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 They say that MJ could not sleep at the end. And if he could not sleep, then he

could not dream. Our dreams are our first and last sanctuary. Have you ever had

that dream about flying? You soar above the world and its cares.



Origins of the Moonwalk

Michael Jackson Dies at 50

Comments from Music Lovers



I had already received the video before you sent it to me. But thanks anyway. I don't want to ride MJ too much. I was never a fan of his. By the time the J5 came out, I had left musical pop culture behind. What the video show is an unbroken line from the great dancers of the past up to MJ. What was baffling to me is that I never once heard MJ acknowledge that he came from that tradition.

There is a documentary of Sammy Davis Jr. that is sometimes shown on PBS stations. Sammy is doing a concert in Germany. And although he is not the man he once was, his talent is still there. He sings, dances and does impressions—he was the total package. I am often reminded when I see Obama of the short film that depicts Sammy as the first Black president. I guess you would call it a musical video today or something along those lines. Anyway, there is a young Sammy in top hat and tails singing and dancing about being president of the United States. It was all a fanciful dream back then.

To tell the truth MJ baffled me. All that talent and all that confusion. Who was he?

I am just finishing up Michael Ondaatje's Coming Through Slaughter—a magnificent fiction about the life of your boy Buddy Bolden. And I was struck by the fact that even the greatest of artists are often so overwhelmed by their success that they often lose themselves. In this, MJ and Buddy are cut from the same dye. Buddy so overwhelmed by the crowds and adulation heaped upon him that he choose to disappear for years. MJ robbed of his childhood had no way to grow, to obtain his manhood or more importantly his humanity. This is not to say that MJ did not try. He did. But like Peter Pan—even at fifty—one wonders if he ever grew up and settled into a place of comfort.

They say that MJ could not sleep at the end. And if he could not sleep, then he could not dream. Our dreams are our first and last sanctuary. Have you ever had that dream about flying? You soar above the world and its cares. And when the dream is over you feel released, free to walk among men again. I often wonder if MJ had any such dreams. Perhaps, he did. But what was written in his flesh was a kind of masochism that is rarely seen in the world. They say that the devil is in the detail. And I have read a thousand comments on what MJ's death and life meant. They are all sound and fury signifying nothing.

They say that Bolden was the greatest cornet player that ever lived-that he played with a power that could overwhelm the stars. Ondaatje writes a telling passage in Coming Through Slaughter. One of Bolden' friend is listening to him one night and Buddy is playing in a most unusual style "mixing the Devil's music with His [God's] music.” Buddy's friend states:

I am sort of scared because I know the Lord don't like that mixing of the Devil's music with His music. But still I listen because the music is so strange and I guess I'm hypnotized. When he blows blues I can see Lincoln Park with all the sinners and whores shaking and belly rubbing and the chicks get way down and slapping themselves on the cheeks of their behind. Then when he blows the hymn I'm in my mother's church with everybody humming. The picture keeps changing with the music. It sounded like a battle between the Good Lord and the Devil. Something tells me to listen and see who wins. If Bolden stops on the hymn, the Good Lord wins. If he stops on the blues, the Devil wins.

I am like the friend of Buddy Bolden when it comes to MJ. I am perplexed and at a lost. I do not feel safe celebrating his life or mourning his death. I simply can not tell whether the last notes of MJ's life belong to a hymn or a blues.amin sharif  

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Mega best of Michael Jackson's moonwalk

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I was just getting ready to send out a question about the Moonwalk, when Rudolph Lewis from the ChickenBones Journal sent out this youtube video.

This afternoon, Brown University Prof. Tricia Rose, author of the Hip Hop Wars was interviewed on HardBall and said that Michael Jackson learned the Moonwalk from breakdancers. That may be true but I first saw the Moonwalk done by a UNM football player in 1965; so I knew it predated the breakdancers. Furthermore, and the film clip didn't include it, several years ago I saw an old film, from the early 20th Century of an entire African tribe doing the Moonwalk. So clearly, IMHO, this unusual dance was handed down to us from Africa's not so distant past.Damu

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2 origins of moon walk‏

1. Sam Anderson of NYC is author of "The Black Holocaust," and a longtime political activist.


You got dat right!

Part of the moonwalk's origin is grounded (pun intended) in enslaved Africans trying to do their traditional dances in North America without the drum. Hence, the use of sand to rhythmically slide/shuffle/ tap across the ground or floor. It was then carried- post slavery- into Black vaudeville shows... losing the sand for a wooden stage and, therefore, morphing traditional African dance even further: tap and the shuffle/slide routines as seen in the youtube video.

The "moonwalk" dance technique is also preserved thruout the Caribbean, Latin & South America's African descendant communities.

In Struggle, Sam Anderson


Sam Greenlee is best known for authoring "Spook who sat by the door," and "Baghdad Blues."


