Working Words

 

1work

Words work to bring us closer to each other! ~ Diva JC

You have words.

You have words to tell.

You have words to tell the story.

The story of your life

Is being told by words.

 

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Power-less

snowstorm
[Photo: Michael Paul]

POWER-LESS

Big bad man, where can you be?
I’m locked inside. It snowed, you see.
I’ve no machine to stop the snow,
So, when it falls, inside I go.

Inside? You mean you run away?
From little flakes, you ran, today?
Oh, yes, I’m strong, all winter long
Until the chill turns into snow.

Then, with a flash, I dive inside.
Imagine how it hurts my pride.
The Stock Exchange can’t see me, now.
Dow Jones would think I am a cow.

But what about the little men
You push all year? What of them?
Shhhhh, don’t you say I ran away
To those I bullied, yesterday.

My big machines and mighty dollar
Make little men jump and holler.
Well, can’t your Diner’s Club card
Stop the sky from snowing hard?

It can’t, you see, because snow is free
And credit cards won’t do the job.
A gun, I’m sure, would stop the stuff
Plug up the sky. Point, shoot and puff.

I tried a gun. Just made it rain
And, then, last year, it snowed, again.
You’ve one more chance to kill that snow.
Use propaganda. That’ll make it go!

Yeah, maybe that would do something.
With no more snow, I could still be king.
Big bad man, I pulled your leg.
You can’t stop snow with words that beg.

I must admit, it is a blow.
Ha! Even you can’t stop the snow.
You’re beat, big man, by tiny flakes
They stop your show with no breaks,
The same way you do little men
With big machines and your money, friend.
Big bad man, snow is just for you
So, you could feel empty-handed, too.

Power-less ©1979 Joan Cartwright

My Song for Our America– a Poetic Essay

He that hath an ear, let him hear THIS!

Ramblingroz's Blog

I don’t call myself a poet, but yet I occasionally will write a poem. In honor of National Poetry Month, I will be publishing one or two of my works, and a couple of my daughter’s pieces (she IS a poet!).

This first submission is a spoken word piece I wrote for a show I performed in with my fellow Atlanta Drama Queens called Eclectic Noirisms or something like that, at Late Night at the Academy Theatre in Avondale, GA,  back in 2007.

Enjoy!

Roz

Glorify with me all the  bravests, greatests and firsts

Paid with turned backs,  exhile, stripped medals and other inexplicable hurts.

We’ve finished up King’s memorial,, now let’s go on to the next.

Put statues in D.C. of David Walker, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, and, yes, Malcolm X.

I want national memorials for Colonels Tye, Turner and Brown

In fact ALL the fearless freedom fighters wh0 dared to take evil…

View original post 755 more words

“Summertime” – It’s Meaning

Too many women of every race sing the most well-known song from the opera “Porgy and Bess“,  “Summertime” with no understanding that George Gershwin wrote it for a BLACK WOMAN SLAVE holding a white child telling him/her that everything is gonna be alright cause ‘your daddy’s rich and your MAMA’S GOOD LOOKIN”, while she’s breast feeding this child and cannot even FEED her own chillun’ or her chillun’ have been sold to the plantation owner 100 miles away and she may never see them again.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow and there’s absolutely nothing to be done about it. What’s your opinion? And please don’t tell me to just let it go!!! It’s an abomination and I must express my disgust.

Watch this video.

Responses:

I’ll bet most people don’t know this.  I didn’t.  I tried to research it to put on my Facebook page to enlighten people but could not find anything about why DuBose Heyward wrote the lyrics.  If you have a reference send it to me so I can disseminate it to our Conductors for them to circulate.  We are so ignorant of our history and that is done deliberately on the part of whites.  I remember reading the book, Black History, Lost, Stolen or Strayed. White folks know that without knowledge of our history, we are at a disadvantage.

HB

In response to HB:

Dianne Reeves made a seething comment about this song in her rendition of it. I heard her sing it live in Montreux, Switzerland, in the 1990s. That’s when my mind was opened to the true meaning of the song.  In this video does it sound like she’s singing a lullabye? Certainly, her reference to Oshun, the Yoraba Orisha has NOTHING to do with Gershwin’s interpretation.

We have to make certain assumptions about the song “Summertime” written by George Gershwin for the Broadway play or opera “Porgy and Bess” with lyrics by DuBose Heyward. If it’s a lullabye sung by a black woman, during slavery time, or shortly thereafter, there is NO WAY she is singing about her own husband being RICH. She must be referring to a white child’s father. And, of course, “your Ma is good lookin'” written by a white man was not referring to a black woman because the standard for good looking women was, of course, a white woman.

