Classic Music & Movie Reviews/MultiCultural Blogger
What I’m Listening to?
The group called "The Fifth Dimension" had a harmonic sound equivalent to "The Mama's and The Papa's." The only real difference between them was that "The Fifth Dimension" had more soul in their music (in my opinion). One reason I loved The Fifth Dimensions, was the fact that they sang a range of different types of music; including jazz. The lead singer was Marilyn McCoo. She had one of those distinct voices; when she sang, you knew immediately who it was. To my understanding, McCoo left the group in the mid 1970s. Interesting that all of my favorite hits seem to all have Marilyn McCoo in them. My number one favorite is "Aquarius (1969)," "Up Up and Away (1967)," "Wedding Bell Blues (1969)," "(Last Night) I Didn't Get To Sleep At All (1972)," and "Go Where You Wanna Go (1969)".

The group called "The Fifth Dimension" had a harmonic sound equivalent to "The Mama's and The Papa's." The only real difference between them was that "The Fifth Dimension" had more soul in their music (in my opinion). One reason I loved The Fifth Dimensions, was the fact that they sang a range of different types of music; including jazz. The lead singer was Marilyn McCoo. She had one of those distinct voices; when she sang, you knew immediately who it was. To my understanding, McCoo left the group in the mid 1970s. Interesting that all of my favorite hits seem to all have Marilyn McCoo in them. My favorite number one hits are the following: "Aquarius (1969)," "Up Up and Away (1967)," "Wedding Bell Blues (1969)," "(Last Night) I Didn't Get To Sleep At All (1972)," and "Go Where You Wanna Go (1969)".

Though Joe Simon had quite a few hits in the 70's, I only liked very few of them. His rhythm is the same for almost all his music it seemed.  I used to confuse him a lot with Percy Sledge, because both of their voices sounded so much a like. The only difference between them I think is, when Percy tries to hit those high notes, he sounds like he is singing from the back of his neck (I hated that). However, Joe Simon actually sings, and he doesn't necessarily try to over do it for his audience; and that is the kind of performance I can appreciate. My favorite songs are "Chok'n Kind (1969)," and the theme song for the movie "Cleopatra Jones (1973)." I really love Cleopatra Jones I guess it's because it came from the blaxploitation era. There also was a song called "Music In My Bones (1975)."

Though Joe Simon had quite a few hits in the 70's, I only liked very few of them. His rhythm is the same for almost all his music it seemed. I used to confuse him a lot with Percy Sledge, because both of their voices sounded so much a like. The only difference between them I think is, when Percy tries to hit those high notes, he sounds like he is singing from the back of his neck (I hated that). However, Joe Simon actually sings, and he doesn't necessarily try to over do it for his audience; and that is the kind of performance I can appreciate. My favorite songs are "Chok'n Kind (1969)," and the theme song for the movie "Cleopatra Jones (1973)." I really love Cleopatra Jones I guess it's because it came from the blaxploitation era. There also was a song called "Music In My Bones (1975)." © 2014 / Yogi

I loved Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. Actually, I should say, I loved Teddy Pendergrass in HM & TBN. Having said that, I realized two things I took issue with concerning this group. First, whilst the group was officially called "Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes", Teddy Pendergrass has always been the lead singer for 90% of all their hit songs.  Second, They never really acknowledged him in any of their albums (that I'm aware of); they didn't at least print the words "featured Teddy P" on any of the albums I own. I guess that's one of the reasons Teddy went solo. Not that the entire group wasn't talented, but, let's be serious here, after Teddy left the group, it was curtains for the group entirely. I shouldn't be surprised. The Commodores career died the same way after Lionel Ritchie left the group. Thank goodness they have all those royalties to  fall back on. My most favorite, and probably the their biggest hit is called "Bad Luck (1975)" and "If You Don't Know Me By Now (1972)" and "The Love I Lost (1973).

