Sunday, September 15, 2019

Joan Johnson, co-founder of Johnson Products along with her husband built an empire and groomed the hair, and conscience, of a generation

Image result for joan johnson johnson products

founders of Johnson Products - Joan Johnson and husband, George E. Johnson in their early years

Image result for joan johnson johnson products
The Johnsons later in life

Wow. Does this bring back memories.

Johnson Products.

I must have used EVERY hair care item Mr. and Mrs. Johnson manufactured back in the day

First, it was the relaxer line which I used off and on for years until I dropped the creamy crack a decade and a half back. And before then, and occasionally to this day, I hot comb my hair the old fashioned way.

Oh God. Early relaxers were an hours long process. I cringe when I recall the torture. One of my uncle's owned a beauty shop and he REFUSED to do them. Said a "press and curl" was good enough. He lost money but his tried and true church ladies kept him in business.

Ultra Sheen Relaxer. Ultra Sheen Conditioner and Hairdress for Extra Dry Hair.  Ultra Sheen Original Formula. Ultra Sheen Creme Satin Press

Image result for ultra sheen
Image result for ultra sheen

And when I wore my faithful Afro, I bought ALL the products to keep that looking presentable. The afros in the following videos are what kids today call GOALS)

Image result for afro sheen

Image result for afro sheen

Afro Sheen Easy Comb Shampoo. Afro Sheen Blowout Kit for the natural. Afro Sheen Oil Spray.

I could work up a mess in the bathroom with the oil spray.Tricky thing was, you thought you weren't using that much. UNTIL. UNTIL. You noticed your shoes were slipping on the tile floor and you were coughing.

And no I NEVER had a Jheri Curl. The amount of activator I saw people run through scared me away.

What we do for fashion.

They even produced cosmetics forthe variety of  Black skin tones. I bought several.

I thank Ms. Johnson and her husband for creating the products because before that our options were for press and curl only - My Knight, Dixie Peach (which came as Dixie Peach Red and Dixie Peach Pomade), Royal Crown, Dax, and Blue Magic.

R. I. P. Mrs. Johnson. You pushed a generation to embrace itself eventually!

Sunday, September 1, 2019


Related image

Okay! Okay! Okay!

Dude, put on your purple flares, your platform shoes with the clear heels and your matching Qiana shirt and I'll slip on my co-ordinating mauve-colored, Qiana wrap skirt with matching bodysuit and a pair of beige Candies.

Oh, and don't forget your gold chains and the coiffure of your choice. Afro or Slicked straight back like Tony Manero's.

It's that time again.

Sing along while you Hustle around the dance floor.

It's SEPTEMBER. Finally.

Image result for earth wind and fire songs

Image result for earth wind and fire songs

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Anne Wiggins Brown - Gershwin's 1st "Bess"

Image result for anne wiggins brown

Anne Wiggins Brown, born August 9, 1912, was the 1st African American vocalist admitted to Juilliard School in New York City. She'd been raised from an early age to excel and was considered a child prodigy. Her family supported her through her quest for vocal excellence. At first she applied to the Peabody Institute but was rejected due to, let's say it together, boys and girls! - HER RACE! I'm shocked I tell ya. Just shocked. Anyhoo, she applied to Juilliard and was accepted at the tender age of 16. Her vocal range was soprano.

Image result for anne wiggins brown

While there she honed her craft and heard that George Gershwin was writing an opera about Black life in the South. The work was to be called Porgy and Bess. She wrote him. He answered. They collaborated and she played the role of Bess when the show opened in 1935 at Boston's Colonial Theater with its all Black cast.

Image result for anne wiggins brown

Having made history, she continued to work but nowhere near as much as, say, a White counterpart like Mary Martin. Sick of the racism and the U. S.'s segregation laws, Wiggins-Brown moved to Norway where she became a vocal coach.

Decades later, she was honored with the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America. An "award" bestowed upon her by the same 'institution of higher learning" (YAWN) that had denied her entrance years before.


