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Willie Lynch Letter: Does It Excise today?

 

 

 

 

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The William Lynch speech is an address purportedly delivered by a certain William Lynch (or Willie Lynch) to an audience on the bank of the James River in Virginia in 1712 regarding control of slaves within the colony. The letter purports to be a verbatim account of a short speech given by a slave owner, in which he tells other slave masters that he has discovered the “secret” to controlling black slaves by setting them against one another.

The document has been in print since at least 1970, but first gained widespread notice in the 1990s, when it appeared on the Internet. Since then, it has often been promoted as an authentic account of slavery during the 18th century, though its inaccuracies and anachronisms have led historians to conclude that it is a hoax.

The reputed narrator, William Lynch, identifies himself as the master of a “modest plantation” in the British West Indies who has been summoned to the Virginia Colony by local slave owners to advise them on problems they have been having in managing their slaves.

He briefly notes that their current violent method of handling unruly slaves – lynching, though the term is not used – is inefficient and counterproductive. Instead, he suggests that they adopt his method, which consists of exploiting differences such as age and skin color in order to pit slaves against each other. This method, he assures his hosts, will “control the slaves for at least 300 hundred [sic] years.”Some online versions of the text attach introductions, such as a foreword attributed to Frederick Douglass, or citations falsely giving Lynch’s name as the source of the word “lynching”.

The text of the speech has been published since at least 1970.It appeared on the internet as early as 1993, when a reference librarian at the University of Missouri–St. Louis posted the document on the library’s Gopher server. The librarian later revealed that she had obtained the document from the publisher of a local newspaper, The St. Louis Black Pages, in which the narrative had recently appeared. Though eventually convinced the document was a forgery, the librarian elected to leave it on the Gopher server, as she believed that “even as an inauthentic document, it says something about the former and current state of African America”, but added a warning about its provenance.

The text contains numerous anachronisms, including words and phrases such as “refueling” and “fool proof” which were not in use until the early 20th century.Additionally, historian Roy Rosenzweig notes that the divisions emphasized in the text – skin color, age, and gender – are distinctly 20th-century in nature, and make little sense in an 18th-century context. As such, historians such as Rosenzweig and William Jelani Cobb of Spelman College regard the William Lynch speech as a hoax.

 

Linda Taylor: Welfare Queen

infamous Welfare Queen Linda Taylor

infamous Welfare Queen Linda Taylor

 
 
Linda Taylor (born either Martha Miller or Martha Louise White( c. 1926 – April 18, 2002) was an American criminal who committed extensive welfare fraud and became identified as the “welfare queen“. Stories of her activities were used by Ronald Reagan, starting with his 1976 presidential campaign, to illustrate his criticisms of social programs in the United States.Her criminal activities are believed to have extended beyond welfare fraud and may have included assault, theft, insurance fraud, bigamy, the abduction and sale of children, and possibly even murder.

Testimony from a 1964 probate hearing for the estate of Lawrence Wakefield, which Taylor was trying to claim, indicated that she was born around 1926 in Summit, Alabama, under the name Martha Louise White. However, she denied being Martha Louise White. She has been identified from United States Census records as being Martha Miller, born in Tennessee sometime between 1925 and 1927 to Joe and Lidy Miller. In either case she was identified as being white, possibly with some Native American ancestry, although throughout her life she presented herself as being of various racial and ethnic identities, including black, Asian, Hispanic and Jewish. She also represented herself as being many different ages, with one government official stating in 1974 that “it appears she can be any age she wishes, from the early 20s to the early 50s.”

Although she became famous under the name ‘Linda Taylor’, news reports indicated that she used as many as 80 different names, often with false identification documents to match. Her aliases included ‘Linda Bennett’, ‘Connie Jarvis’, ‘Linda Jones’, ‘Constance Loyd’, ‘Linda Lynch’, ‘Linda Mallexo’, ‘Linda Ray’, ‘Constance Rayne’, ‘Linda Sholvia’, ‘Linda Taylor’, ‘Constance Wakefield’, and ‘Connie Walker’. Her many identities included using the title ‘Reverend‘ and posing as a nurse, a doctor, and a spiritual adviser who used Haitian Voodoo.

 

On August 8, 1974, Taylor filed a police report claiming that she had been robbed of $14,000 in “cash, jewelry, and furs”.Detective Jack Sherwin, who took the report, recognized her from a similar, previous report and suspected her of insurance fraud. Upon investigating her, Sherwin discovered Taylor was wanted on welfare fraud charges in Michigan. She was arrested at the end of August 1974 for possible extradition to Michigan. Released on bond, she fled the state and was a fugitive until October 9, 1974, when she was caught in Tucson, Arizona.

Upon her return to Illinois, prosecutors opened a 31-count indictment against her for fraud, perjury and bigamy, alleging that she had received welfare and Social Security checks under multiple names.Her attorney, R. Eugene Pincham, managed to delay the trial until March 1977, by which time the charges had been considerably reduced. Initial allegations involving 80 aliases and over $100,000 in fraudulently obtained funds had been narrowed to charges involving just $8000 obtained through four aliases, and perjury in her testimony before a grand jury. The bigamy charges were dropped. After a trial lasting less than three weeks, the jury deliberated for about seven hours before finding her guilty on March 17, 1977.

She was sentenced to imprisonment for two to six years on the welfare fraud charges, and a year on the perjury charges, to be served consecutively. She began her sentence at Dwight Correctional Center on February 16, 1978.

After being released from prison, Taylor rejoined Sherman Ray, whom she had married prior to her imprisonment. On August 25, 1983, Ray was shot by Willtrue Loyd, in what was ruled to be an accident. Taylor collected on Ray’s life insurance. Loyd and Taylor moved to Florida and subsequently married in March 1986. When Loyd died in 1992, Taylor (under the alias ‘Linda Lynch’) was listed as his next of kin, but claimed to be his granddaughter rather than his wife.

Taylor died of a heart attack on April 18, 2002, at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Chicago.Her remains were cremated.

Mary Turner:(1899 – 19 May 1918)

 

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Mary Turner (1899 – 19 May 1918) was a twenty-one-year-old African-American woman, lynched in Valdosta, Georgia. Eight months pregnant, Turner and her child were murdered after she publicly denounced the extrajudicial killing of her husband by a mob. Her death is considered a stark example of racially motivated mob violence in the American south, and was referenced by the NAACP‘s anti-lynching campaign of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.She is one of at least 148 African-American women who were lynched in America.

On the evening of 16 May 1918, 31-year old white plantation owner Hampton Smith, known to abuse and beat his workers, was shot and killed on the plantation by one of his black workers, 19-year old Sidney Johnson.As the owner of the Old Joyce Place, Smith’s notoriety as a usually severe boss made recruiting workers difficult. Smith resolved the labor shortage through the use of convict labor; he paid Sidney Johnson’s $30 fine (Johnson had been convicted of playing dice) and forced him to work on his plantation.

Johnson endured several beatings at the hands of Smith. Days before Smith’s killing, Johnson had been severely beaten by Smith for refusing to work while he was sick. Smith also had a history with Hayes and Mary Turner: in one incident, Hayes was sentenced to the chain gang when he threatened Smith for beating his wife, Mary.

Smith’s death was followed by a week-long mob-driven manhunt in which at least 13 people were killed.Among those whom the mob killed was another black man, Hayes Turner, who was seized from custody after his arrest on the morning of 18 May 1918 and lynched. Distraught, his eight-month pregnant wife Mary denied that her husband had been involved in Smith’s killing, publicly opposed her husband’s murder, and threatened to have members of the mob arrested. The mob then turned against her, determined to “teach her a lesson”.

Although she fled when she learned of the mob’s intent, she was nevertheless captured at noon on 19 May. The mob of several hundred brought her to Folsom Bridge over Little River, which separates Brooks and Lowndes counties.The mob then tied her ankles, hung her upside down from a tree, doused her in gasoline and motor oil and set her on fire.

While Turner was still alive, a member of the mob split her abdomen open with a knife. Her unborn child fell on the ground, where it gave a cry before it was stomped on and crushed. Finally, Turner’s body was riddled with hundreds of bullets Mary Turner and her child were cut down and buried near the tree, with a whiskey bottle marking the grave.

Following the lynchings, more than 500 black residents fled the area, despite threats against the lives of anyone who tried.The murders of Hayes and Mary Turner caused a brief national outcry, and was highlighted by the NAACP’s campaign to stop lynching in the United States.

