Presented on this page are a few of my own personal "role models". It is the cross section of the ideas and accomplishments of these individuals that has influenced me to become the warrior that I am today.
All of these men had one thing in common......there were all BADASS "Brotha's" who had the courage to say NO ...to the conventional wisdom of the time......and find their own way .
Damm right my main man is Jimi Hendrix !!!
Blues, Rock, Funk, Soul, whatever....he was on his own planet & he did his own thang !!!
"The Blues In Technicolor". Many times while I was young, I heard the lament from Black folk "we invented rock and roll & whitey stole it from us"..........well Jimi Hendrix snatched it right back from em and did so with style and flair. Unfortunately for Hendrix during his lifetime Black people never really accepted him. He dressed and acted very differently than other Black entertainers of that era and was largely dismissed within the Black community. They thought he was an "Uncle Tom" and had "sold out". Of course the truth was the exact opposite......Jimi Hendrix was fighting for the integrity of the music that had been stolen away and did so successfully. Often imitated (ex. Lenny Kravitz, Prince, Stevie Ray Vaughn & Vernon Reid), but never duplicated !!!!
He had no peers.....then or now
Miles Davis turned the jazz world on it's ear when he added electric instruments to his band in 1968........and they never forgave him for it. What Miles did was to introduce poly-rythyms from Africa in the funkiest way possible. In doing so he took much of the mystery out of the music and made it "raw", thus making jazz accessible to teenagers such as myself. Jazz critic at that time (and some today such as Wynton Marsalis) were outraged, they thought that jazz was supposed to be sophisticated music to be listened to in a pastoral setting such as a concert hall or a conservatory. Miles on the other had thought that his music should be played at rib shacks & house parties and listened to by those who frequented such places. The album pictured "On the Corner" is the first Miles Davis album that I ever brought.
The Miles Davis album "On the Corner" is universally hated by "jazz purists".......and universally loved by the Black men who were in their late teens and early 20's during the early 1970's, that I hung out with.
I first became aware of Erivin "Magic" Johnson (the best nickname ever in sports) at a pivotal moment in my life. I had just relocated from New York to Houston TX almost a year after I had graduated from college. At that time of course, I was unemployed and all of 22 years old, armed with a college degree and newly married. I knew that I wanted to go in to the business world & had some loose notions about being a "manager of something or other". The timeframe was 3/79 and as I was pondering all of this, there was something else going on that caught my attention. It was of course the 1979 NCAA basketball tournament, where there was a brilliant, second year, six foot nine inch, point guard that everyone was raving about.
He captivated America with his size, speed and passing. But for me there was something else there besides mere basketball talent. It was almost as if "Magic" was saying something to me on a far more personal level. He was saying "look, they told me I was too big to play guard, too slow to play forward & too small to play center.......so I guess I'll just have to make up a position for myself. Plus on top of all of that I'll simply make myself look good......by making everyone else around me look good........do it with GHETTO STYLE/FLAIR.......and above all do it with a SMILE !!!"
They can name that position .....MAGIC if they want to.
The way he played and behaved on the basketball court truly inspired me as I entered the world of business beginning at AT&T the very next month.
It is no coincidence that I have selected a photo of Magic Johnson while he was a Michigan State "passing the rock"....that's how I will always think of him.
**NOTE: The day "Magic" had his famous press conference to tell the world that he was HIV positive, I was driving home from work & as I listened to him speak on the radio I cried..........I felt that just a little piece of myself had just died !!!!
Houston is a fantastic place with many opportunities for people who donít mind working towards something.
Where else can you see slave quarters within walking distance of some of the most expensive real estate in the world ?
This is a place where the white blues singers are often better than the Black ones !!
Example: this city was fortunate enough to have both an NFL and a NCAA football championship teams in the same year. Yet at the same time Pittsburgh is always apologetic for everything and people from Pittsburgh are defensive about most everything. This is a place that would be truly great.....if only it realized that it already was !!
My interest in reading stems of course back to when I was in elementry school while growing up in Brooklyn. Reading has become for me over the years a way of visiting famous places and meeting interesting people. It has opened my mind up to all of the possiblilites of the world that I could see and more importantly to the world that I couldn't see.
