Thursday, May 28, 2015

Music and Black Americans: The Innocent Avenue To The Pathway Of Destruction Part 5

The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left
Even as he walks along the road, the fool lacks sense and shows everyone how stupid he is
Ecclesiastes 10: 2,3
           In the movie The Hunger Games the main character is young girl by the name of Katniss Everdeen who lives in district 12 of the fictional world of Panem set in a dystopian future. Part of living in this world is that teenagers age 12 to 18 according to Wikipedia must participate in a contest to the death when called upon or chosen by the powers that be.  When Katniss sister is chosen from her district she volunteers to take her place.  As would be expected, Katniss with skill, moxie and bravery survives to the end along with her fellow district partner which is not suppose to happen.  They become sentimental Romeo and Juliet figures for the non-sacrificing city populous and one of uneasy rebellion for the ruling elite. 
          Given that I did not read the books that the movie is based upon, I did not glean from the first or second movie how it is that the majority of the population ended up being oppressed by the few, but what I did notice is that the people who lived in the capital city wore colorful clothing and appeared eccentric, superficial and given to alternative lifestyles while the people in the districts were definitively heterosexual and living as such with families.  Why do I bring this attention to this? It is because it is evident this is the way our society is being herded.
            When President Obama on May 9, 2012 declared his support for gay marriage it was as if a flood gate was now opened for not just closet homosexuals to pop out the closet every other day but now anyone who wanted to express themselves different sexually would find the usual support by the media and  superficial people of the public.  Oddly enough or not the Hunger Games was released on March 23, 2012.  It is an interesting synchronicity where  the shift was signaled not just here on earth but in the heavens so that now no matter how fruity the notion if it made the few men who wanted to become women happy then they should be lauded for their confusion and placed before the public as someone to be admired for their stance and bravery. 
            One need look no further than Bruce Jenner of the Kardashian Clan and Lavern Cox of Orange is the New Black born a male but as only modern society can accomplish now magically a woman.  Also, now at the expense of the majority these miniscule people in number now need to be catered to such as some cities passing laws so that transgender men can use women’s public bathrooms.  Apparently, it does not matter to these officials that little girls and women could be preyed upon by any burly male declaring he is really a woman just so long as his feelings are assuaged and society is tolerant of whatever tomfoolery an individual or a few people think of next.
              In keeping with the fruity (colorful) people trend needing to be recognized and given a public platform to bludgeon the masses with “I’m a victim of discrimination too song,” Black Americans especially men must be targeted as needing to be more accepting and tolerant and open to new definitions of masculinity.  Once again, we are the minority of choice in need of accepting whatever moral sludge the pagan sons of Japheth and their black cohorts throw our way.  It is Black American men who are suddenly and need to be the face of homosexuality and transgender lifestyles. 
 I give by way of example an article titled the Importance of Young Thug and Jaden Smith Challenging Hip-Hop’s Masculinity.  Without citing yet one word from the article, why is it important that masculinity be challenged let alone hip-hop?  Only people who are firmly situated and aligned with the kingdom of darkness would make such a statement.  However, the article begins “ American society is being increasingly more open to gay people, but the hip hop world seems to be lagging behind. Hip hop gossip sites still write salacious articles making snide remarks about allegedly gay rap stars. Atlanta-based rapper Young Thug has courted controversy by wearing dresses and calling his homeboys “bae.” Jaden Smith, son of rapper-turned-actor Will Smith, faced backlash when he was recently pictured wearing a dress.” 
           Quoting a sociologist, we now find out in the article why this masculinity needs to be challenged. “Dr. Earl Wright II, a professor of African studies at the University of Cincinnati, said Young Thug and Jaden Smith are forcing hip hop, and society in general, to reevaluate what it defines as “masculine.” “What is important is that what he (Young Thug) introduces to the hip hop community, along with Jaden Smith, is the idea that there is more than one way to be a male and man in this nation,” said Wright, who teaches a sociology course on hip hop. “In a society where one’s manhood is largely defined by a person’s ability to physically control the body and actions of others, Young Thug and Jaden Smith’s ‘revolutionary’ presentation of self provides an opening for young males, who do not fit the traditional notion of masculinity, to find a comfortable space for themselves within hip hop culture.”
           So, according to this professor these confused young men are showing that there is more than one way to be a male and man in this nation.  Really? It does not take a rocket scientist to know that men who are acting as women and given to homosexual proclivities will be taken out as viable candidates for marriage and reproduction decreasing an already shrinking pool of quality black males for females. No sensible woman wants to be in a relationship with a man who wants to wear her dresses and makeup.  It is only another way in which the spirit of Egypt still lives with the declaration from pharaoah to “kill the male infants.”
            Therefore, just as gangster rap primed a whole generation of Black males who imbibed the spirit behind the music for prison and death, the powers that be are once again using rap as the vehicle of destruction of Black males and by extension the Black American family by now advocating and pushing to the forefront Black males who act, behave as and want to be women and or gay.  It is an agenda that is not exclusive to rap but pushed in television such as on the hit TV show Empire and undoubtedly on other shows which I know not of.  Interestingly, Bill Clinton acknowledged in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on May 7, 2015 that the omnibus crime bill he signed into law in 1994 with the three strikes provision resulted in the over-incarceration of people.  Ironically, it became law of the land just as gangster rap was in full steam.  I am sure per that anonymous email cited in my previous article that it did what it was supposed to do and that is fill jail cells with ever more clueless colored faces.
           Lest anyone misunderstand my position, I am not saying that people who commit crimes should not be responsible for their actions and make restitution to society or that people are suddenly devoid of free will because they listen to crappy negative music. But what I am addressing is the spirit behind the people who would promote crass, dumb-downed, criminal flavored lyrics and depictions by its’ artist to youth who are impressionable and in search of someone they can emulate when they are the product of fatherless and broken homes or reside in depressed inner cities.  
          It cannot be contested that American society has steadily exalted dross above gold and promoted bad behavior above that which is good.  It is often the case if you behave contrary to standard morals you will be awarded with publicity, money, a reality TV show and who knows what else.  Ecclesiastes 10:5 sums it up thus:  There is an evil I have seen under the sun, the sort of error that arises from a ruler: Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones. I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves.”  That my friends is a society in the image of the Hunger Games.  This concludes my exposition on Music and Black Americans. The following are examples of dross.

