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Black Music Month: Celebrating the Soulful ’70s

musicmonth 600What makes the soul, funk and R&B music of the 1970s so unique and powerful? Beyond the fact that it creeps into, nourishes and elevates your mind, body and spirit, it’s the soundtrack of profound change embodying the most prolific and lush period of black cultural expression that we’ve ever experienced. Its beginning was like the clouds parting to bless the universe with radiant musical sunshine.
The penetrating artistic expression was ubiquitous and not simply confined to the radio airwaves. When tuning in to ABC’s detective drama “Baretta” from 1975 to 1978, we were treated to Sammy Davis Jr.’s haunting exhortations to keep our eyes on the sparrow.

Ruby Dee & 20 facts

rubydee 600Ruby Dee passed away at 91, and she was truly a grand dame. She not only graced the large and small screens but the Broadway stage as well.  She was a petite woman with a larger-than-life persona who possessed thespian skills that were honed to a tee. There will never be another Miss Dee, and thankfully, her immense body of work will live on. Therefore, here are 20 tidbits about the great Miss Dee that you may not know about.
1) Ruby Dee’s actual name was Ruby Ann Wallace.  Even though it felt as if Dee was married to the late-brilliant actor Ossie Davis forever, he was actually her second husband. The name “Dee” came from her first husband, blues singer Frankie Dee Brown, whom she married in 1941 and divorced in 1945.
2) Dee was born in Cleveland but considered herself a native New Yorker as she was raised in Harlem.  She lived in the Empire State all her life making New Rochelle her home until she quietly passed away from natural causes.

Juneteenth goes live this weekend

juneteenth 600The Juneteenth Urban Music Festival is set to go live Father’s Day weekend, June 13-15, on the grounds of the historic Robert R. Church Park on “world famous” Beale Street in downtown Memphis.
“We have worked around the clock to bring you some of the best local talent in Memphis and Shelby County,” said Telisa Franklin, Juneteenth’s executive director. 
“Many of them have already achieved national recognition.”


Juneteenth Urban Music Festival
10am | Robert Church Park (Beale Street)
* Memphis Redbirds vs. Reno Aces
7:05pm | AutoZone Park
Levitt Shell Concert Series: The Dynamites Featuring Charles Walker
7:30pm | Overton Park 

A plea deal for Snowden? No break for a Black Panther?

Panther1 600Question: What’s the secret to going on the lam as an anti-government global superstar and getting set up in a nice, cushy exile in a country that’s a rival to your own?
Answer: Be a keyboard-tapping, suburban-raised white guy who gives away national secrets and then puts a “patriotic” spin on it. You’ll lock in big-conference speaking stints over an encrypted Skype feed and get a prime-time interview on network news, and the federal government might even consider offering you a sweetheart plea deal while you’re at it.
At least that’s what the Washington Post’s intelligence insider, David Ignatius, managed to pry from the intelligence community recently about Edward Snowden, quoting a source saying, “If he came back and told everything he knows, then perhaps some accommodation could be reached.”