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Soul-Patrol Remembers Richard Pryor (1940 - 2005)

* RIP Richard Pryor: "all the badd mo' fo's are dead or in jail..."
* Reflections on Pryor
* He aint crazy....he just daid now!



Pathbreaking Comedian Richard Pryor dies

(Courtesy of the newpittsburghcourier.com)

Sat Dec 10, 2005 - by Jeremiah Marquez
Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Richard Pryor, the caustic yet perceptive actor-comedian who lived dangerously close to the edge both on stage and off, has died, his ex-wife said Saturday. He was 65.

Pryor died of a heart attack at his home in the San Fernando Valley sometime late Friday or early Saturday, Flyn Pryor said. He had been ill for years with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the nervous system...


Full article at:
http://www.newpittsburghcourier.com/?article=13778


--If you know someone who wasn't hip to Richard Pryor, pass this email along, so they can get educated.

--If you know someone who was hip to Richard Pryor, pass this email along, so they can smile.

--Bob Davis
earthjuice@prodigy.net

RIP Richard Pryor: "all the badd mo' fo's are dead or in jail..."

Richard Pryor And now he is among his peers. Yeah, I will miss Richard Pryor.

The first time I ever heard Richard Pryor utter those words, I never really thought about the fact those words could make a fitting statement about Pryor himself. However, right about now, those words seem to be quite fitting, don't they?





Richard Pryor told us EVERYTHING about himself...

* He told us about his childhood
* He told us about his parents
* He told us about his school
* He told us about his drug use
* He told us about his jail time
* He told us about his wives
* He told us about his children
* He told us about his girlfriends
* He told us how he set himself on fire
* He told us how he recovered

One of the things that we don't have to worry about with Richard Pryor is that his life hasn't been properly documented. He took the time to do something unusual....
(he documented it HIMSELF)

In addition to telling us about himself on stage, he wrote an autobiography and he did a movie about himself (in which he stared in of course.....lol)

People from all over the world write to me everyday and ask me the question...

"What is Funk"?

I STILL don't have a definition of what F-U-N-K is after 30 + years. However I do know what the face of F-U-N-K looks like :)

(It looks like the face of Richard Pryor)
His picture should be in the dictionary, right next to the word F-U-N-K.

Richard Pryor, while admittedly not perfect, was one of the most influential voices for the potential of what Black America could (and still might) become.

People like Richard Pryor, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis (a few other badd mo fo's who are dead) and others are some of the leading cultural icons produced by Black America during the 20th century. While they were alive/healthy men like this defined for US what THE FUNK was/is/could be, and they did so on their own terms, despite the conventional wisdom of the times being against them.

In Pryor's case he gave us a way to view the world, events and people thru the eyes of a regular brotha. He was ONE OF US and he wasn't afraid to tell the world, regardless of any potential career ramifications.

Someone once told me...
"Funk is like Jazz on acid..."

Well...
"Richard Pryor was like Bill Cosby on acid..."

I just got thru listening to the album "Craps (After Hours)". I've probably listened to that album 100 times in whole or in part over the course of my life. In fact there was even a point in time where I had most of the lines memorized. The routines are pure genius on one level. Yet at the same time they sound just like real life.

Today they would call Richard Pryor "politically incorrect". He uses all of the "seven words you can't say on radio" + the N-word, Faggot and every other "politically incorrect" variant that you could possibly think of. But once again it sounds like "real life".

One of the things I learned about Richard Pryor from reading his autobiography PRYOR CONVICTIONS : And Other Life Sentences is that he wanted to be accepted by the "mainstream". At first he wanted to be accepted the same way that Bill Cosby was. Later he demanded acceptance from the mainstream on his own terms. But once he got the "mainstream" acceptance, he was really just a shell of his former self.

Back in the 1970's my friends and I used to sit around and listen to Richard Pryor's LP's right along with our Funkadelic, Miles Davis, Shuggie Otis, EWF, etc. LP's. For us Richard Pryor was just as important a part of the culture that we were a part of. People forget, Richard Pryor was so large, that not only does he open up the movie Wattstax, but Patti LaBelle used to be his opening act on his concert tours and this was WAY BEFORE the "mainstream" even knew who Richard Pryor was!!!

Yeah, I will miss Richard Pryor.
He was one of "our voices".
He wore the reality of our pain, right on his sleeve.
He made us laugh, in spite of the reality of that pain.

But more importantly, he made us think. His voice allowed us to know that our pain was universal. For example, in "Craps (After Hours)" when Richard Pryor talks about being first followed, then being busted and then beaten by the cops in the middle of the night, he is making a statement. It's a statement about the reality of that situation not just for himself but as a listener, I know that he knows that I know that it's the same experience for me and every other Black man in a car late at night.

"Craps (After Hours)" was made in 1971, a full 20 years before the Rodney King case made the acronym D.W.B. (Driving While Black) a common term in the American lexicon.

So was Richard Pryor a "man before his time"?
Nope
Richard Pryor was a "man of his time".
He spoke to the reality that he knew.
He spoke to the reality of what he knew we all went through.

One of the things that struck me about Pryor, is that on those LP's like "Craps (After Hours)" he was speaking directly to Black folks. He didn't care what white folks thought about what was on those LP's, because he treated them as if they didn't exist. The conversation was only with....US. Of course later this would change as he began to appear on TV and in the movies, then he started talking to everyone. But on those LP's, he was talking only to Black folks. Kinda like the reverse of Richard Wright's "Invisible Man", eh?

His voice was strong, articulate and accurate.

Yeah, I will miss Richard Pryor.
However, the reality is that I have been missing Richard Pryor for a long time.
And I don't think that I am alone....

