At this point, we’re in a post-Michael Jackson world. I mean Mike is a white woman now…so…he emphatically ain’t funky no more (yet Madonna still ain’t got schitt on Mike).
Truth be told I only rode with Mike up until “Off the Wall” (ask my sister).
You see, I come from a world that got the official memo every saturday afternoon,in the form of a seriously jam packed with juju el grande hour of Soul Train.
Soul Train, was seriously the town hall meeting for Black america. Of course I’m not talking about latter day Soul Train…I’ll go so far as to say Soul Train up until ummmm….’78/’80…let’s just say 1981.
1981 as those in the know know…is the year Black america seemed to do a jackknife into a half empty swimming pool full of old soggy platform boots.
Let’s see, you had the beginnings of Reagan, Crack , A.I.D.S., did I say Reagan?
By all accounts, in retrospect it seems the only Black celebrity not freebasing coke at this time was Muhammad Ali. But we didn’t know what the hell freebasing was. Schitt, folks like/love to get high, whether it’s sipping on some Martell, or hidin’/having a serious PCP habit for decades (…shout out to the Godfather of Soul, J.B.).
What I’m saying with the aid of gross exaggeration is that the ’80’s was definately not the Black is Beautiful ’70’s. My man, Sylvester Stewart was the “Pres-O-dent” , with Stevie Wonder as a strong V.P. in my earliest memories, Don Cornelius was more important that Walter Cronkite in my house. The vibrations coming from these guys when they were working wasn’t deeper than Angela Davis’ afro…they weren’t heavy and dramatic like Bono from U2. These cats were lighter than air, well informed,spiritual & political dudes that made me and my friends understand that the art of the boogie came from the inside to the outside…like a funky holy ghost. You got the message before you even got the message. You sang it to yourself unconciously while doing all the math with your body (the boogie).
I really don’t want to talk about today’s black music/culture. That’s another whole topic. So I’ll try to stay the course with this little essay, but let me quickly inject this: R.Kelly is a C.I.A. agent!!!
Now in these ’70’s I’m talking about remember KING is gone, X is gone, the Black Panthers are on their way into chaos. Sly,Stevie & Marvin, attempted to carry the house…but the red sea didn’t part for two of them…and one of them was blind enough to leave the freebase alone. Add disco to the mix and the funk/math became integrated the rhythms more accessible. By the time the drum machine made it to the scene (1981) the heartbeat of Black america had become automated…much like the assembly lines that provided work for that black contingent that migrated to the north from the south.
I saw my musical hero…a survivor of chaos…perform on the Grammy’s© last night. In his physical 60’s (800 or something in c-head/freebase years). Returning to an industry that isn’t about music, a country that isn’t about the people, an audience that loves you more for who you loving and how much you got…it was an odd fit. Sly still radiates the mathematics. He may look like a funkadelic yoda, but when didn’t Sly look like he felt?
I saw a free man. And as quickly as he reappeared from a couple of decades missing in action, he disappeared, from a chaos that can’t possibly be survived with your soul intact…center stage…beneath the spotlight.
(“the Super Black World of…”© recommends you put Loose Booty on repeat and dance in your drawz til’ you feel high)