Posts Tagged ‘Black People’

October 14th was a typical Friday night in Harlem, a little windy but relatively calm until you reached 135th & Lenox.  As we walked by the Schomburg Center for Research In Black Culture  we could smell the food trucks, see the flowing gowns and bowties, but the most intriguing sense was hearing the plethora of voices speaking about the rise of women in Film and TV!  This was the night African Voices hosted the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series event.  Kim Coles, the lively and forever funny mistress of ceremonies, presented Cathy Hughes (Radio One & TV One) with the Reel Sisters Hattie McDaniel Award and Naturi Naughton (from Power) with the Trailblazer Award.  This one event is a part of a two week celebration of women of color in film and media held in various venues throughout New York City.

Before all the awards went out, my associate, Juanita Miller and myself had the opportunity to walk the red carpet and speak with a few of the participants, the award winners, and Carolyn A. Butts, founder of Reel Sisters. Butts was clearly proud of the hard work that her and her team put in to coordinate such a successful event.  “I am very proud of my team for putting this together. This is our way of congratulating these pioneering women for the tremendous roles they play in promoting progress in film and media for women of color!” Butts excitedly stated.

Butts’ gratitude and excitement was contagious as Kim Coles also expressed her feelings towards the event and the progress of women of color in general. When asked if she was excited to host the awards, Coles said “I am honored to be a part of this event, let alone host it, and I am very excited to see Naturi Naughton & Cathy Hughes.  I’ve worked for Cathy for years and can’t wait to see her receive this prestigious award. And Naturi is doing a fantastic job for herself and paving the way for many more to come.”  Coles also mentioned that she is “all about lifting women of color’s voices and an advocate for women. I am also an advocate for men, just not at the expense of women.”  

Phyllis Stickney (The Inkwell & New Jack City actress) talked about her own involvement with uplifting women of color when she discussed her relatively new program designed to assist young women in transition called “Get Wit It.”  The program is filled with workshops to teach young women independence, life skills, and job preparation.  Stickney spoke intensely about the advancement of women of color stating “the support system has changed and we need to give these women an opportunity to have their right of passage!”

On that note, the red carpet was rolled up and we all proceeded to the show.  Kimberly Nichole’s (The Voice) fresh and powerful voice opened up the ceremony. Then Coles vibrantly took the stage and hosted with passion. The audience was very receptive to her boisterous personality and gave an abundant amount of applause when she expressed her view on the progress of women of color in media.  Coles talked about how important it is to stay relative in a world of fast growing technology and for all of us to empower and educate the young women of today.

After a brief video about the history of Hattie McDaniel who had the first black syndicated radio show, Hughes was presented the Hattie McDaniel Award by Kevin John Goff, McDaniel’s great grand-nephew. Hughes although having back pain at the time,  graciously got on stage as the crowd gave her a standing ovation and showed their gratefulness for her hard work.  She spoke eloquently, thanking Reel Sisters for the award and reminded the crowd that hard work does pay off.   She brought to light that her dedication to making it happen was not painless or easy.  Hughes stated, “I remember awhile back I was working day and night on Radio One, I thought I had the first black syndicated radio show and I was so happy!  Then someone told me about Hattie’s. I thought to myself: well then, I will have the first television station!” She gave many accolades to her mother who was “kind and gave everything she could to make someone’s day better ” and how she incorporates that mentality into her work.  Hughes then expressed her gratefulness to the organization for having the ceremony and the importance of women encouraging and helping each other in order to stay progressive.  

Meli’sa Morgan brought down the house with a halftime performance of her hit “Good Love.”  Shortly afterwards, the next announcement was for Naturi Naughton to accept her Trailblazer Award.  From 3LW to being a main character, Tasha on Power, Naughton has fought tooth and nail to make her presence known in the world of music and film. She gracefully took the stage and stood in shock as the crowd rose to give her applause.  In her acceptance speech Naughton mentioned she felt like she “was still blazing the trail” and gave a huge shout out to her parents for believing in her dream.  She represented East Orange, New Jersey giving “thanks to New Hope Union Baptist Church for inspiring her to have this dream and to all the fans making this dream a reality.” Naughton finished with thanking Hughes for opening doors. She added, “who knows if I’d be where I am at right now.”

When all was said and done, Coles wrapped up the ceremony giving thanks to Carolyn Butts, Film Festival Curator Lisa Durden and Council Members Jumaane Williams and Laurie Cumbo for their hard work and dedication to Reel Sisters.  Group photos of everyone involved were taken and then the celebrities took time to take selfies with their fans.  Once everyone dispersed, the attendees took pleasure in taking photos in front of the step and repeat and paid tribute to Reel Sisters for having the event.  As a women of color who is involved in the world of media, attending the ceremony was truly a delightful and eye opening experience.  The amount of support that the men and women have towards the education and empowerment of women of color made the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series Award Ceremony irrefutably necessary. There is no doubt in my mind that the future of Reel Sisters is bright and many women of color will have the opportunities to make their dream a reality because of its efforts.

