Tag: Reverend Al Sharpton

Documentary “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown” Debuts Tonight on HBO

“Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown,” a documentary by Alex Gibney, is being shown Monday on HBO. (Credit: Walter Iooss Jr./Getty Images)

There is one interview I remember from my early days as a reporter, and I often recite a line from it because it’s the best answer I’ve ever gotten and ever will get. Naturally, it came from James Brown.

It was in 1989, when he was in prison for, among other things, capping a long bout of partying with a high-speed chase through Georgia and South Carolina that ended only after police officers shot out his tires.

I was a Time magazine reporter, and he was working in the prison cafeteria. The warden let me wave through a window at Brown as he wiped down tables in a cook’s white coat and cap, embellished by purple wraparound sunglasses and matching scarf. Brown was allowed to speak by phone.

I didn’t even know where to begin, so I asked how he was feeling.  “I’m well rested now,” he said, and waited a beat. “But I miss being tired.”

That reply is almost reason enough for watching “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown,” an HBO documentary directed by Alex Gibney. But there are plenty of others. This is a smart, informative and compassionate look at the artist known as the Godfather of Soul, whose music changed America.

“Mr. Dynamite” is an informative and compassionate look at James Brown, whose R&B, soul and funk altered American music. CreditEmilio Grossi/HBO

Brown, who died in 2006, was a fascinating figure. Just this year, he inspired a biographical movie, “Get On Up,” with Chadwick Boseman as Brown, and there have been a steady stream of biographies, including two memoirs that he wrote with co-authors.

He was a magnetic, kinetic master of R&B, soul and funk, with roots in gospel and big-band music. He was a beloved performer and an often terrible boss and violent husband. (His third wife, Adrienne Lois Rodriguez, told me he once laid out her mink coat on the bed and then shot it.) He played an important role at critical moments in the civil rights movement and also shocked his fans by supporting Richard M. Nixon in 1972.

Of course, there is also the music.  The film opens with Brown sweating through a muscle T-shirt and chanting the opening words of “Soul Power” to a frenzied audience at the Olympia in Paris in 1971.

The narrative threads his scratch-poor boyhood dancing for nickels in the segregated South to his lasting influence on rock, hip-hop and rap. The film doesn’t dwell on his sad last days, but it does address his many contradictions — personal, musical and political. All of it is set to the beat of his music, which gets the last word.

Continue reading “Documentary “Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown” Debuts Tonight on HBO”

James Brown Finally Gets Harlem Street Named After Him on November 22

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It’s been eight years since the “Godfather of Soul,” James Brown (pictured) passed away at age 73.  Now after an uphill six-year effort by historian Jacob Morris, along with the National Black Theatre, a street behind the famed Harlem Apollo Theatre is finally being renamed James Brown Way to honor the musical icon, according to the New York Daily News.

The street that will bear the name of the legendary performer is located on 126th between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Frederick Douglass Blvds.  According to Morris, he was also looking to have some fanfare attached to the renaming of the street, a ceremony of sorts that would truly pay homage to the caliber of performer Brown was, the archivist tells the New York Daily News, “I didn’t want to put the sign up until we could do a ceremony that’s of James Brown stature.”

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The guest list of luminaries who will reportedly attend the November 22 street renaming will be none other than the Rev. Al Sharpton, who will be a keynote speaker and who also considered Brown a mentor and father figure.  A few of Brown’s relatives will also be present for the eventful honor, including his daughter Deanna Brown Thomas.

Brown had a long history of playing at the Apollo, the venue where he made his explosive debut and honed his reputation for high energy, dynamic concerts.  Two days after Brown’s passing from congestive heart failure on Christmas day in 2006, his body was transported in a gold coffin to the legendary theater and put on view, so that the public could visit and pay their respects to the soul showman.  Brown Thomas told the New York Daily News, “It [the Apollo] is where the eyes of the world came to watch my father.  If he was here he’d be thanking God for people loving him enough to put his name on that street.”

The ceremony will commence at 1 p.m. and will be followed by a 2 p.m. screening of “James Brown: The Man, The Music & The Message” at the National Black Theatre.

article by Ruth Manuel-Logan via newsone.com

Respectful Mourning and Calls for Action at Funeral for Michael Brown

Lesley McSpadden, Michael Brown’s mother, at his funeral in St. Louis. (RICHARD PERRY / THE NEW YORK TIMES)

ST. LOUIS — They came by the thousands to pay their respects. Among them were the parents and extended family — some 500 strong — of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed more than two weeks ago by a Ferguson police officer.

