Friday, May 1, 2015

Mercy, mercy what we would we be without black Americans

It goes without saying that their contributions are too numerous to mention, but the death of Ben E. King is a place to start.
Where would be without music by American blacks, including jazz, hip hop and rap?
Perhaps this is the time to “Standby” them, after all they have paid their dues.
Right now many of them are fearful. They are targets of racial profiling, and some die for switchblade knife in their waistband.
In the Ben E. King song:
“If the sky, that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry
No, I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me.”

King died Thursday at age 76.

Are we standing by them in Baltimore, or Ferguson, or countless other cities?

Sam Cooke sang that change would come:
“I was born by the river in a little tent
Oh, and just like the river I've been running ever since

It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gon' come, oh yes it will

It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die
Cause I don't know what's up there beyond the sky.”

The Cooke song showed that not only blacks are singing in gospel churches, happy to second-class citizens.
And the song showed that instead of just dancing to their music or making love we should listen to the lyrics.
Yes, they can be quarterbacks, and call plays. And surgeons and rocket scientists and presidents.
With all that was doing on during the unrest of the 1960s perhaps it is not a surprise that Marvin Gaye, one of the great singers of any race in America, didn’t get a lot of attention for political lyrics.
Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
Woo ah, mercy mercy me
Ah things ain't what they used to be, no no
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east
Woo mercy, mercy me, mercy father
Ah things ain't what they used to be, no no
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas, fish full of mercury
Ah oh mercy, mercy me
Ah things ain't what they used to be, no no
Radiation under ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh mercy, mercy me
Ah things ain't what they used.”
 to be
What about this overcrowded land
How much more abuse from man can she stand?”

And before you fall back to the lamentable deaths of black singers keep in mind what happened to Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. Or John Belushi.
To steal a line from the Broadway music Hair, blacks remain “prisoners in niggertown…”
Think about it. Their gift of music alone qualifies them as first class Americans.
Like people everywhere, when oppressed they find outlets. It can be in literature, music or virtually any endeavor.
Many believe that Teddy Pendergrass sang more beautiful after he was paralyzed in a car wreck.
“I've won some and I've lost some
But us dreamers don't complain
We keep reaching out for passion
No matter what the pain…”

Pendergass, just like white actor Christopher Reeve, campaigned for helping improve medical care and offer solutions to those who were left in wheel chairs.

Hip hop and rappers shouldn't be ignored. We honkeys just know less about them. And they seem awfully repetitive, like white heavy metalists.

It is hard to forget James Brown, who was black and proud, and had his problems with the law.

1 comment:

  1. Saw the press conference this morning -- carried on the CBC. Stunning allegations of brutality. Don't be complacent! This happened to a law abiding citizen who was targetted because of the colour of his skin. If these evil men do not receive justice, who will be the target next time? Any one of us.