The murder of Turner and her child received diverging coverage in white and black newspapers; white newspapers failed to mention her pregnancy, while black reports emphasized it. After the incident, the Associated Press wrote that Mary Turner had made “unwise remarks” about the execution of her husband, and that “the people, in their indignant mood, took exception to her remarks, as well as her attitude”.

 

Walter F. White, NAACP assistant secretary, arrived in south Georgia to conduct an investigation into the Brooks-Lowndes lynching’s. While Georgia governor Hugh Dorsey was given a complete investigation of the Turner murders which included the names of two instigators and 15 participants, nobody was ever charged with or convicted of their killing.Four years later, in 1922, Leonidas Dyer introduced anti-lynching legislation into the U.S. House of Representatives that was passed, but blocked in the Senate.

A historical marker memorializing Turner was placed near the lynching site and was dedicated on 15 May 2010.

 

 

Pet Johnson: Happy 110th Birthday!( March 25, 1904-March 23, 1967)

pete_johnsonwas an American boogie-woogie and jazz pianist.

Journalist Tony Russell stated in his book The Blues – From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray, that “Johnson shared with the other members of the ‘Boogie Woogie Trio’ the technical virtuosity and melodic fertility that can make this the most exciting of all piano music styles, but he was more comfortable than Meade Lux Lewis in a band setting; and as an accompanist, unlike Lewis or Albert Ammons, he could sparkle but not outshine his singing partner”. Fellow journalist, Scott Yanow (Allmusic) added “Johnson was one of the three great boogie-woogie pianists (along with Lewis and Ammons) whose sudden prominence in the late 1930s helped make the style very popular”.

Johnson was born in Kansas City, Missouri, United States.

He began his musical career in 1922 as a drummer in Kansas City. From 1926 to 1938 he worked as a pianist, often working with Big Joe Turner. An encounter with Record producer John Hammond in 1936 led to an engagement at the Famous Door in New York City. In 1938 Johnson and Turner appeared in the From Spirituals to Swing concert at Carnegie Hall. After this show the popularity of the boogie-woogie style was on the upswing. Johnson worked locally and toured and recorded with Turner, Meade Lux Lewis, and Albert Ammons during this period.Lewis, Ammons, and Johnson appeared in the film short Boogie-Woogie Dream in 1941.

The song “Roll ‘Em Pete” (composed by Johnson and Turner), featuring Turner on vocals and Johnson on piano, was one of the first rock and roll records. Another self-referential title was their “Johnson and Turner Blues”. In 1949, he also wrote and recorded “Rocket 88 Boogie”, a two-sided instrumental, which influenced the 1951 Ike Turner hit, “Rocket 88“.

In the late 1940s, Johnson recorded an early concept album, House Rent Party, in which he starts out playing alone, supposedly in a new empty house, and is joined there by J. C. Higgenbotham, J. C. Heard, and other Kansas City players. Each has a solo single backed by Johnson, and then the whole group plays a jam session together. On this album Johnson shows his considerable command of stride piano and his ability to work with a group.

At a nightclub in Niagara Falls, the piano was on a platform above the bar, and Johnson had to climb a ladder to get there.

In 1950 he moved to Buffalo. He encountered some health and financial problems in this period, including losing part of a finger in an accident and being partially paralyzed by a stroke. But he continued to record, and toured Europe in 1958 with the Jazz at the Philharmonic ensemble. His final live appearance was the “Spirituals to Swing” in January 1967.He died in Meyer Hospital, Buffalo, New York in March 1967, at the age of 62

 

Yvette Wilson:Happy Birthday!(March 6, 1964-June 14, 2012)

 

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A native of Los Angeles, Yvette attended San Jose State University and majored in communications. Wilson first entered comedy when she lost a bet and had to perform as a stand-up comedian at a friend’s club. She decided to make a living off comedy and never turned back.

Her big break came with “Thea,” a short-lived sitcom from 1993 to 1994. Thea was cancelled after 19 episodes but the… show helped her get a role in “House Party 3.” In addition, Wilson also had a minor role in the 1995 comedy movie “Friday” as Smokey’s blind date and appeared in films such as “Poetic Justice,” starring Janet Jackson, and the film parody “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood.”

In 1995, she got the most important role of her career: Andell Wilkerson, a supporting character on the sitcom “Moesha,” which starred one of her castmates from Thea, R&B singer Brandy Norwood. Wilson’s Andell character was the owner of The Den, a local teen hot spot on the show. In 2000, she left Moesha for its spin-off “The Parkers,” where she also played as Andell Wilkerson, who was the best friend of Mo’Nique’s character Nikki Parker. After “The Parkers” ended, she went on to appear in shows like HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam.” Wilson final acting role was in 2005’s
“Ganked.”

Wilson battled cervical cancer as well as kidney disease, and needed a kidney transplant. A friend created a website for people to donate money to help with her medical bills and help with transportation costs. The website raised 56% of the $25,000 needed. Yvette Wilson died on June 14, 2012, age the age of 48.

Source: Wikipedia

Hank Ballard:(November 18th, 1927-March 2nd 2003)

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Hank Ballard (November 18, 1927 – March 2, 2003),born John Henry Kendricks, was a rhythm and blues singer and songwriter, the lead vocalist of Hank Ballard and The Midnighters and one of the first rock ‘n’ roll artists to emerge in the early 1950s. He played an integral part in the development of the genre, releasing the hit singles “Work With Me, Annie” and answer songs “Annie Had a Baby” and “Annie’s Aunt Fannie” with his Midnighters. He later wrote and recorded “The Twist” which spread the popularity of the dance and was notably covered by Chubby Checker. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

 

 

Born John Henry Kendricks in Detroit, Michigan, Ballard along with his brother, Dove Ballard, grew up and attended school in Bessemer, Alabama after the death of their father.He lived with his paternal aunt and her husband, and began singing in church. His major vocal inspiration during his formative years was the “Singing Cowboy”, Gene Autry, and in particular, his signature song, “Back in the Saddle Again“.Ballard returned to Detroit in his teens and later worked on the assembly line for Ford.

In 1953, Ballard joined doo-wop group The Royals, which had previously been discovered by Johnny Otis and signed to Federal Records, (a division of King Records), in Cincinnati. Ballard joined Henry Booth, Charles Sutton, Sonny Woods and Alonzo Tucker in the group, replacing previous singer Lawson Smith.

The Royals released “Get It” (1953), an R&B song with possibly sexually oriented lyrics, which some radio stations refused to play, although it still made it to number 6 on the Billboard R&B chart.

The group then changed its name to The Midnighters to avoid confusion with The “5” Royales. In 1954, Ballard wrote a song called “Work with Me, Annie” that was drawn from “Get It”.It became The Midnighters’ first major R&B hit, spending seven weeks at number 1 on the R&B charts and also selling well in mainstream markets, along with the answer songs “Annie Had a Baby” and “Annie’s Aunt Fannie”; all were banned by the FCC from radio air play. Their third major hit was “Sexy Ways”, a song that cemented the band’s reputation as one of the most risqué groups of the time.

After the Midnighters disbanded, Ballard launched a solo career. His 1968 single, “How You Gonna Get Respect (When You Haven’t Cut Your Process Yet)”, was his biggest post-Midnighters hit, peaking at number 15 on the R&B chart. James Brown produced Ballard’s 1969 album You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down. A 1972 single, “From the Love Side”, credited to Hank Ballard and the Midnight Lighters, went to number 43 on the R&B chart. Ballard also appeared on Brown’s 1972 album Get on the Good Foot, in a track (“Recitation By Hank Ballard”) that features Ballard describing Brown and the album.

During the 1960s, Ballard’s cousin, Florence Ballard, was a member of the Detroit girl group The Supremes.

In the mid-1980s, Ballard re-formed The Midnighters and the group performed till 2002.

In 1990, Ballard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; the other Midnighters were inducted in 2012.

On March 2, 2003, he died at age 75 of throat cancer in his Los Angeles home.He was buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ballard was the great uncle of NFL player Christian Ballard.

They had four other R&B chart hits in 1954–55, but no others until 1959, by which time the group was billed as “Hank Ballard and The Midnighters” with their label changed from Federal to King, the parent label. Between 1959 and 1961 they had several more both on the R&B and Pop charts, starting with “Teardrops on Your Letter”, a number 4 R&B hit in 1960 that had as its B-side the Ballard-written song “The Twist“. A few months later, Chubby Checker‘s cover version of the song went to number 1 on the pop charts. It would return to the top of the charts again in 1962–the only song in the rock’n’roll era to reach number 1 in two different years.