I loved Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. Actually, I should say, I loved Teddy Pendergrass in HM & TBN. Having said that, I realized two things I took issue with concerning this group. First, whilst the group was officially called "Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes", Teddy Pendergrass has always been the lead singer for 90% of all their hit songs. Second, They never really acknowledged him in any of their albums (that I'm aware of); they didn't at least print the words "featured Teddy P" on any of the original albums I own (not including the best of). I guess that's one of the reasons Teddy went solo. Not that the entire group wasn't talented, but, let's be serious here, after Teddy left the group, it was curtains for the group entirely. I shouldn't be surprised. The Commodores career died the same way after Lionel Ritchie left the group. Thank goodness they have all those royalties to fall back on. My most favorite, and probably the their biggest hit is called "Bad Luck (1975)" and "If You Don't Know Me By Now (1972)" and "The Love I Lost (1973)". © 2014

To be honest, I've never really been a Nat King Cole fan, his music just wasn't my cup of tea. His style of singing was more like a Black version of Lawrence Welk. Although I was listening to one song today I forgot he sang, and it appears to be the only song from him I really like, and it's called Unforgettable (1954). This song "unforgettable is clearly nostalgic, and each time I hear it I go through childhood flash backs when my grandpa used to listen to it. The only other music I used to like from him was his xmas music. Come to think about it, that may have been the problem as to why I didn't like his music; I've always associated his voice with xmas. He could have sang a song about a bicycle  and it would still sound like xmas.

To be honest, I've never really been a Nat King Cole fan, his music just wasn't my cup of tea. His style of singing was more like a Black version of Lawrence Welk. Although I was listening to one song today I forgot he sang, and it appears to be the only song from him I really like, and it's called "Unforgettable (1954)". This song "unforgettable" is clearly nostalgic, and each time I hear the song it invokes childhood flash backs when my grandpa used to listen to it. The only other music I used to like from him was his xmas music. Come to think about it, that may have been the problem as to why I didn't like his music; I've always associated his voice with xmas. He could have sang a song about a bicycle and it would still sound like xmas. ©2014/VintageNewscast

I absolutely love James Taylor's music. His music is the kind of music you would listen to, to relax your mind from a ruff day. I consider his genre of music "easy listening/modern folk". The mood of his music and tempo is similar to Jim Croce.  James Taylor is another artist that looks nothing like himself as he got older. However, he still has that same smooth soothing voice. James has been around musically for a very long time, and continues to have a long successful  career. If you're not a member of Rhapsody or Spotify, your better off finding one of his greatest albums. My favorite hits are "Carolina In My Mind (1968)", "Fire And Rain (1970)", "You've Got A Friend (1971)" (I also like Carole Kings Version too), "Handyman (1977)", "Shower The People (1976)", and "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You (1975)"

I absolutely love James Taylor's music. His music is the kind of music you would listen to, to relax your mind from a ruff day. I consider his genre of music "easy listening/modern folk". The mood of his music and tempo is similar to Jim Croce. James Taylor is another artist that looks nothing like himself as he got older. However, he still has that same smooth soothing voice. James has been around musically for a very long time, and continues to have a long successful career.
If you're not a member of Rhapsody or Spotify, your better off finding one of his greatest hits albums.Please note, if you're not in to folk music, chances are you will not like James Taylor's music. My favorite hits are "Fire And Rain (1970)", "You've Got A Friend (1971)" (I also like Carole Kings Version too), "Handyman (1977)", "Shower The People (1976)", and "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You (1975)"

I could be wrong about this but, I'm going to be bold enough and say, anybody younger than 20 years of age probably never heard of the Osmonds. According to Wikipedia, the Osmonds started performing around 1958, and still continues to perform today. To be honest, I only like 3 songs out of their entire career, but I think these songs are great enough to mention on my blog. When they started performing, they started off with "Lawrence Welk" type of music (which I find very BORING unfortunately), but when Donny Osmond was added to the group, they obviously became the "Jackson 5 sound-a-likes". When they released a song called "One Bad Apple (1971)", every single person (even till today) mistaken them for The Jackson 5. Later on, I guys as Donny grow older and passed puberty, he no longer had that same "Jackson 5 magic", then the next thing we new, the Osmonds were singing country (and pretty much been their type of music ever since). I remember as a young kid, I used to watch their TV show called "Donny & Marie" in the late 70's. Unfortunately, thi show was boring as all hell. This show was so boring, I would not even tell you to rented on Netflix, it's that boring. I've noticed that Marie is like a male version of Dick Clark, this bitch will not grow old for nothing LOL! She still looks fabulous after all these years, and I don't remember reading about any plastic surgeries either click here. Well, after they gone country, there were only two other songs I liked from them, and they were "I'm leaving It Up To You", and "Love Me For A Reason".

