunes. Blackface performances by whites were normal for the time. This was the result of the famous Jim Crow character popular around the Civil War that white actors performed in the “blackface” tradition. Gosden and Carrell, both vaudeville performers, were doing a Chicago comedy act in blackface when an employee at the Chicago Tribune suggested they create a radio show.

When “Sam ‘n’ Henry” debuted, it became an immediate hit. In 1928, Gosden and Carrell took their act to a rival station, the Chicago Daily News’ WMAQ. When they discovered WGN owned the rights to their characters’ names, they simply changed the name. As their new contract gave Gosden and Carrell the right to syndicate the program, the popularity of “Amos ‘n’ Andy” soon exploded. Over the next 22 years, the show would become the highest-rated comedy in radio history, attracting more than 40 million listeners.

By 1951, when “Amos ‘n’ Andy” came to television, changing attitudes about race and concerns about racism had virtually wiped out the practice of blackface. With Alvin Childress and Spencer Williams took over for Gosden and Carrell, the show was the first TV series to feature an all-black cast and the only one of its kind for the next 20 years. This did not stop African American advocacy groups, and eventually the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, from criticizing both the radio and TV versions of “Amos ‘n’ Andy” for promoting racial stereotypes. These protests led to the TV show’s cancellation in 1953.

The final radio broadcast of “Amos ‘n’ Andy” aired on November 25, 1960. Fast forward to the trash we see depicting African Americans in television shows today. Was Amos ‘n’ Andy really a negative upon society? Imagery is very important and, in my opinion, the show should have been praised for showing a people long denied the spotlight represented as professionals in a time of segregation, i.e., separate but equal. The truth of the matter is that this show in large part contributed greatly to removing the horrible practice of “blackface”.

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Could it have been that the society at large did not want the black people to think they could live the American dream? And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


JUST US!

jail

My message for today comes from a powerful video that you should be sure to WATCH. Every single thing the speaker is saying can be proven without a shadow of a doubt. Just look at the power of the prison lobby and the massive increase in prison population since the 1980’s.

America has MORE prisoners in jail than China or any other country on the planet. How is it possible that we have a higher prison population than China who is extremely oppressive and has four times our total population? The overwhelming proportion of the population are people of color. How can this be when we represent such a small portion of the overall population?

I’m sharing this message with hopes that it is food for thought. Stop dancing to the tomb!!! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


Resurrection

African American remains a nation of people living in a notion without a nationality. Some will say, America has a black president – how could that be? Well, this speaks to the institutions within the context of society that dictates the continuation of the system that exists within the country. It is because of this system, which has been in existence from the founding of America that has caused the demise of people of color.

Let me speak to the concept of leadership according to Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who wrote the powerful novel “The Mis-Education of the Negro” in 1933, or there about, challenged his readers to become empowered by doing for themselves.

He said: “Regardless of what we are taught history shows that it does not matter who is in power… those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they did in the beginning.” This speaks volumes.

I believe, if you can control a man is thinking you never have to worry about what he thinks. I will speak for me, no matter how messed up the world is and the minds of man; I am glad God made me! We must take responsibility for ourselves because life demands the survival of the fittest, just like in all other parts of the animal kingdom. As a people, African Americans have waited far too long and become much too dependent on those who are in charge of the system.

Therefore, I say it is time to remove the shackles of bondage that mentally remain in many communities and in the minds of man. Malcolm X once said, “We spend too much time singing and not enough time swinging”. Let me be clear, I did not repeat this statement to advocate violence. Rather to suggest that we have spent centuries believing, following, and listening to the messages communicated to us by those who control our destiny – making us believe that there is a better place for us when we are dead. I say we have a right to live NOW!

I want to propose an idea that could be the answer to our salvation. There is about 38 – 40 million African Americans living in America. If each person contributed one dollar per week; it would add up to forty million dollars. Multiply that time’s fifty-two weeks; that’s over two-trillion dollars annually. We have people who run some of the world’s largest corporations who could manage that money – invest it and make more money and as such many of the problems we face would go away.

Overtime we’ve won many civil rights battles, which should never have had to be fought as human beings. Yet, we still don’t have the necessities we need to survive. So I say, as tenacious beings, it is time for survival and the time is now – if for no other reason than for our children. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Have you worn your hoodie lately?

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Legacy – A New Season 

AMAZON

Just a Season


The Godfather Of Rock and Roll

It is a great joy to share with you the glorious past of the ghost of the greats whose shoulders we stand that are dear to my heart. I am proud to share this article because I love the story of the crossroads. It is a story about the great Delta Blues-man Robert Johnson. The history of music is littered with tragic figures, and none was more tragic than Robert Johnson’s story.

