Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sign Petition To Free Bro. Genarlo Wilson!!!

Could this happen to your child? Your brother? Your friend?

Genarlow Wilson sits in prison despite being a good son, a good athlete and high school student with a 3.2 GPA. He never had any criminal trouble. On the day he was to sit for the SAT, at seventeen years old, his life changed forever. He was arrested. In Douglas County he was accused of inappropriate sexual acts at a News Year’s Eve party. A jury acquitted him of the allegation of Rape but convicted him of Aggravated Child Molestation for a voluntary act of oral sex with another teenager. He was 17, and she was 15.

Along with the label “child molester” which will require him throughout his life to be on a sexual offender registry, Genarlow received a sentence of eleven years — a mandatory 10 years in prison and 1 year on probation.

On July 1st, the new Romeo and Juliet law went into effect in Georgia for any other teen that engages in consensual sexual acts. That change in the law means that no teen prosecuted for consensual oral sex could receive more than a 12 months sentence or be required to register as a sex offender.

Had this law been in effect when Genarlow Wilson was arrested, or had been done after the Marcus Dixon case, Genarlow would not now be in jail.

Genarlow and his mother are overjoyed that no one else in Georgia will have to know their pain. In the meantime, however, the legal fight goes on for Genarlow Wilson.

Genarlow has been incarcerated since February 25, 2005.


Sign The Petition

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Murder of Malcom X and its impact on Black America

Feb. 21, 2007 marked 42 years since one of America's most charismatic,dynamic controversial, enigmatic, inspirational, feared, celebrated, hated, intelligent orators/leaders was cut down by a hail of bullets in his prime in front of a packed audience in the Audobon Ballroom which included his wife (pregnant with twins) and his four children....Although he drew his last breath that tragic day Malcolm still lives!!! You can kill the dreamer, but never the dream; you can kill the revolutionary, but never the revolution!!!

Malcolm was as great,complexed and committed as they come, who could not be brought with money (was once offered 3 million dollars to leave the Honorable Elijah Muhammad to start teaching a more "tradtionial" form of Islam, but he flat out refused)...Malcolm also had the underrated ability to admit when he was wrong and was willing to change in order to be a part of the solution, in order to confront and eradicate the problem...Malcom experienced the extremes of the human condition in his brief yet full 39 years on this piece of rock we call earth...Let us rejoice in what he left us instead of how he left us...We got alot of work to do so let's get to it!!! Hotep!!!
Your comrade in the struggle.
R2C2H2 Tha Artivist

Please check out what the Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan (a protege of Malcolm x) said about Malcolm X, the man and legacy, on the 25th Anniversary of his passing @ The Malcolm X College in Chicago,Ill. on Feb. 21, 1990:

Check out the Smoking Gun: Malcolm X Files which provides details,rare files,interviews, and photos(including the one at the top of this post) surrounding the assasination of Malcolm X:

More Malcolm X on W.E. A.L.L. B.E.:

Ebony Oscars...

The Cos Got No Love For Pac Nor His Mom...

The Cos Calls Pac A Drug Dealer:

More Pac on W.E. A.L.L. B.E.:
An Open Letter To Afeni Shakur From R2C2H2 Tha Artivist

More Cos on W.E. A.L.L. B.E.:

Another Forgotten Brother's Keeper...Clyde Kennard

Before James Meredith there was...

In the late 1950s, Mr.Clyde Kennard attempted to transfer from the University of Chicago, where he was as a student in good standing, to the University Of Southern Mississippi. The segregationist leaders of the time framed him for the crime of receiving stolen chicken feed and, after a mockery of a trial, sentenced him to prison to make sure that no African American would ever enter the University Of Southern Mississippi. To compound the tragedy, he became gravely ill in prison, was badly mistreated, and died shortly after receiving clemency, based on his medical condition.More

artwork by Lee Jack Morton
Ode to the Death Angel by Clyde Kennard(read at his funeral)
Oh here you come again
Old chilly death of Ol'
To plot out life
And test immortal soul
I saw you fall against the raging sea
I cheated you then and now you'll not catch me
I know your face
It's known in every race
Your speed is fast
And along the way
Your shadow you cast
High in the sky
You thought you had me then
I landed safely
But here you are again
I see you paused upon that forward pew
When you think I'm asleep
I'm watching you
Why must you hound me so everywhere I go?
It's true my eyes are dim
My hands are growing cold
Well take me on then, that
I might at last become my soul

Mr. Douglass Gets His Day And Due On The Hill...

By DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press Writer
Mon Feb 26, 6:06 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Frederick Douglass is known for fiercely opposing slavery after running away from his Maryland owner, for championing equal rights and women's rights and for being a forceful speaker.

But he spent much of his adult life as a journalist, first publishing a newspaper in Rochester, N.Y., where he lived near the Canadian border to be able to get away if pursued, and then in the nation's capital.

Douglass was the first black reporter allowed into the Capitol press galleries, where journalists watch lawmakers on the floors of the House and Senate.

His role as a pioneering journalist was honored Monday during Black History Month when the committee of reporters that controls access to the galleries dedicated a plaque and portrait.

Douglass was a member of the congressional press galleries from 1870-1874.

"We know he was here because the congressional directory, then as now, prints a list of everybody who sat in the gallery," said Senate historian Donald Ritchie. He said the names of Douglass and at least one of Douglass' sons were listed.

