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So much Michael

Lots being written about the Michael Jackson in these days following his untimely death.  Here's just the tip of the iceberg that I've seen: VIbe Magazine's Danyel Smith: "He gave himself to the world. And Michael Jackson left nothing but blood on the dance floor." The Nation's John Nichols: "He projected into the world (the […]

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Video from Farai Chideya's "Kiss The Sky" book party

Some video shot by Baratunde Thurston of Jack & Jill Politics last night at Farai's party.  The affair was held in Harlem at the Harlem Arts Salon and was graciously hosted by Margaret and Quincy Troupe.  In addition to Bridgett and I, other folks in the house included friends such as George Alexander, Keli Goff, […]

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Kandia Crazy Horse's Southern Rock Symposium @ Princeton — May 8-9

First, much belated congrats are in order to fellow traveler and award-winning rock critic Kandia Crazy Horse, who is the recipient of the 2009 Anschutz Distinguished Fellowship in American Studies at Princeton University.  As part of the teaching she's doing at Princeton, she's organizing this day-and-a-half symposium on Southern rock. Kandia has a deep and […]

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SXSW09 Panel Recap: "A Dream Deferred: Black rock"

I had a great first experience at SXSW.  Austin's a great town (at least what I could see of it), the food's good (shout out to Marisco Grill on 6th Street and Ironworks BBQ on Red River), and just about everybody in the music industry was there. The real impetus for my trip was the […]

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SXSW09 Roundup: Quincy Jones keynote–3/19/09

I've been telling folks: I hear the word "keynote"–especially when attached to an icon like Quincy Jones–and I expect 20-30 minutes max from them.  But, Quincy, being the dean that he is, held forth for TWO AND A HALF HOURS!  I'm not going to try to recap the whole thing, but I will share my […]

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Is "rock" a bad four-letter word for Black folks?

Maybe.  Here are some observations. I mean, we easily disrespect our each other, and the N-word word seems to roll off our tongues.  But we can't say rock? What sparked this was seeing the following event, that saluted the State of Black music.  Take a look: Or this one: What was wild was this was […]

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Duke Ellington gets his own quarter

First African American to appear by himself on a circulating U.S. coin. From CNN.com: The United States Mint launched a new coin Tuesday featuring jazz legend Duke Ellington, making him the first African-American to appear by himself on a circulating U.S. coin.  The District of Columbia coin honoring Duke Ellington was introduced Tuesday in Washington. […]

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Rockin' out of a hard place

m4s0n501 NPR ran a piece this week by teenager Josetta Adams (right), a Caribbean-American girl who lives in Brooklyn’s East Flatbush and listens to rock.  She got into it as a way to deal with her depression.  She saw it as one of her only viable options because, as she goes onto talk about in […]

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Beyonce, Etta, and rock's generation gap

Beyonce Knowles, who plays Etta James in the upcoming movie "Cadillac Records", was profiled in Sunday’s New York Times.  Here are some thought-provoking excerpts: As she learned the history of Chess Records — which added amplification and urban sophistication to the Delta blues on recordings by giants like Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, and helped to […]

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Weekend preview #3: Kindred Cool photography exhibit—8/3

The friendship of giants Ralph Ellison, Romare Bearden, and Albert Murray inspires an exhibit of photos of contemporary musicians who’ve bonded through jazz. (above photo: James Hurt, Jacques Schwarz-Bart and Stephanie McKay) Yes, this could turn out to be another typical New York City weekend: Too many tantalizing options to choose from.  So, if you […]

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