February 07, 2013
Cicely Tyson (Born December 19, 1933) An actress. A successful stage actress, Tyson is also known for her Oscar-nominated role in the film Sounder and the television movies The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and Roots.Tyson was born and raised in Harlem, New York, the daughter of Theodosia, a domestic, and William Tyson, who worked as a carpenter, a painter, or any other jobs he could find. A member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. On May 17, 2009, Tyson received an honorary degree from Morehouse College, an all-male college.In 2010, she was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.She was discovered or found by a photographer for Ebony magazine and became a popular fashion model. Her first credited film role was in Carib Gold in 1956, but she went on to do television such as the celebrated series East Side/West Side and the soap opera The Guiding Light. In 1961, Tyson appeared in the original cast of French playwright Jean Genet's The Blacks, the longest running off-Broadway non-musical of the decade, running for 1,408 performances. She appeared with Sammy Davis, Jr. in the film A Man Called Adam (1966) and starred in the film version of Graham Greene's The Comedians (1967). Tyson had a featured role in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968) and was in a segment of the movie Roots.Tyson as Jane Pittman, 1974.The handprints of Cicely Tyson in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.In 1972, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the critically acclaimed Sounder. In 1974, she won two Emmy Awards for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Sir Sidney Poitier(Born February 20, 1927) actor, film director, author, and diplomat.In 1963, Poitier became the first black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Lilies of the Field. The significance of this achievement was later bolstered in 1967 when he starred in three successful films: To Sir, with Love; In the Heat of the Night; and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, making him the top box-office star of that year. In all three films, issues revolve around the race of the characters Poitier portrays. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Poitier among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking 22nd on the list of 25.Poitier has directed a number of popular movies, such as A Piece of the Action, Uptown Saturday Night, Let's Do It Again (with friend Bill Cosby) and Stir Crazy (starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder). In 2002, thirty-eight years after receiving the Best Actor Award, Poitier was chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to receive an Honorary Award, designated "To Sidney Poitier in recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being."Since 1997, he has been the Bahamian ambassador to Japan. On August 12, 2009, Sidney Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States of America's highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama.Dorothy Jean Dandridge(November 9, 1922 – September 8, 1965) was an actress and singer, and was the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.She performed as a vocalist in venues such as the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater.After several minor bit parts in films, Dandridge landed her first noted film role in Tarzan's Peril (starring Lex Barker), in 1951. Dandridge won her first starring role in 1953, playing a teacher in a low-budget film with a nearly all-black cast, Bright Road, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.In 1954, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Carmen Jones, and in 1959 she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Porgy and Bess. In 1999, she was the subject of the HBO biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, starring Halle Berry as Dandridge. She has been recognized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.Dandridge was married and divorced twice, first to dancer and entertainer Harold Nicholas (the father of her daughter, Harolyn Suzanne) and then to Jack Denison. She died at age 42.James Earl Jones Born January 17, 1931, an actor who in a career of over 50 years has become known as "one of America's most distinguished and versatile" and "one of the greatest actors in American history." Since his Broadway debut in 1957, Jones has won several awards, including a Tony Award and Golden Globe Award for his role in The Great White Hope. He is also known for his voice acting role as Darth Vader as well as many film, stage, and television roles.As a child Jones overcame a stutter that lasted for several years. A pre-med major in college, he went on to serve as an Army Ranger during the Korean War, before dedicating his career to acting.On November 12, 2011, he received an Honorary Academy Award.Diana Ross (Born March 26, 1944) a vocalist, recording artist, actress, and African-superstar-diva-legend. Ross has a soprano vocal range.Ross first rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer of the Motown group The Supremes during the 1960s. After leaving the group in 1970, Ross began a solo career that has included successful ventures into film and Broadway. She received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her role as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues (1972), for which she won a Golden Globe award; making her the first African-American woman to achieve such a feat. She has won seven American Music Awards, and won a Tony Award for her one-woman show, An Evening with Diana Ross, in 1977.In 1976, Billboard magazine named her the "Female Entertainer of the Century." In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Diana Ross the most successful female music artist in history due to her success in the United States and United Kingdom for having more hits than any female artist in the charts with a career total of 70 hit singles. Diana Ross has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. In 1988, Ross was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as member of the Supremes alongside Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson.Ross is one of the few recording artists to have two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—one as a solo artist and the other as a member of The Supremes. In December 2007, she received the Kennedy Center Honors. In 2012, Diana was finally honored by NARAS with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in her 50th year in the music business.Paul Edward Winfield (May 22, 1939 – March 7, 2004), a television, film, and stage actor. He was known for his portrayal of a Louisiana sharecropper who struggles to support his family during the Great Depression in the landmark film Sounder, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. Winfield portrayed Captain Terrell of the Starship Reliant in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and he also portrayed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the television miniseries King, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award.