Douglass came to Washington in 1870 after he was asked to become editor of the New National Era, which chronicled the progress of blacks throughout the country. He later bought the paper after it ran into money trouble, but the enterprise collapsed in 1874 after a post-Civil War financial crisis wiped out many businesses in the city.

He continued to visit the Capitol, Ritchie said, sitting in seats for the public.

"He was here. He did report because the African-American community really wanted to know what was happening in Congress during Reconstruction," Ritchie said.

Jesse J. Holland, the first black reporter elected to the Standing Committee of Correspondents, said, "Frederick Douglass was the type of journalist who not only recorded history, he made history. So it's very appropriate that we're honoring him by placing this plaque and this painting here in the House Press Gallery."

Holland is an Associated Press reporter on leave to write a book about blacks' contributions to Washington's historic sites,

Elliott Lewis, a freelance television journalist, author and regional director for the National Association of Black Journalists, said minorities are still underrepresented in most U.S. newsrooms.

"It is our belief that America's press corps should look like America, so to be here today to honor a pioneering journalist is certainly a great privilege," he said.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Al(l) In The Family!!!

Even Norman Lear or Aaron Spelling couldn't have thought up a better tv sitcom than this:


Another way besides the Oscars last night that Eddie got screwed...At least he took his own timeless advice from his classic stand up comedy movie Raw and sign a pre-nup noJohnny Carson:

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Urban Art

Fredricka Hughes

The Caritas Village brings art, veggie burgers, and love to Binghamton.

By Bianca Phillips, Courtesy of the Memphis Flyer.

It's a quarter 'til 7 on Valentine's night, and five teenage girls from Binghamton are sitting in a circle talking about school, their hair, and other typical adolescent topics. It might seem like an ordinary scene if it weren't for what was in their hands.

Knitting needles and hot-pink and baby-blue yarns merge to form the beginnings of scarves or hats as the girls chatter on. It's not exactly the stereotypical image of Binghamton, a neighborhood often associated with gang crime, poverty, and blight.

But Onie Johns is trying to change all that. Since the Caritas Village, a community center/arts incubator in the old Masonic Temple on Harvard Avenue, opened up in December, Johns has been offering a free place for Binghamton residents to experience the arts.

"I've always thought that what the children in this neighborhood are lacking the most is creativity," says Johns, who lives just three blocks from the center. "This is an impoverished area, and the parents are in survival mode. That's what the kids get used to. If we can make creativity the norm, they'll do much better in school and in life."

Besides the Wednesday knitting class, the Village offers a free workshop nearly every day of the week. Artist Frank D. Robinson, known for his ability to collage anything from house keys to costume jewelry, teaches Thursday-night art classes. Former Wiggles cast member and Graffiti Playground founder DeWayne Hambrick teaches hip-hop dance on Saturdays.

Students learn photography from former University of Memphis art teacher Glenn Booth on Tuesdays. Rebekah Jordan, best known for her work on the successful Living Wage Campaign, teaches the knitting class.

Though most of the students are neighborhood teens, classes are open to anyone of any age. The knitting class is about half Binghamton teens, half older adults from other parts of the city.

"There's one little 58-year-old lady who dances [with Hambrick's class]," says Johns. "She's also one of the Grizzlies Grannies."

The mix of young and old, white and black, rich and poor fits right in with the Village's mission.

"We want to break down the walls of hostility between the races and build bridges of love and trust between the rich and those who have been made poor," says Johns.

Latisha Henderson

The center doubles as a coffee shop, serving plate lunches daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Johns' son-in-law Erik Waldkirch serves as volunteer chef, and he claims to make a mean veggie burger.

Though the center serves meat entrees daily, there's always a vegetarian option on the menu. Like the classes, the lunch crowd varies from neighborhood residents to business people looking for an inexpensive, quiet place to spend their lunch hour. The coffee shop remains open until 8 p.m., and regulars stop by all evening.

"It's really neat to have everyone sitting in here together," says Johns. "This neighborhood is so diverse and rich with relationships. There are Caucasians, African Americans, Africans, Latinos, and Afghanis all living in the area."

Johns should know. She sold her home in Germantown and moved to Binghamton about six years ago after she felt a calling to do Christian work in the inner city. As a member of the Caritas Community, a 501(c)(3) ministry dedicated to building relationships in impoverished areas, Johns opened her Binghamton home as a "hospitality house" long before opening the Village.

She served community meals and held Bible study groups there. She's even offered her extra bedroom to people in need of a place to stay. The Caritas Community also owns four houses in the area and rents them out as affordable housing.

"Affordable to us means zero to whatever people can pay," says Johns. "We have some people who can't pay rent. One guy cleans up [the Village] at night. He had a job, but now he doesn't."

Not only do they offer housing, Caritas Community members help their tenants through personal problems.

"We don't just rent the house," says Johns. "We've been with them to Juvenile Court, to regular court. We walk with the people, whatever they're going through."

Ever since Johns began working with the Caritas group, she'd wanted to open a community arts center. When the Masonic Temple become available, she raised $38,000 in donations, bought the property, and went through the arduous process of having the building re-zoned for commercial use.

Though the Village has only been open for two months (and classes have only been under way since January), Johns already has regulars at art classes and the coffee shop. She hopes to draw more people in with the addition of theater and music classes by this summer.

"I want to have something going on all the time to keep the children off the street corner," says Johns. "Some of the kids in the neighborhood who have been the most troubled will just come in for a while, sit quietly, and play [board] games. That's what we're all about."

