Nina Simone, other singers of justice

It takes the wisdom of the elders and young people’s energy

The official site for Nina Simone (1933-2003) refers to her as The High Priestess of Soul. As a 2014 New Yorker article noted, she “turned the movement into music.”
To Be Young, Gifted, and Black
I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free
Mississippi Goddam

The “Godfather of Soul,” released the iconic song… in August 1968, just four months after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. “Randall Kennedy, a Harvard law professor, said he remembers when he first heard the song. The funk- and soul-inspired hit was like nothing he had heard before — especially at a time in which Kennedy said overt ‘colorism,’ or the preference for lighter skin color, was prevalent in the black community.

“Kennedy writes for The New York Times that “it was precisely because of widespread colorism that James Brown’s anthem posed a challenge, felt so exhilarating, and resonated so powerfully.” Some stations would not play this song. The apocryphal punch line is that JB bought some radio stations in response.
Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m ProudJames Brown (1933-2006)

“The Impressions formed from the union of two friends, Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield of Chicago, Illinois. The two had sung together in church as adolescents, and had traveled with the Northern Jubilee Gospel Singers and the Traveling Souls Spiritual Church.” Curtis Mayfield (1942-1999) got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, once with the group, once as a solo artist.
Keep On Pushing – the Impressions.

From the legendary What’s Goin’ On album that Berry Gordy was reluctant to put out. I’ve said the subtitle a LOT.
Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)Marvin Gaye (1939-1984).

Saw the face of Jim Crow under a bald eagle

“PE redefined not just what a rap group could accomplish, but also the very role pop musicians could play in contemporary culture. Lyrically, sonically, politically, onstage, on the news – never before had musicians been considered ‘radical’ across so many different platforms.”
Fight the PowerPublic Enemy.

From the movie Selma. It won the 2014 Oscar for Best Song.
One day when the glory comes
It will be ours, it will be ours
Oh one day when the war is won
We will be sure, we will be sure
Glory – Common, John Legend (Alternative version here).

The Godmother Of Rock ‘N’ Roll has, “in recent years, been rightfully celebrated as a woman who broke every norm.”
This TrainSister Rosetta Tharp (1915-1973).

The Queen of Gospel is revered as one of the greatest musical figures in U.S. history.
We Shall OvercomeMahalia Jackson (1911–1972).

All of the artists here, save for Common and John Legend, are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

2015 in review

All men and women living on the Earth.
Ties of hope and love,
Sister and brotherhood,
That we are bound together

2015This is that thing that Jaquandor does on December 31, but I do on January 1.

Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

If I made one, it was to do less. I failed miserably, except when I had to because of the hernia operation, which felt really good, actually.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not that I recall.

Did you attend any wddings?

Affirmative: Ron and David, just a couple weeks ago.

Did anyone close to you die?

Well, yes, three people in the first six weeks of the year. Continue reading “2015 in review”

Truth in movies

I’m not looking for documentaries in my biopics.

American-Sniper-2014If you’re a big movie fan, you’ve noticed the wealth of movies that based on real-life events, including Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Unbroken, and Wild.

Someone named Penelope Puddlisms wrote: “I read your interesting review about the Selma movie and the issue about its accuracy. It makes me wonder why anyone would risk fudging even a small bit of the facts when every other aspect tries so painfully hard to be carefully spot on and provide a documentary feel. This happens in lots of similar movies.”

That is a reasonable question. One could ask “why” of the novelist who fictionalizes real events. Continue reading “Truth in movies”

Oscars for 2014 films

I’m hoping to see all the Best Animated Short and/or Best Live Action Short nominees at The Spectrum in Albany before Oscar night.

2015-oscar-nominees.nph“Everyone knows” that the only reasons that the Oscars matter is so 1) audiences can go to some obscure movie and complain, “THAT was Oscar-nominated?” or “THAT was an Oscar winner?” and 2) writers can put it in someone’s obituaries: “Oscar winner John Wayne…” The Academy Awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will take place on February 22.

As I’m still in movie season mode, which runs, approximately, from November to March when it’s colder, and the better movies tend to come out, I may still see a few more films before Oscar night, or shortly afterwards.

I’m pleased that I managed to see the two Best Picture nominees that were released early in the year, Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel. (I’m going to link to my reviews of the films I saw, on first mention.)

Are there Oscar snubs? Continue reading “Oscars for 2014 films”

MOVIE REVIEW: Selma

Selma’s Bloody Sunday took place on my 12th birthday.

selmamovieIt seemed like the obvious thing to do. The Wife and I went to see the movie Selma on the Martin Luther King holiday, which also celebrates Confederate general Robert E. Lee in Arkansas Mississippi, and, notably, Alabama.

While The Wife dropped off the Daughter at the sitter’s, I waited for her, and for the massive crowd to see this film. And there was a stream of people coming in the Spectrum Theatre, to see Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: Selma”