Rich Homie Quan - Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh)

This is dross on "Meth." This guy in this video is a caricature of ridiculousness.  If this is what Black masculinity is headed toward in the future let alone the now all I can hear is Satan saying, "checkmate".  If I did not believe that "greater is he that is in me than is in the world" I would wave the white flag of defeat because this is just depressing.  This concludes my examples of dross. I have polluted this blog enough.

Young Thug "Check" (WSHH Premiere - Official Music Video)

Okay. This is just Dross on steroids. You know we are in a sick society when a sociology professor claims this deranged looking young man who raps like he has cotton in his mouth is hailed as a revolutionary in the challenge of black masculinity.  He continues hip-hop/rap worship at the throne of Satan with the brandishing of money, looking like a tattooed freak and just general ugliness inside and out.

Chief Keef "Sosa Chamberlain" (WSHH Exclusive - Official Music Video)

This is just more "sad" dross.  This young man is brandishing guns in this video. I  don't have a clue what he is saying.  The illiteracy of gangster rap's spawn seemed to have increased ten fold. One could at least understand the old rappers even if it wasn't worth understanding.  Again why would anyone give these people a platform to speak to black youth if they were not about their demise?

Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Doggy Dogg - Nuthin' But A G Thang (Explicit)

This is just more dross where the whole song is about nothing and typically laced with profanity and an ode to alcohol in the street vernacular of "gin and juice".  But it does have a somewhat catchy beat. Once again we see Snoop Dog later promoted in Hollywood to acting gigs.  The message being sent to young black males is if you rap about street life and appearing "hard" and can make  money you will be awarded as only Satan can do with more money.  So now rap is a trajectory to the good life where money is your "god".