The Caritas Village, 2509 Harvard, 901-327-5246

Check out The Memphis Commercial Appeal article on this wonderful community institution:,2845,MCA_25342_5291776,00.html

Venus Williams makes historic and successful comeback in Memphis...

Friday, February 23, 2007

Dr. John B. Ervin Drops Knowledge On...Missed Opportunities And Expanded Options.

Dr. John B. Ervin (1916-1992)was the first Black dean of Washington University in St. Louis...He was also a nationally known and respected educator and scholar who served on and was appointed by Presidents Ford and Carter to the National Advisory Council on Extension and Continuing Education. He also served on the board of numerous St. Louis community based organizations. To honor his legacy of academic achievement and community service, Washington University established the prestigious John B. Ervin Scholars program in 1987 (a program which Tha Artivist is also an alumnus, Class of 2002)...The program will be celebrating their 20th Anniversary this September 2007...To learn more about John B. Ervin and this program please check out the following websites:

The following is an article that Dr. Ervin did for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where served as a guest columnist...It ran November 4,1982:

Missed Opportunities And Expanded Options
Several weeks ago, the minister of my church preached a sermon entitled “Missed Opportunities.” In that sermon, the basic illustration had to do with a major candy company that refused to permit the producers of the popular movie “ET The Extraterestrial” to use one of their products in the segments which showed the child enticing ET from his hiding place with a trail of candies. The producers wanted something which was familiar to every viewer, therefore necessitating a minimum of explanation, and thought that M & M’s could do that. Another company gave that permission and is reported to have difficulty keeping up with the demands for the brand of candy used in the film. The popularity of ET has created a whole new level of demand for the product.

The point of the sermon- a missed opportunity for the Mars Candy Company and a real opportunity for the competition.

I was challenged by that sermon and the train of thought provided by it brought into sharper focus two news stories which appeared a week or two later. The first was a story reporting that 40 percent of the Black students attending the University of Missouri at Columbia were on academic probation during 1981-82 and that at least the same number would be on probation in 1982-83, more than twice the rate for White students.

The second story concerned a report by the College Board which indicated that Black students were averaging 100 points lower than White students on the Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT), used for college admission purposes.

In each of those stories, there was mention of courses taken by Black students as compared with White students and the possible effect on academic achievement. It was explicitly stated that at the University of Missouri-Columbia the courses most often listed on the Black students transcripts included pop music, band, jazz lab, choir, typing, crafts, junior clerk and office orientation.

While there is nothing wrong with taking such courses, a university official made an important point when he said, “They were making A’s and B’s and were graduating with 3.5 grade point averages, but were not taking the type of courses needed to complete successfully in an academic situation.

He went on to say, “...when hard courses, such as chemistry, math, physics and English are sacrificed for the ones listed above, students expose themselves to the dangers of academic failure at the university level.” I would add that even when those students do well academically the course choices which were made in high school limit greatly the range of the career choices that can be made later. When, in college, a student makes a decision to study engineering or medicine or law and discovers that he or she cannot be admitted to professional school because of the inability to meet certain subject requirements, the failure to take these courses in high school represents a “missed opportunity.” On the other hand, those students who took advantage of the opportunity to enroll in the sciences, math, foreign languages, English, as well as some of those other courses, were making it more likely that they could compete successfully in the widest range of situations. In other words, they were “expanding their options.”

Which brings me back to the theme for this little essay. It is clear that all of us want to take advantage of whatever opportunities come our way. The problem is that we are not able, usually, to know enough to make the determination that anyone of many situations needs to be treated as the “great opportunity”. What this means is that “missed opportunity” can be recognized only by hindsight, after the event has taken place and certain evidence has been collected which demonstrated “what might have been, if…” This is another way of saying that a missed opportunity gets defined within the context of later events—most of which could not have been foreseen by the persons involved.

On the other hand, increasing or expanding options is a greater possibility for all of us, and is based upon the very simple principle that what I choose to do today, affects what I can or cannot do, tomorrow. The person who makes maximal use of learning opportunity, today, accumulates competencies which increase the range of possibilities for tomorrow and the next day. The person, for example, who takes four years of chemistry, physics, mathematics, a foreign language, or the humanities, may not want to become a scientist, a physician, a lawyer, an engineer—but he or she can if he/she wants to do so. The person who takes general science, introduction to math, social studies, etc. may be as bright as the first person, but alternatives have become so limited that certain career choices are not viable options. All of us may have missed opportunities because we did not know where a given choice might have led specifically. It becomes important, therefore, for us to make the most of present situations, to use present resources in such a way that we increase our range of options, rather than decrease those options.

We must do those things which will make it possible to compete successfully in the largest range of situations. We may miss some opportunities-but making good choices is absolutely necessary if we are to take fullest advantage of the opportunities which we do accept.

NBA All Star Game Thugstyles Live 2007

Basketball great Dennis Johnson dies while teaching the game he loved...

R.I.P. D.J.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Even American Indians Discriminate...

photo by Frank Morris
The Cherokees are building a new clinic just outside Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Listen to story courtesy of NPR
Morning Edition, February 21, 2007 · A federal court hearing Wednesday pits Native Americans against the descendants of African slaves once kept by tribal members. The Cherokee Nation has moved to expel the people known as Cherokee Freedmen.