I and my friends were doing the "moon walk" to be-bop back in the forties; and Nichele Nicholos (her name was Grace back then; and I dated her at her first formal)  was one of the best!Sam

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THE PHILANTHROPIST—To me—in addition to the magical moves of Michael Jackson and that poignant singing voice of his—he was a philanthropist who tried to teach the world how to love and care and nurture, lessons he never learned at home under the tutelage of his father, but things he knew were good and true. Such a tortured man/child. God bless his soul.—Sandra L. West

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An Open Letter to Michael Jackson (2003)I remember you. Your lips were full and your nose was wide and your face was brown. This only rates mentioning because it is no longer true, so untrue, in fact, that sometimes I wonder if I imagined you as you once were. I’m sure at night, as a child, I dreamed of the boy with the afro who sang and spun on his heels like a miniature James Brown.

I wish that boy had become a man. That wish seemed reasonable all the way through “Off the Wall,” when your nose grew narrower and hair more lank, but you were still visibly black. With every subsequent album your relationship to your original appearance grew fainter and fainter, until you were no longer even an echo of yourself. But the further you fled from black masculinity, the more international crowds lionized you. Today you are a grotesque. . . .

This social warfare has hardened many black men, aiding and abetting the culture of hypermasculinity that permeates hip hop. It’s hard to be a sister and be down with the bitch/’ho lyrics, hard to be down with men who spout rhymes full of anti-female fury. Commercial hip hop may appeal to young women who can pretend that the men are calling out someone else, but to an older head like myself it sounds as if they are speaking my name. I cannot listen to it. I cannot dance.

But I long to take the floor with the same childish glee that I did when you and I were together. I desperately want you to be there for me, to reassure me that things aren’t so bad that the primary options open to black men are hatred of black women or physical and mental disintegration. I would like to think that you, the shadow Michael who never had a chance to grow up, wouldn’t treat me the way those other men do. But I’m the furthest thing from your mind.

In your absence, the absence of a Michael I can relate to, I have only questions. Why does America destroy and pervert black men? Were you squeezed between racism and perfectionism until your very soul compressed? And what about those without your millions of dollars? What options are left for them?

I feel — and I know it cannot be true, for I still breathe — that if you cannot exist, I cannot exist. If there is no room for a loving black masculinity in the world, I fear there is little room for the black feminine as well. You, Michael Jackson, are not all black men, and for that I am grateful. But your decline says more about America than we can bear to hear.Farai Chideya

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Michael Jackson and the American ImaginationJohn Landis, the director of “Thriller,” has called Jackson a “tragic figure.” And that brings me, personally, back to race. Race added a very specific prism to the failed transformation of Michael Jackson. His plastic surgery bordered on pathology and racial caricature. His need for the spotlight brought him, arguably, into clashes with both the law and public opinion. I am thinking specifically of the charges of his treatment of children… others’, and his own.

Would he have felt freer to pursue his own alternative identity if we had not also wanted him to be what he could not seem to be… an adult black man who provided fodder for the fantasies we cherished when he was a child? In the prelude to the Thriller video, Michael Jackson speaks to the black, bobbysox-wearing girl who is his love interest and says, “You know I like you… And I hope you like me the way I like you.” Sigh. We always loved you, Michael. I hope you found peace in just being you, whoever you were, and despite what we all wanted you to be.Farai Chideya

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A Scandal’s Heavy TollIn many ways, Mr. Jackson never recovered from the child molesting trial, a lurid affair that attracted media from around the world to watch as Mr. Jackson, wearing a different costume each day, appeared in a small courtroom in Santa Maria, Calif., to listen as a parade of witnesses spun a sometimes-incredible tale.

The case ultimately turned on the credibility of Mr. Jackson’s accuser, a 15-year-old cancer survivor who said the defendant had gotten him drunk and molested him several times. The boy’s younger brother testified that he had seen Mr. Jackson groping his brother on two other occasions.

After 14 weeks of such testimony and seven days of deliberations, the jury returned not-guilty verdicts on all 14 counts against Mr. Jackson: four charges of child molesting, one charge of attempted child molesting, one conspiracy charge and eight possible counts of providing alcohol to minors. Conviction could have brought Mr. Jackson 20 years in prison. Instead, he walked away a free man to try to reclaim a career that at the time had already been in decline for years.

After his trial, Mr. Jackson largely left the United States for Bahrain, the island nation in the Persian Gulf, where he was the guest of Sheik Abdullah, a son of the ruler of the country, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. Mr. Jackson would never return to live at his ranch. Instead he remained in Bahrain, Dubai and Ireland for the next several years, managing his increasingly unstable finances. He remained an avid shopper, however, and was spotted at shopping malls in the black robes and veils traditionally worn by Bahraini women.

Despite the public relations blow of his trial, Mr. Jackson and his ever-changing retinue of managers, lawyers and advisers never stopped plotting his return. By early this year, Mr. Jackson was living in a $100,000-a-month mansion in Bel-Air, to be closer to “where all the action is” in the entertainment business, his manager at the time, Tohme Tohme, told The Los Angeles Times. He was also preparing for his upcoming London shows.

