November 21, 2013
By DAVID SHARP
One of two copies of the oldest known recording of a black vocal group in the U.S. is up for auction — a recording so rare and delicate that the auctioneer doesn’t dare try to play it.
The 1893 recording of “Mama’s Black Baby Boy” by the Unique Quartet pre-dates vinyl recordings. The song was recorded on a wax-covered cylinder using technology invented by Thomas Edison. It can only be played on a special cylinder player that was a predecessor to phonographs, which played flat, vinyl discs, said Troy Thibodeau, manager of Saco River Auction Co.
The 120-year-old recording, along with a second Unique Quartet song, “Who Broke the Lock (on the Henhouse Door)?” from 1896, came from a Portland collector who amassed 3,000 of the old cylinder recordings.
“They’re in fantastic shape,” Thibodeau said Wednesday, carefully showing off the smooth cylinder covered in brown wax on which the music resides in etched grooves. “All it takes is a little bit of heat or a little bit of cold, and these things are junk. So, for more than 100 years, someone really took care of these things and treasured them.”
Both cylinders are up for auction on Saturday, along with hundreds of other items, including a shirt belonging to George Custer, the cavalry captain who died in 1876 while fighting Indians at Little Bighorn in Montana.
Cylinder recordings are becoming rare, and recordings of black artists even more rare.
There are so few cylinders that have the historical significance of the Unique Quarter recordings that it's hard to know how much they might sell for. An appraiser believes they’ll go for $25,000 or more — apiece.
The cylinders rotate on a machine that looks like an early Victrola-style player. A needle fits in the wax grooves as the cylinder spins. Such players still exist, but the wax degrades with each playing. Later phonographs featured flat platters and vinyl recordings that lasted far longer than wax.
Another black group, the Standard Quartet, is credited with making earlier cylinder recordings than the Unique Quartet, but none of those recordings exist today, said Bob Marovich, a gospel music historian in Chicago.
Marovich said he holds out hope that more of the old music could turn up. “Finding this one serves as a well of hope that maybe some more of them are out there,” he said in a telephone interview.
It’s startling how soon music can be lost.
Robert Darden, who’s working to save the music by digitizing existing vinyl recordings through the Black Music Restoration Project, estimates that 75 percent of gospel music recorded on vinyl from 1940 to 1970 has disappeared.
“All pre-digital black sacred music is at risk. The cylinders are made from pressed, hardened wax and grow brittle and chipped with age. Vinyl 78s, 45s, and LPs were melted down and recycled as part of the war effort during World War II,” said Darden, who’s a professor at Baylor University in Texas.
LAWT News Service
ESSENCE wants to know: Are you ready to be the next top filmmaker? The #1 media brand for African-American women has chronicled Black women’s stories for more than 40 years with a strong legacy of showcasing inspiring images reflecting the truths and triumphs of Black women’s lives. Now, ESSENCE continues this rich tradition with the launch of The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Short Film Contest: Spotlight On Our Journeys.
Launching on November 1st on ESSENCE.com, the aim of ESSENCE’s Short Film contest is to create images of Black women that are multidimensional and refreshing – in contrast to the narrow depictions that are commonly presented in media. In fact, respondents in ESSENCE’s recent, ground-breaking study, Understanding Images of African-American Women in Society, shared that the majority of images of Black women in media are not reflective of how they see themselves.
The deadline for submissions is December 5, 2013. A field of finalists will be selected by a team of ESSENCE editors. From there one winner will be chosen by the Black Women in Hollywood Academy, which includes top industry tastemakers. Judges include: Shonda Rhimes, creator and executive producer of hit shows Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal; actress Regina King and more. The winner will later be honored in the company of A-listers during the 7th annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon held on February 27, 2014.
“At ESSENCE, we understand how a powerful story, whether in print or in film, can impact lives and even impact an entire generation. This is especially true when there is a diversity of voices sharing their own unique stories about the human journey,” said Vanessa K. Bush, Editor-in-Chief, ESSENCE. “That is why we are excited about the ESSENCE Short Film Contest. Not only will it provide a platform to discover a fresh, new voice and vision, but showcasing the winner during our annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon will allow us to put a spotlight on burgeoning creative talent.”
