Monday Open Thread | Classics Week: Duke Ellington

Today’s Classic is Duke Ellington.

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Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974)[1] was an American composer, pianist, and jazz-orchestra leader. His career spanned more than 50 years: Ellington led his orchestra from 1923 until his death.

Though widely considered to have been a pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington himself embraced the phrase “beyond category” as a “liberating principle,” and referred his music to the more much more general category of “American Music,” rather than to a musical genre such as “jazz.”[2] Born in Washington DC, he was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onwards, and gained a national profile through his orchestra’s appearances at the Cotton Club. In the 1930s they toured in Europe.

Some of the musicians who were members of Ellington’s orchestra, such as saxophonist Johnny Hodges, are still, in their own right, considered to be among the best players in jazz, but it was Ellington who melded them into the best-known jazz orchestral unit in the history of jazz. Several members of the orchestra remained members for several decades. A master at writing miniatures for the 3 minute 78 rpm record format, Ellington often composed specifically for the style and skills of his individual musicians, such as “Jeep’s Blues” for Hodges, and “Concerto for Cootie” for trumpeter Cootie Williams, which later became “Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me” with Bob Russell’s lyrics.

Ellington originated over 1,000 compositions, often in collaboration with others; his extensive oeuvre is also the largest recorded legacy in jazz, with much of his extant work having passed into standards. Ellington also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, such as Juan Tizol’s “Caravan” and “Perdido” which brought the “Spanish Tinge” to big-band jazz.

Portrait of Duke Ellington

After 1941, Ellington collaborated with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, whom he called his “writing and arranging companion”.[3] With Strayhorn, he composed many extended compositions, or ‘suites’, as well as further shorter pieces. Following an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival in July 1956, he enjoyed a major career revival and, with his orchestra, now embarked on world tours. Ellington recorded for most American record companies of his era at some point, and appeared in several films. scoring several, and composed stage musicals.

Due to his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and thanks to his eloquence and extraordinary charisma, he is generally considered to have elevated the perception of jazz to an art form on a par with other traditional genres of music. His reputation increased after his death and the Pulitzer Prize Board bestowed on him a special posthumous honor in 1999.[4]

Gunther Schuller wrote in 1989: “Ellington composed incessantly to the very last days of his life. Music was indeed his mistress; it was his total life and his commitment to it was incomparable and unalterable. In jazz he was a giant among giants. And in twentieth century music, he may yet one day be recognized as one of the half-dozen greatest masters of our time.”[5]

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Cotton Club engagement

In October 1926, Ellington made a career advancing agreement with agent-publisher Irving Mills,[19] giving Mills a 45% interest in Ellington’s future.[20] Mills had an eye for new talent and early on published compositions by Hoagy Carmichael, Dorothy Fields, and Harold Arlen. After recording a handful of acoustic titles during 1924-1926, Ellington’s signing with Mills allowed him to record prolifically, although sometimes he recorded different versions of the same tune. Mills often took a co-composer credit. From the beginning of their relationship, Mills arranged recording sessions on nearly every label including Brunswick, Victor, Columbia, OKeh, Pathê (and its Perfect label), the ARC/Plaza group of labels (Oriole, Domino, Jewel, Banner) and their dime-store labels (Cameo, Lincoln, Romeo), Hit of the Week, and Columbia’s cheaper labels (Harmony, Diva, Velvet Tone, Clarion) labels which gave Ellington popular recognition. On OKeh, his records were usually issued as “The Harlem Footwarmers”, while the Brunswick’s were usually issued as The Jungle Band. “Whoopee Makers” and the “Ten Black Berries” were other pseudonyms.

In September 1927, King Oliver turned down a regular booking for his group as the house band at Harlem’s Cotton Club;[21] the offer passed to Ellington after Jimmy McHugh suggested him and Mills arranged an audition.[22] Ellington had to increase from a six to eleven-piece group to meet the requirements of the Cotton Club’s management for the audition,[23] and the engagement finally began on December 4.[24] With a weekly radio broadcast, the Cotton Club’s exclusively white and wealthy clientele poured in nightly to see them. At the Cotton Club, Ellington’s group performed all the music for the revues, which mixed comedy, dance numbers, vaudeville, burlesque, music, and illegal alcohol. The musical numbers were composed by Jimmy McHugh and the lyrics by Dorothy Fields (later Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler), with some Ellington originals mixed in. Weekly radio broadcasts from the club gave Ellington national exposure, while Ellington also recorded Fields-JMcHugh and Fats Waller-Andy Razaf songs.

