Media Calling Baltimore Rioters ‘Thugs,’ But Not Waco Bikers

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Tuesday Open Thread | Lauryn Hill

Lauryn HillLauryn Hill (born May 26, 1975) is an American singer–songwriter, rapper, producer, and actress. She is best known for being a member of the Fugees and for her solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

Raised in South Orange, New Jersey, Hill began singing with her music-oriented family during her childhood. She enjoyed success as an actress at an early age, appearing in a recurring role on the television soap opera As the World Turns and starring in the film Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. In high school, Hill was approached by Pras Michel to start a band, which his cousin, Wyclef Jean, soon joined. They renamed themselves the Fugees and released two studio albums, Blunted on Reality (1994) and the Grammy Award-winning The Score (1996), which sold six million copies in the United States. In the latter record, Hill rose to prominence with her African-American and Caribbean music influences, her rapping and singing, and a rendition of the hit “Killing Me Softly“. Hill’s tumultuous romantic relationship with Jean led to the split of the band in 1997, after which she began to focus on solo projects.

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Monday Open Thread | India Arie

India ArieIndia Arie (born India Arie Simpson; October 3, 1975) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer.[1] She has sold over 3.3 million records in the US and 10 million worldwide. She has won four Grammy Awards from her 21 nominations, including Best R&B Album.

Simpson was born in Denver, Colorado. Her musical skills were encouraged by both parents early in life. Her mother Joyce is a former singer (she was signed to Motown as a teenager and opened for Stevie Wonder and Al Green)[2] and is now her stylist. Her father is former NBA basketball player Ralph Simpson. She has an older brother named J’On.[3] According to a DNA analysis, she descends from the Mende people of Sierra Leone, the Kru people of Liberia and the Fula people of Guinea-Bissau.

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Sunday Open Thread

Hav a Blessed Sunday, Everyone. Mr. B.B. King sings Spirituals.

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Saturday Open Thread | Classic Blues Week! | Bessie Smith

Today’s featured blues artist is Bessie Smith. Be sure to catch the HBO Special tonight starring Queen Latifah, as the late, great Ms. Bessie Smith!

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Wiki: Bessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) was an American blues singer.

Nicknamed The Empress of the Blues, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s.[1] She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and, along with Louis Armstrong, a major influence on other jazz vocalists.[2]

The 1900 census indicates that Bessie Smith was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in July 1892. However, the 1910 census recorded her birthday as April 15, 1894, a date that appears on all subsequent documents and was observed by the entire Smith family. Census data also contribute to controversy about the size of her family. The 1870 and 1880 censuses report three older half-siblings, while later interviews with Smith’s family and contemporaries did not include these individuals among her siblings.

Bessie Smith was the daughter of Laura (née Owens) and William Smith. William Smith was a laborer and part-time Baptist preacher (he was listed in the 1870 census as a “minister of the gospel”, in Moulton, Lawrence, Alabama.) He died before his daughter could remember him. By the time she was nine, she had lost her mother and a brother as well. Her older sister Viola took charge of caring for her siblings.[3]

To earn money for their impoverished household, Bessie Smith and her brother Andrew began busking on the streets of Chattanooga as a duet: she singing and dancing, he accompanying her on guitar. Their favorite location was in front of the White Elephant Saloon at Thirteenth and Elm streets in the heart of the city’s African-American community.

In 1904, her oldest brother, Clarence, covertly left home, joining a small traveling troupe owned by Moses Stokes. “If Bessie had been old enough, she would have gone with him,” said Clarence’s widow, Maud. “That’s why he left without telling her, but Clarence told me she was ready, even then. Of course, she was only a child.”[4]

In 1912, Clarence returned to Chattanooga with the Stokes troupe. He arranged for its managers, Lonnie and Cora Fisher, to give Smith an audition. She was hired as a dancer rather than a singer, because the company also included the unknown singer, Ma Rainey. Smith eventually moved on to performing in various chorus lines, making the “81” Theater in Atlanta her home base. There were times when she worked in shows on the black-owned T.O.B.A (Theater Owners Booking Association) circuit. She would rise to become its biggest star after signing with Columbia Records.

By 1923, when she began her recording career, Smith had taken up residence in Philadelphia. There she met and fell in love with Jack Gee, a security guard whom she married on June 7, 1923, just as her first record was released. During the marriage—a stormy one, with infidelity on both sides—Smith became the highest paid black entertainer of the day, heading her own shows, which sometimes featured as many as 40 troupers, and touring in her own railroad car. Gee was impressed by the money, but never adjusted to show business life, or to Smith’s bisexuality. In 1929, when she learned of his affair with another singer, Gertrude Saunders, Bessie Smith ended the relationship, although neither of them sought a divorce.

