D’Angelo and The Vanguard Present Black Messiah

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D’Angelo came out with one of my favorite albums last year and I wrote a review for it in my local newspaper. Here’s an except:

This month, people of all walks of life organized protests in the Bay Area, taking over the streets, freeways, and city halls in solidarity to fight against police brutality and racial profiling against people of color. Against this backdrop, D’Angelo released Black Messiah, a highly anticipated album with a timely message.

I had just come from a weekend of marching in Oakland when D’Angelo shocked the music world with the long awaited album. It was 14 years ago that he gave us his soulful R&B album Voodoo, so new material was long overdue.

Best known for his gospel roots and soul influence, D’Angelo’s quieter career period wasn’t a completely silent one. He started playing new instruments that helped develop a band, the Vanguard, for his new sound on Black Messiah.

Check out the full article on The Richmond Pulse here.

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Red Hook Summer – The Church uncensored

Many of you probably thought you’ve seen the last Spike Lee film, but were soon surprised when he released his newest joint entitled Red Hook Summer in late August. It was portrayed to be about a story of a boy named “Flik” (Jules Brown) spending the summer with his grandfather,Bishop Enoch Rouse  (Clark Peters) .  What I thought would be a coming of age story was actually a rude awakening to the controversies of the church.  However, the relationship between his summer friend, Chazz (Toni Lysaith), eased the tension off Flik making him more aware of his surroundings beyond the “suburban life” in his hometown. Spike Lee did an excellent job at conveying the church setting by captivating the white Jesus, dramatic preaching styles, and the strict rules that Bishop enoch Rouse tried to live by.
Not to give a spoil alert, but this film had nothing to do with coming of age and lot’s to do with family secrets. I’d like to focus on one character, Flik’s mom.  It wasn’t until the end that you find out why she snubbed her father, won’t look him in the eye, and questioned why she even brought him to Red Hook in the first place.  I know Spike Lee made her character undeveloped for a reason but it makes me wonder why a mother wouldn’t want their child regardless of the relationship, to be around a man who has molested a boy in the past.  Many churches put issues like this under the table and try to hush the situation; in this case the preacher was given a “love offering” to go away and never come back.  He then gave it to his daughter to live in Atlanta, where I believe it was as an apology.
I’m not going to use this post to ramble on about my interpretations of the movie, but I’m more curious to what your thoughts are on Red Hook Summer.  What are your thoughts on Red Hook Summer? The Characters? and how do you feel about the overall theme? Share in the comment box 🙂
Check you local listing here for Red Hook Summer

Celebrating Juneteenth

This past weekend I had an opportunity to experience a Juneteenth festival at Leimert Park in Los Angeles, California.  Among the plethora of festivals going on that weekend it was an honor to have a very cultural and historical experience in the other stomping grounds of my mother’s neighborhood.  I was able to capture a few photos that highlighted my beautiful Saturday afternoon.  Leimert Park is a black owned and influenced community in the Crenshaw district that has black owned businesses like bookstores, restaurants, and boutiques.  I love this place because it has so much culture and just by walking down one block my five senses are active as I touch, smell, feel, and see the black heritage unveiled.

            For those of you that don’t know, Juneteenth is a commemorative celebration of African American Freedom which takes place on June 19th.    It is a time of special observance that originated in Galveston, Texas in 1865.  Communities would gather and share food, guest speakers, music, and dancing.  This is a time of reflection and remembrance of all of our achievements as a people and the influence it has on our society today.  Not only is it celebrating the independence from slavery but how far African Americans have come in the U.S. and how far that they are willing to go in the future.  With the support of business, community leaders, and officials celebrating Juneteenth has been a nationwide event for 145 years and counting!

Afro Punk- The Movement

I have just been recently introduced to “Afro Punk”- the black punk culture, and I find it pretty interesting.  The movement all started when Matthew Morgan and James Spooner did a film on the black punks in America.  I’m over here thinking kids like Lenny Kravitz, alternative and urbanized? I love it! 

The website www.afropunk.com is dedicated to the Black Punk community in America.  People all over the world, sharing the same interest, in music and culture, come to the website to share music and also network on different lifestyles.  The webiste is equipped with blogs, forums, current news, music, and more.  Whether you share a love for punk music or you are just interested in the culture, this website is very welcoming.

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Coming straight out of Brooklyn in 2005, the birth of the Afro Punk Festivals arised.  With the support of many celebrities, like Janelle Monae as well as the Afropunk.com team, the festival has produced to celebrate the freedom of expression through the punk culture.

I feel that this movement is a hidden treasure that should get more credit in the music industry. What are your thoughts?