The Freedmen argue that a 140-year-old treaty protects their citizenship in the Cherokee Nation. The conflict puts the tribal government in the unusual position trying to argue against a long-standing treaty.

The Cherokee tribe has always been one of the largest in the United States. It was also once one of the wealthiest. Some of its members held more than 100 slaves on plantations in the south. In recent times though, many Cherokee have lived in deep poverty.

The tribe only recently tapped casino revenue to build modern health clinics, like the one rising from the countryside near Muskogee, Oklahoma.

With the Cherokee's financial picture brightening somewhat and a tribal ruling in their favor, Freedmen such as Johnny Toomer — a forklift operator in Muskogee — have staked their claim to membership.

"All I want [is] to be done is done fairly and right," Toomer said. "My ancestors received benefits and was done fairly. I want to be done fairly."

Toomer's great, great grandmother was the daughter of slaves held by the Cherokee. Her people likely walked to Oklahoma from Georgia on the infamous Trail of Tears, a march forced by the U.S. government that killed nearly a fifth of the tribe.

Toomer says the proof of his claim is in the photocopied documents arrayed on his coffee table. His relative's name is on what's called the Dawes Rolls, a federal government list of Cherokees, and members of four other tribes, living on Indian lands around 1900.
photo by Frank Morris
Johnny Toomer, a Cherokee Freedman, looks over photocopied documents in his living room that show his family connections to the tribe.
The Dawes Rolls have become the gold standard for determining tribal citizenship. If you have a direct descendant on the rolls, you're in.

But a century ago a bureaucrat marked that Toomer's great, great grandmother was a Cherokee Freedman. It's that notation that now puts his tribal citizenship at risk.

"Is it because of the color of my skin, [the] reason I'm not accepted? That's the way I feel about it sometimes," Toomer said.

A tribal court ruling last year forced the Cherokees to recognize Freedmen as citizens. That prompted Toomer and about 1,500 other Freedmen to sign up for membership cards.

That sparked a referendum to amend the tribe's constitution and formally expel the Freedmen.

"It's an Indian thing, we do not want non-Indians in the tribe, our Indian blood is what binds us together," said Jodie Fishinghawk, who helped lead the drive to expel the Freedmen.

She notes that nearly all Indian nations require their citizens to be able to document direct ancestors in the tribe. Standards vary from nation to nation, and most are more stringent than the Cherokee. Fishinghawk says a tribe's right to set conditions of citizenship is fundamental to its sovereignty.

"It's a democratic process, people are allowed to vote. That's what America is based on, that's what we use here in the Cherokee Nation," Fishinghawk said. "And I don't see any problem with it."

The Cherokee Freedmen do. After fighting on the losing side in the Civil War, the Cherokees signed a treaty guaranteeing their newly freed slaves citizenship in the tribe.

Marilyn Vann, president of the Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes Association, says the 1866 treaty's protection outweighs the tribe's claims of sovereignty on this issue. And besides, she says, the Cherokee tribe has always been a diverse nation, not a race.

"You know there never was such a thing as the Cherokee Race. Cherokee was a citizenship," Vann said. "The federal government doesn't have government-to-government relations with races, only nations."

But this whole discussion of race really misses the point, according to Cherokee Principal Chief Chad Smith. In his office looking out at the sprawling tribal headquarters campus near Tahlequah, Okla., Smith said more people do want to be in the tribes these days. But it's not so much because of subsidized health care and housing, but rather a search for a cultural identity.

"And it's easy to grasp and look to tribes, who are indigenous and have a sense of identity, and have sustained themselves through terrible times," Smith said.
photo by Frank Morris
Cherokee Principal Chief Chad Smith says tribes offer a real sense of identity to members.

The Cherokee Freedmen maintain that their ancestors helped sustain the tribe through very the worst of times. They argue that now that things have improved they shouldn't have to fight to call themselves Cherokees.

Famous Art Visionary on W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio this Sunday Feb. 25 @ 4pm live central standard time...

Check out this upcoming Sunday's (Feb.25,2007) edition of Tha Artivist Presents...W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio @ 4pm Central Standard Time!!! Call in number is 646-652-4593 or e-mail to have your question answered or comment read on the air!!! Our special guest will be...

Edmund Barry Gaither
Famous Director/Curator of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists (NCAAA)

Named as one of the 100 most important museum professionals of the 20th century during the 100th annual convention of the American Association of Museums (AAM), Edmund Barry Gaither has been Director and Curator of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists (NCAAA) since 1969, and Special Consultant at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA),Boston.

At the MFA, he has served as curator for eight exhibitions including Afro-American Artists: New York and Boston, a ground breaking show of l970.

For the NCAAA, he developed the Museum from a concept to an institution with collections exceeding three thousand objects and a thirty-two year history of exhibitions celebrating the visual arts heritage of black people worldwide.

Formerly, he developed a course on African American art which he taught as a lecturer at Harvard College (l972-75); Wellesley College, 1971-74; Massachusetts College of Art, 1970-71; and Spelman College, l968-69.

Additionally, he taught a special course for Afro-American Studies at Boston University, l971-83, and also served on the summer faculty of the Arts Leadership Institute, University of Minnesota, l989.

Within the museum field, he has been very active. He served on the Commission on Museums for a New Century (American Association of Museums, l984), Commission on Equity and Excellence (American Association of Museums, l986), and Museums and Communities, American Association of Museums, 2000.

Gaither was cofounder and first president of the African American Museums Association (now the Association for African American Museums).

