I’m a grown-ass, 40-year-old dad, so there are certain things I cannot do. I will never again eat at Chuck E. Cheese unless I want to end up on an episode of To Catch a Predator, but I’m also not old enough to eat at the Golden Corral. I can’t spend $200 on Jordans or wear oxymoronic skinny jeans that sag, but I have not yet reached the age where I can rock the uncle-at-the-cookout sandals or a matching, one-color linen short set.
And when it comes to music, smooth jazz sounds like diarrhea in stereo, but what the fuck I look like driving around listening to Lil Yachty or Migos? Like I said, I’m a grown-ass man.
That’s why Jay-Z’s 4:44 marks an important moment in the evolution of hip-hop. It’s the first of its kind: a grown-ass hip-hop album.
Jay-Z isn’t the first hip-hop star to try to do this; he is just the first to accomplish it. Common’s Black America Again was close, but it was too aware of itself and too poised to blast in the car. A Tribe Called Quest’s We Got It From Here ... was too reminiscent. We listened because it was Tribe. ATCQ is the rap version of Frankie Beverly and Maze—they just make you feel good.
It’s not as if there isn’t hip-hop that grown people can enjoy. Aside from Kendrick, J. Cole, Kanye and Chance, there are a million good, lesser-known hip-hop artists available at the touch of your smartphone’s screen. But until today, hip-hop didn’t have a legend who was still making great, relevant art. Where was our version of Mary J. Blige? Can we get a version of U2?
Jay-Z’s 4:44 is the first time we’ve heard a fully realized adult make relevant, popular music without desperately clinging to his youth or sounding like your uncle in the short set. He’s the same Jay-Z, but a different Jay-Z—as he should be. He’s a grown-ass man.
Opening with “Kill Jay-Z,” he is introspective but still defiant, reminding himself that “you got people you love you sold drugs to.” He is still a baller, but instead of popping bottles, he raps about how he has the only fully black-owned Champagne company. “You wanna know what’s better than throwing away money at a strip club? Credit,” he raps in “The Story of O.J.”
Financial freedom our only hope/Fuck living rich and dying broke
I bought some art work for one million/Two years later it’s worth 2 million
Three years later it’s worth 8 million/I can’t wait to give this shit to my children
Y’all think it’s bougie and that’s fine/But I’m trying to give you a million dollars of game for $9.99
This may be the most personal and honest Jigga we have ever heard. He fearlessly wades into the Lemonade controversy in the album’s title track with a bare-chested, desperate, open-hearted apology taking responsibility for infidelity, his attitude and even one (or more) miscarriages. After revealing his fears about his children finding out about his cheating, he rolls into “Family Feud,” with a Beyoncé appearance on the track, with both of them reveling in the strength of the family they created.
In perhaps the album’s most important and uplifting song, “Smile,” Hov raps: “Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian/Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian,” later adding, “Cried tears of joy when you fell in love/Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her.” His mother makes an appearance on the song, reciting poetry about how she spent her life “living in the shadows”; and who else has their mother coming out on their album like Gloria Carter?
Produced entirely by the legend No I.D., even the tracks are grown, using samples ofNina Simone, Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s in Need of Love Today” and Donny Hathaway. Jay didn’t laden the album with features, as there are no guest verses, and when Beyoncé, Frank Ocean and Damian Marleymake appearances, they serve complementary roles in the chorus.
Even though it is adult, introspective, loving and smart, the album still bangs. It is still a Hov album, and even though I am partial to the machine-gun, lyrical show-off, these may be the best songs he has ever made. It is defiant but under control; intelligent without being preachy. It is a man whose youth may have been one of the brightest we have ever seen, but instead of riding his legacy, he looks back and moves forward.