Heyward’s inspiration for the lyrics was the southern folk spiritual-lullaby All My Trials, of which he had Clara sing a snippet in his playPorgy.[8][9] While in his own description, Gershwin did not use any previously composed spirituals in his opera, Summertime is often considered an adaptation of the Afro-American spiritual Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, which ended the play version ofPorgy.[9][10][11] Alternatively, the song has been proposed as an amalgamation of that spiritual and the South-Russian Yiddish lullabyPipi-pipipee.[12] The Ukrainian-Canadian composer and singer Alexis Kochan has suggested that some part of Gershwin’s inspiration may have come from having heard the Ukrainian lullaby, Oi Khodyt Son Kolo Vikon (A Dream Passes By The Windows) at a New York City performance by Oleksander Koshetz’s Ukrainian National Chorus in 1929 (or 1926). [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summertime_(song)]

Did you see this article about the opera?
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Summertime-for-George-Gershwin.html?c=y&page=2

It is my contention that other people cannot tell MY story. Likewise, this reporter, Dan Sax, said “its depiction of black life by…white men” was met with “African-American opposition” (p. 2)
_____________________________

I agree with you. I cringe when black women sing it without understanding the role. This particular version is not memorable. Maybe this is an issue you could take up from a point of view of history, and find a way to make it an area for discussion in the hopefully global atmosphere of your upcoming conference. You are an organization that deals with the history of women in the business..This is an extension of that history–and remember these other “races” singing this piece probably don’t even know that Gershwin left behind instructions that the role in the play must never be sung by anyone other than a black woman.  That may be a fragment of a fact–it could be that the entire cast has to be black–I’m not sure. In a workshop, that little detail you mention is a part of understanding what you should know in order to put the song ‘over’. I’m the wrong one to ask you to “let it go”. It’s part of the education process to discuss this with our younger sisters, and you do know two young black sisters brought “Porgy and Bess” back to Broadway just this past year, Susan Lori Parks and Dierdre Murray, playwright and musician,respectively. So the issue is timely.

BHB

To BHB:  Thanks for the words of enlightenment and encouragement. Truth is Light and it will set you FREE!

JC

Blues plus Jazz equals Cotton

Read: A HISTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN JAZZ AND BLUES

TALKIN’ THAT JAZZ
Joan Cartwright

It’s still a soul song.
It’s still a soul song.
It’s still a soul song.
It’s still a soul song.
It’s still a soul song.
It’s still a soul song.
It’s still a soul song.
It’s still a soul song.

Bebop off beat with sweet jingles
Hip hop cold beats and street lingo
Conductor pace set big band on time
DJ MC hype man gone shine

From Stacey’s to shell toes
Straight A’s to dope rhymes
Kool Herc to King Cole
Ice Tea to Eckstein
Player Daddyo
Break beats broken time
Pork pies and kango
Whodini to Earl Hines

Uptown Harlem at Minton’s in Manhattan
Is where the cats would improvise while other cats were scattin’
Then it moved downtown where upper classes hung out
To listen to the hep cats talkin’ that jazz

And in the fifties the lingo crossed the water
To Berlin and to Paree where a Baron’s daughter
Understood the story spoken in all blue notes
Fast notes, hot notes, soundin’ like some new notes

The music was a smash hit and such a sensation
It traveled ‘round the world receiving thunderous ovations
It soon became a language that everyone could dig
Because the beat is so hip when they’re talkin’ that jazz

At 7, I discovered I was imitating Ella
And making sounds like Hendricks, boy, was he a swingin’ fella
By 17, I dreamt of singing with my own band
And talkin’ that jazz in far exotic lands

Then it finally happened, I vacated Manhattan
And took a trip to Europe where all the cats were scattin’
I said, “Arrivederci,” to my friends in the city
And, “Comment ces’t va,” a mes amis nouveaux en France

It soon became apparent that language was a must
I had to talk to people. Boy, did I feel like a clutz.
But they could understand me ‘cause I could talk that jazz
And life on Earth was really not so bad

And now I go a trav’lin’, a singin’ and a croonin’
A bluesin’ and a croonin’, happy as a loonin’
To propogate the music, I make the razzmatazz
I’m walkin’ and a squawkin’ and a talkin’ that jazz

Listen to the hep cats talkin’ that jazz
Fast notes, hot notes, soundin’ like some new notes
The beat is so hip when we’re talkin’ that jazz
The beat is so hip when we’re talkin’ that jazz

Fast notes, hot notes, soundin’ like some new notes
The beat is so hip when we’re talkin’ that jazz

I AM the lucky ONE!