Although trumpeter Bubber Miley was a member of the orchestra for only a short period, he had a major influence on Ellington’s sound.[25] An early exponent of growl trumpet, his style changed the “sweet” dance band sound of the group to one that was hotter, which contemporaries termed “jungle” style. In October 1927, Ellington and his Orchestra recorded several compositions with Adelaide Hall. One side in particular, “Creole Love Call” became a worldwide sensation and gave both Ellington and Hall their first hit record.[26] Miley had composed most of “Creole Love Call” and “Black and Tan Fantasy”. An alcoholic, Miley had to leave the band before they gained wider fame. He died in 1932 at the age of 29, but he was an important influence on Cootie Williams, who replaced him.

In 1929, the Cotton Club Orchestra appeared on stage for several months in Florenz Ziegfeld’s Show Girl, along with vaudeville stars Jimmy Durante, Eddie Foy, Jr., Al Jolson, Ruby Keeler, and with music and lyrics by George Gershwin and Gus Kahn. That year, when Ellington conducted the orchestra for Show Girl, he met Will Vodery, Ziegfeld’s musical supervisor. In his 1946 biography, Duke Ellington, Barry Ulanov wrote:

From Vodery, as he (Ellington) says himself, he drew his chromatic convictions, his uses of the tones ordinarily extraneous to the diatonic scale, with the consequent alteration of the harmonic character of his music, its broadening, The deepening of his resources. It has become customary to ascribe the classical influences upon Duke – Delius, Debussy and Ravel – to direct contact with their music. Actually his serious appreciation of those and other modern composers, came after his meeting with Vodery.[27]

Ellington’s film work began with Black and Tan (1929), a nineteen-minute all-African-American RKO short[28] in which he played the hero “Duke”. He also appeared in the Amos ‘n’ Andy film Check and Double Check released in 1930. That year, Ellington and his Orchestra connected with a whole different audience in a concert with Maurice Chevalier and they also performed at the Roseland Ballroom, “America’s foremost ballroom”. Australian-born composer Percy Grainger was an early admirer and supporter. He wrote “The three greatest composers who ever lived are Bach, Delius and Duke Ellington. Unfortunately Bach is dead, Delius is very ill but we are happy to have with us today The Duke”.[29] Ellington’s first period at the Cotton Club concluded in 1931.

The later 1930s

From 1936, Ellington began to make recordings of smaller groups (sextets, octets, and nonets) drawn from his then-15-man orchestra and he composed pieces intended to feature specific instrumentalist, as with “Jeep’s Blues” for Johnny Hodges, “Yearning for Love” for Lawrence Brown, “Trumpet in Spades” for Rex Stewart, “Echoes of Harlem” for Cootie Williams and “Clarinet Lament” for Barney Bigard. These small groups within Ellington’s band recorded on Mills’ Variety label. In 1937, Ellington returned to the Cotton Club which had relocated to the mid-town Theater District. In the summer of that year, his father died, and due to many expenses, Ellington’s finances were tight, although his situation improved the following year.

After leaving agent Irving Mills, he signed on with the William Morris Agency. Mills though continued to record Ellington. After his Master and Variety labels collapsed in late 1937, Mills placed Ellington back on Brunswick and those small group units on Vocalion through to 1940. Well known sides continued to be recorded, “Caravan” in 1937, and “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart” the following year.

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Billy Strayhorn, originally hired as a lyricist, began his association with Ellington in 1939.[33] Nicknamed “Swee’ Pea” for his mild manner, Strayhorn soon became a vital member of the Ellington organization. Ellington showed great fondness for Strayhorn and never failed to speak glowingly of the man and their collaborative working relationship, “my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brain waves in his head, and his in mine”.[34] Strayhorn, with his training in classical music, not only contributed his original lyrics and music, but also arranged and polished many of Ellington’s works, becoming a second Ellington or “Duke’s doppelganger”. It was not uncommon for Strayhorn to fill in for Duke, whether in conducting or rehearsing the band, playing the piano, on stage, and in the recording studio.[35] The 1930s ended with a very successful European tour just as World War II loomed in Europe.

Ellington in the early to mid-1940s

Some of the musicians who joined Ellington at this at time created a sensation in their own right. The short-lived Jimmy Blanton transformed the use of double bass in jazz, allowing it to function as a solo rather than a rhythm instrument alone. Terminal illness forced him to leave by late 1941 after only about two years. Ben Webster, the Orchestra’s first regular tenor saxophonist, whose main tenure with Ellington spanned 1939 to 1943, started a rivalry with Johnny Hodges as the Orchestra’s foremost voice in the sax section.

