Tuesday, December 22, 2015

WayBack Wednesday - Holiday Edition

Got a lot on the way for 2016...in the meantime enjoy this selection of R&B Holiday tunes.  Peace.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

RIP Cynthia Robinson

If you saw Unsung 100 last night with ageless Donnie Simpson, you're probably like me and wondering where you were when the tributes were named.  Cynthia Robinson, trumpet player for Sly and the Family Stone and later Graham Central Station, lost her battle with cancer at age 71 (or 69, according to Rolling Stone).

This lady was truly underrated, as women and wind instruments are rare, especially in pop or soul music.  Check out her contributions at 3:25, as part one of the most underrated music act...period.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Way Back Weds - Unsung: Lakeside

If you have TVOne and noticed that the annoucer said two NEW episodes of Unsung but keep seeing the same Chante Moore ad, the other act is Lakeside.

I miss their ability to bring non-offensive party music to the FM dial and the fact that, even with the internet today, no scandals during their many years together.  And I just learned they still do live shows today.

Now, I don't know what Unsung will cover but here is one of my favorites from back in the days of Now and Laters, $40 designer jeans and the roller rink.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Brother from Sha Na Na Dies at 66

If you grew up in the 70s, you remember that trip back to 50s nostalgia with Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley.  Anyway, you also remember that all 3-4 network channels had a load of variety shows.  Well, Sha Na Na brought the best of both worlds.

But there was this one lone brother, Denny (or Dennis) Greene who wore this tight gold lame outfit and always seemed content in the background.  As a kid growing up in Inglewood, I really wanted for him to have a solo...but now he gets to perform for the angels. RIP

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Special Wayback Wednesday...tribute to Barry White

This dude was waay underrated during his time but 9/12/15 will make his 71st birthday.  He didn't just make music for making babies but for everybody to enjoy.  Mr. White also had a fun side.  Not only was he on an early episode of the Simpsons but also starred years earlier as a voice on the 1970s blaxploitation cartoon Coonskin.  They moved the Boondocks and I don't know if Black Dynamite is coming back to TV, so if you like animation with Black characters, here's something for you.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Prayers For All

This summer is exceptionally hot in L.A.  Smog mixed in with southern humidity and traffic is a sad combination.  Somebody on another blog stated that they did not feel safe with all of the recent violence.  These days, I seldom feel safe anywhere outside of my home, and this includes "good" neighborhoods where my dark skin is either a novelty or disregarded because it is assumed that I am poor, lack sense, as well as the resources to move up in society.

Yet, I still work at being the best bad-ass I can be...and I encourage others to do the same.  It may seem naive but there is nothing wrong with enjoying life.  Anyone can have it without bringing harm or threat to others.  Feel good about helping others in need without pretentiousness, let go of excess and take care of home.

People want to pray or meditate when things go wrong but often a clear head can prevent mistakes made.  While IT still happens, communities can be stronger by lending a hand.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wayback Wednesday..The Bill Cosby Remix...tells 70s kids NOT TO DO DRUGS!

Oh my freak....I was trying to take a break and ran into this Bill Cosby Yahoo story en route to checking my email.

Then I had a flashback to my childhood in Inglewood, CA.

You know that one friend with a wack record collection?  I was the opposite being an only child (though I was the big girl back then) and the fact that my mother was one of the youngest on the block who knew her way around VIP Records well.  And because of the latter I was always forced to hang with the homey girl (Mom's got things to do and people to see).

One day at her house, a bunch of us kids were bored.  Too young to go to mall without a parent.  To old to hang out at the park.  So we decide to dance to keep from thinking about boys.  So Tara pulls out Bill Cosby.  I'm thinking 'This fool's more square than she is...who plays him at the disco?'

This ish right here is about 5.5 minutes of a Parliament-inspired instrumental, then it goes into Bill giving his .02 to kids about the dangers of drugs. Then he repeats a chorus of "I don't take no bad drugs", until about the end.

The video above has a catchy beat and of course it's sad because me, like other kids from the 70s and 80s respected Bill...even if we liked Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy better.

Fast forward to about 5:56 and the jokes will write themselves.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Way Back Wednesday is BACK Y'All!

