Sammy Figueroa and Glaucia Nasser at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Club

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Music, Music and Video Releases with tags , , on October 15, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Sammy-Figueroa-and-Glaucia-Nasser-Talisman

SUNDAY October 19th @ BETHESDA BLUES & JAZZ 7:30 pm
DOORS Open @5:30
50% DISCOUNT from this mailing 
PROMO CODE:  BBJTAL for $12.50
http://www.bethesdabluesjazz.com/events.cfm

“Talisman” featuring Sammy Figueroa and Glaucia Nasser,  is a perfect balance between the exciting Latin percussion of double Grammy nominee and renowned musician Sammy Figueroa (Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, David Bowie, Mariah Carey …) and Brazilian singer Glaucia Nasser. “Like peanut butter and chocolate” this combination of Brazilian song and Latin percussion is a surprising and tasty combination. 

Clave meets Samba in the spectacular recording, Talisman from Grammy award winning percussionist Sammy Figueroa & Brazilian vocalist, Glaucia Nasser.   The result of a Jazz journey from Miami to Brazil, now takes flight for a four city performance tour… with a lucky stop at Bethesda Blues & Jazz, this Sunday October 18 @ 7:30pm.

 

CONFUNKSHUN RETURNS WITH FIRST NEW STUDIO ALBUM IN MORE THAN TWO DECADES (EARLY 2015)

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Music, Music and Video Releases with tags , on October 14, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Con Funk Shun

Once upon a time there were many great self-contained R&B and funk groups, innovative, immensely popular artists such as Earth, Wind & Fire, War, The Meters, The Commodores, Kool & The Gang, Lakeside, Slave and many others who created a body of work in the 70’s and 80’s that still thrills audiences today. ConFunkShun was one of the successful bands in this wave, scoring 25 chart hits between 1976 and their break-up in 1987, including such smash hits as “Ffun,” “Chase Me,” “Electric Lady,” “Baby I’m Hooked” and others—many of which have been liberally sampled by the hip-hop generation. When the band re-united with lead vocalists/songwriters Michael Cooper and Felton Pilate, after more than two decades apart, they were welcomed back by their fans as they toured nationally to adoring crowds. Not content to ride on their past hits, they began writing and recording new material which they found got great response in concert. ConFunkShun’s brand new single “Your Night,” is currently making waves at radio. Their highly anticipated new CD and Shanachie debut MORE THAN LOVE (due out early 2015), is the band’s first new studio album in more than two decades. Their new music finds Con Funk Shun as irresistible as ever this time with an intoxicating blend of classic R&B and contemporary sonics.

“This album was clearly a must do for me,” Michael Cooper relates.” The main reason is simply because we can, we are able and we should. Too often people are falling much too early. We have been blessed to still be playing and loving the music, and to still have fans who are still buying and following our music. We simply had to do it.”

“We’re very excited to be bringing out new music from one of R&B’s greatest bands,” says Randall Grass, General Manager of Shanachie Entertainment. “They are equally strong on ballads and up-tempo material and their new music delivers the ConFunkShun sound but without sounding retro. A lot of people are going to be surprised.”

The challenge for any band with past success is to create new music that will please their already devoted fans but at the same time generate a fresh take on their music that connects with today’s contemporary audience.

In an effort to reach their goals, ConFunkShun has been collaborating with P Music Group Inc.’s Marlon McClain. P Music Group, Inc.’s founder, Michael Paran, has been the creative force behind the hit-making second career of R&B icon Charlie Wilson generating numerous accolades for Wilson including number one records and seven Grammy Award nominations.

“My job in the seventies and eighties was to write to get on the radio and to be competitive to work with what I had at the time,” confesses Cooper. “All the while telling a story as close to the truth as possible in the lyrics. Back in the late 70’s and 80’s Con Funk Shun used horns, synth keys, live players and big drums to make a point. Only today we have a marvelous tool call the Internet. Not only were we blessed to be in the studio together but we could email parts through cyberspace at 3am. Even have a song mixed by a person you’ve never met. A new and different kind of ‘Ffun’ Owww!”

In short, ConFunkShun is back in the game and playing for keeps!  Check out the new video to the new single “Your Night.”

Click here to visit the official ConFunkShun website.   For additional information contact: Karen E. Lee at KL364@aol.com or Juanita Stephens at juanitastephenspr@gmail.com.

