Monthly Archives: December 2008


#1 R&B Song 1952:   “I Don’t Know,” Willie Mabon & His Combo


Born:  John “Buddy” Bailey (the Clovers), 1931



1964   The Supremes made their TV debut on The Ed Sullivan Show.


1966   Ike & Tina Turner peformed at the Galaxy in Los Angeles as part of a weeklong engagement.


1969   B.B. King charted with “The Thrill Is Gone,” his biggest pop hit, reaching #15 (#3 R&B).  The song was originally done in 1951 by Roy Hawkins. In answering a question about the similarity of many ’50s blues songs, King said, “I don’t think anybody steals anything; all of us borrow.”



1975   The Staple Singers reached #1 pop and R&B with “Let’s Do It Again,” having just signed to former Impression Curtis Mayfield’s Custom label.



1986   Jackie Wilson’s debut hit of 1958, “Reet Petite,” reentered England’s charts twenty-nine years after first appearing and two years after Wilson’s death. Today it reached #1 for four weeks, selling more than 700,000 singles.



1994   Babyface made his concert debut when he began a five-week tour with Boyz II Men at the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN.

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‘God used slavery to get black people into this country.”


So, why did not God use slavery to get Eastern Europeans, Asians, Scandinavians into this country?

What, they were too good for slavery? Only the first human beings to walk the Earth were good for slavery. according to you?

“God was sure looking out for Black folks.”

“Greatest country in the world.”


“You see how bad Africa is.”

Yeah, what the hell, Black Americans didn’t really need all the history/culture/traditions that we had that American race-based slavery attacked and assailed before our black ancestors could barely be forced aboard slave ships. Thanks to America, we will never know exactly what part of West Africa our African ancestors came from. Unlike many European groups (Irish, English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.), we will never know and be able to speak the history/languages our African ancestors had beaten, burned, tortured and cut out of them:  Wolof, Mandinka, Yoruba, Ibo. We will never know what great African kingdoms our African ancestors hailed from: Benin, Mali, Songhay, Timbuktu, Ashanti. Unlike other racial/ethnic groups, we will never be able to trace our way back to our maternal line, through the torn up, broken, ripped to pieces lineage that American race-based slavery was so kind to obliterate. I am sure millions of Black Americans can’t wait to thank America for going above and beyond the call of duty in her desire to destroy us. We should be so grateful that unlike all other racial/ethnic groups, we alone cannot say without a doubt:  “There, that is where my mother’s side of the family comes from in present-day Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Niger.”

Unlike so many other racial/ethnic groups, we cannot say without a doubt, that we can trace an unbroken Black male/paternal line back to various cultures on the West coast of Africa.

I mean what the hell—-unlike other racial/ethnic groups, we obviously didn’t need, nor deserve, nor have the God-given right to our history/culture. Unlike other racial/ethnic groups, we obviously deserved to have ours annihilated, through no fault of our own.

Thank you America for you and Europe/America were beacons of light and reasoning:  Spanish Inquisition (Torquemada); Salem Witch Trials; genocide against Native First World people. Yep, Europe, and America, were always such bastions of sanity and humanity towards Black /non-white people. Mustn’t forget the lynchings.

Being driven from our homes and towns——banish, or die.

Mustn’t forget the racial ethnic cleansing pogroms, Rosewood, Greenwood/Tulsa, Wilmington, Colfax, the sharecropping/peonage, the convict leasing system.



The racial covenants. The present-day racial profiling. The substandard “still-separate-and-unequal education and housing. Disparity in the (in)justice system. Yep. . . America has been sooooo good for Black Americans. So silly of me to be so ungrateful for all the hells America has put us Black citizens through. . . .and still is putting us through.

“The pain for freedom was tough.”

So, my African ancestors did not have freedom until they met Europeans and then became enslaved? Then they found their freedom while being enslaved?  So, explain how do you obtain freedom by being enslaved? When you were free before you were enslaved?

“Like riding on a crowded airplane….it is a tough ride… you are happy to get to your destination.”