Trumpeter Ray Nance joined, replacing Cootie Williams who had “defected”, contemporary wags claimed, to Benny Goodman. Additionally, Nance added violin to the instrumental colors Ellington had at his disposal. Recordings exist of Nance’s first concert date on November 7, 1940, at Fargo, North Dakota. Privately made by Jack Towers and Dick Burris, these recordings were first legitimately issued in 1978 as Duke Ellington at Fargo, 1940 Live; they are among the earliest of innumerable live performances which survive. Nance was also an occasional vocalist, although Herb Jeffries was the main male vocalist in this era (until 1943) while Al Hibbler (who replaced Jeffries in 1943) continued until 1951. Ivie Anderson left in 1942 after eleven years: the longest term of any of Ellington’s vocalists.[36]

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Once again recording for Victor (from 1940), with the small groups recording for their Bluebird label, three-minute masterpieces on 78 rpm record sides continued to flow from Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Ellington’s son Mercer Ellington, and members of the Orchestra. “Cotton Tail”, “Main Stem”, “Harlem Airshaft”, “Jack the Bear”, and dozens of others date from this period. Strayhorn’s “Take the “A” Train” a hit in 1941, became the band’s theme, replacing “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo”. Ellington and his associates wrote for an orchestra of distinctive voices who displayed tremendous creativity.[37] Mary Lou Williams, working as a staff arranger, would briefly join Ellington a few years later.

Ellington’s long-term aim though was to extend the jazz form from that three-minute limit, of which he was an acknowledged master.[38] While he had composed and recorded some extended pieces before, such works now became a regular feature of Ellington’s output. In this, he was helped by Strayhorn, who had enjoyed a more thorough training in the forms associated with classical music than Ellington. The first of these, “Black, Brown, and Beige” (1943), was dedicated to telling the story of African-Americans, and the place of slavery and the church in their history. Ellington debuted Black, Brown and Beige in Carnegie Hall on January 23, 1943, beginning an annual series of concerts there over the next four years. While some jazz musicians had played at Carnegie Hall before, none had performed anything as elaborate as Ellington’s work. Unfortunately, starting a regular pattern, Ellington’s longer works were generally not well received.

A partial exception was Jump for Joy, a full-length musical based on themes of African-American identity, debuted on July 10, 1941 at the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles. Hollywood luminaries like actors John Garfield and Mickey Rooney invested in the production, and Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles offered to direct.[39] At one performance though, Garfield insisted Herb Jeffries, who is light skinned, should wear make-up. Ellington objected in the interval, and compared Jeffries to Al Jolson. The change was reverted, and the singer later commented that the audience must have thought he was an entirely different character in the second half of the show.[40]

Although it had sold-out performances, and received positive reviews,[41] it ran for only 122 performances until September 29, 1941, with a brief revival in November of that year. Its subject matter did not make it appealing to Broadway; Ellington had unfulfilled plans to take it there.[42] Despite this disappointment, a Broadway production of Ellington’s Beggar’s Holiday, his sole book musical, premiered on December 23, 1946[43] under the direction of Nicholas Ray.

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43 Responses to Monday Open Thread | Classics Week: Duke Ellington

  1. Ametia says:

    Anyone notice the increase in “CIALIS” commercials, while the GOP are trying to shut down abortion clinics, and restrict women’s access to reproductive health care and planned parenthood?

  2. Ametia says:

    His comments don’t have shit to do with blacks being non targets for racism. Don Lemon and folks like him don’t want to address the elephant dung. White folks need to own their bigotry and racism.

  3. rikyrah says:


    This is the clip from The View – this kneegrow really concocted up a scheme to get some shine! He really did, no other way to look at it.

    Don Lemon Defends His Controversial Comments

    Sherri Shepard checked his azz but good.

  4. Yahtc says:

    The only black candidate for mayor said Sunday Trayvon Martin was killed because he was black – and the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy is driven by the same kind of bias.

    “Trayvon Martin did die because he was black. Of that there is no doubt,” ex-City Controller Bill Thompson told the congregation at Abundant Life Church in Brooklyn, saying that regardless of legal merits of George Zimmerman’s acquittal, “George Zimmerman was suspicious of Trayvon because he was young and because he was black.”

    He turned the issue into his most forceful attack to date on the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy.