In the field of education, he has published and lectured widely. Additionally, he was a consultant to Urban Ways: The Center of Arts Education, in Chicago; Department of Education, Art Institute of Chicago; as well as for Primary Source, a curriculum development organization based in Boston.

As a citizen, he served on President George W. Bush’s Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities; and on the Commission for the Roxbury State Heritage Park, Boston, MA.

He headed the national committee that commissioned the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. for the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., l985-86. From l980-83, he was Panel Chairman for the Expansion for the Expansion Arts Division of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Gaither has traveled widely. Among places where he has worked or conducted research are: Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada (Museum Consultant); Paris, France (Symposium Presenter at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts, 2000); Jamaica, West Indies, (Adjudicator for Independence Festival, Museum Consultant, independent research); Ethiopia (researcher); Israel (researcher); Union of Soviet Socialists Republics (researcher in art and museum education); Germany (studying models for museum education); Haiti (researcher); Senegal (Presented at Symposium in honor of President L.S. Senghor; delegate to planning conference for Black Arts Festival); Barbados, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic (researcher); Guyana (Presented: Celebrations for the 150th Anniversary of Emancipation in British Caribbean), and Mexico.

Check out what u missed last week on Tha Artivist Presents...W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio:

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"From Tha Artivist With Love" delivers with hugs and kisses…

R2C2H2 proudly displays examples of his work. He holds a piece entitled "Growling Trumpet Man" and behind him from left are "Basin Street Blues," "St. John" and "One O'Clock Jump/Count Basie Stomp."

A Special to W.E. A.L.L. B.E.,

What the world needs now is love…Artivist style!!!

For those who were in attendance @ MO's Memphis Originals on 3521 Walker, they got treated to one of the best declarations of love and happiness by those true ambassadors of love, happiness, peace on earth and goodwill towards mankind, Tha Artivist and his Artastic friends!!!

"From Tha Artivist With Love" an art exhibition and talent showcase was a Lovtastic, Artastic, Blacktastic and Fantastic event meant to display the talents of some of the best and brightest in the Memphis community…This reception took place to also mark the opening exhibition of works by the prolific Artivist known as R2C2H2...In addition, the event also served as an opportunity to merge three of Tha Artivist's three biggest passions: his love of art, his love of music and his love of history in particular Black history…Given the day of the event (Valentine's Day) and the fact that it is Black History Month, Tha Artivist thought it was a great time to invite some of his musically inclined friends along for the journey to make it a truly memorable one thus living up to his previously stated passions and ideals…Also Tha Artivist's many personalities went along for the ride…That was definitely a crowded bus!!!

Check out MO's Memphis Originals @ these following websites:

From Louie With Love...

R2C2H2 of East Memphis gives his rendition of Louis Armstrong on his trumpet "Sweet Lorraine". In addition to music, guests at Mo's also enjoyed “From Tha Artivist With Love,” exhibit, which opened Feb. 14, as well as black history musings from R2C2H2.

To lead off the festivities Tha Artivist opened up the event singing and playing the love jazz ballad "All of Me" while doing his best Louis Armstrong impersonation…It caught the audience off guard, but was deemed a success by the rounds of applause and cheers it generated…Tha Artivist described the purpose of this funtastic event and his role as an Artivist…Check out Tha Artivist's MySpace page @

Mr. Hood's Opus
Tha Artivist was then followed by clarinet virtuoso and Havenview Middle School Band Director the talented and multifaceted Mr. Brandon Hood…He got the crowd in the mood by playing the right notes as well as a piece by the famed French modern impressionist composer DeBussy…Being that it was the ultimate day for love he also played some timeless pieces by the American master composer George Gershwin including "Embraceable You" and one of Tha Artivist's favorites "Somebody to Watch Over Me"…It is always a pleasure and a treat to hear Mr. Hood do his thing and I was very grateful that he was able to share his beautiful gifts with a receptive public…

Brandon Hood of Bartlett, R2C2H2 of East Memphis and Ashley Haralson of Whitehaven. All three serenaded during opening night for "Tha Artivist with Love" exhibit at Mo's Feb. 14. Hood, a band teacher for Havenview Middle School, played Gershwin tunes on the clarinet, Herd belted out a rendition of Louis Armstrong on his trumpet, and Haralson hit the high notes on Minnie Riperton's "Lovin' You." All are buddies from Overton High School, Class of '98.

Check out Mr. Hood's MySpace page @
More Mr. Hood on W.E. A.L.L. B.E.:

The Lovely Ms. Ashley Elise Haralson Channels Minnie Ripperton From Beyond The Grave…

The next American Idol? Could be. Whitehaven resident Ashley Haralson hits every high note in Minnie Riperton's "Lovin' You" during opening night for Ron Herd's (aka R2C2H2) exhibit, "From Tha Artivist With Love," Feb. 14 at Mo's.