This amazing, ultimate star-crossed musical genius laid the early framework of rock and roll decades before that term was even imagined. Robert Leroy Johnson is among the most famous of all the Delta Blues musicians whose landmark recordings from 1936-37 display a remarkable combination of singing, guitar skills, and tremendous songwriting talent that have influenced generations of musicians. Johnson’s shadowy, poorly documented life, and violent death at age 27 have given rise to much speculation adding to his legend.

He is considered by some to be the “Grandfather of Rock-and-Roll,” his vocal phrasing, original songs, and guitar style influenced a range of musicians, including Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Brothers Band, The Rolling Stones, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Peter Gabriel, Neil Young, and Warren Zevon. Eric Clapton called Johnson “the most important blues musician who ever lived.

Johnson was conceived in an extramarital affair and born in Hazelhurst, Miss., in 1911. Most of his biographical details have been lost to history, but what’s known is that he learned guitar in his teens, got married, and had a girl who died in childbirth. The death led Johnson to throw himself even deeper into his music. He fled to Robinsonville, Miss., where he was influenced by early blues legends Son House and Willie Brown.

By 1933, Johnson remarried and began playing the guitar professionally. He once related the tale of selling his soul to the devil at a crossroads in exchange for his talent. Johnson tells the story in his song “Crossroads Blues.” Playing for tips up and down the Delta, Johnson gained in popularity. But as he grew in fame, he became a noted philanderer. He would also walk off in the middle of performances and not be seen or heard from for weeks at a time.

In 1936, he was put in contact with Columbia Records talent scout Ernie Oertle, who took him to San Antonio, Tex., where Johnson recorded classics including “Sweet Home Chicago,” “There’s A Hell Hound On My Trail,” and his signature “Terraplane Blues.”

Johnson began to tour nationally and became known for his unique voice and halting guitar rifts. But in 1938, as the legend goes, the devil caught up with him. While playing at a juke joint, he flirted with a woman whose husband became jealous, and the man laced Johnson’s whiskey with strychnine. Although he became violently ill, Johnson played until he collapsed. He died four days later at age 27, although conflicting stories say he survived the poisoning and died later of pneumonia.

There are at least two Mississippi gravesites that bear his name leaving questions about his passing and burial. “The reason that it’s so powerful a story is because it is the outline of the tragic side of the music that followed,” said music journalist Alan Light. “Some knew him as a musician, others by legend, but his shadow touches everyone who came out of that time and place.” I will say that Robert Johnson is truly a legend whose legacy will last forever. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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The War On Poverty

1aWar is unjust, evil, and futile because it only benefits the wealthy. It is particularly wretched as the system continues its assault on the poor and defenseless. The day has passed for superficial patriotism in terms of words of false prophets. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth.

Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth… And the truth shall set you free.” I agree with Dante that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal.

There is an obvious and almost facile connection between the struggles many poor people face as it relates to racial issues. Once there was a shining moment in that struggle where it seemed there was real promise for the poor, or at least hope for both black and white, through Poverty Programs. I watched these programs broken as if they were idle political playthings of a society gone mad. America will never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor.

It is estimated that America spends more than $500,000 to kill each enemy soldier. While we do not spend a hundred dollars for each person classified as poor, and much of that goes for salaries of people hired to, supposedly, help the poor. Therefore, I am increasingly compelled to see the war or poverty as an enemy of the poor. In addition, the money spent on the space program could feed every person in America. Frankly, this is a cruel manipulation of freedom and justice while anything like a moral political agenda exists, which is a disgrace.

In the end, it is families, women, children, and the elderly who suffer. The system has destroyed its two most cherished institutions: the family and the church. A true revolution of values should cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our present policies. On the one hand, we are called upon to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that is only the first step. One day, we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be changed so that men and women will not be beaten constantly as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth with righteous indignation.

The Bible says, “You shall reap what you sow”. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to speed up the day when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. With this faith, we will be able to speed up the day when the lion and the lamb will lie down together, and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid because the words of the Lord have spoken it.”

We can change the world but first we must change ourselves. If we can have respect for the living maybe the died might not die without dignity. The war on poverty is just a war on the souls of man! And that’s my THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVE…


A Case For Reparations

1aIt’s been nearly five hundred years since that fateful day in the year of our Lord 1619, when about twenty people from Africa were first dragged onto the shores of this place they called “merica” to be slaves. Since that day, people of African descent have been chastised, criticized, punished, beaten, robbed, raped, and murdered at the hands of the oppressor. To that end, the decedent’s of those people still view all of us as the Constitutions says as three/fifths human.

