Category Archives: Color

A Rose In Detroit Michigan

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A Rose In Detroit Michigan

Aretha Louise Franklin

March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018


By now we know that Aretha Franklin died of Pancreatic Cancer on Thursday, August 16, 2018, at age 76, leaving behind a legacy including iconic music and civil rights activism.  Here’s how we best knew this extraordinary singer.

Her Recordings:

Respect 1967

Natural Woman 1968

I Say A Little Prayer 1968

Chain Of Fools 1968

I Knew You Were Waiting 1986

Think 1968

Do Right Woman – Do Right Man 1967

Ain’t No Way 1968

Precious Lord Part 1 1956

Rock Steady 1972

Until You Come Back To Me 1974

A Change Is Gonna Come 1967

Freeway Of Love 1985

Day Dreaming 1972

Bridge Over Trouble Water 1971

Don’t Play That Song 1970

I Never Loved A Man 1967

Spanish Harlem 1972

Baby I Love You 1967

A Rose Is Still A Rose 1998

Rolling In The Deep 2014

Since You’ve Been Gone 1968

Willing To Forgive 1994

You Send Me 1968

Today I Sing The Blues 1980

Share Your Love With Me 1970


Ever Changin’ Times 1991

Won’t Be Long 1980

Something He Can Feel 1976

One Step Ahead 1967

The House That Jack Built 2014

Reading the titles alone should have started a plethora of melodies, tunes, and songs dancing inside you.  It did for me, and if it didn’t for you,  perhaps because you were born after the years above. I urge you to google them and take a listen, you are in for a treat.

Researching an artist like the Queen of Soul means hours of pleasure for your ears,  and you won’t bore the person in your life who is more familiar with the list above, because rediscovering great music is just as pleasurable as first discovery.

I enjoyed and remember well; the time back in 1992, when a friend asked that I come by her place after work to hear her new CD by her favorite new recording artists.  She prided herself on getting the newest releases in movies, music, and fashion… this time it was the group EnVogue’s  CD Funky Divas that she was most proud of, because as far as she knew, amongst her friends she was the first to own it.

I came in as she was opening and pouring a glass of wine.  She put the CD on and we listened. We listened to five songs… I enjoyed all of them and told her so between each song, and each time she would say, “yeah” with a knowing nod followed by, “wait till the next one.”  Number 6 played and I listened. Giving Him Something He Can Feel was the song and when it was over, I didn’t automatically offer my approval as I had for the previous 5.  This caused her to glance at me through the stem of her turned up glass, now half empty, and ask immediately after swallowing, “how did you like that one?”  I said, ‘I loved it,’ sending a smile across her lips. I continued saying they did a good job on it, I enjoyed it—I also enjoyed it back in 1976 when Aretha Franklin did it.


She asked, letting the smile drop from her cheeks.  Apparently, she had never heard it until then. But I knew it well, you see, my parents were Aretha Franklin fans.  What I didn’t know at the time was that, Something He Can Feel, as it was originally named, was written by Curtis Mayfield for the 1976 motion picture Sparkle.  

(If you are not familiar with Curtis Mayfield you’ll want to google him, too.)

It became a number one hit on the Billboard R&B singles chart in 1976 recorded by Aretha, then again in 1992 recording by the Funky Divas.

There is, has been, and always will be great words written about Aretha Franklin.  Her voice and music is the sound track of our lives attached to stories of laughter, excitement, heartaches and pain.  But no matter how painful the memory, her music evokes a soothing melody that aids in healing.

She walks into a room, puts her purse down on a piano, (black women keep their purse close),  sits at that piano, and plays, sings, (and I mean sings), which is rare today in the music world of new recording artists.  Aretha did that and much more. For me, she had an ordinary speaking voice like my mother calling for me to come in for dinner, then sings a song that sends chills up and down my spine. So cool and laid back you’d invite her to your party, but so powerful that if she came you’d bow down as to follow protocol when royalty enters the room; and if she blessed you with a song, you’d know why she is The Queen Of Soul.  Her songs praised men at a time when they brought home the bacon, and there was mutual respect between black men and women through a time of uphill civil rights battles, unemployment, lack of education and a nation filled with racist white cops—through it all her music brought us from an unfair opportunity to amazing grace. Aretha Franklin will be missed. She was truly a rose in Detroit, Michigan that became The Queen of Soul.

By Brandon Finney

Spanish Harlem

Ben E. King

There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem
It is a special one, it’s never seen the sun
It only comes out when the moon is on the run
And all the stars are gleaming
It’s growing in the street right up through the concrete
But soft and sweet and dreaming

There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem
With eyes as black as coal that look down in my soul
And starts a fire there and then I lose control
I have to beg your pardon

I’m going to pick that rose
And watch her as she grows in my garden

I’m going to pick that rose
And watch her as she grows in my garden

La la la, la la la, la la la la
(There is a rose in Spanish Harlem)
La la la, la la la, la la la la
(There is a rose in Spanish Harlem)

Cruz Announces Candidacy – “Let’s Get It Started”/The Black Eyed Peas

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Republican senator Ted Cruz has officially entered the 2016 presidential race

Republican senator Ted Cruz has officially entered the 2016 presidential race.

