Archives for : TRADITIONS

Ray Rice:$35 Million Dollar fool!

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Former Football player Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens, his contract was terminated today. His release comes 7 months after the video of him and his then fiancée , Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February.having a physical altercation in a Atlantic city elevator.

The video released, shown both parties engaging in a domestic dispute and Ray knocking his fiancée unconscious. He was suspended 2 games, and fines $500,000 he entered a program for anger management, and sensitivity in hopes of this altercation being removed from his permanent record.

Well this week Harvey Levine and his company purchased the now infamous video footage, and in return, the Ravens was pressured to terminate Rice’s contract. He’s also been suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

Billy Idol:”Dancing With Myself,”

 

 

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Billy will release his self-written memoir, “Dancing With Myself,” on October 7th 2014 The book is bold, searingly candid, and written by Idol himself in his inimitable voice.

Pre-order the book here: http://smarturl.it/dancingwithmyself

Stay tuned for news on Billy’s return to the studio and continued touring in coming weeks!

ELLA FITZGERALD – THE RACISM SHE FACED IN THE 50’S

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Apparently in the 1950s, a popular nightclub, Mocambo would not book Ella Fitzgerald because she was black. Fortunately for Ella, she had a powerful and unlikely benefactor, Marilyn Monroe.

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt…it was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she promised she would take a front table every night. She told him – and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status – that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman – and ahead of her time and she didn’t know it.” – Ella Fitzgerald

The Move Organization: 29th Anniversary

 

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May 13th marks the 29th Anniversary of the MOVE bombing, in which Philadelphia police dropped an explosive from a helicopter in an attempt to end an armed standoff.

The Move Organization is a Black Liberation group from Philadelphia started by John Africa in 1972. In 1985 the group made national news when police dropped a bomb on their house on 6221 Osage Avenue from a helicopter in an attempt to end an armed impasse. The explosion and ensuing fire killed 11 people, including five children and the group’s leader, John Africa. Only two occupants survived—Ramona Africa and Birdie, a child. 60 homes were destroyed as the entire block burned.

Mayor W. Wilson Goode appointed an investigative commission called the MOVE commission. It issued its report on March 6, 1986. The report denounced the actions of the city government, stating that “Dropping a bomb on an occupied row house was unconscionable.” No one from the city government was charged criminally.

In a 1996 civil suit in US federal court, a jury ordered the City of Philadelphia to pay $1.5 million to a survivor and relatives of two people killed in the bombing. The jury found that the city used excessive force and violated the members’ constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Philadelphia was given the sobriquet “The City that Bombed Itself.”

Stevie Wonder: This Day In Music

 

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On This Day In Music: In 1971, On his twenty-first birthday Stevie Wonder received his childhood earnings. He received $1 million.

In addition, Stevie Wonder independently recorded two albums, which he used as a bargaining tool while negotiating with Motown. Eventually the label agreed to his demands for full creative control (at that time the only artists to have that) and the rights to his own songs.

The 120-page contract was a precedent at Motown and gave Wonder a much higher royalty rate and a stipulation that stated, if Motown was to ever be sold that he gets to keep his publishing’s and he would have to approve the buyers). Stevie Wonder is one of the only artists that never recorded for anyone but Motown.

A Spectacle in Color: The Lesbian and Gay Subculture of Jazz Age Harlem.

 

 

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A Spectacle in Color: The Lesbian and Gay Subculture of Jazz Age  Harlem.

Eric Garber

At the beginning of the twentieth century, a homosexual subculture, uniquely  Afro-American  in substance, began to take shape in New York’s Harlem. Throughout the so- called Harlem  Renaissance period, roughly 1920 to 1935, black lesbians and gay men were  meeting each  other. street corners, socializing in cabarets and rent parties, and worshiping in  church on  Sundays, creating a language, a social structure, and a complex network of  institutions. Some  were discreet about their sexual identities; others openly expressed their  personal feelings. The  community they built attracted white homosexuals as well as black, creating  friendships  between people of disparate ethnic and economic backgrounds and building  alliances for  progressive social change. But the prosperity of the 1920s was short-lived, and  the Harlem gay  subculture quickly declined following the Stock Market crash of 1929 and the  repeal of  Prohibition, soon becoming only a shadow of its earlier self. Nevertheless, the  traditions and  institutions created by Harlem lesbians and gay men during the Jazz Age  continue to this day.

