authorgraph

Saturday, November 18, 2017

It's lonely in the Black 1% - Welp!




This is something I didn't expect because, hey, the few that there are, if they are lonely...Hang together! Anyhoo, The mimi-interviews offered in the segment affirm the nasty, little open secret that floats through the world of the stinking rich.

The nasty open secret? It's terribly segregated. That even in that supposedly-learned, intelligent, color-blind cocoon, the Whites there can be, and are, as rabidly racist as their poor or working-class counterparts. They just do it with a rye-and-water in one hand as they smirk and ring for Jeeves.

This tiny CNN Money segment highlights financier Eddie C. Brown and his wife Sylvia, and Sheila C. Johnson. Let's just say that they could buy and sell Guam a few times BEFORE breakfast. That's how loaded they are. But as they recount, no matter how rich, they will ALWAYS only be seen as Black.

See. I'm so weird that that wouldn't bother me. Number One? It's true! Number Two? I harken back to the words of my late grandfather. "I don't want to eat with no folk who might poison my food!"

So, I say, Black 1%? Make that money. Be comfy. No crime in that. Give back to where you came from. As for the rye-and-water drinkers? Do business. Be civil. Keep your dignity but under your breath tell 'em to go kick rocks.

http://money.cnn.com/2016/10/14/news/economy/black-1-unstereotyped/index.html

P. S. my personal experience with the uber-rich came when I attended college. Little, old, poor, scholarship me (you know the students who weren't 'legacy'; the ones who couldn't afford to coast on the fumes of prior wealthy generations who'd attended; the students who HAD to study) went to this all-women's college in the NE. A place as idyllic as the brochure. A place where some students return to campus came in the form of a stretch  limo, an entourage and a flurry of professional movers. Oh, yes. The first few Septembers during my attendance, the campus grounds were awash in beehived, chain-smoking "Millicents" swathed in pearls and twinsets; the "Rogers" were in tweed and bourbon breath.

I discovered then, as I stood gripping my best, vinyl Woolworth handbag, and watched the Return-of the-Spawn -of-the-Masters-of-the-Universe,  that the rich, oh man, they really are different.

Mr. Eddie C. Brown - From moonshine runner to financial wizard

Talk a bout a success story. I am sure when Mr. Brown was a little kid, he didn't think he was going to be a 'shine runner, let alone a money maven. But when fate,destiny, determination collide, anything can happen. I adore these kinds of life histories. It just flies in the face of "experts' who live by nature over nurture.

Mr. Brown owns and runs Brown Capital Management, a Baltimore-based firm, with holdings of over 8 billion. Son, I said, 8 billion, son! This man worked his butt off to get his as the now popular "come-up" didn't exist then. Plus, he doesn't seem the IG attention-hound type.

Through his wealth, he and his wife have given back to the city of Baltimore's troubled youth by funding and establishing empowerment programs and providing monetary assistance to the gifted of little means.

Read up on his accomplishments at https://blackamericaweb.com/2017/11/15/little-known-black-history-fact-eddie-c-brown/

info courtesy: blackamerica web





Friday, November 10, 2017

Fighting on all fronts for what? For whom? Honoring Black U. S. service men and women this Veterans' Day 2017











As Veterans' Day, November 11th, falls on Saturday this year for the U. S., the holiday is being celebrated today. Since this blog's emphasis is on seeing the American Experience in all things in this land through African-American eyes, today, I salute the brave, Black service members who fought on two fronts in almost every friggin' war, conflict, battle, skirmish, you name it, for America's freedom, while never having that same afforded them at home.

I salute my ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WW1, WW2, the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, and on and on. An on-and-on presently which appears to be pushing deeper into Black Africa as ISIS and Al-Qaeda flee the Middle East. Ugh. Incursions which leave them dead and left behind. Think Niger and Sgt. LaDavid Johnson. All harrowing missions carried out without questions from these men, and with scant thanks, and boatloads of denials from the country that sends them there as fodder.

Okay. Got that off my chest. Just had to say it because I had family members who saw action and were NEVER the same after it. Meanwhile, the armed services whistled and twiddled their thumbs. But from what I see now that same shoulder shrug is offered to ALL who served and are hurting.

Anyhoo, back to this post's topic.