Jay-Z released Reasonable Doubt in 1996, and there is no other person in hip-hop who has enjoyed this much success for this long. Twenty-one years is a long time in any industry--and in hip-hop it is unfathomable. I will not make the shortsighted declarations about where this album ranks in his catalog, but this album actually did what the first track suggested: It does kill Jay-Z, putting the iconic balling-out, collar-popping drug dealer to rest. But this new Hov is infinitely more interesting, because he is a grown-ass man. -theroot
American business history is littered with stories of businesses that were started by, or profit off of, black folks but ritually lock us out. The black community spends billions on hair-care products, but most of the stores and companies we buy from aren’t for us or by us.
African Americans drive the music industry, but for decades we didn’t own our own studios, let alone tracks or, in some cases, even our own names. As Chance the Rapper alluded to in his BET Awards speech last week, marijuana is about to become a billion-dollar legal business in America, but unless your name is Snoop or Khalifa, black folks are being locked up and locked out of that emerging market.
Which is why Terrance X. Johnson, a former Disney exec-turned-entrepreneur, decided to get in on the ground floor of one of the fastest-growing markets in America, and hopefully fly his way to the top.
Welcome to the drone age. What was once a hobby for nerds and graduate-school engineering projects has become one of the fastest-growing business technologies since the copy machine. Lightweight unmanned automated vehicles—drones, to the rest of us—have become the go-to technology for dozens of industries across the United States, opening up doors to new jobs, and possibly eliminating others if you fall behind.
Film and production companies are using drones to get action shots without having to rent cranes or risk camerapeople’s lives. Construction companies are using drones with a GoPro or other lightweight camera on the front as a cheaper way to survey land for development. Real estate agents are using drones to do live walkthroughs with customers across the country.
Amazon.comhas patented “drone hives” to deliver products in densely populated urban areas. Soon, gentrifiers won’t even have to leave their patios to get specially treated organic quinoa from the Whole Foods Amazon division.
Similar to what happened to VCRs, cellphones and hybrid cars, the cost of drones has dropped precipitously, from about $5,000 for a drone the size of a briefcase in 2010 to less than $1,000 for a drone smaller than a laptop in 2017. The industry itself is humming along—it’s worth about $2 billion now—but analysts expect drone and drone-related business to be worth over $100 billion by 2020.
The biggest growth area for drones, however, is in law enforcement, and that’s where Johnson comes in.
“This is just another business we’re getting locked out of,” Johnson—a tall, bearded man who looks more like Bill Russell’s shorter cousin than a technology entrepreneur—told The Root.
“Drones are the future,” he kept saying as he showed me several drone models one sunny afternoon in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. I must admit that I was skeptical. To me, drones hovering around watching our every move, dropping off pizzas, is like some horrible surveillance state from Minority Report, not an emerging business opportunity.
Johnson and his team see otherwise. He recently started TCJ AeroTech, one of the first black-owned and -operated drone companies in the United States, and he sees an explosion of jobs in drone technology, especially in law enforcement.
Police departments across the country are in a war of drones that they’re highly unprepared for. On the one hand, drones are being used to rescue victims of car accidents, locate missing children, hunt down fugitives and even serve as secondary body cameras to observe police behavior. On the other hand, drone crime (yes, that’s actually a thing) has skyrocketed.
Johnson’s team notes that prison wardens are reporting drones being used to drop drugs, weapons and other contraband into prison yards. Drones are being used to spy on and blackmail people, drones are being used to record ATM numbers from the sky, and in some rare instances, criminals may be using drones to jam police signals.
With African Americans in a constant battle with oppressive law enforcement, Johnson and his team see an opening for black folks to get ahead of the curve and get some skills that could put us at the forefront of changes in law enforcement.
“If they’re going to chase us with them,” he said, “we might as well own them.”
To operate UAVs, you have to get a Part 107 FAA Certification, which requires paying for a class and then paying for an exam. Oh, and by the way, you probably have to already own a drone to practice with, which may put this new industry out of reach for many African Americans. TCJ AeroTech, however, doesn’t want education to be an impediment to black success. (Just think of the importance of typing skills in the 1960s, computer skills in the ’80s and online skills in the 2000s.)
“We offer certification classes, jobs and internships,” Johnson explained, all with the express purpose of making sure that the technology gap for this new industry doesn’t hold our community back.