The key historical factor in the development of the lesbian and gay  subculture in Harlem  was the massive migration of thousands of Afro-Americans to northern urban  areas after the turn  of the century. Since the beginning of American slavery, the vast majority of  blacks had lived in  rural southern states. American participation in World War I led to an increase in  northern  industrial production and brought an end to immigration, which resulted in  thousands of  openings in northern factories becoming available to blacks. Within two  decades, large  communities of black Americans had developed in most northern urban areas.  So significant  was this shift in population that it is now referred to as the “Great Migration.”  Black communities  developed in Chicago, Detroit, and Buffalo, but the largest and most spectacular  was Harlem,  which became the mecca for Afro-Americans from all over the world. Nowhere  else could you  find a geographic area so large, so concentrated, really a city within a city,  populated entirely by  blacks. There were black schoolteachers, black entrepreneurs, black police  officers, and even  black millionaires. A spirit was in the air-of hope, progress, and possibilities- which proved  particularly alluring to the young and unmarried. Harlem’s streets soon filled with  their music,  their voices, and their laughter.

They called themselves “New Negroes,” Harlem was their capital, and  they manifested a  new militancy and pride. Black servicemen had been treated with a degree of  respect and given  a taste of near-equality while in Europe during the World War; their experiences  influenced their  expectations when they returned home. Participation in the war effort had given  the entire black  community a sense of involvement in the American process and led them to  demand their place  in the mainstream of American life. Marcus Garvey, the charismatic West Indian  orator, had  thousands of followers in his enormous black nationalist “Back to Africa”  movement. W. E. B.  DuBois and his National Association for the Advancement of Colored People  (NAACP), with its  radical integrationist position, generally appealed to a more educated, middle- class following,  as did Charles W. Johnson’s National Urban League, but were just as militant in  their call for  racial justice. A variety of individuals and organizations generated Afro-American  pride and  solidarity.

The New Negro movement created a new kind of art. Harlem, as the New  Negro Capital,  became a worldwide center for Afro-American jazz, literature, and the fine arts.  Many black  musicians, artists, writers, and entertainers were drawn to the vibrant black  uptown  neighborhood. Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway,  Bessie Smith,  and Ethel Waters played in Harlem nightclubs. Langston Hughes, Zora Hurston,  and Countee  Cullen published in the local newspapers. Art galleries displayed the work of  Aaron Douglas and  Richmond Barthé. These creative talents incorporated the emerging black urban  social con  sciousness into their art. The resulting explosion of self-consciously  AfroAmerican creativity,  now known as the “Harlem Renaissance,” had a profound impact on the  subsequent  development of American arts.

The social and sexual attitudes of Harlem’s new immigrants were best  reflected in the  blues, a distinctly Afro-American folk music that had developed in rural southern  black  communities following the Civil War. Structurally simple, yet open to countless  subtleties, the  blues were immensely popular within American black communities throughout  the 1920s. They  told of loneliness, homesickness, and poverty, of love and good luck, and they  provided a  window into the difficult, often brutal. world of the New Negro immigrant.

Homosexuality was clearly part of this world. “There’s two things got me  puzzled, there’s  two things I don’t understand,” moaned blues great Bessie Smith, “that’s a  mannish-acting  woman and a lisping, swishing, womanish-acting man.” In “Sissy Blues,” Ma  Rainey  complained of her husband’s infidelity with a homosexual named “Miss Kate.”  Lucille Bogan, in  her “B.D. Women Blues,” warned that “B.D. [bulldagger] women sure is rough;  they drink up  many a whiskey and they sure can strut their stuff.” The “sissies” and “bull  daggers” mentioned  in the blues were ridiculed for their cross-gender behavior, but neither shunned  nor hated. “Boy  in the Boat” for example, recorded in 1930 by George Hanna, counseled “When  you see two  women walking hand in hand, just shake your head and try to understand.” In  fact, the  casualness toward sexuality, so common in the blues, sometimes extended to  homosexual  behavior. In “Sissy Man Blues,” a traditional tune recorded by nurnerous male  blues singers  over the years, the singer demanded “if you can’t bring me a woman, bring me a  sissy man.”  George Hanna’s “Freakish Blues,” recorded in 1931, is even more explicit about  potential  sexual fludity. The blues reflected a culture that accepted sexuality, including  homosexual  behavior and identities, as a natural part of life.

