Hugh Masekela, Father Of South African Jazz, Dies At 78

  💔💔💔 Thank you for the music

Hugh Masekela, the legendary South African jazz musician who recorded more than 40 solo albums and collaborated with artists ranging from Harry Belafonte to Paul Simon, has died at 78 after a protracted battle with prostate cancer, his family announced Tuesday.

“[Our] hearts beat with profound loss,” the Masekela family said in a statement. “Hugh’s global and activist contribution to and participation in the areas of music, theatre, and the arts in general is contained in the minds and memory of millions across 6 continents …”

The trumpeter, composer, flugelhorn player, bandleader, singer and political activist, was born in Witbank, South Africa, on April 4, 1939. He was given his first trumpet by anti-apartheid crusader Father Trevor Huddleston at age 14.

“I was always in trouble with the authorities in school,” he told NPR in 2004.

He had been inspired by the Kirk Douglas film Young Man with a Horn. Huddleston, hoping to steer him away from delinquency, asked what it was that would make Masekela happy. “I said, ‘Father, if you can get me a trumpet I won’t bother anybody anymore.'”

Masekela soon became part of the Huddleston Jazz Band.

By the mid-1950s, he joined the Alfred Herbet’s African Jazz Revue and began creating his signature “Afro-Jazz” sound.

In 1960, at the age of 21, as he was coming under pressure from authorities for his anti-apartheid activities, he decided to leave his home country for England.

Once in London, his then-girlfriend and future wife, singer Miriam Makeba, encouraged him to come to the U.S., where she had arrived the previous year.

“We’d always dreamt of coming to the States, but she came a year earlier and blew the States away,” he told NPR.

“So she said, ‘hey, you got to come, forget about London, this is the place to be.’ And, she was on a first name basis with everybody. Then she and Harry Belafonte gave me a scholarship to Manhattan School of Music. I also had to work part-time in Harry Belafonte’s music publishing, because they ain’t going to give you no money,” Masekela said.

In addition to Belafonte, he also worked with legends Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis. Along with Miriam, they all encouraged him to develop his own style.

“[They] said, `Listen, if you’re going to play jazz, you’re just going to be a statistic like all of us. Why don’t you infuse some of the stuff from your home into your music, and then maybe you’ll come up with something that will interest everybody and that we can learn from.’ And I guess I came up with some kind of a hybrid,” Masekela told NPR.

In 1962, he released his first album, Trumpet Africaine.

Makeba and Masekela wed in 1964, but their marriage lasted a scant two years. Even so, the two remained friends.

In 1967, the year of his hit Up, Up and Away, he also performed alongside Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar, The Who and Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival. A year later, he performed on Grazing in the Grass, which hit U.S. charts and went on to become a global hit.

In 1977, Masekela’s Soweto Blues, about the anti-apartheid Soweto uprising, was recorded by Makeba, and it reached an international audience.

He penned the anti-apartheid anthem Bring Home Nelson Mandela in 1986 and returned to his native South Africa following Mandela’s release.

In 1987, he appeared with Paul Simon on his Graceland album tour alongside South African musicians Ladyship Black Mambozo and again in 2012 on the 25th anniversary of the Grammy-award winning album’s release.

In 1997, he acknowledged that he had become addicted to alcohol and many drugs, and checked himself into a recovery center in England.

Masekela performed at the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup and tournament in Soweto’s Soccer City in 2010.

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Tuesday Open Thread

One of the MOST profoundly, powerful WOMEN in the world–our FLOTUS

Posted in Current Events, First Lady Michelle Obama, Media, Michelle Obama, News, Open Thread, Politics | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Monday Open Thread

Does recognizing privilege influence your politics?

News host Kerri Miller spoke with Ijeoma Oluo, the author of “So You Want to Talk About Race.”

Posted in African Americans, Books, Current Events, Institutional Racism, Media, News, Open Thread, Politics, prejudice, Racial Bias, Racial Profiling, Racism | Tagged , | 67 Comments

Sunday Open Thread

Good Morning. Hope that you are enjoying this weekend with family and friends.