Ballard & the Midnighters had several other hit singles through 1961, including the Grammy-nominated “Finger Poppin’ Time” and “Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go” which hit number 7 and number 6, respectively, on the Billboard pop charts. They did not reach the charts again after 1962 and dissolved in 1965.

 

 

 

 

 

Lewis Howard Latimer:(September 4, 1848 – December 11, 1928)

Lewis Latimer

Lewis Howard Latimer was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts on September 4, 1848, and was the youngest of five children of Rebecca Latimer (1826–1910) and George Latimer (July 4, 1818  – May 29, 1896). George Latimer had been the slave of James B. Gray of Virginia. George Latimer ran away to freedom in Trenton, New Jersey in October,1842, along with his wife Rebecca, who had been the slave of another man. When Gray, the owner, appeared in Boston to take them back to Virginia, it became a noted case in the movement for abolition of slavery, gaining the involvement of such abolitionists as William Lloyd Garrison. Eventually funds were raised to pay Gray $400 for the freedom of George Latimer.

Lewis Latimer joined the U.S. Navy at the age of 15 on September 16, 1863, and served as a Landsman on the USS Massasoit. After receiving an honorable discharge from the Navy on July 3, 1865, he gained employment as an office boy with a patent law firm, Crosby Halstead and Gould, with a $3.00 per week salary. He learned how to use a set square, ruler, and other tools. Later, after his boss recognized his talent for sketching patent drawings, Latimer was promoted to the position of head draftsman earning $20.00 a week by 1872.

Personal life

He married Mary Wilson Lewis on November 15, 1873 in Fall River, Massachusetts ; she was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the daughter of William and Louisa M. Lewis. The couple had two daughters, Emma Jeanette (born on June 12, 1883, died in February 1978) and Louise Rebecca (born April 19, 1890, died in January 1963). Jeanette married Gerald F. Norman, the first black hired as a high school teacher in the New York City public school system, and had two children, Winifred Latimer Norman (born October 7, 1914, died February 4, 2014), a retired social worker who served as the guardian of her grandfather’s legacy; and Gerald L. Norman (1911–90), who became an administrative law judge.

Technical work and inventions

In 1874, he co patented (with Charles W. Brown) an improved toilet system for railroad cars called the Water Closet for Railroad Cars (U.S. Patent 147,363).

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell employed Latimer, then a draftsman at Bell’s patent law firm, to draft the necessary drawings required to receive a patent for Bell’s telephone.

In 1879, he moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut with his brother, William, his mother, Rebecca, and his wife, Mary. Other family members, his brother George A. Latimer and his wife Jane, and his sister Margaret and her husband Augustus T. Hawley and their children, were already living there. Lewis was hired as assistant manager and draftsman for the U.S. Electric Lighting Company, a company owned by Hiram Maxim, a rival of Thomas A. Edison.

Latimer received a patent in January 1881 for the “Process of Manufacturing Carbons”, an improved method for the production of carbon filaments used in light bulbs.

The Edison Electric Light Company in New York City hired Latimer in 1884, as a draftsman and an expert witness in patent litigation on electric lights. Latimer is credited with an improved process for creating a carbon filament at this time, which was an improvement on Thomas Edison’s original paper filament, which would burn out quickly.  When that company was combined in 1892 with the Thomson-Houston Electric Company to form General Electric, he continued to work in the legal department. When General Electric and Westinghouse Electric Company formed the “Board of Patent Control” in 1896, to coordinate patent licensing and litigation, Latimer was employed as chief draftsman. In 1911 he became a patent consultant to law firms.

Legacy

Latimer is an inductee of the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his work on electric filament manufacturing techniques.

Latimer was a founding member of the Flushing, New York Unitarian Church. Latimer’s home has been moved to a small park in Flushing, New York and turned into a museum in honor of the inventor.

A set of apartment houses in Flushing are called “Latimer Gardens”.

P.S. 56 in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, is named Lewis H. Latimer School in Latimer’s honor

Patents

Pattie Boyd: The Ultimate Trouphy!

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Patricia Anne “Pattie” Boyd (born 17 March 1944) is a model, photographer and author from the United Kingdom, best known as the first wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton. In August 2007, she published her autobiography Wonderful Tonight. Her photographs of Harrison and Clapton, titled Through the Eye of a Muse have been exhibited in Dublin, Sydney, Toronto, Moscow, London and throughout the United States.

Boyd was born on 17 March 1944, in Taunton, Somerset, and was the first child to Colin Ian Langdon Boyd, and Diana Frances Boyd (née Drysdale), who were married on 14 September 1942. The Boyds moved to West Lothian, Scotland where her brother Colin was born in 1946. The Boyd family moved to Guildford, Surrey, where her sister, Jenny Boyd was born in 1947.Boyd’s youngest sister, Paula, was born at Nakuru hospital, Kenya, in 1951.The Boyds lived in Nairobi, Kenya, from 1948 to 1953, after her father’s discharge from the Royal Air Force. Boyd’s parents divorced in 1952, and her mother married Robert Gaymer-Jones in February 1953, in Tanganyika (now Tanzania). The family returned to England where Boyd gained two half brothers, David J.B. (b. 1954) and Robert, Jr. (b. 1955).

Boyd attended Hazeldean School in Putney, the St Agnes and St Michael Convent Boarding School in East  Grinstead, and St Martha’s Convent in Hadley Wood, Hertfordshire (where she received three GCE O level passes in 1961). Boyd moved to London in 1962 and worked as a shampoo girl at Elizabeth Arden‘s salon, until a client who worked for a fashion magazine inspired her to begin work as a model.

Boyd began her fashion career in 1962, modelling in London, New York and Paris. She was photographed by David Bailey and Terence Donovan, and appeared on the cover of Vogue. Boyd appeared on the cover of the UK and Italian editions of Vogue magazine in 1969, with other popular models of the day, such as Twiggy, who based her early modelling appearance on Boyd. Boyd was asked by Gloria Stavers to write a column for 16 Magazine, and appeared in a TV commercial promoting Smith’s crisps. She was cast for A Hard Day’s Night, where she met George Harrison.

Boyd exhibited her photos of Harrison and Clapton, at the San Francisco Art Exchange on Valentine’s Day 2005, in a show entitled Through the Eye of a Muse. The exhibition appeared in San Francisco and London during 2006, and in La Jolla, California in 2008.Boyd’s photography was shown in Dublin and in Toronto in 2008 and at the Blender Gallery in Sydney, Australia and in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2009 and 2010. Her exhibit “Yesterday and Today: The Beatles and Eric Clapton” was shown in Santa Catalina Island in California, and at the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, DC in 2011.

In 2007 Boyd published her autobiography, which includes some of her photographs, titled Wonderful Today in the UK; in the US it was published with the title Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me. In the United States, Boyd’s book debuted at the top of the New York Times Best Seller list.

1964, Boyd met Harrison during the filming of A Hard Day’s Night, in which she was cast as a schoolgirl.[12][23] Her only line in the film was asking “Prisoners?”, but she later appeared in the “I Should Have Known Better” segment. Boyd was “semi-engaged” to photographer Eric Swayne at the time, thus declining a date proposal from Harrison. Several days later, after ending her relationship with Swayne, she went back to work on the film and Harrison asked her out on a date for a second time. The couple went to a private gentlemen’s club called the Garrick Club, chaperoned by the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein. According to Boyd, one of the first things Harrison said to her on the film set was: “Will you marry me? Well, if you won’t marry me, will you have dinner with me tonight?”

Boyd had her first encounter with LSD in early 1965 when the couple’s dentist, John Riley, secretly laced her coffee with the drug during a dinner party at his home.[As she was getting ready to leave with Harrison, John and Cynthia Lennon, Riley told them that he had spiked their drinks and tried to convince them to stay.Outside, Boyd was in an agitated state from the drug and threatened to break a store window, but Harrison pulled her away. Later, when Boyd and her group were in an elevator on their way up to the Ad Lib club, they mistakenly believed it was on fire.

Later that year, Boyd moved into Kinfauns with Harrison.The couple were engaged on 25 December 1965, and married on 21 January 1966, in a ceremony at a registry office in Ashley Road, Epsom, with Paul McCartney as best man. Later, the couple went on a honeymoon in Barbados. In September, Boyd flew with Harrison to Bombay to visit sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar, before returning to London on 23 October 1966. The following year, Boyd attended the Our World broadcast of “All You Need Is Love“.