But the crowd of mourners also included the Rev. Jesse Jackson; film director Spike Lee; T. D. Jakes, the bishop of The Potter’s House, an African-American megachurch; several members of Congress; representatives from the White House; and two children of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

During a deeply religious service here on Monday at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, several speakers exhorted mourners to work for justice, not just for Mr. Brown but for others, long after the funeral was over.

“There is a cry being made from the ground, not just for Michael Brown, but for the Trayvon Martins, for those children in Sandy Hook Elementary School, for the Columbine massacre, for black-on-black crime,” the Rev. Charles Ewing, Mr. Brown’s uncle, said.

Speaking before the overflowing crowd, the Rev. Al Sharpton criticized the militarization of the police and their treatment of Mr. Brown, while calling on African-Americans to push for change instead of “sitting around having ghetto pity parties.”

On Sunday, relatives of Mr. Brown had asked for quiet during the funeral. The fatal shooting had set off weeks of protests and a severe police reaction in Ferguson. Several speakers echoed pleas from Mr. Brown’s family for people to refrain from protesting on Monday.

“Please don’t exacerbate the almost unbearable pain of this family,” said Bishop Edwin Bass of the Church of God in Christ. “It is imperative that we resist the temptation to react by rioting.”

Many mourners, most of whom were black, wore buttons showing Mr. Brown’s picture, and large photos of Mr. Brown stood at the front of the church. Rousing hymns by the Missouri Jurisdictional Choir repeatedly brought the entire crowd to their feet.

Among the family members who spoke, Cal Brown, Mr. Brown’s stepmother, said that just weeks before he was shot, Mr. Brown had described a dream in which he had seen bloody sheets hanging on a clothes line. “He pretty much prophesied his own death and he didn’t even realize it,” she said, calling him “an awesome man” who wanted to have a family and “be a good father.”

In addition to numerous readings from the Bible, there were readings from Dr. King and references to significant court cases in black history. Referring to the original determination in the Constitution that blacks were counted as three-fifths of a man for the purposes of voting, Benjamin Crump, the lawyer who is representing Mr. Brown’s family, said that the teenager “was not three-fifths of a citizen. He was an American citizen and we will not accept three-fifths justice.”

Continue reading “Respectful Mourning and Calls for Action at Funeral for Michael Brown”

EDITORIAL: Ferguson, Michael Brown and the Renewed Mission of Good Black News

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Carissa McGraw and other protesters raised their hands and turned their backs to law enforcement officials after a vigil for Michael Brown (Whitney Curtis/New York Times)

As everyone knows, the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the unrest, protests and investigations that continue to unfold in the wake of this tragedy are mightily affecting (and hopefully redefining) the national conversation on racism, abuses of power and overbearing, militarized police action against citizens.

As the editor of a website dedicated solely to providing and promoting Good Black News, it has been admittedly hard in the past week to bring myself to post what were starting to seem like frivolous accomplishments and events in the wake of a soul-stirring grass roots movement against tyranny and injustice.  This unrest in particular feels like it has the makings of a sea change from the status quo into a new era of human rights, where systemic and commonplace brutality is voted down and rooted out of any and all policing bodies that are meant to Protect and Serve, not Terrify and Dehumanize.

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Michael Brown Sr., second from left, the Rev. Al Sharpton, center, and Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, at a news conference at the Old Courthouse in St. Louis. (Whitney Curtis / New York Times)

But, even though the eventual outcome could lead to something positive, how can any of what is happening day-to-day (tear gassing, unprovoked arrests, pockets of protester violence, autopsy results) qualify as Good Black News?  But not posting anything about Ferguson did not feel right, either.  Thus, aside from a few tweets, GBN has been silent for days.

Upon serious thought and reflection, I’ve come to believe that publishing Good Black News is more important and necessary than ever.  The achievements of people of color are still woefully under-publicized and reported, and the only way to change minds or inspire pride in those who internalize the “less than” narrative, is to keep putting as much GBN out there as possible.

