Tag Archives: the Jackson Five

A Tribute To Black Music

5White folk use to call music sung by black performers race music as they pretended not to listen to it – but stole it for white artists to use; nonetheless. Since it is true that black people are the first people to make a sound, the drum has been the foundation of rhythm since the beginning of time. Music is a world all unto itself, and some say it is the greatest communicator.

If we were to go way back to the cradle of civilization eon’s ago; it all began with the drum. When the African was captured they brought the drum to the so-called New World; bringing the rhythms that dictated our souls. It is a fact that African American people are responsible for creating all of the great music genres; Jazz, Gospel, Blues, Soul, R&B, Rap, Hip-Hop, and just about every musical sound we hear directly speaks to our glorious past.

During the despicable era of slavery and segregation, before the Civil Rights Movement, the mystical sounds of gospel music delivered an in-your-face sound that fed the souls of black people and that outlet produced some of the most timeless music ever created. Before I go further, let’s remember that it was Michael Jackson whose music video was the first black music to air on MTV just a short while ago.

I want to pay special homage to a place that was just tiny little building in Detroit that became the Mecca of black music called Motown, also known as Hitsville that changed that world. Its existence was historic and game-changing – thanks to its founder Mr. Barry Gordy. Let’s be honest, can you imagine a world without “The Motown Sound”? For many who don’t know or have forgotten, before Motown Records rarely did you see the face of an African American on the cover of an album or black music heard on mainstream radio.

The music we enjoyed and others stole was called “Race Music.” As strange as seems music was segregated the same way America was prior to the 1960s at the time Motown was founded. Before Motown, few black performers enjoyed nothing close to crossover success. By the way, an album is what was used to play music before CDs.

Motown was the first record label owned by an African American that primarily feature black artists, and its soul-based subsidiaries were the most successful proponents of what came to be known as The Motown Sound. It had a style of music with a distinct influence and soul touching flavor. From its Hitsville U.S. A building on 2648 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit, Michigan served as Motown’s headquarters produced the most universally recognized stable of songwriters and performers of our time or any time.

The music produced by Motown made a nation of people living in this nation without a nationality proud with its awe-inspiring run of hits that spoke to the essence of our souls and from that tiny little basement studio. The world was introduced to Michael Jackson, the Supremes, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, the Miracles, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Four Tops, the Commodores, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Jr. Walker and the All-Stars, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Rick James, Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, Teena Marie, DeBarge, the Jackson Five, Martha and the Vandellas, the Marvelettes and Motown’s Funk Brothers studio band; just to name a few of the artists that graced our souls and touched our hearts making us proud.

Many of Motown’s best-known hits were written by Smokey Robinson, Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield and the songwriting trio of Holland-Dozier-Holland, who became major forces in the music industry. For example, it’s a known fact in the music industry that in order to get a number one hit song someone would have to write more than thirty songs. Holland-Dozier-Holland had a string of more than fifty number one hits in a row with some becoming number one with several different artists like the hit “I heard it through the Grapevine”. This is profound and will never happen again. No songwriter will ever achieve this feat – guaranteed.

Although Mr. Gordy sold Motown, and it’s now in the hands of others, its legacy resides in a very special place in my hearts as well as millions around the world. So again I say, thank you Motown for the music, the love, the magic, and the many great memories.

Lastly, to the legends who are no longer with us to perform – thank you for your contribution – Rest in Peace. My guess is that they are walking around heaven all day singing with gleeful harmony the same way as it touched our souls when they were with us in this earthly realm. It must make heaven more glorious and wonderful than one could ever imagine. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


It’s a Family Affair

It’s heartbreaking and sad that we have to witness the very bazaar public spectacle that’s taking place within the Jackson family. I will say from the outset that, I like so many, presumed one of the world’s most famous families was dysfunctional but what we are seeing is far beyond rational – bordering on the bazaar. But, should we be surprised because after all there is a Billion dollars at stake.

The fight over the King of Pops children and his prosperous estate has turned into a very messy affair, with accusations of mama being kidnapped, auntie being slapped, brothers turning against sisters and cousins rescuing cousins, culminating with Miss Katherine losing custody of Paris, Prince and Blanket, the children the King Of Pop willed her to take care of when he died.

Thankfully, Miss Katherine is safe and back at her home after disappearing almost two weeks, which some have called an escape; she was said to be visiting one of her daughters, Rebbie, in Arizona. According to some reports, she’s was supposedly with Janet, Jermaine and Randy as they say resting following doctor’s orders. Regardless my heart goes out to her as this must be very disturbing and painful.

Frankly, nobody needs to witness an 82-year-old grandmother, who is rich beyond her wildest dreams, being pulled in ever direction by family members for whatever the root cause of the problems. Honestly, every family has problems and is in some sense dysfunctional but this family has been in the public’s eye for fifty year. Surely, they should understand how to better manage their affairs. This is not just embarrassing for them but for all of us.

What this shows me is that they, like much of today’s world, have lost what is so simple, which was a staple in the African American family – respect, particularly for your elders. Make no mistake this whole Jackson valueless family situation is about family. It is also about money; control; and money; it’s about love; and mo’ money; positioning; access; relationships; and not about honoring Michael Jackson’s true last wishes. Make no mistake about it, it’s all about money. Billions of dollars and we know money is the root of all evil.  I like to thank a lady named Denene for the idea to write this and some of her words.

Lastly, because this is such a sad situation I will make this post short. Notice that not a word has been said about Papa Joe. So let me say this, when he was involved and around – there was not such mess. As dysfunctional as the family appears, he seemed to be the one with the strong hand that maintained order. Come home Joe.

And that’s my Thought Provoking perspective…

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