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RAMBLINGS 2/3/12

February 3, 2012
By

Welcome…quite a few things have happened since my lost post, but the one that touched me the most is the tragic passing of Don Cornelius, someone I had such great admiration for. Coming to this country as a teenager in 1973, I quickly discovered “Soul Train” and was quite puzzled how it was not shown in Jamaica, which at the time had “Where It’s At” with Elaine Wint…I couldn’t believe that a Black program like “Soul Train” was not on Jamaican television, there were Tom Jones, Cilla Black, Flip Wilson, and even Don Knotts, that were regular entertainment variety shows on JBC TV, but it took me coming to America to discover “Soul Train”, however, I eventually learned the reason and business of how programs made their way on the screen of Jamaican television. Like most teenagers, Saturday mornings at 11:00 on Channel 5 in New York, I was glued to the tv set, whatever chores I had, would be done before 11:00 or after 2:00pm, because I also have to catch Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” on Channel 7 (WABC). It was always fascinating to see the hottest African-American artists, dance moves, fashion, and emerging trends on “Soul Train” and an hour later see it over again, but this time by Whites on “American Bandstand!”  Don Cornelius had one of the most envied Afro hair style there was…every time the subject of Afro came, I would say I wish I had one like Don Cornelius…and even though I used hair products that promised the “biggest Fro”, that were advertisers stable on “Soul Train”, I could never get the fluffiness and size of Cornelius, my teenage mind was telling me that they must have reserved the best Afro Sheen for Don Cornelius and sell us the weaker kind…

But as I grew older, I began to see Don Cornelius as another African-American who was not too keen on embracing other Black culture, other than his own… with all the buzz on Caribbean culture that was taking place from the mid 70′s, it was never reflected on “Soul Train” no Bob Marley, no Mighty Sparrow, no Peter Tosh, no Burning Spear, no Toots & The Maytals, no Arrow, etc. we had to look to the White media to see our emerging super stars! Yes, Third World appeared  on “Soul Train” with “Now That We Found Love” a disco song, Carl Douglas with “Kung Fu Fighting”  Johnny Nash with “I Can See Clearly” and Stevie Wonder did his Reggae hits “Boogie On Reggae Woman” and “Master Blaster Jamming”, other than that, no Caribbean flavor! In spite of that, I still admired Don Cornelius for the fight he took to White America, think about it, a Black man starting his own TV program in 1971? unheard of!  and what I liked with Don, he kept it professional and dignified, something all Black people could hold up their heads and be proud…Don? thanks for passing this way, and may your soul rest in peace!

Winston Sparkes aka King Stitt, also passed since my last post. King Stitt was the first DJ to achieve a No.1 song on the chart in Jamaica in 1969, before U Roy dominated those same charts in 1970/71…Stitt poked fun at his facial deformities, calling himself “the ugly one”  which I thought was bold of him. He was not afraid to admit how scary he could appear to some people…along with his special look, King Stitt possessed a very unique voice, which was strong and clear….his introduction “no matter what the people say, those sounds lead the way, it’s the order of the day, from your boss dee jay, I King Stitt,.. hack it from the top, to the very last drop!” is still being used by many radio dee jays, including myself…thank you King Stitt, sleep well!

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