They've moved on!

After five days of reflecting on the suicides of Michael Jackson, Don Cornelius and Whitney Houston, the email message below prompted me to write down my feelings.  Please read this message, then see my response at the bottom.

Diva JC

ON WHITNEY HOUSTON

If we know anything about the entertainment industry, especially music business, it’s a very ruthless, cut throat, bordering on criminal environment, in spite of the number of success stories associated with it.

Most entertainers that navigate the entertainment business are probably tough enough to abide the criminals and the inhuman demands.  But some entertainers are not tough enough and should be protected from the ravishes of that business.

And then there are those entertainers who are just plain tender and who, though they may project bravado in the public arena, are really collapsing in their personal arena.  Whitney Houston was tender.  Michael Jackson was tender.  Marvin Gaye was tender.  Jimi Hendrix was tender.  Billy Holiday was tender.  And their tenderness is understood or misunderstood buy the outside world only when their tenderness is exposed. And nothing exposes the tenderness of these artists like the results of being unable to handle the use of drugs and stimulants.

For decades I’ve understood and raged about how well-connected, usually Jewish, white male producers, with a huge pool of talent to choose from, will “discover” a nonwhite talent and make millions, and in recent times, make hundreds of millions of dollars by controlling their “product”.

Yes, business is business, and like all markets, the music business has its particular rules and practices, but the participation of nonwhite artists in that business, business controlled by white criminals, is of deeper significance.

First of all, the bottom line is that the music industry in America, since the era of minstrel shows, has essentially commercialized our pain.  It is the pain of our existence that produces the pain expressed in our music. Even gospel music, which was born of the same chords and strains as the blues, is music of pain, if for no other reason than the nonwhite church for centuries has served as a massive reservoir for the pain of our people. This was the legacy infused in every note of Whitney Houston’s melodies.

So when white producers, along with the entertainment industry, banks and all, in the name of “good” business, commercializes the pain of nonwhite people, they essentially are saying: “We will have your art, in fact, we will take your art, but you can keep the conditions and the history that produces your art.” 

In the end, the entertainment industry, by its business practice, slyly sidesteps any obligation to do something about the injustice that they uncover in the process of ferreting out nonwhite talent.  In fact, music moguls thus have a disincentive to address the injustice that they see when addressing it might alter the conditions that produced their “product” in the first place.

Meanwhile, music moguls, with their array of award shows, become filthy rich in the process, diversifying their portfolios in unrelated markets.  For example, I would not be alarmed to learn that much of Israel’s financial support is derived from the commercialization of our music.

Anyway, there is probably some good to come out of this.  When I hear Asian performers rendering Whitney Houston or John Coltrane or Jimi Hendrix (they can’t quite get James Brown or Aretha Franklin yet) I am made aware of the greater purpose of nonwhite people of African descent in America.  Fittingly, for the sake of the point I am making here, music, like all art, is truly a universal language; it is understood and is capable of transmitting information much more readily than tongues.

That being the case, the globalization of our music, though done so via commercial enterprise, is an indication of the role we have played and continue to play in the unfolding circumstances of human development.

For thousands of years, human intelligence has known of the cyclical convergence of consciousness that takes place in human existence.  Such a cyclical change is upon us as I write.  So much that it becomes clear that the thrust of our people to freedom and justice in America is indeed the spearhead of a larger thrust for freedom and justice by the entire human family, and our music is a deeply connecting element in the course of human evolution.

R.I.P. Whitney.  You did your part.

France Jackson

_____________________________________

First, I commend France Jackson for taking the time and energy to think about this subject, write about it and distribute it to those of us in cyberspace who received it.  That being said, I’m prone to disagree that some entertainers are “tough”, while others are “tender”.  I believe we all have toughness and tenderness.  Not one of us, even the most vile criminal is tough all the time.  Toughness comes from being tender and learning to fend off insane actions committed by others.

All of the entertainers France mentioned – Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye and Billie Holiday – fought their own demons, created by drug addiction.  They lost the fight, all before the age of 50.

Consider this:  Each of these performers, except Don Cornelius, agreed to reincarnate to bring their musical talents to humanity on one condition – that they would be dead by 50. Cornelius was 72.

