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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; where your 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

 

PamPam Grier was the blaxploitation queen of the 70’s. She was strong, sexy, and took no bullsh*t from anyone on film. She was super-bad! Pam was well known for a string of blaxploitation movie hits such as, Coffy (1973), Bucktown (1975), Sheba Baby (1975), and Foxy Brown (1974). Pam Grier was one of the very few African American women that appealed to such a wide audience in the 70’s. With a great body and a “take no bull from anyone” attitude on screen, her career busted through the movie scene like a freight train. However, when I became a fan of Pam (I was barely a teenager, but old enough to understand) I was worried that she would become typecasted like so many African American women did before her.

You see, although I was very happy that I wasn’t seeing the same o’l actresses playing the same o’l black maids, and or poverty stricken mothers/wives, Pam was a whole different animal all together. Before the seventies black women were not seen as sexy creatures that could actually act, be talented, and blow-up the box offices at the same time; the mindset just wasn’t there yet. Pam2Well, actually, we did have Tamara Dobson (Cleopatra Jones), but, she did not have the same sex appeal like Pam did. Dobson’s image was more of a sophisticated black woman with money, were-as Pam, was more raunchy and not scared of her sexuality. Pam Grier became a cash cow, and unfortunately the types of characters that Pam Grier played, replicated on so many of her other movies in the seventies. She was either taking revenge for a boyfriend, fighting other women in a lesbian bar, playing the feisty hooker who’s goal is to kill the “John”, or taking down some female Madame or female drug lord that looks like either Shirley Winters, or twiggy, or found any excuse to run around topless by the end of the movie. LOL.. 🙂

However, Pam’s career did not seem to be effected by this typecast. She was what people wanted to see. She made straight men drool, empowered black women around the world, and became a gay icon all at the same time LOL. She made so much money for the film industry and won very few awards for her hard work. She has made a few TV appearances on “Law & Order”, “Cosby Show”, and done some cartoon voice-overs for “the Justice League”. She re-emerged as an older, wiser, and reserved Foxy Brown, in a movie called “Jackie Brown”. Jackie Brown was a very good with a number of stars in it. It didn’t have as much action as I thought it was, it is is a great watch for Pam Grier fans. Pam now is in her sixties and still is looking good these days. She is a Cancer survivor, and if I am correct, she is currently on the tv show “The L-Word”.

© 2013  VintageNewscast.com / Yogi

tandy_1000_1sSalutations Guys,

I remember when the world’s first affordable home PC (Personal Computer) came on the scene (I believe it was 5.25 floppy anywayz.. LOL). Before the terms single, double and high density came-about, 5.25 floppy disks could only hold less than 720kb; later on it was up to 1.2 mb. The floppy disks were sooo flimsy, if you were not careful, the slightest bend, would destroy the entire floppy. As a kid I thought MS DOS was the greatest thing since “slice bread”. This was because it actually became an ego booster for me, reason being, you had to know what the DOS commands were and how to use them. The commands were not really hard back then, but my family thought I was a genius LOL. My first and I think only game was “Wheel Of Fortune”.  It had a built in CGA adapter, and offered very little visual color. Actually I think the only color I remembered displayed was emerald green. I used to laugh at how Vanna White used to look like in the game (I think it was Vanna White, not sure when and now long was on the show). The game was actually a lot of fun, and because it was the world’s first home PC (I think), There were no other competing computers around to compare bad graphics to, so all were good to us back then.

imagesShortly, after more and more competing companies try to take a piece of this “then” new market, and that’s when “Platform Wars” have emerged. What do I mean? Well, “Platform Wars” were and are in essence people’s personal opinions turned political madness. It was about which operating system (ie apple, IBM, Unix, OS/2, Linux, iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, etc), or line of technology individuals felt was the best. For most of us who were not in the technical industry per-say, many of us based these opinions on our personal experiences, others will base their opinions on sheer market shares and company growth. Literally in some settings, it becomes like a war between republicans and democrats. Today computers has changed our lives in such a big way, I personally don’t believe we should be basing our beliefs solely on a company’s numbers, we should be looking at how well it can do the job in addition too. I’ve spent a lot of money on good brand stuff, and they’ve turned out to be crap..

ss-480-1-0Having said this, I never really had a preference for any particular operating platform or technology. However, as the result of the technology wars, it has made it indirectly difficult for me personally, in terms of entertainment. How? Well, some of you already know that, metaphorically, I am a classic carnivore. The older the music or movie the better; but unfortunately the harder it is to find digitally. Trust me, i’ve digitized a lot of my albums, but it is waaaaay too much work, i’d rather buy mp3s than to encode all of my records and tape collections.