*Michelle Zattoni is the Director of Public Relations for Lehigh Valley Faces in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

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On the most recent episode of TCOHHL (The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend) Radio, D.D. Turner and C. Stats kick it Dr. Melina Abdullah, Professor and Chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University – Los Angeles and Organizer of the Black Lives Matter movement. During our time spent with Dr. Abdullah, we discuss her formative years in Oakland, education, her involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement as an Organizer, and her support of Jasmine Abdullah – The #BlackLivesMatter Organizer [and Founder of Black Lives Matter – Pasadena] that was falsely convicted and incarcerated [for Felony Lynching] after coming to the aid of a fellow peaceful protester that was being arrested by Police.

Felony Lynching – “A rarely used statute in California law… Under California’s penal code, “felony lynching” was defined as attempting to take a person out of police custody. Jasmine was arrested and charged with felony lynching last September, after police accused her of trying to de-arrest someone during a peace march at La Pintoresca Park in Pasadena on August 29, 2015.”  Democracy Now, 2016

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As usual, the TCOHHL Team takes you on a journey of Hip Hop’s glorious history; past and present all the while bringing recognition to the noble efforts and courageousness of Dr. Melina Abdullah, Jasmine Abdullah, Nana Gyamfi, and the countless others that work tirelessly for Black liberation and equality. Click the link below to listen to the episode.

 

 

 

 

 

Can you recall the moment when you realized that Hip Hop’s sound and look was multi-dimensional? In pondering an answer to this question, our collective recollection as Hip Hop supporters would naturally transport us back to 1988 to engage memories of the endearing Native Tongue movement (Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, Black Sheep, Queen Latifah, Monie Love, Kool DJ Red Alert, Chi-Ali, and the Fu-Schnickens) and such an engagement would be undeniably correct. But in 1992, Hip Hop’s music would experience an infusion to its already present and unapologetically expressed consciousness. As supporters, we’d have the good fortune of being introduced to a new sound, spirit, and aestheticism that we had yet to experience up until that point. And the provider of this experience you ask? Arrested Development and their debut release, ‘3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days In The Life Of…

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Arrested Development is legendary. During a time when Hip Hop’s Rap music was already at its multi-dimensional peak, A.D. [Arrested Development] further pushed the music’s boundaries, thereby, creating another realm where the culture could thrive amidst the music business’s time and space construct. Arrested Development effectively reinforced the understanding that gaining and maintaining Knowledge of Self wasn’t the singular responsibility of Black culture; the duty was to also be proud of who we are while upholding an ever-present sense of integrity that is warranted by our African lineage. Additionally, through their soulfully conscious concoctions of melody, A.D. forced us to challenge popular perspective and engage individual thought and perception. After hearing ‘Mr. Wendal,’ how many of you found yourself driven by the inclination to engage a homeless person in dialogue? I did and found the conversation to be extremely enlightening and impactful. From ‘Everyday People’ to ‘Tennessee’ to ‘Revolution’ to Speech’s Hip Hop Proclamation, ‘Can U Hear Me,’ back to the positive cultural assertions that ‘Natural Hair’ imparted to some of the group’s current releases like, ‘Follow That,’ and ‘Weight (Off My Back),’ Arrested Development has always been endowed with a capability of authoring music that connects with the consciousness of humanity without sacrificing Hip Hop’s Boom-Bap signature.

This Wednesday on March 2nd, TCOHHL (The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend) Radio kicks it with Speech, Founder and Front-Man of the legendary Arrested Development collective. With Speech, we discuss growing up in Milwaukee and Tennessee, the formation of Arrested Development, cultural awareness, their new projects, and a host of other topics.

By: D.D. Turner , Founder/Executive Producer/Host – TCOHHL (The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend) Radio

Twitter: @TCOHHL_Radio/@HipHops_Wizard

Instagram: @HipHops_Wizard

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**You know the drill! Don’t be a #Turdbird. Visit mixcloud.com/tcohhl_radio to hear the interview on March 2nd. And while you’re there, subscribe to our station to stay updated on our latest show releases.

