WBEZ | Black History Month http://www.wbez.org/tags/black-history-month Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Learning from the past and looking for the future of Black History Month http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-26/morning-shift-learning-past-and-looking-future-black <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/by tartetatin1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We get a glimpse of the man behind African American History Month. And, we celebrate the music of Johnny Cash with music from Chicago actor Kent M. Lewis.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-learning-from-the-past-and-looking-f/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-learning-from-the-past-and-looking-f.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-learning-from-the-past-and-looking-f" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Learning from the past and looking for the future of Black History Month" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 09:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-26/morning-shift-learning-past-and-looking-future-black Warning: Lay’s potato chip contest may contain racism http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-02/warning-lay%E2%80%99s-potato-chip-contest-may-contain-racism-105624 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Lays.jpg" title="" /></div></div></div></div></div><p>The saying goes that you&#39;re never supposed to talk about politics or religion in polite conversation or mixed company, because they are topics that inherently cause conflict. I would like to humbly add one more to that mix: race.</p><p>If you needed convincing, I spoke this weekend with a source inside the Lay&rsquo;s Potato Chip contest, and he frustratedly told me that the campaign has been receiving surprisingly racist feedback. Titled &ldquo;Do Me a Flavor,&rdquo; the contest will award a quarter of a million dollars to the creator of the winning chip, and the three competing flavors are Cheesy Garlic Bread, Sriracha and Chicken and Waffles. Full disclosure: I&rsquo;ve been rooting for the latter flavor since the moment it was announced. As someone with a lot of family from the South, I was thrilled at the idea of Southern cultural specificity being spread to the American public. It was time for America&rsquo;s palate to be challenged by down home goodness. Chicken and Waffles had finally arrived.</p><p>However, angry commenters are complaining about that exact out-of-the-boxness. This was to be expected. You don&rsquo;t introduce Chicken and Waffles to Middle America without expecting them to be a little confused. Almost <em>all</em> of the angry comments on the Lay&rsquo;s Facebook page are about the Chicken and Waffles flavor, which customers have described as &ldquo;nasty&rdquo; and &ldquo;disgusting.&rdquo; One person remarked it made them throw up, and another quipped that they wouldn&rsquo;t eat another on a dare. Because you can only have so many smart comebacks at a chip company, one commenter summed up the rage with a Charlton Heston impression: &ldquo;WHHHHYY?&rdquo;</p><p>But this part isn&rsquo;t what my friend was talking about. The Lay&#39;s Facebook page has been bombarded with alarming comments about its chip flavors, most of which have been removed, as the page is heavily moderated. However, a few telling comments remain&mdash;with one person writing that the only reason the Chicken and Waffles chips were included was because of &ldquo;political correctness,&rdquo; and another stating that the chips are only for &ldquo;crack heads.&rdquo;</p><p>For those who haven&#39;t put racism and racism together, I&rsquo;m going to put that into my Racist Translation Robot and see what pops out. Dearest M4MM1, what say you?</p><p><em>Input: </em>[Whining about being PC] + [equating Chicken and Waffles customers to crackheads] = ?</p><p><em>M4MM1:</em> &quot;Black people, Dave. They&rsquo;re talking about black people.&quot;</p><p>But luckily for me, Lay&rsquo;s doesn&rsquo;t control Twitter, where people are more open about their bigotry and don&rsquo;t have to use thinly veiled code. This is a place where stupidity is perfectly preserved in time like Han Solo or Joan Rivers&rsquo; face.</p><p>Here, we get a more voluptuous picture of the undertones of the Chicken and Waffles backlash. On the overtly awful side of things, Zack Dannii of Deltona, FL implores us to &ldquo;celebrate black history month with some chicken and waffles.&rdquo; Another kerfuffle involves folks getting into an argument about whether or not Chicken and Waffles constitutes &ldquo;n***er food.