N.W.A - Straight Outta Compton [HD] [Music Video]

This is the sad contribution of generation X and the beginning of the exaltation of dross above gold. This rap is a profanity lace ode to callous criminality and one could suppose gang life.  Who on earth would want to advertise the demented mindset of a morally bankrupt community where men are not real men and women namely black women since that is what's in their community are referred to as "bitches and hoes and merely sexualized.  One cannot help but note that like Ice-T, Ice Cube was awarded for his role in degeneracy with Hollywood acting gigs despite not having any real acting chops or ability. But to their credit you can at least understand them.  They are loud, harsh and clear.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Music and Black Americans: The Innocent Avenue To The Pathway Of Destruction Part 4

In my hometown there is the one major Black radio station as I am sure there are in other major cities with a significant Black population that plays your standard Rhythm and Blues songs along with some gospel on Sunday mornings even sometimes a gospel song thrown into the mix of other R and B songs.  It is a peculiarity of Black Americans that I would often wonder about and something I never heard on White Rock stations.  Black Americans can effortlessly shift from a secular song to a gospel song without an apparent cognitive dissonance.  Whereas before I thought it kind of weird, now I can partly understand why that is.  As people of the tribe of Judah music is a major part of who we are and the church from slavery on provided the early expressions of our musical abilities.  Black American voices are like no other in the world. I can recognize Black Americans singing a song or someone mimicking us usually on the first note.  I have heard in church Black men and women do things with their voice that I could never do, but have never heard any other people group do either. The backup singers to any soul group or gospel group are often as talented and melodious as the lead singer.  Pattie LaBelle’s back up singer Debbie Henry comes to mind as an example as well as Cissy Houston mother of Whitney Houston and the singer of that aerial note for Aretha Franklin on Aint No Way.  I have yet to hear someone attempt that note on a remake of that song. 

I recall watching a video once about Motown and one of the musical influences of their sound was from gospel black church music.  It is noted as one of the features of the music that made it distinctive.  In describing the Motown sound on Wikipedia it states, "Crafted with an ear towards pop appeal, the Motown Sound typically used tambourines to accent the back beat prominent and often melodic electric bass-guitar lines, distinctive melodic and chord structures, and a call-and-response singing style that originated in gospel music."  Most tellingly Wiki goes on to say, “Despite the growth of popular music being written and performed by black artists, the songs would not become popular or recognized unless the music was being performed by white performers. However, the Motown Sound became so distinctly unique, making it impossible for white performers to replicate its sound. The "real" Motown Sound became more favorable than the altered, watered-down renditions.”  What in all probability made the Motown sound impossible for white performers to replicate was the call-and-response singing indigenous to gospel music.  That is just something unique to Black gospel and likely ancestrally a part of the people of Judah. 

Aretha Franklin is known as the Queen of Soul but before she was known as that she was a gospel singer in her father’s church.  I had a pastor who grew up in St. Louis and whose father was a pastor as well and he would talk about Aretha and her singing in church and his stories were always quite humorous.  I assume being a preacher’s kid he witnessed many on goings in the Black church but it came across that Aretha’s singing was legendary in the Black Southern Baptist circuit.  So it is somewhat amusing that in her early years she appeared on the Merv Griffin show singing a  Do Right Woman in 1967 and in his introduction he called her “an unusual young singer.”  I’m not really sure what was unusual about her except maybe her gospel style of singing that any Black Baptist consistent church attendee would recognize.  I really came to appreciate Aretha’s musical talent recently as an adult when I discovered more of her songs and the fact that she played the piano and by ear no less.

In the movie biopic Get On Up,  I was surprised to learn that even James Brown was influenced at a young age at least per the movie by Black church singing.  It is intimated that he copied a preacher moves in terms of dance and although the church scene is not one I would associate with Southern Baptist, they made a point to show women in white falling back in the spirit  so I assumed they must have been Pentecostal.  I additionally did not know he begin his career with a gospel group so that once again the church is a major source of inspiration for what would become a legendary singer.  In the movie Ray, Ray Charles incorporation of gospel sounds caused some controversy, but I suppose people got over it.  It may have laid the ground work for singers going between the profane so to speak and the sacred and lend some understanding as to why some Black singers at least from the days of yore would switch between secular to gospel on a dime. 