After talking to members of the TCJ staff, not to mention some random drone enthusiasts who were in the park that day, I do realize that change is coming. New businesses, new jobs and new educational opportunities are ahead, and the black community needs to be ready.
Drone commercial licensing is exploding, and soon FedEx, UPS and local businesses will start using drones for basic delivery. Neighborhoods that are usually locked out of public services may get a chance because of drones’ ability to sweep in and sweep out. Instead of call centers, soon 911 operators and EMTs may be on the scene with you through camera-mounted drones.
I’m still skeptical about whether black drone operators will have an impact on police brutality or racial profiling, but I do know this: If we all know that Big Brother is coming, it might be slightly less painful if it’s run by some brothers. –theroot
Karlos Cashe, a handyman from Oviedo, Fla., lost 90 days of his life behind bars after police thought his drywall powder was crack cocaine.
Initially, in March, police pulled Cashe over for driving without headlights, but once they inspected his car, they found the powder on the floor and seats of the car. The powder, which was tested by a K-9 unit, came back positive for cocaine, authorities claimed at the time. Cashe, who was on probation for 2015 marijuana and cocaine charges, was not only arrested for the alleged drugs, but also for violating his curfew.
In an interview with WFTV, Cashe explained that he tried to tell the officers the powder was drywall.
“I know for a fact that it’s drywall because I’m a handyman,” Cashe told WFTV.
After sitting in jail for 90 days without bond, lab results proved that the powder was not cocaine. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab report revealed no controlled substances were identified, and the charges were dropped. Of course, the police say they have no idea how the test went wrong, but they’re still standing by the arrest, even though they also admit the curfew violation was incorrect, as well.
“There’s no intent, when something comes back positive, we take it; it’s our probable cause and that’s why we send to FDLE to confirm,” Lt. Heather Capetillo of the Oviedo Police Department told Fox35 Orlando.
Cashe says he lost 90 days of his life, and that he wants an investigation and to be compensated.
“I want some compensation for them. When I make a mistake, I’ve got to pay for it, that’s why I was on probation. It’s no different for them,” Cashe said.
Read more at Fox35 Orlando and WFTV. –theroot
Jay Z is speaking up in order to encourage people to use their voices and their platforms to bring about a change for the better in terms of social justice.
“Look around at what’s happening in your town and your city right now. Think small and you can do much bigger things,” he wrote in a powerful essay for the Hollywood Reporter this past Wednesday.
He spoke of how he has used the resources available to him in order to tell the story of Kalief Browder, who committed suicide in 2015 after spending three painful years at Rikers Island for allegedly stealing a backpack.
“The power of one voice is strong, but when it comes to social justice the power of our collective voices is unstoppable,” Jay Z wrote.
“Now is the time to recognize that through our voices we really can affect change.”
“Some of us will do the important work locally at the micro level to awaken our neighbors,” he went on. “Some of us will work for progress regionally. And a few of us will be like Kalief Browder, a modern day prophet whose death two years ago started a discussion that continues today about how poor, black juveniles are treated in the criminal justice system.”
Jay worked with Harvey Weinstein to bring the documentary series “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” to television. He said working on a project like this one made him realize that we “could raise our voices and create that collective we need.”
“We can work together to demand change from our elected government officials,” he said. “We put them in office, we make the laws, and we show them the path to progress. That is our power and it’s the only way that healing will come for Kalief and his family.”
Next on his plate is another project that will force us to look at the reality of race in America. The upcoming documentary will be called, “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story.”
“My hope is for my next documentary…to create a similar conversation that leads to change and helps keep our children safe,” he wrote in the essay. “But social justice isn’t a political issue it’s a human one. It’s a story of empathy. When we are able to identify that we are all not perfect and have compassion for someone else, we can move forward as a society.” -thegrio
A “friendly fire” incident in which an off-duty St. Louis policeman was shot while coming to the aid of fellow officers has taken on racial overtones after an incendiary claim by the injured officer’s attorney: The officer was viewed as a threat because he was black.
