Culture, Musings

Lay Your Dreams Right Up To The Sky

Hang onto the world as it spins, around
Just don’t let the spin get you down
Things are moving fast
Hold on tight and you will last

Keep your self-respect, your manly pride
Get yourself in gear
Keep your stride
Never mind your fears
Brighter days will soon be here

Take it from me someday we’ll all be free (Yeah)

Keep on walking tall, hold your head up high
Lay your dreams right up to the sky
Sing your greatest song
And you’ll keep, going, going on

(Hey) Just wait and see someday we’ll all be free. (Yeah)
Take it from me, Someday we’ll all be free
(It won’t be long) Take it from me someday we’ll all be free
Take it from me, take it from me, take it from me

lyrics and performed by – the late great Donny Hathaway

Culture, Musings

Robin Roberts’ Coming Out Is So Bravissimo!

You’ve heard it before …
Black don’t crack
Black don’t do atheism
Black don’t do gay

Whatever it is we do or don’t do we certainly do gay. And a lot of it too. And the more out gay black public figures there are hopefully the less homophobic our “race” will be, the less ‘on the downlow’ our people will be and the less we’ll hear of: ‘It’s not our culture, it’s a white people thing.” which is just so … gay. 🙂

We owe it to the next generation to evolve in a more progressive fashion than the last one if we don’t want them left behind in the darkness of ignorance and blind prejudice.

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Culture, Musings

Negro Rights vs Conservative Ire

Not Martin Luther King, not Malcolm X and not Nelson Mandela. The black figure that I’d most like to have met while s/he was alive is James Baldwin. There is something about how he delivers his point of view combined with raw intelligence and passion (the last two also possessed by the others) that I admire and probably would love to emulate. If I had half or more of all that boy … oh boy,

The video below was recorded at Cambridge University in 1965 during the Civil Rights movement. It featured Baldwin debating William F Buckley, the noted Republican Conservative, on the motion: “Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?” Baldwin got a standing ovation not just because of his brilliance, a fact, but I suspect also because of the topic. It’s clear the Cambridge students in the hall were overwhelmingly in support of negro rights. So Buckley faced a significant headwind but after much rambling, posturing, finger pointing and exceedingly creepy body language he managed to say three things of some note (1) the American negro enjoyed a standard of living above 95% of the rest of the planet; (2) it’s the negro’s fault he’s still where he is because other immigrants have done better and (3) his coup de grace –  a threat to everyone that white conservative America will fight on the beaches and on the hills for the status quo.

On those three points: clearly (1) is beside the point especially since most of the rest of the world had little left over after WWII and the economic collapse of Britain; there’s some truth to (2) in that black people should be responsible for their own destiny but as Baldwin’s speech illustrated that’s impossible in an environment where you don’t have a voice or a legitimate identity or any rights beyond being the shoe-shine boy; and (3) the threat to go to war? The gun lobby in America now makes perfect sense.

Culture, Musings

How You Gonna Play Them CDs?

We’ll, one day, tell our grandkids: ‘There used to be these things called CDs that played music and they were supposed to last forever.”


Those were the posters screaming from the spattered windows of my local HMV store this afternoon. I sauntered in overrun by thoughts of  “Wow so many CDs! At bucket prices! I better get me some”. Greatest Hits “Rush”? Now, that’s a band I’ve heard of and I don’t have any of their records. At £2,99 maybe worth a try. What’s there to lose?

Tada, my brain jingled its pre-xmas bells: “But you don’t have a CD player” (It’s in storage but you get the drift). “And your new MacBook does not have a CD/DVD drive”. So even if I want to buy CDs (to support my local shops even though the last one is going) I can’t buy CDs because I can no longer play the darned things.