Atlantic Starr: Always


A song you will never hear on NPR. This went to #1 in the US on both the pop and R&B charts in 1987. It went to #3 in Britain. I have not heard this song in ages, but it still sounds good after all these years, even if it is kind of shmaltzy (it seemed that way back then too).

See also:


Girl you are to me
All that a woman should be
And I dedicate my life
To you always

A love like yours is rare
It must have been sent from up above
And I know you’ll stay this way
For always

And we both know, that our love will grow
And forever it will be, you and me (yeah)
Ooh you’re like the sun, chasing all of the rain away
When you come around you bring brighter days
You’re the perfect one, for me and you forever will be
And I will love you so, for always

Come with me my sweet, let’s go make a family.
They will bring us joy, for always.
Ooh boy I love you so, I can’t find enough ways
To let you know, but you can be sure I’m yours for always.

And we both know, that our love will grow
And forever it will be, you and me (yeah)
Ooh you’re like the sun, chasing all of the rain away
When you come around you bring brighter days
You’re the perfect one, for me and you forever will be
And I will love you so, for always

(Ooh… ooh… I will love you so for always.)
(Ooh… ooh… I will love you so for always.)
(Ooh… ooh… I will love you so for always.)


Want ad, 1859.

“The Irish had it hard too” is a common White racist argument. It points out that the Irish once had it just as bad if not worse than Black Americans: slavery, genocide, poverty, prejudice, stereotypes, job discrimination, etc.

They are not making it up:

  • In the 1500s and 1600s, the horror show of British settler colonialism made its worldwide debut in Ireland. The Irish were driven off their land, massacred, scalped, sent to Barbados and elsewhere as slaves, seen as “savages”, seen as less than human.
  • In the 1800s, when they began to arrive in numbers in the US, they were called “niggers turned inside out”. They were stereotyped as being lazy, given to drink, lacking in self-control, as being little better than beasts. In the South they were given work that even slaves would not be made to do because it was too dangerous. Want ads said, “No Irish need apply.”

All true.

What makes the argument racist is when these facts are used to suggest that what Blacks have gone through and are going through is not racism, but just classism or just man’s plain old inhumanity to man.

What that argument leaves out is that the Irish got to where they are – because of racism. They did not suffer from hundreds of years of slavery – because they were White. They could vote by the 1860s, not the 1960s – because they were White. They easily qualified for the Homestead Act, the G.I. Bill and FHA loans – because they were White. They could live in nice neighbourhoods and go to nice schools – because they were White.

They were not always “White”. Certainly not in the 1600s. Even in the early 1800s, not everyone in the US saw them as fully White. But by the late 1800s, Whiteness in the US had been enlarged to include them.

There is another way this argument is used. By Irish Americans. They sometimes use it to wash their hands of the racist ills of US society. Do not buy it:

The incomplete list of racist stuff Irish Americans took part in without batting an eye:

  • Manifest Destiny,
  • race riots,
  • support for the Chinese Exclusion Act,
  • shutting Blacks out of labour unions and jobs,
  • White flight,
  • opposition to school desegregation,
  • Fox News.

The oppressed has turned oppressor. 


Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, 2014.

It was not Ireland that made them that way. It was the US.

Noel Ignatiev, who wrote “How the Irish Became White” (1995), noted:

In 1841, 60,000 Irish in Ireland issued an address to their compatriots in America, calling upon them to join with the abolitionists in the struggle against slavery. Six months after the address, the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison wrote what may be the saddest words ever written about the Irish diaspora:

“Even to this hour, not a single Irishman has come forward, either publicly or privately, to express his approval of the address, or to avow his determination to abide by its sentiments.”

Thanks to Linda for the Ignatiev article.

– Abagond, 2015.

Sources: “Race in North America” (2012) by Audrey Smedley and Brian D. Smedley; Noel Ignatiev (2010); “A Different Mirror” (2008) by Ronald Takaki; “Black Identities: West Indian Immigrant Dreams and American Realities” (1999) by Mary C. Waters. 

See also:


Black Power

$(KGrHqR,!mIFJHuh)YgnBSWO(s39JQ--60_35Black Power (fl. 1966-1974) was a movement for change among Blacks in the US that largely took the place of the civil rights movement after 1968, when Martin Luther King, Jr was killed. By 1976, the FBI had all but destroyed its political wing.

