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On March 10th, 1962, singer, writer, director, comedian, dancer and actress in film, television and stage-Jasmine Guy was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Jasmine came from an educational and spiritual home. Her father was pastor at Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia (Reverend William Guy). His church served as one of the early locations for Spelman College, where he also was a professor. Her mother (Jay Rudolph) was and a high school teacher of Portuguese roots. Jasmine wanted to be a dancer at first, and moved to NYC when she was 17 (in 1979) to pursue her dream at the legendary Alvin Ailey American Dance Center.
Being that facial expressions and body language are integral components of a ‘good’ modern dancer’s skill set, she cultivated her acting skills by being able to convey her feelings and evoke a response from onlookers while she danced. Jasmine's acting started with non-speaking roles, via Debbie Allen’s referral, for her dance-themed show Fame in 1982 (appearing as a dancer in seven episodes). She continued to dance with the Alvin Ailey troupe, and appeared in an episode of The Equalizer in 1986 (Out Of The Past-she played Gloria). Shortly after this, she got wind that Bill Cosby was casting for a spin-off show centered around Denise Huxtable/Lisa Bonet. A Different World depicted the life of students from various cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds at a Historically Black College/University called Hillman College.
She won the role of co-star and Denise’s nemesis-Whitley Gilbert. Whitley was a Southern Belle, from the Black bourgeoisie. Wealthy, entitled, spoiled, somewhat culturally and historically ignorant-with the squeaky southern accent to boot. She wound up taking over the show as the main female star, after Lisa Bonet left and returned to The Cosby Show. Jasmine played in many films and TV Shows after this (most notably School Daze, The Feast Of All Saints, and Harlem Nights). She will forever be most known, however, as Whitley Gilbert. This award-winning actress is 57 years old today.
On March 10th, 1963, producer, hip hop music mogul, sampler/sequencer user, pianist, actor, guitarist and co-founder/president of Def Jam Records (w/Russell Simmons)-Rick Rubin (Frederick Jay Rubin) was born in Long Beach, New York. He first learned to play the guitar in high school by Steve Freeman who was a specialist in the audio/visual department (when public schools still had those…). He took his skills to some neighborhood friends who started a garage band. Rick started a punk band shortly after called the Pricks. They got thrown off stage at CBGBs for fighting with the crowd. However, it was all a setup to get them street fame. The hecklers they fought were their friends. In 1981, he founded Def Jam Records (senior year of high school). His first release came in 1982 by a punk band called Hose.
They toured with the Butt Hole Surfers, Meat Puppets, Minor Threat, the Circle Jerks and Husker Du. In 1983, he left the band and returned to NYC when the hip hop scene was exploding (Dee Jays, MCs, Writers-graffiti and B-Boys were at their height). He linked up with Zulu Nation Dee Jay-Jazzy Jay and the two of them collaborated to produce T-La Rock’s seminal single-It’s Yours (Def Jam Records, distributed by Streetwise Records-Arthur Baker). In 1984, Jazzy Jay introduced Rick to Russell Simmons who was a promoter and manager for Kurtis Blow and RUN DMC. Rick needed loot to make Def Jam official, and Russell had it. The two went in as partners and produced their first single in 1984-LL Cool J: I Need A Beat. The rest, pretty much, is history. Rick continues to produce for every type of genre, including spoken word. He’s 56 today.
On March 10th, in 1964, the step-daughter of free jazz innovator Don Cherry, rapper, DJ, singer, producer and songwriter-Neneh Cherry (Neneh Marian Karisson) was born in Stockholm, Sweden. A lot of Americans sleep on Neneh’s music. She’s been singing since her early childhood with her step-father Don Cherry, and the female vocalist named Poly Styrene from X-Ray Spex. In her teens, she moved to the UK, got into the punk movement and started hanging with the Slits (Ari Up, Tessa Pollitt, Viv Albertine). She joined them and other punk bands like: the Cherries, Rip Rig + Panic, New Age Steppers and Float Up CP. She also got into Dee Jaying, and spun early hip hop, reggae and dancehall music on UK’s pirate radio station-Dread Broadcasting Corporation.
