By Charles Hallman
Over the course of three decades, the late Sid Ordower brought the greats and some-to-be greats in gospel music each week on local Chicago television. The likes of Albertina Walker, Mahalia Jackson, Mavis Staples — along with her sisters and their father, James Cleveland, and Otis Clay routinely appeared on Jubilee Showcase, a half-hour long show that ran from 1963-1984. Beginning November 30 and throughout the month of December, PBS will air a 50th anniversary commemorative television special on Jubilee Showcase, said his son Steve Ordower in a recent MSR phone interview. “He was an owner-operator [of his shows], which was pretty rare back in those days,” he explains. “Unfortunately, the first 13 episodes were erased, and he was livid. Continue Reading →
They wiggled, they jiggled, they wore low cut gowns and short shorts, they kowtowed to the club owners and smiled at the customers…and they did it all, just to play the music they loved. The Girls in the Band tells the poignant, untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their fascinating, groundbreaking journeys from the late 30′s to the present day. These incredibly talented women endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades, yet continued to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them. Today, there is a new breed of gifted young women taking their rightful place in the world of jazz, which can no longer deny their talents. The Girls in the Band is playing at St. Continue Reading →
By Junauda Petrus
“I love the rush of performing on stage, and watching the emotional responses from the crowd,” says Noelle Scaggs the dynamic co-lead singer extraordinaire of Fitz and the Tantrums. “It’s always a great challenge for me to get the most stoic person in the room dancing and shouting towards the end of the show.”
Fitz and The Tantrums brought their “soul-influenced indie-pop,” to the metro area when they performed club Myth in Maple Grove November 21. The L.A. based band has created a name for themselves with soon-to-be pop classics from their second and most recent studio album, More Then Just a Dream, which was released in May of this year to critical and popular acclaim. The forming of the band, much like its sound, was from a place of impulse, synchronicity, fun and inspiration. Lead singer, Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick formed the band from friend and fellow musician Saxophonist James King, who recommended singer Scaggs and Drummer John Wicks. When Wicks brought in bassist Joseph Karnes and keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna to the clique of Fitz, the synchronicity was apparent and unstoppable. Continue Reading →
By LaDonna Redmond
“Will the store cause a rise in rents?” one community resident asked during the July public meeting about Seward Community Co-op’s plan to open a store across from Sabathani Community Center. At the heart of the discussion were questions about race, class and food justice. How can Seward Co-op serve a community that is primarily African American and working class while it currently serves a community that is White and middle class? In other words, can a White-led co-op serve a Black community? A few weeks prior to the community meeting, the Bryant community grapevine had gotten news that a local cooperative wanted to expand in the community. Continue Reading →
According to an inside source, I wouldn’t be too far off when I said to them that there were more Black workers than Black fans at Sunday’s Minnesota-Cleveland football game at the Metrodome. A three-year Black female stadium worker told the MSR that she estimates at least 70 percent of the game-day workforce is Black – her husband has worked at the Dome for eight years. As a result it’s safe to say that maybe three to five percent of the 63,000-plus in attendance were Black. “I’m a diehard Vikings fan, and I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida,” says Sylvester Blue, who now lives in Dallas, Texas. “I’ve been a fan since I was four years old, and I’m 48 now. I work hard all my life and for me to get a chance to come see them live and in person, that’s the ultimate for me.”
J.T. Jones, who was part of a traveling group from Atlanta, Ga. admitted that his group earlier talked about not seeing more Blacks at pro football games, whether in the Twin Cities or his hometown. “We got a good price on tickets,” says Jones. He added that a possible reason for the lack of Blacks at NFL games can be attributed to financial concerns. “We can’t splurge as much as we want to. We pick and choose what we splurge,” he explains. “You look on TV and it never looks like there are Blacks at games.”
“I’m a big football fanatic. I work hard to enjoy the things I love, and football is one of them. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
According to www.whosampled.com, Billy Cobham’s music has been sampled over 40 times, including two signature songs “Red Baron” (sampled eight times) and “Heather” (sampled 15 times) first released during the 1970s. A founding member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1971, Cobham co-founded his own fusion group in 1969, and then was invited to play on four cuts on Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. At age 69, he’s still as strong as ever: Cobham’s current Spectrum 40 tour swings through Minneapolis on October 1 for a one-night stop at the downtown Dakota Jazz Club. “It will be a real pleasure to perform there,” he said during a recent phone interview with the MSR.