The civil rights movement sought to achieve integration with Whites through non-violence. The way King achieved these undermined both:

  • Non-violence: King used non-violent Black protesters to egg Whites into violence. That shamed the US before the world at the height of the Cold War, when it supposedly stood for freedom, democracy and equality. That led to laws like the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, ending Jim Crow in the South.
  • Integration: But such laws did little to change the more subtle racism in the North, while White violence persuaded many Blacks that Whites would never willingly accept them as equals.

And then, Dr King, with Christian cheek turned, was shot dead. Riots in 125 cities followed. Black Power arose from the ashes.

The Black Power movement had started three years before when Stokely Carmichael marched with Dr King from Selma to Montgomery. He tried to get Blacks in Lowndes County, Alabama to vote. Instead of voting for Democrats or Republicans, they created their own party, the Freedom Organization, complete with its own people standing for office. Instead of a donkey or an elephant as their party’s symbol, they had a black panther.


Black Panther parties spread across the country. The best known one was in Oakland, California, led by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton. It took ideas from Fanon, Mao and Che. In time it would offer free breakfasts, free health care, a school and its own men under arms to fight police brutality.

The FBI saw this as a huge threat. Its Cointelpro operation was already undermining communists. It was a simple matter to do the same to the Panthers. The Panthers and their offshoots were filled with FBI spies, like Richard Aoki. They turned the leadership against itself and worked with the police to have them locked up in prison or tied up in court. They even had the Chicago police kill Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.

free-angela-buttonBy the middle 1970s, most of the Black Power leadership was dead, in prison or in exile. Angela Davis, who won her case in court and got out of prison, was the exception not the rule. Just ask Mumia.

The Black Power movement’s lasting effects:

  • Black pride,
  • Black studies at universities, leading to greater knowledge of Black history,
  • using the word “Black” instead of “Negro”,
  • Blacks looking down on those who try to be White,
  • Kwanzaa,
  • natural hairstyles,
  • spoken word poetry,
  • more Black content from museums and publishers.

Underlying most of these is the idea that Blacks should not look up to Whites or pin their hopes on them. Blacks should create their own culture, their own institutions, live by their own values, that as a colonized people they need to unbrainwash themselves.

– Abagond, 2015.

See also:


Ta-Nehisi Coates


Ta-Nehisi Coates (1975- ) is an American writer who just won a MacArthur Genius Grant ($625,000 over five years). He is best known for “The Case for Reparations” (2014) in the Atlantic magazine, for which he works, and his book “Between the World and Me” (2015).

Toni Morrison:

“I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates. The language of ‘Between the World and Me’, like Coates’s journey, is visceral, eloquent, and beautifully redemptive. And its examination of the hazards and hopes of black male life is as profound as it is revelatory.”

Cornel West:

“Baldwin was a great writer of profound courage who spoke truth to power. Coates is a clever wordsmith with journalistic talent who avoids any critique of the Black president in power.”

Like Baldwin in the early 1960s, Coates does seem to be playing the same part in the middle 2010s: a “spokesman” for Black people that White American liberals will read.

Also like Baldwin, Coates sees the same roadblock to ending racism in the US: the need for Whites to preserve a (false) sense of innocence. But where Baldwin advised his nephew to help Whites, Coates tells his son not to waste his time.

Reparations is what Coates says will end racism. Not only will it help to end the huge difference in wealth between Blacks and Whites, but it will also require Whites to give up their false innocence, the main thing keeping racism in place. Deep down most Whites know they should give reparations, but they are far from admitting that to themselves.

That does not mean Black people should give up. Even if it takes a hundred years, Blacks should keep pushing for reparations.

When he was a boy, his father took him to prisons. His father was a Black Panther, working to get other Black Panthers out of prison. One of them was Eddie Conway. To Coates it seemed kind of pointless, but his father did not give up. In 2014, after 44 years, Conway walked free.

His father worked at Howard University at the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. It was a library that gathered books from all over the world that were written by or about Black people. Growing up, Coates’s home was filled with such books. He became a huge reader.

His mother taught him to write and to always question. He was not much good at school and it took him 15 years after he dropped out of Howard University before he could make a living at it, but he never stopped questioning and never stopped writing.

