The Civil Rights “Generation neXt”

In the American youth-obsessed culture, young Blacks consigned Jazz music–American Classical Music–over to young Whites for its perpetuation and continuity. Jazz had already undergone one transition after another: from New Orleans Preservation Hall, to Ragtime and Harlem “Jungle Music,” to the Swing Era, to Be Bop, to Hard Bop, to Modern, to Avante Garde, to Free Jazz.

But one Jazz expert I know says he won’t consider the merits of a young Jazz group today, until he hears them play some of the old Jazz Standards, so he can “see if they can play,” by comparing their skills to the performances of the music’s Masters.

There is no such thing as modern Rhythm & Blues. That form, now called “Old School,” is simply relegated to reunion tours and performances on public television fund-raisers and Hand Dance celebrations by whichever original group members can still stand in matching sequined suits and groove in front of a microphone.

Musically, young people today have moved on, and now even the original progressive, consciousness-raising Hip Hop has devolved from so-called “Gangsta Rap,” into pure shake-your-backside debauchery. Continue reading

What’s wrong with being a Muslim…Muslims?

Before the 2008 election, Black people in the American political firmament, were customarily ignored by the Republicans and taken for granted by the Democrats. Pretty low. There is however now, one, even lowlier constituency: Muslims. They are even worse off.

The fact of the matter is: Muslims are still secretly considered America’s sworn enemies from the days of the Crusades, especially among the rock-ribbed, Red, White and Blue Republican true believers. And of course they’re shunted away by the Democrats, who are still afraid of being perceived as “weak” on terrorism.

And yet mainstream Muslim political types are mostly supporting Sen. Barack Hussein Obama Jr., who emphatically reminds everyone who’ll listen, that he’s not a Muslim, and furthermore, anyone who says otherwise is engaging in patent rumor-mongering. Okay. Message received.

What’s wrong with being a Muslim? Did I miss a memo? A meeting? I can’t see anything worse about being a good Muslim than there is about being a good Christian. A good Jew. In fact, some of my best friends are Muslims. And all of them are really fine people, excellent neighbors. They’re downright decent human beings, if you ask me. Continue reading

Jesse Who?

The Rev. Jesse Jackson told me once that he once returned to his hometown, Greenville, South Carolina, where he had been known as “Bo.” By this time he had marched side by side with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his picture had been on the covers of Time, Newsweek and Jet magazines, he had frequently appeared on the Nightly News and on various Sunday interview shows.

When he walked through the streets of Greenville folks who remembered him would shout: “Hey, Bo! Where you been? What you been doing?”

That Rev. Jackson. Such a sense of humor.

Then, he went on and ran for President of the United States, winning the 1984 presidential primary in his home state, and earning more than 7 million votes all over the country. And the rest, as the expression goes, is history. History because in 1984 the Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke other than the truth in a desperate ploy to save that political campaign, when he said he had never used the term “Hymie-town.”

I heard The Country Preacher use that very expression four years earlier, off-camera, after a 1980 taping of the TV show “America’s Black Forum.” Continue reading

Black, anti-Obama Republican ads

I wondered to myself why Shannon Reeves, the Republican National Committee head of African American Outreach was a no-show at the June 17 monthly forum of the Washington D.C. Black Republican Committee. Maybe he had “fatter fish to fry” that night, than to meet with the party’s local Black loyalists.

The shindig was at Duke’s City Restaurant on U Street and was intended to help Blacks in the local GOP better understand what the Republican National Committee is doing about outreach to African American voters and to offer the GOP higher-ups, some insight on what African Americans want from the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

I spoke with members of the DCBRC casually about the non-event. They were disappointed at the Reeves non-appearance. He sent three deputies. Some members wanted to cancel the meeting to protest the non-attendance of Shannon Reeves, but the will of the group was to hear the three deputies out. Ironically, the DCBRC members with whom I spoke confidentially, are not really ready yet to publicly complain about what some consider a slap in the face from the GOP-HNIC.

So, what do I discover, but an item on the Huffington Post, under the headline: “Black Republicans Launch Racial Anti-Obama Ads.”

Now I’ve got to know: What does Shannon Reeves think about that? I’m certain I will soon learn.

“Look beyond Barack Obama’s skin color and soaring rhetoric and you will see an arrogant, elitist millionaire whose voting record is the most liberal in Congress,” says one of the radio ads produced by The National Black Republican Association, according to author Sam Stein. “Look at the people around Obama, and you will understand that Obama lacks the judgment to be our next president.” Huh? Continue reading