I could be wrong about this but, I'm going to be bold enough and say, anybody younger than 20 years of age probably never heard of the Osmonds. According to Wikipedia, the Osmonds started performing around 1958, and still continues to perform today. To be honest, I only like 3 songs out of their entire career, but I think these songs are great enough to mention on my blog. When they started performing, they started off with "Lawrence Welk" type of music (which I find very BORING unfortunately), but when Donny Osmond was added to the group, they obviously became the "Jackson 5 sound-a-likes". Yet when we watched them perform on TV they looked more like the first Menudo. When they released a song called "One Bad Apple (1971)", every single person (even till today) mistaken them for The Jackson 5. Later on, I guys as Donny grow older and passed puberty, he no longer had that same "Jackson 5 magic", then the next thing we knew, the Osmonds transitioned to singing country (and pretty much stayed with that genre of music ever since). I remember as a young kid, I used to watch their TV show called "Donny & Marie" in the late 70's. Unfortunately, this show was boring as all hell. This show was so boring, I would not even tell you to rented on Netflix, it's that boring. I've noticed that Marie is like a male version of Dick Clark, this bitch will not grow old for nothing LOL! She still looks absolutely fabulous after all these years (better than all her brothers), and I don't remember reading about any plastic surgeries either click here, in fact she almost looks like Valerie Bertinelli (from One Day At A Time). Well, after they gone country, there were only two other songs I liked from them, and they were "I'm leaving It Up To You", and "Love Me For A Reason". Update: I couldn't find any official news on Youtube so far about any work done to her face, but I read a few articles on the net about face lifts. I'm skeptical because a lot of them came from gossip sites and "plastic surgery sites" which are notorious for making celebrities appear to endorse something. The other thing is, she had a tremendous weight loss, which can alter facial features significantly, as well as make you look younger. I did see a video that stated she had an obsession with trying to look younger, so I guess it is likely she had something done. If she did have something done, thank goodness she didn't go overboard. there are some celebs that have faces that look like plastic now. ©2014

Yes guys! Believe it or not, I like Paul Anka's music too! Like I've said I'm musically diverse. I bet my younger blog fans probably have never heard of Paul Anka (unless you've heard your grand parents play his songs). Mr. Anka was one of those teen heartthrobs that girls used to scream their heads off for. Personally, I didn't think he was all that handsome, but I did and still do like some of his music. If you see the way he looks now you would never think he was the same person. Growing up, I remembered my grandfather  jamming to a long called "Diana". This was a very catchy and infectious tone back then; and even as a small child, I remember singing this all over the place. There were two more favorites of mine, the first is called "Put Your Head On My Shoulders", which was a huge hit in 1968. The other song is "Puppy love". © 2014

Yes guys! Believe it or not, I like Paul Anka's music too! Like I've said before I'm musically diverse. But how many of my younger blog fans actually heard of Paul Anka (unless you've heard your grand parents play his songs maybe)? Mr. Anka was one of those teen heartthrobs that girls used to scream their heads off for. Personally, I didn't think he was all that handsome, but I did and still do like some of his music. If you see the way Mr. Anka looks now you would never think he was the same person. Growing up, I remembered my grandfather jamming to one of his songs called "Diana". Here is the first original version, however, I like his remake better when he was older. This was a very catchy and infectious tone back then; and even as a small child, I remember singing this all over the place. There were three more favorites of mine, the first is called "Put Your Head On My Shoulders", which was a huge hit in 1968. Also song "Puppy love" and "Lonely Boy". I liked only boy, because it was one of the few sad songs you heard that had an up beat tempo. © 2014

I really love the temp of many of Gregory Isaacs's music. R.I.P. Although his sometimes nasally voice in some of his music gets a little annoying at times. However, one of his biggest hits called "Night Nurse (1982) was the exception to the rule. I love this song so much. I also think he did a remake with Lady Saw. I don't like Lady Saw's music at all, but I loved the collaboration with this particular song. Gregory has been around musically for a long time, and has had a long healthy music career before his passing a few years back. Some of these hits were "No Speech (1991)", "Each Day (2001)", and "Willow Tree (1995)" just to name a few. Just to give you a fair warning, a lot of his very early 70's reggae albums tend to sound a lot a like. However, I think my older Caribbean blog members can appreciate his music.

I really love the temp of many of Gregory Isaacs's music. R.I.P. Although his sometimes nasally voice in some of his music gets a little annoying at times. However, one of his biggest hits called "Night Nurse (1982)" was the exception to the rule. I love this song so much. I also think he did a remake with Lady Saw. I don't like Lady Saw's music at all, but I loved the collaboration with this particular song. Gregory has been around musically for a long time, and has had a long healthy music career before his passing a few years back. Some of these hits were "No Speech (1991)", "Each Day (2001)", and "Willow Tree (1995)" just to name a few. The "Willow Tree" has been remade by so many reggae artists, but I think the original singer was Elton Ellis. Just to give you a fair warning, a lot of his very early 70's reggae albums tend to sound a lot a like. However, I think my older Caribbean blog members can appreciate his music.