His parents also passed onto him their fear. It was limiting but it helped to keep him safe – he grew up in West Baltimore at the height of the Crack Era, the time and place that “The Wire” is based on.

A turning point came when Prince Jones, a friend from Howard University, was gunned down by police. His fear turned to rage.

– Abagond, 2015.

See also:


between-the-world-and-me“Between the World and Me” (2015) is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s 152-page letter to his 15-year-old son. It talks about his life, about the meaning of being Black – and White – in the US and passes on some fatherly wisdom. Toni Morrison says it is “required reading.”

As a boy, Coates remembers his mother

“clutching my small hand tightly as we crossed the street.”

He never fully understood that till someone he knew at Howard University, Prince Jones, was murdered by the police:

“She knew that the galaxy itself could kill me, that all of me could be shattered and all her legacy spilled upon the curb like bum wine. And no one would be brought to account for the destruction…”

“Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have and you come to us endangered.”

He visits the mother of Prince Jones, and of Jordan Davis. Utterly heartbreaking.

His parents’s desperate love passed on their fear, a fear he had to face without religion, a fear confirmed by the violence of the West Baltimore streets where he grew up.

On television he saw the dispatches from another world, the land of the Dream where boys his age only feared poison oak.

The Dream was why he had to live in fear:

“In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body – it is heritage.”

The Dream was built in part on slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, ghettos and mass incarceration. Police brutality was the expressed democratic will of the Dreamers.

None of this was a secret, yet:

“there exists, all around us, an apparatus urging us to accept American innocence at face value and not to inquire too much.”

Dreamers have great powers of forgetting and are long practised in looking away, of not waking up from the Dream.

“It is still too difficult for most Americans to do this. But that is your work. It must be, if only to preserve the sanctity of your mind.”

He tells his son not to waste time on the Dreamers trying to wake them up:

“the stage where they have painted themselves white, is the deathbed of us all. The Dream is the same habit that endangers the planet, the same habit that sees our bodies stowed away, in prisons and ghettos.”

He urges his son to struggle, for wisdom, for the memory of his ancestors, for the freedom of Black people:

“History is not solely in our hands. And still you are called to struggle, not because it assures you victory, but because it assures you an honorable and sane life.”

At Howard University, where he knew Prince Jones, he saw Black people from all over the country and all over the world come together in one place. He calls it The Mecca. And there he saw and understood that, despite what the Dreamers want you to believe, Black people have created their own world that is beautiful and precious.

– Abagond, 2015.

See also:


silhouette-1525In the 1500s, there were next to no White Americans, much less White American racism. But some of the seeds had already been planted:

England in the 1500s:

  • “Capitalist” values – By 1500, foreign travellers were already noticing certain things that made the English different from other people:
    • extreme individualism / arrogance,
    • overbearing pride,
    • suspiciousness / an every-man-for-himself mindset,
    • preoccupation with their own private interests,
    • pursuit of money,
    • lack of affection for their children.

    Capitalism and Protestantism would strengthen these values, but they are older than either. They arose in the 1200s and 1300s with the breakdown of the old feudal order that tied man to land and kin. The Hundred Years War (1337-1453) and the weakening moral authority of the Catholic Church also helped to make the pursuit of wealth a way of life.

  • property rights – By 1500, the rich and powerful were becoming yet more rich and powerful by fencing off or enclosing public lands, meadows and forests. This drove many into extreme poverty. That absolute right to private property over the public good will reach its most extreme form in the US, particularly its view of slaves as less than human.
  • The Irish – Ireland was the dry run for North America. Views and policies first applied to the Irish would later be applied to Black and Native Americans: extreme ethnocentrism, stereotypes, dehumanization, plantations, massacres, genocide, deportation, slavery, taking land and creating a cheap labour force. The Irish were seen as lazy, dirty, immoral, lawless, lacking in self-control, and making poor use of the land. In short, they were seen as “savages”. Some of this goes all the way back to the late 1100s, when England first tried to rule Ireland, but some of it comes from the Spanish and how they dealt with the people of the Americas in the 1500s. The Protestant Reformation added religion to the mix:
  • The Devil – was seen as taking over people and making them do his bidding. That is why witches were such a big deal. But it also allowed the English to see non-Christians, and even non-Protestants (like the Irish), as being in league with the Devil. That made it easier for the English to kill them.
  • Lack of experience with physical differences – Unlike the Spanish and Portuguese, who used to be ruled by the Moors, some of them West African, the English had no long history of dealing with people who looked different than them.
  • Anglo-Saxonism – the English thought they were better than everyone else, arrogantly so, particularly because of their supposedly “Anglo-Saxon” laws and institutions. It was not about race till the 1700s. In the 1500s it was about making Henry VIII’s break with the Catholic Church seem right and good.
  • The word “race” – meaning a breeding stock of horses – or of humans – entered the English language in the 1500s, as did “Negro” and “Indian”. All three came from Spanish. Race would not mean skin colour till the 1700s, but the seed had been planted.