When she was 18, she embarked on a solo carer and released her first song-Stop the War in 1982 (UK war with Argentina). During the mid to late 80s, she worked closely with Booga Bear (Cameron McVey) who co-worte most of her solo debut-Raw Like Sushi (1989). She also married him. Her first single off the LP was-Buffalo Stance (released 1988) which went to #3 on the US & UK pop chart and #1 on the US dance chart. Between 1988 to 1990, Neneh’s popularity grew, solidifying her position as an urban musician in the realm of rap and dance. She was nominated for a Grammy that was won by Milli Vanilli (later revoked for lip synching). She released two LPs in the 90s that did relatively well-Homebrew (1992) and Man (1996). She has always been one to rap about meaningful topics, and collaborate with others from various genres dating back to 1981. She’s 54 today.
On March 10th, in 1972, producer, keyboardist, rapper, DJ, singer, beatboxer, sampler/sequencer user, songwriter, drum programmer, and TV personality-Timbaland (Timothy Zachary Mosley) was born in Norfolk, Virginia. If you don’t know who he is, you’ve probably not listened to any music from the mid 90s to the current date. Timbaland has worked with numerous well-known artists that have released hit music post-1994. Some of the more notable artists he’s produced for include: Aaliyah, Ginuwine, Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Petey Pablo, Tweet, Magoo, Nelly Furtado, Bubba Sparxxx, Veronika Bozeman, Keri Hilson, Swing Mob (DeVante Swing), The Royal Court and Tink. He started out as DJ Timmy Tim in his early teens.
By the time he got to high school, he was working with Magoo, and was a member of SBI with Pharrell Williams of the Neptunes (Surrounded By Idiots). He got shot in 1986 while working at Red Lobster. It left his right side partially paralyzed for 9 months. During the down time, he worked on his left-hand DJ skills. Missy Elliott caught wind of him, and took her group Sista to him for production purposes. They all linked through mutual mentor/producer for Jodeci-DeVante Swing. After producing a few songs for Jodeci and Sista in the early 90s, Timbaland set out on a solo production career. He produced Ginuwine’s debut-Ginuwine…Bachelor (1996) and Aaliyah’s second LP-One in a Million (1996). His career took off after this and requests came far and wide for the original drum patterns, ill basslines and futuristic sounds that became his signature sound. He’s 47 today.
HONORABLE MENTION: On March 10th, in 2002, we lost a seminal jazz musician, educator, pianist, organist, composer, side-person, bandleader and female soul jazz innovator-Shirley Scott. She deserves more than an ‘Honorable Mention’ due to her contributions to jazz music, and her continued education of the youth about the genre. However, because her birthday was 4 days after her death (March 14th), TOV will cover her as a headliner on an upcoming post. The Philly native released over 50 LPs as a bandleader from 1958 to 1992. She was 67 when she passed away.
On March 10th, in 1997, we lost a seminal soul singer, activist and actress-(Delores) LaVern Baker (Delores Evans AKA Little Miss Sharecropper). TOV covered the artist’s birthday on the November 11 post, and she's been mentioned a few times in the Honorable Mention section. Access the site search bar for further inquiries. LaVern got her start in Chi-Town (Chicago, Illinois) in the mid 40s singing at clubs under the moniker-Little Miss Sharecropper. She went on to record several gold singles for Okeh Records during the 50s. She also formally stepped to Congress about their lack of support for Black musicians that had their songs covered by White artists without getting paid royalties or receiving copyright credit. She was 67 when she passed.
On March 10th, in 1966, singer, guitarist, songwriter, co-founding member of the New Bohemians and spouse of Paul Simon-Edie Brickell was born in the quaint community of Oak Cliff, Dallas, TX. If you know Brand Nubian’s song-Slow Down then you should know Brickell, since she was the voice sampled on the hook and the main sample for the song (What I Am-1988). I applaud Puba for sampling her because it showed the scope of music that Hip Hop producers listen to that the public and industry execs may fail to notice. She’s been performing professionally since 1985, and continues to release music with substantive lyrics and blues based rhythms. She’s 53 today.
For more information on any musician or event reviewed in posts, or for additional information on The Wandering Eyes Blog overall, use the search bar and search the artist or event using keywords. It’s like a Google search for the site. A myriad of information, covering several topics exists on this site going back to 2013 when it was created. PEACE