 

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith: Great Voice Wrong Message: Fighting Against the NFL’s N-word Policy

Posted in Black Men, Sports News with tags , , , , on October 5, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Stephen-A-Smith

By H. Lewis Smith

During the course of a nationally-televised football game on September 14, 2014, the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick called Chicago Bears’ defensive end Lamarr Houston the n-word (n**ga). It was then that a referee (who happened to be white) penalized Kaepernick for use of the vitriolic; the penalty resulted in an $11,025 fine.
On September 23, 2014, on national TV, ESPN’s First Take commentator Stephen A. Smith took issue with the policy. He presented an arousing and passionate response to the enforcement of the policy that he diametrically opposes. Smith feels it is okay for two African-American athletes to “trash talk” one another on the field, and if the term is spoken, then so be it. Smith argues that the rest of the world isn’t “sensitive” to how the athletes were raised and that, perhaps, in their neighborhoods and homes, the n-word was acceptable and a term of endearment.

Smith’s main point of concern, however, is that a white referee penalizing a black player for use of the n-word is egregious and offensive to him. Sadly, there are many who agree with him. Smith goes on to say that though he has deep respect for Mr. John B. Wooten, Chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance and the black man who spearheaded the movement for the NFL to adopt such a policy, he’s in complete disagreement with Wooten. He further attempts to paint a picture that the “older heads” (or older generation) including Mr. Wooten and others need to listen to the “younger heads” (or younger generation) such as himself and others when it comes to penalizing and fining NFL athletes for use of the n-word.

Moreover, although Smith seemed to have made a convicted argument as to why the n-word should not be a point of discussion or penalty, it needs to be pointed out that there are many capable and brilliant young heads who are not searching for pseudo-intellectual reasons to refer to themselves or any member of their race as n**ga. In fact, some young heads may have listened to that argument and heard nothing but ignorance spew from the mouth of a seemingly gifted speaker and well-educated African-American man. Some too may have immediately seen that Mr. Smith is a primary example of the systemic veiling of the populous, twisting of the black man’s mentality to continue to argue for inferiority, and the working of the very essence of the 400-year-old plight.

In “The Mis-Education of the Negro”, Dr. Carter G. Woodson said:
“If you can control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.”

Smith may believe that he represents the voice of the entire younger generation, but he does not. It is a known fact that many younger generation parents educate their children on the term and view it as a disrespectful profanity. The term is forbidden as everyday language in many Black households across America, and cannot be used—not even when one wants to use the term as so-called endearment or to cut down the confidence of anyone. Even further, many African-American children are taught to not only refrain from referring to anyone as such, but should also not allow anyone else to refer to them as such. Respect is a two-way street: it must be given and received.

To the contrary, Smith only represents that fraction of society that continues to lean in and remain shackled in the darkness. The ears of the enlightened have listened to that commentary and yelled at or argued back with the sentiments made. However, their voices simply cannot be heard because they do not have access to the news media to espouse their beliefs as does a Stephen A. Smith and some other proponents of the n-word (n**ga). And when they do share their views, they are considered troublemakers, too sensitive, or disillusioned; because they tend to be met with so much conflict from within and without the community, many times their arguments are suffocated or the cultural in-fighting takes center stage more so than the actual issue at hand.

Younger generation celebrities like Stephen A. Smith are to be applauded for their individual achievements; however, Black America’s paradigm should be to the commitment of the entire race’s preservation as a group, and not limited to the success of individuals, which unfortunately is the mindset of Black America. Until Black African Americans, as a group, can learn to separate themselves from the n-word the shackles of mental slavery will always remain intact.

Another thing: By saying the “young heads” vs. the “old heads”, Smith has promoted further separation within the Black community that is not going unseen—even Skip Bayless referred to this “cultural clash” within the Black community. The most unfortunate part is that, again, so long as the Black community remains divided, African Americans will never be able to re-unite, come together as a single being of force, and regain the cultural dignity and superior status divinely-granted upon the race. Instead, people like Smith continue to carry out the plight of White America ignorantly and unadulterated.
Now, truly, there is some agreement that a white-ruled NFL having to chastise black players for their use of the n-word is a bit brow-raising. The primary concern is that it should never have come to a white-run organization agreeing to help police the word if not for the Black community dropping the ball on this issue. Use of the n-word is a Black African-American issue, which should have been resolved within the community decades ago; instead, it has been allowed to fester.

By requiring the NFL or any other entity, organization or person outside of the Black community to regulate use of the n-word, smacks of paternalism. It is as if the Black community is unable to self-determine and self-regulate and, therefore, needs the white man to save them from themselves. Use of the degrading and demeaning term n**ga has grown far out of hand. In order for Black America to regain its full cultural respect and not have to expend its precious energy on such self-imposed issues—which in this case is really fighting over whose allowed to tell African Americans they cannot use the word (when NO ONE should need to be told because they should not be using the term in the first place), use of the term needs to be cut down dead in its tracks and buried by all.

