Afeni Shakur We Salute You. Thank You For All Of Your Hard Work And Sacrifices...
In discussing the news that Queen Afeni Shakur had passed away, one common thought expressed over and over again centered around the idea of who would now control the music, legacy & likeness of our departed brother Tupac Shakur. As if the corporate culture vultures had not already done all the could to water-down and bastardize the defiant/revolutionary-minded Pac, in favor of the more reckless version we saw during his Death Row Records days-now they may have the opportunity to ramp those efforts to new levels. My next thought centered around which version of Afeni shakur would the media focus on, when discussing her life. Would they minimize her just being Mother Of the Late Tupac Shakur? How quick would they move to dwell on her past substance abuse problems? More importantly, how would they report on her time fighting on the frontlines of The Black Panther Party-if at all?? Being that she was the driving force behind the eventual acquittal of The Panther 21, anything less than the dignity warranted for a Freedom Fighter would be unacceptable. But I'm sure that I will be disappointed, as they will not due her justice and the focus will immediately shift to how to monetize the legacies of both her and her son. Why? Because in America, We The Black & Brown are not considered to have a soul worthy of the same dignities required to be given to others. So daily, whether we realize it or not, "They got us fighting for our spirit and mind." How much longer will we have to fight? Until more of us take up the mantle of those before us, move up into vanguard positions and work on every level imaginable to finally bring Power To The People...
Afeni Shakur We Salute You. Thank You For All Of Your Hard Work And Sacrifices...
For most people that grew up in the 70's and 80's Pro Wrestling and Shaolin Kung Fu Movies were two staples that dominated television on any weekend, and for me both of those somewhat guilty pleasures would continue to be a part of my life right up to this day. I don't really get too much into toady's wrestling as much; but can (and do) sometimes spend hours at a time watching the old classics. Figuring I knew just about all there is to know about the different legends and pioneers, I have spent considerable time learning about the Black and Brown Faces of yesteryear that could have been so much more well known-if not for segregation and old racist attitudes in certain territories. People like Ernie "The Big Cat" Ladd, Bobo Brazil, Thunderbolt Patterson, The Junkyard Dog and many others were fan favorites and generated lots of money for the different promotions that they worked for; but were not allowed runs as World champions because by many accounts promoters feared that angry white fans might riot. In fact it wasn't until 1992 that a Black World Heavyweight Champion would be crowned, when College Football Hall Of Famer Ron Simmons would be Big Van Vader for The WCW World Heavyweight Championship Belt.
One pioneering name seems to have fell through the cracks; and it wasn't until watching last week's WWE Hall Of Fame Presentation Show that I first heard the name "Sailor" Art Thomas. Inducted as a "Legacy" entrant, Art Thomas broke into wrestling back in 1943. After finishing up his time in the U.S. Navy, Thomas had already made a name for himself as a Bodybuilder and was asked to wrestle some house shows. Possessing an amazing physique, crazy strength, and 6'5" 265 lb frame he quickly rose up the ranks. Billed as a former seaman, Sailor Art Thomas was also known to showcase much style and flavor-always dressed immaculately in either a business suit or a seaman uniform. As a fan favorite Art Thomas would earn many opportunities to challenge for The NWA World Championship Belt-including several memorable battles with The Legendary "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers. In the 1960's Sailor art would move on to The then-WWWF and battle in Tag Team matches with Legends like Bobo Brazil and Bruno Sammartino. During the 1970's Art would move on again to wrestle in Canada, and would retire in the early 1980's. While working all over the country, Sailor Art Thomas was best known for his time wrestling in Chicago. Sailor Art would succumb to cancer in 2003. He was also known as "Seaman" Art Thomas, "Hercules," and "The Body." Without his hard work and sacrifice, so many others would not be selling out huge arenas today like The Rock, Booker T, and others have in more recent times. #SaluteThePioneers
While any look at NFL History usually features a glorious cavalcade of Black & Brown Faces dominating the gridiron, NFL Front Offices have sadly remained a White-Dominated Area in which very few Melanated Faces have been allowed into. Currently there are only Five Black Head Coaches (plus one who identifies as Hispanic) going into The 2016-2017 NFL Season. With the institution of The Rooney Rule, in 2003, the barriers impeding Black coaches from ascending into Head Coaching Roles seemed to be on the ropes-but in recent years those in power have figured ways around that rule. One area that has rarely, if ever, been called into question though is in the front office. In the entire history of The NFL, there have only been nine Black General Managers ever to be hired. The Baltimore Raven's Ozzie Newsome was the first, and arguably the most successful. On the job since 2002, Ozzie is an NFL Hall Of Famer (as a player) and has won two Super Bowls as General Manager/Executive Vice President in Baltimore. It goes without question that he will also be inducted into The HOF as an executive also. next came Houston Texans General Manager Rick Smith in 2006, who at the age of 36 was the league's youngest GM. In 2007 The New York Giants promoted their Director of Player Personnel Jerry Reese to General Manager (now serving as Senior VP & GM). That same year that Jerry Reese built roster would go on to win the first of two Super Bowl Victories won under his watch. Riding off of these pioneers wave of success, others would come and go; but few remained in positions as long as their contemporaries. Martin Mayhew, Ray Farmer, Rod Graves would all meet their endings over the last few seasons.