On his website, www.billycobham.com, it says that the Panama native, who grew up in New York, got his “first paying gig” when he was only eight years old, then later joined a local drum and bugle corps and attended New York’s famed High School of Music and Art — where he studied music theory and drum technique. “I started on the road in 63,” recalls Cobham, who later played in the U.S. Army Band as a percussionist during his three years of military service in the mid-1960s. Continue Reading →
On behalf of the Xcel Energy Foundation, Marsha Connor, communications consultant-web, Xcel Energy, recently presented a $5,000 educational grant check from the Xcel Energy Foundation to the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) Twin Cities Chapter to help BDPA’s youth technology programs.
Accepting the check was Dorothy Richburg, vice president of strategy and planning for the BDPA Twin Cities Chapter and president of Keystone Computers, Joseph Richburg, vice president of finance, BDPA, and Cushmeer Haines, president, BDPA Twin Cities. BDPA programs focus on education designed to spark student involvement in the Professional Development, High School Computer Competition, and Mentoring programs that aid in the personal and professional development of high school students. The high school students learned web programming, digital technology, and recently returned from participating in the national high school computer programming competition held in Washington, D.C.
The BDPA Twin Cities chapter typically partners with local businesses such as Xcel Energy. This partnership provides programs that increase the technical capabilities of BDPA’s membership and the local community. Xcel Energy volunteers include Connor, Lacy Lee Johnson and Jeandre Williams, Business Systems. Connor, along with Johnson and Williams, has represented Xcel Energy on the BDPA Marketing committee. Continue Reading →
Summer’s coming soon — time for any conscious or concerned parents to make a decision. Young boys and girls must make a decision, too. There’s no love in street organization or what people call gangs. It’s time to step away, get out and separate. It’s not illegal to be an organization, but it is illegal to engage in crime through an organization. Continue Reading →
By Michelle Lawrence
Recent research from the University of Minnesota shows what women like Akhmiri Sekhr-Ra have known for decades: Cultural support during pregnancy has a positive impact on birth outcomes among women of African American heritage. A birth outcome is defined as the result of a pregnancy and depends on several factors such as whether the infant is born early, survives childbirth, and is born weighing at least 5.7 pounds. “When we compared birth outcomes among culturally diverse Medicaid recipients who received prenatal education and childbirth support from trained doulas with those from a national population of similar women, we estimated a 40 percent reduction in cesarean rates,” said Katy Backes Kozhimannil, lead researcher on the U of MN study. “When you look at the potential cost savings associated with a rate reduction of this magnitude, Medicaid reimbursement for birth doulas could be a case where adding coverage on the front end could ultimately result in real dollars saved.”
Currently, taxpayers fund nearly half of all U.S. births through state Medicaid programs, which generally do not cover doula care. A cesarean birth costs almost 50 percent more than a vaginal birth, with average Medicaid payments of $9,131 for a vaginal birth and $13,590 for a cesarean delivery. Continue Reading →
Whenever I hear my pre-adolescent daughter say, “Mom, I’m hungry!” I’m reminded of how much things have changed since I was her age. At the risk of sounding like I grew up on Little House on the Prairie, I would like to add that at her age I could cook, clean, and otherwise run an entire household; my mother made sure I had been thoroughly prepared for womanhood. So, given that it is now my role to help prepare others for womanhood, Tuesdays have become “family cooking night” at my home — the children (females and males) engage in family meal preparation — from menu planning to shopping, chopping, cooking, table-setting and dishwashing, everyone plays a part. As they have been learning more and more about African American history and heritage, my daughters have begun to take a deeper interest in African cuisines and dishes unique to peoples of the African Diaspora. On a Tuesday night within the last 12 days of Christmas, my daughters decided that they wanted to cook Jolof rice from West Africa, candied yams, and collard greens. Continue Reading →