Stephen A. Smith on a couple of occasions used the n-word on national TV and never got as much as a slap on the wrist for it. And as he openly evangelizes the support of the n-word, his spill is given full airtime—he’s allowed to go on this rampage campaigning for use of the n-word with not one cut or edit. Conversely, most recently when he slipped and used the word “provoke” relative to comments he was making about the Ray Rice case and domestic violence, white women were offended by it. As a consequence, Smith was suspended for seven days from his job.

But as Wooten goes on his rampage about using the n-word, Black America does or says nothing. However, Mr. Wooten recognized that, sadly, since the Black community refuses to address the matter themselves and hold all members within and without the community accountable to upholding and respecting Black Americans, he was required to approach the NFL to demand the respect many self-respecting Black Americans deserve. Had Mr. Wooten not taken this step, the blatant disrespect would have continued to fester at an even more severe rate. The reality is that Black America refuses to address the issue and does not want anyone else doing it either.

Unfortunately, Black America, collectively, just does not get it. The community refuses to remove the DO NOT DISTURB sign outside its door, refusing to WAKE UP.

Use of the n-word today is trans-generational and is the one and ONLY reason why the term still flows from the lips of contemporary Black African Americans. Black users of the term are allowing themselves to be defined by a racist term as opposed to defining themselves, for the reality is that the term n**ga is simply ghetto vernacular for n**ger, obviously there ISN’T any difference between the two.

h-lewis-smith H. Lewis Smith is the founder and president of UVCC, the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc., http://www.theunitedvoices.com author of Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word, and the recently released book Undressing the N-word: Revealing the Naked Truth, Lies, Deceit and Mind Games https://www.createspace.com/4655015

Critics Were Right About Obama’s Incompetence

Posted in Black Interests, Politics, President Barack Obama with tags , , on October 4, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Obama Bites Lip

By Raynard Jackson

During the past six years, some Republicans and conservatives have described President Obama and his administration as totally incompetent. I have harshly criticized those who would use such incendiary language because it showed total disrespect for the office of the presidency.Though I still think this language is totally inappropriate, I have come to agree with the point they were trying to make: this administration is in way over its head. Obama and his team constantly lie to the American people (IRS, Benghazi, illegal immigration), they put the interests of others before the interests of Americans, and they are obsessed with the notion of being “liked.”

Two weeks ago, President Obama told us that he “intends to destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) without putting American boots on the ground.” Everyone who follows politics and foreign policy knew Obama was lying. This is what his former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, had to say, “There will be boots on the ground if there’s to be any hope of success in the strategy… I think that by continuing to repeat that [there will be no boots on the ground], the president in effect traps himself.”

Obama refuses to admit the obvious simply because of the upcoming mid-term elections. His liberal base would defect en masse from Democratic candidates all across the country if he actually told the truth.

Then again, this is the same president who has constantly lied to those in the country illegally about giving them amnesty by executive fiat. He has now promised to do it after the elections in November. Remember, one of the main tenants of liberalism is “intent.” Obama will argue that he didn’t “intend” to put boots on the ground, but circumstances on the ground changed. He “intended” to give illegals amnesty, but if Republicans take over the senate, he can’t.

As a U.S. Senator and a candidate for president in 2008, Obama was a very harsh critic of Bush’s war in Iraq. Yet, in six years as president, he has continued the Bush doctrine in foreign policy (attempting to spread “democracy” around the world).

According to the London based Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), “Since becoming president in 2009, Obama has launched over 330 drone attacks in Pakistan alone; Bush only launched 51 in four years.” When you add in Yemen and Somalia, according to this same report, the total jumps to 390 drone attacks and have killed more than 2,400 people (273 of whom were innocent civilians). http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2014/01/23/more-than-2400-dead-as-obamas-drone-campaign-marks-five-years/

Many Democrats called for Bush to be tried as a murderer and a war criminal. So what does that make Obama?

This administration thinks that everyone is “entitled” to be in the U.S., whether they entered legally or not. They are providing five-star accommodations for illegals, while American citizens are increasingly homeless, more likely to be unemployed, and less educated.

In essence, Obama and his administration actually think he was elected to be president of the world. They think they and we Americans should be willing to sacrifice our own standard of living to provide relief to those around the world who are less fortunate than us. Not even Jimmy Carter displayed this level of arrogance and disdain toward his own country and its people.