Rap is one type of music I rarely listen to know-a-days, because the quality of rap has really tanked over the last 20+ or so years. We've gone from "saying no to drugs" to glorifying anything that degrades women, and total disregard for respect, and a host of other things. I will say this, I will not get in to a long winded speech as to whether or not rap is an art form or not. I think this is a separate issue in terms of the quality of rap being played to day, and the o' so willing record companies willing to promote negative rap. I digress. Now, don't get wrong, rap was always about the rappers telling their story about the streets, however, it was very different in the 80's. In terms of rap, I don't really listen to anything else past bubble gum 80's, and maybe a few 90's stuff. Lately, I have been grooving to a old 2 man group called EPMD. One of the two named Erik Sermon wasn't particularly handsome, but he had beautiful eyes. It kinda kept me watching their videos, because his facial features were so unique. I kinda forget just how long they've been around. The first rap they did that drove me crazy was a song called "It's My Thing (1988)". This song had a sick beat, and most importantly, I understood what he was saying! It had a funk/James Brown kinda beat that I absolutely loved. Other favorites are "You Gots To Chill (1988)", "The Big Payback (1991)" and Your A Customer (1991)"

Rap is one type of music I rarely listen to now-a-days, because the quality of rap has really tanked over the last 20+ or so years. We've gone from "saying no to drugs" to glorifying anything that degrades women, and total disregard for respect, and a host of other things. I will say this, I will not get in to a long winded speech as to whether or not rap is an art form or not. I think this is a separate issue in terms of the quality of rap being played to day, and the o' so willing record companies willing to promote negative rap. I digress. Now, don't get wrong, rap was always about the rappers telling their story about the streets, however, it was very different in the 80's. In terms of rap, I don't really listen to anything else past bubble gum 80's, and maybe a few 90's stuff. Lately, I have been grooving to a old 2 man group called EPMD. One of the two named Erik Sermon wasn't particularly handsome, but he had beautiful eyes. It kinda kept me watching their videos, because his facial features were so unique. I used to mistaken Parrish Smith for Coolio a lot. I kinda forget just how long they've been around. The first rap they did that drove me crazy was a song called "It's My Thing (1988)". This song had a sick beat, and most importantly, I understood what he was saying! Other favorites are "You Gots To Chill (1988)", "The Big Payback (1991)" this song had a funk/James Brown kinda beat which I loved, and everyone could dance to this rap too, and "Your A Customer (1991)".

BLACK-IN-THE-DAY

boogalo

Do you remember when guys used to wear feather earrings? I do. In fact, I remember an old hip-hop movie that helped made feather earrings so popular. It was called Breakin2 (1984)/Electric Boogalo. One of the actors in the movie, played a character named B-boy Bozo (or something like that). Quinones character wore all kinds of feather earrings. Actually his whole style was very different and unique from all the other actors in the movie. The movie has changed 80′s fashion in such a huge way; if you pay very close attention to the movie, you’ll notice that Adolfo’s style of dress appear in Michael Jackson’s Bad video. I also remember guys wearing ear cuff links too. Ear cuff links were more like ornaments than earrings. They only sold them as singles in stead of pairs. I was not fond of those ear cuff links, mostly because they hurt like bloody murder :-) . They always felt like there were coming off my ear, and I would continue to squeeze and the edges of the earring wind up digging my skin, causing bruises. At that point, I realize it was just best to pierce my ears. The last really popular earrings I remember was the “T-spoon” earrings. Many High schools band these earrings because a lot of people used them to snort coke. So the earrings made you an easy target whether you were on drugs or not.

