Archive for June, 2013

Singer Dionne Blaize Has A New Single

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Music, Women's Interests with tags , , , on June 27, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Dionne Blaize 4

Dionne has a new hit single “Take Me There,” with a special appearance by Music Video Live Hip Hop Artist The Real YXM.

Dionne credits her love of music to her father, who taught himself to play the piano as his parents didn’t have enough money to pay for music lessons and her Uncle, a bass player for a local band, who used to play all kinds of different styles of music ranging from Aretha Franklin and Barbara Streisand to Ella Fitzgerald in the house where Dionne grew up. Dionne remembers composing songs as early as 5 years old. Her mother would hear her singing songs that she didn’t recognize and would ask Dionne “baby what are you singing?” Dionne would answer “Mommy I’m singing a song I made”. Dionne’s mother was quite impressed because although Dionne was only 5 years old, the songs that she created had sweet sounding melodies. It was clear that Dionne was destined to write as well as sing. At 5 years old with a hair brush in hand, Dionne would sing in front of the mirror pretending that the mirror was her audience. From that moment, she knew that one day she would really have an audience. She didn’t know how it would all come together but she knew that one day it would.

Click here to visit Dionne’s official web site.

Video Link: http://youtu.be/ml82fvVtNxk

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dionneblaize6

Engineered by Starting 5 Studios, Brooklyn, NY

Produced By: Music Video Live LLC, New York, NY

Media Contact: Cliff Strobe, Jr. 917.715.8174

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AIDS is the Primary Killer of African-Americans Ages – NOT

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Health & Fitness, Women's Interests with tags , , , on June 16, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Chris_Standing_2011

By Chris Jennings

Recently, a web page of National Public Radio stated “AIDS is the primary killer of African-Americans ages 19 to 44 [years of age] . . . .”

This misconception is evidently a common one.   For example, Peter Piot, Executive Director of UNAIDS, stated “AIDS remains the leading cause of death in African-American women in the USA” in the article AIDS: Lessons Learnt and Myths Dispelled, published in the scientific journal The Lancet on July 18, 2009.

Neither statement is accurate.  Although, it is no secret that the black Americans (African-Americans), as a group, embody a disproportionately high prevalence of specific medical and societal ills, HIV/AIDS among them.  However, HIV/AIDS is not the principal killer of black Americans of any age group, male or female.

The table below presents the rank of HIV/AIDS among the Top Ten Killers of African-Americans by age group.  The table also lists the actual #1 Cause of Death in each age group.

AIDS Deaths among Blacks in the United States, 2008

All Blacks, Both Sexes

 

HIV Disease (AIDS)

#1 Cause of Death

Age Range

Rank

Deaths

% Total

Cause

Deaths

% Total

15 – 19 years

8

22

0.8 %

Homicide

1231

43.1 %

20 – 24 years

6

93

2.1 %

Homicide

1802

41.3 %

25 – 34 years

4

613

6.6 %

Homicide

2471

26.7 %

35 – 44 years

4

1564

9.9 %

Heart Disease

2894

18.3 %

45 – 54 years

4

2048

5.7 %

Cancer

8745

24.3 %

For each age group, the table lists the Rank of HIV/AIDS among the Top Ten Killers of African-Americans.  It also lists the number of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS, and the percent of these HIV/AIDS deaths among all deaths for this age group.  For example, in the 15 – 19 years age bracket, HIV/AIDS was the 8th leading cause of death; 22 people died of HIV/AIDS, and these 22 people represented 0.8% of all deaths among this age bracket.

The same data is presented for the #1 Cause of death for each age bracket.