&rdquo; On the subject, @tmbbandie01 broadens our racist horizons: &ldquo;A black person likes chicken and waffles? What&rsquo;s next, Asians liking rice? Or Mexicans liking tacos?&rdquo;</p><p>The logical fallacy of Internet journalism is to assume that when a couple of people on Twitter say something racist, the world is ending. This is why Reddit freaks out when people tweet Islamophobic things after <em>Zero Dark Thirty</em>, and we spend a great deal of time obsessing about what people think about Rue&#39;s race in <em>The Hunger Games</em>. It&rsquo;s a way of preaching to the already converted. It allows us to get mad at people we will never meet and have our differences out on Twitter, engaging in dialogues about race that can go away when you and some 40-year-old dude in Scranton get too mad to keep arguing and he has to get off the interwebs because his mom says it&rsquo;s lights out or you&#39;re cutting into his masturbation schedule with all of your thinking.</p><p>I&#39;m not saying you shouldn&#39;t get upset about racism on the Internet. You should get angry about all racism and want to transform into a Hulk who smashes social injustice. But to do so, you have to look at the bigger picture.</p><p>The larger problem is the persistent negative racialization of food in our society, which a 2012 <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGeMy-6hnr0">man-on-the-street video</a> filmed at Brigham Young University further indicated. White BYU students were asked how they planned on honoring Black History Month, one couple quipped that they were going to go purchase &ldquo;grape drank,&rdquo; probably not realizing that video will last forever. Their grandchildren will be so proud to see Pops doing racial impressions on the Internet of the future.</p><p>Comedian Wanda Sykes once commented on this in one of her <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK2iPGy1vYs">sketches</a>. Sykes jokes that there are some things that black people are afraid to do around white people, which include eating fried chicken or watermelon. When she eats food racialized as black, Sykes feels like she&rsquo;s playing into a stereotype and &ldquo;setting her people back.&rdquo; She wants to be a &quot;dignified black person,&quot; and eating watermelon makes her feel like white people are watching her. She&rsquo;s probably right. When Obama recently dined at Roscoe&rsquo;s Chicken and Waffles, a <a href="http://globalgrind.com/news/barack-obama-Hollywood-fundraiser-gets-his-grub-roscoes-chicken-and-waffles-photos">great deal of attention</a> was given to the fact that he ate fried chicken, despite the fact that Reagan and Nixon were regulars at the iconic restaurant without anyone ever making a fuss.</p><p>Despite the fact that neither <a href="http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/20130213lays-chips-flavor-contest-phoenix-woman.html">the creator</a> of the Chicken and Waffles chip nor it&#39;s intended consumer base are black, many Twitter users are facepalming over the Chicken and Waffles chips existing at all. User @ElyasTweets writes that a &ldquo;black guy can&rsquo;t buy the new Chicken and Waffles flavor of Lays and still preserve his dignity,&rdquo; and @raymundrocket threatens: &ldquo;If you&#39;re black and I see you eating a bag of chicken and waffles Lays, I&#39;ma Mutumbo those sh*ts outta your hand.&rdquo; In response, @I_GO_BY_TY reminds us: &ldquo;Where I was raised, chicken and waffles isn&#39;t a black thing, it&#39;s a southern thing. So why are people embarrassed by a chip? Get it together.&rdquo;</p><p>Because of all the haterade being poured on Chicken and Waffles, early data on the Facebook page indicates they are being trounced in the standings&mdash;with the Cheesy Garlic Bread flavor ahead by a comfortable margin. Interestingly, the Garlic Bread flavor is the only one that&rsquo;s being racialized as white, since Sriracha hot sauce originates from American interpretations of Thai cuisine. The <em>New York Times</em> describes Sriracha as a &quot;polyglot puree,&quot; an interesting metaphor for our American culture of food. As a culture, we are what we eat, which is why it&#39;s important to talk about it. Food is identity.&nbsp;</p><p>But because the Internet is the best place, contest respondents have been complaining that it&rsquo;s too hard to spell. This reminds me of when my friend Samidha was told by peers in her student government class that her name was &quot;too hard to say.&quot; They insisted on just calling her &quot;Sam.&quot; It&#39;s not racism in the twisty mustache, cackle-in-your-face way, but the subtle kind, like &quot;flesh-colored&quot; bandaids or your grandma who constantly praises Morgan Freeman for being &quot;so well-spoken.