Some Random and Not So RandomThings I Remember from 2012

Davey-D-brown-frameAt the end of each year all of us have things we can and should reflect upon. We assess all that has happened and make promises to build upon successes, shed bad habits and bad energy and create better tomorrows..

In looking back at 2012 I would say it was a turbulent, very contentious years..It seemed like everything that went down was in your face and folks were pulling out all the stops to literally body you.. From voter suppression tactics to stand your ground laws to a war on women where sitting law makers  not only stated but tried to pass legislation that reflected a twisted belief that some rapes are legitimate while others are actually blessings… Yes, I’m looking at you Gov Mike Huckabee, Todd Akin and Richard Murdock.. Oh yeah I’m looking at you as well Congressman Paul Ryan..

In 2012 billionaires went all out to make life miserable if you weren’t in their circle, it just seemed like the pressure never let up.

And while 2012 was challenging, there were some shining moments, where folks fought back and triumphed. It showed up in the form of Biko Baker and League of Young Voters doing their historic Ignite Tour around Voter Education or Bakari Kitwana of Rap Sessions who gathered up scholars, activists and artists and did a similar tour.

It showed up in the form of Javier Gonzalez and the Soundstrike which put a serious dent in SB 1070 laws in Arizona. It showed up in the form of Jasiri X, Paradise Gray and One Hood who never let up providing a sound track for many of the struggles folks were undertaking in 2012.

It showed up in the form of Barbara Arwine of the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights and political activist Angela Woodson out of Ohio who were on the front lines dealing with Voter Suppression.. You can check them out HERE.. It showed up in the form of folks who stood on voting lines for 6, 7 and 8 hours to cast their ballot while oppressive forces were doing their best to get them to leave and not partake at all.

Favianna Rodriguez

Favianna Rodriguez

It showed up in the form of artists Favianna Rodriguez and activists like the Dreamers who were part of the big Undocubus Tour where folks toured the country and challenged the systemic deportations. They put in mad work and at the end of the day had both political parties and the staunchest of enemies changing their tune about immigration.. Now everyone wants to find a way to get comprehensive immigration reform on the books.

It showed in the form of Rebel Diaz and their Bronx based collective who traveled the country, spoke truth to power and showed the true meaning and power of cooperative economics. The fact that they own their own building/ community center in the middle of the South Bronx is testament to their hard word.

It showed up in the form of graf writers Refa 1 who brought us AeroSoul 3 where he gathered pioneering Black and Brown graf artists to Oakland to not only share their crafts but to talk about ways to raise consciousness and why it was important to connect the dots between Khemet and Aztlan..

Gabby speaksIt showed in the form of Serena Williams and Gabby Douglass taking Gold Medals in the London Olympics and dealing with horrific negative feedback because of how they danced or wore their hair..The disrespect that gymnastic champ Gabby Douglass endured over her hair was outlandish, but she handled it with class and dignity and kept it moving. Her 90 million dollar endorsement deal from Wheaties was also nice..

It showed in the form of Jill Stein and Cheri Hunkula who stayed the course and push valiantly the virtues and un-compromised positions of a 3rd party (the Greens). It was more than just them being in a 3rd party.. It was watching them put their principles to practice…I would encourage folks to peep the interview we did with them at the democratic National Convention

It showed up in the form of brave folks from the Occupy Movement to Medea Benjamin and Code Pink activists who shun strong light on the Drone Warfare that were are currently engaged in.. It showed up in the form of 30 thousand people who marched against the Stop and Frisk Practices in New York City.. Y’all remember the Silent March?

Elon James White

Elon James White

It showed up in the form of folks taking their time to create innovative broadcasts as way to fight the stranglehold of corporate media..Elon James white‘s daily This Week In Blackness is one example.. Weyland Southon and author Adam Mansbach‘s weekly Father Figure show which airs on KPFA is another.

We be remissed not to shout out Skyyhook Radio which has been innovative, woman owned and runs 24/7..and Chuck D‘s Cant Stop Won’t Stop Hip Hop Show and Occupy the Hood’s radio show. We also have scholar Marc Anthony Neal‘s Left of Black TV show along with Bruce Dixon and Glen Ford‘s Black Agenda Radio.

On the mainstream front we had Melissa Harris Perry‘s show on MSNBC and Roland Martin‘s Washington Watch on TVone .  We also had Marc Lamont Hill and Alyonna on Huffington Post Live. That’s just to name a few of the many.