Regarding Piot’s comment that “AIDS remains the leading cause of death in African-American women in the USA,” HIV/AIDS is not among the Top Ten Killers of for black American women for all ages combined.  However, HIV/AIDS does rank among the Top Ten Killers within certain age brackets, as follows:

AIDS Deaths among Black Females in the United States, 2008

 

HIV Disease (AIDS)

#1 Killer in Age Group

Age Range

Rank

Deaths

% Total

Cause

Deaths

% Total

15 – 19 years

9

15

2.2 %

Accidents

171

25.1%

20 – 24 years

6

40

3.9%

Accidents

218

21.3%

25 – 34 years

4

273

9.4%

Heart Disease

414

14.3%

35 – 44 years

3

620

9.4%

Cancer

1440

21.9%

45 – 54 years

5

648

4.2%

Cancer

4418

28.9%

As exemplified by the recent PBS documentary ENDGAME:  AIDS in Black America as well as the recent press coverage from the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., the story of AIDS among black Americans has reached the value of mainstream media.  (Although back in 2006, ABC News featured the program, Out of Control: AIDS in Black America, so it is not really news.)  According to the latest figures, more black Americans contract HIV infection and die of HIV disease than white Americans.

Yet, typically, the story behind why AIDS persists in the black community (and other communities) is never addressed.  It’s simply not a sound-bite issue.

The high prevalence of HIV infection in the black community is largely due to IV drug use.  (Therefore, as a short-term partial solution, the issue of making clean hypodermic needles available is a vital issue.)  A large proportion of the black (and Latino) females with HIV/AIDS were the sexual partners of black (and Latino) IV drug users.  Overall, heterosexual HIV transmission dwells in the realm of long-term sexual partnerships:  not in the world of one-night stands (although it can and probably has happened).

The story of blood-borne diseases, such as HIV infection and Hepatitis B virus infection, is written in the ills of society.  These two blood-borne diseases share the same transmission vectors and the same high-risk groups.  The Hepatitis B epidemic of the 1970s was a model for the HIV/AIDS epidemic that emerged in the 1980s.

IV drug use is major transmission vector for blood-borne diseases.  A vector historically linked with specific socio-economic issues; notably, joblessness, and the consequent despair and hopelessness.  Other factors likely thrown into the mix are personal histories of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse.  The danger of opiates is that they are effective:  they effectively kill both physical and emotional pain.

Black gay men are also, reportedly, now at high risk of contracting HIV infection; reportedly carrying a higher risk of HIV infection than white gay men.  Yet, in truth, the risk persists for specific sub-groups of gay men overall, irregardless of racial flavor.  AIDS prevention is relatively simple.  So why do gay men continue to contract HIV infection?   The risks are known.  Why do junkies (to use the colloquial term) continue to share needles?   The risks are known.  Why do teenagers still start smoking?  The risks are known.

Ultimately, the answer is that oppressed peoples engage in what are termed adverse health behaviors.  Teenagers engage smoking because of emotional insecurity.  Junkies shoot heroin as a short-term solution to overbearing emotional pain.

Gays?  They are an oppressed people.  Yes, there have been a number of hard-fought, hard-won advances in gay rights over the past several decades, seemingly culminating in the advent of gay marriage in a number of U.S. states.  But, during the same time period, the United States has undergone tremendous social polarization.  Opposing the advancement in gay rights has been a growth in malevolent and venomous vitriol — a growing willingness to vocalize proclamations that, in previous years, had been restrained by a simple sense of shame and social decency.

Moreover, gay bashing (assault), murders, and discrimination in housing and employment persist.  Fear and oppression by any other name.  In part, the effects of this oppression are acted out in the risk-taking behavior of gay men.  After the devastation of the 1980s HIV/AIDS epidemic, the annual rates of new HIV infections dropped off significantly for 20 years, but in some gay communities, infections rates have been on the rise again over the last 10 years.  As stated by a gay colleague, at a certain age-break, the young gay men almost seem to embrace HIV infection.  (He also expressed the belief that the high prevalence of sado-masochistic sex among gay men is another manifestation of self-hate.) ]

To repeat, the story of blood-borne diseases – as with many other conditions consequent to adverse health behaviors — is written in the fabric of society.  The answer to HIV/AIDS does not lay in money, science, more effective drugs, or a vaccine.  Behind Hepatitis B and HIV lay some other blood-borne agent waiting to emerge.  To end the era of blood-borne diseases in the Western world, the mandate is the creation of a society enabling the formation of familial, educational, and societal structures (including economic justice!) that grant emotional inoculation against the incidence and consequence of hate, insecurity, despair, and abuse.