Following Mr. Hood was the lovely songstress extraordinaire known as Ms. Ashley Elise Haralson…She like Mr. Hood was also a talented classmate of Tha Artivist from the abundantly talent ladened Overton High School of Memphis…Tha Artivist haven't heard or seen this sister in almost in 10 years, but as they say good things come to those who wait and great things come to those who wait even longer…Ms. Ashley Elise Haralson definitely fulfilled the latter…The humble diva immediately fulfilled an enthusiastic audience member's eager request by launching into the seeming un-official theme song of Valentine's Day, the classic "My Funny Valentine" …To all of our amazement she did it without musical accompaniment with the exception being her angelic voice…It seemed like deja vu because fellow Artivist classmate and humble diva Ms. Laila Wright did the same song the same way in the same venue on July 29, 2006!!! Both being disciples of the late great Overton choir director Lulah Hedgeman, they surely did the legendary music teacher proud in their renditions…Ms. Haralson followed that tune up by doing the late great Minnie Ripperton's classic hit "Loving You"…A very brave selection indeed regardless of anyone's musical talents and experience…However she was able to pull it off because her vocal dexterity, phrasing and range was very exceptional and definitely this number and performance was a crowd favorite…Check out Ms. Ashley Elise Haralson's MySpace page @

'Edutaining' With Love…
Tha Artivist followed these wonderful and passionate performances by giving an "edutaining" (educational and entertaining) lecture on the cultural contributions that African Americans have made to Memphis and U.S. history…Summaries of what was said can best be seen and read by clicking on the following W.E. A.L.L. B.E. links:

Needless to say the crowd was thoroughly impressed and informed thus thoroughly "edutained"…It can be said that Tha Artivist is also an Artstorian (a historian who uses his/her creative gifts to preserve history) as well!!!

Tha Artivist also talked about Blues great Robert Johnson and did his own rendition of Robert Johnson's classic "Love in Vain" blues…Instead of slide guitar Tha Artivist used his trumpet "Sweet Lorraine" to articulate the Blues as well as his "schizophrenic" vocals!!! The crowd drunk that offering up like Rev. Jim Jones' Kool-Aid…

Tha Artivist appeals to the Young as well as those Young @ Heart!!!

R2C2H2 chats with Midtown residents Abby and Joshua Brollier during opening night for his exhibit, "From Tha Artivist With Love," Feb. 14 at Mo's.

Midtowners John and Judy Gibson spent Valentine's evening at Mo's Music and Art Café which featured the visual artistry, musical expertise and black history musings of East Memphis resident Ron Herd aka R2C2H2. The Gibsons enjoy attending events that pay tribute to Civil Rights issues.

Tha Artivist Explains His "ARTASTICNESS!!!" In Q And A Session...

Tha Artivist believes that he he answered all the questions thrown at him to the best of his abilities and also feels that he answered more questions in one night than Pres. Bush answered at all of his press conferences in all of his seven years in office!!!


Thank U Really Means I Love U!!!

Tha Artivist would like to thank the following people for making the event a success and believing in his "audacity of hope" causes:

1.)The beautiful and generous Nita B. of MO's Memphis Originals for the opportunity to showcase Tha Artivist's Artasticness and Blackliciousness…

2.)The beautiful, enthusiatic and loquacious Kim Brukardt for the publicity campaign as well as for the photos that made this article possible…

3.)WUMR Jazz Radio's "Focus on the Arts" program for letting Tha Artivist get his message of love out to the greater Memphis community…

4.)Tha Artivist's Mom for her constant support and encouragement…Couldn't ask for a better mother!!!

5.) Tha Artivist friends who are consummate professionals and made the event a memorable one: Mr. Brandon Hood and Ms. Ashley Elise Haralson…

6.) And everybody else who showed support for this project by showing and/or spreading the love by spreading the word…W.E. A.LL. B.E. Loving U For Life!!!

If you would like to be a part of something productive, positive and empowering please come join us for Tha Artivist's next adventure…W.E. A.L.L. B.E. waiting for U!!!

Click on the following W.E. A.L.L. B.E. links to see more articles related to this event:

To see a summary(s) of the previous Artivist Event @ MO's please click on the following W.E. A.L.L. B.E. links:

Visit R2C2H2 Tha Artivist on MySpace:

Also check out these other sites and help support your favorite Artivist by buying 100% R2C2H2 Tha Artivist endorsed and created products!!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Barack Ain't Black Enough???

Obama should not get a free pass from Black America

Having already suggested in print that Barack Obama should run for president of the United States, let me now address the important issue of race that has surfaced, now that he has announced his intent to put together an exploratory committee.

Barack Obama has earned considerable public notice, not for anything he has done, but substantially for who he is racially. Thus, who he is, becomes a central point in examining his popularity, because this is part of the reason why the American people have gravitated toward him. His public posture is that he is attractive personally, being even charismatic and telegenic, but he has also tentatively laid out some tantalizing aspects of his ideological position. He has said that he understands that Americans want a “new kind of leadership” but without quite defining it. Is this his way of suggesting that he is a post-racial candidate?

His novelty has meant that he presents a view of racial diversity that is attractive to Americans, the non-threatening variety. One variety of diversity comes with a compensatory edge, where Blacks are demanding compensation for the past of slavery and post-slavery racism has been rejected by the Supreme Court, by the states of California, Washington, and more recently Michigan. There is another kind of diversity that is based on the simple proposition of the positive desire to include all people of whatever stripe in the American experiment. The latter is where Barack Obama wins his appeal from America. This is suggested by his parental background and his upbringing and now become an out-front aspect of his persona.

Black people do not live in a post-racial America. They live in the prism of police shootings in New York, Atlanta, of rabid incarceration, of employment stagnation, of the continued lack of capital, of record foreclosures, and other manifestations that America is still sensitive to who they are. So, why shouldn’t Blacks, even Black leaders, be a little suspicious of the maddening rush to Obama by the media, when at the same time, they turn Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy into a non-threatening pose of the dreamer? The media vilifies King’s followers who carry on his true legacy.

