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Network television is changing. They are reshuffling the deck to appeal to larger audiences. They are getting rid of liberals, but they are really getting rid President Barack Obama’s musings and anyone who can’t appeal to the dominant political mass.

People will be moved whether it is Melissa Harris Perry, Al Sharpton, Toure, Joy Reid, Ronan Farrow, Alex Wagner, Jose Diaz-Balart or anyone else. That is just business, but why didn’t these brown faces see the writing on the wall?

 

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Melissa Harris Perry walks off her show after pre-exemptions

 

Why…because these brown face head shots were pretending that influx of brown faces on big screens, small screens and network news wasn’t due to Barack Obama’s presence. As his term winds down these people should have been reflective of the process that gave rise to many of the brown faces we seen daily. Reflective that Barack Obama’s travails allowed these brown faces to provide better for their families, to change zip codes to create viable platforms.

Even though some of those brown faces took their benefactor to task for two terms and eight long years, thanks is still due. They have yet to thank him for the paychecks, the raises, the platforms or the notoriety. Without Obama these brown faces would have kept the marginal outlets they had before his candidacy.

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00066]

Race and Identity Polices personified

I get it; you earned this position on merit…right. Unfortunately, America seldom works like that—hardly ever. Many of these brown faces did great jobs with their shows and platforms, but no great job a brown face does would be as great as someone with a white one.

                                          Dear: Melissa Harris Perry,

                                          This is not about you. This is about President Barack Obama.

I know Melissa Harris Perry and her audience, didn’t like the repeated back and forth cuts between her segments and election coverage. A lot of people are ‘stanning’ for Melissa, Nerdland, and for a show that featured race and identity politics and Melissa never did get that Beyonce interview. Ultimately, Melissa’s insistence on discussing of Beyone’s video “formation” instead of the political race may have been the last MSNBC straw.

 

 

The cycle is changing and Melissa Harris Perry has an audience, a following and agendas behind her…she’ll be fine.

 

 

MG Hardie

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republicans

People of color are quick to say that the Republicans are racist, meanwhile the Democrats, who aren’t racist, haven’t even slightly improved the lives of people of color. But what is Racism, as an American social construct is an ideology of hate and particularly an ideology of hatred directed toward people of color. This word itself refers to any attitude towards individuals and groups of people which posits a direct linear connection between physical and mental qualities. It therefore attributes to those individuals and groups of people collective traits, physical, mental, and moral, which are constant and unalterable by human will, because they believed to be caused by hereditary factors or external influences, such as climate or geography.

While it is true that an individual may not have racial intent, but that individual’s actions may nonetheless have racial consequence. And that individual need not adhere to white supremacist ideology to benefit from its effects or to be injured by it. However, there is an undeniable psychological wage of whiteness, all too often the reward for blackness is a bullet…Mr. President this is the Wage Gap. Today in America, racial justice is beyond redistribution.

“…a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the Black man.”- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

People complain that Mexicans are taking their jobs; they complain that Asian Americans are taking over their country; they complain that Blacks are ruining their neighborhood – this is a concept of ownership. This is a concept that gave rise to the political slogans “Take Our Country Back” and “Make This Country Great Again”.

Many people of color don’t like the republicans, they feel the Republicans are amnesiac racist and corporate opportunist that would kick their own mother out of a wheelchair if it made them a dollar, yet these people of color are the main consumers of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Frito Lays products, etc the very products that sustain and support the Republican Party and its candidates.

Ben Carson and Donald Trump

As if either of these guys has a shot at winning…

In a default setting people of color have allowed, enabled, so-called racist from both political parties to rule over them.

What could cause people of color vote against their own best interest? What could causes them not to create a political party for them and by them? What is it that causes them to continually watch the very thing they claim to hate? What causes them yell racist and at the same time support “racist” policies and parties with their hard earned dollar? What is it that makes them no groom people of color for political office? What is it that causes them to beg for help from their “oppressor” in a park, while singing old spiritual songs? What could makes them stand for the lesser of two evils while their communities crumble around them?

Slave labor and sex trafficking is still coming in from the southern border…right. Reparations still haven’t been paid…right. Middle Easterners are still being bombed…right. Drugs are still ravaging communities…right. People of color are still being incarcerated at a three times higher rate than Whites…right.

