Thursday, September 3, 2020

Give Them A Sense Of Pride


As we start this new school year filled with challenges, I am encouraging all of us, particularly educators and parents to be intentional about instilling a sense of pride in our children. I find this to be especially 
needed in the communities who are considered “People of color.”  

During the summer I had the opportunity to read BREAKING THE CHAINS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SLAVERY by Na’im Akbar, Ph.D. and while the book is copyrighted in 1996 and on its Twelfth printing of September 2019, the content contained on the pages are more relevant now than ever. We are living in a world where one race/ethnic background is valued and highlighted while the others are demeaned and debased whether consciously or subconsciously. Whether through codes, obvious remarks or "dog whistles." This has occurred historically, yet with the plethora of media and social media platforms, the blatant disregard for anyone who is not of European-American descent is smack dab in our faces up close and personal on a minute by minute basis. Make no mistake, this constant barrage of hurt, harm, and danger to people of color is impacting our children both of European-American descent and children of EVERY OTHER family/nationality origin. 

Given that we are in a world that is constantly showing by its actions that people of color don’t matter (hence Black Lives Matter - BLM) or are nothing, we must, particularly in the communities comprised of people of color, intentionally give our children a sense of pride. The following excerpt below is from BREAKING THE CHAINS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SLAVERY.

“We must learn to comfortably celebrate ourselves. Self-celebration (we must again emphasize) does not necessitate the degradation of others. It does unapologetically, sing the greatness of our accomplishments and special blessing to the world. It tells each new generation something about the value of the fabric from which they are made. Cultures and institutions put considerable resources into creating images and opportunities to sing the praises of their accomplishments. This process is an essential part of maintaining a free mind, but it becomes even more fundamental in freeing a captive mind. Certainly, one of the major strategies for enslaving the mind was the degradation of the Black/African self.  The story of natural Black inferiority and ugliness were constant stories told to destroy the worth of the Black mind. The fantasies of African backwardness as incapable of technological development and characterized by superstitious and humanly regressive acts of cannibalism and savagery were all constructed in Tarzan stories, Little Black Sambo images and thousands of other derogatory ideas and illustrations to destroy the Black person’s self-image and to further the idea of Black incompetence and deficiency.

Celebration then becomes a healing. If Europeans could comfortably identify themselves with every image from Santa Claus to the son of God in order to celebrate who they are, why shouldn’t we find images (both real and imagined) that communicate to Black African people something about our potential greatness. Perhaps, Kwanzaa is not an actual African Holiday, but why shouldn't we have a week-long celebration that brings pride and dignity to our culture. Why shouldn’t the entire nation stop on the second Monday in January to celebrate the battle for human dignity by Martin Luther King, Jr. If black people decide to call an assembly of one million black men in Washington, D. C., on a Monday in October 1995, then why question the celebration since the very structure of the city of D. C. so emphatically celebrates the greatness of European-American accomplishment. The hundreds of statues, museums, galleries, libraries, plaques, and monuments which blanket the city consistently celebrate the greatness of being European-American. One could very easily walk around D. C. for an entire day and conclude that only European-American males built this great country. It is not accidental that European-American males continue to run the country and that the celebration and information they receive continuously reinforces their greatness.

We must unashamedly display our images and great ancestral figures throughout our environments. From pictures on the walls to statues in the park and street names, we should celebrate our heritage and those people who have distinguished themselves as African people of greatness.”

To contribute to our children’s sense of pride, we must direct their attention to strong images like themselves to help them grow in self-respect and love for themselves. This must be intentional and not left to happenstance.  The histories of ALL cultures must be studied and taught with their heroes and sheroes put on display. While there is nothing wrong with being an athlete or an entertainer, we are so much more than that. The display of greatness has been lopsided for too long. An African-American male is just as worthy as a Caucasian male and the same holds true for women and people of every other ethnic group and culture. At the end of the day, we are ALL human beings with one race, culture, or ethnic group not being any better than any of the others. 

Our children need to know the flaws of research that claim that any group is superior to the other. Our children need to know the contributions that people who look like them have made to build this country and the world for that matter. Our children need to know that there is nothing wrong with skin being dark or light. Our children need to know that they are loved and are somebody regardless of their being Caucasoid, Mongoloids, or Negroid. They need to know that red, or yellow, black, or white, all are precious in God’s sight.