This instrumental jam goes back to sneaker skates, crayon shoes, and Ditto jeans.  I was in elementary school when it went up to 6th grade and all I could think about then was what the hell fine-ass Prince and his super-perm were up to.   Anyway, these were simpler times full of good music that's sometimes hard as hell to own right now.  Hopefully, Soul Train reruns will return and they will show this Japanese R&B (yes, they did a version of Tighten Up) play for Don Cornelius.  As far as I could tell, YMO has dropped off the face of the planet but here is a 2015 article about the veteran electronic music act (yes, this was before Art of Noise).

Should Bounce, BET, and TVOne pull everything Cosby?

As of last night (7/7/15) BET's Centric channel (which is supposed to target Black/AA women) was the only place to find The Cosby Show.  Yesterday, Yahoo reported that Bounce TV pulled 'Cosby', a lesser-known sitcom with the star as a blue collar worker with a somewhat cranky disposition. He's older and not as much fun as Dr. Huxtable but once again Phylicia Rashad played his wife, he has kids as well as racially diverse neighbors (the late Madeline Khan also starred).

If this were the case, it would mean that Fat Albert, Cos, The Bill Cosby Show (show that ran from the late 60s to early 70s that was recently shown on one of the digital television channels), The New Bill Cosby Show, The Cosby Show and Cosby would be a thing of the past as far as TV viewing goes.

I've lived some so I will keep my real opinion out of it.  However, I doubt Oprah or Tyler Perry will want to syndicate these shows on OWN or anywhere else.  What do you think?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Black and Gold and Reality

Navigating through new technology that arrived on the marketplace during my treatment has left me to ponder Black folks and the little gold man named Oscar.#thebestandthewhitest

Will a Black man or woman win one of these for playing a doctor, lawyer or teacher in ANY film release?  If so, will it be a major or supporting character?  Will I live to see this?  Or will I be alive but too old to understand what is going on?

Of course, the main talk on the Black blogs this weekend is the passing of VH1 reality star Ahmad Givens and MO Nique's being blacklisted by Hollywood after getting her gold statue.  Some say she's wrong for not playing ball, while others want to blame Oprah or Lee Daniels for not defending her.  I'm with the group that says the system is flawed but it may be too late to change.

As a lover of blaxploitation films, I wish that Vonetta McGee, Rosalind Cash, or Thalmus Rasulala had received Oscar nominations before transitioning.  There may have been other quality performances during that period but one has to admit that this period gave many decent actors exposure.  But the timing was perfect for change.  It was after the Civil Rights era and the majority of these films made money - whether the actor was bad or good.

Which brings me to 2015.  A wild mix of bad and good Black actors are making damn good money for studios and there are more independent Black filmmakers who are moving around the system.  Some are even successful.  So why MO Nique get respect?  Here are some facts:
  • Many who promote a brand usually do so on their dime, then wait for the returns.  Hollywood is no different than any other industry in that respect.
  • Blacks always have to go the extra mile to prove they mean business.  Even when I worked in the clerical pool, people underestimated my skills before reading test scores or watching me in action.  So think about doctors and professionals in corporate America.  Sad but true.
  • Reality shows are doing a number on how America sees Blacks.  While people either love or hate NeNe, the large number of reality shows that show Blacks partciipating in gratuitous violence, blatant ignorance, or sexual promiscuity seems to be never-ending.  Many actors have complained that studios make serious money because the talent is cheap and the more outrageous, the more popular.  Question is, who really pays in the end?  I'm forecasting a Bamboozled moment when somebody is going to go off and it won't be pretty.
Here's my opinion -
  • MO Nique's husband is killing her career and here's one first-person account about Mr. MO Nique.
  • MO Nique was never that great of an actress.  Can you say The Parkers?
  • Monique (as she humbles) may want to look into a second career.  She's looking better these days so maybe a reinvention as a former big girl approaching middle age who got healthy and can help others do the same.  Maybe a cosmetic line.  Whatever the venture, leave the husband ou of it.

Friday, February 13, 2015

RIP Gary Owens

Not the mediocre White comedian that loves to star in Black movies and does stand-up.  If you're old enough to remember the original Gong Show, then you know that Chuck Barris was not the original host.  Velvety-voiced Gary Owens was a voiceover and hosting veteran whose credits include Laugh-In and other crazy game shows from the 70s.  Read more about his life and career. (Variety) 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wayback Wednesdays... Loose Ends

What can I say?  Underrated.  Didn't last as long as I would have liked.  And nice to see a regular brown girl in the lead who can sing.