But as the new league calendar has now kicked in, alas there is hope for the future. Three NFL Franchises, each of which have been through at least a decade of mediocrity (in some cases worse), have found themselves ranked among those considered on the rise. Well, at least two of them. Who's behind these teams? Sashi Brown, Reggie McKenzie, and Doug Whaley...
Doug Whaley and Reggie McKenzie have actually been on their respective jobs, with the Buffalo Bills & Oakland Raiders for awhile now-but now the marvels of how they reshaped the rosters into respectable contenders has finally come into the light. Having worked as a personnel exec since 2011, Doug Whaley was promoted to GM in 2013-and was rewarded for his work with a four year contract extension after The 2015-2016 Season. The Buffalo Bills haven't been a playoff contender since the late 1990's; but thanks to his work, anything less than that would now be a disappointment. Oakland Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie took the then-unenviable job of bringing the Silver & Black back from the dead after serving as The Green Bay Packers Director Of Player Personnel from 1994 until moving on in 2012. That year, McKenzie inherited a team that had gone 4-12 the prior year and had traded away both of their First & Second Round Picks in the upcoming draft. Additionally, they had not made it to the playoffs since the 2002-2003 season. The last two seasons have had their bright spots, and have given Raider Fans something to hope for. And going into the new season, The Raiders appear ready to make the jump back into the playoffs. With a young, but well put together roster, much is expected from The Silver & Black for the first time in many years. That leaves us to the newest kid on the block, Sashi Brown. Recently hired as The Cleveland Brown's new General Manager & Executive VP Of Football Operations, the 39 Year Old Brown previously worked as General Counsel for The Jacksonville Jaguars-before being lured away to Cleveland. Unfortunately for Sashi Brown, The Cleveland Browns Organization has been downright bad for well over 20 years now-and has been the true picture of dysfunction since Jim Haslam bought the team in 2012. But as bad as things are/have been, the remake in progress for 2016 does have some believing that (like Their AFL Legacy Counterpart The Oakland Raiders) they may soon see brighter days ahead. Time will tell as to whether a larger Black Presence in The Front Office will lead to us seeing more Black Head Coaches on the sidelines…
WELDON IRVINE - "MORNING SUNRISE"
His genius is mostly only known by the truest of music aficionados; but his work is the foundation of so many classics of multiple genres. Weldon Irvine once worked for The Legendary Nina Simone-playing Organ, serving as Bandleader, Arranger, and Road Manager. He wrote "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" which would turn into HUGE Hits for Nina Simone, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, and Aretha Franklin. He would go on to record several albums of his own, and write/produce at least 20 stage musicals. And his magic would even transcend into the future generations, as he worked actively on albums by Mos Def, BlackStar & others. The featured song of this blog post, "Morning Sunrise," was sampled for Jay-Z's classic "Dear Summer" and also "Bitch Is Crazy" by Drake. The original appeared on his 1979 LP "The Sisters." Sadly, Weldon Irvine's time on this Earth came to close on April 9, 2002. However, his music and contributions will go on FOREVER...