I often run in to 3 annoying problems. The first is DRM, this pisses me off to no end, because often you can only use it with one type of device, or software player (although their are ways of getting around this, its still a pain). Second, streaming services like Rhapody and Spotify have only matched less then half my digital collection (not including most of my physical albums and tapes). Now, technically, considering how old most of my music is, that’s still very good, but at the same time I feel that the music streaming services is large enough now that it should found almost all, in my opinion. lastly, I am flipping back and forth between apple, android, and amazon. There are musics that Amazon has that Apple doesn’t and vise verse. There are music that Google has that neither Apple or Amazon have. It makes you realize how much cinematic and musical history the world has, we just can’t contain it all (either that, we realize how old we are.. LOL).

© 2013 VintageNewscast.com / Yogi

41Yn2Gky3dL._SL-1As a kid, I remember having house parties at least a minimum of 4 times a year. The parties usually would take place at our house or my grandpa’s house.  If it was not a holiday, it was someone’s birthday, or wedding, or communion celebration. We didn’t have much growing up, but what we did have is a lot of love, and LOTS, and LOTS, and LOTS,  of music. Literally every week we’d go out and buy a new album, or 45,  or 8-Track. If I did not have money for that latest song, I would spend hours next to the radio, on the look out so that I can record them. I used to always curse at the dj’s when ever they would talk over the song being played LOL. In terms of music, based on my age, technically I guess you can say I was more an 80’s child. However, I also grew up listening to a lot of music  form the 50’s through the 70’s as well. Music from the likes of, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons; Neil Sedaka; Brooke Benton; Carla Thomas; Herbie Mann; Ken Boothe; Peter Tosh;  and so on. I really missed that era, and I really wish todays music had that same essence that the 60’s/70’s did. Now, todays definition of “real” music, is all about wailing, moaning, and howling, about how bad a guy want’s to get in girls pant.  Actually, according to most young kids today, as long as it has a good beat, they couldn’t care less what the lyrics say. Hmmm then why have lyrics at all if that’s the case? I guess that’s a whole nother Oprah Winfrey Topic huh?

vpi_classic_turntable-1Growing up (it’s hilarious looking back), I remember when we always had a full house of guests dancing. It was like watching a stampede of some kind, because no matter how many quarters you put on that damn turntable needle, it would still randomly jump all over the place. I remember my grandma usually yell “don’t dance so hard”! Then shortly after, it would appear that our guests would start dancing on their tipi-toes… LOL. The limitation of using vinyl really took the fun out of dancing and having a good time. You’d spend so much money on turntables that promise a “bounce free” experience, but they never worked.

Now we are in the digital age. Sometimes I have a hard time accepting the fact that most of this generation has never seen a record player before. Makes me feel even more old 🙁 . For those of us who cherish our oldies, we have a lot to thank digital technology for; or at least it has given you another reason not to be so scared of technology. Technology has allowed us to once again, hear and see all those old music and movies we’ve thought were gone for ever. You know that old favorite album you’ve lent to your cousin and you’ve never got back? Or your favorite Michael Jackson album you’ve lent your best friend, and by the time you’ve got it back, it was far less than mint condition? Damn if you were lucky enough to play it (with all the scratches on it)? Today, not only can you find and play all your old music again @ affordable prices, music that were once out of print, came back in to circulation as the direct result of digital technology. In addition, sometimes you can find special extended versions of the same songs you already love, movies have been re-digitized and enhanced with stunning quality. Most importantly, you never have to worry about your needle jumping anymore, or fiddling with your TV controls to get a better picture LOL. However, I guess there is that drawback of a collector not being able to physically purchase the original album/film; but then again, the shear volume of music and movies that are now available to us, we don’t have the space to contain them all anywayz.