Seriously.  No disrespect to N'Dea Davenport and others who are pretty and can blow.  I can remember seeing Loose End videos and I was happy that Jane, the female lead, had a pretty voice and was dark and big.  She worked those outfits in her own way without becoming a caricature or diva (yes, I hate that word...JUST SING).

Anyway, as I type I am crying inside for Bobbi Kristina.  It seems like it was only five or ten years ago when we all saw her inside Whitney's 'I'm Every Woman' video.  Poor baby never had a chance.  May she rest wherever He decides to take her.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Honoring Black History Month on Digital TV

Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing St. Louis Blues on the Movies! Channel.  This black and white stars Nat King Cole as an aspiring singer and songwriter who is torn between making money in secular music and following in the footsteps of his preacher father.  I won't give away much more but stirring the pot in a oh-so-sexy fashion is Eartha Kitt, who also has a unique relationship with Ruby Dee (Cole's main boo).

If the selection at the above link doesn't whet your appetite, there is also the Bounce network, The Turner Network, and possibly Lifetime. In the meantime....

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Wayback Wednesday - Peanut Butter (Long Version)

Haven't heard anything from these folks as of recent but it brings back memories!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Missing My 80s Sitcoms...Thanks Time Warner!

Over the weekend, I had my popcorn ready to get into some real nostalgia, even though I finally got my digital TV situation under control and can now see Bounce TV.  My cable listing showed that Gimme a Break was coming on TV One...twice in one evening.

Right after the What's Happening reruns went off, I waited to see my Nell Carter...here it is....damn, on comes the Good Times theme song.  I've seen enough of Jimmie Walker to last a lifetime!

For those who may not remember this was a sitcom before Cosby but broke down stereotypes in its own way.  The late Nell Carter played a sassy maid to Dolph Lungren (who passed in the middle of the series' run) and his three daughters in suburbia. 

While she was overweight and mostly less than glamorous (but she did try from time to time), that character was more real than the Jeffersons' Florence Johnston.  Instead of comebacks, she gave the family real advice when the time called for it and seemed to have a little more heart than most domestic technician (Mrs. Garrett from "Diff'rent Strokes/Facts of Life is a close tie).

Here is an episode with the late Whitney Houston during her modeling days. Hopefully TV One will get it together by this weekend.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Wayback Wednesdays...What the Hell Happened to....?

Okay, I'm playing catch-up here so I'll try not to disappoint. Who remembers back in the day when Prince would appear on mostly White rock shows moving and shaking like Mick Jagger but looking a little bit better? Okay. So who under 50 remembers the bass player in the plastic pants? Andre Cymone missed out on the Purple Rain glory but went on to become an in-demand producer for future wife Jody Watley, Evelyn Champagne King and others. He also made a few decent albums and still records today One of my favorite mags, Wax Poetics, caught up with the man last year and found out what he has been up to since parting with boyhood friend Prince. See how he rocks it in the new millennium!

For ol' skool fools ...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wayback Weds...Making Up for Lost Time in 2015

Love Injection - Trussell

This right here was my rollerskating jam back in the day and I have it on my MP3 (yes, I still have most of my albums, too) today.  Heard it on an old episode of Soul Train recently and damn near lost my mind.

Don't know much about these people or where they are today but this rare groove just reminds me of simpler times.

Release Yourself - Aleem (a.k.a. that flyer party song from the early-mid 80s)

Now if you remember Dr. Dre when he DJ'ed at that itty bitty club on Avalon, south of El Segundo, or the flyer parties near USC...or you lived for KDAY on the AM dial...you have to remember this song.  Don't know what became of these people either but I thought it was a treat to have the full length. 

And if you really liked KDAY on the AM Dial...

The you know they were in the only station is L.A. that played this crazy remix of Humpty Dance by Digital Underground.

Happy Belated Birthday to Black Greats in 2015

Happy New Year and Best Wishes to all born on MLK weekend.  If you have something to share, post your links and images here.  In the meantime, enjoy something from these famous Capricorns. James Earl Jones Eartha Kitt, who would have been 88 years young. Helen Folasade Adu, who takes her dear sweet time between record releases. Something you don't hear too often.