By Bob Marovich Give it up for Pastor Shirley Caesar. She stands once again, unafraid, and speaks her mind through music. Caesar, whose heart-wrenching “Mother Emanuel” honored the nine who lost their lives in the 2015 shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, is back with another protest anthem called “Take Your Knee Off My Neck.” The new song attacks the literal and figurative asphyxiation of African Americans at the hands of police and by the violence and apathy of white America. Declaring “Black Lives Matter,” she speaks their names, including George Floyd (“a lynching in broad daylight”), ...Read More »
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Viktory Tomorrow Came Viktorious Music Group (release date: June 17, 2016) www.r4ever.com By Bob Marovich The challenges of being different and the importance of overcoming the divisiveness of difference are at the heart of Tomorrow Came, a Christian hip hop project from the Chicago-born Viktory. Three tracks in particular address this issue in living color. Based on a true story, “Lunch Tables” features piercingly cool singing support from Ashliann (herself a mixture of cultures) as it tells the story of a “yellow kid” trying to find a seat in the school cafeteria, but nobody wants him because he’s neither black ...Read More »
Fannie Lou Hamer Songs My Mother Taught Me Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (release date: June 30, 2015) www.folkways.si.edu By Bob Marovich While it took a recent act of domestic terror for the polarizing Confederate flag to begin coming down throughout the South, let us not forget that much of the way was paved more than a half-century ago by such freedom fighters as Fannie Lou Hamer. Hamer, who died in 1977 at age 59, is renowned for her leadership in the Civil Rights movement and specifically for her work with the Mississippi Freedom Party. Equally well known, albeit a sidebar to ...Read More »
Mr. Del Presents Holy South: Memphis in Mayhem DMG (2015) www.noisetrade.com/holysouth/memphis-in-mayhem By Bob Marovich Quite possibly taking its title from a deliberate word play on the annual Memphis in May festival, the Memphis in Mayhem mixtape is available free of charge on Noisetrade (use the link above) by Holy South, a self-proclaimed “militia” of prayer warriors comprised of hip hop artists signed to Mr. Del’s DMG (Dedicated Music Group) label. Murk, Fro, Ty Brassel, Yung Titan, and Young Memphis join the “Hope Dealer,” Mr. Del, on the mixtape. Acknowledging the sorry state of affairs in today’s society, Holy South is ...Read More »
From a press release: Bill Duke (left) brings his years of talent and experience to direct and executive produce The Mahalia Jackson Story, a music biopic chronicling the life of the woman who rose from poverty and obscurity to become the world’s greatest gospel singer and a music icon and legend. “Getting her story to the screen has been a passion project of mine for many years,” said Duke, who has more than 60 features, TV shows, and TV movies to his credit. The Mahalia Jackson Story was written by Ruth L Ratny, based on Just Mahalia Baby, Jackson’s seminal ...Read More »