PBS is broadcasting an excellent series called, FIGHTING ON BOTH FRONTS; THE STORY OF THE 370TH. It chronicles an all African-American regiment who fought during WW1. The 370th consisted of men from Illinois, mostly from Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood . Fighting on two fronts? Yes, the Germans and racism and inequality back home (I'm certain in basic training too. I always used to wonder why basic always took place down South). Consult PBS listings for dates and times.

http://www.pbs.org/show/fighting-both-fronts-story-370th/


These scenarios of disrespected, brave men have repeated themselves throughout U. S. history. But consult a number of "history" books, and it looks like the rescue was all White. There are a number of books African-Americans and their struggle when fighting in 'Nam.












In any case, this weekend, I chose to honor them with a phrase that is pretty inadequate, and has become rather trite, but I mean it from the bottom of my heart.

"Thank you for your service! "

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Oh man. Say it ain't so - Bunny and Keith?

Well, I can see that this year is sizing up to end just like last year as far as the music world goes. Two giants gone in two weeks. Now, if you read this blog with any regularity, you are familiar with the fact that I love 70s funk bands and soul singers from the period. Sadly, two men who represented those two loves have passed.

1 ) Bunny Sigler (March 27, 1941 - October 6, 2017), a record executive who along with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, created the "Philly Sound" known as "The Sound of Philadelphia" and the MFSB (Mother, Father, Sister, Brother) musicians in the early 70s. He was a talent on many levels so besides being a producer he was a performer too. He was known for his artistry in either singing the following songs, or for engineering their "sound" -  That's How Long I'll Be Loving You,  By the Way You Dance,  Love Train (an O'Jays classic)  In later yeas, he connected with the younger generation by co-writing The Ruler's Back, the opening track on Jay-Z's 2011 album, The Blueprint.







One of Bunny's engineering masterpieces :The O'Jays Love Train

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vTKmVvyNRc




2) Keith Wilder of one of my fav funk bands, HEATWAVE, is gone at 65. This is another blow to the group as his brother Johnnie Wilder, Jr. passed in 2006 after years of living paralyzed from a car accident. They used to switch places on certain songs in the lead spot. Johnnie's beautiful falsetto is heard on the recording of Always and Forever (an amazingly beautiful song. Requested at lots of weddings to this day), but Keith could sing it too.  Wilder was still on the road doing his thing until a few weeks ago. He'd been the survivor of several strokes which had left him with limited mobility, and warranted his use of a stool when performing. his family said he'd simply laid down for a nap on the Sunday afternoon  of October 29th and didn't wake up. This group lost its other mega-talent,  Rod Temperton,  just last year too. Though no longer performing with them, he was still a part of HEATWAVE. Known for those signature hits of the late 70s/early 80s, Wilder's voice , and the other, will be missed.







Keith Wilder




Sigh.

My girlhood music innovators are leaving this planet fast.

Goodnight, gentlemen.

All of HEATWAVE'S songs were gold (Groove Line, Boogie Nights) but Always and Forever is platinum. Listen, kiddies, to perfection. Take notes. It won't pass this way again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiI42aZ5F40

Monday, October 30, 2017

DISSENT - ON SALE!

OKAY, FOLKS! TAKE NOTE! TIME FOR A BIT OF CRASS SELF-PROMOTION.

This freakin' wonderful book (if I do say so myself) is now $1.99 FOR THE EBOOK through the holiday season! That's half price!

Plus, if you got the ducats and want a matched set, purchase the pricier paperback version (it's keepsake quality if you ask me), and pick up the ebook for an additional .99 cents!

Have it your way.

(A little nod to the "Burger King" ad of old there)



Thursday, October 26, 2017

Happy Birthday, Bootsy!


"The name is Bootsy, Baby."

That famous line from a 1996 cartoon with the singer as a character. The cartoon didn't make the cut for mass distribution but by the magic of the internet, it lives.


William Earl "Bootsy" Collins, native of Cincinnati, OH. Mad bass guitar player. Owner of that unique voice that sounds like across between those of the cartoon character Yogi Bear and the late actor George Sanders. My FAVORITE Funkateer in first, George Clinton's P-Funk Collective, and then in Parliament-Funkadelic, is 65 years old today (October 26th, 1951). I admire staying power and stamina and musician ship. Will Drake, Bey, Nikki or Chris Brown still be bouncing around the stage in 30 years? I do not think so. I kinda shutter to think. Hence, the make up and perfume  empires et al popping up. But that's just my opinion. Anyway, back to Bootsy.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BOOTSY!

