April 9, 2018
One of author Dr. Gerald Horne’s latest volumes is “Paul Robeson: The Artist as Revolutionary.” I recently walked into the Parkdale Library in Toronto and saw a huge poster celebrating the great Robeson. Robeson, actor, athlete, political activist and one of the greatest singers of all time, would have been 120 years old today, April 9. Thousands of words have been written about Robeson’s interpretation of Jerome Kern’s song, “Old Man River,” but little has been mentioned about his participation in a unique musical collaboration.
January 15, 2018
There are many facts about King’s life that are not widely known to today’s African youth. One example is that he visited Africa before Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad. Kwame Nkrumah invited King to Ghana’s independence celebration on March 6, 1957. Malcolm X’s first visited Egypt in 1959. King was light years ahead of his contemporaries on the South African question. It must be understood that the masses of Africans in the Western Hemisphere re-embraced pan-Africanism in the 1970s.
December 13, 2017
Dec. 10, 2017, was the 50th anniversary of Redding’s transition. Jay Z and Kanye West introduced the hip-hop generation to Redding in 2011 when they recorded the track, “Otis.” Forty-four years before that, Redding was on top – known as the most popular male vocalist on Planet Earth. Redding was so popular in England that he ended Elvis Presley’s eight-year reign as the “world’s best male vocalist” on Melody Maker’s annual pop poll in 1967. According to Amiri Baraka, Redding said things in Muhammad Speaks “more ‘radical,’ Blacker, than many of the new musicians.”
March 6, 2014
On his new album, “The Roots of the Blues,” Randy Weston teams up with tenor saxophonist Billy Harper. Weston and Harper, like Weston and the late trombonist and arranger Melba Liston, go together like two straws in a coke. The 13 tracks on this album are mostly original compositions by Weston.
January 27, 2012
Beyonce performed Etta’s signature song, “At Last” at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, laying claim to the tune James relied on to make a living. James told an audience shortly after that that Obama “is not my president” and “that woman he had singing for him, singing my song … she’s going to get her ass whipped.”
August 21, 2011
The 21st of August marks the 40th anniversary of the execution of George Lester Jackson. Many of the strategies and tactics that he and his fellow comrades employed in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s were used by prisoners at Pelican Bay, Corcoran and other California prisons in the recent hunger strikes.