25 February 2013

Beyonce







Ok, It's official I have decided to give Beyonce a chance...Yes you can now run into the streets and jump with joy. Let me say, I never really had an issue with her, I just wasn't a huge fan, I think it's that whole over exposure, singing At Last and attempting to portray an actress.. GIRL you can't ACT..please do us all a favor and stick to Singing.. Oh yeah and I think she's a beautiful woman naturally, so More photos of you and your natural self would be appreciated as well..  Well with the advent of Public Libraries and the ability to download free music, I have downloaded a few Beyonce songs that I like and as long as she keeps showing pictures of that beautiful Blue Ivy, I'll be a semi-fan.. I mean the only person I'm paying $100 to see is Prince Rogers Nelson and well Queen Bey is not even in the same category :-)





Despite the "controversy" surrounding this video, I mean come on people, imitation is the best form of flattery..I absolutely love this video and this song..

So, Again I'll be Team B for now...Just please don't do anything crazy...Give Blue Ivy a Kiss for me!


Intentions

We all have good intentions. Example, I had every intention of writing a Black History Blog Post every day of this month, alternating between important Black Men and Women in Black History. However, I was sick, kids were sick, Husband was gone for longer than normal and other duties took precedence. So it didn't happen, I am disappointed but have resolved to write at least 2 blogs a month on Black History Makers and well, February isn't over yet, so I might squeeze in a few more for this month,  I MIGHT... I will make no promises because I frankly don't like to break them.

16 February 2013

A Black College Is.....

not so much a place to go
as it is a place to grow

it is not so much a place to learn your history
as it is a place to express your truth that you are somebody
of value

a Black college is not so much the place to become
independent
as it is a place to understand mutual dependence

not so much a harvest ground
as it is a path to higher ground

not so much a social place as it a sacred place rich with
history...with struggle...with meaning

it is not so much the place to be on your own
as it is the place to be at your best

a Black college is all of this and more

and now, because of you
the legacy continues

author: unknown


11 February 2013

Whitney: A Year later


A year ago today, the world lost a beautiful, beautiful voice that of Ms. Whitney Elizabeth Houston. I am still in shock and sad a year later. Sad because I never saw her in concert, sad because her death was avoidable, sad because the love her fans had for her was not enough, sad because I refuse to be mad, because we all fall short. Her voice was truly a gift from God and thank God for the technology that exist that will allow us to hear that voice forever.


My Children have fallen in love with I Wanna Dance With Somebody and I think it's the first Whitney Song I saw a video for and I still think that video is so cool..



So many songs, to choose from..These are just a few of my favorites..


06 February 2013

28 Days of Black History: Dorothy Dandridge


Dorothy Jean Dandridge was born November 9, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio. She was an actress and singer.

Her mother Ruby also an actress, created an act for Dorothy and her sister, Vivian under the name "The Wonder Children and they toured on the Chitlin' Circuit for 5 years in the Southern United States. At the onset of the Great Depression, work slowed down, so Ruby moved the family to Hollywood, California where she found steady work on radio and film in small parts as a domestic. Ruby also renamed the girls, The Dandridge Sisters in 1937 and booked them into such venues as The Cotton Club and The Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York.

Dorothy made her first film appearance in a bit part in an Our Gang comedy, Teachers' Beau in 1935. Her first film credited role came in 1940 in the race film, Four Shall Die as murderer.  In 1954, she signed a 3 movie deal with 20th Century Fox. She was quickly cast in an all-Black cast of Carmen Jones, a role for which she became the 3rd Black woman to be nominated for an Academy Award, after Hattie McDaniel and Ethel Waters, however she was nominated as Best Actress which was a first for a Black Woman, she lost to Audrey Hepburn. Dandridge's Voice in Carme was dubbed by opera singer Marilyn Horne.



Dandridge declined many small bit roles, some that required her to be a slave because she didn't want to be portrayed as a slave and she also wanted to be the Star. Fox was having problems finding her lead roles and her declining the small bit roles in The King and I and The Lieutenant Wore Skirts started a slow but steady decline in her film career.

In 1959, Columbia Pictures offered Dorothy the lead role of Bess, in Porgy and Bess which garnered, Dandrige a Golden Globe, she lost to Marilyn Monroe. The film faltered and Dandridge was blamed. Many Blacks felt that Dandridge, who in their eyes proved that a black woman could achieve what a white woman or man could, was "selling out", because she was playing a drug addict in the movie. Blacks felt that the characters in the movie, drug addicts, rapist, drunk, pandered the stereotypes about Blacks.

Dandridge died September 8, 1965 under conflicting circumstances. One report stated she died of an accidental drug overdose and another due to a rare embellish, blockage of the blood passages at the lungs and brain by tiny pieces of fat flaking off from bone marrow in a fractured right foot she sustained while filming a Hollywood movie 5 days before her death, she was only 42 years old.

28 Days of Black HIstory: Paul Robeson


Paul Leroy Robeson was born April 8, 1898 in Princeton New Jersey. He was a singer, actor, lawyer and football player.

Robeson won a scholarship to Rutgers University making him only the third black person to be admitted and he was the only black person at the University during his tenure. While at Rutgers, after proving he could play and despite racially charged initiation he played for the schools football team and only sat out one game, due to a southern team refusing to play with a Negro.  Robeson was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and was voted Valedictorian by his classmates.

Rutgers matriculated at New York University Law school in 1919, but transferred to Columbia University Law in 1920 because he felt uncomfortable due to racial issues.  While at Columbia Robeson acted in off campus productions and became active during the Harlem Renaissance.  During this time Robeson also played with the National Football Leagues, Akron Pro's.