For those that don't know, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing was a trailblazing Behavioral Scientist that devoted more than 45 years of her life teaching the world about the conscious and subconscious realities of Global White Supremacy. Starting with her 1970 essay "The Cress Theory of Color-Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy)" Dr. Welsing explained the pathology behind the inability of Whites & Non-Whites to be able to live in peace-the root of such being The Caucasian's genetic inferiority to the Non-White Worldwide Majority & fear of genetic annihilation. The realities of Melanated versus Non-Melanated Peoples dictate that when The Whites inter-mix with Non-Whites, the offspring will also be Non-White is at the very core of Whites long history of seeking to dominate Non-Whites globally & enforce a Social, Political, Economic & Faith-Based Infrastructure that promotes the idea of White Supremacy and Black Inferiority. This system is reinforced through many of the things that we see, say, and do almost daily-and they all are rooted in that fear of genetic annihilation. Greatly influenced by the writings of Dr. Neeley Fuller, Dr. Welsing helped in getting his "The United-Independent Compensatory Code/System/Concept Textbook" to the masses before going on to publish her greatest work "The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors" in 1991. Since then she has been highly in demand to tour the country speaking on the concepts she espouses on in her writings. The Isis Papers decodes many of the things that we encounter and unknowingly participate in daily; and most familiar with her work would agree that her writing (while a great source of controversy) has become more and more relevant today than when she originally wrote the book in the late 1980's.
“Most important, Black males must help one another to understand that they are being led by the dynamic of white supremacy to inflict extreme damage upon themselves, one another and ultimately the Black race. Black males must understand that, contrary to what is said, the war being conducted in urban centers is not against drugs but against Black males- for the purpose of white genetic survival...(It must be realized that no Black males manufacture the chemicals for drug use, nor do any Black males manufacture guns.)”
Dr. Frances Cress Welsing was a native of Chicago, Illinois, born March 18, 1935. Dr. Welsing earned her Bachelor's Degree from Antioch College in Ohio, and her Master's Degree from the prestigious Howard University College Of Medicine. Dr. Welsing worked in general and child psychiatry, and was an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Howard University College of Medicine, when "The Cress Theory of Color-Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy)" came out. After controversy arose over her writing, her tenure at Howard University was removed in 1975. Dr. Welsing also worked as a staff physician for The Department Of Human Services, Clinical Director over programs for emotionally troubled children in the Washington D.C. area. She returned to the ancestors on January 2nd 2016, after having suffered a stroke. Her presence will be dearly missed; but her teachings will live on FOREVER-if WE do are part to continue on with her legacy & instructions. Salute!!!
KILLAH PRIEST - "B.I.B.L.E."
What to you is the difference between Hip Hop today, and what it was before before being hijacked by Corporate america? To me it's all about the content & messaging. Always, but especially in The 90's Hip Hop songs were crafted more often to inspire and uplift. Yeah, you always had your NWA's, 2 Live Crews, Too Short's etc-but then there were those like Public Enemy, KRS-One, Rakim, and Killah Priest that made you sit down and read books. And in speaking of BOOKS, we come to today's featured song "B.I.B.L.E." by Wu-Tang Affiliate Killah Priest. This 4Th Disciple produced track originally appeared as an extra track on The The GZA's classic 1995 album "Liquid Swords," and then showed up again Killah Priest's 1998 solo Debut "Heavy Mental." "B.I.B.L.E." comes off like a journal entry of reflections about Killah Priest's journey through acquiring a Knowledge of Self from youth to adulthood, and drops crazy jewels from beginning to end.
"I searched for the truth since my youth. And went to church since birth but it wasn't worth the loot-That I was paying plus the praying-I didn't like staying cause of busy-bodies and dizzy hotties-That the preacher had souped up with lies-Had me cooped up looking at loot, butt and thighs. During the service he swallowed up the poor-And after they heard this, they wallowed on the floor. But I ignored and explored my history that was untold
And watched mysteries unfold..."
I give thanks daily for emcees that dropped science in their rhymes, for without them my own life would have taken a much different turn, and many very positive movements would have never been successful without Hip Hop's Power To Mobilize The Masses. The thing here now is to get This Thing Of Ours back on course. #EachOneTeachOne
"I strolled through the books of Job to unfold-And open bibles, instead of hoping on revivals-Calling on His name and screaming hallelujah-When he hardly knew ya, that's how the devil's fooled ya. See look into my eyes brethren, that's the lies of a Reverend-Why should you die to go to heaven? The Earth is already in space, the bible I embrace-
A difficult task I had to take-I studied till my eyes was swollen, and only arose when I found out that we were the chosen. I deal with the truth, and build with the youth-
And teach my son as he kneels on the stoop-Son, life is a pool of sin, corrupted with foolish men..."