The St. Louis Police Department has not identified any of the officers involved in Wednesday night’s incident. The officer who shot the off-duty policeman is white. All seven officers involved are on administrative leave as the department sorts out what happened.
What is known is that officers with an anti-crime task force were tracking a car that was stolen from the Maryland Heights community after its license plate had been detected by an automatic reader Wednesday night, interim police chief Lawrence O’Toole told reporters.
During the chase, the armed men inside the car opened fire.
Officers fired back, hitting one of the men in the ankle during the ensuing exchange. The vehicle ultimately crashed in a neighborhood on the north side of the city and the occupants jumped out and ran, police said. The man shot in the ankle was quickly arrested, along with a teenager who was caught after a brief chase. A third man — who police believed was armed — got away and remained at large Sunday.
An off-duty officer who lives nearby heard the commotion, grabbed his service pistol and headed to the scene to assist his fellow officers. He arrived as the other officers were carrying out the arrest.
The other officers ordered the off-duty officer to the ground, then recognized him as a fellow policeman and told him to stand up and walk toward them.
As he approached, another officer arrived and shot the off-duty officer in the arm, “apparently not recognizing” him, police told the Associated Press.
The black officer, who is 38 years old and an 11-year veteran of the force, was treated at the hospital and released. The shooter, a 36-year-old officer who has been on the force for eight years, told investigators he had feared for his safety.
But Rufus Tate Jr., the black officer’s attorney, took issue with that claim, saying his client complied with the other officers’ commands and was never a threat.
“In the police report, you have so far, there is no description of threat he received,” he told St. Louis Fox-affiliate KTVI. “So we have a real problem with that. But this has been a national discussion for the past two years. There is this perception that a black man is automatically feared.”
Tate said the incident was a case of “a black professional, in law enforcement, himself being shot and treated as an ordinary black guy on the street. This is a real problem.”
The St. Louis area was once the epicenter of the nation’s ongoing debate about whether police are too quick to use deadly force against minorities. -washingtonpost
A 17-year-old created a buzz when he showed up on a recruiting trip to one of college football’s most vaunted programs wearing one of the blackest shirts of all time.
Cleveland19 reports that Tyreke Smith, a high school junior football player, is one of the most sought-after athletes in Ohio. The Cleveland Heights High School junior is a four-star defensive end being recruited by some of the country’s top universities, including Ohio State. Tyreke showed up for a recruiting visit to the Columbus, Ohio, school Saturday sporting a T-shirt that read, “I hope I don’t get killed for being black today.”
Thousands of people liked and shared his tweet and other pictures of him wearing the tee on various news and sports sites.
Tyreke says that he knew he’d be photographed during his visit. “I decided to wear the shirt because I wanted to bring attention to the epidemic of blacks being killed at an alarming rate,” Tyreke told reporters. “What we would like to do is have people talk about these issues to reduce the murder rate of African Americans.”
Some think he might have worn it to remind people of the Tamir Rice case, which happened in Tyreke’s hometown of Cleveland. Others speculate that it was in response to the Philando Castile verdict, which happened the day before Tyreke’s visit. Even though Tyreke says he wanted to bring attention to all of the cases, some think it might have been a slight advertisement for his brother’s company, which sells the shirts.
However, the young, large, strong, athletic-looking 17-year-old might have worn the shirt with the incredibly poignant message for an entirely different reason:
Maybe he actually hopes he doesn’t get killed for being black today. -theroot
After Bishop Curry heard his neighbor’s 6-month-old infant died from being in an overheated car, he decided to create a life-saving device to prevent incidents like this from reoccurring ― as any responsible 10-year-old would. “It kind of came in my head,” Bishop told HuffPost of his device, the Oasis.
The Oasis would respond to rising temperatures by emitting cool air and use an antenna to signal parents and authorities. At the moment, Bishop only has a 3-D clay model of the device, but his father, Bishop Curry IV, began a GoFundMe campaign for the Oasis in January. “I got lots of help from my parents,” Bishop said. Attorneys advised the family that the minimum amount they’d need for prototyping and manufacturing fees, as well as a patent for the device, is $20,000.