© 2013 Yogi / VintageNewscast.com

jim-kelly_3Yes sexy *ss 70′s martial arts actor James Milton Kelly, also known as Jim Kelly has died a few days ago at the age of  67. Yup, it’s true. Many of you who are hardcore martial arts, and or blaxploitation fans should be familiar with Jim Kelly already. I didn’t even realize he died until a friend told me. Sigh. Not only did I think he was really handsome growing up; I also admired him because he was the only person of color (that I’ve seen/can remember) doing serious martial arts on film as part of his career. Well, at least as close to martial arts as he’d get. His style of fighting on film was more like, “trying not to get bruised for the ladies” type of fighting. However, I heard he used to like to do his own stunts, and film directors would normally cringe at the thought of a lead actor doing his or her stunts. I guess at the suggestions of most directors, the result of avoiding these stunts, gave Jim the appearance that he didn’t want to really fight in many of the films he made.  Unfortunately, this was especially true for blaxploitation film makers at the time. Although blaxploitation was huge in the 70′s, it wasn’t big enough to cover all the liability costs that can incur. Because Kelly performed most of his martial arts in blaxploitation movies, it kinda left many fans to interpret some of his acting as, pretty boy; yet masculine; karate/street fighter mixed; don’t want to injure himself type of fight.

Many of you also may remember him from his VERY short appearance in “Enter The Dragon (1973)”. I gotta say, I was disappointed when they killed him off so quickly in the movie, but then again, Bruce Lee was the star of the movie :-) . Then again, even Angela Mao had such a small part in the movie too, I didn’t even know she was in it, until one day I saw the cast names, and I had to watch the movie again. Now, you guys know how much I love Angela Mao, tumblr_m04mt9HYg61qcqtduo1_500she had to have had a REALLY small part for me to watch the movie again. LOL. John Saxon was also a big name in the movie, you may remember him from a couple of appearances on “The Bionic Woman”. “Enter The Dragon” is one of THE classic movies of all times, I think. But I do think it would have been an even bigger hit, if Bruce would have let Jim, Angela, and John fight just as hard as he did in the movie. In retrospect, I now think Bruce was only using their names to draw people to see the movie, just thought he made a big mistake by not capitalizing on their martial arts skills. Granted, Jim Kelly was no were near as good as Bruce, in terms of martial arts ability, but it would have made the movie all the more exciting :-) .

From what I’ve  read, Jim Kelly’s wife said that the cause of his death was cancer, however, she did not get in to more detail than that. Although Jim did not have a long filmography, he did make big contributions (along with many others) to the martial arts film community, and helped make martial arts the popular art form it is today. Jim Kelly is also best known for “The Tattoo Connection (1978)”, “Black Belt Jones (1974)”, and “Black Samurai(1977)”. He will be missed.

© 2013 Yogi / Vintagenewscast.com

AfroGrowing up in the mid seventies, I remember hair being one of the most important topics in black community. As a young kid, I was consistently told “boy, you got good hair; were you’re family from?” It was funny because another big thing I remember growing up was that, if you were considered to have “good hair”, it was then immediately assumed you had “Cherokee Indian” in your family (especially if you had naturally curly or wavy hair) ROTF! I remember being in grandma’s kitchen, and seeing for the first time, my aunt sporting a full on afro. I was such in awe, because I couldn’t believe how it was possible that one human being could get her hair so perfect! I mean, there was absolutely no imperfection with my aunt’s afro. No swerves, no dents, no loose strands, no nothing! It was just amazing to see. I realized then just how important having good hair really was to black folk in the 70′s. As I got older I also recognized something else, that the good hair/bad hair mentality further perpetuated the light skin/dark skin social issues we had at the time, which continued to about the mid 80′s I think. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve always had  these issues, but the good hair/bad hair seemed to have added a more complex level, the the already complex issue of light and dark skin. At one time, light skin and dark skin people were damn near segregated amongst each other. Everybody wanted a light skinned person, because there were seen as most likely to be educated and better looking. The only exception to that rule, is if you were a dark skinned person with good hair. I am not making this stuff up. All of my young readers, ask your parents, and grand parents, they will tell you.

I really hated this strong emphasis on hair a lot because, I guess ’cause I was a young kid, women in particular always had this thing where they MUST touch your hair to see how good it was! It was like women had this unofficial “good hair/bad hair test mechanism” using their four fingers. I’m not sure if it was different for girls, but speaking as a young boy, women (often times without even permission; it was like a calling) would proceed to dip their middle finger in my scalp, and work their way from the back to the front of my head. If their fingers could glide through my hair without finding any knots in my hair, I was deemed as having good hair LOL. Hair was so important back then that, you could party all night, go directly to work, smell funky as hell from all the dancing (Right Guard spray was huge in the seventies, and it made sweaty arms smell worse when an extra layer was applied.. LOL), but most did not care, so long as they’re hair and the rest of your appearance looked good, they were good.

