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Return of the Prodigal Son (s)
Return of the Prodigal Son (s)
I realize that more than a few of you have been quite concerned about my well being, since you haven’t received a Soul-Patrol Newsletter from me in quite a while. Well for those of you who may have been concerned, you should know that writing requires inspiration and there has been very little to inspire me of late. So you haven’t heard from me, as I have been immersed in various technology, community and culture driven projects in the Philadelphia area.
However, you should know that recent events have inspired me and so today I am writing. One of the recent events that have inspired me was the photo of the Black police officer that was widely circulated on the internet during the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Charlottesville, VA a week or so ago.
As the son of a Black police officer, the photo resonated with me on multiple levels. The fact that he is protecting KKK and Nazi members actually says quite a bit about just where we are in 2017. The picture made me smile and it made me wonder what my father would have to say about it? I know that he would have said something about the need to understand history and to be able to understand the historical context of why such a scene was ultimately inevitable, despite the apparent irony.
Of course my father was born, raised and worked in good old “Do or Die Bed-Sty.” I was also born there and spend most of my formative years living there and in Crown Heights. I will be returning to the area over the course of the next two weekends. I haven’t actually lived in Brooklyn in about 50 years, yet I find myself returning there often.
In the past few years I have mostly returned to Brooklyn to attend funerals. It seems like no matter where Black folk that I grew up with eventually live, they always seem to return to Brooklyn, specifically to Bedford-Stuyvesant to have their funeral. Attending these funerals of family members, friends and in some cases, people I didn’t know well carries with it multiple emotions. Obviously there is an element of sadness at the passing of someone, but for me there is also an incredible sense of history of the neighborhood.
Black folks like me who grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights in the 1950’s, 1960’s & 1970’s know the history of the folks who came from that area. Some of the most accomplished Black Americans of their generation (sports, entertainment, business, education, etc) have roots in this small area of Brooklyn (here is a partial list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedford–Stuyvesant,_Brooklyn)
My family is a part of that history, but so are quite a few others. There is a connective tissue that connects us all together. I have had the good fortune to meet many such folks, that I would otherwise never had known had it not been for Soul-Patrol. I cherish every single one of them. They all carry with them a piece of that connective tissue from Bedford-Stuyvesant, regardless of where they live today or how long it has been since they lived in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
So for the next two weekends, I will be in Brooklyn. And I will be at two events that have absolutely nothing to do with funerals. Instead they will be joyful occasions, which will give me the chance to reconnect with a little bit of my own history, but more importantly help to contribute just a little bit to the history of the future:
1. Donnell Issac (Formerly known as Donnie C) - Album release Party at Amarachi Lounge, 189 Bridge St, Brooklyn, NY 11201, (718) 222-1010 @ 7pm. I will be the emcee for the show. More info about the release below (press release, links, etc)
2. West Indian Day Parade – I’ll be there along with my daughter on Eastern Parkway all day long. If anyone has any contacts with the organizers on how we could get Mandrill invited to the parade in 2018 to celebrate their 50th anniversary, let me know (the Wilson Brothers are from the neighborhood too!!)
Donnie also has roots in the neighborhood, so this event is a homecoming of sorts for him. Come on out to the show. He is going to be making some future history with his new release. As always it’s modern music, firmly rooted in the traditions of Black music’s past. He is exactly the kind of artists that folks who subscribe to this mailing list claim doesn’t exist anymore. Anyone who thinks that should know better. (More on Donnie’s new release below) I also realize that for some ofyou the geography is such that you won't be able to attend. So instead I ask that you check out Donnie's new music video here online at the following link and let me know what you think? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCbXmvtwvTQ
Of course I have been going to the West Indian Day Parade, on Eastern Parkway, ever since I was a “little colored boy.” In fact it takes place exactly 1 block from where my grandparents lived on Lincoln Place. Today I derive a great deal of pleasure in turning my now adult daughter on to one of the most spectacular events in the United States. And to think that it takes place as a local event, right in my “old neighborhood.” Talk about history.
If you are in the NYC area, I invite you to come on out to both of these events. I’d love to see you, share some "iced tea,' and discuss everything that currently inspires me.
One of the areas of irony associated with that photo of the Black police officer guarding the KKK and Nazi members, is that Americans have such a poor sense of their own history. That in large part prevents the type of honest conversation the photo should be generating from happening. Some people say the history is too painful to confront. Some people think that the history is irrelevant to 2017. While others say we should just get past it.
My view is that in 2017 it is even more critical that history is not only discussed, but also widely disseminated. That is how you prevent the racists from winning. Right now there is quite a bit of debate surrounding the existing Jim Crow era Confederate memorials in the United States. I say that is the wrong discussion to have. The real discussion needs to be focused on the REAL history of the Jim Crow era and it's continuing impact on the United States. For example, on one hand, why is it ok to get rid of these Jim Crow era artifacts, but retain other Jim Crow era artifacts such as knee-gro radio stations and money losing theatres (propped up in some cases by taxpayer dollars?)
I say, have an honest discussion about the REAL HISTORY OF JIM CROW. We will all be much better off by having that conversation. I’m also quite certain that is what my father, the Black police officer from another century would also say.
New Music from Donnell Isaac
From inspiring you to continue in the fight of your in everyday life, to inspiring you to not give up on love; Donnell Isaac sure did hit the nail on the head with his new single, "Loving You." Donnell Isaac gives transparency at his best with first sharing his own experience with his true love.
Greensboro, NC, August 18, 2017 --(PR.com)-- Soul singer Donnell Isaac, who shot to fame with the hit single Shelter from the Storm, is set to amaze and inspire everyone with yet another heartwarming single called "Loving You," to be released on August 18, 2017.
One of the rising stars in the soul music industry, Donnell has been steadily making waves since the start of his career. Donnell shot into the mainstream, when he won the Best New Artist award in the 2014 Chosen Voice Awards. There’s a great deal of hype surrounding his upcoming new track so Donnell will be discussing it in upcoming scheduled interviews.
“It’s a song that I wrote that expresses the core of my heart. It explains why I love my wife so much," says Donnell Isaac. "This will be the first single off my forth coming album Love Changes. In this song I talk about how I sometimes can't understand how she finds common ground with me in the simplest things."
Donnell Isaac is a soul music singer and recording artist. He’s a singer and songwriter, and he taught himself how to play the keyboard throughout the years.
Donnell hails from Portsmouth, Virginia. He grew up in a town where drug abuse and poverty were rampant. But in spite of that, Donnell was able to direct his efforts into creative pursuits. However it still remained difficult for Donnell as there were years of hardship, financial setbacks, business decisions that failed, and all this culminated with the loss of Eva Mae Charlton, Donnell’s maternal grandmother. Donnell succumbed to depression to the point of being tempted to take his own life. And that was when he found solace in religion. Donnell talks about how his wife was there for him during these times.
“Even through the rough patches when family and friends think we are doing so well. But because of who she is, as a wife and how strong her love is, it will heal and shield you from any hurt. So I just love her.”
Donnell is steadily becoming a big name in the soul music industry. Donnell’s hit single "Shelter from the Storm" was a major success and dominated the radio BDS 100’s charts for more than 16 weeks. He got back from tough times on his own feet with his last single “Favor” which was a huge success. After listening to Donnell, it seems “Loving You” is going to have the same passion and display the same artistic creativity that fans have come to expect from
Check out Donnie's new music video here online at the following link and let me know what you think? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCbXmvtwvTQ
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