Oh, silly me, I forgot how easy my enslaved Black ancestors had it on the Middle Passage slave ships. It was just a walk in the park. . . .the three-month voyage drowning in your shackled neighbor’s shit, urine, vomit, menstrual blood, and dysentery. Unable to bathe. Fed in ways that a dog or hog should not be fed. Oh, mustn’t forget those who were tossed overboard (many while still alive) to the waiting jaws of sharks. (Where do you think the phrase “swimming with sharks” originated from?) Then the survivors finally arriving on shore after the trip of a lifetime. Yeah. . . . you can’t wait to be whipped, starved, raped, and sold off from your loved ones.

Oh, and especially the breathless anticipation of the vacation hotspots known as Reconstruction/KKK/Red Shirts/ Compromise of 1877, and that most illustrious period of all————Jane Crow segregation, where for over 90 years humiliation was the life of the party. The tour guides, how can I forget them:  Andrew Johnson, Patty Cannon, Rutherford B. Hayes, Walter Plecker, Strom Thurmond, Cole Blease, Ben Tillman, George Wallace, Jesse Helms, Robert Byrd. They were such swell friends of Black Americans, always looking out for Black Americans.

Yep, my Black ancestors just couldn’t get enough of white supremacy depravity and atrocities.

“Appreciation to the White man who went there and brought us here…I want to say “Thanks”.


Sick. Demented. Pathetic.

All the electro-convulsive therapy/transorbital prefrontal lobotomies in the world will never help this sick, twisted pile of a sorry excuse for a human being.


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#1  R&B Song 1952:   “The Way You Make Me Feel,” Michael Jackson


Born:   Abdul “Duke” Fakir (the Four Tops), 1935



1960   The Shirelles, the Drifters, the Coasters, Chubby Checker, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Bo Diddley, and the Blue Notes, among others, appeared at the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn for an all-star Christmas Show.


1960   Charles Brown’s Christmas classic “Please Come Home For Christmas” charted R&B, reaching #21.


1968   Sly & the Family Stone played the Fillmore West.


1981   Bobby Womack charted with his classic soul album The Poet, reaching #29 pop and 31 R&B for five weeks. He had offered the publishing on the album to K-Tel publishing president Jay Warner for $15,000. Warner enthusiastically said yes, but the K-Tel board wouldn’ give him the money, as they were preoccupied with their newest venture, drilling holes in Louisiana looking for oil. (They never found any oil, but Womack’s album went gold!)


1986   Ray Charles was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors ninth annual ceremony in Washington, DC.


1992   Lou Rawls hosted his annual Lou Rawls Parade of Stars telethon in Los Angeles to raise money for the United Negro College Fund. Stars like Dionne Warwick participated, and they raised more than $11 million.


1999   Curtis Mayfield, hit R&B artist/songwriter (Superfly) and former original member of the Impressions, died today.



Curtis Lee Mayfield (June 3, 1942 – December 26, 1999)

  • “Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions perform ‘We’re a Winner’ “ for the WGBH series, Say Brother
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    #1 R&B Song 1965:   “I Got You (I Feel Good),” James Brown


    Born:   Cabell “Cab” Calloway III, 1907; Chris Kenner, 1929; O’Kelly Isley (Isley Brothers), 1937



    1948   The Ravens’ incredible version of “White Christmas” entered the R&B hit registry, reaching #9. It was the standard by which all future R&B versions would be judged, even the legendary Drifters’ version, which was almost a note-for-note copy. The 78’s B-side, a haunting version of “Silent Night,” reached #8.




    1948   “The Christmas Song,” one of the season’s most enduring standards, charted, reaching #8, R&B. Though it has long since been credited to Nat King Cole, the original recording was attributed to the King Cole Trio.



    1954   The Penguins’ classic “Earth Angel” charted en route to #8 pop. It is considered to be the most popular R&B oldie of all time.