    “Here in New York City, we’ve institutionalized Mr. Zimmerman’s suspicion with a policy that all but requires our police officers to treat young black and Latino men with suspicion, to stop them and frisk them because of the color of their skin,” he said, charging young men of color “are profiled, as Trayvon was profiled. If our government profiles people because of skin plot and treats them as potential criminals, how can we expect citizens to do any less?”

  5. Be aware black people! It’s open season on black men in America!

    AUSTIN — There’s public outcry following an officer-involved fatal shooting on Friday.
    Dozens called for justice and asked for answers concerning the death of Larry Eugene Jackson. Sunday afternoon people gathered in front of the Austin police headquarters. They lined the I-35 access road holding signs, demanding that the officer who shot and killed a black man on Friday be held accountable.

    Protesters say they want police to know the shooting death of 32-year-old Larry Eugene Jackson won’t go unnoticed. Nelson Linder is the President of the Austin NAACP.
    “If the government is not going to stop this kind of behavior, then we have no choice but as citizens to get involved ourselves and demand we hold them accountable ourselves,” Linder said.

    The protest was organized by social media, and brought out several groups including Get Equal, an organization working for full equality for LGBT Americans.
    “It’s a very obviously racist crime, and it has no place in Texas or in law enforcement,” said Tiffani Bishop.

    There are still questions about what happened. It started with a robbery Friday at Benchmark Bank on North Lamar by another man, who police believe robbed several banks in the area in the past few weeks.

    Hours later, while police were investigating, they say Jackson walked up to the bank and tried to open the locked doors. A detective spoke with Jackson outside, and then he ran off and police chased him. There was a short struggle under the Shoal Creek bridge, and that’s where police say the detective shot and killed Jackson.

    “If pattern seems to repeat itself, then nothing will be done whatsoever to the officer who shot him,” Bishop added.

    “If pattern seems to repeat itself, then nothing will be done whatsoever to the officer who shot him,” Bishop added.

    “Our law enforcement is under the watchful eye of the people, just like we’re under the watchful eye of the law,” Junior West said.

    Some compare this shooting death with the recent verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, and say it’s another reason to take a stand for the rights of all people nationwide.

    • Yahtc says:

      Evil seems to be seeping out on so many fronts right now.

      My prayers are with Larry Eugene Jackson’s family, friends, and loved ones.

  6. Ametia says:

    These folks are just taking up where Tavis & Cornell left off. And lookie@ Ben Jealous.

  7. Ametia says:

    Why is There no Discussion of White on White Violence?
    By: Keith BrekhusJul. 29th, 2013

    In the United States, a white person is almost six times more likely to be killed by another white person than he or she is to be killed by a black person. Yet, while the media obsesses about black on black violence we rarely if ever hear any mention of the problem of white on white violence. In fact, in 2011 (the most recent year available) according to FBI homicide data there were more instances of white homicides committed against white victims than there were black on black murders. This statistic however has not led to a media outcry about the problem of white on white crime or the unique pathology of the white community. Such broad brush characterizations would probably be regarded as unfair and irresponsible, and justly so, since most white people do not in fact kill other white people. Yet, the same media pundits, from Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly to CNN’s Don Lemon, have no problem referencing “black on black” violence, despite the fact that most African-Americans do not kill other black people.

    • Ametia says:


      “The manifest benefit of white privilege is that any crimes committed by white people can be explained away as anomalies that are unique to the individual and that have nothing to do with race, but crimes committed by a single African-American or Latino individual are somehow attributed to the special pathologies of the “racialized other”.

      The murderous black gangster from South Chicago or East Los Angeles is somehow a symbol that young black men or young Latino men are to be feared, but there is no corresponding fear that should be attached to the aberrent murders committed by a white Neo-Nazi skinhead or a disgruntled young white man like Adam Lanza. Lanza and the skinhead street gangster do not represent white people, but for some reason a black gang-banger can represent all black people or at least all young black men?”

  8. rikyrah says:

    Lautenberg and Booker’s tortured history shows up in campaign
    By Matt Friedman/The Star-Ledger
    on July 29, 2013 at 6:30 AM, updated July 29, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    Days before Newark Mayor Cory Booker announced he wanted to run for
    the U.S. Senate seat held by Frank Lautenberg in December, the two men’s top aides tried to negotiate over the phone.

    Lautenberg Chief of Staff Dan Katz told Booker adviser Mark Matzen
    the 88-year-old senator likely would retire, according to two former
    Lautenberg staffers who recounted the conversation on the condition of

    He had one request: Could Booker say he would not challenge Lautenberg and let him bow out on his own terms?

