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Archive for the ‘1990s’ Category

What do they teach about racism in American high schools? In “Lies My Teacher Told Me” (1995) James W. Loewen looked at 12 history books commonly used in American high schools. One of the things he looked at is what they teach about racism. Very little, as it turns out.

Most history books do not even have the word “racism” or “racial prejudice” in their index. None of the 12 point out out how racism grew out of the practice of keeping black slaves. Not one. The closest any of them get to the cause of racism is this:

[African Americans] looked different from members of white ethnic groups. The color of their skin made assimilation difficult. For this reason they remained outsiders.

Nothing more! And this was in the 1990s, not the 1950s! As if racism is completely natural, as if white Americans do not now or ever had screwed up ideas and feelings about black people!!!

It used to be worse: before 1970 they took the white Southern view of the Civil War and the Reconstruction that followed – like what you see in the Hollywood film “Gone With the Wind” (1939)!!!  You know, like everyone in the South – black, white and presumably Native American – was happy and the North went and destroyed it all, that it had little to do with freeing the slaves, that the North ruled the South after the war just to get rich.

Now they teach that being a slave is terrible – well, 10 out of 12 books do – that the war was about freeing the slaves and that the North tried its best during the 12 years of Reconstruction after the war to rule the South.

But even so they all underplay the racism of Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and any other white person they choose to make into a hero. None point out that there must be something sick and very wrong with white Americans for wanting to own black slaves.

All 12 history books underplay white American racism after 1877, both North and South. They all leave out stuff like:

  • What blacks themselves said, like Ida B. Wells or Richard Wright, about how it was to be black in America then
  • Sundown towns: thousands of towns in the North and Midwest where blacks had to leave by sundown
  • The Tulsa race riot in 1921
  • Ota Benga, an African who was shown behind bars in the Bronx Zoo in 1906.
  • That major league baseball forced out blacks in 1889
  • Violence against blacks who became successful

Only two books said blacks faced discrimination in the North! Even Loewen himself never uses the term Jim Crow!

The history books do point out examples of racism during this period, but the overall picture is one of white indifference, not white hatred. High school students are left to assume that if blacks fell behind the Jews and Italians who came to the country after the slaves were freed, it must be their own fault. Because, you know, racism is not a big deal.

See also:

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Remarks:

This song is next to unknown in America – where it was recorded! – but it reached #3 in Britain in 1994. I have wanted to post it for a long time but it was not embeddable.

Lyrics:

Yousou N’Dour in Wolof:

Boul ma sene, boul ma guiss madi re nga fokni mane
Khamouma li neka thi sama souf ak thi guinaw
Beugouma kouma khol oaldine yaw li neka si yaw
mo ne si man, li ne si mane moye dilene diapale

Neneh Cherry in English:

Roughneck and rudeness,
We should be using, on the ones who practice wicked charms
For the sword and the stone
Bad to the bone
Battle’s not over
Even when it’s won
And when a child is born into this world
It has no concept
Of the tone the skin it’s living in
It’s not a second
7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting

Youssou N’Dour in French:

J’assume les raisons qui nous poussent de changer tout,
J’aimerais qu’on oublie leur couleur pour qu’ils esperent
Beaucoup de sentiments de races qui font qu’ils desesperent
Je veux les deux mains ouvertes,
Des amis pour parler de leur peine, de leur joie
Pour qu’ils leur filent des infos qui ne divisent pas
Changer

Neneh Cherry in English:

7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting
I’ll be waiting
And when a child is born into this world
It has no concept
Of the tone the skin it´s living in
And there’s a million voices
And there’s a million voices
To tell you what you should be thinking
So you better sober up for just a second
We´re 7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
We´re 7 seconds away
For just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting
It’s not a second
7 seconds away
Just as long as I stay
I’ll be waiting

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Remarks:

Having done posts lately on both Darwin and Angela Bassett this is the perfect song. It is Angela Bassett you hear saying “Right here! Right now!”, sampled from her film “Strange Days” (1995). This song reached #2 on the British charts in 1999.

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Angela Bassett in “Waiting to Exhale” (1995) in her most iconic scene.

 

Angela Bassett (1958- ), an American actress, is perhaps the best black female actress alive in Hollywood. She is both more beautiful and far more talented than Halle Berry, the only black woman so far to win an Oscar for best actress. Bassett has played Tina Turner, the wife of Malcolm X (twice) and the mother of Biggie Smalls.