So as this school year begins amidst this pandemic, let’s make it our business to give our children a sense of pride. 



 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

BLACK

Guest post by Miles Jaye


Negro is a fundamentally simple term. In Spanish, it’s negro, in French, negre. The pronunciations differ but they all mean Black. Colored is equally simple. Even African American is a fairly simple concept to grasp. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I realized the complexities of the term Black. 

James Brown declared, “Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud.”. It was a clarion call, a boldly liberating call to action, it was 1969. It never occurred to me that it begged the question, who was James Brown speaking to? It didn’t occur to me, but I should have asked, aside from people in fros and dashikis, who responded to that call? It certainly never occurred to me to observe, as indeed I should have, who did not respond-- who remained conspicuously silent.

Being a Brooklyn kid, growing up in the proverbial melting pot of New York, I assumed brown-skinned people, as an unspoken rule, identified with Black. That included my brothers and sisters from the West Indies, the Caribbean, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, Panama, Puerto Rico, the D.R., Haiti, Cuba, Brazil Columbia, St. Croix, St. Thomas, Guyana, throughout Central and South America, and of course, Africa. These were my neighbors and my schoolmates. If you were brown-skinned and riding the train or walking down Flatbush Avenue and I didn’t have the benefit of hearing an accent to indicate otherwise, I assumed you were Black. 

S.I.P. Chadwick Boseman

A new Black family moved onto my block this week. Actually, they were here before me, but I thought they were Indian. In spite of the fact that the dad is as dark as I am, it never crossed my mind to think of him as Black. In fact, I didn’t think of them as Black until Kamala Harris declared herself so, in her DNC convention acceptance speech. Prior to her announcement, I had never known East Indians to identify themselves as or align themselves with Blacks. Even now, I can’t imagine myself congratulating my new neighbors on the first Black woman to be selected as a major party candidate for V.P. They might be offended, indignant. Indians are very proud people and to them, Kamala Harris is Indian, Southeast Asian-- not Black.

This new Black thing is beautifully orchestrated and equally complicated as it allows us, or forces us, to explore cultures outside of our normal experiential sphere. It pushes us out of our comfort zones, expands our playlists and opens our eyes to languages, music, foods, art, philosophy, religions, and history we may not have otherwise had a reason to explore. For instance, we speak of slavery as though it only existed in the Triangle Trade, when in fact, slavery, though illegal throughout the world, is still practiced in India today. Women are bought and sold into forced labor and sexual servitude in 2020 in towns like Mewat, not far from New Delhi, the capitol. Perhaps Southeast Asian women have their own reasons for celebrating Kamala Harris’ success. 

Indian food and music are wonderful, but the caste system is so deeply entrenched that it is virtually impossible to elevate from one level into another-- it’s oppressive, it discriminates and it’s generational. India is a huge continent, thousands of years old, with language, culture and history so intermingled with other cultures from Africa to China that this whole Kamala Harris/Black thing should be our excuse, our license to delve deeply into the world to discover the true scope, scale and extent of the human condition and experience as it relates to color. We’re bound to color in America. We’re so distracted by Black that it can only be a conspiracy. 

We’re tethered so tightly to a psychology, sociology, history, religion, education, economy, and political landscape designed to suffocate, that it’s no wonder we can’t breathe. White Supremacy is the knee on our collective necks, and it exists on both sides of the aisle. Systemic racism, which some say doesn’t exist, might better be identified as tactical, or strategic racism. We are prisoners of war, and Blackism is the shackle that binds and confines us. James Brown meant well, but his clarion call could have shaken the earth off its axis had he spoken to the world, not just America, and demanded the Black world reply. So now it’s our turn, it’s on us to call on the Black world to say it loud. 

Kamala, like Barack, chose to be Black. That she attended an HBCU, joined a Black sorority, collects Converses, and likes to dance, is all well and good. However, I insist, I demand that she is honest with us about her Southeast Asian culture. Don’t play us! Bring something new to the table. You claim Black, you have to represent Black. That’s the deal! Barack misspoke when he said; “Democracy is not transactional.” Of course, it is Sir, or did you mean not for us? Kamala laughed when she said it is not her intent to make special provisions for Black people. Do! From now on, you have to pay to dance!