    The answer was no. And on Dec. 20, Booker all but declared his
    candidacy for the seat. Although neither Katz nor Matzen would comment, Lautenberg’s son, Josh, confirmed the conversation.

    …In 2011, new legislation making its way through Congress called the
    America Invents Act required the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to
    open three satellite offices around the country. Lautenberg, who had
    consulted with New Jersey intellectual property lawyers, thought Newark
    would be an ideal location. His staff met with Booker’s staff and
    requested that the mayor advocate for his city once the bill was signed
    into law by writing to the Patent and Trademark Office, which had
    requested input from the public and local officials on new locations,
    according to the former staffers.

    From his seat on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Lautenberg
    quietly inserted language into a report accompanying an appropriations
    bill that would fund the act. It specified that “the committee directs
    USPTO, when selecting locations for additional satellite offices, to
    factor in the volume of patent activity, access to transportation
    options and proximity to a high concentration of universities.” Without
    naming Newark, the language pointed directly at it.

    But neither Booker nor anyone else in Newark sent a letter to the
    patent office. The staff members said Lautenberg was upset, feeling he
    took on the hard work and Booker’s role would’ve been easy. Denver,
    Dallas and Silicon Valley were selected for the satellite offices, in
    addition to Detroit, which automatically got one.

    • rikyrah says:

      one of the things that bothers me most when people criticize POTUS is when they call him lazy.
      it doesn’t just burn me up because it’s racial
      it pisses me off because it’s not true.
      I don’t know of any politician that started from the bottom – EVERY FUCKING TIME THEY RAN
      and built the apparatus with which to win.
      when he ran for State Senate…
      when he ran for Senate—who the hell knows a Chicago-based State Senator in downstate Illinois?
      Barack Obama got in the van and visited all those small-town hellholes all around Illinois when he was running for Senator. Built it, small gathering by small gathering.
      And, do we even have to recount what he began with when running for President?
      Yet, every step of the way, he DID THE WORK.
      DID THE GRUNT STUFF that you have to do in order to build a campaign FROM SCRATCH.
      Booker is an entitled mofo who thought it should be handed to him.
      DAMN, I wish the situation was reversed between Booker and Kendrick Meeks – who ALSO did all the work for his Senate Campaign, but even as a Congressman, he got the leg up because of his mother. MEEKS did the work like Barack Obama…Booker wants to coast.
      Cannot stand Booker.

      • Ametia says:

        Tell.the.TRUTH.Rikyrah. TELL IT. These mofos don’t and won’t give PBO any credit for anything he’s done, let alone who he is. Yet they’re more than willing to co-opt his winning coalition, boots on the ground operation.

        Their attempts at erasing who he is, his WORK ethic, and who he has become is laughable.

        When we know that NO black man in America has ever been handed anything on a silver platter. Saying he got in to Harvard because of affrimative action doesn’t work. And if he did, he had to WORK the program to make the grades and become first Black president of Harvard Law Review.Fake outrage about his citizenship, his policies, etc. are bullshit.

        PBO knows who he is and knows how to GET.SHIT.DONE.

        Corey Booker, GTFOH

  9. rikyrah says:

    House GOP shrugs off pressure from Latinos

    The simple political math is that while Republicans on a national scale want to court Latinos, members of the House GOP represent few of those Latino voters.

    Across Capitol Hill, U.S. senators serve entire states, many of which have large Hispanic populations. And with Latinos one of the fastest growing demographics in the country, senators foresee an increasing number of potential voters in their ranks.

    In the House, by contrast, Republicans represent only one-third of the country’s 33 million voting-age Hispanics, according to an Arizona Republic analysis of census data. And more than 70 percent of Republicans, or 169 out of 234 GOP members, represent districts where voting-age Hispanics make up less than 10 percent of the population.

    It’s no wonder then, some observers say, that comprehensive immigration reform, which sailed out of the Senate on a bipartisan vote last month, is facing a tougher time in the House.

  10. rikyrah says:

    From Town about Governor Transvaginal Ultrasound’s Grifting Wife:


    Thinking more on this Bob McDonnell’s wife spending all this money to upgrade herself thing:

    Money can’t buy style. Her, Sarah Palin & Ann Romney have no senseof style because they don’t know who they are besides being Bob McDonnell’s wife, a Starburst or Mitt Romney’s wife. That’s why they think spending $10,000 on a jacket or $150K Neiman Marcus spending sprees or $1000 on a T-shirt makes them stylish. It doesn’t. It makes you look like a fool who spent $1000 on a T-shirt.