Brown passed in 2009 at the age of 96.

Image result for anne wiggins brown

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Classicist, diplomat and historian Frank M. Snowden

Image result for frank snowden black historian

Frank Snowden was a historian of Blacks in Antiquity. He was most knownfor his works, Blacks in Antiquity: Ethiopians in the Greco-Roman Experience and Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks.

The classicist pioneered a new field of study. He focused on the role and place of Blacks in Greek and Roman cukture and, most importantly, how rabid racism against Blacks was peculiar to solely to Western Civilization. He noted that Blacks in the Ancient World were not subjected to the irrationality of racism to the extremes that would later befall them. When first encountered by Greeks and Romans, Blacks were the warriors, charioteers, soldiers and artists of their nations, and were treated as such by Greece and Rome. They were not labeled  "savages" or seen as less than making them ripe for enslavement.

Several academics challenged his work by saying basically that he was viewing those worlds through "rose-colored glasses." Which might be true but Snowden's work, boiled down to the bare bones, depicted a time where racism toward Blacks, because they were black, was practically non-existent. Flawed or not, his research, his dedication and his contribution were radical..

He earned his undergrad, graduate and doctoral degrees from Harvard University. After teaching jobs at several colleges, he ended his career at Howard University where he was Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and began the school's Honors Program.

Snowden had countless accomplishments. Read more below.

Born July 17th 1911, the scholar, fluent in 5 languages, passed in 2007 at the age of 95, preceeded by his wife of 70 years, Elaine

Image result for frank snowden black historian

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Pea Island Lifesavers - If ya didn't know, ya know now!

Image result for pea island lifesavers

Folks love to say we can't swim! True. A lot of us can't. Laws set in place over the centuries, decades banned us from public pools and public beaches so, learning to swim wasn't big on our list of ish-to-do. Surviving was top priority. Other stuff was squeezed in as life permitted. Okay?

Hence, the PEA ISLAND LIFESAVERS (circa 1896) are a huge surprise to many in the U. S.

Pea Island, situated on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (my people! my people!) was the 1st life-saving station to have an all-Black team and the 1st station to have a Black commanding officier, keeper, Richard Etheridge.

As we cannot have nice things, per usual, five months after it opened, (FIVE FREAKIN' MONTHS!) the all-Black station was set a fire and burnt to the ground, Oh, I wonder why? And by whom, pray tell? It is truly a puzzlement!

Image result for pea island lifesavers

You can read so much more about this amazing crew and amazing man at its helm at the links below. A documentary called RESCUE MEN is available now.. :

Years after his death, on August 3, 2102, the second of the Coast Guard's 154-foot Sentinel Class Cutters, USCOC Richard Etheridge (WPC-1102) was commissioned in his honor.

Courageous men!

Image result for pea island lifesavers

"Fire on the Beach" an excellent book about the origins of the lifesavers and Richard Etheridge

Image result for richard etheridge

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Why is the hue of a mermaid, a friggin' CARTOON, that crucial?

Okay. Okay. Okay. Calm the eff down!

1) It's taken me  a few days to process this nonsesnse. This is a three part treatment. As the kids say, "Issa rant." Get a snack.

Initially, I thought "Oh, wow. Disney has woken up!" But after reflection, I realized that Disney is just, and still is all about the moolah. Not the white or the black but the almighty green.

Always has. Always will.

My initial joy consisted of me thinking how neat it was gonna be to have another Black princess in the Disney pantheon. Until I stopped and pondered.

Wait one minute. "The Princess and the Frog" (2009) had Princess Tiana. Lovely. But the more I thought, the more I was pissed. Not a single Disney princess in the last, what? like 70 years, has ever had to be UNSEEN AND A CREATURE for about 90 percent of her own damned film. Not a freakin' one. But this outfit decides, after almost a century, that they were gonna "do the right thing" and present the Black audience (and yes, it was for us. No other audience was clamoring for it) with a Black Princess. So Disney relented and Tiana was born.