This was done while the culprits, people of little conscience have enjoyed wealth and prosperity as a result of our never ending patriotism. When I think about America’s enormous wealth and power derived from its tremendous control of resources and “the least of thee”; I think about the sacrifices our families and forefathers’ made to make all of this possible. It was our labor that built this country, and we are responsible in large part for the great wealth and power America possesses. We are a unique people, a forgiving people, a steadfast people, and a brave people unlike any known to mankind.

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. Even when America refused to allow us to even walk in the shadows, we followed, believing that someday we would come to be accepted as men and women. We have looked out for this country for hundreds of years and still doing today.

Our history is one of unbelievable struggle. We’ve been brave on the battlefield, despite being classified as second class citizens but in every conflict we went beyond the call of duty. Let me add something here: we’ve lived under an Apartheid like system, which is what James Crow offered. We have raised America’s children, attended to its sick, and prepared their meals while the so-called forefathers were occupied with the trappings of the good life. This is to include the times when they found pleasure in our women and enjoyment in seeing our men lynched, maimed and burned. Yet, we continued to watch over America’s soul.

We labored in the hot sun from “Cain’t to Cain’t”, that’s can’t see to can’t see to assist in realizing the dream of wealth, good fortune, and making America great. Those same people of little conscience have controlled at least 90 percent of all the resources and wealth from the beginning, and we were there from the beginning, and we are still here today. Ironically, these folks of ill repute continue to protect the system, or try, from those Black people who have the temerity to speak out against America’s past transgressions, and they do this by divide and conquer.

It was us who warned about Denmark-Vessey, told them about Gabriel Prosser’s plans, called their attention to Nat Turner, Malcolm, and Martin. It was us sounded the alarm when old John Brown came calling on Harper’s Ferry, and there are still some people of color sounding the same warnings to bigots – the Republicans. Black Nationalism has died and as result our community brings 95 percent of what it earns to businesses owned by others and keeps little for themselves. 

The less fortunate among us spend all they have at neighborhood stores, enabling them to open even more stores; simply put we will allow anyone to open a business and patronize it in our communities. Some say we, as a people, are successful today, but I shake my head and say really! I am going to take a guess that there is at best a thousand wealthy blacks. To which certain people may say great. Let me remind them that there are more than 40,000,000 of us here! Most living in despair!

We were manipulated into resisting the messages of trouble-making Blacks like Washington, Delaney, Garvey, Bethune, Tubman, Malcolm, and Truth, who fought valiantly and died on the battlefield for us. Yet, most have forgotten their names and hardly ever considered their sacrifice due to a lack of reciprocity and equity. Even though the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments were written and many died for the rights described therein. We did not resist, at all, when they changed Black rights to civil rights and allowed virtually every other group to take advantage of them, which was just another way to.

After all these years and the enormous sacrifices, this goes beyond the imagination, irrespective of the many promises that have been made and broken. Yet, they told us don’t worry, when you die you will find a place where there is a mansion waiting for you with streets paved with gold. 

Therefore, in my mind and considering this point of view, yes reparations are deserved! Of course, as some say it will never happen. But I know this for sure; it will never happen as long as we continue to prescribe to the divide and conquer theory that has worked so well for so long. Don’t you think it’s time that we have cried our last tear!

I give most of you credit for knowing that black people were stolen from Africa and robbed of their history and identity, which that along is just cause for reparations. Wake up and free your mind and your ass will follow! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


You Must VOTE!!!

2Elections are being held all over the nation this year. Most of these elections are on state and local level with issues that have national implications. The issues before voters encompass a wide range of concerns including union rights, voting rights, and women’s rights. Let us not be fooled by the right-wing because nothing about their views encompass the reality we face.

There are and will be issues placed before voters this fall and coming in 2016 that are serious and must not be taken lightly. Consider this, weren’t the rights of workers to organize collectively and negotiate for fair wages and safe working conditions determined long ago? If you like a 40 hour work week, overtime pay, weekends off, sick leave and paid vacations, you have no one to thank, but union organizers who brought workers together to demand these benefits.

The issue of raising the minimum wage for millions of workers and their families must be addressed in this age when “oligarchy” rules. Of course, there are other important issues. But just think about all of the people who sacrificed so much, like those who sacrificed their very lives to ensure that all citizens could exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote.

Then there are the women’s issues; isn’t it settled law that women – as full citizens of this great nation – have the right to be secure in their own person – without Republican intrusion into the difficult and personal choices they make in respect to their own bodies?

One of the greatest difficulties we face by living in this democracy, if you believe that’s what this is, we must contend with the assaults from institutional racism. The highest court in the land is against the people; the House of Representatives is not a functional body, the police are combat soldiers, and you know what – it begs the question; who do they serve. Once we were slave, but today we are all slaves on the plantation. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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 THIS VIDEO SAYS IT ALL


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