And, while I unapologetically take issue with the exclusion from the halls, corridors, and towers of power, deserving Black folks whose lineage date back to the American slave experience, folks like Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan, whose ancestors for centuries, have drenched this soil with blood, sweat and tears, and filled this air with screams and cries of horror, for the appointment of folks with skin color just brown enough to appease us, I welcome the opportunity, the challenge, to choose culture over color for my thesis, my protest. I contend culture, not color is where liberation lies, and where justice will be found. Just as all peoples of the world, Asians, Africans, Europeans, Jews, Gentiles, White, Black, Red, Yellow, were at one time or another slaves, let us not forget that we, Black peoples of the world, were mariners, explorers, inventors, scholars, merchants, gifted artisans, astronomers, brilliant scientists, skillful linguists, warriors and great spiritual leaders. Say it loud…

Black… it’s complicated, but so are we. Genius is always complicated! 

That’s what’s on my mind!

Meet Our Guest Blogger Miles Jaye

Singer, songwriter, Miles Jaye, is a native New Yorker; it is there that he studied music theory and classical violin for more than ten years at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Saratoga School for Orchestral Studies and Brooklyn College. An accomplished musician and producer, Jaye is best known for his chart-topping hits, "Let’s Start Love Over", "Heaven" and "Objective" featuring Grover Washington, Jr. His heart wrenching "I’ve Been A Fool For You" has become one of radio’s favorite R&B classics. While Jaye laid the groundwork for excellence with his three highly acclaimed CD’s on Island Records, MILES, STRONG and IRRESISTIBLE; he continued that standard of excellence on his own Black Tree Records with titles such as the ODYSSEY, DIVINE ASCENSION, ROMANTIC STORM and HUMANITY. Under the Miles Jaye Davis Productions label, his extensive training as a classical and jazz violinist is evident on his latest release "ATTENERGY", the voice on the violin which is an exceptional musical “coming out celebration” with sixteen beautifully crafted performances. Now a Floridian, Jaye enjoys a long-standing reputation as an R&B and Contemporary Jazz writer/producer, having partnered with some of the giants of jazz on his recordings such as George Duke, Roy Ayers, Nat Adderley, Jr., Rachelle Ferrell, Grover Washington, Jr., and Branford Marsalis. The list of notables with which Jaye has shared the concert stages of the world is too extensive to include here. Jaye is especially proud of writing and producing six tracks on the certified Gold JOY CD from his mentor, legendary R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass. A prolific composer, Jaye has penned and recorded more than 50 original compositions and has the unique distinction of recording no less than 12 different musical instruments on several of his critically acclaimed CD’s. In addition to side-man duties early in his career for the songstress, Phyllis Hyman, balladeer, Jon Lucien, and jazz guitarist Eric Gale, Jaye served two years as lead-singing Cop for the hit pop group that brought you YMCA, Macho Man and In the Navy - THE VILLAGE PEOPLE. Jaye is also a novelist, playwright, art student, and an award-winning journalist. He is an active supporter of campaigns for AIDS Awareness, Breast Cancer research, and an advocate for victims of domestic violence. He also actively supports arts education in public schools. Miles Jaye Davis, like his namesake, legendary trumpeter, Miles Davis, is one of music’s most gifted, distinctive and dynamic artists.

Website: www.milesjaye.net
Podcast: https://bit.ly/2zkhSRv
Email: milesjaye360@gmail.com






Sunday, August 9, 2020

My Review of the Book Too Much and Never Enough on Goodreads and Amazon

 

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous ManToo Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I Believe Every Word In This Book

Mary Trump's book is the culmination of all of the books I have read about Donald Trump. While I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, she confirms everything that I always thought was driving Mr. Trump's aberrant behavior. I've always said and believed that what happens in our childhoods greatly impacts our adulthoods. I can't think of a better example than this story. The truth of the matter is Donald Trump needs help and truly does not belong in the seat of the most powerful person in the free world. It truly is a sad story about a very dysfunctional family that has now impacted the world. Ms. Trump's book corroborates with so many authors who have written about their experiences with Donald Trump. Everyone can't be lying with only Donald and his sycophants telling the truth. I applaud Mary Trump for putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together for readers (and hopefully there are many) to make an informed decision when going into that voting booth or mailing in that ballot in November. Mary Trump, job well done and as an AV geek and former jet engine mechanic for the United States Air Force, I salute your father as flying is a calling unto itself and a very noble profession.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

It's Not Cute No Matter How You Spell It Or Say It

The photo below appeared in a post on my Facebook timeline. My response below the photo is this blog post. 