&quot;</p><p>Of the three options, Cheesy Garlic Bread is by far the safest pick because it banks on an easily digestible culinary in-group: Italian food. Although Italians used to be racialized as non-white in America, they became part of the Caucasian mix over time, and Italian food gained the privilege of being accepted as &quot;white people food.&quot; Italian food tends not to upset people because despite its ethnic specificity, it banks on the presumed whiteness in our culture, where white is the default setting for consumption. When we deviate from the white norm, that&#39;s where we see backlash.</p><p>Based on a recognizable staple of Italian cuisine, the Cheesy Garlic Bread chips resemble a lot of the brands they already have on the market, flavors that rely on reaching the widest consumer base possible by not pushing anyone&rsquo;s cultural buttons. There&rsquo;s nothing about Sour Cream and Onion or Sea Salt and Vinegar that&rsquo;s going to provoke your palate or make anyone question what they&rsquo;re eating. Barbecue chips won&rsquo;t make anyone consider the politics behind them.</p><p>Congratulations, Cheesy Garlic Bread. You might just be harmless enough to win. Welcome to the world, baby girl.</p><p><em>Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ issues in Chicago. Follow Nico on Twitter @<a href="http://www.twitter.com/nico_lang">Nico_Lang</a> or find Nico on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/nicorlang">Facebook</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 20 Feb 2013 00:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-02/warning-lay%E2%80%99s-potato-chip-contest-may-contain-racism-105624 No, we don't need a white history month http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-02/no-we-dont-need-white-history-month-105434 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ChrisOMeara.jpg" style="width: 435px; height: 290px;" title="Victoria Jackson (Chris O'Meara/AP)" /></div><p>If you were to live on the internet, you would think the world is the worst place. A few weeks ago, SNL star and current conservative court jester <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/online/conservative-former-snl-star-victoria-jackson-deletes-white-history-month-article/">Victoria Jackson</a> added to the world wide web&rsquo;s daily quotient of stupidity by lamenting the fall of the white man in America&mdash;now that the brown people and commies are taking over. (I&rsquo;m not kidding; she actually says that.) Her claim is that we don&rsquo;t thank white people enough for their contributions to society (has she not watched CBS?)&mdash;and to rectify it, we should have a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/01/victoria-jackson-snl-white-history-month_n_2599938.html">White History Month</a>. Let&#39;s take a moment for a collective facepalm, shall we?</p><p>Although the original post has been taken down, here&rsquo;s a choice excerpt. This is not to be read by those prone to racial tension headaches or expectant liberal mothers:</p><p style="margin-left:.5in;">&ldquo;Just for the record, white men invented rockets, space travel, airplanes, the automobile, the English language, the U.S.A., most medical advances, electricity, television, telescope, microscope, Ivy League Universities, the computer, the Internet, and on and on. I think white men should be praised and respected. White Christian Conservative Men especially, should be loved and adored. They were the backbone and originators of the greatest nation on earth. We need more of them now.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s easy to dismiss Jackson as just a bigoted yokel and a radical in her own conservative ideology. As a media, we tend to focus narrowly on the mustache-twirling outliers, like spotlighting the people who said horribly racist things on Twitter about <a href="http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/147053/">Obama</a> or <a href="http://mondoweiss.net/2013/01/reviews-thirty-muslims.html">Muslims</a> in <em>Zero Dark Thirty</em>, without showing how normative this thinking is. Jackson&rsquo;s not alone in lamenting the downfall of whiteness. Students at Maryland&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/white-student-union-towson-university_n_1958868.html">Towson University</a> tried to start a &ldquo;White Student Union,&rdquo; while fliers at <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/white-history-month-flier-mercer-university_n_1974736.html">Mercer University</a> advocated for not one but two months dedicated to white cultural awareness. As the flier <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/white-history-month-flier-mercer-university_n_1974736.html">argues</a>, &ldquo;There is too much white history to squeeze into one month.