The GoFundMe campaign has already exceeded that $20,000 goal and, as of Monday, has raised over $23,700. Bishop, who will begin sixth grade in the fall, told Fox News last week that in addition to his parents, his classmates and friends are fully behind him on his projects. “They want to work for me,” he said. Last June, CNN reported that the number of hot-car deaths had nearly tripled compared to the same time in 2015, which had 24 hot-car deaths in total. When Curry grows up, he wants to center his career around inventions, including a time machine. -goodblacknews
U.S. Park Police confirmed that another noose was found on the National Mall, last week, according to ABC News.
Late last month, a portion of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C., was closed for nearly three hours after a noose was found in a gallery, officials said.
The museum, on the National Mall near the White House, reopened fully later that day, after police deemed the area “safe and secure,” according to an internal memo provided to ABC News by the Smithsonian.
In an article posted to the Smithsonian’s, museum officials said that the noose is a reminder of “America’s dark history with lynching” and referred to similar incidents of noose sightings around the country including at a school in Missouri, a construction site in Maryland, on the campus of Duke University, at a fraternity house on University of Maryland’s campus, at a middle school in Maryland and at a high school in Lakewood, California.
Tourists found the noose in the museum’s exhibit on segregation.
The incident at NMAAHC occurred after a noose was found on May 26 hanging from a tree outside the Hirshhorn Museum, which is located close to the Black History museum.
In an email to museum staffers, Lonnie Bunch, the director of NMAAHC, said that the incident is a painful reminder of the challenges that African Americans continue to face.
“The noose has long represented a deplorable act of cowardice and depravity—a symbol of extreme violence for African-Americans,” said Bunch.
On May 30, at Wakefield High School in Raleigh, N.C. a Black doll with a noose around its neck was suspended outside of a window.
“Let me be clear: This was an offensive act that has no place in our school. The imagery is deeply offensive and everyone in our school community should be appalled,” said Principal Malik Bazzell, as reported by a Raleigh TV station.
During a rally at the a park named after Confederate Civil War General Robert E. Lee Charlottesville, Va., on May 13, participants with torches chanted “Russia is our friend” and “you shall not erase us.”
According to ThinkProgress.org, the rally was in response to “the state’s decision to sell off a statue of treasonous general Robert E. Lee, who led the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia against the United States during the Civil War.”
ThinkProgress.org also reported that, “Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer condemned the rally and its attendees.”
On May 26, in Portland, Oregon, a man named Jeremy Christian hurled anti-Muslim vitriol on a subway train at two young women, then murdered two men who intervened, Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23, and Ricky Best, 53, and injured a third, Micah Fletcher.
On May 21, Army Lieutenant Richard Collins, 23, was stabbed to death by University of Maryland student Sean Urbanski, 22, as Collins waited with friends for a ride. Lt. Collins was about to graduate from Bowie State University on May 23. The FBI is investigating the murder as a possible hate crime and it has already been reported that Urbanski was a member of an “alt-right” group on Facebook.
On the eve of the NBA Finals, Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James’ Los Angeles home was vandalized; the “N-word” was written with spray paint on his house.
“Just shows that racism will always be a part of the world, part of America. Hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day. It is hidden most days. It is alive every single day,” James told reporters. “No matter how much money you have, how famous you are, how much people admire you, being Black in America is tough.” -blackpressusa
Mogul Shawn “Jay Z” Carter has one thing on his agenda for Father’s Day: to tackle issues surrounding the criminal justice system and the bail industry, TIME reports.
Carter recently penned a poignant TIME magazine essay, in which he delves into the criminal justice system’s impact on inner city residents, in places like his native Brooklyn. He vows to use his platform to change the flawed system.
“If you’re from neighborhoods like the Brooklyn one I grew up in, if you’re unable to afford a private attorney, then you can be disappeared into our jail system simply because you can’t afford bail,” Carter wrote. “Millions of people are separated from their families for months at a time — not because they are convicted of committing a crime, but because they are accused of committing a crime.”