Saturday, July 18, 2020

"If We Begin To Direct Our Children's Attention To Strong Images Like Themselves, They Will Grow In Self-Respect"


The title of this post is a direct quote from the book Breaking The Chains Of Psychological Slavery written by Na'im Akbar, Ph.D. Dr. Akbar has been described by Essence magazine as "one of the world's preeminent African American psychologists and pioneer in the development of an African-centered approach to modern psychology. 

I write this post the day after the passing of a living legend, Congressman John Robert Lewis and two days subsequent to the passing of yet another legend, the Reverend Cordy Tindell (C.T.) Vivian. While not a betting man, I am willing to wager that our children, particularly our African-American children do not know who these two African-American heroes are. I would be willing to bet that if you approached an African-American high school senior who just graduated in June of 2020 or perhaps even an African- American Class of 2020 college graduate and asked them about these two gentlemen, they would not recognize their names much less tell you anything about them or what they did. Why??? Because they were never taught about them, that's why. They were not taught about them at home or at school. 

While I love the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (and I do), our children must learn about more than just him and Rosa Parks. It is incumbent upon us as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers, principals, superintendents, pastors, and preachers to direct our children's attention to strong images like themselves in order for their self-respect to develop and grow. According to Dr. Akbar, we must honor and exalt our own heroes and those heroes must be people who have done the most to dignify us as a people. I could not agree more. Your average Caucasian or African-American child can only name Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks when pressed to name an African-American hero. In most instances, you will get the name of an athlete or entertainer. Quoting from Breaking The Chains Of Psychological Slavery again: 
"Entertainers and athletes are the popular heroes of the African-American community. Physical prowess or comic exploit are the only characteristics Black heroes are permitted to express. Intellectual acuity, prophetic vision, moral integrity, technological know-how, and managerial efficiency are characteristics seldom, if ever, portrayed."
The African-American community must do a better job to educate its own children. Black history curriculums, Amistad laws, and teaching mandates have their place; however, they do not surpass the teaching that is handed down from generation to generation from parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  We [African-Americans] must help our children connect the dots between themselves and their ancestors. 

Last week I visited for the second time in a number of years the Ferncliff Cemetary in Hartsdale, New York. It's only about 30 miles away from my home and a nice little drive just to relax. There are many notables buried in Ferncliff including Malcolm X and his wife Betty, Paul Robeson, James Baldwin, Jackie "Moms" Mabley, Adolph Caesar, Whitney M. Young, Jr. and Northern J. Calloway (I visited all of their gravesites). Many more notables such as Judy Garland and Cab Calloway are also entombed there. As I visited each grave, I literally felt connected to each one even though I had never met any of them in person. 

I placed flowers on the grave of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and his wife Betty. As I visited each grave, I reflected upon his/her contribution to the world. Now I know for some of you reading this, it may seem strange to walk around a cemetery, however, for me, it is an experience of connecting with my ancestors. I know the spirit speaks because the very next day someone posted on Vero - True Social, a social media platform similar to Instagram, a debate between Malcolm X and James Baldwin (see below). 

I had literally been at the gravesites of those two men one day prior to the post and whoever posted that post on Vero did not know me from Adam's housecat, yet that post appeared. It was as if Malcolm and James were letting me know that I had visited them the day before. 



"to handicap a student for life by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless, is the worst kind of lynching. It kills one's aspirations and dooms him to vagabondage and crime."
I'll wager another bet that most of the names that I listed above would not be familiar to a teenager in 2020. Maybe Malcolm X and that's a maybe. Folks, we must do better in educating ourselves and our children in terms of where we have come from and the great contributions that African-Americans have made to the world. By doing so, the self-esteem and self-respect of all of us and particularly our young African-Americans can do nothing else but increase. Let's get out there and make our ancestors proud.

 
 

 
 

 
 

 


 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

"KING"



Guest Post By Miles Jaye

 

I have a recurring dream in which I imagine where we might be had they not taken our King. King, like David, had a heart for God. In the Old Testament, the book of Judges and both books of Kings illustrate the fate of a people whose hearts stray from the will of God. When corruption, idolatry and greed infect God’s people like a virus, the punishment is horrible, the outcome-- predictable. It was the job of the prophets to remind them of the consequences of disobedience and unfaithfulness. In my dream, America was Judah, America was Israel and King was our prophet.