Robeson's portrayal of Othello in London has been considered the high point in English Shakespearean  theatre in the 20th Century.






Due to Robeson's advocacy of anti-Imperialism, affiliation with Communism and criticism of the United States Government, he was blacklisted during MCarthyism. Robeson's refusal to recant his views, he was denied a U.S. Passport, thus was unable to work in Europe and caused him financial ruin and caused his health to decline as well. 

Robeson died Januray 23, 1976 due to complications from a stroke in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



04 February 2013

28 Days of Black History: Marian Anderson


Marian Anderson was born Febuary 27, 1897 in Philadelphia, PA. Anderson is one of the most celebrated singers of the 20th Century. Anderson was a Contralto Opera Singer. She spent most of her career performing concerts, recitals in major music venues and with famous orchestra's throughout the United States and Europe between 1925-1965.

Anderson was denied permission by the Daughters of The American Revolution (DAR) to perform in front of an integrated audience at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC in 1939. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and several other DAR members renounced their membership due to this incident. With the help of the First Lady and her Husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Anderson performed a critically acclaimed Easter Concert, April 9, 1939 at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with over 75,000 people in attendance and over 1 million listening on their radio's.

Anderson also became the first black person to sing at New York City's Metropolitan Opera, January 7, 1955. She performed as Ulrica in Guiseppe Verdi's Un Ballo in Mashera, this also marked the only time she sang an opera roll on stage. Anderson did not want to perform opera roles because of her lack of acting skills.

Anderson served as a delegate to UN's Human Rights Committee and a goodwill ambassador for the US Department of State. She received numerous honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963, Kennedy Center Honor, 1978, National Medal of Arts, 1986 and A Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1991.

Anderson died April 8, 1993 of congestive heart failure at the ripe age of 96.


03 February 2013

28 Days of Black History: Scott Joplin



There is speculation of his birth, however it is guessed that he was born around 1867 in East Texas. Joplin was a pianist, composer and music teacher. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtime pieces and was dubbed The king of Ragtime.

Joplin grew up in Texarkana where he formed a vocal quartet and taught mandolin and guitar. He traveled to Chicago for the 1893 World's Fair, which played a major part in making Ragtime a national craze in 1897. Joplin moved to Sedalia, Missouri in 1894 and earned a living  teaching Piano and touring the South.

He began publishing music in 1895 and with the publishing of The Maple Leaf Rag in 1899, fame and a steady income followed.





Joplin moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1901 and continued to publish music and regularly performed in brothels and bars in the cities Red LIght District. It is believed that Joplin may have been experiencing discoordination of his fingers, tremors and the inability to speak as a result of contacting Syphilis.  He also lost the score to his first opera, A Guest of Honor and many of his belongings due to non-payment of bills and is considered a lost.

Joplin then moved to New York, looking for a producer for his new Opera. Tremonisha was not received well at it's partially staged performance in 1915. In 1916 suffering from tertiary syphilis and by consequence rapidly deteriorating health, he descended into Dementia. He was admitted to a Mental Institute in January 1917 and died 3 months later in April at the age of 49.

HIs music was rediscovered and returned to popularity in the early 1970's with the release of a million-selling album of Joplin's rags recorded by Joshua Rifkin, followed b the Academy Award winning movie, The Sting, which featured several of his recordings. Treemonisha was produced to wide acclaim in 1972. in 1976 he was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize.









02 February 2013

28 Days of Black History: Phillis Wheatley

Day 2: Phillis Wheatley
 Phillis Wheatley is said to have been kidnapped and sold into slavery around the age of 8 or 9 from Senagambia, and brought to North America on the Slave Ship called The Phillis. She was purchased by  The Wheatley Family of Boston who taught her to read and write and encouraged her poetry.



Wheatley poetry expressed Christian themes and many of her poems were dedicated to famous figures. It is guessed that a third of her poems were elegies, the rest have religious, classical and abstract themes. She was influenced by Alexander Pope, John Milton, Homer, Horace and Virgil.

Thomas Paine published her poem in the Pennsylvania Gazette. The Poem was entitled "To His Excellency George Washington" and was written in 1776. Washington invited Wheatley to his home for a personal reading.

Wheatley was freed in 1778 upon the death of her Master as per his Will.

Wheatley was accused of not writing the  poems and had to go before a judge to prove that she in fact was the poet. She also came "under fire" for not writing more about slavery.

With the 1774 publication of her book, "Poems on Various Subjects," Wheatley became the most famous African on the face of the earth.

Wheatley died at the age of 31 on December 5, 1784, I believe from the complications of child birth as she was poor and her infant son died 3 1/2 hours after she passed away.

On Being Brought from Africa to America [sic]

Twas Mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
"Their color is a diabolic dye,"
Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,
May be refin'd, join th' angelic train.

01 February 2013

28 Days of Black History: Langston Hughes

Day 1: Langston Hughes
Jamers Mercer Langston Hughes was born Feburary 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. Hughes was a poet, social activist, novelist, playwright and a columnist and one of the early innovators of what is called Jazz Poetry. Hugehes was best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance or When the Negro Was in Vogue which started around 1919 and ended in the mid 1930's.


Hughes was first published in The Crisis (the official magazine of the NAACP) in 1921.


"The Negro Speaks of Rivers"

I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than
    the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
   went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its muddy
    bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've know rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.


My soul has grown deep like the rivers.


Hughes died May 22, 1967 after complications from abdominal surgery related to Prostate Cancer at the age of 65. His ashes are interred beneath a floor medallion in the middle of the foyer at the Arthur Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, NY in the entrance to the auditorium that bears his name.