I remember grandma’s house would to stay smelling of hot curling iron’s, hot combs, and Hot pics. I guess even today hair is still just as important. However, I think the difference today is, when a person sees someone with nice hair, they usually look at the whole package now, rather then using the hair to predict or prejudge someone’s intellectual, genetic, or even how successful they may be, solely on the basis of hair.

© 2013 Yogi / VintageNewscast.com

 

 

The Negro Digest” was first published during WW2 around 1942-43 by John H. Johnson. He was born in 1918 and died around 2005. Johnson was the son of 2 slaves, and eventually grew up to be the founder of both Jet & Ebony Magazines, as well as Fashion Fair. What’s interesting is that, I read somewhere that he repeated the 8th grade, and this was not because he was left back, but because there were no negro high school were he was living at the time. Who would have ever thought that his publishing company, would become the number one African American publishing company in the world! They say he was most remembered for his 1955 decision to publish pictures of Emmett Till’s open casket. For those who do not know, Emmett was a 14 year old boy who was visiting Mississippi to see some relatives. A Caucasian woman accused Emmett of whistling at her (which was a big no no at that time), and as a result, he was beaten beyond recognition by the KKK (if I am not mistaken).  If you want to read more on Emmett (warning… photo is graphic! However, it is the unfortunate truth of what it was to be black in the not so long ago 1950′s) click here.

Yogi

 

 

Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor

Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III (December 2, 1940 – December 10, 2005) was an American comedian, actor, and writer. Pryor was known for his unflinching examinations of racism and customs in modern life, and was renowned for his frequent use of colorful, vulgar, and profane language and racial epithets. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style. He is widely regarded as one of the most important stand-up comedians of all time: Jerry Seinfeld called Pryor “The Picasso of our profession”; Bob Newhart has called Pryor “the seminal comedian of the last 50 years.”

His body of work includes such concert movies and recordings as Richard Pryor: Live and Smokin’ (1971), That Nigger’s Crazy (1974), …Is It Something I Said? (1975), Bicentennial Nigger (1976), Richard Pryor: Live in Concert (1979), Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip (1982), and Richard Pryor: Here and Now (1983). He also starred in numerous films as an actor, usually in comedies such as Silver Streak, but occasionally in dramatic roles, such as Paul Schrader’s film Blue Collar and roles like Gus Gorman in Superman III (1983). He collaborated on many projects with actor Gene Wilder. He won an Emmy Award in 1973, and five Grammy Awards in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1981, and 1982. In 1974, he also won two American Academy of Humor awards and the Writers Guild of America Award.

Born in Springfield, Illinois, Pryor grew up in Peoria in his grandmother’s brothel, where his mother, Gertrude Leona (née Thomas), practiced prostitution. His father, LeRoy “Buck Carter” Pryor was a former bartender, boxer, and World War II veteran who worked as his wife’s pimp. After his mother abandoned him when he was ten, he was raised primarily by his grandmother Marie Carter, a violent woman who would beat him for any of his eccentricities.

He was expelled from school at the age of 14. His first professional performance was playing drums at a night club. Pryor served in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1960, but spent virtually the entire stint in an army prison. According to a 1999 profile about Pryor in The New Yorker, Pryor was incarcerated for an incident that occurred while stationed in Germany. Annoyed that a white soldier was a bit too amused at the racially charged sections of Douglas Sirk’s movie Imitation of Life, Pryor and some other black soldiers beat and stabbed the white soldier, though not fatally. According to Live on Sunset Boulevard, when he was nineteen, he worked at a Mafia-owned nightclub as the MC. On hearing that they would not pay a stripper, he attempted to hold up the owners with a cap pistol. The owners, amazingly enough, thought he was joking and were greatly amused.

During this time, Pryor’s girlfriend gave birth to a girl named Renee. Years later, however, he found out that she was not his child. In 1960, he married Patricia Price and they had one child together, Richard, Jr. (his first child and first son). They divorced in 1961.

In 1963, Pryor moved to New York City and began performing regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. On one of his first nights, he opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone at New York’s Village Gate. Simone recalls Pryor’s bout of performance anxiety:

“He shook like he had malaria, he was so nervous. I couldn’t bear to watch him shiver, so I put my arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down. The next night was the same, and the next, and I rocked him each time.”

Inspired by Bill Cosby, Pryor began as a middlebrow comic, with material far less controversial than what was to come. Soon, he began appearing regularly on television variety shows, such as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show. His popularity led to success as a comic in Las Vegas. The first five tracks on the 2005 compilation CD Evolution/Revolution: The Early Years (1966–1974), recorded in 1966 and 1967, capture Pryor in this era.