Some of her films:

  • 1991: Boyz N the Hood
  • 1992: Malcolm X
  • 1993: What’s Love Got to Do with It
  • 1995: Waiting to Exhale (pictured above)
  • 1995: Strange Days
  • 1998: How Stella Got Her Groove Back
  • 2006: Akeelah and the Bee
  • 2008: Meet the Browns
  • 2009: Notorious

I already knew who she was by the time she appeared in “Malcolm X” but apparently it was playing Tina Turner a year later in “What’s Love Got to Do with It” that made her name with mainstream American audiences.

She lost the lead in “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” (1999) to Halle Berry. She turned down the lead in “Monster’s Ball” (2001) because of how it shows black women – and because she does not do nude scenes. Halle Berry took that part and went on to win an Oscar for best actress.

Angela Bassett was born on the very same day as Madonna: August 16th 1958. She was born in Harlem but her mother soon moved to St Petersburg, Florida, where she grew up in public housing.

In 1974 she saw James Earl Jones in “Of Mice and Men” on a school trip to Washington, DC:

I just sat there after the play, boo-hoo crying, weeping. I couldn’t move, and I remember thinking, “My gosh, if I could make somebody feel the way I feel right now!”

From that moment she began to think about becoming an actress.

She got a scholarship to Yale. After getting her degree in African American Studies, she studied acting at the Yale School of Drama. She had to unlearn her Southern accent. There she met Courtney B. Vance, whom she would one day marry.

After Yale she acted in some television ads, the soap opera “Guiding Light” and two August Wilson plays. Then her friend Larry Fishburne helped her to land a part in “Boyz N the Hood”. She played the mother of the main character – but to her she was playing her own mother. That got her noticed as a serious actress in Hollywood.

In 1993 she starred opposite Fishburne in “What’s Love Got to Do with It”, with her cast as Tina to his Ike. She broke her hand during shooting – but that only helped her to play Tina Turner even better. Tina Turner did her make-up and taught her the dance moves. One reviewer said that Bassett, “captures the erotic youthquake that was Tina Turner in the ’60s and early ’70s”.

In 1997 she married actor Courtney B. Vance. He played her husband when she appeared in the last season of “ER” (2008-2009). They have a boy and a girl: Slater and Bronwyn, both born in 2006 by means of a surrogate mother (Bassett was 47 at the time of their birth).

See also:

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Remarks:

I was going to do “100 Yard Dash” (2009) but got kind of sidetracked! This is that video with the television heads.

Lyrics:

[Q-Tip]
Ummah, Ummah, Ummah

1 – S-A double-D-I-Q
Yo, he wanna get involved with you
Mr. S-A double-D-I-Q
Yo, he wanna get involved with you
Mr. S-A double-D-I-Q
Yo, he wanna get involved with you
Mr. S-A double-D-I-Q
Yo he wanna get involved

[Raphael Saadiq]
Met this girl walking in the ghetto
(Uh huh, uh huh)
Looking good but looking down
(What’s you say, come on by)
Said she needed inspiration
(What’d you say)
I said, ‘Get yo shit cause we’re goin uptown’
(Uptown baby, uptown, say what)
I could tell she was feelin better
(Yeah, yeah come on, yeah)
When she got inside the car
(When she got inside the car)
She was a dark-skinned girl with pretty cornrows
(uh uh)
She was doin her best to try to hide her scars
(Say come on now, what you say now)

[Raphael Saadiq]
2 – I don’t really care
About that there, just get involved
Boy you, makin me feel, uh oh so real
Just get involved

[Raphael Saadiq]
Everytime i take you around friends
(Come on, everytime I take you around friends)
I catch them looking at you love
(Lookin’ at you love, lookin’ at you love like that)
You know it never ever bothered me
Because i know that i’m the one you’re thinking of

Repeat 2

[Q-Tip]
Word up, word up, word up yo
Raphael just stopped in his tracks
Get involved and make it into the pack
You know the way that you present your thing
We in the belly so we might as well cling
The way you shine shorty you da shit
The princess in the pauper pit
We may be poor but we rich in soul
Just get involved and get in control
Just get involved and get in control
You know the way we do it, yo we roll

Oh, oh, oh, oh

Repeat 1

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Remarks:

Merry Christmas!

Lyrics:

Verse 1: Run

It was December 24 on Hollis after the dark
My man Santa saw a rabbi and gave the strangest remark
He said that giving was his living and I had to take part
So I grabbed a bag of goodies and I hopped up on his cart
I laced the pockets of the poor and gave the hoodie a play
Dropped some dollars up on Hollis and I went on my way
I hear your jingle Mr. Kringle peep the single, my man
so Santa hit a brotha off and come as quick as you can!