Despite the relatively tolerant attitude shown toward homosexuality by  Afro-American  culture, black lesbians and gay men still had a difficult time. Like other black  migrants, they  soon learned that racism crossed the Mason-Dixon line. Economic problems,  unemployment,  and segregation plagued black communities across the North. High rents and  housing  shortages made privacy a luxury for Harlem’s newcomers. Moreover black  homosexuals, like  their white counterparts, were continually under attack from the police and  judicial systems. In  1920, young lesbian Mabel Hampton, recently arrived in Harlem from Winston- Salem, North  Carolina, was arrested on trumped-up prostitution charges and spent two years  in Bedford Hills  Reformatory.  Augustus Granville Dill, distinguished business editor of the  NAACP’s Crisis and  personal protégé of DuBois, had his political career destroyed when he was  arrested for  soliciting sex in a public restroom.  Black gay people were also under attack from  the  developing psychiatric institutions; Jonathan Katz cites a tragic case in which a  young black gay  man was incarcerated for most of the 1920s at the Worcester (Massachusetts)  State Hospital.  But in spite of racial oppression, economic hardship, and homophobic  persecution, black  lesbians and gay men were able to build a thriving community of their own within  existing Afro- American institutions and traditions.

Private parties were the best place for Harlem lesbians and gay men to  socialize,  providing safety and privacy. “We used to go to parties every other night…. The  girls all had the  parties,” remembered Mabel Hampton. Harlem parties were extremely varied;  the most common  kind was the “rent party.” Like the blues, rent parties had been brought north in  the Great  Migration. Few of Harlem’s new residents had much money, and sometimes rent  was hard to  come by. To raise funds, they sometimes threw enormous parties, inviting the  public and  charging admission. There would be dancing and jazz, and bootleg liquor for  sale in the kitchen.  It is about just such a party that Bessie Smith sang her famous “Gimme a Pigfoot  and a Bottle of  Beer.” On any given Saturday night there were scores of these parties  throughout Harlem, often  with those in attendance not knowing their hosts. The dancing and merriment  would continue  until dawn, and by morning the landlord could be paid. Lesbians and gay men  were active  participants in rent parties. The New York Age, one of Harlem’s newspapers,  complained in  1926:

One of these rent parties a few weeks ago was the scene of a tragic  crime in which one  jealous woman cut the throat of another, because the two were rivals for the  affections of a third  woman. The whole situation was on a par with the recent Broadway play [about  lesbianism,  The Captive], imported from Paris, although the underworld tragedy took  place in this  locality. In the meantime, the combination of bad gin, jealous women, a carving  knife, and a rent  party is dangerous to the health of all concerned.

At another Harlem rent party, satirically depicted in Wallace Thurman’s 1932  Harlem  Renaissance novel Infants of the Spring, a flamboyantly bisexual Harlem  artist proudly  displayed his new protégé, a handsome, bootblack, to the “fanciful aggregation  of Greenwich  Village uranians” he had invited.

Gay men could always be found at the literary gatherings of Alexander  Gumby. Gumby,  who had arrived in Harlem near the turn of the century, immediately became  entranced with the  theatrical set and decided to open a salon to attract them. He worked as a postal  clerk and  acquired a patron, eventually renting a large studio on Fifth Avenue between  131st and 132nd  streets. Known as Gumby’s Bookstore because of the hundreds of books that  lined the walls,  the salon drew many theatrica and artistic luminaries. White author Samuel  Steward remembers  being taken to Gumby’s one evening by a lesbian friend and enjoying a delightful  evening of  “reefer,” bathtub gin, a game of truth, and homosexual exploits.