Open Source: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Pryor

 

JAMES EARL JONES

JAMES EARL JONES

Jones had his acting career beginnings at the Ramsdell Theatre in Manistee, Michigan. In 1953 he was a stage carpenter. During the 1955 – 1957 seasons he was an actor and stage manager. He performed his first portrayal of Shakespeare’s Othello in this theater in 1955.

His first film role was as a young and trim Lt. Lothar Zogg, the B-52 bombardier in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb in 1964, which was more famous for the work of Peter Sellers and Slim Pickens. His first big role came with his portrayal of boxer Jack Jefferson in the film version of the Broadway play The Great White Hope, which was based on the life of boxer Jack Johnson. For his role, Jones was nominated Best Actor by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, making him the second African-American male performer (following Sidney Poitier) to receive a nomination.

In 1969, Jones participated in making test films for a proposed children’s television series called Sesame Street; these shorts, combined with animated segments, were shown to groups of children to gauge the effectiveness of the then-groundbreaking Sesame Street format. As cited by production notes included in the DVD release Sesame Street: Old School 1969-1974, the short that had the greatest impact with test audiences was one showing bald-headed Jones counting slowly to ten. This and other segments featuring Jones were eventually aired as part of the Sesame Street series itself when it debuted later in 1969 and Jones is often cited as the first celebrity guest on that series, although a segment with Carol Burnett was the first to actually be broadcast.

In the early 1970s, James appeared with Diahann Carroll in a film called Claudine, the story of a woman who raises her six children alone after two failed marriages and one “almost” marriage. Ruppert, played by Jones, is a garbage man who has deep problems of his own. The couple somehow overcomes each other’s pride and stubbornness and gets married.

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Booker T. Washington

On October 16, after an afternoon meeting at the White House with Booker T. Washington, President Theodore Roosevelt informally invited Washington to remain and eat dinner with him, making Washington the first black American to dine at the White House with the president. A furor arose over the social implications of Roosevelt’s casual act.

Medgar Evers was born on July 2, 1925 in Decatur, Mississippi. His parents were Jessie and James Evers. Evers was the fourth of six siblings, Eva Lee and Gene (which were Jessie’s children from a prior marriage), Charles, Elizabeth, and Mary Ruth being the youngest. He dropped out of 10th grade in 1943 and enlisted in the army with his older brother Charlie. Evers fought in France, the European Theatre of WWII and was honorably discharged in 1945 as a Sergeant. In 1946, Evers, along with his brother and four friends, returned to his hometown.

In 1948, Evers enrolled at Alcorn State University, majoring in business administration. In college he was on the debate team, played football and ran track, sang in the school choir and served as president of his junior class.

He married classmate Myrlie Beasley on December 24, 1951, and completed work on his degree the following year. Myrlie Beasley and Medgar Evers had three children, two boys and a girl.

The couple moved to Mound Bayou, MS, where T.R.M. Howard had hired him to sell insurance for his Magnolia Mutual Life Insurance Company. Howard was also the president of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL), a civil rights and pro self-help organization. Involvement in the RCNL gave Evers crucial training in activism. He helped to organize the RCNL’s boycott of service stations that denied blacks use of their restrooms. The boycotters distributed bumper stickers with the slogan “Don’t Buy Gas Where You Can’t Use the Restroom.” Along with his brother, Charles Evers, Medgar also attended the RCNL’s annual conferences in Mound Bayou between 1952 and 1954 which drew crowds of ten thousand or more.

Evers applied to the then-segregated University of Mississippi Law School in February 1954. When his application was rejected, Evers became the focus of a NAACP campaign to desegregate the school, a case aided by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education 347 U.S. 483 that segregation was unconstitutional.

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amii-stewart

Amii Stewart’s father Joseph Stewart II, signed her up for singing and dancing lessons in 1960, at the age of four, and this eventually led to a very successful career as one of the most highly regarded disco artists. Before being signed to Ariola Records, Stewart was in the touring company of the stage production Bubbling Brown Sugar in 1975, firstly in Miama, then Broadway, and eventually London’s West End, where she met Barry Leng, a record producer for Hansa records.

At the end of 1977, “You Really Touch My Heart” a Barry Leng/Simon May composition, produced by Leng, was Stewart’s first recording. An album followed, which contained five Leng/May songs, one Leng/Morris song and three cover versions.