    1958   Alan Freed’s Christmas Rock ‘n’ Roll Spectacular at the Loews State Theater in New York City included performances by Jackie Wilson, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Dion, the Everly Brothers, and Eddie Cochran.


    1961   Gladys Knight & the Pips charted R&B with their doo-wop classic, “Letter Full of  Tears,” reaching #3 R&B and #19 pop. The group began in the ’50s, performing on tours with the likes of Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, and B.B. King. Their first single, in 1959, was a cover of the Moonglows’ rocker “Whistle My Love.”


    1971   In an unusual recording move, LaBelle did all the backup vocals on Laura Nyro’s It’s Gonna Take  A Miracle, a collection of doo-wop and rock ‘n’ roll standards including “Desiree,” “The Wind,” “I Met Him On a Sunday,” “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me,” and the title song. The album reached #46 pop and #41 R&B.


    1971   The Staples Singers reached #12 pop and #2R&B with “Respect Yourself,” their breakthrough hit 45.



    1976   The Supremes ‘ “You’re Driving My Wheel” reached #85 pop, becoming their last of forty-seven singles to hit the Top 100. The last original member, Mary Wilson, then left the group to form Mary Wilson & the Supremes.


    1981   A Christmas Day phone greeting from Michael Jackson to Beatle Paul McCarthy led to their decision to write and record together.  The result of their eventual collaboration was “The Girl Is Mine,” which they recorded the following year.


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    #1 R&B Song 1966:   “(I Know) I’m Losing You,” the Temptations


    Born:  Dave Bartholomew, 1920; Lee Dorsey, 1924



    1954   R&B balladeer Johhny Ace shot himself while playing Russian roulette backstage at the Negro Christmas Dance at Houston’s City Auditorium. His weapon of choice was a 22-caliber H&R revolver, which he used after consuming a large quantity of vodka. He was only twenty-five. Many consider his demise the first rock ‘n’ roll casualty.


    1954   The Clovers began a ten-day stint at Los Angeles’ 5-4 Ballroom.


    1961   The holiday revue at Chicago’s Regal Theater included the Spaniels, the Dukays, Lloyd Price, Erma Franklin, Mittie Collier, and the Sheppards.


    1984   Stevie Wonder, a longtime native of Detroit, was given the keys to the city. Buoyed by this experience, he would later state his intention to run for mayor.


    1990   Stevie Wonder performed at the Dome in Tokyo, Japan.


    1993   Aaron Neville performed at Harry Connick Jr.’s Christmas concert, singing “The Christmas Song.”


    1999   Zeke Carey, leader of the Flamingos (of  “I Only Have Eyes For You” and “I’ll be Home” fame) died today. The Flamingos were considered by many fans and music historians as the greatest vocal group of all time. Carey, born January 24, 1933, was sixty-six.

    (This is the original recording of the Flamingos “I Only Have Eyes For You”. They recorded this video when they were a good bit older…but the sound track is definitely the original.)


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    Published: December 5, 2008
    After a lifetime spent writing about Thomas Jefferson and the children he fathered with the slave Sally Hemings, you just won a National Book Award for your sprawling history of her family, “The Hemingses of Monticello.”
    It was great to win it on my birthday.
    Christian Oth for The New York Times