Through her interest in Eastern mysticism and her membership in the Spiritual Regeneration Movement, she inspired all four Beatles to meet the Indian mystic Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in London on 24 August 1967, which resulted in a visit to the Maharishi’s seminar in Bangor, the following day. Boyd accompanied Harrison on the Beatles’ visit to the Maharishi’s ashram in Rishikesh, India, in February 1968.In March 1970, Boyd moved with Harrison from Kinfauns to Friar Park, a Victorian neo-Gothic mansion, in Henley-on-Thames.

In 1973, Boyd’s marriage to Harrison began to fail and she had an affair with Faces guitarist Ronnie Wood. She separated from Harrison in 1974 and their divorce was finalised on 9 June 1977.Boyd said her decision to end their marriage and leave Harrison was based largely on his repeated infidelities, culminating in an affair with Ringo Starr‘s wife Maureen, which Boyd called “the final straw”. Boyd characterised the last year of her marriage as “fuelled by alcohol and cocaine”, and claimed “George used coke excessively, and I think it changed him … it froze his emotions and hardened his heart.”According to Boyd, Harrison’s songs “I Need You” and “Something” were written for her.

Marriage to Eric Clapton

In the late 1960s, Clapton and Harrison became close friends, and began writing and recording music together. At this time Clapton fell in love with Boyd.His 1970 album with Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, was written to proclaim his love for her, particularly the hit song “Layla“.When Boyd rebuffed his advances late that year, Clapton descended into heroin addiction and self-imposed exile for three years. Boyd moved in with Clapton and married him in 1979

. Her struggles within the marriage were masked by her public image with Clapton. Although Boyd drank and admits to past drug use, she never became an alcoholic or a drug addict like Clapton did. Boyd left Clapton in September 1984, and divorced him in 1988. Her stated reasons were Clapton’s years of alcoholism, as well as his numerous affairs including one with Italian model Lory Del Santo. In 1989, her divorce was granted on the grounds of “infidelity and unreasonable behaviour”.Boyd believes she was the inspiration for the songs: “Bell Bottom Blues” and “Wonderful Tonight“.

 

 

 

IDLEWILD: THE BLACK EDEN OF MICHIGAN

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Some of the venues on the Chitlin’ Circuit were the Cotton Club  and Apollo Theaters in New York City, Regal Theatre in Chicago, Howard  Theatre in Washington, D.C., Fox Theater in Detroit and the Uptown  Theatre in Philadelphia, and a bunch of 1 night stand places in the  middle. A lot of these acts played Idlewild to incorporate some  relaxation along with work. Many of these fabulously talented artists started on the  chitlin’ circuit, including Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Ella  Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Etta James, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Dorothy  Dandridge, Sammy Davis Jr., Ray Charles, .

The Supremes, Moms Mabley, Ike and Tina Turner ,George Benson, B.B. King, Richard Pryor, Muddy Waters, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Redd Foxx, Patti LaBelle, Jimi Hendrix, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The  Temptations, John Lee Hooker, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, The Isley  Brothers, and The Four Tops.

( The dancers were love with Otis) And a Motortown Revue Dancer named Donna Dixon….I met Donna on the phone as she called into me for tech support a few years ago. It was just before the holidays and we struck up a long conversation as I fixed her computer problems. Donna was a backup dancer for the Funk Brother’s band.

They were the massively talented studio musicians that created the “Motown Sound” See a bit of their movie:Standing in the Shadows of Motown The touring company of acts from Motown were called the Motor Town Revue.

Idlewild became known as the “Black Eden of Michigan”. As this new black intelligentsia began to settle in the community, some relocated as activists and members of Marcus Mosiah Garvey‘s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), some as followers of Du Bois’ National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), others as believers of the late Booker T. Washington‘s political machine, and others as potential investors. For the majority of these professionals who brought their families, the idea of land ownership conveyed black social status and membership in this community.

Idlewild gained national stature among African Americans during the period between the World Wars. For example, the Idlewild Land Owners Association had members from over thirty-four states in the country. In addition, the Purple Palace, Paradise Clubhouse, Idlewild Clubhouse, Rosanna Tavern, and Pearl’s Bar provided summer entertainment for tourists and employment opportunities for seasonal and year-round residents in the community. The Pere Marquette Railroad built a branch line to the area by 1923. A post office opened that same year. The Idlewild Fire Department was established, and a host of new entrepreneurs began entering the community. Paradise Palace became McKnight’s Convalescent Home.

Following World War II, Idlewild attracted what some sociologists have labeled the new African American “working” middle class. With the construction of a few paved roads in Idlewild, a reinvestment in the township’s only post office, and greater availability of electricity, a new generation of entrepreneurs began to invest in Idlewild. Phil Giles, Arthur “Big Daddy” Braggs, and a host of other African American businessmen and women took advantage of the market by purchasing property on Williams Island and Paradise Gardens, and began developing these areas into an elaborate nightspot and business center. The cottage started by Albert Cleage in the 1940s was expanded by his sons Louis, Hugh, and Henry.

Many African American entertainers of the period performed in Idlewild. Della Reese, Al Hibbler, Bill Doggett, Jackie Wilson, T-Bone Walker, George Kirby, The Four Tops, Roy Hamilton, Brook Benton, Choker Campbell, Lottie “the Body” Graves, the Rhythm Kings, Sarah Vaughan, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Fats Waller, and Billy Eckstein, and many other performers, entertained both Idlewilders and white citizens in neighboring Lake County townships throughout the 1950s and early 1960s.

Arthur Braggs produced singers, dancers, showgirls, and entertainers, which helped Idlewild to become the “Summer Apollo of Michigan”. Braggs produced the famous “Arthur Braggs Idlewild Revue” which not only performed in Idlewild but was also taken on the road to Montreal, Boston, Kansas City, Chicago, New York, and other cities. Braggs’ show helped Idlewild become a major entertainment center and contributed to the financial prosperity of the area

Donna told me all the gossip “on the road”with the famous groups.She also sadly told me then how Levi Stubbs had just had a large stroke and was wheel chair bound. He would never perform again. Donna suggested I read a book that mentioned her and Donna’s picture is in it twice! The book was written by Dr. Ronald J Stephens an acclaimed expert on African American History at several large universities. It was a fascinating hour long conversation with a woman thathas lived a fascinating life in Detroit. She is still as as sparkling as her costumes were back then

Juanita Moore:October 19, 1914-January 1, 2014

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Juanita Moore (October 19, 1914 – January 1, 2014) was an American film, television, and stage actress. She was the fifth African American to be nominated for an Academy Award in any category, and the third in the Supporting Actress category at a time when only a single African American had won an Oscar. Her most famous role was as Annie Johnson in the movie Imitation of Life (1959).

 

Born in Los Angeles in 1914, Moore was a chorus girl at the Cotton Club before becoming a film extra while working in theater. After making her film debut in Pinky (1949),[1] she had a number of bit parts and supporting roles in motion pictures through the 1950s and 1960s. However, her role in Imitation of Life (1959), a remake, as housekeeper Annie Johnson, whose daughter Sarah Jane (Susan Kohner) passes for white, won her a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for the role.[2] When the two versions of Imitation of Life were released together on DVD, the earlier film was released in 1934, one of the bonus features was a new interview with Juanita Moore.

Moore continued to perform in front of the camera, with a role in the movie Disney’s The Kid (2000) and guest-starring roles on television shows Dragnet, Marcus Welby, M.D., ER and Judging Amy.

On April 23, 2010, a new print of Imitation of Life (1959) was screened at the TCM Film Festival in Los Angeles, to which Moore and co-star Kohner were invited. After the screening, the two women appeared on stage for a question-and-answer session hosted by TCM’s Robert Osborne. Moore and Kohner received standing ovations.

Moore was married for 50 years to Charles Burris; he died in 2001. He was a Los Angeles bus driver and, although she was a frequent passenger, she had stepped out in front of his approaching bus to cross the street to a local bar, hoping to find someone to study for the Inès Serrano role in the play No Exit—Serrano was a lesbian, and Moore was unfamiliar with the lifestyle. She and Burris married a few weeks later.

Her grandson is actor/producer Kirk Kelley-Kahn, who is CEO/President of “Cambridge Players – Next Generation”, a theatre troupe whose founding members included Moore, Esther Rolle, Helen Martin, Lynn Hamilton and Royce Wallace.[

Moore died at her home in Los Angeles on January 1, 2014, from natural causes. She was 99 years old.

Annie Malone:Beauty Queen!

