Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Episode 118: "The Beulah Show"

I like to try and keep y'all guessing as to what I'm gonna put out next, and this episode is a television first...the first show to star an African American woman...the one...the only...The Beulah Show! Starring Hattie McDaniel, this episode of 'The Beulah Show' is called 'The Waltz', and I must say that I found it entertaining. To start off, the show is funny. How about that lil' football dance that Bill shows to Little Donnie. But then I start to thinking...what is Beulah doing taking care of that white family like that for? What's wrong with the mom? Where's Beulah's own family? Apparently, this show was eventually canceled in 1953 due to protests from the NAACP because of its stereotypical portrayals of Black women in domestic positions. And although the show is not overtly racist, the family doesn't go around calling Beulah names or mistreating anybody, but it does reflect the times that created it. The racist times of the 1950s when blacks were expected to know their places, alongside and serving the good white folks. Anyhow, this is one of the episodes of this show that has survived over the years. It was entertaining, and does have a good message, and does portray some interaction between the races. I mean after all, Beulah is an integral part of this family's life and a motherly figure to the young boy. But I guess that's just and example of the complicated history of American racism. Y'all can take a look and decide for yourselves whether you think it deserved to be canceled or not. Peace.

P.S. I tried to update the short opening clip for the podcast...let me know what y'all think.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Episode 117: "The Bronze Buckaroo" (parts 1 & 2)

Howdy y'all...I haven't put out an old timey movie in a while, and who doesn't like a good western? Well, you may not think this movie is all that good...but it's not terrible either. It's just a western, but it's a black western, and that counts for something on this podcast. "The Bronze Buckaroo" (1939) stars Herb Jeffries, known for his roles as a singing cowboy, even though he doesn't sing all that much in this film. You can hear his song "I'm a happy cowboy" at the very beginning, but you don't get to actually see him singing it in the movie (as you can with other old black westerns starring Jeffries, I'll put out another one in the future so you can see what I mean). But he is a rootin' tootin' gun shootin' ladies' man of a cowboy...and that's what the old school western was all about. All in all I found this movie enjoyable. The whole talking mule joke is still pretty dang funny. And Spencer Williams does a fine job playing the crazy villian "Pete". If you've been watching the BMA for a while, you ought to recognize Spencer Williams from a few of the other past movie episodes (i.e. episodes 33 and 73). Mr. Williams was a talented actor/director and in my opinion deserves more props for his accomplishments. The same goes for Herb Jeffries, the African-American cowboy/country singer that has been all but forgotten today. But all that being said, I hope that y'all enjoy "The Bronze Buckaroo", a good example of how African-Americans attempted to cover different genres in film from the very beginning. I mean, when was the last time you saw an all black western movie hit theaters? See what I'm saying? Peace.

P.S. Shout out to blackphotographer for your comment on the BMA page on PodcastAlley. I hadn't checked out that page in a while, but I appreciate the props. For real.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Episode 116: Zora Neale Hurston

Some more good ol' blues and jook songs. In this episode, Zora Neale Hurston sings "Ever Been Down" (collected in 1933), an old blues song..."been down so long the down don't bother me"...now that's a lifetime of the blues. If y'all ain't figured it out yet, I'm a fan of the blues. Sometimes you have to try to sing the pain away. The second song, "Mama Don't Want No Peas, No Rice". It's a catchy lil' carribbean/Bahaman tune about living with a drunk woman. The third song, "Tampa" is just a trip. She makes Tampa sound stank in this song...but it's still funny. Hope that y'all dig em. Peace.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Episode 115: Interview with Aunt Harriet Smith

I realized that I haven't put out one of these interview episodes in a while. Even though they can be difficult to understand at times, I enjoy listening to these old slave interviews. First of all, just to hear the voices. There's something spooky and comforting about them to me, and the stories that they tell are truly priceless. The interviewers can get annoying at times, with their condescending attitudes, what sometimes sounds like fake interest, and constant requests for singing. But to listen to their voices is to hear both weariness and strength, victim and victor, and reminisces of times long since past (even though these recordings were made not that long ago...this one for example in 1941...that's my grandparents time). I also can't help but notice hearing deep American tradition and dialect that has lingered even today. I truly appreciate these recordings, and enjoy sharing them on this podcast. I hope that y'all enjoy them too. Peace.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Episode 114: Reverend Jeremiah Wright