Some have suggested that Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Harry Belafonte are jealous of Obama because they believe that he cannot be just accepted at face value and should be watched. But it is the responsibility of Black leadership to vet anyone who presents himself or herself to the Black community as a presidential candidate. Ask Senator Joe Lieberman. In the 2000 election cycle, he was added to the ticket of Al Gore as vice president. However, he had taken a negative position on affirmative action and Black leaders took him to the woodshed until he straightened up.

Black leaders also have another reason to be cautious. They have some attractive options and these options should be played effectively. If Rev. Sharpton runs for president in 2008, Blacks will have a direct and powerful voice in the presidential election representing issues important to Blacks that cannot be ignored. Already, one un-named analysts reported in a major newspaper that Barack faces the danger that a Sharpton candidacy will force him to address “awkward civil rights issues such as police brutality and racial profiling that he tends to steer clear of.”

Another candidate, Hilary is married to Bill Clinton, an 800-pound gorilla is affectionately called the “first Black President.” He has retained a lasting influence within the Black community, his former staffers and their extended contacts. Given these real live options, why jump to the untested Barack?

(Guest editorial by Ron Walters, the Distinguished Leadership Scholar, Director of the African American Institute and Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland - College Park. He can be reached at )

Tha Artivist Presents…Memphis Black History, More than the place where Dr. King died. Part 2

From time to time I will be contributing articles like these to W.E. A.L.L. B.E. and beyond…Feel free as usual to share the info!!!
Check out Part one of this series by clicking on the following link:

Tha Artstorian Reports...
Memphis is the Incubator for Musical Giants…

Although she now claims Detroit as her hometown, The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis…As a matter of fact Dr. King gave his famous "I Have A Dream" speech at Ms. R-E-S-P-E-C-T's famous father's (Rev. C.L. Franklin a.k.a. "The Million Dollar Voice") church, New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit…

The True King of Swing: Jimmie Lunceford

The first high school bandleader in the city of Memphis was Fulton, Mississippi native Jimmie Lunceford…A Fisk University graduate, Jimmie Lunceford taught music at Manassas High School during the 1920s…He actually formed a professional working band from his high school students as well from some of his college friends which was known as The Chickasaw Syncopators…The band was very popular locally appearing on radio frequently…He finally left Memphis with his band to take over the vacant orchestra job at the legendary Cotton Club in New York City…

As you imagine following in the footsteps of Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway could be a very challenging and daunting task for most, but not for a man as confident, professional, and ambitious as Mr. Jimmie Lunceford…His band by now renamed The Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra won the hearts of millions throughout the country courtesy of the regular live broadcasts from the Cotton Club…The great jazz genius Miles Davis as a kid really enjoyed listening to the Lunceford Orchestra on radio…The precision driven Lunceford Orchestra was actually the standard bearer for the swing bands of the 1930s and 1940s…They were well rehearsed, their playing as well as interplay very polished and their showmanship was beyond compare… Lunceford's trumpet section would actually throw their trumpets up in the air in unison, catch them and play where they left off in unison!!! The musicians were also known for their singing and comedic antics...Their early success, unique musicality and rich atmospheric sound can also be attributed to the voicings and colorful arrangements of Lunceford's gifted trumpeter Sy Oliver although many including some of the early band members would disagree because early recordings show that the sound that would make Lunceford famous was already starting to come together before Sy joined the band…Lunceford was a man that commanded great respect from his musicians without ever repeating himself twice or raising his voice (a la Tony Dungy)…

However, he wasn't known as a man who paid his musicians well, which led to the exodus of many of his most talented musicians including the exceptional Sy Oliver who joined the popular All-White Tommy Dorsey Orchestra for an extra $5,000 a year back in 1939...In spite of these setbacks Lunceford was still able to record and get dates throughout the country…Unfortunately, on July 12,1947 Lunceford dropped dead in Seaside, Oregon while signing autographs at the age of 45…Some said that the cause of death was heart attack…However, many think he was poisoned by a racist restaurant owner/cook…He is buried in famous Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis,Tn…More on Jimmie Lunceford:

"Furry Sings The Blues."

Legendary Beale Street blues performer Furry Lewis could count Rock and Pop music icons such as Jimi Hendrix and Joni Mitchell as admirers and fans respectively…A native of Greenwood, MS and born to a family of sharecroppers, his family (absent his father, who separated from his mother when he was a little baby) moved to Memphis when he was seven years old…It is said that he received his first guitar from the great W.C. Handy…Early in his career Furry traveled with medicine shows throughout the American South working as a comedian and wearing "blackface" while at the same time refining his skills on guitar...He was a very flashy player known for playing his guitar behind his head and with his teeth ala Jimi Hendrix style… In 1917 Furry Lewis lost one of his legs in a railroad accident, but that didn't stop him from pursuing his career as a professional musician…He is the most recorded Memphis Blues guitarist of the 1920s… After the 1920s his style of country blues fell out of favor with the public and so he got a job as a sanitation worker sweeping Beale Street for the next 43 years of his life…