 

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Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone (August 9, 1869—May 10, 1957) was an American businesswoman, inventor and philanthropist. In the first three decades of the 20th century, she founded and developed a large and prominent commercial and educational enterprise centered on cosmetics for African-American women.

Annie Minerva Turnbo was born in southern Illinois, the daughter of escaped slaves Robert and Isabella (Cook) Turnbo. While her father went off to fight for the Union troops in the Civil War, her mother had taken their children and escaped from Kentucky, a neutral border state that maintained slavery. After traveling down the Ohio River, she found refuge in Metropolis, Illinois. There Annie Turnbo was later born, the 10th of 11 children.

Annie was born on a farm in Metropolis, where she lived with her siblings until their parents died. Orphaned at a young age, Annie attended a public school in Metropolis before moving to Peoria to live with an older sister. In Peoria, Annie attended high school. She took a great interest in chemistry; however, due to frequent illness, Annie was forced to withdraw from classes.

While out of school, Annie grew so fascinated with hair and hair care that she often practiced hairdressing with her sister. Through her interests in chemistry and hair care, Turnbo began to develop her own hair care products.At the time, many women used goose fat, heavy oils, soap or other harsh products to straighten their curls, which damaged both scalp and hair.

By the beginning of the 1900s, Turnbo moved with older siblings to Lovejoy, now known as Brooklyn, Illinois.While experimenting with hair and different hair care products, she developed and manufactured her own line of non-damaging hair straighteners, special oils, and hair-stimulant products for African-American women.She named her new product “Wonderful Hair Grower” To promote her new product, Turnbo sold the Wonderful Hair Grower in bottles from door-to-door. She began to revolutionize hair care methods for all African Americans.

In 1902 Turnbo moved to a thriving St. Louis, where she and three hired assistants sold her hair care products from door-to-door. As part of her marketing, she gave away free treatments to attract more customers.In 1903 she briefly married a Mr. Pope but soon divorced him when he tried to interfere in her growing business.

Due to the high demand for her product in St. Louis, in 1904 Turnbo opened her first shop on 2223 Market Street. She also launched a wide advertising campaign in the black press, held news conferences, toured many southern states, and recruited many women whom she trained to sell her products.

One of her selling agents, Sarah Breedlove (who became known as Madam C. J. Walker when she set up her own business), encouraged Turnbo to copyright her products under the name “Poro” because of what she called fraudulent imitations and to discourage counterfeit versions. Poro is a West African word meaning physical and spiritual growth. Due to the growth in her business, in 1910 Turnbo moved to a larger facility on 3100 Pine Street.

On April 28, 1914, Annie Turnbo married Aaron Eugene Malone, a former teacher and bible salesman.

Turnbo Malone, by then worth well over a million dollars, built a five-story multipurpose facility. In addition to a manufacturing plant, it contained facilities for a beauty college, which she named Poro College. The building included a manufacturing plant, a retail store where Poro products were sold, business offices, a 500-seat auditorium, dining and meeting rooms, a roof garden, dormitory, gymnasium, bakery, and chapel. It served the African-American community as a center for religious and social functions.

The College’s curriculum addressed the whole student; students were coached on personal style for work: on walking, talking, and a style of dress designed to maintain a solid persona. Poro College employed nearly 200 people in St. Louis. Through its school and franchise businesses, the college created jobs for almost 75,000 women in North and South America, Africa and the Philippines.

By the 1920s, Annie Turnbo Malone had become a multi-millionaire. In 1924 she paid income tax of nearly $40,000, reportedly the highest in Missouri. While extremely wealthy, Malone lived modestly, giving thousands of dollars to the local black YMCA and the Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC.She also donated money to the St. Louis Colored Orphans Home, where she served as president on the board of directors from 1919 to 1943. With her help, in 1922 it bought a facility at 2612 Goode Avenue (which was renamed Annie Malone Drive in her honor).

The Orphans Home is still located in the historic Ville neighborhood. Upgraded and expanded, the facility was renamed in the entrepreneur’s honor as the Annie Malone Children and Family Service Center. As well as funding many programs, Malone ensured that her employees, mostly black, were paid well and given opportunities for advancement.

Her business thrived until 1927, when her husband filed for divorce. Having served as president of the company, he demanded half of the business’ value, based on his claim that his contributions had been integral to its success. The divorce suit forced Poro College into a court-ordered receivership. With support from her employees and powerful figures such as Mary McLeod Bethune, she negotiated a settlement of $200,000. This affirmed her as the sole owner of Poro College, and the divorce was granted.

After the divorce, Turnbo Malone moved most of her business to Chicago’s South Parkway, where she bought an entire city block. Other lawsuits followed. In 1937, during the Great Depression, a former employee filed suit, also claiming credit for Poro’s success. To raise money for the settlement, Turnbo Malone sold her St. Louis property. Although much reduced in size, her business continued to thrive.

On May 10, 1957, Turnbo Malone suffered a stroke and died at Chicago’s Provident Hospital. Childless, she had bequeathed her business and remaining fortune to her nieces and nephews.At the time of her death, her estate was valued at $100,000 due to her many losses.

Solomon Northup’s Odyssey:12 Years A Slave

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12 Years a Slave is a 2013 historical drama film based on the autobiography Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. The film is directed by Steve McQueen and written by John Ridley. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup. 12 Years a Slave premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on August 30, 2013. The film is scheduled to be commercially released on October 18, 2013.

12 Years a Slave is based on the 1853 autobiography of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C., in 1841 and sold into slavery. He worked on plantations in the state of Louisiana for 12 years before his release.

12 Years a Slave is directed by Steve McQueen with John Ridley (Justice League, Red Tails, Static Shock, Three Kings) adapting a screenplay based on Solomon Northup‘s 1853 autobiography Twelve Years a Slave. McQueen’s project, in development for some time, was announced in August 2011 with McQueen to direct and Chiwetel Ejiofor to star as Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.

McQueen compared Ejiofor’s conduct “of class and dignity” to that of Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte. In October 2011, Michael Fassbender (who starred in McQueen’s previous films Hunger and Shame) joined the cast. In early 2012, the rest of the roles were cast, and filming was scheduled to begin at the end of June 2012.

With a production budget of $20 million, filming began in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 27, 2012. It lasted for seven weeks, concluding on August 13, 2012.

Let’s Get It On: 40th Anniversary!

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In the spring of 1972, Marvin Gaye was suffering from writer’s block] Following the release of his most commercially successful album up to that point, What’s Going On (1971), and the soundtrack album to the blaxploitation film Trouble Man (1972), Gaye had struggled to come up with new material after Motown Records had renegotiated a new contract with him. The contract provided him with more creative control over his recordings. The deal was worth $ 1 million, making him the highest-earning soul artist, as well as the highest-earning black artist, at the time.

He was also struggling with deciding whether or not to relocate to Los Angeles, following Motown-CEO Berry Gordy‘s move of the record label and replacement of the Detroit-based Hitsville U.S.A. (Motown Studio A) recording studio with the Hitsville West studio in Los Angeles. Amid relocation and his lack of material, Gaye was struggling with his conscience, as well as dealing with expectations from his wife, Gordy’s sister Anna. Gaye’s separation from Gordy pressured him emotionally. During this time, he had also been attempting to cope with past issues that had stemmed from his childhood.

During his childhood, Gaye had been physically abused by his preacher father Marvin Gay, Sr., who disciplined his son under extremely moralistic and fundamentalist Christian teachings. As a result, the meaning and practice of sex had later become a disturbing question for Gaye. As an adult, he suffered with sexual impotence and became plagued by sadomasochistic fantasies, which haunted him in his dreams and provoked some guilt in his conscience.

According to Gaye’s biographer David Ritz, “his view of sex was unsettled, tormented, riddled with pain”. Gaye learned to cope with his personal issues with a newly found spirituality. He began incorporating his new outlook into his music, as initially expressed through the socially conscious album What’s Going On, along with promotional photos of him wearing a kufi in honor of African traditional religions and his faith.

By winning over record executives with the success of What’s Going On, Gaye attained more creative control, which he would use, following his brief separation from wife Anna Gordy, to record an album that was meant to surface themes beyond sex] As with What’s Going On, Gaye wanted to have a deeper meaning than the general theme that was used to portray it; in the case of the former, politics, and with its follow-up effort, love and romance, which would be used by Gaye as a metaphor for God’s love. In his book Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye, David Ritz wrote of Gaye and the musical inspiration behind Gaye’s second landmark record:

If the most profound soul songs are prayers in secular dress, Marvin’s prayer is to reconcile the ecstasy of his early religious epiphany with a sexual epiphany. The hope for such a reconciliation, the search for sexual healing, is what drives his art … The paradox is this: The sexiest of Marvin Gaye’s work is also his most spiritual. That’s the paradox of Marvin himself. In his struggle to wed body and soul, in his exploration of sexual passion, he expresses the most human of hungers—the hunger for God. In those songs of loss and lament—the sense of separation is heartbreaking. On one level, the separation is between man and woman. On a deeper level, the separation is between man and God.