“…these are the words that I manifest. I Manifest.” – Gang Starr, Manifest (No More Mr. Nice Guy, 1989 – Wild Pitch Records/EMI Records)

Peace, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

With sincerity, I submit this manifesto of gratitude and appreciation for your concern. More to the point and specific to this document’s intent, I thank you for your candor; your willingness to acknowledge the plight of Black people [through your dialogue invoking joint, White Privilege II] and the origination of what has proven to be an insurmountable social obstacle against the system of White Privilege. Your efforts are commendable, and brave to boot. Your public observance of what has been an issue for nearly 500 years is regarded as sincerely empathetic and not trivial, for it suggests that you understand the proper way in which to address and impart reasoning unto your cultural peers for the purpose of contextualizing the very real idea of white privilege, cultural appropriation, and cultural subjugation. However, while your song content and approach are unique and brim with quality, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that the intent and goal aren’t. As I am sure you are aware, Hip Hop has always served as the initiate for social change, highlighting the adverse circumstances under which we were, are, and continue to be placed, per the ubiquitous nature of white privilege/supremacy.

Over the years, many of our beloved and legendary Emcees have worked to bring awareness to the problem while bolstering the richness and righteousness that is contained within us, the original man – “The maker, the owner, the cream of the planet Earth, Father of civilization, God of the Universe.” Legendary Emcees such as: KRS One – You Must Learn; PRT (Poor Righteous Teachers) – Shakiyla; X-Clan – Funkin’ Lesson; Lakim Shabazz – Black is Back; King Sun – Be Black; Big Daddy Kane – Young, Gifted, and Black ; Brand Nubians – Wake Up; Public Enemy – Fight The Power; Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five – The Message; Fearless Four – Problems of The World Today; Gang Starr – Royalty; Black Star (Mos Def & Talib Kweli) – Brown Skin Lady; Rakim – The Mystery; Nas – I Can, and a host of others that go unnamed but are equally recognized. Unfortunately, the gracious offerings of these artists wouldn’t surpass exposure beyond cultural relevance; the exception perhaps being those White brothers and sisters that were and continue to be avid Hip Hop supporters and/or historians.

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Macklemore and Ryan, the point of the aforementioned is not to convey nor pose opposition to your song, but, to simply acknowledge those that have come before you [as you’ve most notably done on DownTown feat. Kool Moe Dee, Grandmaster Caz, and Grandmaster Melle Mel]and have leveraged the platform of Hip Hop culture as a means of effectuating social change, or in the least, spark the flame of cultural consideration amongst  White folks.

Regarding this matter, I found myself compelled to express my perspective. Not because I felt it necessary to align with the wayward backlash that you guys are being met with, but instead, to provide an articulate and respectful explanation of how we as Black folks potentially feel about your song, albeit gracious. On another note, I have to admit that I was somewhat indifferent about your career; I’d concur that your lyrical prowess is mostly enjoyable and your content/topics were interesting and sometimes even poignant but your songs never quite resonated with me. In fact, if I can be honest, I initially considered you to be just another White rapper using the benefit of implicit privilege, supremacy, carefree themes, flow patterns, suitable vocal inflections, and vocabulary to drive a career. A shift in my belief has since occurred causing me to depart from this perspective and see that in fact, White people can genuinely care about and be invested in the long-term sustainability of Black culture. The two of you have proven this through your public sincerity and gratitude for the incomparable contributions that Black culture has imparted unto the world.  You guys have possibly set the stage for change amongst White people and it is now time to execute.

Below are some recommendations of how you can further facilitate an understanding amongst your ethnic peers regarding the social dynamic between Black and White people and how it is impacted by the system of White Privilege.  Some recommended group talking points amongst White people are as follows:

  • Don’t be threatened by the assertion of Black [and Brown] Pride
  • Seek opportunities that support/reinforce empathy for the Black [and Brown] experience
  • Similarities between the Black and White racial/social experience is virtually non-existent
  • Understand that the statement, “Black Lives Matter” is not suggestive of racism or a disregard for White lives
  • Gentrification is a result of White Privilege and is a real and proven concept that forces cultural displacement
  • White flight is a result of White Privilege and is a real and proven concept that erodes the cultural diversity in a neighborhood, thereby, causing the inevitability of poverty as a result of ethnic stereotyping
  • Amongst Black people, Rioting is never a result of animalistic and/or apathetic manifestations. Instead, it is the result of hopelessness in the face of racial adversity, inequality, and injustice
  • Effectively, Black [and Brown] people can’t reasonably be regarded as racist amidst the looming shadows of systematic White Privilege/Supremacy

Again, I thank you [prospective Hip Hop Legends] for your willingness to create the basis upon which healthy dialogue regarding the issue of ethnic privilege will perhaps come to thrive. It is my hope that the perspective shared in this manifesto has merely served as additional context and has imparted suggestive instructions that look to contribute to a foundation of better understanding the Black experience.

Thank you in advance for the engagement. Looking forward to hearing back from you.

One,

D.D. Turner, Enforcer of Negritude

TCOHHL (The Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend) Radio

@TCOHHL_Radio

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