In the TIME piece, Carter says working on the documentaries, “Time: The Kalief Browder Story,” really opened his eyes to the corrupt realities of the bail bond industry; he states that it’s unfair that Blacks and Latinos are over-policed and then forced to scrape up funds for their release before trial. Carter writes that this circumstance is “devastating to families.”
He also highlights Ava Duvernay, Glenn Martin and Ruthie Gilmore’s contributions to pushing the conversation surrounding the flawed justice system forward.
Inspired by the efforts that organizations like Color of Change and Southerners on New Ground made to bail out 100 mothers for Mother’s Day, Carter says he will support those organizations to do the same for father’s facing financial barriers to freedom on Father’s Day.
"I’m supporting those same organizations to bail out fathers who can’t afford the due process our democracy promises,” he writes. “As a father with a growing family, it’s the least I can do, but philanthropy is not a long fix, we have to get rid of these inhumane practices altogether. We can’t fix our broken criminal justice system until we take on the exploitative bail industry.”
According to the piece, one in nine Black children has an incarcerated parent, and $9 billion dollars has been spent on incarcerating individuals who haven’t been convicted. -newsone
How would you feel when you come across a photo bearing your image being lynched. It can be a devastating experience that can traumatize you for an extended period.
Of course, that’s what happened to a 15-year-old California high school student who discovered a surprising picture of herself with a noose drawn around her neck. The picture was posted in a chemistry chat room for Los Angeles’ Palisades Charter High School.
Aina Adewumni told CBSLA that the image hurt her and couldn’t afford giving it a second look. Aina is still new to Palisades. She just transferred to the charter school in January and said that she received a hospitable welcome, being accepted by most students in that institution.
Unfortunately, three boys, in particular, started to use racial slurs. Aina told the New York Daily News that the three boys added her to their group chat where they started using the n-word. “I commanded them to avoid using the word, and that’s when I thought I created the rift and enmity.”
Aina additionally stated that the picture surfaced, and that is when she realized that the boys had continued with their inappropriate and racist behavior.
The picture used was taken days before without her knowledge. Aina stated that he took a step and told the principal immediately.
Aina’s mother, Tracy said that the picture hurt her emotionally. “When I saw my child depicted like that it was hurtful, especially to me as her mother.”
Currently, the boys involved in the incident have been suspended for the last few days of the school year. Additionally, they have issued an apology, but Aina’s mother is not satisfied with the penalty taken.
Tracy told CBSLA that the important step was to remove the boys from school and deny them the ability to come back and continue with their studies.
According to her, the second phase was supposed to educate the population to let the people know that the incident that had occurred was inappropriate and unacceptable. The police are still investigating the incident, and the family has hired an attorney.
According to the Daily News, Aina’s request of not being in the same class with the boys has been granted. Despite all that Aina has gone through, she remains a determined lady, ready to enjoy her school life.
Aina told CBSLA that she was happy she moved on after the incident and won’t be leaving. However, she observed that such as a behavior is something that needs to be stopped because it has happened in the past. -YourBlackWorld
We’ve all fantasized about what we’d do if a few million dollars just found its way into our lives. For the Smith family of Trenton, New Jersey, philanthropy was at the top of their list after they won a $429 million Powerball jackpot last year.
At a post-win press conference last May, the family, which consists of Pearlie Mae Smith and her seven children, said they planned to spend their earnings on their community ― and they meant it.
“It was like affirmation from God because we each have dreams that we want to fulfill in this life, and do for our community and do for each other and for our families and we have been funded to do that,” Smith’s daughter Valerie Arthur said during last year’s press conference, which you can watch above.
The eight-person Smith family chose to collect their winnings in a lump sum as opposed to yearly installments, with each receiving about $25 million after taxes. After paying off bills, student loans and taking care of other financial obligations, they invested their money in Trenton through the Smith Family Foundation.
According to the foundation’s website, the family’s future in charity was inevitable.