A Special Black History Edition ‘It’s a RapMarian Anderson (February 27, 1897 – April 8, 1993) was an African-American contralto and one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century. Music critic Alan Blyth said "Her voice was a rich, vibrant contralto of intrinsic beauty." Most of her singing career was spent performing in concert and recital in major music venues and with famous orchestras throughout the United States and Europe between 1925 and 1965. Although offered roles with many important European opera companies, Anderson declined, as she had no training in acting. She preferred to perform in concert and recital only. She did, however, perform opera arias within her concerts and recitals. She made many recordings that reflected her broad performance repertoire of everything from concert literature to lieder to opera to traditional American songs and spirituals.Anderson became an important figure in the struggle for black artists to overcome racial prejudice in the United States during the mid-twentieth century.Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Harris April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959) was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo.Critic John Bush wrote that Holiday "changed the art of American pop vocals forever." She co-wrote only a few songs, but several of them have become jazz standards, notably "God Bless the Child", "Don't Explain", "Fine and Mellow", and "Lady Sings the Blues". She also became famous for singing "Easy Living", "Good Morning Heartache", and "Strange Fruit", a protest song which became one of her standards and was made famous with her 1939 recording.Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 – June 15, 1996), also known as the "First Lady of Song", "Queen of Jazz", and "Lady Ella", was an American jazz and song vocalist. With a vocal range spanning three octaves (D?3 to D?6), she was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.Fitzgerald was a notable interpreter of the Great American Songbook. Over the course of her 59-year recording career, she was the winner of 13 Grammy Awards and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by Ronald Reagan and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George H. W. Bush.Bessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) was an American blues singer.Nicknamed The Empress of the Blues, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and, along with Louis Armstrong, a major influence on subsequent jazz vocalists.Florence Beatrice Price (April 9,1887, Little Rock, Arkansas – June 3, 1953, Chicago, Illinois) was an American composer. Florence Price (née Smith) is considered the first Black woman in the United States to be recognized as a symphonic composer. Even though her training was steeped in European tradition, Price’s music consists of mostly the American idiom and reveals her Southern roots. Her mother, a soprano and pianist, carefully guided her early musical training, and at age fourteen, she enrolled in the New England Conservatory of Music with a major in piano and organ. She studied composition and counterpoint with George Chadwick and Frederick Converse, writing her first string trio and symphony in college, and graduating in 1907 with honors and both an artist diploma in organ and a teaching certificate.She taught in Arkansas from 1907–1927 and married Thomas J. Price, an attorney, in 1912. After a series of racial incidents in Little Rock, particularly a lynching that took place in 1927, the family moved to Chicago where Price began a new and fulfilling period in her compositional career. She studied composition, orchestration, and organ with the leading teachers in the city including Arthur Olaf Anderson, Carl Busch, Wesley La Violette, and Leo Sowerby and published four pieces for piano in 1928. While in Chicago Price was at various times enrolled at the Chicago Musical College, Chicago Teacher’s College, Chicago University, and American Conservatory of Music, studying languages and liberal arts subjects as well as music.