The way lies forward.

(SourceDeaths: Leading Causes for 2008 (National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 60, No. 6, June 6, 2012) by Melonie Heron, Ph.D., Division of Vital Statistics:  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_06.pdf)

Chris Jennings (Harvard, B.A., Biology 1976/77) is a medical writer and author of two recent books that redefine the size, scale, and scope of the HIV/AIDS epidemic:  HIV/AIDS – The Facts and the Fiction & HIV/AIDS in South Africa – The Facts and the Fiction.  Chris Jennings has written and published two prior books on HIV/AIDS adopted as educational texts by world-renowned hospitals; federal, state, and municipal health agencies; and nursing schools, public health schools, and universities.  In addition to conducting investigative research of the scientific and medical literature, Chris Jennings provides writing services to the pharmaceutical, medical, and diagnostic industries.

For more infection, visit Health Alert Communications at:  www.healthalert.net.

Copyright © by Chris Jennings 2012

GRAMMY-NOMINATED R&B ICON CHARLIE WILSON KICKS OFF EUROPEAN TOUR

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Music with tags , , on June 16, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Charlie Wilson29

The Natural. This simple phrase eloquently captures the essence of Charlie Wilson.

That essence is currently commanding center stage with the sparkling ballad “My Love Is All I Have.” No one slam-dunks a ballad like Wilson, the Grammy-nominated multi-talent behind the 15-week Billboard Urban Adult Contemporary chart-topper “You Are.”  And that truth remains undisputed with “My Love Is All I Have,” the first single from Wilson’s fourth solo album, Love Charlie, through P Music/RCA Records, which was released in the US earlier this year and topped the Billboard Urban A/C chart for 5 weeks.  His second single, “Turn Off The Lights” is now making its way to the top of the same chart and is projected to reach number one in the coming weeks.

2013 is becoming a banner year for the former lead singer of the GAP Band whose funky hits include, “Oops Upside Your Head,” “Yearnin’,” “Burn Rubber On Me” and on and on.  Now a six time Grammy nominated solo artist, Wilson is slated to receive the prestigious BET Lifetime Achievement Award at the biggest urban music show in the US which airs on BET on June 30th.

With “My Love Is All I Have,” Wilson once again brings to the forefront the elegant simplicity and amazing vocals that still have a strong foothold in today’s pop, dance and hip-hop oriented world. “I poured my heart into Love, Charlie,” says Wilson, who began working on the album last January. “With this album, I didn’t want to be on the road and recording simultaneously. I wanted to take my time. The game plan was basic: each song needed to have single potential—or it didn’t make the record.”

Just Charlie. Uncle Charlie. Charlie, Last Name Wilson. Throughout his tenure with Jive (folded within RCA Records in 2012), Wilson has stayed true to who he is musically and creatively—while raising the bar each time. In the early 1990s, Wilson became a friend and regular collaborator with Snoop Dogg. Their relationship provided Wilson with access to many artists who idolized him as well as fresh, emerging talent who has inspired him to continue pushing

the limits of his own material. Wilson has since collaborated with a diverse array of artists including Kanye West, R. Kelly, Will.i.am, Jamie Foxx, T-Pain, Fantasia, Justin Timberlake and, most recently, 2Chainz on the 2012 Soul Train Awards.

“Working with these artists allows me to not be locked in a time capsule,” says Wilson, “It opens the door for me to be a part of the contemporary music scene.  I am proud to have taken on the role of “the bridge” between R&B and hip hop.”

This quote from Soulmusic.com (from Wilson’s September, 2011 Indigo 02 concert) says it all, “…… Charlie Wilson’s dynamic non-stop, full-of-energy- and-soul performance at Indigo 02 will go down as the best soul show we’ve had in London this year. It was tremendous.”