(WRITER'S NOTE: The "MUSIC OF THE MIND" Series is loosely inspired by the Classic 1972 "Music of My Mind" album by Stevie Wonder)
BONUS CUT: KILLAH PRIEST - "ONE STEP/FAKE MC"
originally modeled to be a Black version of LIFE magazine, soon to be Mega Publisher John H. Johnson launched EBONY Magazine on November 1st 1945. Based out of Chicago, The Johnson Publishing Company Empire would soon grow to include Jet Magazine, Fashion Fair Cosmetics, and a book publishing company. Functioning as a "lifestyle brand," Ebony Magazine's circulation reached an estimated 1.8 million faithful readers at the height of its popularity. Today we celebrate the wonderful legacy of John H. Johnson & The Johnson Publishing Empire. Let's take a look back at some of the legendary covers. #SaluteThePioneers
In October of 1904, Mary McLeod Bethune took five students into a newly rented house & started what is now known as Bethune-Cookman University. Then known as The Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls, the school focused on teaching reading, writing, mathematics, home economics, and other vocational training courses. Selling baked foods & ice cream to keep the bills paid, enrollment would increase to over 200 students by 1906. By 1923, having expanded its reputation & land holdings, the school would merge with Jacksonville's Cookman Institute. Amazingly having started with only $1.50 in cash, a dream, and an amazing zeal for fundraising, Mary McLeod Bethune would see her new Bethune-Cookman College rise to become a fully-accredited college for liberal arts and teacher education by 1941 (she served as President until 1942). Under the leadership of its third President, Richard V. Moore, Sr., Bethune-Cookman would add programs in Music, Physical Education, Pre-Med, Pre-Dental and Pre-Pharmacy-plus add sixteen new buildings to the campus. In 2006 the school would offer its first Master's Degree Program, and in 2007, Bethune-Cookman College would rise to become Bethune-Cookman University. Today Bethune-Cookman University serves students from 35 different countries, and offers 35 different undergraduate degree programs-plus a Masters of Science in Transformative Leadership Degree Program. The school's founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune died May 18, 1955 at age 79. In 1973, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. We encourage you to study more on the other aspects of her legacy, and will certainly post more about her in the future. #Salute
Roberta Flack - "Compared To What"
To the majority of music lovers out there, Roberta Flack's legacy is tied to "Killing Me Softly," the magic she created in duets with Donny Hathaway, and a few other gems. But hidden in near obscurity are a strong series of powerful songs that speak to the social & spiritual consciousness (or lack thereof) of the world then and still now.
Where's that bee and where's that honey? Where's my God and where's my money. Unreal values, crass distortion, Unwed mothers need abortion. Kind of brings to mind ol' young King Tut (He did it now) Tried to make it real — compared to what?!
For those yet to see the Showtime Documentary "Roberta Flack: Killing Me Softly," there is a wealth a information on the life, times & music of this highly underrated songbird. While it covers in great detail her entire life & career, the best part is the segment that deals with her life & music during the 1960's. She spoke to every aspect of The Black Struggle, and her own unique viewpoint on living through it. You will learn much from the documentary, and even more-should you choose to do a study of her music from that period. Conscious Lyricism at its Finest! #RespectThePioneers
The President, he's got his war, Folks don't know just what it's for. Nobody gives us rhyme or reason. Have one doubt, they call it treason...Church on Sunday, sleep and nod. Tryin' to duck the wrath of God. Preacher's fillin' us with fright, Tryin' to tell us what he thinks is right. He really got to be some kind of nut (I can't use it!) Tryin' to make it real — compared to what?
What is now Tuskegee University was founded on September 19th 1881. Founded by The Great Booker T. Washington and others, Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute started with 30 students & a one room shanty. Since then, Tuskegee University found itself to home to one of, if not the most prestigious school of Veterinary Medicine, The Tuskegee Airmen Flight Training Program, the founding of The United Negro College Fund, and so much more.
In the modern era Tuskegee added doctoral programs in integrative bio-Science, materials science & engineering, Business and Information Sciences and more. already existing programs in Engineering, Architecture and Physical Sciences expanded-including Aerospace Engineering (the only program of its kind at any HBCU). Today Tuskegee provides a high percentage of the Black Chemical, Electrical & Mechanical Engineering Graduates-and provides more Doctorates in Materials Science and Engineering than any other school in the nation. The University is currently a highly preferred training locale for the future scientists from all over Africa, Asia & The Middle East-and is the Only University Campus in America designated as a National Historic Site by the U.S. Congress. Distinguished aumni include Military Pioneer & Legend Daniel "Chappie" James & groundbreaking author Ralph Ellison. Booker T. Washington is buried on campus of Tuskegee University, near the University Chapel.