&rdquo;</p><p>For these students, a White History Month isn&rsquo;t just about race but about a society that they feel doesn&rsquo;t privilege their identities in the multicultural conversation. They feel left out, even on their own campuses:</p><p style="margin-left:.5in;">&ldquo;There are African American societies, black student organizations, and Indian heritage associations; however, there is not one white society of engineers, white student organization, or Caucasian heritage association. Why? Because if there are, various individuals will say this is racism.&rdquo;</p><p>We can see concern about the loss of privilege in the conversation about women&rsquo;s rights, where men feel that gender equality means the &ldquo;end of men,&rdquo; and that thinking is increasingly normative in our cultural conversation on race. Jason Kitchen of the <em>Huffington Post</em> provides a telling <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-kitchen/victoria-jackson_b_2619464.html">example</a>:</p><p style="margin-left:.5in;">&ldquo;Two days before the presidential inauguration, Andy Borowitz, brilliant satirist for <em>The New Yorker</em>, published a piece entitled &lsquo;Fox News to Shut Down for Routine Maintenance Monday Morning at 11:30.&rsquo; Unfortunately, the seemingly obvious jab at the network&#39;s notoriously biased coverage was -- despite including quotes such as &lsquo;for the twelve hours Fox News is off the air on Monday the network will broadcast a continuous photomontage of white people&rsquo; -- misconstrued by some Fox enthusiasts as not only factual, but refreshingly novel.&rdquo;</p><p style="margin-left:.5in;">&ldquo;People immediately took to Facebook to laud Fox for such a shrewd tactic, and then removed their comments upon the delayed realization that satire can be a cruel lesson. These are the same people who devour sentiments like Jackson&#39;s as sacred truths, and Jackson is but a blip on the radar among her ilk.&rdquo;</p><p>When I read about the GOP getting Jonathan Swift-ed, I posted on Facebook&mdash;in a fit of anger&mdash;that Republicans don&rsquo;t need a White History Month, feeling like everyone would agree with me. Most people were appalled that anyone would suggest such a thing, but one person spoke out by personally messaging me. This person&mdash;we&rsquo;ll call him Guyn Rand&mdash;argued my comments were racially divisive and spoke to the fact that he feels he doesn&rsquo;t have any outlets for his own identity in today&rsquo;s society. In his message, he said that he feels increasingly unwelcome in a modern America that&#39;s leaving guys like him behind. This is, of course, despite the fact that, as a Straight White Male, Guyn has the &ldquo;<a href="http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/">Lowest Difficulty Setting</a>&rdquo; in society. When SWMs start elementary school, clubs and organizations will cater to theur needs, make sure they get ahead and has all the opportunities they need to grow up big and strong. What else are the Boy Scouts for?</p><p>And for people like Guyn, every month is their month. To quote Tim Wise, they just have confusing names like March, April and May. They have holidays that celebrate their monogamous relationships, the Irish, veterans, the birth of the nation and whitewashing Native American genocide. (We even have <em>two</em> devoted to the <a href="http://www.kstrom.net/isk/books/adult/thanksgi.html">latter</a>, because America&#39;s a &quot;go big or go home&quot; kind of place.)</p><p>In all of these instances, the framing is predominantly white, heterosexual and male. Great White Men are the founders of our nation, the conquerors of the continent and even on Christmas, they dress up in jolly red suits and bring our presents. We have one nationally celebrated holiday for black remembrance&mdash;Martin Luther King Jr. Day (or MLK Day)&mdash;and neither Arizona nor DePaul bother to recognize it.</p><p>This shows just how engrained whites are into our nation&rsquo;s rituals and why it&#39;s bedlam for many to suggest otherwise we change the status quo and celebrate others.