Here is a listing of some of the books that I have read that I feel have had an influence on me. If you also have been influenced by any of these books, drop me an email & we can talk about it.
|Secrecy & Power - J. Edgar Hoover||Bearing The Cross - ML King||Why Black People Tend To Shout - Ralph Willey||Private Parts - Howard Stern||Giant Steps - Karrem Abdul Jabbar||Crosstown Traffic - Charles Murrary||The People's Doonsebury - GB Trudeau|
|Psychological Profie Of Richard Nixon||Autobiography of Malcolm X||Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson||Blacks In American Film & Television||Crash - The Dick Allen Stiory||Divided Soul - David Ritz||Billy & The Boingers - Berke Breathard|
|Common Ground - Boston School Desegregation||Reunion - Tom Hayden||Fear & Loathing On The Campaign Trail - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson||Buppies, B-Boys, BAPS & Bohos - Nelson George||Foul - The Connie Hawkins Story||The Heart Of Rock & Soul - Dave Marsh||Bloom County - Berke Breathard|
|The Kennedy's||Bloods - Wallace Terry||Fatal Vision - Joe McGinniss||Wired - Bob Woodward||Ball Four - Jim Bouton||Papa John - John Phillips||R. Crumb's Head Comix|
|Texas Politics - James Lemare||The Promised Land||The Clustering Of America - Michael J. Wiess||Dictionary Of Cultural Literacy||Boys of Summer - Brooklyn Dodgers||Catch A Fire - Timothy Smith||Happy Trails - Berke Breathard|
Over the course of time I have been fortunate enough to run in to some folks along the way that I have managed to click with. The people that I will usually click with are those who are usually a little "different" and non conformist. They don't adhere to the "status quo" and are generally seeking a different/better way to go. These are the kind of people that I am drawn to, because I usually end up learning something from them.
As such, I refer to them as "fellow travelers". If you click on their names you can introduce yourselves to some of the ones that I know who have web pages.
Tony Taylor - Tony is something called an "Interest Group Leader" for Urban Sounds on Prodigy. However that title is meaningless to me. What's important to know about Tony is that he is a brotha who has both a vision and a plan. Skilled in business, technology and a proffesional musician, he is a role model for young Black men to emulate.
He is also my friend.
Kevin Amos - I have known Kevin Amos for well over 20 years. We met at the University of Pittsburgh in 1973 during some "nefarious" situation that I can no longer recall. Kevin knows more about music than any person I know and his willingness to share any and all information on any topic is without peer. Kevin is also a humanitarian and social activist, having done things such as run a homeless shelter and community organizing.
If you ever get the chance to talk with him, consider yourself fortunate.
Jose Munoz - Jose is also a native of NYC and grew up there during the same time I did. He and I have been to many of the same "places & spaces. One of the very best things about cyberspace is that sometimes you get to connect with people that you should have....but didn't. Jose fits in to that category. He was instrumental in helping to get Urban Sounds off the ground when we started it up.
We couldn't have done it without him.
Greer Gibbney Brooks - Greer is the host for the BEBB Black History trivia contest on the Prodigy service. She manages to make the trivia games both entertaining and educational.
She also taught me everything I know about hosting chats.
Roy W. Haygood - I didn't know Roy until about 6 months ago. However in the time I have known him he has become a friend. As it turns out we have some common friends & have traveled much the same road as I have to arive at a similar "time and space".
Hopefully we will get to meet one day.
Ernesto Cano - Ernesto is a young man from Chicago who is the BEBB chat coordinator where he is doing a bang up job. When people talk to me about the "failure of today's Black youth", I think about Ernesto and am very hopeful about the future.
TennesseeB - TennesseeB is another young man from the south that I met in the Hip Hop room. He is a college student that I admire for his understanding of the history of Black music.
Shelle Estes - Another impressive young person I have met online. Shelle is from the midwest & she is a college student and single mother. Her efforts in raising awareness of the seriousness of gang violence here on the net are worthy of our admiration. Go to her page to learn more.