King was always recognized as a legitimate Negro leader. He was respectable, predictable, and his peaceful protests posed no threat to the status quo or the power elite. His rhetoric and methods may have been considered weak and ineffective by some, but the government found him useful, pliable, so they indulged and tolerated him. 

What may have been overlooked is the fact that a true leader, a gifted tactician conceals his strategy until time to strike. Also underestimated was King’s willingness to interact with other influential Black leaders. In this essay, which I admit is more of a collection of timely and relevant quotes, I share the wisdom and warnings of a prophet to his people. My comments are simply an attempt to apply a 2020 context.

“Urban riots are a special form of violence. They are not insurrections. The rioters are not seeking to seize territory or obtain control of institutions. They are mainly intended to shock the white community, but most of all, alienated from society and knowing society cherishes property above people, by abusing property rights.”  

Here he stresses their value of property over human life, begging the question, do Black Lives Matter?

“We suffer domestic colonialism. We must achieve self-determination.”

If, according to Webster, colonialism is: “the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically”, what is domestic colonialism and how do we apply it to our condition? How do African people best achieve self-determination within a Western societal construct? Diasporic Identity? Diasporic Double-Consciousness?

“Throughout our history, laws affirming Negro rights have consistently been circumvented by ingenious evasions which render them void in practice. Laws that affect the whole population-- draft laws, income-tax laws, traffic laws, manage to work even though they may be unpopular; but laws passed for the Negro’s benefit are so widely unenforced that it is a mockery to call them laws.” 

Yes, it is a mockery, as they were never actually for our benefit, nor are they now.

“There aren’t enough white persons in our country who are willing to cherish democratic principles over privilege.” 

Agreed, but is the issue democracy or capitalism and can the two co-exist?

“I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to “justice”; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice…” 

I suffer no such disappointment. If the “justice” I seek is fair treatment from the very one, the very system which benefits from my oppression and maltreatment, I’m disappointed in my own naivete.

“I’ve come to the realization that I think we may be integrating into a burning house.” 

Yes, and either we are so resolute, so determined to demonstrate our fidelity, by attempting to extinguish the fire, or we simply enjoy the smell of smoke.

“White people view Black people as inferior. A large percentage of them have a very low opinion of our race. People with such a low view of the Black race cannot be given free rein and put in charge of the intellectual care and development of our boys and girls. I don’t see school integration successfully happening right now and being beneficial… It will be disastrous.” 

It amazes me that we agonize over leftovers and hand-me-downs as though whatever they have is better? I waste no time with their low opinion of me or of my race. What white people think of our intellect is irrelevant. It’s what we believe that is relevant. Have we not educated the world? Do we now beg for participation in a brain-numbing education system that perpetuates the perception of our inferiority? 
 
“There are Negroes who will never fight for freedom. There are Negroes who will seek profit for themselves from the struggle. There are even some Negroes who will cooperate with their oppressors. The hammer blows of discrimination, poverty and segregation must warp and corrupt some. No one can pretend that because a people may be oppressed, every individual member is virtuous and worthy.” 

So sad, so true! No names please! Have one of those hammers handy?

“The trouble is that we live in a failed system. Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscience and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we’re going to have to change the system.” 

Fifty years later and we haven’t changed the system. The question is, has the system failed or has it worked perfectly well for descendants of the small privileged few you call Framers and Founding Fathers. I don’t hear them complaining.
 
“At the very same time that America refused to give the Negro any land, through an act of congress our government was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and the Midwest, which meant that it was willing to undergird its white peasants from Europe with an economic floor. But not only did they give the land, they built land grant colleges with government money to teach them how to farm. Not only that, they provided county agents to further their expertise in farming. Not only that, they provided low-interest rates in order that they could mechanize their farms. Not only that, today many of these people are receiving millions of dollars in federal subsidies not to farm and they are the very people telling the Black man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps. This is what we are faced with and this is a reality. Now, when we come to Washington in this Poor People’s campaign, we’re coming to get our check.”

Once King’s strategy became evident, his “neutralization” became inescapable, a foregone conclusion. Already a target of Hoover’s COINTELPRO program, King was no longer deemed harmless, but was now a clear and present danger-- an enemy of the state. Regrettably, the speech he planned for the Poor People’s Campaign, “America May Have to Go to Hell,” was never heard. 

