Tag: “The Real McCoy”

R.I.P. Jazz Piano Legend McCoy Tyner, 81

McCoy Tyner, a cornerstone of John Coltrane’s groundbreaking 1960s quartet and one of the most influential pianists in jazz history, died on Friday at his home in New Jersey at age 81, according to the New York Times.

His death was announced by a spokesman for the Tyner family. No other details were provided. Mr. Tyner’s survivors include his wife, Aisha; his son, Nurudeen, who is known as Deen; and his brother, Jarvis.

To quote from the article:

Along with Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and only a few others, Mr. Tyner was one of the main expressways of modern jazz piano. Nearly every jazz pianist since Mr. Tyner’s years with Coltrane has had to learn his lessons, whether they ultimately discarded them or not.

Mr. Tyner’s manner was modest, but his sound was rich, percussive and serious, his lyrical improvisations centered by powerful left-hand chords marking the first beat of the bar and the tonal center of the music.

That sound helped create the atmosphere of Coltrane’s music and, to some extent, all jazz in the 1960s. (When you are thinking of Coltrane playing “My Favorite Things” or “A Love Supreme,” you may be thinking of the sound of Mr. Tyner almost as much as that of Coltrane’s saxophone.)

Mr. Tyner did not find immediate success after leaving Coltrane in 1965. But within a decade his fame had caught up with his influence, and he remained one of the leading bandleaders in jazz as well as one of the most revered pianists for the rest of his life.

Alfred McCoy Tyner was born in Philadelphia on Dec. 11, 1938, to Jarvis and Beatrice Tyner, both natives of North Carolina. His father sang in a church quartet and worked for a company that made medicated cream; his mother was a beautician. Mr. Tyner started taking piano lessons at 13, and a year later his mother bought him his first piano, setting it up in her beauty shop.

He grew up during a spectacular period for jazz in Philadelphia. Among the local musicians who would go on to national prominence were the organist Jimmy Smith, the trumpeter Lee Morgan and the pianists Red Garland, Kenny Barron, Ray Bryant and Richie Powell, who lived in an apartment around the corner from the Tyner family house, and whose brother was the pianist Bud Powell, Mr. Tyner’s idol. (Mr. Tyner recalled that once, as a teenager, while practicing in the beauty shop, he looked out the window and saw Powell listening; he eventually invited the master inside to play.)

Just before Coltrane’s death in 1967, Mr. Tyner signed to Blue Note. He quickly delivered “The Real McCoy,” one of his strongest albums, which included his compositions “Passion Dance,” “Search for Peace” and “Blues on the Corner,” all of which he later revisited on record and kept in his live repertoire.

LisaRaye McCoy Confronts Colorism, Pigmentocracy In Her Directorial Debut, “Skinned”

"Skinned" to air on TV One (photo via newsone.com)
Made-for-TV film”Skinned” about skin bleaching to air on TV One (photo via newsone.com)

This weekend, TV One will premiere LisaRaye McCoy‘s directorial debut with the made-for-TV film Skinnedwhich tackles a very sensitive topic within the African-American community.

Skinned confronts colorism, pigmentocracy, and the outbreak of skin bleaching, as well as the use of lightening creams amongst many individuals in America and around the world. 

According to Black Enterprise and the University of Cape Town, skin bleaching has ballooned into a $10 billion market and the long-term effects of bleaching one’s skin is currently unknown. Black Enterprise reports 35 percent of South African women bleach their skin, and 77 percent of Nigerian women bleach their skin.

LisaRaye McCoy talks about "Skinned" on NewsOne Now (photo via newsone.com)
Director LisaRaye McCoy talks about “Skinned” on NewsOne Now (photo via newsone.com)

On Friday, McCoy, best known for her roles in The Players Club, All of Us, Single Ladies and the TV One reality series The Real McCoy, joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to discuss the notion of colorism within the Black community through the muse of Skinned’s main character, Jolie.

Essence Magazine reports, “Jolie is a young woman who is uncomfortable with her complexion and begins to experiment with bleaching and lightening creams to alter her skin tone.”

When asked why she wanted to tackle the issue of colorism in her directorial debut, McCoy said Studio 11 Films asked her to direct the movie and once she read the script, the message behind it forced her to ask, “Why do they want a light-skinned woman to direct a dark-skinned project?”

McCoy explained the reason was controversy. She said, “Controversy now sells and I wanted to have all eyes on this epidemic, because not only is it happening in Africa and our Caribbean nations, but here in America too.”