Smith eventually found a common-law husband in an old friend, Richard Morgan, who was Lionel Hampton’s uncle and the antithesis of her husband. She stayed with him until her death.[3]

All contemporary accounts indicate that while Rainey did not teach Smith to sing, she probably helped her develop a stage presence.[5] Smith began forming her own act around 1913, at Atlanta’s “81” Theater. By 1920, Smith had established a reputation in the South and along the Eastern Seaboard.

In 1920, sales figures of over 100,000 copies for “Crazy Blues,” an Okeh Records recording by singer Mamie Smith (no relation) pointed to a new market. The recording industry had not directed its product to blacks, but the success of the record led to a search for female blues singers. Bessie Smith was signed to Columbia Records in 1923 by Frank Walker, a talent agent who had seen her perform years earlier. Her first session for Columbia was February 15, 1923. For most of 1923, her records were issued on Columbia’s regular A- series; when the label decided to establish a “race records” series, Smith’s “Cemetery Blues” (September 26, 1923) was the first issued.

She scored a big hit with her first release, a coupling of “Gulf Coast Blues” and “Downhearted Blues”, which its composer Alberta Hunter had already turned into a hit on the Paramount label. Smith became a headliner on the black T.O.B.A. circuit and rose to become its top attraction in the 1920s.[6] Working a heavy theater schedule during the winter months and doing tent tours the rest of the year (eventually traveling in her own railroad car), Smith became the highest-paid black entertainer of her day.[7] Columbia nicknamed her “Queen of the Blues,” but a PR-minded press soon upgraded her title to “Empress”.

Smith had a powerfully strong voice that recorded very well from her first record, made during the time when recordings were made acoustically. With the coming of electrical recording (her first electrical recording was “Cake Walking Babies (From Home)” recorded Tuesday, May 5, 1925),[8] the sheer power of her voice was even more evident. She was also able to benefit from the new technology of radio broadcasting, even on stations that were in the segregated south. For example, after giving a concert for a white-only audience at a local theater in Memphis, Tennessee, in October 1923, she then performed a late night concert on station WMC, where her songs were very well received by the radio audience.[9]

She made 160 recordings for Columbia, often accompanied by the finest musicians of the day, most notably Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Fletcher Henderson, James P. Johnson, Joe Smith, and Charlie Green.

Broadway[edit]

Smith’s career was cut short by a combination of the Great Depression, which nearly put the recording industry out of business, and the advent of “talkies”, which spelled the end for vaudeville. She never stopped performing, however. While the days of elaborate vaudeville shows were over, Smith continued touring and occasionally singing in clubs. In 1929, she appeared in a Broadway flop called Pansy, a musical in which top critics said she was the only asset.

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College official accuses black student of harassment because he’s waiting to see his advisor

College official accuses black student of harassment because he’s waiting to see his advisorA Kennesaw State University student’s encounter with an academic advisor garnered attention online and sparked discussion about prejudice in academic settings after he was accused of harassment while allegedly trying to speak to her in person after other planned meetings were cancelled.

The footage shows a woman identified as Abby Dawson, the university’s director of advising and internships, approaching Bruce, who is seated. Dawson accuses him of harassment.

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Friday Open Thread |Classic Blues Week! |Ma Rainey

TGIF Blues week continues with Ma Rainey. She’s going to show her BLACK BOTTOM.marainey

“Ma” Rainey (born Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett; c. April 26, 1886 – December 22, 1939)[1] was one of the earliest known American professional blues singers and one of the first generation of such singers to record.[2] She was billed as The Mother of the Blues.

She began performing as a young teenager (between the ages of 12 and 14), and performed under the name Ma Rainey after she and Will Rainey were married in 1904. They toured with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels and later formed their own group called Rainey and Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues. From the time of her first recording in 1923 to five years later, Ma Rainey made over 100 recordings, including “Bo-weevil Blues” (1923), “Moonshine Blues” (1923), “See See Rider” (1924), “Black Bottom” (1927), and “Soon This Morning” (1927).[3]

Ma Rainey was known for her very powerful vocal abilities, energetic disposition, majestic phrasing, and a ‘moaning’ style of singing. Her powerful voice was never adequately captured on her records, due to her recording exclusively for Paramount, which was at the time known for its below-average recording techniques and poor shellac quality. However, Rainey’s other qualities are present and most evident in her early recordings, Bo-weevil Blues and Moonshine Blues.