European Tour Schedule

July 10, 2013   Montpellier, France               La Grande-Mott Casino

July 12, 2013   London, UK                             UK Shepherd’s Bush Empire

July 14, 2013   Rotterdam, Netherlands       Netherlands North Sea Jazz Festival

July 15, 2013   Paris, France                           Trianon

July 17, 2013   Basel, Switzerland                  Metro Grand Casino Basel

July 19, 2013   London, UK                             Lovebox Music Festival

For tickets and more information please go to www.charliewilsonmusic.com .

Stay connected with Charlie Wilson:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/charliewilson

Twitter: @imcharliewilson

The Power of the Black Voice: If We Speak, They Will Listen

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Feature Interviews, Gary A. Johnson, Guest Columnists, Music, Music and Video Releases on June 8, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Rappers

By H. Lewis Smith

Hip-Hop music is an art form all unto itself.  Its unique rhythmic beat and craftily-packaged rhymes can be very catchy, entertaining and stimulating. Because listeners are often caught up by the beat and impressed with the artist’s literary creativity, and, perhaps are just happy to see one of their own finally make it, they tend to overlook and/or downplay the real message(s) being conveyed; this may help to explain why some rap records with self-destructive, violent, demeaning and insensitive lyrics in nature can be so popular. Rappers feel that they are just entertaining, storytellers, saying what “sounds good”, but the truth of the matter is that their messages do carry clout, are influential, and can evoke action; as such, they must be mindful of what they say, and the artists and their sponsors must be held accountable for the artists’ actions and words.

Self-respecting people are tired of being sold out by heartless, money-hungry rappers. They are becoming less passive and apathetic about the images and messages being conveyed, and are now gaining the gumption to speak up and out against the undignified portrayals rappers promote. Rap artist Lil Wayne came under fire in February for lyrics comparing the 1955 heinous, murderous beating of teenager Emmett Till to his sexual prowess when interacting with female genitalia; in May, he lost a multi-million dollar endorsement deal with PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew as a result. In April, in the face of PepsiCo’s situation, Reebok also decided to proactively sever ties with hip-hop artist Rick Ross because of his own offensive lyrics related to date raping women.

Ultimately, media giants and corporations are in business to make money. Any activity that supports that objective will be played up, promoted and sold like hot cakes to keep making their pockets fatter. On the other hand, any activity that negatively effects or even looks to threaten their wallet will be severed immediately. Emmett Till’s family did not sit back, pass and allow Lil Wayne to have carte blanche to trample over and dishonor the death of their family member. By their speaking out and protesting the beverage company, events were placed into motion, which ultimately led to the loss of Lil Wayne’s endorsement deal. Others found the fortitude to speak up against Rick Ross, and Reebok smartly elected to forgo any negative publicity and resolved their potential issue before it could even become one.

Overall, these situations serve as testimony that when the Black community DEMANDS responsibility and accountability from one of their very own, people do listen and the results can be immediate, profoundly impacting, and have a huge domino effect.  This card of power has always been available to the Black community to play, but in its refusal to hold their own accountable and responsible for anything, the group has always passed on using it.

An old adage, slightly modified for relevance and greater impact, says that he who forgets the past—or even worse, is ignorant to his past—is doomed to REPEAT it.  Gangsta rap promoting street violence, crime, misogyny and use of the n-word are replicas of messages that were browbeaten into the hearts, minds and souls of African-American enslaved ancestors for more than 300 years.

A strong need was and still is felt to emasculate the manhood of the black male and a relentless campaign was undertaken to do just that. This dehumanization process and psychological onslaught of the human mind, implanting a whole new personality in heads, hearts, minds and souls, created an unwarranted image of a subjugated people categorized as n**gers.  Since n**gers were looked upon as sub-human and 3/5 of a person and not considered as human beings, they were, as a result, subjected to the worst form of inhumane treatment—mentally and physically—ever known to humankind.