Thus, going forward, in addition to our regular mix of GBN, we will also post items, tweets, stories and pictures that cover the Ferguson story — the GBN philosophy will still be in place and nothing will be incendiary or negative — in fact, non-violent protest, speaking out, photos, tweets and the like that continue to highlight the injustices still prevalent in this country ARE, in my opinion, Good Black News.  Granted, nothing will bring back Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Oscar Grant or countless others who have suffered the same unjust fate, but positive, insistent protests and actions do have the power to prevent the next young man or woman of color from being victimized, and that we uncategorically and unreservedly support.

Onward and upward —

Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Founder and Editor-In-Chief

Essence’s 20th Anniversary Festival Largest Ever With 550,000 Attendees

This past weekend’s Essence Festival surpassed its record setting attendance of last year’s 543,000 attendees by 7,000. At the 20th anniversary of the famed festival, more than 550,000 people attended and saw various performances, activities, and speakers throughout the Fourth of July weekend in New Orleans.

“Through a unique combination of entertainment and empowerment programming, the ESSENCE Festival has become the place where we come together to revel in culture and connect to our community,” said ESSENCE Communications President Michelle Ebanks. “In recognition of our 20-year milestone, we are tremendously proud to have offered more curated content than ever before—live in New Orleans for our more than 550,000 festival-goers and available digitally on multiple screens for our ESSENCE community of 11.5 million.”

There were more than 80 performers including such dignitaries as Prince, Mary J. Blige, Lionel Richie, Robin Roberts, Alicia Keys, Steve Harvey and Rev. Al Sharpton.

article by Cedric “BIG CED” Thornton via blackenterprise.com

“Stand Your Ground” Protest March Scheduled for March 10th in Tallahassee

Black community leaders are taking a stand against the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.  On March 10, 2014 in Tallahassee, Florida, leaders across the country including Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network are gathering in the Sunshine State to rally and a hold a prayer vigil in protest of SYG.

Sharpton will also be joined by Attorney Ben Crump and the parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis.  The march begins at 9:30am ET at the Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center,  located at 505 W Pensacola St, Tallahassee, FL 32301.  After the march is completed, the rally begins at the State Capitol located at 400 South Monroe St, Tallahassee, Florida, FL 32301.

article via blackamericaweb.com

Demonstrations Across the Country Commemorate Trayvon Martin

(Photo Credit: Monica Almeida/The New York Times)
Thousands of demonstrators gathered in dozens of cities today to mourn Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager shot to death in a confrontation with a neighborhood watch volunteer early last year, and to add their voices to a debate on race that his death has set off. The gatherings began around noon EST at federal buildings across the country.  They came a week after George Zimmerman was acquitted by a court in Florida of Mr. Martin’s killing; days after angry protests erupted in the wake of that verdict; and hours after President Obama said, in a heartfelt address, that “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”

Mr. Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, addressing dozens of people outside the federal courthouse in Miami, said, “I vowed to Trayvon when he was laying in his casket that I would use every ounce of energy in my body to seek justice for him.  

“I will continue to fight for Trayvon until the day I die,” he added. “Not only will I be fighting for Trayvon, I will be fighting for your child as well.”  At a rally in New York, over cries of “We’re all Trayvon Martin,” the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the organizers of the gatherings, told a crowd of hundreds that Mr. Martin’s death should prompt a movement.  Mr. Sharpton said that he wanted to ensure an aggressive federal investigation of Mr. Zimmerman and fight against Florida’s broad self-defense laws. “Last Saturday we cried,” he said, “but this Saturday we march.”

Continue reading “Demonstrations Across the Country Commemorate Trayvon Martin”

#YourLifeMatters: Al Sharpton Sends Heartfelt Message To Black Men [VIDEO]

As everyone knows by now, George Zimmerman was found not guilty.  This shocking verdict was not the first, nor the last. But that still doesn’t take the sting out of it. Protestors have gathered and the majority have been peaceful. But what else can be done to continue to fight against injustice? How can we move forward?

Interactive One (parent company to HelloBeautiful) has decided to be a mouthpiece for this generation, and wants young men of color to know that while they may wear the same hoodie Trayvon Martin wore and walk to the store for a snack, just as he did, their lives don’t have to end in the same way.  They want the young men who have looked at this tragedy in fear to know this–Your Life Matters.

Share your stories of inspiration to uplift this generation. We need it right now!

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Join the fight by liking the YOUR LIFE MATTERS Facebook page today!

article by Danielle Young via hellobeautiful.com; edited by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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