The contest plays out as follows:
Aspiring filmmakers are challenged to write and direct an original short film, no longer than 20 minutes that presents an image of a Black woman in a unique, refreshing way.
One winner, selected by a panel of ESSENCE editors and The ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Academy of industry tastemakers, will be honored in the company of A-listers at the 7th annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon on February 27, 2014. Past honorees at this Oscar-week event have included Oprah Winfrey, Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, Halle Berry, Shonda Rhimes, Suzanne de Passe, Cicely Tyson, Gabrielle Union and many others.
The winning film will also be featured on ESSENCE.com, with a portion played at the Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon.
For more information and rules, please visit Essence.com/ShortFilmContest.
Authority issues may arise early in the week. You can handle these thoughts by observing them and letting them go. Listen to some music that fills you with positive vibrations. Soul Affirmation: I see myself as a finisher rather than a starter this week. Lucky Numbers: 14, 40, 46
You have strong physical energy this week. Make the most of it and get a lot of the work done that you’ve been meaning to get around to. This week’s a great week to get around to it! You’ll be very pleased at the end of the week with what you have created. Soul Affirmation: I concentrate on the highest possibilities this week. Lucky Numbers: 18, 22, 53
Freedom needs may be high this week. Use your powerful imagination to discover a way to feel freer in your current situation. At least in your personal space, let yourself be free and surrounded by objects and vibes that set your spirit soaring. Soul Affirmation: I speak my mind knowing that truth is my best defense this week. Lucky Numbers: 41, 44, 48
Passing on knowledge, or gaining some new knowledge, preoccupies your fine mind this week. You can teach as well as learn. Look for a way to combine these two activities. It will benefit the many that you attract. Soul Affirmation: I am uplifted by the presence of friends. Lucky Numbers: 7, 28, 29
Details, details, details. They are cluttering up your vision of the big picture. Be patient and deal with one detail at a time. You’ll soon see your big picture very clearly again. You are kind, and can be amazingly tolerant. Soul Affirmation: Giving is a luxury that a rich spirit can afford. Lucky Numbers: 8, 54, 55
Lots of wild ideas may occur to you this week, and you may want to act the mental daredevil. Be patient with those who are just learning or who want to do things the way they’ve always done them. Lead by example. Soul Affirmation: When I feel good about myself, the world feels good to me. Lucky Numbers: 17, 29, 36
A practical solution is at hand to one of your inventions. Give yourself some space to allow the answer to come to you. Any repetitive task, such as weeding the garden or washing the dishes or car, will be conducive to your receiving the solution. Soul Affirmation: I know where I’m going because I know where I’ve been. Lucky Numbers: 9, 10, 27
You may feel an internal pressure towards responsibility this week. Go with the flow on this and the week will be like a gift. Let your words assist others in becoming more self-responsible. You are a good teacher of right actions. Soul Affirmation: I take it easy on myself this week. Lucky Numbers: 17, 40, 48
Money may come to you from an unlikely source this week. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunity. Let your words this week paint the images of better ways of being in the world for yourself and for those under your care. Soul Affirmation: I invest new faith in everything I do this week. Lucky Numbers: 6, 23, 46
You may decide to visit a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or you may hear from one while you are at work. How did they get your number? You’ll be pleased to connect again with this person. Soul Affirmation: Things are as I know them to be. Lucky Numbers: 9, 12, 48
You are full of ideas this week, and some of them have practical application. Pick and choose which ones to test as you move through your week. Keep a very positive outlook on all relationships. Soul Affirmation: I find comfort in the familiar. Lucky Numbers: 32, 34, 37
Too much information is as confining as too little information for you. Try to find a balance in your conversations with others. Listen and observe, and you’ll learn the thing that you are looking for this week. Soul Affirmation: I enlarge my happiness by forgetting about myself this week. Lucky Numbers: 11, 28, 41
By James Harper
Special to the NNPA from the Florida Courier
ORLANDO, Fla. – For years during the 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. time slot, Michael Baisden’s syndicated radio talk show was the program to listen to for many Blacks around the country. His show came to a halt last March but that hasn’t stopped him from reaching out and making a difference.