    1a) If you have style, you can go to Goodwill or the consignment shops and make a good outfit. Sarah Palin only looked good at the Republican Convention because she had fancy clothes and a stylist. Once the Neiman Marcus went back to the store, she went right back to looking like the bargain basement bitch she always was!

    2) But, but, Michelle Obama spent $7000 on a jacket! And Michelle Obama looked great in her $7000 jacket and she would look great in a $7 jacket because she knows what works for her and who she is and what she wants to project. McDonnell, Romney & Palin all want to project “Socialite Bitch” and it’s not working for them because at least 2 of the 3 would never be accepted by the socialite set.

    2a) The reason Michelle Obama’s style is admired by so many people is she actually will wear a $30 dress from Target, take chances on unknown designers (Wu), mixes J.Crew & other
    mall stores with higher end designers and makes the look her own. She will say “Hey, I think I’ll try gray nail polish today” and everyone is scouring the Net trying to figure out what color polish she had on.

    Contrast that with Mrs. Me Too Ann Romney, who claimed that she wears “edgy” nail polish all the time, but you KNOW she only wears Essie Ballet Slippers, PERIOD. Coming on Jay Leno 2 days after Michelle Obama had on HER gray nail polish, wearing gray nail polish & a leather doily, like she’s so “edgy” but you know the most edgy thing she ever wore was a black sweater set 15 years ago. Have a seat!

    If McDonnell had to spend all this money upgrading her wardrobe, she didn’t spend it in Virginia. If she didn’t like what the stores in
    Richmond had to offer (we have Saks, we have Nordstroms, we have the fancy boutiques in the rich parts of town), she could’ve jetted up 95 and gone to Tyson’s Corner-Galleria or Pentagon City & kept that $ in Virginia.

    4) She wasn’t trying to upgrade herself for Virginia. Nobody gives a crap what the First Lady of Virginia wears. Nobody gave a crap what Tim Kaine’s wife wore (she probably didn’t give a crap b/c she was a judge…she was about something). Nobody gave a crap what Mark Warner’s wife wore. I don’t even know Mark Warner’s wife’s name. Nobody gave a crap what Jim Gilmore or George Allen’s wives wore.

    Bob McDonnell’s wife wasn’t doing this for Viriginia. She was doing this for 2016. She had the decorators on standby to wash the Obamas’ stench away from the White House. She had the curtains measured and the paint swatches picked out. Ironically, her greed has cost McDonnell his chance for the White House. The reason
    disclosure laws are so lax in VA is because nobody else in VA has done this (that we know of)! The only way either one of them will step foot in the White House is with a guided tour. His political career in VA is done.

    Ho, have a seat! And yeah I called you a HO because no respectable married woman accepts 10 and 20 thousand dollars worth of clothes from some man that’s not her husband, father or son

  11. rikyrah says:

    Dream Defenders plan “People’s Session”

    The Dream Defenders are now planning their own special session.

    The protesters say they are responding to Governor Rick Scott’s refusal to call a special legislative session on Florida’s controversial stand your ground law.

    The Dream Defenders say they are gearing up for the first day of their “People’s Session” that begins Tuesday at the old Capitol building at one p.m.

    Organizers tell us the issues they plan to discuss include the stand your ground law and racial profiling.

    They say professors from Florida A&M University and Florida State University will be participating and the public is invited to attend. The Dream Defenders have been camping out at the Capitol for 13 days. This comes after the jury handed down a not guilty verdict in the Zimmerman trial. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says the protests are costing thousands of dollars in additional security each day at the Capitol.

  12. rikyrah says:

    I would like to thank everyone for your prayers for Peanut and her mother. Times were dark, but light is beginning to shine, and I think it’s because of the prayers.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    For everyone out there:


    • Praise to Almighty God. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

    • Ametia says:

      Rikyrah, wonderful news. Yes; the first mind is our God-given INTUITION, our gut happy to hear they are receiving the blessings of the Holy

      We’ll continue to lift Peanut and her mother up in prayer.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Why The GOP Won’t Let Congress Fix The Voting Rights Act
    SAHIL KAPUR JULY 29, 2013, 9:05 AM

    Ever since the Supreme Court gutted a centerpiece of the Voting Rights Act and threw it back in Congress’s lap, lawmakers in both parties have engaged in happy talk about the prospects of patching the provision used to proactively snuff out voter discrimination against minorities in the state and local governments where it’s most prevalent.

