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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Rapping Up The Week

"We are gathered here today... on this sorrowful occasion... to say goodbye to the dearly departed. He was dearly... and he has departed. Thus, thats why we call him the dearly departed. In other words... the nigga dead!"
From ...is it something I said?
The transition of Richard Pryor has been slow in coming, but he finally succumbed to a heart attack on Saturday, December 10. He had been ill for years with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the nervous system. My initial response to the news was to grab my Pryor party albums. That's right... ALBUMS. Me and Rich go waaaay back! I used to sneak and listen to them when I was a kid and LMAO. I don't remember if I actually got the humor or was just tickled by all the bad language. As I got older Richard got funnier as I began to decipher the subtext in his humor and appreciate his timing. I'm no comic, but he has influenced me to be true to a story and tell it like it is.

"I wish that every new and young comedian would understand what Richard was about and not confuse his genius with his language usage," comedian Bill Cosby said through a spokesman Saturday.

It's ironic, because Richard came right after Bill and was seriously patterning his act after Cosby's. Club owners kept turning him away with the same comment, "No one wants to hear another Bill Cosby." That's when he started using profanity in his act and he caught on.

Richard had been working a while before his stand-up career took off. He even has a writing credit on Mel Brooks, Blazing Saddles. He's the reason I read the credits at the movies. Just trying to see if any black folks are working. I'm biased, it's true, but not racist. Neither was Richard. I encourage everyone to get a Pryor CD and listen to the artistry. His movies are wonderful, but Hollywood is very protective of what they put out. To really get into who he was, you must check out the comedy. He's still with us.
On Monday, December 5, the remains of journalist, LeRoy Whitfield were laid to rest in a quiet graveside service at Burr Oak Cemetery in Chicago. Leroy's body had been in a medical examiner's office since his passing on October 9, because of his mother's refusal to sign for it's release. Her reasons for refusal are still a mystery. She was not present for the burial. LeRoy now rests among greatness. Also resting at Burr Oak are Noble Drew Ali, Jimmie Crutchfield, Willie Dixon, John Donaldson, Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie, Otis Spann, and Dinah Washington.
Ok... sometimes I can be just a little dense, but I didn't think I needed to be concerned about the bird flu because I don't own a bird. After hearing a little on Tuesday of what could possibly occur, I realize the immediacy of acquiring a vaccine. When bird flu became a problem in Hong Kong they had to destroy the entire poultry population, estimated at around 1.5 million birds. If something like that had to be done in this country, the results would be devastating. Black folks will starve to death without chicken! We'll be eating ALPO meatloaf like that sister on Good Times.
I still find it hard to believe that a plane went through a barrier and came to rest at the intersection of 55th and Central in Chicago. I am still amazed that only three vehicles were struck and one death is attributed to the accident. Autopsy results released Sunday determined that 6-year-old, Joshua Wood died from the impact of the plane hitting his family's car. According to Forbes.com, after interviewing the pilots and crew on Saturday, the NTSB said the reverse thrusters on the jet's engines, which should have slowed the aircraft, appeared not to have activated immediately when the pilots tried to deploy them. Originally, I thought the severe weather may have been a factor in the accident. It was, but only because it contributed to preventing even greater loss of life. Had it been a clear night, there would have been much more traffic. We were watching the coverage on CNN and Anderson Cooper was talking to someone at the scene via telephone. She said "It's like 9-11 without the explosions." We later found out that she was a patron at a neighborhood bar. She said that emergency personnel was prohibiting anyone to leave the area so she was unable to leave the building. I don't think she was that upset. She was FULL!
On Saturday I was privileged to attend Stories: A Derrick L. Briggs Book Club event. It was an incredible afternoon of sharing. I heard some amazing stories and was so honored to have been included among such a talented set of folks. It's wonderful to see creative people of color get together and share. Last time that happened we got the Harlem Renaissance. Ironically this group met at a lovely space in Harlem.
Saturday night me and my partner pumped it over to Club Shelter, the longest-running underground house music party in NYC and danced till dawn. We could have danced longer, but both of us had stuff to do. DJ Sting International tried to break my back once again. The man is the TRUTH! I have never had a bad night on his dance floor. If you're a house music afficianado, I suggest you pump it on over to the spot and get that groove on. Sting is playing again on Christmas Eve, but I'll be in Chicago. I will definitely be at his first scheduled night in 2006.
Next year, Shelter will be celebrating it's 15th anniversary and a rich history. Before Club Shelter there was Paradise Garage at 84 King Street. The Garage is the most revered of all dance clubs. Folks still recall nights on the Garage dance floor having their life. I can recall a few nights myself. The fact that I was too young to be there meant little, especially with my tab of mescaline and legs to dance. I may have been 14 or 15 when I first went. Garage lost their lease and closed in 1987. There was much weeping, but the owner promised to reopen in another location. He didn't. Thus the Shelter was born as sanctuary for those displaced by the closing of the Garage. Not only am I a fan... I'm a card-carrying member.

Posted by Rodney :: 6:54 AM :: 5 Comments:

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