&nbsp; When we think of our sports heroes, we go to Joe Namath, Babe Ruth and Joe Dimaggio, just as our history books are dominated by our Lincolns, Jeffersons and Washingtons, rather than Crispus Attacks and Frederick Douglass, who are honored as footnotes. In the <em>Lincoln</em> movie, screenwriter Tony Kushner considered Douglass so unimportant to our popular history of abolition that he <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/therootdc/post/lincoln-where-was-frederick-douglass/2012/11/28/212a4e76-3978-11e2-a263-f0ebffed2f15_blog.html">left him out</a> together. Like in <em>The Help</em>, white people <a href="http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/01/artist_reimagines_the_help_poster_white_people_solve_racism.html">solve racism</a>, and black people get to thank them for it&mdash;to smile and nod while someone else gets <a href="http://www.salon.com/2012/02/23/how_viola_davis_took_meryl_streeps_oscar/">their Oscar</a>.</p><p>Remember: it took white people to get <a href="http://www.salon.com/2012/12/28/could_a_black_director_have_made_django/"><em>Django Unchained</em></a> and <em>Beasts of the Southern Wild</em> made. When we give credence to black filmmakers telling their own stories, it&rsquo;s either Tyler Perry or filmmakers emphasizing the <a href="http://theweek.com/article/index/102645/is-precious-racist">oppression</a> and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/21/movies/21precious.html?_r=0">suffering</a> of the community&mdash;like in 2009&rsquo;s <em>Precious</em>. (The much better <em>Pariah</em> didn&#39;t get nearly the attention, because it wasn&#39;t a sensationalized potboiler but an honest tale of triumph.) The idea of black people building up their own community (gasp!) is so foreign that efforts of community solidarity are often labeled as Affirmative Action or &ldquo;reverse racist&rdquo;&mdash;a charge often thrown at Black History Month.</p><p>A great example of this comes from a 2009 <em>Chicago Tribune</em> story, which profiles Maggie and John Anderson, a local black couple &ldquo;who just spent an entire year trying to contribute all of their money to black-owned businesses&rdquo; and &quot;buy black.&quot; In addition to being dismissed by black community members, who felt that black-owned businesses are inferior to the Caucasians, white business leaders <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-03-09/news/0903090094_1_john-anderson-black-african">cried racism</a>:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Facing them at almost every turn was the insistence from some whites that the Andersons&#39; experiment was an exercise in racism, a charge they reject. They came up with the &lsquo;Empowerment Experiment&rsquo; to help solve persistent ills surrounding &lsquo;underserved communities&rsquo;&hellip;They note that African-Americans carry nearly $850 billion in spending power but that very little of that money circulates through those &lsquo;underserved&rsquo; communities. Most businesses in those neighborhoods are owned by people of other races who live elsewhere.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>The reason that black empowerment is met with such distrust is because people of color are so often marginalized and erased in American society, and empowerment brings visibility to our savage inequalities. Scholars and writers have long pointed out that most white people can barely name five black historical figures&mdash;of which Oprah and Denzel don&rsquo;t count. A recent man-on-the-street video interviewed <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGeMy-6hnr0&amp;noredirect=1">BYU students</a> on Black History month, and many of them couldn&rsquo;t even correctly identify Malcolm X or Rosa Parks. For black people, this would be like not knowing who Lincoln is, but no one seems to have a problem with that. Everyone can name ten white historical figures. Interestingly, many interviewees didn&rsquo;t even know when Black History Month was, and that included some of the black students.</p><p>We can laugh at them and folks like these for being &ldquo;stupid&rdquo; or &ldquo;ignorant,&rdquo; which is the easy response, but isolating individuals as the problem only takes us so far. We have to look at this video as a reflection of a society that doesn&rsquo;t privilege black voices or give weight to black histories, one that deems them worthy of peripheral inclusion but not remembrance. We&rsquo;ll allow black people to be our best friends and support out own narratives but not to tell their own stories&mdash;or listen up when they do. We need to look at this as a sign that our society must be doing more than dedicating one month to black narratives: we need them all year round, in our history books, our novels, our films, our television shows, our comic books and our lives. In America, every day should be Black History Day.