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Black History Month: A Convict's Perspective, Pt 1: Longtime incarcerated California rap artist X-Raided offers his perspective

Posted by Billyjam, February 10, 2009 03:05pm | Post a Comment
Black History Month – A Convict’s Perspective By Aneraé “X-Raided” Brown

As a 34 year old incarcerated African-American male, as a hip-hop artist, and as a human being, I can unequivocally say Black History Month has a deeper meaning to me now than it ever did, any prior year. You see, I am a California boy, a real child of the 80’s. You know, Reaganomics, Oliver North, Freeway Rick, Manuel Noriega… no Rick Ross. I am the fabled crack baby. A boy who became a teen during what some argue was one of the roughest, most dangerous periods in U.S. history. I turned 14 in 1988, a black boy, a fledgling member of the notorious Crip gang, trying to learn how to fly, in the wrong direction, unknowingly, with lead wings. Pistols, cocaine, HIV/AIDS, the Cold War; how those things became the concerns of a 14 year old, who, according to a paternal grandmother named Jesse Mae Martin, of Mobile, Alabama, had “the bright eyes of an old man and an old soul,” God only knows. A boy who learned by what he decried, I was an impressionable teen absorbing the teachings that emanated from the conditions I saw on a daily basis, which included police brutality, the devastation of the gang and crack epidemics on the black community, and an overall fear and disdain of both white people and law enforcement, issues with were largely ignored by the mainstream media. The only journalistic reports being published that addressed these matters to reach my eyes and ears were coming to me in the form of hip-hop music, videos, movies and magazines: Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing; Yo! MTV Raps; The Source magazine; In Living Color; and the strongest voices of all, which came from a few little groups you may have heard of that went by the names of Public Enemy, NWA, and the Geto Boys. They were, to the streets, what The Beatles were to white folk. What James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye were to older black folk. They were the voices of our generation. Chuck D and Ice Cube’s voices are as recognizable to us as Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s are to, say, a Baby Boomer, for perspective.  "Fight the Power," "Fu*k the Police" -- you know Chuck D and Ice Cube’s voices and the sounds of Dr. Dre and The Bomb Squad, even if you do not know their names and faces.

Continue reading...

The Great Black North

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 10, 2009 12:56pm | Post a Comment

One fact that’s widely overlooked during Black History Month is that it’s not only Black History Month in the US. Besides having the stated aim of highlighting the contributions to human history made by the entire black diaspora, BHM is simultaneously observed in Canada. People who've never been to Canada may not believe that black people live there. While it's true that the black Canadian population is minute compared to the black American populartion both in terms of numbers and percentage, black Canadians have contributed significantly to Canada's mostly overlooked music scene and their contributions are surely worth honoring (oops! ...honouring). [Special thanks goes to MuchMusic].


Dream Warriors - Wash Your Face in My Sink


Maestro Fresh Wes - Let Your Backbone Slide

Interspersed with exemplars of black Canadian musical contributions, allow me to ponder the controversies surrounding terminology used to discuss black Canadians and hopefully in the process shed a little light on history. No doubt we'll never come to a consensus on what's the most accurate/least offensive/least ridiculous terminology, but just thinking and talking about it is worthwhile far as I'm concerned... or at least fun.


Oscar Peterson - Waltz For Debby

Sweaters

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 10, 2009 12:05pm | Post a Comment
Sweaters were a big deal in the 80's. Obviously black artists did not have a monopoly on outrageous sweater covers -- see early 80's Cheap Trick for some serious sweater related catasrophes. However, I must say that there's a ton of soul, funk & R&B covers featuring various knit jobs. Bunny DeBarge takes the cake, if you ask me. How many of you could pull off a full skyline pattern???
Bunny DeBarge in love lp coverbill withers something that turns you on lp coverCameo word up lp coverBunny DeBarge in love back lp cover
eugene wilder lp covermauirice white lp coverisaac hayes u-turn lp coverthe best of johnny mathis 1975-1980 lp cover
patti labelle it's alright with me lp coverloose ends a little spice lp coverkool and the gang emergency lp coverpatti labelle it's alright with me lp insert
force m.d.'s love letters coverthe fit just havin' fun lp covermidnight star s/t lp back cover4 by four lp cover
Patti Labelle
looks like she's wearing a snuggie. I don't know which look I like better on the Force M.D.'s- the ultra preppy sweater vest action we have here or the giant fur coats they wear on the
Chillin' album.
dazz band on the one lp covero'jays love fever lp coverquincy jones purple sweater innner sleevetavares new directions lp cover

ANTI RECORDS ALSO CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Posted by Billyjam, February 4, 2009 08:38pm | Post a Comment
booker t
The Amoeblog section of the Amoeba Music website is by no means the only blog recognizing and celebrating Black History Month in 2009. Over on ANTI- Records' blog they have an insightful, well-written piece reflecting on Black History Month penned by Booker T. Jones that was posted earlier today. And the musician / author of the blog knows what he is talking about. With a long history of living outside racial boundaries Booker T. and the MGs had both black and white members at a time when much of the country was integrating only under the protection of the National Guard; Booker T.'s was the perfect voice to bring attention to Black History Month on the Anti blog.

Read Booker T.'s insightful and hopeful essay by clicking here and check back on the ANTI blog this month where, like us here at the Amoeblog, they are celebrating Black History Month with music related blogs, all penned by African American recording artists. Upcoming blogs will include Bettye LaVette writing about Barack Obama, Mavis Staples on the the power of music to both heal and communicate, and Solillaquists of Sound's Swamburger talks of his experiences as a black male and a black artist.

(In which we consider Michael Ian Black.)

Posted by Job O Brother, February 2, 2009 06:17pm | Post a Comment
michael ian black
Michael Ian Black

Lately I’ve been listening to and watching a lot of Michael Ian Black. So when the Amoegods* let it be known that we Amoebloggers might consider posting some musings celebrating Black History Month, I thought, “How fortuitous!” For nothing says Black History Month more than uproarious comic Michael Ian Black.

Like most people who are exactly like me, my introduction to Mr. Black came in the form of beloved sketch comedy show The State. Because Mtv is run by terrorists who hate America, however, you younger generations haven’t been able to enjoy The State on DVD, but must settle for choppy YouTube clips like the one below, in which the aforementioned Mr. Black plays the concerned home-owner.


Most fans of The State carry with them a sense of desperation and compulsion to seek out any projects to which a former The State cast member signs his or her name to (i.e., Reno 911, The Ten, the Oklahoma City bombing, etc.). This blog entry isn’t for them, because I’m going to showcase things they already know. If you qualify as a fan of The State, why not click on this link and enjoy reading this instead

Now that we’ve gotten rid of those losers, let’s you and I learn a little more about Michael Ian Black and his contributions to comedy. Take notes and pay close attention, because I’m not going to repeat myself and you’re never to read this post again.

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