Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Soul Brother Number One!

Yesterday at 1:45am we lost one of the truly greatest entertainers ever, the "Godfather of Soul", the self proclaimed, "hardest working man in show-business", James Brown. I have been listening to James Brown since I was a kid, and imitated his moves and screams like most other youths that have witnessed his majestic slides and shrilling vocals on such tunes as "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" or similarly "I Got You (I Feel Good)."

My experience was likely no different than that of those he inspired to take music to levels Brown never envisioned. I can see how Prince and Michael Jackson likely mimicked Brown's delivery as they wrote and performed their own music. If I am not mistaken there is video footage of a young Michael Jackson immitating Brown with complete perfection. At the peek of their successes Prince and Michael Jackson even performed with Brown on stage during the 1980s. Additionally, political activist, Rev. Al Sharpton attributes a lot to the influence of James Brown on his own life, which is easily seen in the way that he wears his hair.

It is hard to think of just how much Brown has meant to American music...I would dare say that James Brown IS AMERICAN MUSIC. You hear blues, gospel, rock n' roll, funk and even the foundations of rap music in James Brown. As some reports have tried to sensationalize his life through his numerous legal battles and substance abuse, I still think of how I feel when I hear, "Say it Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)." His cultural influence on the African American community is second to none. Saint or sinner, you know and are familiar with the discography of James Brown.

Growing up in the streets of Augusta, Georgia, Brown left a legacy that took the experiences from his childhood and transferred them into music that we still find resonating today as the epitome of what "soul" is. Did Brown have his problems?Of course, like we all do. His life was like his music...filled with extremes from lustful melodies to uplifting anthems that symbolized the struggle of a people. Let us take this time to remember the good that he gave to us as he will continue to provide even in death, because James Brown was and will always be, SOUL BROTHA No. 1!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

If you tap dance, White People will listen..

Yep, you guessed it. I don't have time rignt now, but this might be the first time in my life that I have agreed with the conservative views of FOXNEWS analysts as well as others who talk about the white liberal spin of this movie. Word of caution: DON'T TAKE YOUR KIDS TO SEE IT!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. - 100 Years of Brotherhood

As I sit and reflect on this historic day, which consequently is the anniversary of the founding of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. , I ponder the question posed, last night by an esteemed member of that distinguished group of black men. The question was, " Are great men made by fraternal organizations, or is it the case that great men choose organizations?" I will go further and extend that to our sisters of various sororal organizations and also those brothers belonging to fraternal or masonic orders outside of the so called, "Divine Nine."

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote, "Education without social action is a one-sided value because it has no true power potenial. Social action without education is weak expression of pure energy." My question and thought is, that as our black organizations dedicated to social/racialized uplift grow older and we celebrate grand histories of engagement in the struggle for equality and community, how do they make themselves relevant for a new century that suffers from the cancer of "anti-intellectualism", as Dr. Cornel West has aptly diagnosed (along with several other sobering characteristics, i.e. a conspicous consumption...don't know what that phrase means check out MTV "Cribs" or BET...Black Exploitation Television).

Letting that thought marinate...I take another pause to reflect, rededicate, and move to continued action. Happy Centennial to the Brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

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Negrointellectual by Vernon C. Mitchell, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.negrointellectual.blogspot.com.