That’s what’s on my mind!

Meet Our Guest Blogger Miles Jaye

Singer, songwriter, Miles Jaye, is a native New Yorker; it is there that he studied music theory and classical violin for more than ten years at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Saratoga School for Orchestral Studies and Brooklyn College.

An accomplished musician and producer, Jaye is best known for his chart-topping hits, "Let’s Start Love Over", "Heaven" and "Objective" featuring Grover Washington, Jr. His heart wrenching "I’ve Been A Fool For You" has become one of radio’s favorite R&B classics.

While Jaye laid the groundwork for excellence with his three highly acclaimed CD’s on Island Records, MILES, STRONG and IRRESISTIBLE; he continued that standard of excellence on his own Black Tree Records with titles such as the ODYSSEY, DIVINE ASCENSION, ROMANTIC STORM and HUMANITY.

Under the Miles Jaye Davis Productions label, his extensive training as a classical and jazz violinist is evident on his latest release "ATTENERGY", the voice on the violin which is an exceptional musical “coming out celebration” with sixteen beautifully crafted performances.

Now a Floridian, Jaye enjoys a long-standing reputation as an R&B and Contemporary Jazz writer/producer, having partnered with some of the giants of jazz on his recordings such as George Duke, Roy Ayers, Nat Adderley, Jr., Rachelle Ferrell, Grover Washington, Jr., and Branford Marsalis. The list of notables with which Jaye has shared the concert stages of the world is too extensive to include here.

Jaye is especially proud of writing and producing six tracks on the certified Gold JOY CD from his mentor, legendary R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass. A prolific composer, Jaye has penned and recorded more than 50 original compositions and has the unique distinction of recording no less than 12 different musical instruments on several of his critically acclaimed CD’s.

In addition to side-man duties early in his career for the songstress, Phyllis Hyman, balladeer, Jon Lucien, and jazz guitarist Eric Gale, Jaye served two years as lead-singing Cop for the hit pop group that brought you YMCA, Macho Man and In the Navy - THE VILLAGE PEOPLE.

Jaye is also a novelist, playwright, art student, and an award-winning journalist. He is an active supporter of campaigns for AIDS Awareness, Breast Cancer research, and an advocate for victims of domestic violence. He also actively supports arts education in public schools.

Miles Jaye Davis, like his namesake, legendary trumpeter, Miles Davis, is one of music’s most gifted, distinctive and dynamic artists.


Friday, June 26, 2020

What’s on Miles’ Mind?


“TIRED”
By Miles Jaye

In 1964, Fannie Lou Hamer, one of this country’s greatest folk leaders ever, made famous these humble,
yet powerful words; “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” I say, in 2020; “I’m suffering from a
severe case of rhetoric fatigue.” Different times, different words, same fatigue.

I’m tired of the same rhetoric, the same questions, the same answers, the same interviews with the same familiar names and faces, the same broken promises, and the same fake empathy. I’m tired of the same old analysis of racism and the “problems that plague America”, as though we don’t know. We know! It’s inconceivable that we do not know!

I’m tired of hearing about a few bad apples, or about the good cops. I’m tired of having MLK quotes
thrown at me like smoke bombs. I’m tired of White folks cherry-picking good Black folks to interview. Interview Pence, Barr, McConnell, Graham. Interview Joel O’Steen, not T.D. Jakes. Interview the KKK Grand Wizard, not Kamala Harris or Cory Booker. Give Van Jones and brother Bakari Sellers a break. Give me a break! I’ve heard it all... all my life, and I’m tired of it. And please, Stop Begging! Stop begging evil, hateful folks, for kindness and humanity. Stop it!

If you’re not Black, but you’re human, and you somehow do not understand why we are sick and tired, spiritually and emotionally fatigued, then read the words spoken by Ms. Hamer dating back to the early sixties. If you have a heart, if you have a soul, you may find that you too will feel some degree of spiritual exhaustion, your heart heaving, your soul weak and weary, your eyes swelling with tears. If not, I know I’m supposed to pray for you, but I’m tired. I know I’m supposed to love you anyway, but I’m tired.

I suggest you pray! Study the Beatitudes in the book of Matthew and you pray. I’m tired!
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

These are the words of a simple, but brilliant, and courageous, country girl, who ‘shook up the world’.