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Saturday Open Thread

Found this piece of history. Our history is so diverse.

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Friday Open Thread | The DREAMers Deserve More Than To Have Their Lives In This Kind of Flux….

Over three million people are in the shadows. Three million people whose lives are completely in flux. They deserve so much more than what the GOP has in store for them. It’s just one nightmare after another, and it’s NOT America. These DREAMers are America’s present and future.


There are 3.6M ‘DREAMers’ — a number far greater than commonly known
Author: Alan Gomez, USA TODAY
Published: 5:15 PM EST January 18, 2018

The political debate over the fate of “DREAMers” — undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children — has overlooked just how many there are in the country today: about 3.6 million.

That number of people whose lives risk being uprooted is not widely known, in large part because so much public attention has been focused recently on 800,000 mostly young DREAMers accepted into the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
This smaller group of DREAMers is in the spotlight because President Trump terminated DACA in September, saying it was an illegal overreach of executive authority that can only come from Congress, which is negotiating with Trump on a compromise immigration plan.

While many politicians use DREAMer and DACA interchangeably, the terms are “not a distinction without a difference,” said House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

DREAMers got their name from the DREAM Act, a bill that has been proposed in Congress since 2001, but never passed, that would protect that group of immigrants.

The 3.6 million estimate of undocumented immigrants brought to U.S. before their 18th birthday comes from the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit think tank that studies global immigration patterns. That is roughly a third of all undocumented immigrants in the country and does not include millions of their immediate family members who are U.S. citizens.

A number so large raises the stakes for both sides in the dispute over whether to deport DREAMers, allow them to stay under prescribed conditions or provide them with a path to citizenship.

Ali Noorani, executive director of the pro-immigrant National Immigration Forum, said exposing millions of DREAMers to deportations would be a moral and economic calamity.

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History professor predicts Mueller will reveal Trump crimes that will ‘shock the nation’ — and force GOP to impeach

Historian Allan Lichtman is known for making accurate predictions — and he’s more certain than ever that President Donald Trump will be impeached this spring.

The American University history professor has correctly predicted the winner of every presidential election since 1984, including Trump, and he has recently updated his book, The Case for Impeachment, that was released in April — before the president fired FBI director James Comey and special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed.

“There’s as strong a case of obstruction of justice as there was against Bill Clinton on a vastly more important matter than a blue dress,” Lichtman told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Remember, virtually every Republican voted for an obstruction article against Bill Clinton.”

He said the special counsel investigation almost certainly had more damning evidence of illegal cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia, which he said would soon be revealed.

“It’s a conspiracy,” Lichtman said. “I believe we have the tip of the iceberg of what the special counsel knows about the relationship between Trump and the Trump team and the Russians. There’s a fair chance that the reason they were covering up all of those calls from then to be national security adviser with the Russians was to cover up a possible quid pro quo, the Russians will help us and in turn we’ll ease those sanctions. Why else make those calls and why else lie about them?”

The historian said the public had already seen strong evidence of obstruction, but he said there’s plenty of reason to predict charges on a “host of crimes” — some of them deadly serious — related to a Russian conspiracy.

“I wouldn’t keep saying collusion isn’t a crime,” Lichtman said. “Of course not, but taking things of value from foreign nationals is a crime, aiding and abetting illegal computer hacking is a crime, negotiating as a private citizen with a hostile foreign power with which there is disputes is a crime. If this is serious enough, and I’ve taken a lot of flak for that, I think there even could be charges of treason. After all, Russia was waging war against us — not a war with bombs and bullets, but a cyber attack, an online attack designed to destroy democracy.”

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who has compared Trump to Stalin, told MSNBC that he still wouldn’t vote to impeach the president — but Lichtman said the public would eventually see evidence that would force Republicans to act.

“Talk about premature — how could he know whether or not he would vote to impeach when a case hasn’t been made yet?” Lichtman said. “He hasn’t been impeached and there hasn’t been a trial in the Senate. I think Mueller — and this is my prediction — is going to come up with findings that are going to shock the country, not only involve conspiracy with Russia but could involve serious financial crimes.”

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