Aretha Franklin, the inimitable 'Rock Steady" "Queen of Soul" and 'Respect", gospel, rhythm 'n blues, pop, jazz, and so-called European Classical vocal gymnastics, the undisputed keeper of vocal renditions of female Black-American sacred, liturgical musical meditations, transitioned to the hallowed ground and space of ancestors. She was followed in death in September by Randy Weston, the giant, African-American male purveyor of cross-fertilized rhythms, who sluiced through intergalactic space travelers of interlocking genes of musical notes and chords changes, influenced by African melodic soothsayers: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charlie Mingus. Mr. Weston rose up in a crescendo of beautiful, phantasmagoric showers of powerful farewell soliloquies that touched the hearts of all who treasured this neglected artistry of so-called jazz music--Miles Davis called jazz "just music." Both Franklin and Weston were spiritual, giving humans who contributed mightily to the African American community, the entire American and World Music communities. Both will be deeply missed.
The character of Aretha Franklin and of Randy Weston stands in sharp relief contra the amorality of Number 45, who, by most measurements, is the absolute worst head of state to grace the august office he so ignominiously occupies. What Americans and the world have been witnessing over the span of Trumps past two-year presidency and his confederacy of White Male supremacist administrators (abetted by a token number of Blacks, Jews, Italians, Asians, Latinos and Native Americans) is runaway criminal behavior that will leave an indelible stain on the office of the Presidency of the USA for years to come.
On September 6, 2018, an anonymous official or a group of anonymous officials among Trump's own White House staff wrote a New York Times editorial, advocating the removal of this abhorrent person posing as president of this country. This was an unprecedented and cowardly act, since whoever wrote it didn't have the courage or patriotism to resign from office. Instead, they chose to stay on deep in the shadows to keep their jobs and access to power.
The entire episode was as weird as Trump's presidency and a momentary distraction from all the crazy, dangerous policies Trump has engaged in since he was installed in that high office. Just another strange distraction designed to switch everyone's attention from Trump's emoluments problem, his strange, secret relationship with Russian oligarchs and Vladimir Putin, his insistence that there are no ominous climate threats (What about the floods in September 2018 all over North Carolina after Hurricane Katherine?), his sadistic retrenchment agendas, his ongoing cynical attempts to undercut the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), his inhumane immigration policy, his over 5000 lies to consolidate his confused base supporters and his general inability to grow into a positive, enlightened leader who can become a beacon of light shining from this office.
What has come to be recognized in all of this chaos today is that Donald Trump is a man without any core beliefs. Rather he is an entertainer, a master manipulator of the media, not an enlightened, fair minded, visionary political leader, nor a statesman, or someone who reads, absorbs or even cares about any kind of rational, tolerant, thoughtful policy information needed to govern a country as complex--Trump only deals with his narrow, White, racist base and never to the wider, diverse country--as the United States really is.. And just for this reason he is simply unfit in every conceivable way--emotionally, spiritually, morally, academically, politically or professionally--to govern a nation as religiously, ethnically, philosophically, racially diverse and democratic as the United States purports to be.
It remains also abundantly clear that the very minority group of people who support him do not care either what the rest of the country really needs to be whole. Those bizarre groups of grinning fools at his rallies are like throwbacks to lynching parties of yore where Black men were hung, roasted alive, and their private parts chopped off, and waved as souvenirs! They don't care that he is a kleptocrat or a diabolically narcissistic sociopath. They are his undying supporters, no matter any treasonous acts he may commit. They refuse to hold him accountable for his daily treachery. More than a few journalists, thinkers, radio and cable news talking heads have likened them to a Jim Jones like cult figure--not a hard thing to disagree with when you hear them rationalize Trump's most outrageous behavior or criminal overreach. Some say it's because society today is moving at such breakneck speed, faster than at any other time in history, and they can't deal with or refuse to fathom what is going on. Maybe time is moving so fast many of these supporters can't stop long enough to pay attention to Trump's and his administration's perfidy. Certainly, the enabling cable news shows are filling their coffers with advertising dollars due to the 24-7/365 coverage that Trump's tweets and utterances receive over all TV networks. So I ask here: what does this enabling strategy by news organizations to fill their coffers with money by daily showcasing all of Trump's clown show do for healing and pushing the country's progressive agenda forward?