    But it’s looking less and less likely that a fix will be agreed to because Republicans have little to gain and a lot to lose politically if they cooperate.

    “Ain’t gonna happen,” Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) said late last week, according to Roll Call.

  14. Ametia says:


    Deputies shoot man in his front yard
    He was getting cigarette out of his mother’s car

    Lying in a hospital bed the night after he was shot by Escambia County sheriff’s deputies in his own front yard, Roy Middleton only had one question: Why?
    Middleton, 60, of the 200 block of Shadow Lawn Lane in Warrington, was shot in the leg about 2:42 a.m. Saturday while trying to retrieve a cigarette from his mother’s car in the driveway of their home.
    A neighbor saw someone reaching into the car and called 911. While he was looking into the vehicle, deputies arrived in response to the burglary call.
    Middleton said he was bent over in the car searching the interior for a loose cigarette when he heard a voice order him to, “Get your hands where I can see them.”
    He said he initially thought it was a neighbor joking with him, but when he turned his head he saw deputies standing halfway down his driveway.
    He said he backed out of the vehicle with his hands raised, but when he turned to face the deputies, they immediately opened fire.
    “It was like a firing squad,” he said. “Bullets were flying everywhere.”

    • WTF is wrong with Florida? Deputies just opened fire on a man in his own damn yard.

      • Ametia says:

        Florida’s the “new Mississippi.” The police have all but declared war on Black men.

        Sue these mofos, Roy, SUE.THEM.TO.THE.KNEES.

    • rikyrah says:

      Uh Uh Uh

      • Ametia says:

        And these MOFOs are on ‘PAID ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE.’

        Roy was on his family’s property, minding his own business, and these fuckers roll up on him and ask him to raise his hands.

        He raises his hands and they shot Roy. These KKK officers didn’t see his EMPTY raised hands?

        Don’t you know black men always have extra hands…just look at how many hands Trayvon had to have to pound a head, punch, silence, pinch nose, and reach for a gun all at the same time! I’m tellin’ ya…we have magic black men down here in Florida, they can grow limbs as needed!

  15. Ametia says:

    Why Chris Hayes needs to be gone weeknights

  16. rikyrah says:

    REVIEW: Why “Fruitvale Station” Is The Must-See Movie of the Year
    Review by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

    I intended to write this review two weeks ago, when I saw Fruitvale Station in limited release. Two things occurred to prevent that – one ordinary: my babysitter cancelled, so bye bye writing time – and one extraordinary: George Zimmerman was found not guilty of killing Trayvon Martin the very next day.

    In the wake of the national outrage and protests and vigils, I thought my review of Fruitvale Station couldn’t help but be greatly affected. But as the film goes into wide release on 1,064 screens today, I realize I feel exactly the same about the film as I did two Fridays ago. Put plainly, Fruitvale Station is the most riveting, artfully-told, written, directed and acted movie of the year, it should win 2013 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director, and every adult living should immediately make all efforts to see this movie and receive a mind-and-heart-altering reminder that every single person alive, no matter what sex, creed, color or age, has humanity that deserves recognition and respect.

    The basics of the story are probably already known to most: Bay Area-based writer/director Ryan Coogler was deeply moved by the tragic shooting of fellow Bay Area native Oscar Grant, a 22 year-old black man who was killed at the Fruitvale BART Station by police on New Year’s Day 2009. Coogler wanted to show what Grant’s last day of life was like, so people would see not just a victim or a thug, but who and how Oscar really was. And not just the good or misunderstood parts of Oscar, but also the bad, the funny, the sweet and the ugly – and know he was a vibrant, complex being who in no way deserved the callous and all-too-common fate he received.

    The movie opens stunningly with real cellphone footage of Oscar Grant’s murder. If you’ve never seen it before (which I hadn’t), it is gutting. I involuntarily burst into tears – I was just so sad and angry and shocked at the injustice – it took a lot to pull myself back into the movie and get to know Oscar in life as viscerally as I did in death. As much as it smarts, Coogler’s choice to start the film this way is brilliant, because it communicates powerfully the underlying truth of what’s to unfold – you may be watching a movie, but do not ever forget – THIS WAS REAL.

    • Ametia says:

      Plan on seeing Fruitvale Station this week.

    • Liza says:

      I remember when the video of Johannes Mehserle shooting Oscar Grant went viral on the Internet. I didn’t think it was possible that Mehserle could get away with murdering Grant, but Mehserle’s supporters came up with “taser confusion” and that’s what eventually got sold to the jury. In addition to the fact that Mehserle fled rather than inform his superior officers at BART about his so-called taser confusion, there was no reason to use a taser on a face down, restrained person. But Mehserle’s defense picked up on taser confusion, worked it, and Mehserle himself testified and cried his eyes out for the jury to show how remorseful he was. Mehserle got a slap on the wrist and walks now as a free man. We end up with another devastated family, a little girl without a father, another case of justice denied, and a complicit nation that through its silence and acceptance encourages more of the same.

      I’m sure that I will eventually see “Fruitvale” when it is released to DVD. It’s a major accomplishment for those involved especially Ryan Coogler, and I believe that these stories need to be told. But I have to watch it when I’m alone, I know I can’t watch it in a theater.

      • Ametia says:

        @Liza–“But I have to watch it when I’m alone, I know I can’t watch it in a theater.”

        I understand.

        I remember PBO’s Inaguration on Janurary 20, 2009. I went to work that morning thinking about the sweet historical event, praying that I could stay home and watch it in the comfort of my living space. I was surprised when I arrived at work, and they announced they’d be showing the inaguration in the staff lounge in its entirety.

        I opted to take an early lunch and some personal time to go home and watch it there. I didn’t want to hear staff’s comments. It was a day to revel and enjoy, and it would have been nice to be with other folks who truly wanted to celebrate.

        That being said, I want to see Fruitvale Station in the theater. I want to see it at least twice. I’ll see it first in a region where there’s a predominantly white population, and then I’ll go view it in a region where there’s a predominantly black/mixed population.

      • Liza says:

        @Ametia – I was taking a communications class at a community college here in Tucson when President Obama was inaugurated in 2009. In fact, the class was at the same time as the inauguration ceremony, so we watched PBO’s speech in the student lounge. I considered driving home, but there wasn’t enough time. I knew I had to deal with what I call “the moment of reconciliation” because the South was still segregated when I was growing up in Jax, FL, and I have many seared images from those times. But as it turned out, watching the inauguration with those kids is now a fond memory for me. They were quiet, respectful, many were mesmerized by the historic moment. All of us understood the enormity of what was going down, but in different ways, from different perspectives. I was a witness to the past and they were all about the future with most of their lives still ahead of them. The hope that I felt that day was mainly for them, their entire generation. I like thinking about that day, thanks for reminding me.

      • Ametia says:

        @Liza. Thanks for sharing your Inaugural day experience. Our youth, as PBO shared are way smarter than some of us. A majority of Co-workers and peers at my job had made it quite clear about their feeling and thoughts on this presidency.

      • Liza says:

        @Ametia – I have a feeling that your “Fruitvale” report is going to be very interesting. I’m looking forward to it.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Child Prodigy Adam Kirby, 2, becomes Youngest Ever to Join Genius Club Mensa

    Posted in News by goodblacknews

    A TWO-YEAR-OLD child prodigy has become the youngest ever member of Mensa – after an IQ test ranked him smarter than President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Little Adam Kirby has read Shakespeare and learned Japanese, Spanish and French. The super-intelligent tot notched up an IQ of 141 – 10 points higher than two of the most powerful world leaders. His parents Dean, 33, and Kerry-Ann, 31, immediately knew their son was different when he toilet trained HIMSELF – after reading a book on the subject aged just one.

    Adam’s other impressive abilities include being able to spell 100 words, reciting most of his times tables up to 10, learning the periodic table and mastering a map-of-the-world puzzle designed to challenge adults. After receiving his IQ test results, he was invited to join the world’s oldest and most prestigious genius society Mensa.

    Dad Dean, an IT consultant from Mitcham, London, said: “Adam’s abilities are outstanding and we’ve been actively developing his intelligence since he was 10 weeks old. We’re certainly delighted for him. “While most children are just learning to stand up or crawl, Adam was reading books. His development was just mind-blowingly quick.”

    Adam’s score of 141 – just four shy of the ’Genius’ category – puts him head and shoulders above the average score of 100. The Stanford-Binet exam, originally developed by French psychologist Alfred Binet, has become renowned for being able to accurately determine a child’s intelligence levels and predict future grades.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!

  19. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! Whoo Hooo; Sir Duke. Thank you, Rikyrah; I’m looking forward to the Classics this week.

  20. Yahtc says:

    Good morning, SG2.

    I thank you for your great article.

    I look forward to listening to all the musical pieces!

    Loved “C Jam Blues” !

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