Furry did not received the fame he deserved until the 1960s and 70s when their was a surging interest in the early Delta Blues…This opportunity gave Furry a chance to play at festivals and college campuses throughout the United States and the world for that matter…He became so famous that Furry was written about in the very popular Playboy Magazine, appeared as himself in a movie starring Burt Reynolds entitled "W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings", opened several times for the popular rock group The Rolling Stones (including when they played to 53,000 fans in his hometown of Memphis, Tn), appeared and performed on the Johnny Carson Show...In 1973 Furry became the first Black person to received the honorary title of "Colonel" by the state of Tennessee and Joni Mitchell even wrote a song about him entitled "Furry Sings the Blues" which he hated and thought that he deserved royalties from since it was about him (similar to the Rosa Parks incident with the rap group Outkast)…Fighting a short bout with pneumonia Furry Lewis, a great musician rescued from obscurity by divine intervention, passed away on September 14, 1981…He is buried in Hollywood Cemetery of South Memphis…However, his music lives on and continues to attract new fans…More on Furry Lewis:

Doing It Her Way: Alberta Hunter, A Resilient Queen of the Blues

Alberta Hunter, one of the famous Blues Queens of the 1920s, ran away from Memphis to Chicago at the age of 12 to began her singing career…She made her name and money in clubs owned by gangsters such as the legendary and ruthless Al Capone…Alberta became good friends with another Memphis native and fellow musician Lil Hardin Armstrong…Although Alberta was married once for a short time, she was also romantically linked to Ms. Lottie Taylor, the niece of comic great Bert Williams for many years...She would also eventually find success as a songwriter (she penned the blues standard "Down Hearted Blues" which was made popular by the Empress of the Blues Bessie Smith, a native of Chattanooga,Tn) and as a recording artist (collaborated with jazz and blues luminaries such as Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet among others)…Alberta Hunter became the first artist to record blues for Black Swan Records in 1921, the first Black owned music company founded by Harry Pace, W.C. Handy's former business partner…

In 1923, she became the first African-American singer to be backed up by a White band, when the Original Memphis Five supported her on "Tain't Nobody's Biz-ness If I Do" and "If You Want To Keep Your Daddy Home", and "Bleeding Hearted Blues"….She traveled all around the world performing in the Middle East, Europe and Russia….She starred alongside the great Paul Robeson in a London production of the musical "Showboat"…She eventually retired from the scene and became a nurse in the 1950s (she lied about her age and forged a high school diploma because she never graduated from high school)…However, in the 1960s and 70s much interest generated about the reclusive blues artist and she made an amazing comeback which led to touring, performing and recording on a regular basis up into her eighties!!! She died in 1984 at the age of 89.

More info on Alberta Hunter including opportunities to hear some of her earlier recordings:

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Listen to the Feb. 18 installment of W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio: Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize.


David Rowntree
the curator of the official Henry Hampton Archives @ Washington University in St. Louis will join us to speak about the legacy and contributions of alumnus Henry Hampton (8/19/1940-11/22/1998, class of '61), the visionary behind the groundbreaking and award winning Eyes on the Prize documentary series as well as the founder of Blackside,Inc. which was the largest African American owned film company in the world at one time:

Legendary Mississippi civil rights activist and educator the honorable Dr. Gene Young, a protege of Medgar Evers and Dr. King, will also join us to give his front line perspective on the American Civil Rights Movement as well:

The show will be live today (Feb. 18,2007) @ 4pm central standard time so feel free to call in @ 646-652-4593 before 5pm central standard time...If you miss the live show don't worry because it will be available for downloads and replays 24/7, just make sure to visit Tha Artivist Presents...W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio official website and click on the February 18, 2007 show installment:

Check out what some of you all missed last week:

As always please spread the word!!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Bayard Rustin the Forgotten Brother's Keeper...

Revisiting the legacy of Civil Rights Legend and Gay Rights Icon: Bayard Rustin
Attention W.E. A.L.L. B.E. subscribers to view Bayard Rustin video please click on the following link:

Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) was an openly gay Black man and Quaker...He was also a brilliant strategist who helped organize the 1963 March on Washington and was a close adviser to Civil Rights leaders and icons such as Dr. King and A. Phillip Randolph, both men who grew up in and had strong connections to the Black Church...Ironically, it was Bayard Rustin along with another under-appreciated icon Ella Baker who actually suggested the formation of the socially conscious and religious based Southern Christian Leadership Conference...Bayard Rustin was the one who advised Dr. King to adopt a strategic position of non-violence or civil dis-obedience during the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56 and was also the one along with A. Phillip Randolph who planned the original March on Washington that didn't happen in 1943, but came back to lead and organize the actual 1963 March on Washington where Dr. King made his famous and career defining "I Have A Dream" speech...Mr. Rustin was so invaluable to the movement that when FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover informed "The Big Six" (the official mainstream anointed Black leaders of the movement which included John Lewis of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, Whitney Young of the National Urban League, the labor leader extraordinaire A. Phillip Randolph, Dr. King of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, James Farmer of C.O.R.E., and Roy Wilkins of the N.A.A.C.P.) that Rustin's personal life and sexual preference may ruin their cause and that they should rid themselves of him they all refused to do so...Although many of them did not approve of Mr. Rustin's lifestyle choices, they(led by the wisdom of Dr. King and A. Phillip Randolph) refused to abandon him because they knew he had an exceptional and irreplaceable gift at organizing...An openly gay Black man as well as a Socialist he was subjected to scrutiny by both the Black leadership as well as by the Federal U.S. Government, but yet he persevered and remained true to his call of being his Brother's Keeper!!!

To learn more about Bayard Rustin check out these links: