Tag: Birthdays

Born On This Day 74 Years Ago: Temptations Lead Singer and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer David Ruffin

David_Ruffin_-_Feelin'_GoodDavis Eli “David” Ruffin (January 18, 1941 – June 1, 1991) was an American soul singer and musician most famous for his work as one of the lead singers of The Temptations (1964–68) during the group’s “Classic Five” period, and was the lead don such famous songs as “My Girl“, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, and “I Wish It Would Rain.”  Ruffin would have been 74 today.

Known for his unique raspy and anguished tenor vocals, according to Wikipedia.com, Ruffin was ranked as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2008.  He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 for his work with The Temptations, and into Cleveland’s R&B Hall of Fame in 2013 as a solo artist as well a Temptations member.  Fellow Motown recording artist Marvin Gaye once said admiringly of Ruffin that, “I heard [in his voice] a strength my own voice lacked.”

To see video of Ruffin in action on one of the Temptations classics, click below and enjoy:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)


Happy 64th Birthday, Music Legend Stevie Wonder (VIDEO)

stevieAccording to Wikipedia.org, Stevie Wonder was born May 13, 1950 in Saginaw, Michgan, and has spent over fifty years as a revered, award-winning musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. A child prodigy, he has become one of the most creative and loved musical performers of the late 20th and early 21st century.  Wonder signed with the Motown label at the age of eleven and continues to perform and record for Motown as of the early 2010s. He has been blind since shortly after birth.

Among Wonder’s works are singles such as “Superstition”, “Sir Duke”, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You”; and albums such as Talking BookInnervisions and Songs in the Key of Life. He has recorded more than thirty U.S. top ten hits and received twenty-two Grammy Awards, the most ever awarded to a male solo artist, and has sold over 100 million albums and singles, making him one of the top 60 best-selling music artists. Wonder is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a holiday in the United States.

In 2009, Wonder was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart’s 50th anniversary, with Wonder at number five.

To learn more about Wonder’s life and music, click here.  To hear him do a live version of “As” with a moving speech towards the end, click below:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson).

Happy 65th Birthday Oscar Nominee Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. JacksonSamuel Leroy Jackson (born December 21, 1948) is an American film and television actor and film producer. After becoming involved with the Civil Rights Movement, he moved on to acting in theater at Morehouse College, and then films. He had several small roles such as in the film Goodfellas before meeting his mentor, Morgan Freeman, and the director Spike Lee. After gaining critical acclaim for his role in Jungle Fever in 1991, he appeared in films such as Patriot GamesAmos & AndrewTrue Romance and Jurassic Park. In 1994, he was cast as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, and his performance received several award nominations and critical acclaim.

Jackson has since appeared in over 100 films, including Die Hard with a VengeanceJackie BrownUnbreakableThe IncrediblesShaftSnakes on a PlaneDjango Unchained, as well as the Star Wars prequel trilogy and small roles in Quentin Tarantino‘s Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Inglourious Basterds.

He played Nick Fury in Iron ManIron Man 2ThorCaptain America: The First Avenger, and Marvel’s The Avengers, the first five of a nine-film commitment as the character for the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. Jackson is set to reprise his role as Fury in the 2014 film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the 2015 film, Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Jackson’s many roles have made him one of the highest-grossing actors at the box office. Jackson has won multiple awards throughout his career and has been portrayed in various forms of media, including films, television series, and songs. In 1980, Jackson married LaTanya Richardson, with whom he has a daughter, Zoe.  In October 2011, Jackson became the actor with the highest-grossing film total of all time.

article via wikipedia.org

Happy 47th Birthday, Grammy-Award Winner and Actress Janet Jackson (VIDEO)

Janet JacksonBorn to Joe and Katherine Jackson on May 16, 1966, Janet Damita Jo Jackson is the youngest of nine children of the musically legendary Jackson family.  Although she started her career in entertainment primarily as a television actress (Good Times, Diff’rent Strokes, Fame), it was Jackson’s music, produced by Minneapolis duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, that catapulted her to international fame and stardom.  Though Control was her third solo album, it was the first one to go multi-platinum and kick-started a career that has spanned decades and generated over 100 million record sales worldwide.  To celebrate Janet and her musical legacy, above is one of her early, iconic dance videos –  “Pleasure Principle.”  Enjoy!