    How did you first get interested in Jefferson?
    I first read about him in the third grade. He was into books, and I was into books, too.
    But millions of people are into books.
    But he was a slave owner and at the same time talked about the equality of all mankind and wrote the Declaration of Independence. I thought that was odd, to have those two things together.
    Your book reminds us that black and white is not as clear-cut as separatists like to pretend. Sally Hemings was the daughter of a white father and a slave mother, and three of her children grew up to live as whites.
    People talk about Obama as if he were some new thing.
    Right, the first interracial man!
    It’s astonishing. Sex between the races was more common in the 18th century than it is now.
    How do you know?
    Based on the children. Slave owners had children with enslaved women.
    But the women were mostly raped, weren’t they?
    Undoubtedly, the vast majority of enslaved women who had children by slave masters were raped. But there were also situations where men and women of different races genuinely liked one another. Where do people think the rainbow of colors of black people comes from? Most black people in America have some white ancestry.
    In that regard, Jefferson and Hemings were pioneers of our increasingly mixed-race society.
    I don’t think we are increasingly mixed-race. We’ve always been a mixed-race society.
    Have you met our president-elect?
    He cycled into Harvard Law School right after I graduated. Every two years, we hold a reunion of black law-school alumni, and he has come back a couple of times. He’s just this incandescent personality.
    He is relatively fair-skinned, not unlike Sally Hemings. Do you think that comes with any sort of social message?
    He’s not that light-skinned. If he were walking down the street and I saw him, I wouldn’t assume his mother was white. I don’t think it’s the light skin that matters so much as that he has a white parent. For some white people, that might be comforting.
    What about Michelle Obama, who has been more saddled with racial stereotypes, perhaps because her skin is darker?
    Black people get stereotyped no matter what shade their skin is.
    Where are you from?
    I grew up in Conroe, a small town in East Texas. My father owned a store and a funeral home. My mother was an English teacher — she taught 10th-grade English, at first in a school that was all black.
    You went to a segregated school?
    I went to kindergarten at her school, and then, when I was 6, I was the first black child in my school district to go to a white school. I was a bit on display. I can remember adults looking into my classroom and thinking: See? The books have not exploded. There’s nothing weird going on here.
    You must have felt vindicated when you won the National Book Award.
    I wouldn’t use the word “vindicated.” I would say “gratified.” I worked very, very hard on the book. I wrote and researched 10 or 11 hours a day, for about eight years. Even on weekends.
    What about your kids?
    We had Saturday night at the movies. That was the mollifier. After I finished work, my husband and I and my son and my daughter all met at a movie.
    That’s not exactly quality time.
    There are 24 hours in a day — 10 hours for work, 6 hours for sleep. That leaves you enough time to spend with teenage children.
    SOURCE:  The New York Times:
    The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed (Hardcover – Sep 17, 2008)
    3.5 out of 5 stars (23)
    Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy by Annette Gordon-Reed (Paperback – April 1998)
    4.2 out of 5 stars (32)
    Also of note is the first author who broke this subject open a few decades ago:   Barbara Chase-Riboud, who was viciously attacked for writing that Jefferson fathered children with the enslaved Sally Hemings:
    Sally Hemings: A Novel by Barbara Chase-Riboud (Paperback – April 1, 2009)
    4.6 out of 5 stars (23)
    Ms. Chase-Riboud would be a good starting point in acquiring another aspect of the Hemings-Jefferson debate. Her first novel, “Sally Hemings: A Novel”, was published in 1979, earning her the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the best novel written by an American woman.
    Ms. Chase-Riboud has also received the Carl Sandburg prize for poetry, and the Women’s Caucus for Art’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1965, she became the first American woman to visit the People’s Republic of China after the Cultural Revolution of Chairman Mao Tse-Dong, and in 1996, she was knighted by the French government and received the Ordre des Artes et Des Lettres.
    Ms. Chase-Riboud currently divides her time between residences in Paris, France and Rome, Italy.
    • Confession for Myself (1973)
    • Malcolm X (1970)
    • Cleopatra’s Cape (1973)
    • Africa Rising (1998)



    Further reading

    • Women Artists: An Illustrated History. Nancy Heller, 1987. (Cross River Press)
    • ART: African American. Samella Lewis, 1990. (Hancraft Press)
    • History of Art. H.W. Janson, 1995. (Harry N. Abrams, Inc.)
    • Creating Their Own Image: The History of African-American Women Artists. Lisa E. Farrington, 2004. (Oxford University Press)
    • Barbara Chase-Riboud: Sculptor. Peter Selz & A. Janson, 1999 (Harry N. Abrams, Inc.) ISBN 978-0810941076
    • Notable Black American Women. Jessie Carnie Smith, 1991 (Gale Cengage) ISBN 978-0810347496


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