NP: "Craps (After Hours)"
--Richard Pryor

--Bob Davis
earthjuice@prodigy.net



Reflections on Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor I was in the living room looking at some mess on television when my wife called from the bed room and told me to turn to channel 2. She did so with such urgency that I dutifully turned the channel and learned that Eugene McCarthy had died. Too bad, I thought. He was a good man. Lived a good life.

I didn't learn about Richard's death until I got on the internet. I read the article that AOL posted and then I read your post. I then went into the bedroom and told my wife that Richard Pryor had died. She said, "I know. When I told you to turn the channel, that's what I was alerting you to."


Last night, after I read Bob's post, I went through my record collection and played both of the two records that I own by him. "That _N@#%%*r's_ Crazy", and "Wanted Richard Pryor Live in Concert." Listening to his work, I went into a reverie about how profoundly Richard's work had affected society.

Eugene McCarthy, A good man who had a chance to turn the country around and was thwarted by the Republican forces of Richard Nixon. He would be the first of many, and indeed my mind noted his failed attempt to change the American way of life for the better. I wonder where the country might have gone if he, rather than his fellow Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey had won the Democratic Nomination and then the Presidency. Eugene was defeated and ultimately silenced. He was good for his time and even served as an effective voice against that other McCarthy: Joseph.

It was news of Richard's death that made my heart stop.

Richard's work carried on in a vacuum of Conservative oppression. My main criticism of Condeleeza Rice is that despite her personal accomplishments I fail to see what she has done for US. In case you may be too dense to understand what I mean by US, I mean Black people. In fact, I not only accuse her of consorting with the enemy, she is a pivotal participant of the Neo-Conservative think tank and one of it's most ardent apologists.

Another conversation...

Around the time of the first Million Man March, I had a conversation with a Jewish woman who questioned why I would want to be a part of an event that was planned and promoted by Louis Farrakhan.

I told her that Louis Farrakhan was OURS. Dispite the fact that he referred to White people as "Devils" and didn't have great things to say about Jews, (for any who are listening, he has since repudiated this stuff) I never heard him advocate violence of any kind. Given the history of treatment of Blacks by Whites and the White Power Structure in this country, and the complex relationship between Blacks and Jews, I can see how the Nation of Islam and Farrakhan would come to it's conclusions, even if I don't agree with them. Still, the posture of the Nation of Islam has always been one of self-defense and self-determination. It is clear that he loves Black people. Farrakhan belongs to US. And therefore I claim him.

Richard belongs to US.

Richard held a mirror to ourselves, reminded us, and informed America what it mean't to be a Black man. He did it through a public examination of his personal life, his observations and his pain.

While he did this he also made us laugh. We laughed at him. We laughed with him. We laughed at White people. We laughed at ourselves. By doing so we broke boundaries, came closer to understanding ourselves and each other. We learned to get along.
Richard deconstructed the use of language by continuing and expanding the approach begun by Lenny Bruce.

I wonder if the dirty-mouth comics and rappers of today even understand what Richard and Lenny were attempting to achieve?

When I was studying at the Negro Ensemble Company, I plagiarized Richard. I confess. I admit it. We were asked to create a pantomime. I took an old sketch of his from the Ed Sullivan Show where Richard was attempting to lift some heavy weights. It was from his "clean period" , before he got "dirty." I got over.

Even when Richard was clean, he was brilliant.

Richard suffered from a long illness and hadn't performed in a long time. I hate this cliché but perhaps Richard's death has ended his suffering and has put him in a better place.

They say death comes in 3's. John H. Johnson, Rosa Parks and now Richard.
May the blessing of the MOST HIGH be upon them.


--Selah Eric Spruiell




He aint crazy....he just daid now!

Richard Pryor I'm done! Like some sort of dream (my radio comes on @ 5:00am every morning). I kept hearing Richard Pryor's name .As it became clearer ( the more I began to awaken) I thought I heard something about Richard Pryor and the word 'dead'. Sure enough I see now that it is true. I'd be lying if I said it's a sad day...because for me (as Bob alluded) I've missed this man and ALL the days have been sad since we REALLY haven't had any Richard Pryor' for YEARS now. I actually am somewhat joyous for this occasion because if any of you know anyone with MS you know that it is a very debilitating disease. It totally incapacitates you to the point that you really can't physically do anything for your self. A genius shouldn't have to go out like that.

One of the things that I remember most about our life and times and this transition into the 21st century, is the systematic silencing of our revolutionaries. Whether it's MLK, Malcolm, Ali and Richard are but a few of those who spoke their minds only to find their lives altered irrevocably. In such a way that what they said and how they said it will never be again.

Hendrix, Sam Cooke, Sly Stone were all people that were big in reaching white and black with their messages of love. That's all it's about you know ....love. TPTB ain't having it. So folks get these horrible diseases that prevent one from going out in the eloquence and class that people of their stature deserve. And then they die.
Or they just outright take em out. Either way they are either defanged and/or dead.

You had Skillet and Leroy; Pigmeat Markham; Bert Young; the GREAT Moms
Mabley; Red Foxx; Bill Cosby; Scoey Mitchell; Lawanda Page; Wild Man Steve; Flip
Wilson...and then you had Richard Pryor. After him nothing (not just comedy-wise either) but nothing stayed the same.

TV, movies, stage, dialogue/conversation, religion, politics, race relations, sex, Africa, EVERTHING. There are more references and influences from this man than probably any other icon of the twentieth century. If you're old enough you've heard and repeated any number of his catchphrases. Martin has some but this cat virtually invented it! How bout 'We Bad!' or that Nigga is CRAZY'or in front of the judge and the judge sez 'do you have any dreams nigger? We want those too!' How bout Mudbone? How bout his street realism in the Mack?

I'm done
Somebody better hire a GOOD Band to take him home
Peace
--LP

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earthjuice@prodigy.net

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