In the album’s liner notes, Gaye explained his views on the themes of sex and love, stating “I can’t see anything wrong with sex between consenting anybodies. I think we make far too much of it. After all, one’s genitals are just one important part of the magnificent human body … I contend that SEX IS SEX and LOVE IS LOVE. When combined, they work well together, if two people are of about the same mind. But they are really two discrete needs and should be treated as such. Time and space will not permit me to expound further, especially in the area of the psyche. I don’t believe in overly moralistic philosophies. Have your sex, it can be exciting, if you’re lucky. I hope the music that I present here makes you lucky.”

Gaye proceeded to record some more politically conscious material at the Golden World Records studio, known as Motown’s Studio B, as well as the preliminary vocals and instrumentation for some of the material to be featured on Let’s Get It On.Following the earlier sessions in Detroit at Golden World, Gaye recorded at Hitsville West in Los Angeles from February to July 1973.

Accompanied by an experienced group of session musicians called The Funk Brothers, who had contributed to Gaye’s What’s Going On, and received their first official credit, Gaye recorded the unreleased songs “The World is Rated X” and “Where Are We Going” and the single “You’re the Man” (1972) at Golden World.

“Where Are We Going” was later covered by trumpeter Donald Byrd. Gaye had planned the release of an album titled You’re the Man, but it was later shelved for unknown reasons. The songs that were to be included on it, along with other unreleased recordings from Hitsville West and Golden World, were later featured on the 2001 re-release of Let’s Get It On.

The album’s first recording, “Let’s Get It On“, was composed by Gaye with friend and former Motown label mate Ed Townsend. It was originally written by Gaye as a religious ode to life, but Motown singer-songwriter Kenneth Stover re-wrote it as a more political first draft.

Upon hearing Gaye’s preliminary mix of Stover’s draft, Townsend protested and claimed that the song would be better suited with sexual and romantic overtones, particularly “about making sweet love.” Gaye and Townsend rewrote the song’s lyrics together with the original arrangements and musical accompaniment of the demo intact. The lyrics were inspired by Janis Hunter, whom Gaye had become infatuated with after meeting each other through Ed Townsend during the initial sessions.

Townsend has cited Hunter’s presence during the album’s recording as an inspiration for Gaye. Gaye’s intimate relationship with Hunter subsequently became the basis for his 1976 album I Want You. While recording the title track, he was inspired to revive unfinished recordings from his 1970 sessions at the Hitsville U.S.A. Studio.

Townsend assisted Gaye with producing the rest of the album, whose recording took place at several sessions throughout 1970 to 1973.They worked on four songs together, including the ballad “If I Should Die Tonight“, while Gaye composed most of the other songs, including those from past sessions. “Just to Keep You Satisfied” was originally recorded by several Motown groups, including The Originals and The Monitors, as a song dedicated to long-standing love.

With re-recording the song, he had re-written the arrangement and lyrics to address the demise of his volatile marriage to Anna Gordy Gaye, who happened to be the original song’s co-writer. The background vocals for the album were sung by Gaye, with the exception of “Just to Keep You Satisfied”, which were done by The Originals.[ Most of the instrumentation for the album was done by members of The Funk Brothers, including bassist James Jamerson, guitarists Robert White and Eddie Willis, and percussionist Eddie “Bongo” Brown. Gaye also contributed on piano during the session.

Let’s Get It On” features soulful, passionate vocals and multi-tracked background singing, both by Gaye.[ It has a 1950s-styled melody and begins with three wah-wah guitar notes and centers around simple chord changes, while its arrangements are centered around an eccentric rhythm pattern.

Its signature guitar line is played by session musician Don Peake. Music journalist Jon Landau dubs the song “a classic Motown single, endlessly repeatable and always enjoyable”. The song is reprised on the fourth track, “Keep Gettin’ It On“. It expands on the title track’s sensual theme with political overtones: “won’t you rather make love, children / as opposed to war, like you know you should.”

“Distant Lover” has Gaye crooning over serene instrumentation, leading to soulful screams near the end; from a heartbroken croon to an impassioned wail. The song’s lyrics chronicled the yearning its narrator feels for a lover who is “so many miles away”, as he pleads for her return and laments the emptiness he feels without her.

Music writer Donarld A. Guarisco later wrote of the song’s sound, in that “Marvin Gaye’s studio recording enhances the dreamy style of the song with stately horn and strings, tumbling drum fills that gently nudge the song along, and mellow, doo wop-styled background vocals that echo “love her, you love her” under his romantic pleas. The song later became a concert favorite for Gaye and a live concert version, featuring female fans screaming in the background, was released as a single from his Marvin Gaye Live! album in 1974.

You Sure Love to Ball” is one of Gaye’s most sexually overt and controversial singles, with its intro and outro featuring moaning sounds made by a man and woman engaged in sex. The sexual-explicit and risqué nature of the album’s content were, at the time, controversial, and the recording of such an album was deemed as a commercial risk by Motown A&R‘s (Artists and Repertoire) and label executives.

Released on August 28, 1973, Let’s Get It On surpassed Gaye’s previous studio effort, What’s Going On, as the best-selling record of his tenure with Motown. The album peaked at number two on the US Billboard Top LPs chart, succeeded by The Rolling Stones‘s Goats Head Soup (1973),while it also managed to reach number one in Cash Box for one week, as well as two weeks at the top of Record World‘s music charts.

Let’s Get It On charted for 61 weeks on the Billboard charts, and remained at the top of the Billboard Soul Albums for 11 weeks, becoming the best-selling soul album of 1973. The album’s lead single, “Let’s Get It On”, became one of Gaye’s most successful singles, as it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on September 8, 1973.

It remained at number one for two weeks, while also remaining at the top of the Billboard Soul Singles chart for eight weeks. The single was at that time Motown’s largest-selling recording ever, selling over three million copies between 1973 and 1975. On June 25, 2007, it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments of one million copies in the United States.

Two of the album’s singles reached the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, including “Let’s Get It On”, which became Gaye’s second number-one US single, and the top-30 hit “Come Get to This”, which peaked at number 23 on the chart. The album’s third single, “You Sure Love to Ball“, charted at number 50 on the Hot 100 and at number 13 on the Soul Singles chart. Along with the album’s music and sexual content, Let’s Get It On‘s commercial success and promotion helped establish Marvin Gaye as a sex icon, while helping further expand his artistic control during his tenure at Motown.

This commercial success also lead to a much publicized tour for Gaye to promote Let’s Get It On and expand on his repertoire as a live performer.Successful concert performances of the album’s material helped Gaye gain an increasing popularity and fan base in the pop market, while earning him a reputation as one of the top live performers of the time.[19] His performance at the Oakland Coliseum during the 1973-1974 tour was released on the 1974 LP Live!, which would serve as Gaye’s only release during his sabbatical period in the mid-1970s.

Let’s Get It On received positive reviews from music critics. Billboard called it “fine in terms of vocal attack and material […] touches on the excellent in terms of instrumental support”, while citing the title track and “Distant Lover” as the album’s best recordings. Jon Landau of Rolling Stone found Gaye’s performance on-par with that of What’s Going On and wrote that “he continues to transmit that same degree of intensity, sending out near cosmic overtones while eloquently phrasing the sometimes simplistic lyrics”.

Although he viewed that it “lacks that album’s series of highpoints”, Landau commented that “it ebbs and flows, occasionally threatening to spend itself on an insufficiency of ideas, but always retrieved, just in time, by Gaye’s performance. From first note to last, he keeps pushing and shoving, and if he sometimes takes one step back for every two ahead, he gets there just the same — and with style and spirit to spare”. In his consumer guide for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau called the album “post-Al Green What’s Going On, which means it’s about fucking rather than the human condition, thank the wholly holey”.

He found its title track to be “as much a masterpiece as ‘Inner City Blues‘” and quipped, “this album prolongs its seductive groove to an appropriate thirty minutes plus”.