”He was just so excited about having an opportunity to come back,” said Mr. Paterson, the director and choreographer. Despite his troubles, the press and the public never abandoned the star. A crowd of paparazzi and onlookers lined the street outside Mr. Jackson’s home as the ambulance took him to the hospital.NYTimes

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The Persecution of Michael Jackson (by Ishmael Reed)—In my lengthy examination of the trial printed in my book,  Mixing It Up, Taking On The Media Bullies, I concluded that though millions of Jackson’s fans celebrated his acquittal,  the District Attorney [Thomas W. Sneddon Jr.,],  who was allowed to squander the California taxpayers’ money so that he might humiliate a rich  black man, whom he felt had sassed him, was the victor.  At the beginning of the trial, Jackson was dancing on top of a van.  During the trial he had to be hospitalized.  At the end, he was a frail emaciated wreck.

Because of the malicious prosecution of Jackson by Sneddon and Sneddon’s  claque in the media, Jackson will always be regarded as a pedophile. (When the trial opened,  a USA Today / CNN / Gallup Poll found that 72% of whites and 51% of Blacks believed that the charges against Jackson were “Definitely” or “Probably” true.) Wherever “Mad Dog” Sneddon, this hateful man might be in his retirement,  he can gloat over  the death of the man against whom he waged a vendetta with all of the power of the state at his disposal. Sneddon even tried to introduce photos of Jackson’s genitals during the 2005 trial, which proved too much even for the pro prosecution judge.

Of course,  none of Sneddon’s abuse or the abuse of Jackson by his accusers was mentioned by an old corporate media,  out of touch and on life supports. For infotainers like Katie Couric,  Jackson’s father Joe   was MJ’s  sole abuser. In the eyes of yesterday’s media, black fathers are the principal actors in domestic violence. . . .

I would like to have seen more independent African-American journalists comment on the passing of Michael Jackson,  but,  according to Richard Prince,  who runs a media blog for the Maynard journalism Institute, hundreds have lost their jobs over the last two years,  including Pulitzer Prize winners like Les Payne. With the absence of black and Latinos from journalism, the media have become a spare all white jury always ready to take down a black celebrity for the entertainment of the types who used to attend those acts created by P. T. Barnum.

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Lyrics: by Michael Jackson

They wanna get my a**,  dead or alive.

You know he really tried to take me down by surprise.  

I bet he missioned with the CIA.

He don't do half what he say.

Dom Sheldon is a cold man

Dom Sheldon is a cold man

Dom Sheldon is a cold man

Dom Sheldon is a cold man

He out shock in every single way.

He stop at nothing just to get his political say.

He think he hot cause he's BSDA.

I bet he never had a social life anyway.

You think he bother with the KKK?

I bet his mother never taught him right anyway.

He want your vote just to remain TA.

He don't do half what he say.

Dom Sheldon is a cold man

Dom Sheldon is a cold man

Dom Sheldon is a cold man

Dom Sheldon is a cold man

Dom S.  Sheldon is a cold man

Dom Sheldon is a cold man

Dom Sheldon is a cold man

Dom Sheldon is a cold man

Source: Black Agenda Report

Ishmael Reed is the publisher of Konch. His new book, Mixing It Up, Taking On The Media Bullies was published by De Capo.

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Michael As King Tut

                   By Marvin X
Boy king
like Tut
smasher of idols
old school religion
hailer of One God
made shahadah
beyond priests of Amen
sang poems of a new world
hail to Ra Supreme
Michael rode his boat ashore
down Nile
Remember the Time?
A song for amnesia people
Look in the Mirror!
those who deny self
wannabe werewolves
Tut lived three thousand years ago
but came again
see him today
coffin of gold
a glove
will live three thousand years
marvel at him
king of pop
how did he do it
out smart those priests
the Amen crowd
stone throwers
let us praise the good
of the boy king
no matters his foibles
sing a happy song
praise to the Sun.
He wanted to live forever
and shall
no matter what
the evil ones
haters all
Michael took his place
among the stars
sacred love songs
we shall sing forever.
Ra. Ra. Ra.


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Michael Jackson on YouTube

Bad / They Don't Care About Us / Leave Me Alone / Ghost / Scream / Thriller / Smooth Criminal

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#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.”

We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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Life on Mars

By Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted the collection's "lyric brilliance" and "political impulses [that] never falter." A New York Times review stated, "Smith is quick to suggest that the important thing is not to discover whether or not we're alone in the universe; it's to accept—or at least endure—the universe's mystery. . . . Religion, science, art: we turn to them for answers, but the questions persist, especially in times of grief. Smith's pairing of the philosophically minded poems in the book’s first section with the long elegy for her father in the second is brilliant." Life on Mars follows Smith's 2007 collection, Duende, which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, the only award for poetry in the United States given to support a poet's second book, and the first Essence Literary Award for poetry, which recognizes the literary achievements of African Americans. The Body’s Question (2003) was her first published collection.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 8 July 2009 




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