“The seeds for the foundation were planted decades ago in the South Side of Trenton, where Seamon and Pearlie Smith raised their children on values of hard work, love of God, and giving back,” the website reads.
Just one year after their win, the family celebrated the opening of their grant-making organization on Saturday, NJ.com reported. The foundation will provide financial support to education, neighborhood development, children and families in Trenton.
“We want to fund programs that directly affect systems of poverty so we can help change the systems or change the dynamics that are causing people to be in poverty,” family member and foundation program manager Harold Smith told NJ.com.
“Rather than just helping them find food or give away food, we can make it so they now have the ability to obtain employment, get their proper education in order to be able to go out and get their own food,” he said.
“When people think of the city of Trenton, we don’t want the first thing they think of to be gangs and violence,” Smith continued. “We want people to think of a vibrant city, a city that’s on the upswing, a city that’s bringing new life into the community, the capital of the state.”
The foundation plans to work with other community organizations and help create both short- and long-term grants that will improve Trenton. –HuffPost
There isn’t a cookout, not a wedding or family reunion in Black America where you won’t hear one song in particular. Whether it’s during the height of the summer season or on a fall day when there is a cold chill in the air, there is something about Maze featuring Frankie Beverly’s “Before I Let Go” that just makes you feel every emotion of elation all at once.
Released on the B side of their 1981 Live in New Orleans album, the song stood out almost instantly from the rest. It wasn’t because the song wasn’t recorded live in New Orleans, as the album title would suggest. It was in fact that the groove of the guitar struck your ears and stayed with your soul.
“‘Before I Let Go’ really did turn out to be something more than I even imagined,” Beverly told ESSENCE. “I got blessed with that.”
The band formed in 1970 and relocated to San Francisco where they made their first album. Going into the studio, the soul singer had no intention that the song released 11 years later would have such a resounding and long-lasting appeal. Mostly because, it wasn’t supposed to have the uptempo melody we all know and love.
“I was seeing some lady but I was just with someone [else] and we broke up. And it got kind of hard because I wasn't with the woman I wanted to be with and I couldn't stay with the one I was with,” said Beverly of how the dynamic five minute and six second track came to be.
He continued: “It was one of the girls [from] Alton McClain and Destiny, she passed away. She died in a car accident. Her name was Dee (n.e. Delores Marie "D'Marie" Warren). I had to kind let her go because I was already with some other girl and it was very, very, very, very unique [situation] that you have to leave somebody, and you feel so different. It was [about] somebody who was really having trouble letting go of something. That inspired that song.”
Written more as an ode to a love lost, when presented to his band, Maze, their artistic creativity took over and a hit was born.
“When it was written, the song it wasn't like a groove song like it came out to be. It was more, well it wasn't a ballad. It came out like that when I introduced it to the band. When the band got a hold of it, we started rehearsing it and that's when it got the sound that you guys hear now.”
In the nearly 36 years since the song’s release, it’s has been the foundation for musical excellence for generations of listeners. Staying with audiences both young and old, the way it does, Beverly says is humbling.
“Not too many [artists] get something that takes on like that. When I wrote the song, it was not in my mind to make it a hit. I was just trying to do a good record and for it to turn out the way it is. I think by the time we went in to record it, I think it had a good chance to make some noise but I had no idea that it was gonna be what it turned out to be. I mean it just shocked me. I mean to even hear you say it’s like the Black folks national anthem, that's even more than I can wrap my head around. It's too impressive.” -Essence
If Jazz is known as America’s original art form, hip-hop would definitely be second.
The movement that began in the Bronx over breakbeats has gone from Regan era public enemy number one to a global phenomenon that’s the driving force of pop culture everywhere. While the art form is still pretty young, its impact is almost unmeasurable.
And after just 40 years, hip-hop is set to get its own museum in 2018.
The Hip-Hop Hall of Fame (the non-profit that brings us those segments during the BET awards) has won a bid to acquire a Harlem building to begin work on the ambitious project.