Certainly the most opulent parties in Harlem were thrown by the heiress  A’Lelia Walker.  Walker was a striking, tall, dark-skinned wondan who was rarely seen without  her riding crop  and her imposing, jeweled turban. She was the only daughter of Madame C. J.  Walker, a former  washerwoman who had made millions marketing her own hair-straightening  process. When she  died, Madame Walker left virtually her entire fortune to A’Lelia. Whereas  Madame Walker had  been civic-minded, donating thousands of dollars to charity, A’Lelia used most of  her inheritance  to throw lavish parties in her palatial Hudson River estate, Villa Lewaro. and at  her Manhattan  dwelling on 136th Street. Because A’Lelia adored the company of lesbians and  gay men, her  parties had a distinctly gay ambience. Elegant homosexuals such as Edward  Perry, Edna  Thomas. Harold Jackman, and Caska Bonds were her closest friends. So were  scores of white  celebrities. Novelist Marjorie Worthington would later remember:

We went several times that winter to Madame Allelia [sic] Walker’s Thursday “at-homes” on a beautiful street in Harlem known as,Sugar Hill….”  [Madame Walker’s]  lavishly furnished house was a gathering place not only for artists and authors  and theatrical  stars of her own race, but for celebrities from all over the world. Drinks and food  were served,  and there was always music, generously performed enthusiastically  received.

Everyone from chorus girls to artists to socialites to visiting royalty would  come at least  once to enjoy her hospitality.

Another Afro-American institution that tolerated, and frequenty encouraged,  homosexual  patronage was the “buffet flat.” “Buffet flats were after-hours spots that were  usually in  someone’s apartment,” explained celebrated entertainer Bricktop, “the type of  place where gin  was poured out of milk pitchers.”

Essentially private apartments where rooms  could be rented  by the night, buffet flats had sprung up during the late 1800s to provide  overnight  accommodations to black travelers refused service in white-owned hotels. By the  1920s, buffet  flats developed a wilder reputation. Some were raucous establishments where  illegal activities  such as drinking, gambling, and prostitution were available. Others offered a  variety of sexual  pleasures cafeteriastyle. A Detroit buffet flat of the latter sort, which Ruby Smith  remembered  visiting with her aunt, Bessie Smith, catered to all variety of sexual tastes. It was  “an open  house, everything goes on in that house”:

They had a ****** there that was so great that people used to come there  just to watch  him make love to another man. He was that great. He’d give a tongue bath and  everything. By  the time he got to the front of that guy he was shaking like a leaf. People used to  pay good just  to go in there and see him do his act…. That same house had a woman that  used to . . . take a  cigarette, light it, and puff it with her pussy.  A real educated pussy.

In Harlem, Hazel Valentine ran a similar sex circus on 140th Street.  Called  “The Daisy  Chain” or the “101 Ranch,” it catered to all varieties of sexual tastes, and  featured entertainers  such as “Sewing Machine Bertha” and an enormous transvestite named  “Clarenz.” The Daisy  Chain became so notorious that both Fats Waller and Count Basie composed  tunes  commemorating it.

There were also buffet flats that particularly welcomed gay men. On  Saturday nights  pianist David Fontaine would regularly throw stylish flat parties for his many gay  friends. Other  noted hosts of gay male revelry were A’Lelia Walker’s friend Caska Bonds,  Eddie Manchester  and the older Harlem couple, Jap and Saul. The most notorious such flat was  run by Clinton  Moore. Moore was an elegant, light-skinned homosexual, described as an  “American version of  the original … Proust’s Jupien.” Moore had a fondness for celebrities, and his  parties allegedly  atracted luminaries like Cole Porter, Cary Grant, and society page columnist  Maury Paul.  Moore’s entertainments were often low-down and dirty. According to Helen  Lawrenson,

Clinton Moore’s . . . boasted a young black entertainer named Joey, vho  played the piano  and sang but whose specialty was to remove his clothes and extinguish a lighted  candle by  sitting on it until it disappeared. I never saw this feat but everyone else seemed  to have and I  was told that he was often hired to perform at soirees of the elite. ‘He sat on  lighted candles at  one of the Vanderbilts’,’ my informant said.

Somewhat more public-and therefore less abandoned-were Harlem’s  speakeasies,  where gays were usually forced to hide their preferences and to blend in with the  heterosexual  patrons. Several Harlem speakeasies though, some little more than dives,  catered specifically  to the “pansy” trade. One such place, an “open” speakeasy since there was no  doorman to keep  the uninvited away, was located on the northwest corner of 126th Street and  Seventh Avenue. It  was a large, dimly lit place where gay men could go to pick up “rough trade.”  Artist Bruce  Nugent, who occasionelly visited the place, remembered it catering to “rough  queers . . . the  kind that fought better than truck drivers and swished better than Mae West.”   Ethel Waters  remembered loaning her gowns to the transvestites who frequented Edmond’s  Cellar, a low-life  saloon at 132nd Street and Fifth Avenue. Lulu Belle’s on Lenox Avenue was  another hangout for  female impersonators, named after the famous Broadway melodrama of 1926  starring Leonore  Ulric. A more sophisticated crowd of black gay men gathered nightly at the Hot  Cha, at 132nd  Street and Seventh Avenue, to listen to Jimmy Daniels sing and Garland Wilson  play piano.