Sarah Lois Vaughan (March 27, 1924 – April 3, 1990) was an American jazz singer, described by Scott Yanow as having "one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century."Nicknamed "Sailor" (for her salty speech), "Sassy" and "The Divine One", Sarah Vaughan was a Grammy Award winner. The National Endowment for the Arts bestowed upon her its "highest honor in jazz", the NEA Jazz Masters Award, in 1989.Biographies of Vaughan frequently stated that she was immediately thrust into stardom after a winning Amateur Night performance at Harlem's Zeus Theater. In fact, the story that biographer Renee relates seems to be a bit more complex. Vaughan was frequently accompanied by a friend, Doris Robinson, on her trips into New York City. Sometime in the fall of 1942 (when Sarah was 18 years old), Vaughan suggested that Robinson enter the Apollo Theater Amateur Night contest. Vaughan played piano accompaniment for Robinson, who won second prize. Vaughan later decided to go back and compete herself as a singer. Vaughan sang "Body and Soul" and won, although the exact date of her victorious Apollo performance is uncertain. The prize, as Vaughan recalled later to Marian McPartland, was $10 and the promise of a week's engagement at the Apollo. After a considerable delay, Vaughan was contacted by the Apollo in the spring of 1943 to open for Ella Fitzgerald.
By Kam Williams
The mood was both festive and businesslike at this year’s Wall Street Project Economic Summit, hosted by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, in New York City. “For the first time,” former U.S. President Bill Clinton opined during his speech last Thursday afternoon, “[minorities] are in a position to persuasively argue that the economic inequality, which exists in America today, is a severe strain on the economic future of all Americans.”
President Clinton was among a plethora of luminaries, politicians, and businessmen who gathered for Reverend Jesse Jackson’s three-day summit, which ran at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan from January 30th through February 1st. Those in attendance, a veritable Who’s-Who of the African-American corps d’elite, included former New York Governor David Paterson, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, media mogul Reverend Al Sharpton, fund manager John W. Rogers, Jr., real estate mogul R. Donahue Peebles, Motown founder Berry Gordy, and attorney Willie E. Gary, among others.
To edify those unfamiliar with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the group is the brainchild of Reverend Jackson who merged two of his foundations, Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity) and the National Rainbow Coalition, in 1996 with a mission to, “protect, defend, and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields, and to promote peace and justice around the world.”
This year’s summit, the Coalition’s 16th since inception, aimed to discuss numerous, serious economic issues that face minority communities today. Discussions ranged from the importance of computer science education, a topic President Clinton specifically voiced concern about at considerable length, to the impact that Hip-Hop music is likely to continue to have on the economy.
Despite the jam-packed agenda, the summit did take the time to celebrate the accomplishments of successful African-Americans such as Berry Gordy, who was honored at a gala Thursday night.
On the eve of Black History Month, Reverend Jackson expressed a debt of gratitude owed to the Motown visionary by sharing a story about how Mr. Gordy, on several occasions, personally funded Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s payroll when times were tough.
“But,” Jackson assured the audience, “Motown gave us more than money. It gave us an art form and a culture that lifted us beyond the boundaries and limits of the South…We’ve [now] won the White House twice…but before there was a politician on the stage, there were musicians [who]…color-crossed and [broke down] walls.”
January 31, 2013
A party or gathering with friends from the past gives you the opportunity to strut your stuff a bit. You’ve made tremendous strides and accomplished much in your life, so be pleased with yourself this week. Pass some of your wisdom along to others. Soul Affirmation: All that I need is within me.
Do not throw a wrench in someone’s else plan and undermine their project to get ahead in what you are trying to do this week. Be peaceful and seek harmony in the relationships you have in your personal and professional life. You will go further than you think by helping co-workers and friends. Soul Affirmation: I get because I give.
This week your fortune will delight you in ways that you’ve never experienced before. Don’t be slow in sharing good fortune with others who helped you achieve what you have. Fill their coffers as yours are being filled. A wonderful gift to have is the ability to give to others. Soul Affirmation: The success of others is the investment I make in myself.
This week do not seek the “highest” source of information for your answers. Look towards a humble source for the truth about your vibrations this week. The ability to learn from any of God’s creation will lead to better answers than finite human knowledge will produce. Soul Affirmation: Truth is revealed in the smallest grain of sand.