As I said, we saw her as HUMAN in about 10 per cent of the film and she didn't even get a Black prince. I mean, every other Disney chick had a prince of her own nation. A happy Black couple, even in animation, is threatening?

2) Then we got the #NotMyAriel squad. The twits on social media bemoaning the notion that their childhoods were gonna be permanently marred with the re-casting of a Black girl to be Ariel in the live-action remake. REALLY? Y'all need t go take your Zoloft or Adderall or Ritalin or all of them and go lie down. The uproar over the telling of a story about a FICTIONAL FISH is simply an excuse for bigotry. I could not bring myself to participate in this stupid battle. My brain cells are too  precious. One fool on Twitter said, "Ariel is Danish. A Black person can't play her." Another future rocket scientist deduced that "since Black people can't swim. Halle Bailey is wrong for the role."

And people say we live in a post-racial society and that the youth will save us. Possibly if they come from another galaxy. But if any of that alien youth has any sense, they'll pass by this hellmouth. I've said enough about the bigots. More than enough. They get too much play as is.

Lastly, this part is a call to Black folks. Stop getting happy about the crumbs of others. Meaning? Stop looking for validation from folk who do not notice your existence unless it benefits them. Disney ain't doing this out of the goodness of their tiny hearts. Disney sees seas and seas and seas of green..They saw how giddy and gooey Black audiences got over "Black Panther." The cries of "we got our own superhero" "we in da Marvel house now!" "Wakanda forever!" I think T'Challa and Nakia got ONE lousy kiss out of the whole film. Please. WE aren't anywhere, darlings but our dollars are. In the cofffers of others. WAKE UP! Make something of our own to get jubliant aboutt!

I wish more "content creators" on Youtube would be interested in more then the latest lace front or color palette. Their creativity is needed beyong make up tutorials.

Oh, I am certain there is another agenda bubbling behind this live-action recasting. It hasn't hit me yet. Let's see cartoon Ariel wasn't a human girl and was from an aquatic family and wanted legs and the prince. Was willing to leave ger people to be with the human dude.

Oh, I get it now Disney. It's not just gonna be a interspecies love story. It's gonna be an interracial one too. Ariel will be Black and a fish and her prince will be non-Black (I'm certain) and human. You know Disney, there is room for another Black prince?

Personally, I loathe remakes of any kind in any genre of film. Hey, I probably won't see the "Star is Born" remake unless it comes on STARZ or something like that. I'm partial to the 1976 version with La Streisand and Kris Kristoferson..That one speaks to my generation as I am sure the previous ones spoke to those generations. I have nothing against the newest one; I just won't go out of my way to see it. Or act mental because it's "destroying memories of my youth."

So, to those bigots whose childhoods are being "destroyed" with this news: Get a grip. Face the future. Find something truly pertinent in your shallow lives to tackle. 'Mmkay?

Black folks: Learn how to discern when you are being played. But you probably can't hear me because you are somewhere already standing in line for "Black Panther 2"

And Disney: I have no words for you. You play the long game too well.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Say what you will but the man changed the effin game! When he was in the Jackson 5, they, then he, went big thanks to BLACK radio. "Mainstream" radio in America was NOT playing Black music. I don't care what your folks have told you. Oh yes, they jumped on the bandwagon AFTER they could no longer ignore his talent and success. But that's what mainstream does. It FOLLOWS trends, it does not set them.

Michael knocked on music's door then when it took too long to answer, he kicked the sucker down and nothing has been the same since.

Mainstream got its revenge (of sorts) when the child molestation allegations sprang up. They totally nixed playing anything from his magnificent 2002 album "Invincible" which came out after those allegations. It contains my favorite MJ song - "Butterflies." (Though "Jam" vies for attention sometimes) "Butterflies" is soft and edgy at the same time. How I like to think he was.

To hell with the naysayers and moochers. Be at peace. Rest in Power, Michael

"Butterflies" -

"Jam" -