“People know my brand, my reputation, they know my work,” Baisden recently said in an interview with the Florida Courier. “I am a person that doesn’t dwell on the past.”
Baisden squelched the rumor that he walked away from the negotiating table on his radio show because the company wouldn’t agree to his terms.
“It didn’t work out. You have to move on. The lesson is don’t put yourself in a position where someone can fire you. The lesson has been learned. It’s time to start working on the next chapter,” Baisden remarked.
That next chapter, eight months later, is working to get back on the radio again, a television pilot and scripts for movies based on novels he has written.
Another project dear to Baisden at this time is his new non-fiction book, Raise Your Hands If You Have Issues: If You Didn’t Raise Your Hand You’re Lying and That’s An Issue! It was released as an ebook on Oct. 22 and the hardcover book will be in stores Nov. 19.
Along with those projects, Baisden is mentoring young Black boys.
Baisden moved to Orlando in June and has made a two-year commitment to mentor a classroom of 28 boys at Evans High School. Baisden meets with the students every Tuesday at the school and says he is committed to do so until they graduate. At that time, he will help raise money to pay their college tuition.
Baisden launched the “One Dream One Team” mentoring initiative in a nationwide effort to help recruit mentors for the 12,000 Black boys on the Big Brothers Big Sisters waiting lists.
‘City chose me’
He chose Orlando as his new home after visiting the city last year for a mentoring summit.
“I said, Wow! There are thousands of men up at 10 o’clock in the morning for the sole purpose of talking about being responsible as mentors and fatherhood,” he said coming to the conclusion Orlando is where he needed to be, “where my passion is. The city chose me.”
Baisden said he was initially asked to speak to the boys at Evans High School for a one-time guest appearance.
“After the class was over, I said we cannot have impact on these kids after one day. I want to really make a difference – don’t want to just toot horn and be quiet,” he continued.
Baisden said he not only talks to the kids but brings others into the classroom from a wish list of people the youth said they wanted to meet, including a homicide detective from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
“We got to start pulling together for these kids. We talk a good game. We are not stepping up enough for the brothers. The people who are least mentoring Black boys are Black men,” he said. “We are losing them. It doesn’t take a lot of money. … We all don’t have a silver spoon in our mouths. There are men who have been abused, have a story to tell.
There are men who have been locked up who have a story to tell. Men who walked away from their kids have a story to tell. The guy who started a small business has a story to tell,” Baisden elaborated.
Baisden said it is time to teach children how to think and not what to think.
“That’s why we are being taken advantage of by other cultures. They come in and make money off of us, be it through religion, that’s a game if it’s not the right kind of pastor,” he said, adding that Black people also are being taken advantage of economically and politically.
Baisden said the turning point in his life began when he started reading books, turning off the TV and stopped playing games with women.
Investing in others
Baisden, who was in the Air Force for a short while, also went to college.
“I would have completed it had my business not necessitated me leaving college. I tell my young men I will pay your way to college, but if you invent the next Apple computer, I’ll invest in that and you can leave school and make that money. But until you master that, your butt is going to finish school,” he remarked.
Baisden said his latest book, Raise Your Hands If You Have Issues, was written because he also has issues.
“I’m not standing on the stage and looking down on people. I have been a father who did not take care of his child. Been a man who cheated on women. I’ve been the guy afraid to step out on faith and living my dream. I understand decisions people make,” Baisden related.
Issues he face today include trying to make a difference and problems with people who are “dream killers.”
He said, “I have issues with negative people. I’ve got issues [with people] who think you have to be in a relationship. There is a chapter called ‘Being single is not a disease.’ We are not born married, in a relationship. Being in a relationship is not mandatory for happiness,” he said.
Baisden said too many girls and women are out there compromising their principals – not setting boundaries and ending up in abusive relationships.
Originally, Baisden said the name of his book was to be called Whatever Works.