“See Mississippi is not actually Mississippi’s problem. Mississippi is America’s problem. Because if America wanted to do something about what is going on in Mississippi it could have been stopped by now. It wouldn’t have been, in the past few years, between 40 and 50 churches bombed and burned. You see, and this leads me to say, you know, all of the burning and bombing that was done to us, and the houses, nobody never said too much about that, and nothing was done. But let something be burned, you know, by a Black man, and then my God. You see, the flag is drenched with our blood. Because, you see, so many of our ancestors was killed because we have never accepted slavery. We had to live under it, but we never wanted it. So, we know that this flag is drenched with our blood. So what the young people are saying now, give us a chance to be young men, respected as a man, as we know this country was built on the black backs of Black people across this country, and if we don’t have it, you ain’t gone have it either, ‘cause we gone tear it up. That’s what they’re saying. And people ought to understand that. I don’t see why they don’t understand it. They know what they’ve done to us. All across this country, they know what they’ve done to us. This country is desperately sick, and man it’s on the critical list. I really don’t know where we go from here.”
 
“It wasn’t too long before 3 White men came to my cell. One of these men was a state highway patrolman. He said, ‘we going to make you wish you was dead’. I was carried out of that cell into another cell where they had two negro prisoners. The state highway patrolman ordered the first negro to take the blackjack. The first negro began to beat. And I was beat by the first negro until he was exhausted. After
the first negro had beat me until he was exhausted. The state patrolman ordered the second negro to take the blackjack. The second negro began to beat and I began to work my feet. The state highway patrolman ordered the first negro had beat to sit on my feet. To keep me from working my feet. I began to scream and one White man got up and began to beat me in my head and to tell me to hush. All of this on the count of we want to register to become first class citizens. And if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America, is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to
sleep with our telephones off of the hooks, because our lives be threatened daily because we want to live as decent human beings in America. Thank you”
I’m tired, but I still pray for peace, justice, and righteousness! M

That’s what’s on my mind!

Meet Our Guest Blogger Miles Jaye

Singer, songwriter, Miles Jaye, is a native New Yorker; it is there that he studied music theory and classical violin for more than ten years at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Saratoga School for Orchestral Studies and Brooklyn College.

An accomplished musician and producer, Jaye is best known for his chart-topping hits, "Let’s Start Love Over", "Heaven" and "Objective" featuring Grover Washington, Jr. His heart wrenching "I’ve Been A Fool For You" has become one of radio’s favorite R&B classics.

While Jaye laid the groundwork for excellence with his three highly acclaimed CD’s on Island Records, MILES, STRONG and IRRESISTIBLE; he continued that standard of excellence on his own Black Tree Records with titles such as the ODYSSEY, DIVINE ASCENSION, ROMANTIC STORM and HUMANITY.

Under the Miles Jaye Davis Productions label, his extensive training as a classical and jazz violinist is evident on his latest release "ATTENERGY", the voice on the violin which is an exceptional musical “coming out celebration” with sixteen beautifully crafted performances.

Now a Floridian, Jaye enjoys a long-standing reputation as an R&B and Contemporary Jazz writer/producer, having partnered with some of the giants of jazz on his recordings such as George Duke, Roy Ayers, Nat Adderley, Jr., Rachelle Ferrell, Grover Washington, Jr., and Branford Marsalis. The list of notables with which Jaye has shared the concert stages of the world is too extensive to include here.

Jaye is especially proud of writing and producing six tracks on the certified Gold JOY CD from his mentor, legendary R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass. A prolific composer, Jaye has penned and recorded more than 50 original compositions and has the unique distinction of recording no less than 12 different musical instruments on several of his critically acclaimed CD’s.

In addition to side-man duties early in his career for the songstress, Phyllis Hyman, balladeer, Jon Lucien, and jazz guitarist Eric Gale, Jaye served two years as lead-singing Cop for the hit pop group that brought you YMCA, Macho Man and In the Navy - THE VILLAGE PEOPLE.

Jaye is also a novelist, playwright, art student, and an award-winning journalist. He is an active supporter of campaigns for AIDS Awareness, Breast Cancer research, and an advocate for victims of domestic violence. He also actively supports arts education in public schools.

Miles Jaye Davis, like his namesake, legendary trumpeter, Miles Davis, is one of music’s most gifted, distinctive and dynamic artists.

Website: www.milesjaye.net

Email: milesjaye360@gmail.com