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Recent Articles

Walter Chancellor, Jr.: Music man works to keep jazz alive in Twin Cities

Saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, educator, arranger, and music producer Walter Chancellor, Jr. has been prominent in Twin Cities jazz and R&B the past two decades. After constant touring early on, he moved to Minneapolis from Des Moines, Iowa, lessening the need to travel quite as much in order to play. Shortly after the move, he performed and recorded with Prince, appearing on two songs for the three-disc album Emancipation (released 1996). He also has worked with a long list of premiere artists, including Chaka Khan, Larry Graham and the Pointer Sisters. Since the late 1980s, Chancellor has been instructing students in audio and video postproduction for Minneapolis’ renowned Institute of Production and Recording. Continue Reading →

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The real immigration story

For nearly 400 years, since 1620, the dark secret of American immigration has been its policies detrimental to Blacks (Black Africans, Black Cubans, Black Caribbeans). Most slaves to North America arrived through the Caribbean. We see this dark secret replayed given the contrasting treatment of Black children to that of the thousands of Latin children coming from Central American and Mexico, crossing the Rio Grande into America, with help from their countries and ours, leaving most things unchanged for immigrants from Black Africa, Black Cuba, and Black Caribbean. Thus, America has been confronted with the problem of immigration and race since its inception. Today’s reactions to the voluntary child immigrants ranges from embarrassed and angry, to happy celebration, from seal the border, to take down the walls and fences and let in any who wants to come (Jimmy Carter urged the latter when he was president). Continue Reading →

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MLB All-Star Game: It’s more than just a baseball game

Many exciting and interesting events and happenings took place prior to the annual MLB All-Star Game in addition to the midseason game itself, including encounters with lots of interesting folk. Here are just a few:

 

Mpls Convention Center, July 9 

Over a dozen local kids from Phelps Park in South Minneapolis sneak-peeked at the All-Star FanFest. “This is a once-of-a-lifetime type thing for them,” explained Jason McGinley, who coaches baseball at the park. Jahvon Craven, age 13, for example, demonstrated his baseball skills in front of retired Twins great Tony Oliva. Diversity was in full bloom as Blacks and other people of color were heavily involved at the five-day FanFest.  “Thirty of us came from out of town” to work the event, said Chanetah Pauley, a security worker, culinary arts student, and singer from Kansas City, Mo. Continue Reading →

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The tragedy of guns in the streets

Another senseless death
 

Maya Angelou passed May 28. She had her finger “on the pulse of morning.” She had her “caged bird” sing a prayer of freedom to rise above the “bitter, twisted lies” people of color must contend with, for, as she wrote, “Still I rise.”

The caged bird sings in classic Black gospel fashion, lifting up a prayer through its tears, yearning to be free. May our leaders raise their song for freedom too, rather than acquiesce to the gun songs that cage our young people or the bureaucratic dependency programs that cage their parents. A 17-year-old was shot and killed June 1st on the 1600 block of Newton Avenue N. His death fosters another round of talking about solutions but not attempting to open cage doors. Unless you have lost a child to violence, its hard to know and understand the feeling. Continue Reading →

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Maya Angelou April 4, 1928 — May 28, 2014

How does one pay adequate tribute to the legacy of Maya Angelou, the beloved historic icon and cultural treasure who passed away on May 28? Her enduring presence as an enlightening, empowering beacon to which the hearts and minds of Black women faithfully were drawn, after all, marked her as an individual of inestimable consequence whose like we quite probably will never see again. Dr. Angelou, nee Marguerite Annie Johnson, advanced from an auspicious literary debut, publishing her first autobiography I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings with the aid of James Baldwin, who would become a lifelong friend, to a titanic career that spanned more than a half century. Her accomplishments included, in far from a complete listing, a film rendition of the book starring Diahann Carroll and Ruby Dee; six more autobiographies; acting turns in The Richard Pryor Special?, Poetic Justice with Janet Jackson, and Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion; as well as stints directing (Down In The Delta, starring Alfre Woodward, featuring Al Freeman, Jr), producing (Sister, Sister with Rosalind Cash, Diahann Carroll and Paul Winfield), and scoring film soundtracks (For Love of Ivy, starring Sidney Poitier). She is best known for her vast volume of poetry, most notably “On the Pulse of Morning,” which she recited at President Bill Clinton’s 1994 inauguration. Continue Reading →

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