We are not responsible for the problems of the world. How do you justify allowing illegals into the country under the guise that “they are just looking for a better life in America” when Americans are looking for the same thing – in their own country?

In the 1980s, Cuba unlocked its jails and dumped the worst of their worst into the U.S., which led to the drug cartels wreaking havoc in Miami. Now we are allowing the most unskilled illegals to enter into our country from Central America and wreak havoc on the inner cities as well as the suburbs.

As president of the world, Obama really believes that we should have no borders, even if it jeopardizes our national security. Our intelligence community has already publicly and privately admitted that terrorist from the Middle East have already entered into the U.S. from Mexico.

Obama really thinks the sheer strength of his magnetic personality will get Iran to give up its nuclear program, get Putin to return U.S. traitor Edward Snowden to the U.S. and cause Bashar al-Assad to leave the presidency of Syria.

In trying so hard to be liked, world leaders don’t fear or respect him. As Niccolò Machiavelli said, “It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”

Obama is neither.

Raynard Jackson 2013 Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, http://www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @raynard1223.

BUSINESS EXCHANGE: Let’s Have a Black Renaissance

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Money/Economics with tags , , on October 4, 2014 by Gary Johnson

William Reed
By William Reed

“By our unpaid labor and suffering, we have earned the right to the soil, many times over, and now we are determined to have it.”

How can Blacks gain economic parity in America? The answer is so simple that no one ever suggests reparations as a remedy for what ails Blacks.

A long-running crime has been perpetrated against the descendants of slaves. Blacks are owed restoration of the rich history that slavery and segregation stole. But nobody stands up for Black descendants of slaves to get their just due in America. American justice for Blacks will require an act of Congress. With a little prodding from their constituents, Black members of Congress can lead the charge and bring about an act of Congress in regard to reparations owed to more than 30 million Black descendants of slaves living in America today.

Well over a century after slavery’s end, Black Americans are still poorer, less educated, and earning far less than their White counterparts. Blacks lag behind Whites in every area of American life. We all know that racism, racial discrimination and inequality continues to be perpetuated against Blacks. It’s on Blacks to initiate national discussions that have race, slavery and reparations as themes. Blacks need to use their resources to put it on America’s agenda to acknowledge its financial obligation for centuries of slavery and continuing subjugation. Instead of cowering and trying to lay low, Blacks need to correct the country’s ignorance of its racist history and illustrate the impact of de facto discrimination and slavery’s legacy in our social and political lives as well as psyche.

Many differences between Blacks and Whites stem from economic inequalities that have accumulated over the course of American history. In the years since the civil rights triumphs of the 1960s, when compared to Whites, African Americans complete less formal schooling, work fewer hours at a lower rate of pay and are more likely to give birth to a child out of wedlock and to rely on welfare.

We should use our resources to work toward a “renaissance” for our race. America was built from the ground up by slave labor. But, officials, Black and White, denial of the benefits gained from centuries of slave labor are, in effect, an attempt to pretend that America’s holocaust never occurred. Isn’t it time we demanded our political representatives submitted reparations legislation to obtain what we are owed? Blacks are slow to discuss “the debt” we are owed, even though we remain “behind” in every category of social measurement due to slavery’s legacy. Blacks’ current plight results from slavery and there should be instruments and policies to assist in Blacks’ current educational and economic deficiencies.
Contemporary Blacks need to focus on the fact that a debt has accrued over centuries of slavery – a debt that has only been deepened by segregation, discrimination, and racist institutional policies that persist to this day. Residual effects of slavery still exist, but too many Blacks seem to be ashamed to demand payment for centuries of slavery, of destruction of our minds and the theft of our culture.

It’s estimated that 30 million descendants of slaves are eligible for $1.5 million each in reparations compensation. American enslavement counts as an obvious rebuttal to claims that this Republic represents “the land of the free and home of the brave.” Sadly, the victims of this calamity feel more guilt than pride and few strive for “reparations” or other restitution to overcome the nation’s uniquely cruel, racist and greedy legacy.