In this age of technology and more specifically social media, Texas senator and Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for president of the United States  just after midnight Monday via twitter.  With the election some 19 months away, Cruz is the first high profile Republican to throw his hat in the ring. His tweet read, “I’m running for president,  and I hope to earn your support!” Let’s Get It Started (Spike Mix) – Let’s Get It Started (The Urbz Edition) – EP

Pastor Impregnates 20 Congregants-“I’ll Be Good”/Rene & Angela

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images-10I’ll Be Good – Rene & Angela; and apparently he was. Timothy Ngwu, a 53 year old Nigerian pastor is accused of impregnating 20 women in his congregation, including a mother and daughter and several married women, many of whom were pregnant at the same time. Ngwu is the General Overseer of Vineyard Ministry of the Holy Trinity located at Ihe/Owerre, Nsukka in Enugu State,  and was arrested June of last year for his reckless sexual behavior. Ngwu claimed to be obeying the will of God, which according to him, was to impregnate the chosen as revealed by the Holy Spirit, married or not.

Ngwu’s salaciousness  was apparently reported to authorities by one of his wives, (he claims five and thirteen children along with multiple concubines), when she found out her niece was one of the chosen. The pastor contends that his sexual activity with married women was approved by the  women’s spouses, and that his romps with church members was in direct obedience to prophetic order.

As initially stated, apparently Ngwu was good at something.  Charismatic, smooth talker, and control freak all come to mind as I attempt to digest this story;  as do Adolf Hitler and Jim Jones. Ah, the convincing of the masses- just goes to show that people are gullible and many have a need to be led, no matter how ridiculous the dogma. That being said, just as individuals are born leaders, good, arguably great at garnering the attention of the sheep; the question remains: are they good for nothing?

By Lane Grey


“Fake”/ Alexander O’Neal

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Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams (top) found guilty of copyright infringement. TI (bottom) was found innocent.


 You’re a fake baby, I’ve blown your cover

the jig is up, ‘cuz I discovered.

Fake (Extended Version) – Best of Alexander O’Neal

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the late soul singer Marvin Gaye, were he alive, could consider himself  complimented.  Today in Los Angeles, a jury ruled that Robin Thicke’s 2013 smash hit Blurred Lines (feat. T.I. & Pharrell) – Blurred Lines  infringed upon the copyright of Gaye’s 1977  number 1 hit “Got to Give It Up,” awarding Gaye’s  family $7.3 million. Also named in the lawsuit was  co-writer/producer Pharrell Williams. The jury found rapper TI, who also appears on the Thicke single innocent of copyright infringement. So now, Thicke and Williams Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1 – Number 1’s: Marvin Gaye to the Gaye family. Pun intended.

Brownstone Singer Dies in Freak Accident

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Brownstone’s Charmayne Maxwell dead at 46.

“I just can’t believe, all the things people say, controversy;  am I black or white, am I straight or gay? Controversy”

Controversy – Controversy-Prince

A song made famous by rock n roll hall-of-famer Prince way back in 1981 still makes sense today. There may be controversy surrounding the Charmayne Maxwell death. Maxwell was a singer with the R&B group Brownstone, who reached fame during the 90’s with their hit and Grammy nominated performance of If You Love Me – From the Bottom Up.  In case you haven’t heard here’s the story, or should I say, here’s what supposedly happened.
The singer was at home with her eleven year old son when she broke a glass and some how fell and cut her throat on that very glass.
Now, I’m not sure if that’s possible, but as we’ve heard all our lives, anything can happen. I learned on the internet that the LAPD and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said that it did not happen in their jurisdiction.
Then I read in the Los Angeles Times that the accident happened at Ms. Maxwell’s LA home.
I’m perplexed as to why there are so many conflicting and unbelievable facts surrounding this tragic event. A fellow writer and friend said we should not speculate about what happened. For one thing we don’t know the facts, another reason is simple; speculations can hurt
innocent family members, particularly when the police do not suspect foul play.
However, the fact of the matter is, I’m not writing anything that hasn’t been thought of or said.
For example, did she fall on broken glass? Or did her husband break the glass in the heat of an argument and stab her with it? Were there any recent arguments with a jealous friend or family member? More importantly, why isn’t there an ongoing investigation?
Of course I can’t explain her eleven year old son being there… but then I can explain the best part; how a person could break a glass and then fall so perfectly on the glass to the point that it cuts them across the neck.
Never mind, am I black or white, am I straight or gay?

But rather

How did I die; was it an accident or was I murdered?


By Brandon Finney

“I Want To Be At The Meeting”/Zion Harmonizers

By | Color, Melody | One Comment
Media mogul Bryon Allen is suing Comcast and Time Warner for $20 billion.

Media mogul Byron Allen is suing Comcast and Time Warner for $20 billion.