Perhaps the most famous gay-oriented club of the era was Harry  Hansberry’s Clam House, a  narrow, smoky speakeasy on 133rd Street. The Clam House featured Gladys  Bentley, a 250- pound, masculine, darkskinned lesbian, who performed all night long in a white  tuxedo and top  hat.  Bentley, a talented pianist with a magnificent, growling voice, was  celebrated for inventing  obscene Iyrics to popular contemporary melodies. Langston Hughes called her  “an amazing  exhibition of musical energy.” Eslanda Robeson, wife of actor Paul Robeson,  gushed to a friend,  “Gladys Bentley is grand. I’ve heard her three nights, and will never be the  same!”  Schoolteacher Harold Jackman wrote to his friend Countee Cullen, “When  Gladys sings ‘St.  James Infirmary,’ it makes you weep your heart out.”

A glimpse into a speakeasy, based in part on the Clam House. is provided in  Blair Niles’  1931 gay novel Strange Brother. The Lobster Pot is a smoky room in Harlem,  simply furnished  with a couple of tables, a piano, and a kitchen, where white heterosexual  journalist June  Westwood, Strange Brother’s female protagonist, is first introduced to  Manhattan’s gay  subculture. The Lobster Pot features a predominantly gay male clientel and an  openly lesbian  entertainer named Sybil. “What rhythm!”  June comments to her companions.  “And the way  she’s dressed!” Westbrook finds the atmosphere intoxicating, but abruptly ends  her visit when  she steps outside and witnesses the entrapment of an effeminate black gay man  by the police.

Decidedly safer were the frequent Harlem costume balls, where both men  and women could  dress as they pleased and dance with whom they wished. Called “spectacles in  color” by poet  La Igston Hughes, they were attended by thousands. Several cities hosted  similar functions, but  the Harlem balls were anticipated with particular excitement. “This dance has  been going on a  long time,” observed Hughes, “and . . . is very famous among the male  masqueraders of the  eastern seaboard, who come from Boston and Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and  Atlantic City to  attend.”  Taylor Gordon, a noted concert singer, wrote in 1929:

The last big ball I attended where these men got the most of the prizes for  acting and  looking more like ladies than the ladies did themselves, was at the Savoy in  Harlem…. The  show that was put on that night for a dollar admission, including the privilege to  dance, would  have made a twenty-five dollar George White’s “Scandals” opening look like a  side show in a  circus.

The largest balls were the annual events held by the Hamilton Lodge at the  regal Rockland  Palace, which could accommodate up to six thousand people. Only slightly  smaller were the  balls given irregularly at the dazzling Savoy Ballroom, with its crystal chandeliers  and elegant  marble staircase. The organizers would obtain a police permit making the ball,  and its  participants, legal for the evening. The highlight of the event was the beauty  contest, in which  the fashionably dressed drags would vie for the title of Queen of the Ball.

Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler’s classic 1933 gay novel The  Young and Evil  suggests that these balls were just as popular with white gays as with black.  Julian, the white  protagonist, dons a little makeup (just enough to be “considered in costume and  so get in for a  dollar less”), leaves his Greenwich Village apartment, and sets off to a Harlem  ball. Once there  he greets his friends, dances to the jazz music, gets exceedingly drunk, flirts with  the band  leader, and eventually exchanges phone numbers with a handsome stranger.

But drag balls lacked the primary allure of the buffet flat: privacy. These  cross-dressing  celebrations were enormous events and many of those who attended were  spectators, there to  observe rather than participate. It was not unusual to see the cream of Harlem  society, as well  as much of the white avant-garde, in the ballroom’s balconies, straining their  necks to view the  contestants.