Her first single, a disco cover version of the 1966 Eddie Floyd hit “Knock on Wood” (Floyd/Cropper), reached number one in the U.S. in April 1979, and earned her a platinum record and a Grammy Award nomination. It also reached number 6 in the U.K., and number 2 in Australia, in the same year. It was her only American pop chart hit and as a result she is considered a one hit wonder there, although she also achieved several Top 10 and Top 20 hits in the U.S. dance chart. You can read the rest of the article on WikipediaThe Best of Amii Stewart: Knock on Wood.


Following his release from prison on 11 February 1990, Mandela has supported reconciliation and negotiation, and has helped lead the transition towards multi-racial democracy in South Africa. Since the end of apartheid, many have frequently praised Mandela, including former opponents. Mandela has received more than one hundred awards over four decades, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He is currently a celebrated elder statesman who continues to voice his opinion on topical issues. In South Africa he is often known as Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders of Mandela’s clan. The title has come to be synonymous with Nelson Mandela.

Mandela belongs to a cadet branch of the Thembu dynasty, which reigns in the Transkeian Territories of South Africa’s Cape Province. He was born in Mvezo, a small village located in the district of Umtata, the Transkei capital. His patrilineal great-grandfather Ngubengcuka (who died in 1832), ruled as the Inkosi Enkhulu, or king, of the Thembu people. One of the king’s sons, named Mandela, became Nelson’s grandfather and the source of his surname. However, because he was only the Inkosi’s child by a wife of the Ixhiba clan (the so-called “Left-Hand House”), the descendants of his branch of the royal family were not eligible to succeed to the Thembu throne.

Mandela’s father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, served as chief of the town of Mvezo. However, upon alienating the colonial authorities, they deprived Mphakanyiswa of his position, and moved his family to Qunu. Despite this, Mphakanyiswa remained a member of the Inkosi’s Privy Council, and served an instrumental role in Jongintaba Dalindyebo’s ascension to the Thembu throne. Dalindyebo would later return the favour by informally adopting Mandela upon Mphakanyiswa’s death. Mandela’s father had four wives, with whom he fathered a total of thirteen children (four boys and nine girls). Mandela was born to his third wife (‘third’ by a complex royal ranking system), Nosekeni Fanny. Fanny was a daughter of Nkedama of the Mpemvu Xhosa clan, the dynastic Right Hand House, in whose umzi or homestead Mandela spent much of his childhood. His given name Rolihlahla means “to pull a branch of a tree”, or more colloquially, “troublemaker”.

Patricia Louise Holte (born May 24, 1944), best known by her stage name of Patti LaBelle, is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter and actress.

She fronted two groups, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, which received minor success on the pop charts in the 1960s, and Labelle, which received acclaim and a mainstream breakthrough in 1974 with their song “Lady Marmalade”. She went on to have a solo recording career well into the 1990s, earning another U.S. #1 single in 1986 with “On My Own,” a duet with Michael McDonald.

She is renowned for her passionate stage performances, wide vocal range and distinctive high-octave belting. Her biography, Don’t Block the Blessings, remained at the top of the The New York Times best-seller list for several weeks.

LaBelle was born Patricia Louise Holte in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Henry Holte, a railroad worker. The fourth of five children, including three sisters and a brother, LaBelle began singing at the age of 14 in church. A shy girl, LaBelle had a voice of a torch diva. A school teacher advised her to start a singing group.

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Sarah Lois Vaughan (nicknamed “Sassy” and “The Divine One”) (March 27, 1924 – April 3, 1990) was an American jazz singer, described by Scott Yanow as having “one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century”. She had a contralto vocal range.

Sarah Vaughan was a Grammy Award winner.[3] The National Endowment for the Arts bestowed upon her its highest honor in jazz, the NEA Jazz Masters Award in 1989.

The Vaughans lived in a house on Newark’s Brunswick street for Sarah’s entire childhood. Jake Vaughan was deeply religious and the family was very active in the New Mount Zion Baptist Church on 186 Thomas Street. Sarah began piano lessons at the age of seven, sang in the church choir and occasionally played piano for rehearsals and services. She was their only natural child, although in the 1960s they adopted Donna, the child of a woman who traveled on the road with Sarah.

Vaughan developed an early love for popular music on records and the radio. In the 1930s, Newark had a very active live music scene and Vaughan frequently saw local and touring bands that played in the city at venues like the Montgomery Street Skating Rink. By her mid-teens, Vaughan began venturing (illegally) into Newark’s night clubs and performing as a pianist and, occasionally, singer, most notably at the Piccadilly Club and the Newark Airport USO.

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