</p><p>Until that time, white people have to start being okay with checking our own privileges&mdash;because without recognizing and dismantling hierarchies of oppression, there can be no change. Instead of overrepresenting whites in the media and putting people of color in discursive prison, we need to give others the opportunity to speak, whether they be Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, female, transgender or a gay black Jewish gypsy. They are America, too. They are us. Celebrating Marcus Garvey, Josephine Baker, Sojourner Truth, Bayard Rustin, Assata Shakur, Langston Hughes, Angela Davis, Richard Wright and Garrett Morgan isn&#39;t black history. It&#39;s human history.</p><p>To paraphrase Joseph Campbell, if you only know your own history, you don&rsquo;t know any. Clearly in America we still have a lot to learn. And for the record, I don&rsquo;t think Joseph Campbell asked for a White History Month, either.</p><p><em>Nico Lang blogs about LGBTQ life in Chicago for WBEZ.org. Follow Nico on Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/Nico_Lang" target="_hplink">@Nico_Lang</a> or on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/NicoRLang" target="_hplink">Facebook</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 08 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-02/no-we-dont-need-white-history-month-105434 Black history music: The final week http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-02-23/black-history-music-final-week-96627 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-23/marvin gaye and tammi terrell_flickr_jeremy chan.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><span style="font-size: 10px;">Listen to Tony Sarabia and Richard Steele discuss their picks on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em></span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332738730-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/848 120223 SEG C.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></div></div><p>Tony Sarabia and Richard Steele have been rocking your world every Thursday this month, with a whole half-hour dedicated to their favorite music by black musicians. And luckily for you, even though Black History Month is almost over, they'll continue sharing their favorite tunes every Thursday going forward. (Next week's selections will be on the theme of numbers.)</p><p>But first: Tony explains how difficult it was for him to pick the right cuts for Richard week to week. Then, Richard shares what he surprised Tony with today.</p><p><strong>Tony Sarabia:</strong></p><p>Music is my bones. Growing up there was always music in our house, from Trini Lopez belting out "If I Had Hammer," to The Temptations' latest hit. So for me, the idea of celebrating the contributions of African-Americans using music was as natural as doing the bump with Michelle Washington and Tavares at a dance at Longfellow School in Oak Park school in 1974.</p><p>I don’t know about Richard Steele, but coming up with songs was a difficult task, only because of the half-hour time constraint. So part of my strategy was to surprise not only the Real Steele, but you, the listener.</p><p>Going though my collection was both a challenge and a joy, because I was searching for rarely played tunes-- the music I would play every day when I first discovered something like Billie Holiday’s mournful "You’re My Thrill" or the scratched up LP by Gil Scott Heron given to me by the mom of one of my high school friends.</p><p>That’s one of the pleasures of music for me: connecting a song or album with a story or a particular time in my life. Sly and the Family Stone holds a very special place in my heart because it was the first concert my parents took me and my two sisters to when I was about 7 years old. I became an avid fan and began to ask my dad about music like the blend of funk and rock Sly was so deft at producing.</p><p>We saw the band (yes he actually showed up to perform!) at the Chicago Amphitheatre and I have this vague memory of standing up dancing and a tall, slender man in the seat next to me looking down at me smiling saying, “You go little man."</p><p>But instead of playing Sly, I thought I’d reach a little deeper, to a Chicago musician who was influenced by Mr. Stone. That’s why we heard Baby Huey last week.</p><p>Of course, there were some new discoveries along the way. I still get a chill listening to Linda Martell doing a country version of the R&amp;B classic “Color Him Father.”</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/RsNaHdYMTmk" frameborder="0" height="360" width="480"></iframe></p><p>Another challenge was being equal in my representation of male and female artists. So to close the series I thought I’d make it easy on myself and pull some of my favorite duets.