Sunday, June 29, 2014

BOBBY WOMACK (1944-2014)



From RollingStone.com
Bobby Womack was born on March 4th, 1944 to Friendly Womack and Naomi Womack, and grew up in the Cleveland slums, so poor that the family would fish pig snouts out of the local supermarket's trash. "The neighborhood was so ghetto that we didn't bother the rats and they didn't bother us," he said. "They walked past and hollered, 'How you doin', man?'" He was the third of five sons: Bobby had to share a bed with his brothers, Friendly Jr., Curtis, Harry and Cecil....
The five brothers started performing gospel as the Womack Brothers, playing on the local religious circuit, standing on boxes so they could reach the microphones. Their big break came in 1956, when their father arranged for them to open for the Soul Stirrers. The group's lead singer, Sam Cooke, became their mentor and helped them go on tour. "Sam was on that gospel highway so we got right on there after him," Womack said. The sweet-throated Curtis was the group's lead singer, but Bobby had some gravel in his baritone and the charisma to exhort crowds like a teenage preacher. They toured with the Staple Singers — and were still young enough that their parents let the Womack brothers sleep in the same bed as the Staple sisters....
 In 1961, the Womack Brothers followed Sam Cooke's lead and made the transition from gospel music to secular soul music. They renamed themselves the Valentinos and signed to Cooke's SAR label. They had a 1962 R&B hit with a rewrite of a gospel song they had previously recorded: "Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray" became "Lookin' for a Love." (A decade later, the J. Geils Band's cover of "Lookin' for a Love" would become their first top-40 single.) Two years later, Bobby and his sister-in-law Shirley Womack wrote "It's All Over Now," a defiant breakup song with a loose blues-country feel and a hot bass line. 
 It's All Over Now" was rising up the charts in 1964 when it got knocked out by a cover by a white band from England: the Rolling Stones. Womack was irate. He told Rolling Stone two decades later that his initial reaction was, "Tell them to get their own fucking song!" But he relented when the royalty checks started rolling in. "And the checks kept coming," he remembered.
 Womack said, "I came up in an era when you had to perform with people like Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson and Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell and James Brown — all on one bill. Whoever had the hottest record had to close the show, and it wasn't easy getting your butt kicked every night."
 In December 1964, Sam Cooke was fatally shot at the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles motel by the motel manager, Bertha Franklin. The circumstances were murky and controversial, but the shooting was ruled justifiable homicide. SAR Records shut down and the Valentinos broke up. Within days, Bobby Womack began a relationship with Cooke's widow, Barbara Campbell (who was 10 years his senior); they got married just three months after Cooke's funeral. Womack, who said he was trying to step up to take care of "Mrs. Cooke" and her children, found himself branded an opportunist and ostracized in the soul-music world.
 In 1970, Bobby's marriage to Barbara ended abruptly when she found him in bed with her teenage daughter (his stepdaughter) Linda. As he told it, "I'm lying there kissing Linda and the light comes on — 'You dirty fucking bastard. What are you doing with my daughter?' It was Barbara." She shot him with a .32, grazing his temple; he ran out of the house and they soon got divorced. Linda later married Bobby's younger brother Cecil; they formed the successful R&B duo Womack & Womack. "That was all really fucked up," Bobby said.
 Womack's drug consumption in this period reached epic proportions, he told Rolling Stone in 1984. "I was really off into the drugs. Blowing as much coke as I could blow. And drinking. And smoking weed and taking pills. Doing that all day, staying up seven, eight days. Me and Sly [Stone] were running partners. He didn't think about making music; he had a genuine partner. He said, 'I don't feel like I'm goofing off, because Bobby Womack's doing it.'" Before everything went off the rails, they worked together on Sly and the Family Stone's dark classic There's a Riot Goin' On; Womack helped Stone put it together and played guitar on much of the album.
 Meanwhile, Womack made a string of classic R&B albums, including Communication, Understanding and the gorgeous 1972 blaxploitation movie soundtrack Across 110th Street. (The title track was just as evocative in 1997 when Quentin Tarantino recycled it in Jackie Brown.) He was a mainstay on the R&B charts, with semi-regular crossovers to the pop world. His hit singles in this era were generally slow, groovy, and regularly featured Womack talking: "That's The Way I Feel About Cha" ("Everybody wants love, but everybody's afraid of love," he testified), "Woman's Gotta Have It" ("Sometimes we have a tendency to forget what a woman needs," he warned), and "Harry Hippie" ("Everybody claims that they want the best things out of life," he declared). That song was a tribute to Bobby's free-spirited younger brother Harry; tragically, its success became ashen in 1974 when Harry was fatally stabbed by his girlfriend.
 Womack's supple music in this era was sympathetic to women and lovelorn. He said, "Sly Stone once told me, 'Bobby, you fall in and out of love faster than anyone I know.' I live for love. I've always been tortured by love. I don't mind the pain. I want to be the king of pain."
 In 1976, Womack married Regina Banks; after they split up, she still worked as his manager (and, he said, they remarried in 2013). His career stalled as funk turned into disco; it didn't help when he made a country album, BW Goes C&W. But he had a revival in the early Eighties with the single "If You Think You're Lonely Now" and the acclaimed albums The Poet and The Poet II (which featured multiple duets with Patti LaBelle). At the end of the '80s, he went into rehab for his cocaine addiction; his albums became more scattershot, and his career became notable for unusual collaborations (with the likes of Todd Rundgren, Van Morrison, and the Wu-Tang Clan). He also sang on the Rolling Stones' album Dirty Work, with his vocals particularly prominent on the single "Harlem Shuffle." 
 In 2009, Womack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by his old friend and collaborator Ron Wood, who described him as "a great inspiration to my band and all of the musicians that I know." In his acceptance speech, Womack remembered playing guitar for Sam Cooke, cited Cooke's civil rights anthem "A Change Is Gonna Come," and astonished by how society had changed, addressed his dead friend: "Sam, we have our first black president."
 In recent years, Womack suffered from multiple health problems, including diabetes, Alzheimer's and cancer. "I gotta get back on the road — I'm broke," he told Rolling Stone from his hospital bed. The collaboration that revived his career one last time was working with Gorillaz — appearing on the 2010 song "Stylo" led to an album produced by Damon Albarn (Gorillaz and Blur singer) and Richard Russell (head of XL Recordings), The Bravest Man in the Universe. Womack proved to be in remarkably strong voice and the match of his soulful singing with skittering electronic rhythms and cut-up sounds was deeply satisfying; Rolling Stone named it the 36th-best album of the year. Another album, The Best Is Yet to Come, was scheduled for this year, and reportedly includes collaborations with Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart, Snoop Dogg, Eric Clapton and Teena Marie.
Womack is survived by Regina Banks and four children, Gina, Bobby Truth, Cory and Jordan; he also had the tragedy of a stillborn child in the Sixties, an infant son, Truth, who died at four months of age in 1978, and a son, Vincent, who committed suicide in 1986, at age 21. He died just two weeks after playing the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

