Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Soul Train Music Awards: I could give it to you but what you gonna do with it

I watched the 2010 Edition of the Soul Train Music Awards last nite. Generally I was impressed with the presentation, but was left wondering if indeed, the Awards has resurrected itself back to its former glam status. Or if indeed the essence of Soul Train is even present in this current generation of the music industry...

I remember that the Soul Train Awards was a must have ticket. I remember that you went and got your tux or your gown and got dressed to the nines for this show. After all, since the Grammys did not award our music as we felt it should, then we HAD to be our best and look our best to honor our best.It was, at the time, the consummate honoring of our musical universe.

One year, I remember sitting with Tom Joyner when Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre rolled onto the stage in his '64 impala.... that was dope!!! And Tom was so funny, but I believe at that moment he was speechless!!! I remember with the explosion of hiphop, the quality of the show quickly diminished to a super ghetto presentation that folk came out for in tennis shoes, jeans and even flipflops.... and then the violence.........

The Soul Train Awards was dead.

Well, that was then and this is now. Don Cornelius has sold the Soul Train brand to Madvision Entertainment who in turn has produced the nouveaux generation of the Soul Train Music Awards. They've done a deal with the new Centric Channel (an extrapolation of BET) and turned it into a first class production. The current generation of music artists have seemingly embraced the renovation wholeheartedly.

Atlanta is the new center of African American culture and, I suppose, it is a fitting location for the new generation of Soul.... The red carpet presentations seemed shallow, though. After all, how many times can you ask what was your best memory of Soul Train. What about the substance of the music projects? what of the artist perspective of current, culturally relevant events? But nay, the red carpet interviewers only asked the obvious: "What was your best memory of Soul Train?" and the answer was always the same.... "The Soul Train Line".... ho hum.

The production was awesome. A first class presentation. Although, like a lot of twitterlings, I have mixed feelings of R. Kelly's appearance - I just have a problem with forgiving him and moving on... however, his appearance with Ron Isley and Chante Moore was completely off tha chain!!

Cee-Lo: Loved it, but what the heck was that you had on???? Also, I know it was the Soul Train Awards and Centric and all that, but the original version of that song is the complete bomb and just doesn't do it for me as a clean version. I wanted to hear you sing F&^k You straight up....(sorry church fam... that's just how I feel)

Anita Baker Tribute: loved it! and especially loved the return of Dionne Farris... where you been girl? Goapele is someone the national audience has been sleeping on.... on the Steve Harvey Morning show, they couldn't even pronounce her name.... Goapele is the bizness.... you betta ask somebody!!

Ron Isley Tribute: I love that the Awards has these tributes. It makes today's artists give props to those who paved the way for what they do today..... I actually think some of the artists onstage are humbled when faced with singing the hits of the honoree IN FRONT OF the honoree... Everyone did well, although Eric Benet seemed like he was working too hard to impress.... he got down though...

Janelle Monae: don't sleep on this young lady.... saw her at the Greek for the first time this year and had to wonder out loud.... who is this child?? she is James Brown, Prince, and Jackie Wilson reincarnated!!

Taraji and Terrence: Jury is still out for me, but looking at twitter and facebook comments, they get mixed reviews.

In the end, I am so glad that the Soul Train Music Awards is rebirthing itself... It should take its place as the premier black music awards show in America. It should be the creme de la creme of urban music culture. The mantle has been passed....

So in the words of that song from Jayo Felony a few years back "I could give it to ya but whatcha gonna do with it"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Definition of Insanity..... The rant of a good man....

The Holiday season is here... and at this point in my life, more than ever, I am contemplating the essence of family. Yes, these are the days we are supposed to get together and love on one another.... These are the days that loved ones come from all over to fellowship, bond and promote familial solidarity.

All I see across Black American Cultural dialogue is the bemoanment of the black man... I see how sistas have this totally negative view of who the man is and what the man should be. I see daughters and sons frustrated because the father is not around, but I have to ask, how much of your frustration is centered in how the mother has portrayed who your father is and how much of it is because you have come to know your dad for yourself. Or how much of it is because of the grown child's own level of trifling view of the world??

Should Dad keep coming to see you on holidays only to get dissed and disrespected by the mother? Should Dad keep travelling to get the children only to find the mother has left purposely, leaving the dad scratching his head in amazement and finding absolutely NO JUSTICE in the Family Law courts.... yes, when it comes to the man, he is the enemy. Yea, but all that is ancient history. Now that the child is grown, I am receiving mixed signals... She says she loves me, but lies and shows blatant disrespect. In the blended family, I cannot remember a time where we got together to break bread and love on one another even as sacrifices have been made time and time again for thier well being.

