Old School Friday – Out Darn Song!

It’s Old School Friday time! This week’s meme is Songs You Despise But Know the Words To. I had to think about that one for a while. Since the rules are songs must have been released before 1999 that leaves out all of the current music I’d most certainly choose. So I thought of this song because of the obvious street harassment/sexual objectification angles. Before anyone thinks I take this one song very seriously though I don’t – necessarily.

Watching video of the Commodores at that time usually made me laugh because they’d be considered so fey in today’s hypermasculine/thug culture. Also I look at this song as part of a larger evaluation of the oversexualization that occurs within a segment of the black community where women “let it all hang out” for male approval. Clearly that needs to change if women are going to be empowered. We must be able to relate to men – or have them relate to us – in a manner that benefits us across all strata of society. What may be “acceptable” in some circles would be detrimental in others. Also we all know we may want to be able to be sexy but it needs to be under circumstances and in an environment of our choosing. Ok, that was way more intense than intended but pop culture certainly provides a means of making things more relatable.

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Old School Friday – Can’t Get Enough of Barry

No this isn’t about the Prez! It’s Barry White Week! WooT!!!

Who doesn’t love Barry White. His dulcet tones wrapped themselves around some of the most lovely lyrics about LOVE. He even had an orchestra called Love Orchestra. This was a man who left his criminal past behind him, changed his mindset, tapped into his talents and graced us with some of the best songs in popular music.

It’s so hard to choose one song of Mr. White that is better than the other.

My First, My Last, My Everything

I always liked this cover of Never Never Gonna Give You Up. Yeah the video was risque.

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Old School Friday – OSF Tribute

Oh I really like this week’s meme! It’s TRIBUTE WEEK!!! WooT!

I want to include so many music artists but this would be the LONGEST post ever.

The premiere song restylist of our (ok my mom’s) generation. Nobody can touch Aretha Franklin.

My favorite gypsy rock-r-lady who writes songs that tear your insides out – Stevie Nicks.

In honor of her Rock & Roll Hall of Fame eligibility enjoy a little Laura Nyro.

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Old School Friday: Criminals-R-Us

Okay these memes are definitely food for thought. This week is “Criminal Records”

Boogie Down Productions was the first song that came to mind. I’m surprised as well but I’m going with it.

The latest MTV flap over 19 year old Taylor Swift made me think of another 19 year old’s MTV-related outburst (it was her own though) when Fiona Apple won Best New Artist in 1997. I also remember people were up in arms at the overtly sexual implications indicated in this video. It seems tame by comparison to what occurs today (what’s encouraged) but I recall that Courtney Love was concerned about protecting Apple from being exploited. Much in the same way others rushed to defend and protect Swift. It speaks volumes about the values people hold and for whom they bestow them on.

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Old School Friday: All Money All The Time

Ok it’s Friday. I have another post that I will share but it’s still baking in the blogging oven and since the day’s nearly half gone for my East Coast readers I can’t leave ya’ll hanging without a fresh cookie. This week’s meme is “All About the Benjamins”. Now you didn’t think I was gonna play a rap music video did you?

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Viva La France: Women Say No to Misogynistic Rap

I was relieved it wasn’t MC Solaar! Apparently this French rap artist OrelSan has been publicly called out by Segolene Royal and other politicians for recording rap music that bashes women. Royal ran for president against Sarkozy and is one of the highest ranking female politicians in France. Some of you may be familiar with the usual excuses made when defending depravity. 

Amongst them are: 
  • Claiming it’s free speech
  • That it’s a quirky artistic expression
  • Comparing modern crap to classic works of art/music
  • That it’s a joke, satire, not meant to be taken seriously
OrelSan’s new album, Perdu d’Avance, has been removed from public libraries in Paris because of concern over what feminist and women’s groups say are his sexist, homophobic and violent lyrics. Ms. Royal and other critics were particularly outraged over a song by the 26-year-old called Sale Pute, roughly translated as “Dirty Bitch”, which is about a man who wants to break the bones of his unfaithful girlfriend.   – – BBC News

The above-referenced article goes on to detail how certain male politicians want to make excuses for this music artist and how some kids think it’s a generational difference – yet they don’t want their younger siblings to listen to violent lyrics in music. Hello! It’s great to read about someone with clout stepping up to address this before it becomes commonplace.

The only difference with this scenario is the rap artist is white and not specifically targeting black women. I still lay this squarely at the feet of the instigators from this country who started down this path a decade ago. We all know rap/hip-hop originated here in the US and still casts a long shadow. Wouldn’t it be something if a powerful female politician like Hillary Clinton or Maxine Waters publicly denounced the depravity? Misogyny knows no color.

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AA Legacy Series Spotlight on Ethel Waters

Just so that we don’t forget where we come from here’s my tribute to Ethel Waters. Who? You may ask. Well that’s why it’s important to do these….

Ethel Waters was first and foremost a survivor. Now this isn’t going to be one of those “she was a strong Black woman” meme reinforcements. She did have some serious obstacles to overcome given that her birth was the result of a violation. It just goes to show why the current focus on the health and welfare of Black women and girls in particular is such important work for some of us and needs to be continued. Like many people who have stories to tell she was able to successfully pursue a career in the arts. Given the time she lived (1896-1977) she would’ve definitely had some I bet!

She was the second African-American woman nominated for an Academy Award for her role in the movie Pinky. She wrote an autobiography of her life. She was part of the Harlem Renaissance. She was the first African-American woman to have her own variety show. Her contemporaries ranged from Bessie Smith to Julie Harris and she influenced some of those we consider greats like Billie Holiday.

Via AfroAm History: Waters’ success was related to her style of singing. She could sing like other classic blues singers with plenty of passion and fire, but she had a unique approach. She was not a shouter, but was able to hold the attention of the audience with her low and sweet voice. Because of her varied repertoire, she has also been categorized as a jazz singer. Her rhythm was closer to jazz than blues, and in her later career she sang popular songs with a jazz approach. Waters’ talent extended beyond musical style; she also had the gift of interpretation. As blues women began to fade in popularity, Waters was able use her interpretive ability to take advantage of acting opportunities on stage and screen.

Ethel sings Stormy Weather with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. She was the first to record the song that many connect with Lena Horne.

Here’s a lovely tribute that I found on Youtube, but after I finish my Final Cut Pro class I’ll be be able to do these myself!!

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Color Me Dumbstruck: Pharrell Says Talent Must Make A Comeback

Isn’t it nice to know that others who have a certain amount of influence feel the way you do about certain things? If 2009 gets known for one thing (aside from our first year with a Black President and the state of the worldwide economy) then let it be known as the year people decided to be creative! Women in particular need to be in control of our images and even moreso for Black women.

Now I’ll just state it for the record in case reading between the lines of previous posts didn’t make it clear: I do NOT like the bulk of what passes for Hip-Hop/R&B “music” today. I think a lot of it’s derivative, derogatory and assumes its audience is dumb enough to not notice. Actually a lot of popular music today is far too reliant on image and quick camera shots in music videos to sell. Which is why by and large it doesn’t. Fans will be loyal and supportive – consumers of trends will not.

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