Enslaved Africans were not willing participants of enslavement and their will to resist had to be broken, therefore, they were programmed and conditioned into assimilating a newly-created inferior status of themselves. Minds of black men were unbelievably mentally abused and broken.  They were forced to believe they possessed moral, intellectual, social and physical characteristics of a bestial savage beast, and a lazy, stupid, dirty, worthless parasite; forced to accept a lesser image of themselves as lethargic, intellectually childlike and ignorant, and obsessively self-indulgent angry animals prone to wanton violence. The enslaved were browbeaten to believe that their dark hue of skin was to be looked upon as physically unattractive, which explains the unhealthy color awareness consciousness in the Black community today.

Any sort of brutal act perpetrated upon the enslaved was always fueled with the rallying cry of the word n**ger as if this would make any unconscionable acts executed upon a so-called “non-human” n**ger acceptable in the eyesight of their Christian God.  While the hanged, beaten and maimed drew their final breath, the last words the victimized would always hear were the chants of n**ger, n**ger, n**ger ringing in their ears. Ironically, contemporary African Americans embrace the pejorative term FAILING to understand why they do, that this is not what they are and more importantly that there is NO such thing as a n**ger/n**ga.  During Hitler’s mistreatment of the Jewish community and experimentation in Eugenics, President Roosevelt admonished him for such conduct, to which Hitler replied, “Everything we do to Jewish people was learned from your treatment of the America Black people.”

Gangsta rap speaks of struggle, strife, and the negative experiences endured in a tone of self-loathe and hate. Because African Americans refuse to learn and fully accept their past as well as see the seriousness in continually giving life to remnants that should have all been left in the past, the feelings of inadequacy and frustration laced in every line of rap music are internalized and treated as legacies that are passed down from generation to generation. The unrelenting 400 year old daily assault on the Black psyche was and is designed to corrupt African Americans’ sense of racial unity and cohesion, mold the character of self-hatred, engender self-doubt and distrust among the group, thus, pulverizing Black unity and halting Black upward mobility.

In this 21st century history is repeating itself through the self-destructive lyrics of rap music.  The impressionable young minds of our Black youth are treated as garbage disposals, dumping anything and everything into it that’s debasing—ALL for the almighty dollar—simultaneously promoting criminal behavior; and it’s happening with the blessing of the Black community since the group collectively refuses to put its foot down and say enough is enough.  Control of the precious minds of Black youth have been handed over to money-hungry rappers and indifferent comedians, actors and actresses, while the intelligentsia, ministers, community leaders sit back and do ABSOLUTELY nothing to stop it, this habitual practice of self-inflicted cultural genocide is totally foreign to other groups around the world.

This 400-year-old on-going indoctrination process needs to be stopped, just as Lil Wayne was stopped by the Till family. Black America must either stand up to these entertainers and the industry that have made billions stomping on the dignity of Black/African-Americans and no longer allow them to do it, or continue to be willing participants in the cultural genocide of black people. Just as slavery and the African-American Holocaust was no joke, cultural genocide is no laughing matter either.  African Americans must somehow learn to separate itself from the minstrel syndrome stop taking themselves and the n-word as a joke.

Today, the n-word is still alive and well because contemporary Black Americans have yet to demonstrate the ability and mental fortitude to let go of an 18th century slave mentality.  Promoting, marketing, and commercializing the n-word globally contribute to keeping it alive and, in the process, are keeping its wicked and abhorrent history alive.

Black/African-Americans must, on the whole, adopt the attitude of the Till family, by standing up and speaking out against the mental abuse of our youth via gangsta rap music with its promotion and encouragement of criminal behavior, use of drugs, glorification of violence and the promotion of the n-word.  No one is an exception; EVERYONE is required to use their voice, stand united, and hold to the fire anyone that attempts to continue to tear down the Black community.  Sacrificing the minds of our youth, glorifying and applauding the status of those who are now financial tycoons as a result of their predatory ways speaks volumes about the over-all unhealthy mentality of the Black/African-American community, our youth deserves more, infinitely more.

H. Lewis Smith H. Lewis Smith is the founder and president of UVCC, the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc. (www.theunitedvoices.com),  and author of “Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word”. Follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thescoop1

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