Bass Reeves, first black U.S. deputy marshal in the Indian territories, working under “Hanging Judge” Isaac Parker.
It’s from my mom that I got my love of western movies and film. An avid viewer of “shootemups” in all forms, she’d captivate me with her knowledge of stars from movie serials she’d seen as a young girl; the
same shorts that were making the rerun rounds on television. But it was my dad who filled out the untold story of the black cowboy for me.
Like any child, I wondered about who I was, who we were in reference to what I saw on tv as the depictions of blacks, any type of black people, was very limited at the time. From him, I first heard about Nat Love, a quintessential cowboy figure, and Bill Pickett, the inventor of bulldogging, a version of modern rodeo steer wrestling.
I thought about that and both of them listening to a commercial on MeTv for their Saturday western roundup; an entire day of programming. And since I now know that 1 in 4 American cowboys were black, I couldn’t help but marvel at the slick and subtle manner in which you can not only eradicate the accomplishments of an entire group of people but at the same time reinforce that extinction at the societal level . Continue reading
It’s a volatile mix, politics and Hollywood. And I don’t think the jury is in with a verdict that when the two do get together, it’s a barrel of laughs for everyone, or even necessary. I’m remembering the McCarthy era, a period that stifled, or outright killed the careers of some noted names in the arts. Maybe that’s why I’m thinking of Goodfella’s, or more so a line from the movie.
It comes from Ray Liotta after his character and Jimmy (Robert DeNiro) find out Tommy (Joe Pesci) was killed. Henry remarks, “It was between the Italians, it was real greaseball shit.” We substitute actors for Italians and Hollywood for greaseball and we’re right on target with the number one reason why we as consumers should stay the hell out of the whole thing. In other words leave Hollywood to itself. Continue reading
A growing regional catch phrase is “Anything Can Happen in Jersey”. I bet the creators of HitchBOT wished in hindsight that the BOT had traveled to Jersey instead; especially considering that Hitch made his way all across Europe and parts of America before meeting a tragic and eerie end in the “City of Brotherly Love”.
And they talk about Camden and New Jersey. We’ve never hurt a robot in our lives, nor snowballed Santa for that matter. Continue reading
The “pins” that started it all
Now, don’t laugh but it was my Mom who, at an early age, led me to appreciate the female leg. Actually, occasionally she would see a gifted young woman and say to herself in an offhand way, “Look at the hind-parts on that child”. Now, there I was, a nosy, young kid, I’d always ask her what she said. To which, she’d always reply, “Nothing”. It’s ok; like most children, I was listening. Better still, I was watching. Continue reading
The 70’s’: more than a turbulent point of uncertainty in American society, it was also a time of awakening; a period when mankind was beginning to truly appreciate his kinship with others unlike himself.
Mandrill – From the album/CD FENCEWALK: The Anthology. Photo taken from jacket courtesy of PolyGram and Michael Ochs Archives.
Back then, we’d come to realize that if we couldn’t get along together, we’d probably wind up destroying ourselves as well as the planet. That realization afforded a sense of promise to everything and that promise was exhibited in the music of the time.
Bands, born from the wombs of blended communities across the country, came together to celebrate their multi-cultural roots pushing music into an unknown stratosphere of unity. R&B, Jazz, Country and Rock melded with African, Latin and other ethnic influences to create a sound that we now call World Music. And no group from that period exhibited this cultural, complex marriage more than Mandrill. Continue reading