Television mega-mogul Byron Allen has filed a $20 billion discrimination suit against Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Allen owns Entertainment Studios, a Los Angeles based television production and distribution company, and is currently one of the biggest independent producers and distributors of TV programs worldwide.  Filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, the lawsuit alleges that while Comcast distributes  for several channels that have partial minority ownership, the cable giants have continuously denied Allen’s company, which is 100 percent African American owned,  from securing distribution on cable systems owned by Comcast and Time Warner. “Of the approximately $11 billion in channel carriage fees that Comcast pays to license television channels each year, less than $3 million is paid to 100% African American-owned media,” the suit alleges.

After being criticized for lack of diversity during the federal review of its takeover of NBCUniversal in 2011, Comcast agreed to launch several African American owned networks. NBCUniversal employee Rev. Al Sharpton, who was hired after Comcast took control of NBC  according to Allen, in a back room deal of sorts, signed off on a “memorandum of understanding,” accepting donations in excess of $3 million from Comcast who in turn created white-owned networks such as Aspire and Revolt with black “fronts.” Sharpton and his non profit organization National Action Network,  The NAACP and the Urban League were also named as defendents and have allegedly received contributions from Comcast.

In a company statement Monday,  Comcast named the lawsuit “frivolous” and painted their relationship with Allen as one marked by  “good faith negotiations” lasting over several years in attempts to reach a carriage deal for Allen’s channels.

For more on this story, tune in to The Karen Hunter Show on Sirius XM Radio Monda March 2nd, where Allen will be a guest. Allen wants a seat at the table.

I Want to Be At the Meeting – Bringing in the Sheaves– Zion Harmonizers


By | Color, Melody | One Comment

2015-02-08-16-33-58--1252699739Earlier this week, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted that he was never aboard a helicopter that was struck by rocket-propelled grenade fire and grounded in 2003 while on assignment in Iraq as he’d previously claimed. Since the shocking admission, Williams has announced that he will also be taking a hiatus from the evening news for the next several days.Lies – The Very Best of en Vogue

“Locked Up”/Akon

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"suge" Knight pleads not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges Tuesday in Compton, Ca.

“Suge” Knight pleads not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges Tuesday in Compton, Ca.

Tuesday, 49 year old Marion Hugh Knight, Jr. aka “Suge,” co-founder of Death Row Records appeared in a Compton courthouse pleading not guilty to murder charges in a fatal hit-and-run incident. After being denied bail and complaining of chest pains, Knight was transported directly from the courthouse to a local hospital for treatment, released Wednesday, and taken back into custody.

The former rap mogul was arrested for running over and killing 55 year old Terry Carter and attempting to kill Cle “Bone” Sloan, 51, in a burger stand parking lot on the set of “Straight Outta Compton,” an upcoming biopic chronicling the rise of gangsta rap pioneers NWA. Knight is due back in court next Monday for a bail review hearing. His bond is set at $2 million. Locked Up – Trouble


“We Fly High”/ Jim Jones

By | Color, Rhythm | One Comment

Doc and Austin Rivers

Every other line of the hook in his Billboard top 10 single We Fly High – Hustler’s P.O.M.E. (Product of My Environment) – EP, Jim Jones rhythmically chants what Austin Rivers had better be doing every time he steps foot on court in a Los Angeles Clippers uniform, “BALLIN!”  Thursday, Clipper head coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers, in a three team deal with the Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns, boldly dealt two players and a piece of the Clippers’ future to acquire Rivers, who is also his son. The Clippers sent former first-round draft pick Reggie Bullock to the Suns, and swingman Chris Douglas-Roberts and a 2017 second-round  draft pick to the Celtics.

To date, the younger Rivers is most famous for his three point buzzer beater on February 8, 2012 , lifting the Duke Blue Devils to a 85-84 victory over the University of North Carolina Tarheels, ending UNC’s 31 game winning streak; and for being Doc Rivers’ son.  He declared himself eligible for the NBA draft in March of 2012,  foregoing his final three years of college and was snagged 10th overall by the then New Orleans Hornets. Rivers has been a below average NBA player at best, averaging 6.9 points, 2.3 assists, 1.9 rebounds,  and 21.4 minutes in his three year career; thus many are questioning the elder Rivers’ decision. Is he attempting to resurrect his son’s career,  does he really believe his son can help the Clippers who are in dire need of wing defense,(Austin is a point guard),  or did Doc fall and bump his head?

To reach the Finals in the West, the Clippers will have to battle the likes of : Kevin Durant, James Harden,  Klay Thompson, and Kawhi Leonard. Leonard won Finals MVP  last season.  Durant is a 5 time NBA All-Star, and was last year’s league MVP.  Harden leads the league in scoring at 27.0 points per game and is a strong candidate for this year’s MVP.  Thompson is averaging 21.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists,  and 1.3 steals. “BALLIN!”  It stands to reason that if the Clippers were going to make a trade, why not give Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford, neither of whom are stellar  defenders,  some help on the wing?  So now Austin Rivers, amid the whispers of nepotism and scrutiny regarding his father and now coach’s decision to sign him, one thing is certain; to silence the critics, he’d better ball.