DR. MAYA ANGELOU (1928 - 2014): POETIC JUSTICE


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Character Corner Radio in partnership with Pink Cotton Entertainment presents: "POETIC JUSTICE: HONORING DR. MAYA ANGELOU (1928 - 2014)"

Date: Saturday, June 7th, 2014
Time: 4:00 PM (EST)
Place:  Blogtalkradio
Call-in Number: (646) 716-5827, then press 1#
"Dr. Maya Angelou passed quietly in her home before 8:00 a.m. EST  [on Wednessday, May 28, 2014]. Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love. 
Dr. Maya Angelou is one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time. Hailed as a global renaissance woman, Dr. Angelou is a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist.
Born on April 4th, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Angelou was raised in St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas. In Stamps, Dr. Angelou experienced the brutality of racial discrimination, but she also absorbed the unshakable faith and values of traditional African-American family, community, and culture. 
As a teenager, Dr. Angelou’s love for the arts won her a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco’s Labor School. At 14, she dropped out to become San Francisco’s first African-American female cable car conductor. She later finished high school, giving birth to her son, Guy, a few weeks after graduation. As a young single mother, she supported her son by working as a waitress and cook, however her passion for music, dance, performance, and poetry would soon take center stage.
In 1954 and 1955, Dr. Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess. She studied modern dance with Martha Graham, danced withAlvin Ailey on television variety shows and, in 1957, recorded her first album, Calypso Lady. In 1958, she moved to New York, where she joined the Harlem Writers Guild, acted in the historic Off-Broadway production of Jean Genet's The Blacks and wrote and performed Cabaret for Freedom. 
In 1960, Dr. Angelou moved to Cairo, Egypt where she served as editor of the English language weeklyThe Arab Observer. The next year, she moved to Ghana where she taught at the University of Ghana's School of Music and Drama, worked as feature editor for The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times.During her years abroad, Dr. Angelou read and studied voraciously, mastering French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and the West African language Fanti. While in Ghana, she met with Malcolm X and, in 1964, returned to America to help him build his new Organization of African American Unity. 
Shortly after her arrival in the United States, Malcolm X was assassinated, and the organization dissolved. Soon after X's assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked Dr. Angelou to serve as Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King's assassination, falling on her birthday in 1968, left her devastated.  
With the guidance of her friend, the novelist James Baldwin, she began work on the book that would become I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Published in 1970, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published to international acclaim and enormous popular success. The list of her published verse, non-fiction, and fiction now includes more than 30 bestselling titles.  
A trailblazer in film and television, Dr. Angelou wrote the screenplay and composed the score for the 1972 film Georgia, Georgia. Her script, the first by an African American woman ever to be filmed, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.She continues to appear on television and in films including the landmark television adaptation of Alex Haley's Roots (1977) and John Singleton's Poetic Justice(1993). In 1996, she directed her first feature film,Down in the Delta. In 2008, she composed poetry for and narrated the award-winning documentary The Black Candle, directed by M.K. Asante 
Dr. Angelou has served on two presidential committees, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and has received 3 Grammy Awards. President Clinton requested that she compose a poem to read at his inauguration in 1993. Dr. Angelou's reading of her poem "On the Pulse of the Morning" was broadcast live around the world. 
Dr. Angelou has received over 50 honorary degrees and is Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University. 
Dr. Angelou’s words and actions continue to stir our souls, energize our bodies, liberate our minds, and heal our hearts."

Friday, June 6, 2014

PASTOR JAMAL BRYANT: THESE HOES AIN'T LOYAL


Character Corner Radio in partnership with Pink Cotton Entertainment presents: "PASTOR JAMAL BRYANT: THESE HOES AIN'T LOYAL"
Date: Friday, June 6th, 2014
Time: 10:00 PM (EST)
Place:  Blogtalkradio
Call-in Number: (646) 716-5827, then press 1#
***** Click here to listen to the show and participate in the chat room

Pastor Jamal Bryant, founder of the Empowerment Temple located in Baltimore, MD, recently came under fire after a clip was released from a sermon where he quoted a line from a popular Chris Brown song entitled “These Hoes Ain’t Loyal.” 

Instead of just apologizing for his ignorance, Pastor Bryant joined “The James Fortune Show” to justify his use of the misogynistic lyrics. 

Story first spotted on Sandrarose.com.

Exhibit A:  The Clip

Exhibit B: The Entire Sermon


Exhibit C: The Interview