This week your strong fortitude will be able to carry you though hurdles that you once perceived as insurmountable. Don’t begrudge your situation or begrudge others for what they have. You will become a better person when you overcome any stumbling blocks in your path. You will look back and count it as a milestone. Soul Affirmation: What life has given me is sufficient to any task.
One of your greatest talents and gifts is the ability to give freely to others. Exercise it this week with a passion. You are very timely when others are in need. Your capacity to be a stronghold for others is remarkable. The power of giving will always supersede the feelings of neediness. Soul Affirmation: Being there for others is a way of being there for myself.
Living in the past has been one of your favorite things, do it this week. Memory will give you clues to the answer to a pressing problem. Ask for help in finishing up the week’s work. Be diplomatic and you’ll get all the help you need. Pretending to be a little bit helpless can work to your favor. Soul Affirmation: My needs will be met if I just ask.
There is a fresh discovery about yourself that you can make this week by taking a poll of friends. They are especially aware of your real self. It shines through on the surface of your life. Ask others what they see and listen well. Situate yourself so you’ll be ready for it. Soul Affirmation: I enjoy the love that others have for me.
It is amazing how a restless soul like you can button down when you have to. This week is the kind of week when obligations must be met. The best way to get it done is to think about it with only half your mind. Let the other half roam around restlessly like you like your mind to do. Soul Affirmation: This week silence speaks loudest and truest.
You’ve done a lot of things in life that no one has agreed with at the beginning. Finding agreement this week will be difficult, but it should not deter you from moving forward. Feeling sorry for your loneliness will discolor what you are doing. Be happy that you are alone. Soul Affirmation: I accept fate and see good in it.
You should know by now that trying to be in two places at once is very taxing to your nerves! Slow down a bit and trust that you’ll get what needs to be done accomplished. Give yourself a head start on all road trips so that you have time to enjoy the view. Soul Affirmation: Seeing my past clearly this week gives me a clear vision of my future.
An afterglow surrounds you during the week, and you may not feel like getting immediately into work-mode this week. It’s okay to go with your feelings; the world will wait for a little while. Treasure happy moments. Soul Affirmation: Facing down challenges makes me feel good about myself.
By Kenneth Miller
Last September Ayuko Babu was at the annual Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference sitting in the audience of a panel discussion about African films.
He unquestionably has such an astute resume that would have qualified him to lead the panel, but on this day Babu was just listening and taking notes and in the room of just roughly a dozen was one of the crowd.
As renowned and revered as Babu is, perhaps his greatest human quality is that of humility which is why the 20th annual Pan African Film Festival has earned a reputation of being among the best in the world.
When the festival unfolds from Feb. 9th through Feb. 20th in Baldwin Hills at the Rave Theatres and the Baldwin Hills Mall it will not just be reflective of harnessing a vision that Babu shared with his good friend and accomplished actor Danny Glover and Emmy Award winning actress Ja’Net DuBois, but also one the Crenshaw community can embrace.
“This is a place where people come from across the planet with all of their stories. For Black folks in Los Angeles it is a God sent experience of going around the world in 10 days without having to purchase an airline ticket,” Babu told the Sentinel in an exclusive interview.
He founded the PAFF in 1992 with a goal of elevating the importance of independent filmmaking and establishing a platform for people of color to tell their stories on the big screen.
This year the festival comes on the heels of the highly controversial Oscar nominated film ‘Django Unchained’ that sparked an outpouring debate about slavery and the dreaded N-word.
“Each year is different and an opportunity for voices to come out and tell our stories,” added Babu.
While not specifically referring to ‘Django’, Babu explained that stories of film are always something new, ours are intimate, but the world of creativity is unlimited.
Babu attempts to explore and reveal through the festival “Our” story from more than 150 films, shorts ad documentaries, reflective of Africans from throughout the continent of Africa and America.
They come from Jamaica, Canada, Soweto, Nigerian, South Africa and more, but that language as depicted in their stories on film is directly from the chorus of the heart, with a trumpeting spirit that captures the soul.