I contend that most human beings have the wrong idea about death.  I think it’s like graduation from high school or college.  Once you get the lesson, you are free to move on up to the next level.  However, one psychologist disagrees with me.  She feels that suicide is not a healthy action and that people prone to killing themselves can be helped.  I don’t think so. If that were true, surely one of these stars’ mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, child, god child, best friend, manager, producer or someone in their circle could have save them.

I think, like Jesus Christ, Joan of Arc and Martin Luther King, we each have a destiny, a time to be born and a time to die and nothing nor any one can alter that  occasion.  Every soldier that picked up a weapon and charged toward the enemy is suicidal. People who smoke and drink are suicidal.  People who overeat are suicidal. People like Evel Knievel born Robert Craig Knievel, an American daredevil and entertainer was suicidal, just like every race car driver, skydiver, fire fighter, police officer, coal miner, window washer of skyscrapers – every person that takes a risk to get anything accomplished, which, by the way, includes drug dealers and pimps, who know that what they are doing is downright dangerous.  Let’s not forget that every woman who gives birth to another human being puts her life in jeopardy for nine months and the moment of child birth is a very sensitive one.

On the issue of “white producers, along with the entertainment industry, banks and all, in the name of ‘good’ business, commercializing the pain of nonwhite people,” I published a book entitled, A HISTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN JAZZ AND BLUES that spells out the reasons why this music makes millions for Europeans and Euro-Americans, while African Americans reap paultry profits from their cultural production.  The problem is that most people, particularly African Americans, are not interested in hearing what I have to say.

My final analysis leads me to believe that I AM the lucky ONE!  A veteran of the stage, since the age of four, I reached my 64th birthday unscathed.  I had violent and abusive marriages and relationships.  I encountered drugs and alcohol but managed to stave off addiction.  My heart was broken by lovers, children, grandchildren, friends and enemies.  I was overlooked as a singer and musician, while those with far less talent rose to the top, only to fall flat on their face or die senselessly.  And I’ve survived.  Only last night, I sang at a black-owned restaurant in Miami and taught an entire group of young people about Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.

No, I don’t own a mansion in New Jersey or L.A.

No, I don’t get tons of royalties from the 60+ songs I’ve composed, performed and recorded.

No, I don’t have millions of dollars in the bank (not saying that I won’t in months to come)!

But I am still alive.  I’m still in the game.  I’m still in the running for fame and fortune that we all seem to think we deserve.

I survived being punched in the face by a man who was in this country illegally, using me and my kids as his cover.

I survived near-death car accidents.

I survived a tumor in my uterus.

I survived friends like Freddie Hubbard who recorded my song “Sweet Return” and lots of people who said I didn’t have any talent but their enterprise went south, while mine prevails.

I AM THE LUCKY ONE!  None of my children are drug addicts, dealers, pimps, thieves, murderers or con artists.

I lived long enough to see a black couple in the White House.

I survived every airplane flight I’ve ever taken.

I survived a Carnival Caribbean cruise, not long before the sinking of the  Costa Concordia cruise ship in Italy.

I AM THE LUCKY ONE! And I’m happy to report that I appreciate living as long as I have and, if I’m even luckier, I’ll live as long as my father who will be 93 on May 7, 2012, and has a wife more than half his age!

For me, the key to life is recognizing that you are blessed and appreciating what you have, who you are and the people around you.

Yes, it’s true that Michael, Whitney, Marvin and Billie had scoundrels around them but I truly believe making their transition at such an early age was a choice they made BEFORE they ever stepped foot upon this Earth! They are all angels, now!

What do you think?

Diva JC

www.joancartwright.com

____________________________________

This is a remark sent by Javier Bailey

I want all of my FB Family to know that the death and demise of Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and many others is no coincidence. I am not saying that there was any conspiracy. However I want all of you to know that the music industry and the gangsters that run the industry, reach down into our churches, neighborhoods, and schools, and extract our best and brightest; then they introduce them to money and drugs, and a lifestyle that is totally destructive. They provide no protections for them and will dump them as soon as the money stops flowing.

Pro athletes started unions in order to give themselves some protections, but artists in music and film are sheep for the slaughter. The death of these icons is evidence of what happens when the money no longer flows from their works. The industry allows them to kill themselves so that they don’t have to continue paying out their contracts. Prince, Public Enemy, Sly Stone and others have revolted and refused to work for the major labels. Just take a look at what I am telling you and you will find that when an artist stops producing a cash-flow for the big labels, somehow that artists ends up getting prescription drugs from some industry supported doctors , and eventually the artist find death around the corner.