Mrs. Clinton actually called Blacks “Super Predators” and not your lives don’t matter. Meanwhile Mr. Clinton is apologizing for the “unintended consequences” of mass incarceration, who the hell else were they going to lock up for profit…people that looked like him…

Every time you turn around the Department of Justice is investigating another incident (Just to calm you down)…right. You are still working hard every single day to make ends meet…right. College tuition is still rising…right. Wars are still being funded…right.

Hillary Clinton

Voting for someone who looks like you or is the same gender as you, may make you feel better, but how is that really working out? It is’t the Republicans or the Republican Party that has amnesia, perhaps it is the people of color who have amnesia.

MGHardie

Midnight: Rise of the Black Vampires

Are you a Vampire fan, a Fantasy enthusiast? Yet you paused when you looked at the new novel Midnight: Rise of the Black Vampires?

While you were reading this novel on the train did you feel as if people were staring at you?

Did you ask yourself…WTF, why black vampires?

Leading up to the release of Midnight: Rise of the Black Vampires, I received emails saying…Why did you have to make the vampires Black… Followed by my standard reply of “Did you send Stephanie Meyer, Ann Rice or any other fantasy authors ask similar questioning email?”

With black people being gunned down by the police, shot down in the street for no reason and being marginalized as second class citizens what harm could a white book with a black power fist in the middle of it cause you on your way to work.

You have movements where the people of color protest at a predetermined time, in an approved park but many don’t want the daily questions that come with being a person of color in America. People of color don’t want to wear blackness on their sleeve, they don’t want the eyes on them, and they don’t want the questions…

“Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to so much so that you don’t want to be around each other? No… Before you come asking Mr. Muhammad does he teach hate, you should ask yourself who taught you to hate being what God made you.”—Malcolm X

That is called hiding in plain sight. It is not pride; it is the psychological effect of centuries of white supremacy. White Supremacy is not limited to individual thought and behavioral patterns, it is something ingrained in the collective psyche of a group.

“… to be white is to be human and all others are subhuman, savages, beasts of burden to be worked, raped, beaten and robbed – they deserve what they get and little else can be expected of them anyway.”- Bell Hooks

When you look at most urban novels, you see almost naked women and men, guns, drugs, expensive cars and titles like ‘Hood Hoe 17’ and ‘Twerk Momma 7’. If you read those novels on the train there will be no eyes on you, there will be no questions to answer because those images are what American white supremacy has been selling and that is what many have been buying for years.

To this end Midnight: Rise of the Black Vampires was conceived to place characters that are unapologetic, revolutionary and Blacks front and center. This novel may be about vampires but the world is reflected in-between its lines.

Midnight: Rise of the Black Vampires is about a lot more than being a vampire. Shake the bonds of white supremacy by using your detector whenever possible.

ISBN: 978-0-9968296-0-1 (Color Edition)

ISBN: 978-0-9968296-2-5 (Standard Edition)

ISBN: 978-0-9968296-1-8 (eBook)

They tried to silence us in the fields
we could no longer beat our drums.
They wanted to strangle us into silence
by gagging us with hate.
But the voices of the drums are not lost
They are the pulse of our history
The beat passionately in out hearts
They speak to us through
The Blues of Billie
The Horn of Miles
The Pen of Alex
The Tenacity of Malcolm
The Dream of Martin
The Hope of Obama
The Future of Me.
I hear the echoes of strength
I feel the vibrations of survival
No…
We will not be silenced
We will not be defeated
We will continue to search for our voice.

And I will beat my drum… will you?

Think Like a Man would appear to be a movie for women, but it’s for men. It is not one of those movies made for women and if the men come alone that’s fine. This movie is about different stages in relationships and gender development, how we look at each other and ourselves. Directed by Tim Story and narrated by Kevin Hart. The movie gives ample screen time to the cast of Jerry Ferrara, Megan Good, Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Taraji P Henson, Gabrielle Union, Romany Malco, and intermixes commentary from Steve Harvey.

Trailers for movies often say that they have something in them for everybody; this is the one movie that actually delivers. This movie is about dating and relationships, pure and simple, the audience is treated or not to varied archetypes the Player, The Mamma Boy, The Girl Who Wants the Ring,  The Woman Who Is Her Own Man, etc. Apart from some familiar scenarios (to many men), the movie manages to not only peg the psyche of men, but women as well. Yet somehow in between the gags, comedy, double narration, product placement and drama you manage to see bits and pieces of yourself, your partner or a friend that you can laugh at from a safe distance, that’s when the movie has you invested.