The costume balls, parties, speakeasies and buffet flats of Harlem provided  an arena for  homosexual interaction, but not for the development of homosocial networks.  One area where  black lesbians and gay men found particular bonds of friendship was within  Harlem’s  predominantly heterosexual entertainment world. While some entertainers, like  popular  composer Porter Grainger and choir leader Hall Johnson, kept their homosexual  activities  private, others were open with their audiences. Female impersonator Phil Black,  entertainer  Frankie “Half Pint” Jaxon, and singer George Hanna used elements of  homosexuality in their  professional acts and were still highly respected within the entertainment  community. Both  Black and Jaxon wore women’s clothing while on stage and Hanna even  recorded his “Freakish  Blues” without fear of censure.

For black lesbians, whose social options were more limited than those of  their male  counterparts, the support offered by the black entertainment world for  nontraditional lifestyles  was especially important. After leaving her family home in North Carolina, Mabel  Hampton  worked with her lover as a dancer in a Coney Island show before landing a  position at Harlem’s  famed Lafayette Theatre. By entering the show business life, Hampton was able  to earn a good  income, limit her social contact with men and move within a predominantly  female social world.  Many bisexual and lesbian black women, including Bessie Smith, Gladys Bently,  Jackie  “Moms” Mabley, Alberta Hunter, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Josephine Baker and  Ethel Waters  found similar advantages in the show business life.

Nearly all these women adopted a heterosexual public persona, most  favoring a “red hot  mama” style, and kept their love affairs with women a secret, but a few  acknowledged their  sexuality openly. Gladys Bentley, of course, was one exception. Another was Ma  Rainey.  Rainey was a short, squat, dark-skinned woman with a deep, earthy voice and a  warm, friendly  smile. She was the first vaudeville entertainer to incorporate the blues into her  performance and  has justifiably become known as the “Mother of the Blues.” Though married, the  flamboyant  entertainer was known to take women as lovers. Her extraordinary song, “Prove  It on Me  Blues,” speaks directly to the issue of lesbianism. In it she admits to her  preference for male  attire and female companionship, yet dares her audience to “prove it” on her.  Rainey’s defense  of her lesbian life was quite remarkable in its day, and has lost little of its  immediacy through  the years.

Claudia Lennear: Brown Sugar!

thSIQWY3R6 When backing vocalist Claudia, 63, dated Mick Jagger, she inspired one of the Rolling Stones’ greatest rock anthems, as she tells Pauline McLeod

“Around the time Brown Sugar became a hit for The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger and I were always seen together in restaurants and nightclubs in Los Angeles. That’s why people thought the song was about me, and Mick later confirmed that it was.

The airport photo of the two of us was taken at Las Vegas and that moment stands out in my memory because it was the first time I’d ever been on a private plane. I was 17, maybe 18, and I thought we were just going out to the disco in LA. Then we arrived at the airport and I was immediately suspicious when I got to the plane and there were no other passengers apart from Mick, Keith Richards and the record producer Glyn Johns. But I wasn’t nervous. The Stones had a bad-boy image but they were perfect gentlemen.

We flew to Vegas and went to a casino where Mick taught me how to play baccarat then we hopped back on the jet and came home to LA.

Mick and I dated for a long while.

It was an on-off thing because of our different schedules, but we would talk all the time on the phone. He was a lot of fun to be with, although his public persona is quite different to the way he is in private. I found him a quiet guy who was very British, with good manners, so I was always smitten by his behavior.I was also the muse for David Bowie’s song Lady Grinning Soul.I’d seen David’s show in Detroit, he asked me for some input and we struck up a friendship after that. I had to pinch myself a few times. This was the top one per cent of Rock’n’Roll that

I just happened to make friends with. I was on quite a roll, wasn’t I?When I was a kid, my first love was language and I hoped to become a translator. But my family moved to California just as I hit my teenage years and I started going out to see bands. Then I began meeting the movers and shakers in the industry, and my career took off.

Ike Turner – Tina’s husband – hired me on the spot for his band. I was an “Ikette” for three years, until I had a little spat with Tina, but by that time

I was ready to move on anyway.