[chorus]
Santa Baby
Just slip a Benzo under the tree for me
A ’98 convertible, light blue
I’m looking for a fly guy, like you
So hurry down the chimney tonight…

Verse 3: Ma$e

Now all Mase know
When its eight twenty-four
He be looking at the door for the ho ho ho
Cause I know
When theres a christmas uptown
Ain’t no chimney for santa to come down

Verse 4: Puff Daddy

Now to me, PD I had alot
Appreciated everything that I got
Though I used to take my pops
Who aint caught me shaking the box
Cause I knew I couldn’t wait till it turned 12 o’clock

Verse 5: Snoop Doggy Dogg

Cookies and Milk
Satin and Silk
I’m chillin in the living room, wrapped in a quilt
I’m waiting on this fat Red Suit wearing-comparing
My gifts to my homeboy next door to me
A gift here, none there, but who cares
My little sister needs a comb just to braid her nappy hair
Bbut here we go again waiting on the enemy
To slide down the chimney
Look here, that ain’t reality

[chorus]
Santa Baby
Just slip a Benzo under the tree for me
A ’98 convertible, light blue
I’m looking for a fly guy, like you
So hurry down the chimney tonight…

Verse 6: Salt & Pepa

Santa Baby, are you really real?
Chris Kringle
Let me see you make my pockets jingle (ching ching)
We need some jobs in the ghetto
Too much gangbanging where kids are playin
I hear the church bells ringing
On christmas eve
I believe
Jesus-calling me
Forget the gifts and the shopping lists
And the new kicks
Your just falling for tricks
(you better praise him)

[chorus]
Santa Baby
Just slip a Benzo under the tree for me
A ’98 convertible, light blue
I’m looking for a fly guy, like you
So hurry down the chimney tonight…

Verse 7: Fredro Starr

It’s the gritty-the grimy
The low down, the shifty
Yo Sticky, christmas time in the city
Late night, stars are bright
We gettin rocked!
With the 50 St. Nicholas
Start rippin this

Verse 8: Sticky Fingaz

Its the Grinch who stole christmas
Climbin down ya chimney
Kids open up they gifts
They all gonna be empty
Just like mine was
I hate to say it
But if I wasnt a boy I wouldnt have had nuthin to play wit!

Verse 9: Keith Murray

On December 25th I knew I wasn’t getting jack
when I saw Santa Claus on the corner buying crack
I ran up on him with the (blur) and asked him “yo whats up with that?”
He said “there aint no christmas kid” and I can’t get him back
Back in the days, Christmas was deep
My moms put presents under the tree while I played sleep
And peeped ha! Santa Claus never gave me nuthin
Seen them mad faces, lying and frontin
So do some good to the ghetto, Mr. Chris Kringle
Come and stay awhile, kick it with God’s Angel
Take and acknowledge my wisdom and understand
That Santa Claus is a black man
word up

[chorus 2 times]
Santa Baby
Just slip a Benzo under the tree for me
A ’98 convertible, light blue
I’m looking for a fly guy, like you
So hurry down the chimney tonight

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Remarks:

K-Ci and Jojo’s remake of the old Bobby Womack song. I could not stand Jodeci back then, but I love this song.

Lyrics:

I just wanna dedicate this song
to all the lovers in the world tonight
and I expect that to be the whole world
because everybody needs someone
or something to love

Yeah
when it’s cold outside
girl, who are you holding
you’ll be holding me
well, well, well, well, well
said if y’all don’t mind
can I talk about this woman I have
she’s always complaining about the things she ain’t got
and the things her girlfriend’s got
but lady I will let you know
I can’t be in two places at one time

If you think you’re lonely now
ooh yeah
wait until tonight, girl
oh, you better wait til tonight
yeah, baby
wait until tonight girl
if you think you’re lonely now
wait until tonight girl
I’ll be long gone, yes I will
wait until tonight, girl
you better wait until tonight

When skeletons come out of your closet
and chase you all around the room
memories sound like a ghost
and if you is scared
talk to me, baby

If you think you’re lonely now
wait until tonight, girl
wait until tonight
wait until tonight baby(yeah yeah)
wait until tonight girl
you better wait until tonight
if you think you’re lonely now
wait until tonight girl
do you believe me baby

Ain’t it funny how tables turn
when things ain’t goin your way
when love walks out, pain walks in
you can’t help to say

If you think you’re lonely now
wait until tonight, girl
if you think you’re lonely now
you better wait girl, yeah
wait until tonight, girl
if you think you’re lonely now
if you think you’re lonely now
hold on, ooh yeah
wait until tonight, girl
ooh, yeah

I wanna testify
I wanna testify
I wanna testify to ya
I just got one thing to say
if you think you’re lonely now

If you think you’re lonely now
baby, yeah
wait until tonight, girl
(repeat chorus until fade)

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