Steve Harvey’s book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, provides the ladies with a rule book of how men think and the game is afoot, once the men find out that their relationships are now being driven by Steve’s book, they plan to turn the tables on the women…basically they plan to pretend to be what the women want only to get what they want. There are plenty of lines for women to be upset about, and a lot of dumb situations men won’t appreciate and some of the premises are manipulative, insincere, in fact they are all pretty shallow, the problem– this is how people really behave and think.

Director Tim Story is to be commended for managing multiple the story-lines and showing each African-American characters as desirable. Not only are the actresses beautiful, sexy and amazingly bright, watching the film you can tell they actually like their roles and that translates on screen. The characters engage us with their hopes, dreams, failing and triumphs, in parts the film is almost magical as the characters often light up the screen. Kevin Hart’s comedic genius is on full display, but so is the subtle humor of Bennett “The Happily Married Man”, I have no idea why commercials for this movie didn’t really plug the substantial presence of the white characters. The film is a tad long, over-narrated and the mamma’s boy story gets drawn out, yet it is arguably the best romantic comedies ever made. The way the male characters played off of one another, how they played basketball (one horribly), how they hilariously talked about their problems, the way they bonded over their women troubles even the various male archetypes reminded me of another book “It Ain’t Just the Size”, but let’s not go there.

The soundtrack is excellent. The casting choices are perfect, except LaLa Vasquez. Each of these four relationship is uniquely different, well because people are, I just don’t understand how Kristen could have gotten rid of Jeremy’s Voltron Lion figure masterpiece… but I digress. The movie is not about how to find true love or even being in a healthy relationship; ultimately, Think Like a Man is about being real, not just with your partner, but more importantly with yourself. Think Like a Man manages to accomplish what Tyler Perry’s movies have never been able to …bring men and women together.

8.5/10

Part 1

Far to often we have waited until it was too late to give thanks to the people who moved and inspired us. We give awards and accolades long after they were deserved. Some of these artist made us feel, think and others showed us that it is okay to human and that we are not alone. If nothing else perhaps some of these artist will be rediscover by some and seen in a new way by others. We grew up watching R & B borrow from soul and jazz elements, to co-opting hip hop grooves, to mixtures of pop and now even techno musings. I have created this list not based solely on sales, or emotions, what this means is that having a hit or two wont get you on this list, while dropping a classic album might. These artist had guts, creativity, range and most importantly impact and without them R & B would not be the same. A lot of women have contributed to R & B, but here are my top 15.

1. Aretha Franklin (Queen of Soul)

She epitomized gospel-charged soul and has 18 Grammys,  20 No. 1 singles, 45 “Top 40” hits, to back that up. She also has the most million-selling singles of any female artist with 14. Between 1967 and 1982 she had 10 #1 R&B albums – more than any other female artist. The term “Diva” was coined just to describe her talents. Ms. Franklin is the epitome of a trailblazer with her vocal style and ability and is one of the few living legends who can still perform at a high level to this day. Franklin was the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “Respect”,”Never Loved A Man the Way I Love You”,  “Think”, “Chain of Fools”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Giving Him Something He Can Feel”

2. Whitney Houston (Whitney)

at 170 Million albums sold Whitney is the most awarded female singer ever. She has number 1 albums and soundtracks that have powered her film roles. Whitney is one od the few singers who could sing anything and it would be a hit. Case in point the “Star Spangled Banner” , which she performed at Superbowl XXV , was released as a single and was in the top 20. In the early 90’s Whitney skillfully rode Michael Jackson’s wake and knocked the doors opened for other female artist such as Janet Jackson and Anita Baker “Because of what Whitney did, there was an opening for me… For radio stations, black women singers aren’t taboo anymore.’ says Baker. Whitney tackled big adult contemporary ballads, effervescent, stylish dance-pop, and slick urban contemporary soul with with dexterity and grace.  She was commondly referred to as a phenomon because when she sang a song…it was sung and no one could do it better. “Greatest Love of All”,  “I’m Every Woman”, “Greatest Love of All”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, “I Will Always Love You” and “I’m Your Baby Tonight”


3. Etta James

James has four Grammys and seventeen Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008. In the 1950s and 1960s, she had her biggest success as a blues and R&B singer. She is best known for her son “At last”.  In modern times Ms. James is often overlooked, but she can flat out sang and her music has lived on for decades. “Something’s Got a Hold on Me,” “Stop the Wedding,” and “Would It Make Any Difference to You”

4. Patti Labelle

A one woman powerhouse of vocal & musical ability, Ms. Labelle is one of a kind. Blessed with power, range and passion her voice is as powerful as it is graceful.  Her unwavering appeal has spanned more than five decades. She has hits such as “On My Own,” “Somebody Loves You Baby” and “New Attitude.” There is no one quite like entertainment legend Patti LaBelle. “On My Own“, “If Only You Knew“, “Have a Little Faith in Me”, “If You Asked Me To“, “Stir It Up” and “New Attitude“.

