Back to the top

Blues Talkin’

The Oral History of Prince’s Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show

“And the LORD, opened up the clouds and a mighty storm burst forth from Heaven during “Purple Rain”. And THE LORD GOD, JEHOVAH/ALLAH/YAHWEH/JAH exclaimed: “THIS is my FAVORITE ARTIST, and y’all are about to see A SHOW!!”

This is a fun behind the scenes account of the legendary event. Also fantastic footage of Prince’s Press Conference performance.

From The Ringer:

“It was the most scared I was in my life,” says executive producer Charles Coplin, then the NFL’s head of programming. “And I’m sure I wasn’t alone.”

The man scheduled to perform was nervous, too. Yes, even Prince saw the potential for disaster. “People are like, ‘He gets nervous?’” says his musical director and keyboardist, Morris Hayes. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, he’s not nervous for himself. He’s nervous for us.’ He’s trying to make sure that we’re in the right places at the right parts. What’s gonna happen when it starts raining and the floor’s slick?”

READ MORE HERE

The Wilmington Coup 1898: When White Supremacists Overthrew an Elected Government

Defeated white voters in Wilmington literally staged a violent coup to overthrow the democratically elected government of their city. Across the nation, similar acts of domestic terrorism crushed democracy in the United States.

Can this country truly be called a democracy when violence and racial intimidation overshadow voter rights and other forms of political power?

From The NY Times:

A town that once boasted the largest percentage of black residents of any large Southern city found itself in the midst of a systematic purge. Successful black men were targeted for banishment from the city, while black workers left all their possessions behind as they rushed to the swamps for safety. Over 60 people died. No one seemed to care. The governor of North Carolina cowered in the face of the violent rebellion, worried about his own life. President William McKinley turned a blind eye to the bloodshed. And Waddell was selected as mayor as the white supremacists forced the duly elected officials to resign.

READ MORE HERE

All US presidents are ‘captives of the military-industrial complex’: Scholar

“The continued occupation of Iraq and Syria by US military forces contravenes all international norms and standards. Both the Syrian government and patriotic forces in the Iraqi government have demanded that the US withdraw its military but to no avail. There is no legitimate reason for the continued US presence in either country.”

“It is not surprising that the illegal US occupation of both countries has elicited popular resistance. The people of every nation have the inherent right to defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity from foreign invasion. Thus, US Secretary of State Pompeo’s assertion that it is acting defensively in attacking forces friendly to the Syrian and Iraqi governments is completely without merit,” he added.

“But, it is standard American practice to cry ‘national defense’ when it engages in offensive wars of aggression. Every US president talks peace and wages war and Trump’s talk about withdrawing US forces from the Middle East is likewise so much blather,” he said.

READ MORE HERE

The Pentagon’s Long Con

From The Nation:

“People condemn Trump for his incessant lying and his con games—and rightly so. But few Americans condemn the Pentagon and the rest of the national security state, even though we’ve been the victims of their long con for decades now. As it happens, from the beginning of the Cold War to late last night, they’ve remained remarkably skilled at exaggerating the threats the U.S. faces and, believe me, that represents the longest con of all. It’s kept the military-industrial complex humming along, thanks to countless trillions of taxpayer dollars, while attempts to focus a spotlight on that scam have been largely discredited or ignored.”

READ MORE HERE

Julián Castro Ends 2020 Bid by Listing Names of People of Color Killed by Police

THIS is why I’m disappointed that Castro is dropping out of the race.

From Truthout.org:

“I’ve determined that it simply isn’t our time,” Castro said in a campaign video. “Today, it’s with a heavy heart and profound gratitude that I will suspend my campaign for president.”

Castro did not say what he planned to do next but vowed that he was “not done fighting.”

“I’ll keep working towards a nation where everyone counts, a nation where everyone can get a good job, good health care and a decent place to live,” he said.

The video touted Castro “speaking up for the most vulnerable folks in this country” on the campaign trail.

“We’ve been fighting for those who are often left out, cast aside, marginalized,” he said in the video.

It also included a montage of Castro listing names of people of color who were killed by police or died in police custody, as he frequently did at debates and speeches.

