African American Legacy Series Spotlight: Ode To The Music Contributions Of Aretha Franklin

I just want to focus on Ms. Franklin’s retooling of other classic songs to point out her musical brilliance. As a trained pianist and arranger she oversaw the construction of those songs and added her own spin. The harmonies alone took these songs in a completely different direction.

In a hat tip to the universe and serendipity here’s a clip from a recent interview on CBS Sunday Morning where she is specifically asked about receiving acknowledgement as a songwriter instead of as a singer alone.

Continue reading “African American Legacy Series Spotlight: Ode To The Music Contributions Of Aretha Franklin”

Inspirational Quotes: Des’ree

Yes, I’m going to quote the lyrics from a song written and recorded by British singer-songwriter Des’ree. Her message of uplift and empowerment is just as potent and encouraging as when the song was released more than a decade ago! Here’s one of my all-time favorite “Girl Power” anthems: You Gotta Be.

You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold
You gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard
You gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm
You gotta stay together
All I know, all I know, love will save the day

Continue reading “Inspirational Quotes: Des’ree”

International Sisters of Soul, Jazz, Pop and R&B Spotlight: Kornelia Mango

This is a guest post by Lorraine Spencer. Many of you who read the BW-IRR forums know Lorraine for providing a lot of back end research to forum hosts. She is a great resource for many women who seek to elevate themselves. The married, mother of two arranged the Aftenposten interview some of us participated in as a matter of fact.

Though she must parse her time in other endeavors instead of blogging full-time, she is a supporter of black women leading successful lives. To that end, we had a conversation last year about women singers in Europe and Asia who are of African-descent. Some time later, she sent me 10 volumes! While for the purposes of this audience I normally don’t find it beneficial to AA women to promote the daughters of Helga, Junko, Marta, etc I did think highlighting one of the entertainers was suitable.

We need to continue thinking globally, vetting allies and separating ourselves from opportunists. We also need to see the world. No one else can successfully explain the intangible insights gained from world travel done smartly. We should also walk through this life holding our heads up high! I’ve previously discussed our specific heritage and support (or lack of) our historical contributions and music trends in the series Deploying A Little Negro Spirit, which I encourage you to review.

Here’s Lorrraine’s essay on Kornelia Mango after the jump:

Continue reading “International Sisters of Soul, Jazz, Pop and R&B Spotlight: Kornelia Mango”

AA Legacy Series Spotlight on Della Reese

Continuing the AA Legacy Series for (Black) Women’s History Month, I want to highlight the actress and singer we know as Della Reese (clink the link for a video tribute). I was conducting research online and found the Della Reese dot com address but it’s not something she’s running. It’s more than a little creepy that someone other than Della Reese seems to own that domain name (they have it listed as a shell website) but at least they posted two videos of her.

I’m loathe to tout the 1st black to do x,y, z but in the case of these women trailblazers, the distinction is notable. I’m not going to do an entire career retrospective either. There’s a nice YouTube Channel that has her extensive archives. See the Della Reese Channel for video performances and clips that span her career. She has an autobiography, Angels Along The Way worth the read. In fact, I recommend everyone read all of the various career retrospectives, biographies and autobiographies of every black woman over the age of 45. There is much to learn.

Continue reading “AA Legacy Series Spotlight on Della Reese”