The guy is a music genius. He collaborates with musicians of all genres. The session that blew me away was the one he had with bluegrass biggies Doc Watson, Del McCoury and Mac Wiseman to form the GroveGrass Boyz. Their effort was a fusion of bluegrass and funk..He was a 1997 Inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with Mr. Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic. Below, watch the late, great Prince bestow the honor on the group:



Never stopping, never resting, Mr. Collins is on tour now with a new album called, WORLD WIDE FUNK.. A star-filled collabo with artists from many different music styles. Give a listen to an NPR segment called, "First Listen" to partake of the magnificence that is Bootsy Collins.



He also gave an interview i August to Pitchfork magazine on how anyone can reach one's "funk potential." Gotta love it.


Thank you, Mr. Collins. The world needs this now. Funk On, my man. Funk On. 


Saturday, October 21, 2017

If you can't beat 'em, throw the rock and hide your hand anyway


A short rant brought to to by those-who-are-peeping-the-game.

Well, the tug ‘o war is still happening in romance writing. Especially when it comes to, -  here comes that word – “multicultural” romance writing. Yanno, when at least one of the main characters is NOT White.  A whole lot of shaking has been going on since, I really can’t remember, but it’s been going on awhile. The whole “Who can write whom? Why does who want to write whom? Will who write whom in a real way?” And on and on. Romance writers who are White, by and large, write whatever the hell they want. As they should. What is the argument then? The 800-lb. elephant in the room has never been, “You shouldn’t write a non-White or non-binary character!” Nooooooooooo! The issue has ALWAYS been, “Why are y’all the default, go-to writer to pen everything that readers might express an interest in reading?” Okay. Now that that is cleared up, let’s follow the trajectory. The first “multicultural” romances were seen as such because they usually depicted a White heroine discovering another culture through the non-White, or half-White hero. Recall those sappy Westerns from the 70s, 80s? A hero so stupidly smitten by her “alabaster skin” that he lost all reason from the second he laid eyes on her. Blah. Blah. Blah. He either kidnapped her to get her, or would leave his own people to have her. Multicultural was so vaguely defined that men from Italy, Greece and Spain were labelled “exotic.” As for the thoughts of the heroine about the guy, she usually compared him “wild, untamed, unfamiliar” land he came from. I could say that about Greek yogurt. Oy.

Now, I am not sure but the first romance writers in the LBGTQ+ community were from those communities, but the offerings were not viewed as romances. They were memoirs or coming-of-age stories as opposed to mass-market romance fiction. Time marched on and the readers of the Liberated White Heroine school devoured the “multicultural” books with that brownish hero. Readers could scratch their itch safely by reading about “forbidden love” with the other. “Wow! It’s so real! I feel like I’m in Barcelona!” LBGTQ+ memoirs or fiction stayed with that community more or less. Then the romance market changed. A new influx of readers wanted to read about the imaginary romantic lives of people not often written about. To answer the call, White writers to the rescue again. Mainly female writers. But this time writers who were from the actual marginalized communities desired to have their voices heard. They had story ideas where the characters sounded more authentic and were not in the story for titillation. Get my drift? A few got their manuscripts accepted, and the view of the non-White and LBGTQ+ in love changed. It also sold. But miracle of miracles, without much help from their publishers, the new authors sold. So what happens when success is achieved and others want some? You guessed it. Already established White writers stewed because, hey, they wanted even more of the pie they were already bogarting.

So, White writers started studying the romance books written by non-White writers and LBGTQ+ writers to see what was making them stand out. They were looking to reproduce the success. Well, they learned and before you knew it, those writers became the go-to writers for ANYTHING in non-White or LBGTQ+ romance, in addition to all things White in romance writing. Déjà vu all over again. Imitation is supposed to be the highest form of flattery? Um, er, um, no. It’s stealing. They like to call it borrowing. Okay. But I see you. Five, well-known, White writers come to my mind immediately who have worked “borrowing” to their advantage. They latched onto the rhythm of “others,” ran with it, and cashed in big time. They were lauded up and down the halls of romance for creating such “refreshing, edgy, innovative, authentic” characters. Yeah, Rock stars. Billionaires. Military themes. All done by "others." All “borrowed.”

