Thursday, April 16, 2015
This little sister asks the provocative question: "What would America be like if we loved Black people as much as we love Black culture?" Indeed!
Posted by Alicia Benjamin at 4/16/2015 02:16:00 PM
Friday, April 10, 2015
Thursday, April 09, 2015
This StoryCorps animation is not only fascinating because it shows the tenacity of a young Ronald McNair, who became the second African American to enter space, but also because he's from the home of my paternal grandfather, the very small Lake City, South Carolina.
Posted by Alicia Benjamin at 4/09/2015 03:09:00 PM
Friday, April 03, 2015
Thursday, April 02, 2015
Brittany from Alabama Shakes is turning out to be one of my favorite modern day singers. Here's "Gimme All Your Love" by the group. Listen to the pause and change in rhythm at 2:25. It doesn't get any better than that!
Posted by Alicia Benjamin at 4/02/2015 03:10:00 PM
Monday, March 30, 2015
|1944 - 2014|
He would often talk in the beginning of a song to set the stage. Examples of this happen on two of my favorite Womack songs: Woman's Gotta Have It and "You're Welcome, Stop on By." With "Woman's Gotta Have It," he gives good advice on how to keep a woman happy in a relationship, and in "You're Welcome, Stop On By" he shows off his storytelling talents by revealing his pain about a woman who put him second on her list of lovers. He lets her know that she's "welcome to stop on by, but there's somebody somewhere, that may truly need me." This song made such an impression on Chaka Khan that she covered it with the group Rufus the same year Womack's version came out in 1974.
Across 110th Street is a colorful, gritty yet smooth song about surviving life in the streets. Quentin Tarantino's film Jackie Brown wouldn't have been the same without Womack's song, since it opens and closes the film, supporting Pam Grier's no nonsense, smart, and beautiful characterization of Jackie Brown.
Thank you Mr. Womack for reminding the world of "what a woman needs," for elevating the film Jackie Brown to a place that feels like home, and for letting us "stop on by." Rest in Peace.
Posted by Alicia Benjamin at 3/30/2015 07:30:00 PM
Monday, March 16, 2015
“This revolution goes on and on!” — Public Enemy, Say it Like it Really Isby Alicia Benjamin Imani Henry of Wilmington, Del. won the Peace First Prize last year when she was 13, for organizing 100 Men Reading, a group of professional businessmen who mentor children through reading. Imani, who had trouble reading because of a birth defect, was matched with male tutors who helped her with reading when she was 9. She soon developed a great passion for books and wanted other young people with literacy problems to get the help they needed, so she started 100 Men Reading.
|Professor Yasser Payne and Darryl Chambers, PAR member and doctoral student in the |
Criminology Program at the Univ. of Delaware
|100 Men Reading mentor reads to students in Wilmington, Del.|
Posted by Alicia Benjamin at 3/16/2015 04:13:00 PM
Friday, February 06, 2015
Monday, February 02, 2015
I have to admit, I didn't really hear this song until D'Angelo and The Vanguard played it on Saturday Night Live over the weekend. I've enjoyed it many times, as I've listened to it in my car. But on Saturday night, D'Angelo and his group really brought it home for me. It's hard to make out what he's saying on a lot of the songs on Black Messiah, his latest CD, unless you listen as you read along to the lyrics. I've always been more into the music than the words of a song -- I just love great musicianship and really get into what the different instruments are doing, and the harmonies. But with "The Charade," I did myself a disservice by not really paying attention to what D'Angelo was getting across. Well, he and his group did that astoundingly well on Saturday Night Live as many of them wore T-Shirts that read, "I Can't Breathe" and "Black Lives Matter." For those who don't know (and I don't know who that could be), these phrases are reminders of the murders of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, both shot and killed by police officers. The musicians also raised their fists in the Black Power salute, periodically and in unison. To give the image more force, D'Angelo stood in front of a chalk outline drawn on the floor. The song starts off with subtle guitar licks, but the TV images were stark. They had me at "I Can't Breathe." On this number and many of the tunes on Black Messiah, D'Angelo invokes Prince and Marvin Gaye. He's got Prince's Minneapolis flavor with guitar player, Jesse Johnson (from The Time), he's got a falsetto similar to Prince's, and he's got the Artist's drummer, John Blackwell. He does voice layering like Marvin Gaye, seemlessly harmonizing with himself, like Gaye did on so many songs. But he's got his own passion, intentions, and talent that make Black Messiah a masterpiece. It certainly rises above anything I've heard in years, from anybody. What D'Angelo and The Vanguard did on Saturday Night Live with "The Charade" was pure performance art. They took us somewhere, made us feel, and inspired us to do something -- at least I hope so. Check out the performance here: And here are the lyrics: The Charade (lyrics by Kendra Foster and Michael Eugene Archer) Crawling through a systematic maze And it pains to demise Pain in our eyes Strain of drownin', wading into your lies Degradation so loud that you can't hear the sound of our cries (doo, doo) All the dreamers have gone to the side of the road which we will lay on Inundated by media, virtual mind f----s in streams [CHORUS] All we wanted was a chance to talk 'Stead we only got outlined in chalk Feet have bled a million miles we've walked Revealing at the end of the day, the charade Perpetrators beware say a prayer if you dare for the believers With a faith at the size of a seed enough to be redeemed (doo doo) Relegated to savages bound by the way of the deceivers So anchors be sure that you're sure we ain't no amateurs [CHORUS] All we wanted was a chance to talk 'Stead we only got outlined in chalk Feet have bled a million miles we've walked Revealing at the end of the day, the charade [BRIDGE] With the veil off our eyes we'll truly see And we'll march on And it really won't take too long And it really won't take us very long
Posted by Alicia Benjamin at 2/02/2015 01:02:00 AM
Friday, January 30, 2015
I must see this film. The images, music, and people are beautiful. I really want to know who these people are. "These images of "Timbuktu" quietly, passionately argue for the richness of life against the intolerance of those who would suffocate it." -- The Associated Press
Posted by Alicia Benjamin at 1/30/2015 01:30:00 AM