I've been sitting on this recording for some time. Long before Rev. Wright has become such a famous name in the media. So I thought that now would be a good time to release this episode, a copy of his famous sermon titled "The Audacity to Hope" (1990). I haven't released a sermon in a while, and this particular sermon as well as the pastor have become especially famous during this presidential election for very different reasons. It is a stirring speech describing the human condition and capacity to hope. In it he works in an explanation of the biblical story of Hannah. Listen and look at the picture (the image of the painting is the same painting that Rev. Wright refers to in his sermon), and hopefully you will be inspired to understand how important it is to hope in this life and in this world. No matter how bad things seem we can hope in God. Peace.

Episode 113: Minister Louis Farrakhan (part 2)

Part two...the audience question and answer segment. This is where this show begins to really get interesting. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Episode 113: Minister Louis Farrakhan (part 1)

Can someone please tell me how the name Louis Farrakhan became equated with the word "racist" in this country? Because it seems that while watching the news over the past few weeks, every time I hear talk about racism, his name is brought up soon afterwards. Could it be because of programs like this one, (in the same vein as episode 111)? Are his speech snippets that outrageous? I see a pattern of outspoken black people repeatedly portrayed and labeled the same way. I see it, but I really don't get it. When did black people have to choose between embracing the man, or "denouncing and rejecting" everything he speaks out on. Why are black leaders forced into these public statements? But what can I do? Well, here's a copy of Minister Farrakhan from 1990 in an appearance on the Donahue show. Y'all can watch it and form your own opinions. Peace.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sweet Auburn Audio Tour - A Walk With Andrew Young

I would like to take this opportunity to announce the launch of a new podcast. Over the past year, I have had the privilege to work with the new Atlanta Center for Civil and Human Rights (http://www.cchrpartnership.org) on several projects, including this one. And this project is one that I feel is a step forward in utilizing new media to present important African-American history to the world. So please take a moment to visit the webpage introducing this podcast here, or check it out on iTunes here. And if you are ever in the Atlanta area, take a minute to take a walk down historic "Sweet" Auburn Avenue. You'll be glad you did. Peace.

Episode 112: Malcolm X

The subject of this episode is "Reverse Racism" as elaborated on by Malcolm X. As with a lot of Malcolm's speeches, I don't know the place or date that this address was given, but as with episode 111, with as many times as that I have heard the phrase "Reverse Racism" on the news in the last few weeks, I thought that it'd be a good time to release this speech. Just to add Malcolm's 2 cents on the subject. Peace.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Episode 111: "The Hate That Hate Produced" (parts 1 & 2)

I'm a little late with this blog posting, but I've been trying to finish up this moving and unpacking. But I am back online, and trying to play a little catch up. So here is the posting for Episode 111 parts 1 and 2.

After all of the news reports the past few weeks about a certain dangerous religious figure, I thought it was a good time to put out the news documentary, "The Hate That Hate Produced". It's interesting to watch this report from 1959, and see how far journalistic reporting of outspoken African-American religious figures has come in the last forty years. "The Hate That Hate Produced" introduced the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X to mainstream America, and scared the heck out of them at the same time. This documentary appealed to white America and "sober-minded Negroes" to call attention to these "racist" and anti-American statements. It's interesting to compare this report to some of the journalistic reporting broadcast recently. But aside from those personal observations, this news report was so popular when it was broadcast, it became the format for the long running news program "60 Minutes" (yes, that's Chris Wallace narrating this program). This documentary is an excellent source of some historic interviews and speeches from the leaeders and spokesmen of the Nation of Islam and the United African Nationalist Movement including James Lawson, and political leaders including Adam Clayton Powell and NAACP spokesman Roy Wilkins. Part two features some interesting interviews with members of the black community of Harlem asking their opinions of the Black Muslims and Nationalist groups. And the ending interview with African-American reporter Lomax is also an interesting look into investigative reporting of the African American community. These episodes are definitely worth a watch. Peace.