After that I was a background vocalist for Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Bob Dylan at the first ever benefit gig, The Concert For Bangladesh, at Madison Square Garden. I sang with all kinds of bands and had my own solo album released. But then the 80s came round and the music business began to change. Hip-hop and rap were the new ideas and I didn’t feel I had my finger on the pulse any more. I was a single mother by then, too, so I decided that maybe I should change my career and do something that would bring in a steady pay check.I’m a teacher now, using my language skills, and it’s funny because every time there’s a new intake of students, I can guarantee that one of them will come up to me with, ‘Miss Lennear, we saw this lady on YouTube who has your name…’Life has become rather surreal of late but so exciting because I’m featured in the Oscar-winning documentary about background vocalists, 20 Feet From Stardom. There are now offers coming in for me to sing again, I’m talking record deals and putting bands together, and I feel like I’m picking up where I left off. It is just so cool.”

20 Feet From Stardom is out now.

Writer :Pauline McLeod

 

Floyd ” Money” Mayweather: Money Ain’t A Thing!

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I love to buy her gifts.

www.themoneyteam.com

Claudia Jordan vs Sex Tape

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NO Claudia Jordan is NOT behind this! I would NEVER want a sex tape of me out in the streets for everyone to judge me. I’ve gone 40 years without anything close to a nude photo of me out. I’ve never even sent a boyfriend/lover a topless photo. This is HORRIBLE!

Kurt Cobain: 20th Anniversary

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Kurt Cobain died 20 years ago today in 1994 at the age of 27yrs old.

The Black Panther VS. The FBI

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On April 5, 1976, FBI documents, released in response to a freedom of information suit, revealed that the government mounted an intensive campaign against civil rights organizations in the sixties. In a letter dated August 25, 1967, the FBI said the government operation, called COINTELPRO, was designed “to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit or otherwise neutralize the activities of Black nationalists, hate-type groups, their leadership, spokesmen, membership and supporters, and to counter their propensity for violence and civil disorders.” A later telegram specifically named the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference as organizations having “radical and violence prone leaders, members and followers.”
A COINTELPRO document outlining the FBI’s plans to ‘neutralize’ Jean Seberg because of her financial support for the Black Panther Party.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr:The $100,000 Hit?

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Little Known Black History Fact: Loyd Jowers

The shot that killed Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on this day in 1968 was presumably fired from Jim’s Grill, a café on ground floor of a rooming house. James Earl Ray, King’s assassin, was staying there. But Loyd Jowers, who ran Jim’s Grill, stated he received $100,000 to arrange for Dr. King’s assassination and said that Ray was not King’s killer.

Read more about Jowers here on BlackAmericaWeb.com http://bit.ly/1fRmMPW.

“King-Abernathy suite”.

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Ralph Abernathy testified to the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations that King and his entourage stayed at room 306 at the Lorraine Motel so often it was known as the “King-Abernathy suite”. According to Jesse Jackson, King’s last words on the balcony were spoken to musician Ben Branch, who was scheduled to perform that night at an event King was attending: “Ben, make sure you play ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.”
At 6:01 p.m., April 4, 1968, a shot rang out as King stood on the motel’s second-floor balcony. The bullet entered through his right cheek, smashing his jaw, then traveled down his spinal cord before lodging in his shoulder.  Abernathy heard the shot from inside the motel room and ran to the balcony to find King on the floor.
King’s autopsy revealed that though only 39 years old, he “had the heart of a 60 year old”, which was attributed to the stress of 13 years in the civil rights movement.

George Clinton: Memoir Of A Funkstar!

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Legendary funk master George Clinton is releasing is long awaited Memoir published by Atria Books with the help of writer Ben Greenman this summer, it will be an exciding, drug filed, wild battle, sexual, coming of age book, that led him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

Michael Jackson:Xscape

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 An album of previously unreleased Michael Jackson songs, XSCAPE comes out May 13th!

Onyx:”Bacdafucup”

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On this day in 1993, Onyx released their debut studio album, “Bacdafucup”, to critical and commercial success. Their single “Slam” hit #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. ‪#‎DefJam30‬

Timi Yuro:( August 4th 1940-March 30th 2004)

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Diana Ross: Trend Setter!

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Bobbie Christina Brown:Still In Mourning?

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Kim & Kanye: North’s First Fashion Pictorial!

10152537_300827666708480_1313611928_nKim Kardashian & Kanye West with baby North at their Vouge photo shoot.

This website content was created with the help of Ultimate Tinymce!

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