The twenty-story museum is set to be open in phases with the lower level gift shop, cafe, sports bar, and educational space to be completed first. The HHHOF believes that the project will infuse 350 million dollars a year into the city and “hundreds of permanent and part-time jobs” to the greater Harlem community. Naturally, if we’re talking Harlem, the museum will be on the historic 125th street calling cultural staples like the Apollo Theater their neighbor.
We can’t wait to give this museum our money and bask in hip hop greatness.
No word on how Bronx residents feel about the Harlem location but we're sure they're still celebrating the unveiling of 'Hip Hop Blvd' that took place early last week. -Blavity
It would come to be known as the “flu game”, and just the mention of it likely leaves Utah Jazz fans sick to their stomachs. With the NBA Finals tied at 2-2 and the Chicago Bulls seeking their fifth title, play-by-play commentator Marv Albert let viewers know before the game that Jordan was suffering from “flu-like symptoms” – a term that has grown in lore since this performance.
Jordan appeared lethargic from the start of the game as the Jazz built a 16-point lead in the first quarter. But as Utah appeared to take control of a pivotal Game 5, Jordan responded by scoring 17 points in the second quarter despite showing obvious fatigue, slumping over with his hands on his knees on the floor. He appeared even worse on the bench, where trainers gave him ice packs and fluids.
Jordan battled through the symptoms and finished with 38 points, seven rebounds and five assists as the Bulls held on to a 90-88 win and eventually took the series in six games. But as great as Jordan was that day, many wondered what caused him to feel so ill.
Tim Grover, Jordan’s trainer at the time, released a book in 2013 titled “Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable” and in it he said that Jordan wasn’t suffering from the flu but rather food poisoning.
We were in Park City, Utah, up in a hotel. Room service stopped at like nine o’clock. He got hungry and we really couldn’t find any other place to eat. So we said eh, the only thing I can find is a pizza place. So we says all right, order pizza.
We had been there for a while. Everybody knew what hotel. Park City was not many hotels back then. So everyone kind of knew where we were staying.
So we order pizza.
Five guys came to deliver this pizza.
I take the pizza and I tell them: “I’ve got a bad feeling about this. … I’ve just got a bad feeling about this.”
Out of everybody in the room, [MJ] was the only one who ate. Nobody else had it.
And then 2 o’clock in the morning I get a call to my room. Come to the room. He’s curled up in the fetal position. We’re looking at him, finding the team physician at that time.
Immediately I told him it’s food poisoning.
Not the flu.
Flu or food poisoning, it doesn’t take away from Jordan’s performance, which was another chapter in his almost mythical career. -foxsports
An official at an agency that manages foreclosed homes in Flint, Michigan, has resigned after a recording surfaced Sunday in which he blames the city’s water crisis on “n****rs who don’t pay their bills.”
Phil Stair resigned as sales manager of the Genesee County Land Bank, the bank’s executive director, Michele Wildman, told MLive on Monday.
Local environmental activist Chelsea Lyons recorded Stair explaining in May why he thought Flint, a city mired in debt, switched from buying Detroit’s pretreated Lake Huron water to using Flint River water, which sparked the crisis that has left the city without safe drinking water for several years.
After the 2014 switch, the city’s water plant failed to properly treat the more toxic water under orders from state officials, causing lead from old pipes to leach into city water.
But in his racist remarks, Stair traces the crisis to residents not paying their water bills:
Detroit was charging all its customers for the cost; they weren’t collecting from their residents. They weren’t shutting the water off, they were letting bills go forever, but they were charging everybody else, they covered them. Well, Flint has the same problems as Detroit, fucking niggers don’t pay their bills, believe me, I deal with them. I don’t want to call them niggers, shit, I have, shit, I just went to Myrtle Beach, 24 guys, and I was the only white guy. I got friends, I mean, there’s trash and there’s people that do this. … They just don’t pay their bills. Well, Detroit didn’t collect on their bills, so they charged everybody else, but Flint, Flint had to pay their bill to Detroit. -HuffPost
If I shall die before they wake, I pray the Lord my shades are safe.