</p><p>Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell was an obvious choice for me, but even with that popular duo I wanted to throw a bit of a curve ball. Hence their rendition of “Something Stupid,” the Latin-tinged song closely associated with Frank and Nancy Sinatra. The Motown beat fits perfectly with the strings and brass. And who can resist Tammi’s voice working so well with Mr. Gaye’s harmonizing? Beauty:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/pcqnD403PWY" frameborder="0" height="274" width="480"></iframe></p><p>I also included one of my favorite piano players/singers: Nellie Lutcher. I found an old 10-inch record of the Lake Charles, Louisiana native at a garage sale years ago, and well, sometimes you buy a record because of the cover, right?</p><p>The thrill went beyond the album cover. The record contained her "hit," "Real Gone Guy," but the tune she does with Nat King Cole was not; I found that one after a search for anything Nellie not long after buying the 10-inch. Her somewhat gruff and definitely unique singing style is a wonderful contrast to Nat’s smooth as cream delivery:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/HKpMZY5L8eQ" frameborder="0" height="360" width="480"></iframe></p><p>My final duet pick has no lyrics but does include a once-married couple and the still then very rare female Hammond B3 organist. “Good Looking Out” by Shirley Scott and tenor sax man Stanley Turrentine is one of those greasy blues/jazz numbers that is capable of getting the most upper crust "long hair" to tap his toes.</p><p><strong>Richard Steele:</strong></p><p>Legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and "country blues" man John Lee Hooker would seem unlikely musical collaborators. Miles was an international recording star. You might recall that John Lee Hooker had a guest shot performing in the <em>Blues Brothers</em> movie. His biggest record was <em>Boom Boom Boom</em>, recorded in 1962 and still used today in several T.V. commercials.</p><p>The two of them got together to record music for the soundtrack of a 1990 movie called <em>The Hot Spot</em> (with Don Johnson of <em>Miami Vice</em>). The film was produced and directed by actor Dennis Hopper (the wild man of Hollywood). He and Miles were pretty good friends, so Miles agreed to help him out.</p><p>As an example of how eclectic the sound track was-- there are performances from folk and blues artist Taj Mahal and Roy Rogers, the multi-Grammy nominated producer and slide guitarist. The track we picked to play is called “Coming To Town." Miles is playing muted trumpet and John Lee Hooker is playing guitar and doing some humming and moaning. It works! &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/P8MhHGhpydM" frameborder="0" height="360" width="480"></iframe></p><p>Johnny Mathis was a track star in college and had to decide between music and athletics. At one point, he considered a training regimen that would help him qualify for the Olympics.</p><p>Mathis had this beautiful voice and sang in some of San Francisco’s local jazz clubs. When he was discovered by Columbia records, they knew they had an extraordinary talent-- but they weren’t sure what to do with him. So the first album they recorded (before the one with his "break-out" hits “Chances Are” and “It’s Not For Me To Say”) was a jazz album-- that nobody bought!</p><p>Years later, it became a collector’s item. It’s simply titled <em>Johnny Mathis</em>&nbsp;and was recorded in 1956. Stand-out jazz player Phil Woods is heard on alto sax. The song is called "Star Eyes." Could it be that this song title predicted Johnny Mathis’s future?&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/dtMzO2vUKzA" frameborder="0" height="360" width="480"></iframe></p><p>B.B. King, now 86 years old and still performing, is generally acknowledged to be “The King Of the Blues.” He originally recorded this track in 1982, but it got some new life in 2003, when famed director Martin Scorsese did a public television series in 2003 called <em>The Blues</em>, which featured some of B.B. King’s music. This particular track seems so perfectly suited to the times we’re living in, I just couldn’t pass it up. It’s called “Inflation Blues.” The lyrics probably won’t make you feel any better…but the music is great!</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/sMpdHnPcEUk" frameborder="0" height="360" width="480"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Richard's picks:</strong></p><p>1. "Coming to Town," Miles Davis and John Lee Hooker</p><p>2. "Star Eyes," Johnny Mathis</p><p>3. "Inflation Blues," BB King</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Tony's picks:</strong></p><p>1. "Something Stupid," Marvin Gaye &amp; Tammi Terrell</p><p>2. "For You&nbsp; My Love," Nellie Lutcher &amp; Nat King Cole&nbsp;</p><p>3. "Good Lookin' Out," Stanley Turrentine &amp; Shirley Scott</p><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p><p><em>Correction: The text has been corrected to identify Roy Rogers as the multi-Grammy nominated producer and slide guitarist, not the singing cowboy.