– Abagond, 2015.

Source: “Race in North America” (2012) by Audrey Smedley and Brian D. Smedley.

See also:


Logic: Young Sinatra III


This came out in 2012 but did not seem to chart. I love the beginning of this video, the part before he starts rapping. Like Jose Hollywood’s “Yoncé”, it reminds me of me sometimes when I walk down the street.

Also, that corner seems strangely familiar, like I have been there before. It is in fact the corner of West North Avenue and North Howard Street in Baltimore. I have been there before, but in a car. not on foot. I am probably thinking of some other corner but I cannot think of which.



[Verse 1]
Various listeners is wishing us death
Don’t give a damn, I’m reppin’ Young Sinatra till my last breath
Easily my darkest confession is lyrical agression
Through indiscretion that triggers anti-depression
When addressin’ my profession in every session
The fact that I’m alive is such a blessing
Sippin’ wine while these honeys undressin’
What I’m about to say is highly confidential
And in the music industry today, very essential
So bust out your pencil, you can do it on your own
Stop thinking that these labels is the ones that put you on
Let’s change the topic, who’s your favorite rapper?
I’m the top pick, ha
The flow is elegant, never irrelevant
How many times must I say this?
Cock back and spray this, never delay this
I pray this, reaches the masses
And spread like cancer on they asses
Now, allow me to catch wreck, bust rhymes like tech
Put me in your box and I destroy the deck

[Hook x2]
(Life’s a bitch and then you die)
I used to bus’ tables, now I bust rhymes
(That buck that bought a bottle
Life’s a bitch and then you die)
Swear to God I’m the reincarnated Young Sinatra

[Verse 2]
Whipin’ through Cabo in a Murcielago
Dodging paparazzi with the finest dime I met in Chicago
The baddest Bobby soxer that you ever seen, reppin’ my team
We real all the time, so my squad keen, bing
Dave, it’s me Sinatra and my boy Dean
The way we (winning) I can’t believe there isn’t a Sheen
And pregnant women listen and they give birth to a fiend
I spit narcotic epidemic all up in your genes
In layman’s terms I disperse a verse you never seen
Assassinate rappers the moment that they intervene
While you in the alley playing dice
I’m in the yacht contemplating plans for the next diamond heist
Art thieves and jewel connoisseurs
I study every part of they mind and make my rhyme better than yours
Elevated by being hated, sleeping on the brother like they heavily sedated
Some say I’m one in a million, I say I’m one of a kind
Only cocky when I rhyme, I’m Muhammad in his prime

[Hook x2]

[Verse 3]
Yo, Address the mic and start spillin’ like I hit the vein
Back in the day they used to sleep on me like Tryptophan
Touchdown now the city screamin’ my name
I flow gunshots and break fingers just to shift the pain
The weather, hate em’, I levitate em’ like David Blaine
Black Ops state of mind, play the game like campaign
Bumpin’ Santana in a finest Copacabana
In Havana with a honey by the name of Hannah
Wearing nothing but a bandana
Pussy wetter than Louisiana
You know the deal, peace to Miilkbone, I keep it real
Flyer than a man of steel, motherfucker how you feel, It’s Logic

(I woke up early on my born day, I’m 20, it’s a blessing
The essence of adolescence leaves my body, now I’m fresh and
My physical frame is celebrated cause I made it
One quarter through life some Godly-like thing created
Got rhymes 365 days annual plus some
Load up the mic and bust one, cuss while I puffs from
My skull cause it’s pain in my brain, vein, money maintain
Don’t go against the grain, simple and plain)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,889 other followers

%d bloggers like this: