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Motown|Legend

Marvin Pentz Gaye was born April 2, 1939 in the country’s capital, Washington, D.C.

Marvin Gaye is one of the best musicians to ever live— his double Grammy-winning music with numerous hits to top the billboard charts in the 1960s and 70s is evidence through the better half of the Motown Era– Detroit. Unfortunately, Motown’s move from Detroit to LA lost much of its essence and soul.  I personally think that lose of Marvin’s creativity during the LA- Motown years may have very well been a lost of Motown all together.

 Ebony Magazine named Marvin Gaye as one of the 25 Coolest Brothers of All Time:

 

WHAT MAKES Marvin COOL:  

Marvin moves us. Whenever we hear him, we feel. This complex artist, Marvin Pentz Gaye, sang about “The Ecology” when it wasn’t hip to be green–“Mercy Mercy Me“—and about trigger-happy policin’ when cop brutality didn’t make the news. Now when we get the “Inner City Blues“, we all wanna holler and throw up both our hands. He fearlessly asked us “What’s Going On,” and his defiant declaration still resonates today–War is not the answer. He was vulnerable in love, willing to disclose his desire—“I Want You“—yet only going so far—-I want you to want me too. And when his lady was hesitant, he insisted they not waste time together. “Let’s Get It On,” he urged—-because after all, givin’ yourself to me can never be wrong, if the love is true. Marvin, we still feel you.     —Candi Mariwether

 

Gaye was an amazing singer, producer, composer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist; his creative music could move even the most stagnate of hearts and minds—listening to him today has the same effect. It’s called a “Classic”.

 Shortly after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Marvin was deeply affected as was the rest of the African American community, and started writing and performing songs that dealt more with political and social awareness. One of my all time favorites and one of his biggest hits: “What’s Going On?”: Listen

Mother, mother, there’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother, there’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, hey
Father, father, we don’t need to escalate
War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today
Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh what’s going on, what’s going on
Yeah, what’s going on, ah, what’s going on
Ahhh….
Mother, mother, everybody thinks we’re wrong
Ah but who are they to judge us
Simply ‘cos our hair is long
Ah you know we’ver got to find a way
To brind some understanding here today

 Marvin Gaye died on April 1, ironically one day before his birthday and two years before my birth, a tragic death at the hands of his father as he was shot to death in his parent’s Los Angeles home. Marvin was only 44 years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cyclic|BET

 If you ask me,  and even if you don’t I’m still going to say it because it simply needs saying, BET should simply get no airtime (along with many other shows, but this tops the cake for me because it’s my people, and I love all people, but black people—I am you).  BET Jazz is fairly decent, but BET is horrible. Before you get truculent and start throwing bricks, stones, and pellets…

I’m not a “sell out”, I’m not trying to “act white”, I’m not “stuck up” and I do not think that I am “better” than anyone. Anyone who thinks BET is innocuous is either prevaricating or in self-denial. If the only thing that can entertain black people (hence the name Black Entertainment Television) are a bunch of half naked women, spinning rims, heavy chains, oversized jeans and t-shirts, the excessive use of “bitch” and “whore”, and a life of drugs and crime—particularly in the majority of the rap videos—- then as a people… that is literally morose because we are not thinking progressively for ourselves, but more importantly for our children. Children need plenty more than what some hip-hop fantasy emblazed in a video can offer their minds. Why can’t Black Entertainment Television be something educational, enriching, and inspiring? Let’s keep in mind that the owner of BET is a white guy, who is happily enjoying the many contributing minds and bodies of those engaged piously in something not worth the time or effort of watching but what does he care? Why should any of these rappers and artist care? It keeps their wallet full and avarice satisfied.

 Why wouldn’t you care and remain static? When I was younger, I use to come home from school and watch BET videos for hours. For me, it wasn’t so much from ennui as it was merely addicting. This took time away from more important things like studying, spending time with family, and exploring new things. What I saw on the videos, were of no use to me in the real world—-so I thought. When I truly opened my eyes, I realized that in real life, these people were COPYING what they saw on these videos—literally: seeing little boys with over sized pants and shirts, heavy, long chains around their necks, and earrings in their ears trying to “holla” at little girls who were now convinced the best way to get some attention and “love ”was with a short skirt, increased cleavage, and responding positively to the words, “bitch” and “whore”.

People try to justify this by saying “Sex sells”. Well, of course it does, so why not just set up a porno site, magazine, or channel? I mean, face it, a lot of these videos are borderline porn.  Why call it Black Entertainment Television?  An even better question: Why is everything virulent and negative embraced as “black”? (Another blog entry). The same thing can be said for a lot of black movies that are suppose to be parody; there are but a handful of black movies I’d actually pay to watch—because most only successfully further stereotypes and actually turn stereotypes into truths for many.  Before you know it, you have “babies making babies”—nowadays parents and grandparents raising grandchildren and great grandchildren, high STD rates, a ridiculous amount of blacks in the prison system (drugs, violence, theft, rape among other things). Of course not all blacks in the prison system belong there but what about the many that do?

Others say “Women are exploiting themselves”. HERE—I agree. No one makes these video vixens get on live television and exploit themselves by being half naked, obscene, and respond to obscene names. Inside or outside of these videos, if women would not respond to derogatory terms like “bitch” and “whore”, treated themselves with some self respect in their mannerism and dress, then they’d get respect. These guys would have no choice but to address her correctly or he wouldn’t stand a chance. The women who have self respect would sometimes be labeled as “stuck up” among other things because of a bruised ego. I say your (the male) ego should be built on something more respectable. Those who don’t have self respect…..I would simply tell you to raise your standards, but if you loved yourself, that would be automatic.

Now I am not placing the blame of these societal things on BET but I won’t exculpate it either. Of course, it starts in the home first and then comes personal responsibility and community, but I think BET plays a vital role in promoting these things instead of helping to eradicate or at least ameliorate them. What am I doing about it? I have for 8 years and counting stopped watching BET, and will not allow any future children, in my care, to watch it either. To me, it’s didactic, mental bondage-in the very literal sense.  

Exotic|Beautifully|Created|Music

Ayo

 “Life is Real”|”Down On My Knees”

Born to a Nigerian father and gypsy mother; Ayo’s stylish and flavorful music and sound are a very unique mix. Her name simply means “Joyful” in one of the many dialects of Nigeria. Her voice has a bold yet shy and sweet quality to it that is all together halcyon and redoubtable.   “Life is Real” is defiantly one of my favorites; it reveals a beautifully crafted spirit that is not afraid to be herself and face all the things life has to offer, good and bad. One can’t help to respect that because it shows much respect for self and a love for life. It’s no wonder she’s a beauty not only physically but intrinsically.

Artists she can be compared with:

I really can’t think of anyone; the lady’s got her own eclectic style.

 

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Zeritu Kebede

“Yenem Ayne Aytoal” |“Endaygelegn”

Rough translation: “My Eyes have Seen”|

 “Please Don’t Break my Heart”

Ethiopian born singer, Zeritu Kebede is one of a kind. Her voice is strong, confident, and consoling to the mind. The style and music of Ethiopia is very rich, diverse, and embedded in the culture. However, Kedebe offers something eccentric, fresh, and different to the scene. Most of her influences are of English origin (Classic/RnB). Even if one does not know Amharic, which is the language she sings in and the official language of the country, she will undoubtedly pull you in as it becomes unmistakably obvious that she is very talented.

Artist she can be compared with:

  • Mariah Carey
  • Celine Dion

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Les Nubians

“Makeda”|”Temperature Rising”

These two stunning Cameroonians singing in French, the official language of Cameroon since French colonization, spew soulful, African flavor, neo-soul, jazzy, urbane and most certainly beautiful music. Their smooth sound is like a soft, steady rain on a summer afternoon. Like Zeritu, their music is clearly English influenced, but they are more in tuned with Jazz and soul music genres.”Makeda” is in reference to Ethiopia’s Queen of Sheba.

Other artist they compare with:

  • Floetry
  • Goapele
  • Jill Scott
  • Other neo-soul artists

(I  will have a separate post for these and other artist)

Muse|Me

 Music in of itself is inspiration; it’s refreshing, it’s invigorating; it’s enlightening. As a little girl, in the fresh scent of the morning air and illuminating sun, I would abscond to a secluded area with a small, portable radio under the shadow of a tree. Although my life was not convoluted and fairly austere, music kept it more interesting, so it became something I met with alacrity. It assuaged the long, summer kissed days.

 Oldies

This stuff is all my parents ever listened to, so I grew up to love  the now very familiar and disparate sounds of “Reasons”| “After the Love Has Gone” by Earth, Wind, & Fire,  “A Love Of Your Own”|“Cloudy” by AWB, “Never too Much”| “Power of Love” by Luther Vandross,  “Boogie Nights” by Heatwave, “Do It Again” by The Staple Singers, “For The Good Times”| “Love & Happiness” by Al Green,  and “Ohh , Child”| “Because I Love You” by Lenny Williams. At barbeques and family gatherings the music would blare “Outstanding! Girl you knock me out!” or “Yearning for Your Love” by Gap Band and we, as kids, would all dance and were met with approbation by the adults.

 Bobby Womack

“Harry Hippie”|

“That’s the Way I Feel About Cha”

                                                                                                               Bobby Womack and Marvin Gaye quickly became two of my all time favorites. They are the embodiments of authenticity; they were connoisseur in their professions. Womack looked into a mundane society and gave veracity in a story. Gaye displayed disabuse for the world in all its injustice in songs like “What’s Going On”| “Mercy Mercy Me”| “Inner City Blues”.  Maybe this was my first, real window and lens into a world that was hurting and still hurts today even as his words echo on an old record or through speakers many years later. He enervated me directly in “Distance Lover” while experiencing fresh, young love in all the numerous ways one is to experience it.

In contrast to most of the discordant music of today, the soul of these artists is evident in their sound- undoubtedly clear, eloquent yet effrontery, honest, and full of life.  It becomes axiomatic to me as I listen 17 years later to their soulful voices and it still fills me with so much love and inspiration…even more…wisdom.

Jazz

Rachelle Ferrell

“I Forgive You”| “I Can Explain”

                 It was years ago! I think I heard her beautiful voice in a movie and wondered who she was and what she was like, all together. Her words and voice were powerful, distinct, and lucid. Who was this woman?! I didn’t know but just last year, I heard the voice again. BET Jazz was hosting a show with yours truly—Rachelle Ferrell—and her voice was just as memorable as before. She defiantly possessed magnanimity and her music and personality portrayed it; her words were like an exigent rush of water that ironically remained calm.

Louis Armstrong is a multi-talented classic. His immediately recognizable raspy yet mellow, deep voice singing “What a Wonderful World” can easily capture anyone; he makes you believe it. Seeing this man play his trumpet with such passion and ease may have been part of what inspired me to pick up a saxophone and later …….my own enduring inspiration, the violin