Hopefully, Blacks can bond to get H.R. 40 passed. We all need to get to know and support Congressman John Conyers’ H.R. 40 bill, “Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act.” The bill establishes a federal commission to review slavery and its resulting racial and economic discrimination. Let’s each initiate local, state and national discussions toward the Congressional Black Caucus’ adaption and eventual Congressional passage of H.R. 40 reparations legislation. A discussion among African Americans about reparations should happen on social networks or whenever blacks get together.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the BaileyGroup.org

Harold Bell, Muhammad Ali and the Legends of Inside Sports

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Sports News with tags , , , , on September 30, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Ali-Harold

Long before George Michael’s Sports Machine, Inside Sports,  ESPN the Magazine, ESPN’s Outside the Lines, the 30 for 30 (sports documentary series), and HBO’s Real Sports there was Harold Bell and The Original Inside Sports.  Emmy Award winning actor and producer Robert Hooks will help to set the record straight in Washington, DC on Saturday October 4, 2014.

Hooks will tape and narrate a documentary on how legendary and pioneer sports talk show host Harold Bell was the front runner when it comes to today’s sports talk show formats in America.  He will tell how Harold, a native Washingtonian, scooped the entire sports media world in November 1974.

Ali&Patscan0011

The scoop came immediately after the historical “Rumble in the Jungle.”  The fight was held in Zaire, Africa between then World Heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman and challenger Muhammad Ali.  Ali was given no chance to win the fight but he shocked the entire sports world with a spectacular 8th round knockout of the champion. Ali quietly returned home to the United States via New York City.  Upon his arrival the newly crowned boxing champion Ali called his friend Harold Bell in Washington, DC.  Ali asked Harold to meet him at his hotel the following morning for the interview he had promised Bell in Chicago before leaving for Zaire.  What transpired was a one of a kind interview.  Today, an interview of that magnitude is called “Must See TV.  Ali, sporting a black eye gave Harold and exclusive one-on-one tour.  This was a “no-no” during his reign as “The Greatest,” because Ali NEVER never allowed interviews if he had marks or abrasions on his face.

ENTER FEDERALTHEATRE 4 ABA Robert Hooks who is also a native Washingtonian, will narrate this historical sports documentary.

For more information please call information call (301) 203-0765 or (202) 427–9247.

Is Floyd Mayweather On The Decline?

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Sports News with tags , , , on September 25, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Floyd-Money-Mayweather1

It seems from an abundance of the sentiment I am seeing and even my own feelings as a hardcore boxing fan, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has started to decline. Not necessarily financially yet, as he has a guaranteed two more $32 million pay days.

But as a brand, and as someone that people are interested in seeing, he is starting to get old. A confluence of factors have combined in a kind of perfect negative storm.

• His look how rich I am shtick has gotten old. People get that he has a few $ and likes to selectively throw it around. But he is tone deaf to the negative reaction that approach has on even his admiring boxing fans. Non-boxing fans simply detest it.

• A clearer view in this “Ray Rice” environment that Floyd has repeatedly treated women much worse than that single punch. No cameras were around to record it but the reports are simply too numerous and consistent in them to all be unfair “attacks” on Money.

• Trouble in his business camp. Whatever the reasons may be, good or bad, Floyd is showing discomfort with those around him. His my way only approach may have thinned the skin of those around that are not singularly dependent on his paying them for their livelihood. Time will tell how that unfolds.

• Lastly, and most importantly, his fights. His fights where he makes his millions. Relative to other bouts, fans have become increasingly aware of the fact that most of his fights are boring and predictable. When was the last time that you even THOUGHT that Floyd had the possibility of knocking someone out? Sure, he is clearly the better boxer, and does win a majority of 12 rounds with athletic skill and superiority. But there are enough young lions out there (Keith Thurman, Kell Brook….etc.) other than Pacquiao that would make things compelling. I will insert credit to Floyd for taking on Canelo. A bold move that paid off. However, with the above mentioned dark clouds circling, his next two fights will need to be bold as well, else risk a clear rejection of his bouts at the betting windows and on PPV. (The betting windows were the worst ever for this last rematch).

Floyd mayweather-Cars

The only non-competitive fight he can financially get away with is Amir Khan. From a pure boxing perspective Amir doesn’t deserve a shot. His recent record is mixed at best, and while he does come to fight, he also loses and gets knocked out. This at 140 lbs, a weight class BELOW where Floyd fights. However, boxing is a business and Amir has the largest demographic following in the weight vicinity and that means $$$$$.

If not PAC man or a young lion, any other fight will be looked at as just a way for Floyd to extend his “0” for the history books. The loser will most likely be Showtime and perhaps the host MGM site, as I predict the volume of fans just won’t show. People are seeing thru the childish hype.

The money team show of cash, cars, luxury goods, jewelry and Ho’s has run its course. Time for a different business strategy or shtick.

This is the assessment of a lifelong boxing fan (45 years).

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