Since its initial reception, Let’s Get It On has been viewed by writers as a milestone in soul music. In The Best Rock ‘n’ Roll Records of All Time, Jimmy Guterman writes that the album was “a bit more conventional musically (soul crossing into mild funk) and much more focused lyrically than its predecessor, What’s Going On“.

Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot commended Gaye for using “the multi-tracked vocals perfected on ‘What’s Going On‘, this time to convey his most intimate desires”, commenting that “while the album is replete with erotic imagery, both implied and explicit, it is also as much preoccupied with distance and unfulfilled need” Jason Ankeny of Allmusic called it “a record unparalleled in its sheer sensuality and carnal energy”, writing that “Gaye’s passions reach their boiling point […] With each performance laced with innuendo, each lyric a come-on, and each rhythm throbbing with lust, perhaps no other record has ever achieved the kind of sheer erotic force of Let’s Get It On“.

Ankeny also dubbed it “one of the most sexually charged albums ever recorded.”Allmusic’s Lindsey Planer cites it as a “hedonistic R&B masterpiece.” BBC Music‘s Daryl Easlea found Gaye “in supreme command of his material”, and viewed it as “much more than an album about simple lust”, but an “iconic, rapturous work”.

Much like What’s Going On, Let’s Get It On has been included in a significant amount of “best album” lists by critics and publications] It was ranked number 58 on The Times‘s 1993 publication of the 100 Best Albums of All Time.Blender magazine ranked the album number 15 on its list of the 100 Greatest American Albums of All Time.

In 2003, it was ranked number 165 on Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time publication, his second highest entry on the list, as well as one of three Marvin Gaye albums to be included; What’s Going On (number 6) and Here, My Dear (number 462). In 2004, Let’s Get It On was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and cited by The Recording Academy as a recording of “historical significance

Brian Epstein: Rock and Roll Death

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MR BRIAN EPSTEIN Manager of The Beatles until his death. Mr. Brian Epstein Sept 19th 1934-Aug 27th 1967

Epstein attended a traditional shiva in Liverpool after his father died, having just come out of the Priory clinic where he had been trying to cure his acute insomnia and addiction to amphetamines. A few days before his death, he made his last visit to a Beatles recording session on 23 August 1967, at the Chappell Recording Studios on Maddox Street, London.

On 24 August, Epstein asked Brown and Geoffrey Ellis down to Kingsley Hill for the Bank Holiday weekend. Approximately 50 miles from his home in Chapel Street, Kingsley Hill was Epstein’s country home in Warbleton, East Sussex. After they arrived, Epstein decided to drive back to London alone because an expected group of rent boys he had invited failed to arrive, although they did turn up after Epstein left. Epstein phoned Brown at 5 pm the next day from his Chapel Street house in London.

Brown thought that Epstein sounded “very groggy”, and suggested that he take a train back down to the nearest train station, in Uckfield, instead of driving under the influence of Tuinals. Epstein replied that he would eat something, read his mail and watch Juke Box Jury before phoning Brown to tell him which train to meet. He never called again.

Epstein died of an overdose of Carbitral, a form of barbiturate or sleeping pill, in his locked bedroom, on 27 August 1967. He was discovered after his butler had knocked on the door, and then hearing no response, asked the housekeeper to call the police.

Epstein was found on a single bed, dressed in pyjamas, with various correspondence spread over a second single bed.At the statutory inquest his death was officially ruled an accident; caused by a gradual buildup of Carbitral in his system, combined with alcohol. It was revealed that he had taken six Carbitral pills in order to sleep, which was probably normal for him, but in combination with alcohol they reduced his tolerance to lethal levels.

The Beatles were in Bangor at the time, with the Indian guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Epstein had previously agreed to travel to Bangor after the August Bank Holiday.[138][139] The shocked and stunned Beatles asked the Maharishi for his advice, and were told, “being within the direct realm of the physical world, [Epstein’s death] is not important”.A concert by Jimi Hendrix at Epstein’s Saville Theatre was cancelled on the evening of his death.

Brown wrote in his memoir, The Love You Make: An Insider’s Story of The Beatles, that he had once found a suicide note written by Epstein and had spoken with him about it. According to Brown the note read in part, “This is all too much and I can’t take it any more”.

Brown had also found a will in which Epstein left his house and money to his mother and his brother, with Brown also being named as a minor beneficiary. When confronted with the notes, Epstein told Brown that he would be grateful if Brown did not tell anyone, and was sorry he had made Brown worry.

He explained that when he wrote the note and composed the will he had simply taken one pill too many, and that he had no intention of overdosing, promising to be more careful in the future. Brown later wrote that he wondered if he had done the right thing by not showing the note to Epstein’s doctor, Norman Cowan, who would have stopped prescribing drugs.

The coroner, Gavin Thurston, told the Westminster inquest that Epstein’s death was caused by an overdose of Carbitral, and ruled it as an accidental death. The pathologist, Dr. Donald Teare, stated that Epstein had been taking bromide in the form of Carbitral for some time, and that the barbiturate level in Epstein’s blood was a “low fatal level”.

The Beatles did not attend Epstein’s funeral, both to allow his family some privacy, and to avoid attracting fans and the media.

Epstein was buried in section A grave H12, in the Long Lane Jewish Cemetery, Aintree, Liverpool.

The service at the graveside was held by Rabbi Dr Norman Solomon, who said, disparagingly, that Epstein was “a symbol of the malaise of our generation”. A few weeks later, on 17 October, all four Beatles attended a memorial service for Epstein at the New London Synagogue in St John’s Wood (near Abbey Road Studios), which was officiated by Rabbi Louis Jacobs.The Bee Gees‘ 1968 song “In the Summer of His Years” was written and recorded as a tribute to Epstein.

Gwen Wakeling:From Detroit To Hollywood!

 

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Costume designer Gwen Wakeling (birth name Gwen Sewell, March 3, 1901, Detroit, Michigan – June 16, 1982, Los Angeles, California)

Gwen Wakeling was born in Detroit. Her father was a mining engineer whose work resulted in the family moving every few years, and she wound up living everywhere from Seattle to Los Angeles to Prescott, Arizona. Upon graduating high school she got a job as a fashion artist in a department store.

Wakeling was a personal favourite of Cecil B. DeMille  Indeed her first film was his 1927 epicThe King of Kings“, and she earned an Academy Award for her work on his version of “Samson and Delilah” in 1950.

In a career spanning over 140 films, she also worked for director John Ford on such films as “The Prisoner of Shark Island” (1936), “Drums Along the Mohawk” (1939), “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940) and “How Green Was My Valley” (1941), and provided the costumes for most of the Shirley Temple films, such as Little Miss Broadway, in the 1930s. One of her last assignments was creating Barbara Eden‘s “Jeannie” costumes for I Dream Of Jeannie in 1965.

Wakeling was a member of the Bahá’í Faith, and her husband, Henry J. Staudigl, set up an arts endowment in her memory at Bosch Bahá’í School in Santa Cruz to promote artistic endeavors and included a research and resource library.

She soon was hired by director Cecil B. DeMille when he was working for Pathe Studios, and he took her with him when he moved over to Paramount Pictures. In 1933 she went to work for Fox Films as the studio’s head costume designer. In 1941 she suffered the traumas of a death in her family and a serious illness because of a ruptured appendix, and quit Fox the next year and became a freelancer. She later married writer/director Henry J. Staudigl. She won an Oscar for costume design for Samson and Delilah (1949).

N.W.A:Straight Outta Compton 25th Anniversary

imagesCAA69AW7Straight Outta Compton is the debut studio album by American hip hop group N.W.A, released August 8, 1988 on group member Eazy-E‘s record label Ruthless Records. Its title refers to the group’s native town, Compton, California. Production for the album was handled by Dr. Dre, with DJ Yella giving co-production. The album has been viewed as the pioneering record of gangsta rap; with its ever-present profanity and violent lyrics, it helped to give birth to this then-new sub-genre of hip hop. It has been considered groundbreaking by music writers and has had an enormous impact on the evolution of West Coast hip hop.

Straight Outta Compton redefined the direction of hip hop, which resulted in lyricism concerning the gangster lifestyle becoming the driving force in sales figures. It was later re-released on September 24, 2002, remastered and containing four bonus tracks. An extended version of the album was released on December 4, 2007, the 20th anniversary of the original album.

album reached double platinum sales status, becoming the first album to reach platinum status with no airplay support and without any major tours.