That disingenuous, sleight-of-hand doled out by publishers and most White romance writers who pen “multicultural” romance has lasted and has made their pockets bulge. But with criticism coming fast, deep and sharp from romance writers from the communities these White writers think they are depicting so accurately, that crown the chosen few were given has gotten quite uncomfortable. Most recent flack has been for their abysmal depictions of the non-White heroines. I can only speak on non-White heroines in hetero romances. I am not an authority on LBGTQ+ romances other than that most folk who are from those communities sort of detests the ones written by non-LBGTQ+ people. Back to non-White heroines though. Specifically, Black ones. I have blogged about this mess before and it has not gotten any better. The Black heroines most White writers create are pitiful. Oh, the ones by some non-White writers suck too but usually due to scant character development not outright bias. I’ve wondered sometimes when I’ve read a “multicultural” by a White author if they have even spoken with, or met, a Black woman. Their ouvres contain stereotypes in mannerisms, speech and background out the wazoo. Non-White romance writers who have created humane, multifaceted non-White characters can’t even get a manuscript read, let alone accepted.  But trash submitted by a lot of White romance writers gets through. Oh, trust and believe. It’s trash. It’s like their heroines are the amalgamation of every Black female they ever heard or saw on Fox News. I’ve tried to read trash so insulting that I swore my I. Q. dropped before I DNF’ed it.  The criticism continued, and does, ‘til this day. So, what was the defense mechanism used against the criticism? The writers circled the wagons and doubled-down!

The lauded writers, and their wannabes-in-waiting, did not like having their omnipotent view challenged. They did not, and do not, take kindly to being told their portraits of “others” suck. Several have taken to romance book blogs, and to Twitter to lament that they “tried to write a Black or Asian or whatever heroine but the response was too harsh. “ Waaa! And that they “won’t do it again because even after having several beta readers” their masterpieces got trounced!” Waaa! My take? Suck it up, honeys. No one told you to write a non-White heroine. You chose to for 1) the quick money, 2) the recognition, 3) because you thought you had it on lock, and did I mention 4) the quick money? But Romancelandia is small. Word gets out when something has an odor. Especially when it’s one of insincerity. People wait to critique these books when written by a White author. Why? Because lots of readers believe White authors do it better. And because you, White author, believe you can do no wrong. The truth is people, who probably have a better, different view of a heroine who looks like them, NEVER get the chance to present that view. Comprende? Capisce? I have always said, “Write what you want. But be prepared to have it analyzed and critiqued when you leave your lane.” Sentiments most White writers DO NOT heed when forging ahead into territory unknown. Then they get all butt-hurt when people eye-ball it.

So, these butt-hurt special snowflakes have decided to get around that troubling problem of being called on the carpet for piss-poor depictions of non-White heroines. Oh, they still write the “multicultural” but these women have gone RETRO. I noticed this trend about a year ago. It was slight trickle then but now it’s become a steady flow. Retro how, you ask? They’ve gone back to the “multicultural” of old. The tried-and-true plot where the focus is on the White heroine going to another land, or simply another part of town, to find herself through shagging a non-White, half-White hero. The old 360. Like the writer of old, the writer of today only has to stick to describing, or depicting, the White side of things. Things like the White heroine’s rising ardor for the non-White/half-White hero. It’s all about her. No pesky thinking about how to pen a non-White woman and how to explore her feelings in a love affair. No having to create a profile for a character not like her. Nope, that woman is not part of this story. Unless of course, she is the mother or sister to the hero who hates the heroine’s guts. The writer can then make these women as shrewish as she wants to contrast the gentility of the heroine. Making it plain that she is sooo not them. Same goes for the heroine’s view of the hero. You see him though her eyes and he’s this hot, “exotic” man she’s discovered that she’s always wanted to bone. He doesn’t have to be too developed. He doesn’t have to have a complex personality. He’s there for one purpose. The mainstream reader can still say they read a “multicultural.” That they enjoyed it and most importantly, it was something relatable! “Wow, this place holder is just like me! I felt he was talking to me when the hero spoke to the heroine! Golly Gee, I like ‘multicultural’ now!”

Just another ingenious, subtly bigoted way to recapture the top spot in the market in general romance 
AND in “multicultural.”

Oh, I could tick off more examples of subtle bigotry hiding behind a balance sheet that gets sanctioned by the industry, but I’d be here all day. But for this particular, peculiar occurrence, don’t take my word for it. Check out the new releases post on the major romance book review blogs. They are posted on Tuesdays. Scan those suckers. First, one can count on one hand, with two fingers missing, the covers with NON-WHITE faces in these “new release” posts. Some weeks there is not a one. And non-White authors? It would be easier to find ears on a chicken. New Releases my eye. Might as well call it business as usual. Sneakily but surely, this new breed of “multicultural” romance shows up in the new releases post with a bare-chested, non-White male on a book cover all by his lonesome. It is only when one searches on Amazon for details, does one discover the book is a “multicultural” romance with a White heroine. Written by a White female author.