During their conversation, McCoy mentioned the lightening of former MLB star Sammy Sosa and late King of Pop Michael Jackson as instances of skin bleaching’s prevalence in our society.

McCoy later added that skin bleaching “causes skin cancer, yet it is an over-the-counter drug.”

Psychologist Dr. Kevin Washington, a board member of The Association of Black Psychologists, also joined Martin to discuss the epidemic. He said people of color have been “indoctrinated into a system of European superiority.”

“Anything that is associated with the dominate group becomes desirable,” said Dr. Washington. Adding, “Even in Cote d’Ivoire — just in May — they’ve banned skin bleaching for the purpose of health and racial identity.”

According to Washington, skin lightening “is not just a Black issue.” Dr. Washington said, “The idea of pigmentocracy takes over as a result of a hierarchy that is ascribed to the features associated with Whiteness in this country and globally.”

Watch Roland Martin, LisaRaye McCoy, and Dr. Kevin Washington discuss colorism, pigmentocracy, self-esteem, and Skinned, which premieres Saturday night at 8PM ET on TV One.

article via newsone.com

Six Black Inventors Who Changed the World

Thanks to African-American inventors and innovators our lives are easier, more convenient and more prosperous in many ways.  Although we rarely hear about these sharp, groundbreaking pioneers from the past and present, black innovators have contributed in every field—from mechanics to cosmetics to consumer goods to technology. This Black History Month we pause to acknowledge a few.

While working at IBM, Mark Dean invented the first modern peripherals that enabled us to plug speakers, disk drives, scanners and printers into computers. Dean holds three of IBMs original nine PC patents.

At just 27 years old, chemist Dennis Weatherby invented automatic dishwasher detergent while working at Proctor & Gamble in 1987.  His invention now sells under the trade name “Cascade” and is the basic formula for all of today’s lemon-scented cleaning products with bleach.

If you’ve ever wondered where the phrase “the real McCoy” originated look to innovator Elijah McCoy.  His parents escaped slavery in the mid- 1800s by way of the Underground Railroad and moved to Canada.  They sent him to Scotland to be educated. Upon completing his studies, McCoy moved to the United States for work but discrimination prevented him from finding employment as a professional engineer. So he went to work on the railroad as an oilman responsible for keeping the moving parts of the trains lubricated for locomotion. He found that walking along the trains oiling the axles and bearings was inefficient so he created an oil lubricating cup that automatically dripped oil onto the moving parts.  His invention allowed trains to travel long distances continuously without the need to stop for oiling.  After he received a patent for his invention there were many engineers who imitated his work.  But informed train operators knew his invention was superior and when they needed to order an automatic oil cup they would ask for “the real McCoy.” His invention became standard equipment on most locomotives and heavy machinery. McCoy went on to patent more than 50 inventions.

Sarah Goode was born into slavery, but went on to become the first African-American woman to receive a U.S. patent, issued on July 14, 1885 for a folding cabinet bed. The entrepreneur, who was freed after the Civil War, invented the bed for people who lived in small apartments near her Chicago home, and sold her creation at a furniture store she owned there.

Thomas Jennings, the first African-American to receive a U.S. patent, invented the dry-cleaning process.  He operated a dry-cleaning business in New York City and is said to have donated most of his business profits to the movement to abolish slavery.

Madam C.J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove) was born to parents who had gained their freedom from slavery only to pass away a short while later from a deadly fever. Sarah became an orphan at 7 years of age and by 20 years of age she was a widow and single mother.  Having struggled with dry scalp and hair, and seeking a better life for herself and her daughter, she invented hair care products and sold them to other African-American women.  Eventually she was able to create a thriving national corporation that employed 3,000 or more people — primarily African-American women whom she taught the principles of entrepreneurship and marketing so they too could become financially stable.  Her company went on to develop other hair and beauty products and equipment that were used by white women as well.

Madam Walker became so wealthy that some of the world’s richest men in history were her neighbors.  Among them was oil billionaire (in today’s dollars), industrialist, and Spelman benefactor, John D. Rockefeller, who invested so substantially in the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary three years after it was established that its name was changed to Spelman Seminary (now Spelman College) in honor of his wife, Laura Spelman.

It is inspiring to consider such richness and ingenuity among African-Americans.  These few examples of many hundreds of black innovators and trendsetters are a clear demonstration that all of us are capable of making incredible contributions that carry our country, communities, families and fortunes forward.

article by Felicia Joy via blackenterprise.com