</em></p></p> Thu, 23 Feb 2012 16:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-02-23/black-history-music-final-week-96627 Celebrating the contributions of African-American musicians http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-02/celebrating-contributions-african-american-musicians-96049 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-02/Ramsey Lewis.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Eight Forty-Eight </em>and <em>Radio M </em>host Tony Sarabia grew up in a household that celebrated musical diversity. His parents took him to concerts by the likes of Sly and the Family Stone, the Fifth Dimension and Chaka Khan.</p><p>As a boy, Sarabia listened to WBEZ's Richard Steele, then the "Real Steele" on WBMX, which later became V-103. Every Thursday in February, he and Steele will take the last half hour of <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to listen to some deep cuts from the African-American catalog.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Richard's picks:</strong><br> Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson on <em>Soul Train</em>, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xy75z0trlDk" target="_blank">“Ooh Baby Baby”</a><br> <a href="http://www.ramseylewis.com/" target="_blank">Ramsey Lewis</a>, James Mack and the Philharmonia Orchestra, "The Earle Of Salisbury Pavane"</p><p><strong>Tony's picks:</strong><br> <a href="http://gilscottheron.net/" target="_blank">Gil Scott Heron</a>, "Liberation Song"<br> Linda Martell, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsNaHdYMTmk" target="_blank">"Color Him Father-Color Him Country"</a><br> <br> &nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 02 Feb 2012 16:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-02/celebrating-contributions-african-american-musicians-96049 Michael Sidney Fosberg looks back at a life 'Incognito' http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-21/michael-sidney-fosberg-looks-back-life-incognito-82637 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Fosberg Incognito.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://www.incognitotheplay.com" target="_blank">Michael Sidney Fosberg</a> grew up in a white working-class family in Waukegan but at the age of 34 he learned he is black. Fosberg&rsquo;s search for his biological father led to decades of self reflection, confrontation and reconciliation. That nearly 20-year journey resulted in a one-man show and most recently, a memoir called <em>Incognito: An American Odyssey of Race and Self-Discovery</em>.<br /><br />Fosberg will celebrate that release and participate in a conversation about race Monday at Chicago&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.victorygardens.org/" target="_blank">Victory Gardens Theater</a>.</p><p>WBEZ&rsquo;s Steve Edwards recently caught up with Fosberg to learn about the book and his journey. Fosberg started by describing how a name and his desire to learn more about his history made him pick up the phone.</p><p>Tune in Tuesday to hear how Fosberg&rsquo;s relationship with his father took a complicated turn after they reunited.</p></p> Mon, 21 Feb 2011 15:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-21/michael-sidney-fosberg-looks-back-life-incognito-82637 Writer Rita Coburn Whack remembers Margaret Burroughs http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-07/writer-rita-coburn-whack-remembers-margaret-burroughs-81898 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Margaret Burroughs Getty.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When Margaret Burroughs died late last year the arts community lost a giant. Burroughs co-founded the<a target="_blank" href="http://www.dusablemuseum.org/"> DuSable Museum of African American Art</a> but she was more than a curator and administrator. She was also a teacher and practicing artist. For writer <a target="_blank" href="http://www.facebook.com/ritacoburnwhack">Rita Coburn Whack</a>, Burroughs had another great quality &ndash; she was someone always willing to lend a hand.<br /><br />Coburn Whack is also the producer of <a target="_blank" href="http://mayaangelouonpublicradio.com/">Maya Angelou&rsquo;s Black History Month Special</a> which will on WBEZ on Feb. 20.</p></p> Mon, 07 Feb 2011 15:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-02-07/writer-rita-coburn-whack-remembers-margaret-burroughs-81898