Castro invoked Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Aiyana Jones, Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald, Sandra Bland, Pamela Turner, Stephon Clark and Antonio Arce.

“They deserve justice, too,” he said. “No matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter the color of your skin, you ought to be treated the same under our justice system. I’m the only candidate that’s put forward a plan on police reform.”

READ MORE HERE

Petrodollar Warfare: The Common Thread Linking Venezuela and Iran

Iran has been calling the United States “The Great Satan” for a very long time. We have a short memory in the US, but the Iranians remember that we ENGINEERED the coup that removed the popular democratically elected prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh and installed the brutal dictatorship of the Shah.

They remember that we backed Iraq in the Iran/Iraq War, and we have been antagonistic since at least 1979 when the revolution captured our embassy.

The Iranian people, are actually pretty westernized. They are probably more sympathetic to us than they are to our government. But you don’t make friends by assassinating people.

War with Iran didn’t just happen overnight.

“The U.S. is able to dictate these econo-warfare policies through its disproportionate control of the world financial system. Iran has been sounding warnings about this strategy for some time and has been a vocal advocate of creating a new global financial system that will bypass U.S. control of the existing global financial system.

“Iran, though, is not the only country interested in such an arrangement. Russia, China, and Venezuela have all found themselves facing arbitrary economic penalties levied by the U.S. and have also taken steps to wean the world off the dollar and use alternative currencies to conduct business, a global trend that could seriously impact U.S. dominance over the world economy. But in order to understand where “King Dollar” is going, we have to understand where it came from.”

READ MORE HERE

Always Business… Never Personal

Jay Z is, first and foremost, a capitalist. He’s a business, man.

And as such, his social justice maneuvers are cloaked with the cape of Black capitalism.

Kaep was always a lone man standing on an island. The boycotts surrounding his unemployment only had teeth as long as no one crossed the picket line. Jay just crossed the picket line and stranded Kaep out on that island alone.

I picture Jay and Kaep playing out the scene from New Jack City…

Jay as Nino Brown: “It’s always business. Never personal.”

Kaep as G Money: “We all we got, man. Am I my brother’s keeper? AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?”

Jay/Nino: “Yes. I. Am.” [Squeezes trigger]

Gentrified Allies Eat Their Own

This is really sad. I have friends on both sides of this story, and as a former renter of a Detroit artist loft, I can truly sympathize.

Bridge Magazine: Thanks for making Detroit cool, artists. Here’s your eviction.

The old furniture showroom at 4731 Grand River in Detroit features a mural of sign language spelling the word “LOVE.” Since 2001, it served as an arts incubator. An ownership change prompted evictions last month.

The evictions follow a host of other studio spaces for artists – including the Russell Street Industrial Center – that have closed, sold or displaced artists, said Sintex a well-known Detroit graffiti artist who used to live and work in the Grand River incubator.

“The growth of Detroit has forced artists to definitely hustle more. Instead of everyone being in the city, they are spread out more, to suburbs like Hazel Park,” said Sintex, who was born Brian Glass.

“The days of finding studios in old industrial spaces [in Detroit] are long gone.” 

The new owner is seemingly the unlikeliest of evictors: Allied Media Projects, a nonprofit in Detroit dedicated to social change and “media for liberation,” according to its website. It took out a $2 million mortgage and plans to update the building to serve as its headquarters, along with other progressive nonprofits.

The goal is to use the building to “remediate the impact of gentrification at a minimum and resist the structures that perpetuate gentrification,” said its executive director, Jenny Lee.

The irony of a group fighting gentrification by committing one of its most brutal acts –  eviction – isn’t lost on Lee.

“It sucks that our vision has to come at the cost of artists who have used and loved that space,” Lee said. “There’s no way around it. It absolutely sucks.”

Along with the reality of gentrification, and the system’s upheaval of the very residents who created a desirable environment in the first place, is the tragedy that artists and creatives are not respected for the value they bring to a community. Creators like Sintex Graffiti are the breath and life of this community. Activists like Allied Media Projects have long worked to protect those very artists and the residents of this community.

In the end, the economics of gentrification can pit natural allies against each other in the ongoing struggle to survive.

Read More HERE

© Nadir Omowale