For example, the Commodores were a R&B group of the 70’s / 80’s  with a compilation of great songs such as Just To Be Close To You, Brick House, Easy Like Sunday Morning et al. , but they also recorded in my opinion one the best gospel songs ever in Jesus Is Love.  The fact that they were secular artist did nothing to mitigate Lionel’s Richie ability to pen and sing one of their best song’s that could easily bring a tear to the eye.  Well, that must have done it for Satan and his little helper’s.  They could not have these artist singing about Jesus when they needed to get rid of Black Americans and the easy slide for the early R&B singers from the mainstream back to their gospel roots needed to be whittled away.  So the gold had to go and the dross of toxic criminal rap music had to be made the face of Black American music.  The following below are some examples of what I deem to be gold. I am as yet undecided about showing examples of dross.

Jesus Is Love

This is platinum.  Never more of an example of the gifts and call of God being without repentance.  Do the children ever need the help of the Father as we are as sheep without a shepherd and have fallen deep on the side of the road.  So I end with my brief examples of Gold.  Truly there are too many for me to be comprehensive, but I think the casual or attentive reader should get the idea.

To God always,

The Glory

Aretha Franklin - Tribute Whitney Houston - NYC 2014

Aretha Franklin's even at her age still has the flicker of gold.  This song although a dedication to Whitney, I dedicate to my sister in remembrance of her own church singing as a part of Oliver Scott and New Wine in the days of Joy Tabernacle pastored by Michael P. Williams who told many a funny story about church people and with a story or two about Aretha.  He used to say there was more mess in the choir and when Satan fell in He fell straight in the choir.  I wouldn't know. I was never in choirs but I did enjoy their work ethic.  Aretha's gospel roots one can tell are just a part of her being and those backup singers harmonizing as only black women can.  I was just impressed when she told somebody to give her a key and I was thinking how did he know what key to give? Did he just pick one out of the hat? Well much prayer for Cissy Houston and her family in the wake of Bobbi Kristina's misfortune.  I thought it kind of odd how out all the people Whitney shared a stage with, Aretha chose Amy Whinehouse who also passed away to picture with Whitney. 

Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You

Every person who has heard this song know that it is the standard by which a many a young girl would aspire to imitate.  Dolly Parton wrote a beautiful song, but as I said when Black Americans remake a song and they are gifted musically. it sounds totally different.  It's metal status of gold is without question.  Of course like many others Whitney's beginnings were in a church.  There is nothing more integral to a black church congregation than singing.  As with Luther, I hope that Whitney is with the Lord.  She was another one of those once in a lifetime voices. She had five bags of gold for talent.

Luther Vandross - A House Is Not A Home

This is just Platinum.  When Black people remake a song or at least I think this is a remake it takes on a whole new life if you have the singing chops and Luther had it all the way.  He just had a beautiful voice a once in a life time kind of voice and I believe he was a back up singer at one time too.  He is the one singer I missed seeing live and I would that I could go back in time because I definitely go to his concert.  It my sincere hope that he is present with the Lord.

Switch-I Call Your Name

Gold all the way.  I loved this song as a kid. My sister and I used to sing to this LP. I of course could not hit those high falsetto notes of what I thought was Bobby Debarge.  My sister was the better singer so she did a better job.  This group was scary talented although they didn't last long.  With the familiar refrain they sang in the church too.

Patti Labelle - You are my Friend

This is almost beyond gold and an example of having awesome back up singers. Debbie is clearly a church singer.  She has a timbre to her voice that I really can't describe but am sure I could not dare sing.  She's what I mean by Black women and men doing things with their voice that I've never heard mimicked.  I saw Patti in concert one year at the Essence festival and thoroughly appreciated her showmanship.  You can see how she flowed from the song about her friend to singing about Jesus.

The O'Jays Live - Stairway to Heaven (1976)

This is just gold.  The performance of this song is laced with the subtle gospel influence all the way down to Eddie's "walk with me, talk with me" which many Black preachers would say toward the end of a rousing sermon. What's funny is the people were hollering at the end like they were in church.  Only Black folk. Unfortunately, the mean ole people at Warner Chappelle had this video taken down. It was great piece of musical Black American history. Why can't record companies ax hideous rap music of today. Nope, they will leave that trifling stuff up.

Marvin Gaye - What's Going On

Can there be any doubt that this song is gold?  If there were too many of us dying at that time, there are more of us dying today.  The artistry and musicianship of this song is just classic.