When asked which films were creating the buzz for this year’s festival, Babu said,” It’s hard to say, but there is a documentary about Iceberg Slim produced by Ice T that clarifies the mystery of what he was all about.”
He also pointed to a couple of others such as ‘Home Again’, as a film good for Blacks to see and ‘Otelo Bernie’, a film about South Africa and the liberation of South Africa centered abound an integrated surfing team.
“Until we begin to understand and tell our ancient stories it will be difficult for us to see where we are going,” Babu offered.
The PAFF is a non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring more than 1000 students from local middle schools and high schools to attend the festival.
Each weekend during the festival there will be a children’s festival from 10am-12pm for kids’ ages 4-12 where story telling will take place. It’s free to the public.
A jazz concert will be held at the Baldwin Hills Mall that will also be free, and for those in the film business or who aspire to be in films there will be workshops and opportunities to meet filmmakers, producers and distributors.
There are also the massive arts that will be available for purchase throughout, paintings, beads, jewelry and the like.
As Babu would say it best, there is just no excuse to miss it…
By DAN SEWELL
Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, frontman for the hit-making funk music band the Ohio Players, has died. He was 69.
The Ohio Players, known for their brassy dance music, catchy lyrics and flamboyant outfits, topped music charts in the 1970s with hits such as “Love Rollercoaster,” “Fire,” “Skin Tight” and “Funky Worm.”
A spokeswoman for a Newcomer Funeral Home in the Dayton suburb of Kettering said Monday morning that the family hadn’t scheduled any public services. There was also a posting about his death on his current band’s Facebook page. No other information was released immediately about his death Saturday.
Born in Hamilton, Ohio, Bonner teamed up in the 1960s with core members of a group called the Ohio Untouchables to form the Ohio Players. The band had a string of Top 40 hits in the mid-1970s and continued to perform for years after that. He had remained active in recent years with a spinoff band called Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players.
“Humble yet charismatic, soft-spoken and of few words, the weight of his thoughts, lyrics and music has influenced countless other artists, songs and trends,” stated a posting attributed as an “official family announcement” on the Facebook page of Sugarfoot's Ohio Players. “He will be missed but not forgotten as his legacy and music lives on.”
Marshall Jones, the bass player and a founding member of the Ohio Players, called his bandmates “a bunch of the most creative people — especially Sugarfoot — that I have ever been around.”
“It’s kind of crazy,” Jones, 72, told The Associated Press of Bonner’s death. “I’m still feeling fragile.”
Jones said after years of playing music, the band’s sudden stardom, with No. 1 singles and huge crowds in venues such as the Superdome in New Orleans, was stunning.
“I sit back now, and it was all a brilliant blaze,” he said. “I think ‘Damn, did I do that?’ It was just ‘Zoom!’ That was a starburst. And like all things like that, it fizzles.”
Jones said he, Bonner and other band members were delighted and flattered when “Love Rollercoaster” gained new fans through a 1990s cover by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Bonner had said he learned about music in Hamilton, where he was the oldest of a large family, playing harmonica, learning guitar and sneaking into bars as an adolescent to play with adult musicians. He said he ran away from his home some 20 miles north of Cincinnati at age 14, and told the Hamilton Journal News in 2009 that he had only gone back there once. He explained he had bad memories of growing up poor.
He wound up in Dayton, where he connected with the players who would form the band. Their lineup changed at times, but featured horns, bass, guitar, drums and keyboards.
“We were players. We weren’t trying to be lead singers, but we became one of the first crossover singing bands,” Bonner told the Dayton Daily News in a 2003 interview. He said he initially played with his back to the audience, because he didn’t want to get distracted.
While the band used sexual innuendo, Bonner said he didn’t relate to some of the explicit lyrics and attitudes of later pop music and rap.
“There is nothing but the old school and the new fools,” he said. “It’s a shame the way these artists are preaching badness to a drum beat.”e hit-making funk music band the Ohio Players, died Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 in southwest Ohio. He was 69. AP Photo
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