I am not always able to find all of my treasures on line, but hopefully one day we all will.

©2013 Yogi / VintageNewscast.com

Wow, I can’t believe I actually found an old AOL 2.0 floppy disk install! I don’t remember the year, but this had to have been between 20- 30 years ago. I know this company spent billions of dollars worth of marketing, cause their CD’s were EVERYWHERE! I even remember getting free trails in the mail every other week. They came with every 14.4 and 28.8 modems sold (I think USRobotics was the leading modem company at that time in the 80-90’s). Every single Compaq, Hewlett Packard, and IBM PC’s had A.O.L pre-installed on them. If a retail store did not have A.O.L. installed on any of their machines sold, it would be offered as a separate bonus package. There was a time were it seemed that every single person on the planet had an AOL email address or chat account.  A.O.L. also had a separate online business called Compuserve, which had their own magazine at the time too (believe it or not). It was actually quite cool. Both Compuserve and A.O.L. were more like “Web Bulliten Boards”; all you had to do was enter a special “keyword” and you’d be taken to that “forum”, or “section” of internet service. Compuserve magazine was filled with all kinds of articles, from computers to Knitting, and at the end of each article, a keyword is given so you can find more information through Compuserve. Compuserve was soooo expensive, they charged you for EVERYTHING!! They even charged you for downloads per megabyte. And some wonder why they went out  of business? Yeah…

Back in the day, I was with A.O.Hell for about 10 years till I woke up. I unsubscribed to A.O.L. shortly after 9.0 came out. By that time, I think they bought out Netscape (I think). I liked netscape so much better back then, but I had to log in to A.O.L. to get an internet connection, and between both Netscape and A.O.L. applications, the performance of my pc really suffered. Not to mention the fact that A.O.L. charged you so much money for their service, and had the nerve to throttle our connections… Grrrrr.

By the time I officially left A.O.Hell, I was inundated with spam mail, spammed chats, and spammed USNETS. Interesting how after all of that they still charged members the same price for services. Honestly, I think their great marketing was the only thing that kept them in business, because looking back, they had less than ideal service, and software that took up 50% of your resources.. LOL.. Ahh, those were the good old days, when it took about a full 15 hours just to download one movie! I can truly appreciate what our technology can do today.

© 2012 Yogi / VintageNewscast.com

 

The song called “Stormy Weather” was one of Lena Horne’s first recordings, and has made her an international success. The song still remains to be one of her most memorable recordings. It also happens to be one of my favorites songs from that era. Many of my blog members may not know that, a lot of African American people hated Lena early on in her career, because it was said she tried to pass as white, therefore her audience base was primarily Caucasian. Keep in mind in those days they still had “colored” bathroom signs, so it was quite a bit of tension between the obvious black people  and the “passable coloreds”. The average person today can’t fathom the unbelievable amount of pressure, that African Americans of film had, to represent people of color as real human beings; beings with emotion, passion, whit, and true acting ability. People of color not only had to deal with levels of unconceivable racism outside television and theater, but also type casting within the theatre; to be seen more than just a maid, butler, slave, a shield, or a brainless dummy who can be used as bait.  Listen to the original recording of “Stormy Weather” Taken from the titled movie “Stormy Weather (1943) Click Here. Enjoy.

 

Yogi

 

 

I absolutely love this group. Shalamar  consisted of 3 people; Jody Watley, Jeffrey Daniel (later on Miki Free), and Howard Hewett. Some of their biggest hits were, “Second Time Around”, “dancing in the streets”, “A night to remember”, “full of fire”, and more. They have taken on the pop/rock era by storm in the 80’s. Check out their stuff on itunes.

Too my understanding, they all went solo. Jody Watly has done more dance music, and Howard Hewett has gone on to do gospel. Although I’m not sure what has happend to Miki Free & Jeffrey Danial. I am assume they is/was working in the background, song writing etc.,