These days, in this holiday season, I reflect. How is it that when one tries to do good, he is dissed and vilified...

I stand as a man of honor.... my faith is strong and I walk with the knowledge of salvation and sanctification. I have the stock of an honorable man... My Mother raised and educated an honorable, moral man and yet, I continue to hear and see a level of disrespect that seems unfathomable...

I have cooked complete Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with the full expectation that those "loved ones" are coming over to eat and fellowship. No one showed. This is not anomaly.... This has happened more than four or five times... Even with my blended family.... loved ones do not show... they sit and wait for me to reach out.... Immediate relatives tell me one thing and do another. Lies.

And when I take inventory, I cannot really see any reason for this disrespect. So the only conclusion I can draw is that they really do not love me. I show them love, sacrificing whatever I may to help them, but they show me nothing. nada... zilch. These are not the actions of those who love and honor their father.

And so this year, I see that as I step forth to do that which I have done time and time again... I am advancing insanity. and in the words of Benjamin Franklin: The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect the same result. This has got to stop. Now.

I rebuke insanity and turn unto my self and my God..... I refuse to keep getting hurt. I am a good man. I know it and God knows it. Who are y'all to keep dissing me?? who are you to turn away the love of a father?

Today, I move towards who I am as a man.... leaving behind the insecurities and insanity of those that would say they love me but really do not.  I submit to the will of God and move to do his will... I step away from the insanity of disrespect. the indifference. the insanity of the misguided.

I move to that which the Lord would have me do... all things that are not tantamount to that.... does not matter.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Going Postal..... woman rails racial epithets at mailman....

Have you seen this story? Out in Hingham, Mass., a woman goes postal on her mailman. Seems that the brotha delivered one of those certified letters, which she signed for and then decided that she did not want it. She implores the postal worker to take the letter back, which he says he cannot and the lady launches into a tirade full of calling the man a nigger and accusing black folk of killing Dr. Martin Luther King.... She even slaps the patookas out of the man.... yes, she slaps him! Thing is, the mailman is videotaping the entire episode....

Sad. right? Ultimately, the mailman gets fired behind the incident and is now seeking public support as he feels he has been wronged.... That is a travesty and something that needs to be looked into and dealt with.

For me, though, it is the content of the woman's tirade that has me thinking. In particular, she says at approx. 1:09 of part two that causes pause. Some of what this woman spews should be a wake up call with how we are perceived in the world. She says we "turn on each other".... true. She says it's sad.... true. But at 1:09 of part two, she says "black women are against black men.. because they've been exploited. They're with the white people...." WOW!!!

This is the perception of America.... indeed the world....

With the release of "For Colored Girls", Tyler Perry's screen adaptation of Ntozake Shange's award winning Choreo-poem play, we have seen sistas engage in discussion of the evils of the black man. Every where we look in these days and times, the black man is to be feared, distrusted, and otherwise discarded. And here, in the small mind of a prejudiced (although she says she is not prejudiced) old woman, one of the claims she makes is that black women are against the black man. And upon review of popular culture, discussion and analysis of modern black life in America, one may agree wholeheartedly.

Black male/female relationships are paramount to the elevation of our culture in America. We sit around and wonder how immigrants can enter the United States and make such great strides while we, a people who built this great nation, still scrounge for crumbs. But upon closer examination, one will note that the common denominator to success in America for other cultures is the preservation of male/female relationships. The family is the root to the elevation of cultures in America.

But in Black America, the intact family is almost non-existent. The issue of marriage is becoming an obsolete proposition. Sistas are angry. Sistas are fed up. Sistas hold almost unreasonable expectations of what the brotha needs to be. At the same time, brothas don't honor the woman. They do not respect the sista. Why?

Sistas are so angry that one can view the displeasure on their faces in public. A trip to the grocery store will sometimes generate looks of disdain from women you don't even know... sometimes, we that are innocent have to pay the price for the wrong that some guy extended to the sista.... And then again, sistas want the thug... a roughneck. However when the thug acts like a thug and disses them, then they wanna complain.

In the end, we have to do better. Is the black man the bane of America? even more than we historically have been portrayed? White America no longer needs to create this mistrust of the black man - we are perpetuating this image through our own owned and operated media. We are perpetuating the negative image of the black male through our music, our movies and even our television shows. The brotha is still the enemy.

And without solid black male/female relationships, the father is not in the home... teaching the young man how to be a respectable black man. And thus the evil image is perpetuated through generation to generation. White America and indeed the world sees this. And even the smallest minded American citizen, in a tirade of racial epithets can still make the distinction that, Black Women are with the White People........

Even with a Black man in the Presidency of these United States, true liberation is still far from our grasp.

Our culture has gone postal.