As the hip hop community worldwide received the album with a high note, the members of N.W.A became the top stars for the emerging new era of gangsta rap while popularizing the lyrics of Ice Cube. The album also helped to spawn many young MCs and gangsta hip hop groups from areas such as Compton, California, and South Central Los Angeles, as many thought they had the same story to tell and the ability to pursue the career track that N.W.A had taken,hence groups such as Compton’s Most Wanted coming into being.

Because of the recurring violent and sexual lyrics and profanity, often specifically directed at governmental organizations such as the LAPD, N.W.A always enjoyed a particular reputation with U.S. Senators and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This situation persisted over the years with the group’s visible head, Eazy-E. One of the reasons for this was “Fuck tha Police“, the highly controversial track from the album that resulted in the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service sending a letter to Ruthless Records informing the label of their displeasure with the song’s message, and N.W.A was banned from performing at several venues.

The FBI letter only helped further popularize the album and N.W.A  and in the group’s 1990 song “100 Miles and Runnin’, the follow-up to Straight Outta Compton, while the music video shows the crew running from the police, Dr. Dre raps “and now the FBI is all over my dick!” as a response to the FBI’s warnings. Also, in his 1990 song “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted”, Ice Cube mocks the FBI with the line “With a pay-off, cop gotta lay off, FBI on my dick, stay off.

The lyrics on the album were mainly written by Ice Cube and MC Ren. Some critics of the album expressed their view that the record glamorized Black-on-Black crime,[which?] but others stated that the group was simply showing the reality of living in the areas of Compton, California, and South Central Los Angeles. Steve Huey in a retrospective review for Allmusic feels that the lyrics are more about “raising hell” than social criticism, but also feels the album is “refreshingly uncalculated” due to its humor; something he feels is rare in hardcore rap.

Many critics feel that the albums’ lyrics glamorize gang violence. The Washington Post writer David Mills wrote: “The hard-core street rappers defend their violent lyrics as a reflection of ‘reality.’ But for all the gunshots they mix into their music, rappers rarely try to dramatize that reality — a young man flat on the ground, a knot of lead in his chest, pleading as death slowly takes him in. It’s easier for them to imagine themselves pulling the trigger”.[citation needed] However, Wichita Eagle-Beacon editor Bud Norman noted that “They [N.W.A] don’t make it sound like much fun… They describe it with the same nonjudgmental resignation that a Kansan might use about a tornado.”[7]

Production

The production on the album was generally seen as top-quality for the time, with Dr. Dre‘s production performing well with his instrumentals and drum machine beats, and DJ Yella‘s turntable scratches and overall co-production seen as proficient by hip hop critics. Some critics find it somewhat sparse and low-budget given the significance of the album and compared with other producers of the time such as Marley Marl.[1]

Content

The album’s most controversial track, “Fuck tha Police“, was partly responsible for the fame of N.W.A as the “World’s Most Dangerous Group”and it did not appear on the censored version of the album. The song “Gangsta Gangsta” talks about the danger and violence in South Central and Compton. “Express Yourself” speaks of the ideas of free expression and the constraints placed on performers by radio censorship.

Every N.W.A member except DJ Yella recorded a solo song. Dr. Dre, who mostly produced rather than performed, did a solo effort in the single “Express Yourself.” Ice Cube performed on “I Ain’t tha 1” and “A Bitch Iz a Bitch”. MC Ren made his solo performance in the songs “If It Ain’t Ruff” and “Quiet on tha Set”. Eazy-E‘s only solo recording was a remix of the song “8 Ball,” which appeared on N.W.A’s previous album N.W.A and the Posse. The only guests on the album were Ruthless Records ghostwriter the D.O.C., who appeared on “Parental Discretion Iz Advised,” rhyming the intro, and founding N.W.A member Arabian Prince, who contributed minor vocals on “Something 2 Dance 2.”

Seven tracks from the album were released on N.W.A’s Greatest Hits: “Gangsta Gangsta“, “Fuck tha Police“, “Straight Outta Compton (extended mix),” “If It Ain’t Ruff,” “I Ain’t tha 1,” “Express Yourself,” and a bonus track from the remastered version, “A Bitch Iz a Bitch”.

Commercial performance

The album first appeared on music charts in 1989, peaking on the US Billboard Top LPs chart at number 37, and peaking on Billboard‘s Top Soul LPs at number nine.[17] It re-entered the charts in 2003, peaking on the UK Albums Top 75 at number thirty-five, and on the Ireland Albums Top 75 at number twenty.[18]

The album has sold over three million copies[and was certified double Platinum on March 27, 1992. It was N.W.A‘s best selling album, as their debut, N.W.A and the Posse, was certified Gold. Their final album, Niggaz4Life, was certified platinum.[ According to Priority Records‘ calculations, 80% of sales were in the suburbs, beyond the boundaries of black neighborhoods.

Critical response

Upon its release, the album was generally well received by most music critics. Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune gave Straight Outta Compton three and a half out of four stars and praised its production. The Richmond Times-Dispatch‘s Mark Holmberg described the album as “a preacher-provoking, mother-maddening, reality-stinks diatribe that wallows in gangs, doping, drive-by shootings, brutal sexism, cop slamming and racism”.

Newsweek noted that Straight Outta Compton “introduced some of the most grotesquely exciting music ever made”, and added that “Hinting at gang roots, and selling themselves on those hints, they project a gangster mystique that pays no attention where criminality begins and marketing lets off”.Following its 2002 re-release, Jon Caramanica of Rolling Stone magazine cited Straight Outta Compton as one of hip-hop’s most crucial albums, calling it a “bombastic, cacophonous car ride through Los Angeles’ burnt-out and ignored hoods.“cal response

“The lyrics on this record are unrelenting in their unpleasantness,” complained Peter Clarke in Hi-Fi News & Record Review, awarding the album a rock-bottom “D:4” rating. “The cumulative effect is like listening to an endless fight next door. The music on this record is without a hint of dynamics or melody.”[25]

Accolades

“It’s definitely the best rap record I’ve ever heard,” remarked Sinéad O’Connor. “Of course, I can see why people might be offended by the lyrics. But as a human being and not as a public figure, I’m not offended at all. I realise from reading interviews with people like Ice Cube, when they explain that they’re not talking about women in general but about particular women they know, it makes a lot of sense. I think the sound of the record is brilliant. I really like hardcore hip-hop and reggae stuff, so it’s right up my flight of stairs.”

“Rappers haven’t always referred to themselves as ‘niggers’ on record,” remarked Hip Hop Connection, placing it at No.3 on their countdown of rap’s best albums. “It came as something of a shock then that here were five politically astute black men calling themselves niggers and their women bitches at a time when Afrocentric rap was the current vogue… Straight Outta Compton sounded so exciting, insignificant details such as realism and integrity could be overlooked.”[27]

In 2003, the TV network VH1, named Straight Outta Compton the 62nd greatest album of all time.

It was ranked ten in Spin magazine’s “100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005”.

In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source’s 100 Best Rap Albums.

It is the group’s only album on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (ranked #144), and the first hip-hop album ever to get a 5-star rating from them in their initial review, and when comedian Chris Rock wrote an article for the magazine about the 25 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of all time in 2005, Straight Outta Compton was number one on his list.[28]

The album is ranked the 109th best of all time by Acclaimedmusic.net.[29]

In 2006, the album was listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. The same year, Time magazine ranked it as one of the 100 greatest albums of all time.

Q magazine voted it one of the ‘Top 50 Titles Of 1989. Alternative Press (7/95, p. 88) ranked it #45 in AP’s list of the ‘Top 99 Of ’85–’95’. Vibe (12/99, p. 164) included it in Vibe’s 100 Essential Albums of the 20th century. In 2004, DigitaArts included the album’s cover in its list of the 25 Best Albums Covers.[32] In 2012, Slant listed the album at #18 on its list of “Best Albums of the 1980s” saying “The juxtaposition of midtempo, Cali-languid grooves and violent wordplay positioned Straight Outta Compton as the sound of the West Coast firing on New York’s Fort Sumpter in what would become ’90s culture’s biggest Uncivil War.”

Haji: Rest In Paradise

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Born Barbarella Catton in Québec, Canada, Haji appeared in several Russ Meyer films, including Motorpsycho (1965), Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965), Good Morning and… Goodbye! (1967), and Supervixens (1975).

 

In 2003, her last work, she starred as ‘Moonji’ in Killer Drag Queens on Dope.[1][5] She resided in Malibu, California.[2] She was featured as one of the top 1,000 most glamorous ladies of the 20th century in the book Glamorous Girls of the Century by Steve Sullivan. She was also interviewed in the book Invasion of the B-Girls by Jewel Shepard

 

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