It is like we are all living in an insane asylum! Which is fundamentally, at their core, what three books published in 2018 on the presidency of Donald Trump argue. The three books--Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff, Unhinged by Omarosa Manigault Newman and Fear by Bob Woodward--have been all huge successes. Each became #1 bestsellers. The books report to readers just how out of control, ignorant and unprepared Trump was and is, and warned of the dire consequences that would result from the presidency of Number 45. Each book elicited harsh responses from Trump and his minions, despite the fact the books were written by insiders (Manigault & Wolff) and highly researched (Woodward).
I also agree with former President Barack Obama, who said: "Trump is a symptom and not the cause" of the disorder the nation is experiencing today. Just like racism has always been with us as a nation and will never likely go away. But how to seek a cure for it, or how to extract much of the toxicity from the poison so we can better live together is the question we all must truly ask ourselves at this critical moment. Despite talk of the 25th Amendment, designed to remove a derelict dangerous president from office, the current feeble Republican-led Congress will never enact it, because they are deathly afraid of the president and their potential loss of power. At the time of his writing, poll numbers favored Democrats to take over the House of Representatives and some said the Senate as well. I can't predict this will happen but we will know after the November 6th national election. If this happens then the nation will enter a new ball game that will see the agenda of the orange faced would-be autocrat checkmated, and his remaining time in office made exceedingly uncomfortable. For me that would-be a good thing.
What is needed at this dangerous time, however, is for all concerned citizens--whether Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Black, White, Asian, Latino, Native Americans, rich or poor--to cease being enablers of Trump, sitting on their hands, trying to equivocate the madness of Trump agenda, hoping he will cease and desist his treachery--which he won't--and to actively establish common ground, to dialogue with one another, to attempt to heal our badly wounded nation, which is perilously close to plunging off a Mount Everest-size national crisis. The time clock is ticking and the nation is moving closer to midnight. The majority of the nation has to choose sides and vote for good, or evil, or the past versus the future.
Once again, we welcome you to another issue of Black Renaissance Noire to read, contemplate, digest and savor. We are privileged to publish an excerpt from Iraq Etcetera, the newest novel from the great writer and activist, Louise Meriwether, that she says is still a work-in-progress, as well as an excerpt from Canebrake, a debut novel by Quincy Flowers; non-fiction by Wallace Ford, Stanley Cohen, a critical essay on the film Get Out from Dr. Melba Joyce Boyd, who also has given us a poem to Aretha Franklin, and Ethelbert Miller's remembrance of Leon-Gontran Damas; 18 stunning images from the collection of Ronald Maurice Ollie, which he has donated to the St. Louis Art Museum, accompanied by Mary Anne Rose's interview with Mr. Ollie and his wife Monique; 12 powerful portraits from Lava Thomas drawn from the mug shots of Black women arrested during the Birmingham, Alabama, bus boycott, and a photographic tribute to Randy Weston from Chris Cobb. Our poetry pages are filled with poems from Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, nv baker, Sharon Olds, Ishmael Reed, translations from the French by Brenda Marie Osbey of the Negritude poets, Leon-Gontran Damas and Guy Tirolien, Roger Aplon, Melanie Swetz, Michael Castro, Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, and Bob Holman. We look forward to your feedback on this and every issue. Your continued support of our efforts is greatly appreciated.
Caption: Aretha Franklin 1968
Caption: Randy Weston
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2018|
|Previous Article:||Race, Family Relations, and the Politics of Childhood in Gabriel Gbadamosi's Vauxhall.|
|Next Article:||Interview with Art Collector Ronald Maurice Ollie.|