Eunice Kathleen Waymon was born 77 years ago today in the tiny town of Tryon, North Carolina. As Nina Simone, she’d go on to become the most powerful singer/songwriter of the Civil Rights era, blending the rawest aspects of jazz, blues, soul, and gospel into a unique style that buoyed her message of liberation.
In terms of political philosophy, reggae has leaned largely towards Marcus Garvey, Paul Bogle, Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. Here are a couple of exceptions, salutes to the man who we celebrate today in the U.S.
First, “Martin Luther King” by Max Romeo from Reconstruction, his 1979 follow up to his landmark album War Ina Babylon.
Here’s “Martin Luther King”, one of the tracks on studio wizard Scientist’s 1983 album International Heroes Dub with the Forces of Music band. Other track titles include “George Jackson”, “Ho Chi Minh”, “Malcolm X” and “Desmond Tutu”...
Abbey Lincoln died today at the age of 80. She mattered in the world because she was a female jazz singer who stood up and became active in the civil rights struggle in the ‘60s when she could have remained neutral and safe.
She made great art. Nat Chinen wrote an excellent obit for her in the New York Times.
The Watts riots happened 45 years ago today. Sparked by the arrest and beating of young African-American Marquette Frye and the detention of objecting Frye family members, the 1965 unrest happened in a context of extreme racial tension in California.
Along with the growing poverty that accompanied the post-War closing of factories in South Central L.A., the riots also happened in a context West Coast segregationist politics. By funding the passage of Proposition 14, the California Real Estate Association had just successfully cancelled out the Mumford Act, which was the part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prevented housing discrimination on the basis of race.
After the jump: From Stacy Peralta’s 2008 documentary Crips and Bloods: Made in America, Kumasi, a former member of the street squad The Slausons, breaks down the strategy of dealing with the National Guard presence during the riots…
Dangerous Minds is a compendium of oddities, pop culture treasures, high weirdness, punk rock and politics drawn from the outer reaches of pop culture. Our editorial policy, such that it is, reflects the interests, whimsies and peculiarities of the individual writers. And sometimes it doesn't. Very often the idea is just "Here's what so and so said, take a look and see what you think."
I'll repeat that: We're not necessarily endorsing everything you'll find here, we're merely saying "Here it is." We think human beings are very strange and often totally hilarious. We enjoy weird and inexplicable things very much. We believe things have to change and change swiftly. It's got to be about the common good or it's no good at all. We like to get suggestions of fun/serious things from our good-looking, high IQ readers. We are your favorite distraction.