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Born On This Day in 1919: Baseball Legend Jackie Robinson

Legendary Baseball player Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball, was born in Cairo, Georgia, on Jan. 31, 1919.

Robinson had a litany of firsts in his career: He was the first Black television analyst in Major League Baseball, and the first Black vice president of a major American corporation. In the 1960s, he helped establish the Freedom National Bank, an African-American-owned financial institution based in Harlem. In the world of baseball, Robinson played a prominent role in ending racial segregation in professional baseball. Prior to Robinson playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, African-American players were restricted to the Negro Leagues for 60 years.

Continue reading “Born On This Day in 1919: Baseball Legend Jackie Robinson”

Happy 59th Birthday, OWN Network CEO and TV Host Oprah Winfrey

Oprah WinfreyOprah Winfrey (born Orpah Gail Winfrey on January 29, 1954) is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which was the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. She has been ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was for a time the world’s only black billionaire.  She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world.

Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood. She experienced considerable hardship during her childhood, claiming to be raped at age nine and becoming pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy.  Sent to live with  her father, a barber in Tennessee, Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. Her emotional ad-lib delivery eventually got her transferred to the daytime-talk-show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place, she launched her own production company, Harpo, and became internationally syndicated.

Credited with creating a more intimate confessional form of media communication, she is thought to have popularized and revolutionized the tabloid talk show genre pioneered by Phil Donahue, which a Yale study claims broke 20th century taboos and allowed LGBT people to enter the mainstream.  By the mid 1990s, she had reinvented her show with a focus on literature, self-improvement, and spirituality. Winfrey later joined with the Discovery Channel to start her own network, the aptly-titled OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).

To learn more about Winfrey’s life, career and philanthropy, click here.

Born On This Day in 1938: Singing Legend Etta James

Etta JamesBorn Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles, CA on January 25, 1938, Etta James was an American singer whose style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel and jazz.  Starting her career in 1954, she gained fame with hits such as “Roll With Me, Henry“, “At Last“, “Tell Mama“, “Something’s Got a Hold on Me“, and “I’d Rather Go Blind” for which she wrote the lyrics.  James is regarded as having bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, and is the winner of six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008. Rolling Stone ranked James number 22 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and number 62 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists.  To learn more about Etta James, click here, and watch her perform “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” below:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Muhammad Ali 71st birthday: The champ’s 10 Greatest fights | theGrio

Ali vs. Frazier

The greatest boxer of all time — Muhammad Ali — turns 71 today. Besides being a sports legend, Ali is considered a civil rights and cultural icon. His boxing career spanned three decades and certainly had its share of ups and downs. Still, no fighter’s heights were as compelling as Ali’s. Check out The Grio’s list of the top 10 greatest bouts of his career in the slideshow by clicking below:

Muhammad Ali 71st birthday: The champ’s 10 greatest fights | theGrio.

Born On This Day in 1924: Legendary Jazz Drummer Max Roach

Max Roach Birthday

Pioneering percussionist, composer, band leader, and drummer Max Roach was born Maxwell Lemuel “Max” Roach in North Carolina to parents Alphonse and Cressie, and worked with dozens of musical greats, including Miles Davis, Charles MingusThelonious Monk, and Dizzy Gillespie

Continue reading “Born On This Day in 1924: Legendary Jazz Drummer Max Roach”

Born On This Day in 1891: Noted Author Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston birthday

Writer, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston (pictured) was one of the most-outstanding authors that emerged from the Harlem Renaissance. Over the course of four novels, an autobiography, and dozens of published writings, Hurston has been an inspiration for distinguished writers, such as Toni MorrisonAlice WalkerRalph Ellison, and countless others.

Hurston was the fifth of eight children born to her parents, John and Lucy Ann, in the small town of Notasulga in Alabama. The family uprooted when she was just a toddler, making their new home in Eatonville, Fla. Her father, a preacher, would become mayor of the town, which was one of the first all-black incorporated cities in the United States. After the death of her school teacher mother in 1904, her father remarried and she was sent to boarding school in nearby Jacksonville. Hurston was later expelled after her father stopped paying the tuition.

Continue reading “Born On This Day in 1891: Noted Author Zora Neale Hurston”