5. Chaka Khan

in the 1970s she was the frontwoman of the band Rufus, however, her solo body of work stands on its own. As a singer she is the most diverse with her range and vocal skill. When it wasn’t fashionable for singers to record their own background vocals, Khan made her own fashion statement and arranged her own. Chaka Khan is clearly in a class by herself. Her vocal style, identifiable in a flash, is a major force of nature in music, a sound like no other.  “I’m Every Woman”, “This Is My Night”, “Got To Be There”, “What Cha’ Gonna Do For Me”, and “I Feel For You”

Billie Holiday, Dionne Warwick, Minne Ripperton, Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole and many others.

Part 2 

M

Far to often we have waited until it was too late to give the people who moved and inspired us recognition. We often give awards and accolades long after they were deserved. These artist have made us feel, think and move. Many have shown us that it is okay to be human and that we are not alone. If nothing else perhaps these artist will be rediscovered by some or seen in a new way by others.  We have grown up with R & B, we have watched it blend soul and jazz elements, we have seen it nod heads with hip hop grooves and dance with pop beats. I have created this list not based solely on sales, emotions, but more so on impact. Having one hit may not help, while dropping a classic album does. These artist, these women had guts, creativity and range. They did not allow music to power the song while they fell back, they were the songs and without them Rhythm & Blues would not be the same. A lot of women have contributed to R & B, here is part 1 of my All-Time list.

 

11. Lauryn Hill

 

Lauryn is on this list for one reason and that is The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill. Her 1998 album is what debut albums should be. This album contained musical styles that ranged from R&B, Soul and Reggae, to Hip Hop and Gospel. The album was strikingly beautifully as it blended melodies in ways never done before. Her album is the perfect example of what happens when  talent meets purpose.  The album dealt with many serious life issues, but it was never bogged down. She became the 1st women to win 5 Grammys on one night and the music world is much better off because of it.  

12. Erykah Badu

Baduizm is Badu’s highly acclaimed debut album, it was released in 1997 and debuted at #2 on the Billboard charts. The album was filled with introspective lyrics, jazz and a bass-heavy sound. Baduizm was hailed as one of the leading lights of the burgeoning “Neo Soul” genre. because of Erykah’s phrasing and tempo she drew comparisons to Billie Holiday. Her lyrics challenge listeners with their highly personal, philosophical, and political content. Her albums say everything that we want to,but never do.  Through her album she was able to weave different musical influences together to create a richer sound.

13. Toni Braxton

Toni topped the Billboard 200 with her 1993 self-titled debut album her second album “Secrets”, spawned the number-one hits “You’re Makin’ Me High”, “I Love Me Some Him” and “Un-Break My Heart” songs that live forever. Braxton’s debut album won several awards, including three Grammy Awards (for Best New Artist and two consecutive awards for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance). Braxton’s broad appeal comes from her low vocal register and her range which includes R&B, adult contemporary, saucy dance tracks and sultry ballads.

14. Rihanna

Discovered as a teenager. Rihanna has a unique and powerful carribean voice, so much so that her collaborations consist of a rapper dropping 12 bars while she sings the rest. That’s a good thing because Ri-Ri’s voice has outshined every single counterpart she has been on track with. Albums Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded and Rated R provide her a showcase; complete with R & B, soul, dance hall, pop, a rebellious attitude and risque sexual lyrics. Her Caribbean-inflected R & B has managed to escape the package the industry tried to put her in.

15.Keyshia Cole

Cole’s 2005 debut album Way It Is  landed at number six on the Billboard 200. The song “I should have cheated” from that album told the world what was to come. What came was her second album Just Like You, which is one of the best R & B albums ever released. Keyshia’s lyrics powered by her vocals connected men and women with her pain. She has spawned a thousand wannabee, but there is only one.

 

Through their music these singers can tell you more about themselves I anyone ever could, so click the links. Other impactful R & B singers: Pink, Monica, Aalyah, Brandy, Mya, Fantasia

 Part 2