Rainey recorded with Louis Armstrong in addition to touring and recording with the Georgia Jazz Band. She continued to tour until 1935 when she retired to her hometown.[1]

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Biography

Gertrude Pridgett claimed to have been born on April 26, 1886 in Columbus, Georgia.[4] (This can be questioned, however, as the 1900 census listing indicates she may have been born in September 1882 in Alabama.[5]) She was the second of five children of Thomas and Ella (née Allen) Pridgett, from Alabama. She had at least two brothers and a sister named Malissa, with whom Gertrude was later confused in some sources.[4]

She came onto the performance scene at a talent show in Columbus, Georgia when she was 12–14 years old.[1][6] A member of the First African Baptist Church, she began performing in in Black minstrel show tents. She later claimed that she was first exposed to blues music around 1902. She formed the Alabama Fun Makers Company with her husband Will Rainey, but in 1906 they both joined Pat Chappelle‘s much larger and more popular Rabbit’s Foot Company, where they were billed together as “Black Face Song and Dance Comedians, Jubilee Singers [and] Cake Walkers”.[7] In 1910, she was described as “Mrs. Gertrude Rainey, our coon shouter”,[7] and she continued with the Rabbit’s Foot Company after it was taken over by new owner F. S. Wolcott in 1912.[1]

From 1914, the Raineys were billed as Rainey and Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues. Wintering in New Orleans, she met musicians including Joe “King” Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet and Pops Foster. Blues music increased in popularity and Ma Rainey became well known.[8] Around this time, Rainey met Bessie Smith, a young blues singer who was also making a name for herself.[A] A story later developed that Rainey kidnapped Smith, making her join the Rabbit Foot Minstrels, and teaching her to sing the blues. This was disputed by Smith’s sister-in-law Maud Smith.[9]

From the late 1910s, there was an increasing demand for recordings by black musicians.[10] In 1920, Mamie Smith was the first black woman to record a record.[11] In 1923, Rainey was discovered by Paramount Records producer J. Mayo Williams. She signed a recording contract with Paramount, and in December she made her first eight recordings in Chicago.[12] These included the songs “Bad Luck Blues”, “Bo-Weevil Blues” and “Moonshine Blues”. She made more than 100 more over the next five years, which brought her fame beyond the South.[1][13] Paramount marketed her extensively, calling her “the Mother of the Blues”, “the Songbird of the South”, “the Gold-Neck Woman of the Blues” and “the Paramount Wildcat”.[14]

In 1924 she made some recordings with Louis Armstrong, including “Jelly Bean Blues”, “Countin’ the Blues” and “See, See Rider”.[15] In the same year she embarked on a tour of the Theater Owners Booking Association (TOBA) throughout the South and Midwestern United States, singing both for black and white audiences.[16] She was accompanied by bandleader and pianist Thomas Dorsey, and the band he assembled called the Wildcats Jazz Band.[17] They began their tour with an appearance in Chicago in April 1924 and continued, on and off, until 1928.[18] Dorsey left the group in 1926 due to ill health and was replaced as pianist by Lillian Hardaway Henderson, the wife of Rainey’s cornetist Fletcher Henderson, who became the band’s leader.[19]

Some of Rainey’s lyrics contain open references to lesbianism or bisexuality. For example, a 1928 song, “Prove It on Me”, states:

They said I do it, ain’t nobody caught me. Sure got to prove it on me. Went out last night with a crowd of my friends. They must’ve been women, cause I don’t like no men.[20]

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According to the website queerculturalcenter.org, the lyrics refer to an incident in 1925 in which Rainey was “arrested for taking part in an orgy at [her] home involving women in her chorus.”[21] “Prove It on Me” further alludes to presumed lesbian behavior, “It’s true I wear a collar and a tie… Talk to the gals just like any old man.”[22]

Political activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis notes: “‘Prove It on Me’ is a cultural precursor to the lesbian cultural movement of the 1970s, which began to crystallize around the performance and recording of lesbian-affirming songs.”[23] Towards the end of the 1920s, live vaudeville went into decline, being replaced by radio and recordings.[19] Her career was not immediately affected and continued recording with Paramount and earned enough money touring to buy a bus with her name on it.[24] In 1928, she worked with Dorsey again and recording 20 songs, before Paramount finished her contract.[25] Her style of blues was no longer considered fashionable by the label.[26]

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