“Experience life for yourself and find out what works for you. I’m not disagreeing with your objective; it may not be mine,” he said.
Philosophy on success
Baisden said he wrote the book to engage people in conversation.
“I don’t want to tell people what to do. I give you my perspective and give you the perspective of people I’ve encountered all of my life. Don’t take anybody’s word as absolute,” he declared.
“There are closed minds because we live in a box. We don’t get outside of our communities. We don’t read books that take us outside of our country. We are easily manipulated when people tell us they got the answer,” he said.
Baisden said the only person that was in his way of being successful was himself. And his advice to others who may have thought like him is to open their minds.
“You have more control than you think. A lot of people are afraid to make the right choices. Afraid to be alone. You’ve got to be okay with upsetting people. People want to be approved by everybody. You have to be willing to make people hate you. People are going to hate you when you are successful. Name me a successful person that is not hated on.”
TV One today unveiled its lineup of holiday programming, which will include the premiere of two original specials, the network’s first-ever holiday variety show, One Christmas, on Saturday, November 30, 8PM/ET, and Russ Parr’s latest feature film, family drama A Christmas Blessing, on Saturday, December 7, 8PM/ET. Additionally, TV One will air Christmas-themed episodes of the network’s original sitcoms Love That Girl and The Rickey Smiley Show.
“Our Christmas programming lineup is truly robust, catering to a full spectrum of holiday sentiments. Viewers can enjoy timely episodes of our fan-favorite sitcoms, while Russ Parr’s touching new film dissects the themes of love and loss, family and redemption,” said D’Angela Proctor, SVP of Programming and Production for TV One. “Balancing these scripted offerings is our One Christmas special featuring an incredible lineup of R&B and gospel artists performing holiday favorites—so there is truly something everyone can enjoy.”
Program descriptions and air dates are as follows:
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 8PM/ET:
Co-hosted by husband-and-wife duo, author and film executive DeVon Franklin and actress Meagan Good, this pre-taped, two hour music, dance, spoken word and comedy showcase was filmed at the historic Howard Theater in Washington D.C. Anchored by music performances from Anthony Hamilton, Ron and Ernie Isley, Syleena Johnson, Kem, Ledisi, Lil’ Mo, Chanté Moore, Marvin Sapp, Richard Smallwood, Angie Stone and 3WB (3 Winans Brothers) covering holiday classics, the variety special also features a special dance segment, personal Christmas anecdotes from the performers and additional celebrity guests, and a tribute to members of the U.S. Armed Forces. One Christmas is produced by Favor International and Moxy Media. Lamar Chase is producer for TV One and Tia Smith is executive in charge of production for TV One. (An embeddable promo for One Christmas is available here: http://vimeo.com/79735667. Images from the event will be available on November 20 here: www.gettyimages.com).
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6, 9PM/ET:
Love That Girl – “Happy Hold Up Day”
The whole gang gets taken hostage on Christmas Eve by a down-and-out married couple running from the police after a bank robbery.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7, 8PM/ET:
A Christmas Blessing
This moving family drama chronicles the parallel hardships of Pamela Cleveland (Lisa Arrindell Anderson), a mother of four whose husband, Charles (David Banner), has been killed in action while serving in Afghanistan, and Earl James (Omari Hardwick), a fresh divorcee. While Pamela combats immeasurable grief and a flood of concerns as a new widow, Earl combats anxiety and struggles to maintain custody of and contact with his two sons. Pamela and Earl’s lives are forever transformed when their seemingly separate paths intersect and together, they learn the realities of dating and single-parenthood, the importance of family and the true meaning of Christmas. A Christmas Blessing is produced for TV One by Uptoparr Productions, Inc. and executive produced by Russ Parr. Lamar Chase is producer for TV One and Tia Smith is executive in charge of production for TV One. (An embeddable promo for A Christmas Blessing is available here: http://vimeo.com/79735992).
Friday, December 13, 9PM/ET:
The Rickey Smiley Show – “Captive Christmas”
When Rickey and the family get trapped at the church by a freak snowstorm, they take a moment to reminisce on the holiday harmony generated by their strong family connections.
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