It showed up in the form of folks who endured 16 mass shootings, from Colorado to Oakland to Newtown and still managed to push forward, keep their humanity and fight to bring about a better way and a brighter tomorrow…I could go on and on..Here’s a few more things that stood out in 2012…

BrotherAli-Flag-1Album of the Year… It was a toss up between Nas‘ ‘Life is Good‘, Kendrick LamarGood Kid Maad CityKiller MikeRAP MusicPublic EnemyMost of My Heroes Don’t Appear on No Stamps‘  and  Brother AliMourning in America and Dreaming in Color

winner: Brother Ali...

Song of the Year…There were too many joints to name that moved me in 2012 everyone from Nas to Asap Rocky to E-40 to Melina Jones had bangers. depending on my mood, dictated what I was rocking with.. 3 Songs seemed to keep me in step all years… Public Enemy w/ Brother AliStand UpKiller MikeAnywhere But Here‘ and Rebel DiazRevolution

winner: Rebel Diaz

don-corneliusThe Death of Soul Train Host and Founder Don Cornelius...He was one of many people we lost in 2012 including the seemingly immortal Dick Clark and Mike Wallace from 60 Minutes. All of us grew up on those 3 gentlemen. Even though we knew they were aging we never thought they’d pass.

In the case of Don Cornelius it was troubling because he committed suicide. I don’t think we ever really sat down and dealt with what that really was about..We just kinda swept it under the rug…8 months later we were all forced to confront it again with the sudden passing of former Jungle Brother, music mogul and founder of Violator Entertainment Chris Lighty. His passing shook us  and made many of us reflect on mental health which is sadly a taboo subject in many of our circles.

One of the things that stood out for me around the time of Lighty’s passing was this powerful essay by Hip Hop activist Rosa Clemente titled Depression, Hip Hop and the Death of Chris Lighty

With respect to Don we paid tribute with a great interview from Chuck D of Public Enemy  who reminded us of his greatness. You peep that HERE

paul mooney, Dick Gregory davey DComedians Dick Gregory and Paul Mooney Link Up…Earlier this year I started doing a weekly spot OLM News w/ Davey D on Free Speech TV... I interviewed lots of folks but the highlight was when I got comedian Paul Mooney who is a frequent guest on my daily radio show and comedian Dick Gregory who is also no stranger to my outlet on the air at the same time.

According to them it was the first time it had ever happened and it wasn’t totally planned. They just happened to be in town at the same time. I was scheduled to do separate interviews with them.. Mooney was running a late, Gregory needed to move his time up and boom magic happened. Out of this landmark show the two set up a successful tour together.. Enjoy the conversation below

Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin

The killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin set things off in a big way during 2012.. It was one of many deaths that would come to Black folks at the hands of the police.. From Rekia Boyd to Ramarley Graham to Alan Bluford to Jordan Davis, the list of folks who fell victim to police terrorism was long.. It was enough to prompt an explosive report from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in early July that documented all the the Black people who had been killed by police. Initially it worked out to every 40 hours a Black person died at the hands of the police…  After it was updated it came down to Every 36 Hours..You can read that report HERE.

The most tragic thing about this report was it was embraced all over the world except at home including amongst our own Black intelligentsia who seemed hell-bent on keeping a lid on this so as not to disrupt a contentious presidential election that may have impacted Barack Obama..

I don’t think she and her legacy was ever fully appreciated.. Already we are seeing and hearing younger generation attribute her signature song At last to Beyoncé who sung it at President Obama’s Inauguration ..We were thankful Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X and producers Agent of Change had a tribute song for here called Etta and ran down her amazing legacy

Atlanta based rap star Killer Mike was a high point for 2012..I feel he as an artist and his album were totally underplayed. What stood out for me with Killer Mike was how he went in on President Reagan and completely took a part the revisionist image that had been carefully crafted for him over the years…You can check out our insightful interview HERE

Tooshort-225Bay Area rapper Too Short got into some hot water in 2012 when he was complimented by rap star 2 Chainz who called him a father figure.. Short took that compliment to another level at the urging of XXL editor Vanessa Satten by penning what was supposed to be a satirical advice column for kids. His advice included telling little boys how to take it to the hole and force sex upon ‘little girls’.. needless to say this caused a lot of outrage..

A coalition of women within the Hip Hop industry formed the 44% Coalition to bring attention to the alarming statistic that shows 44% of the women who are sexually assaulted are under 18. The women called for the firing of Satten and a boycott of Too Short..  As the debate heated up Too Short reached out and had an impassioned conversation with coalition member and writer dream hampton about misogyny… You can read that interview HERE.

From there Too Short agreed to be apart of a well attended town hall meeting at Oakland City Hall… Unfortunately while Short was well received by the audience, local media outlets never bothered to stay for the talk and instead ran unflattering hit pieces that had very little to do with the intense conversation that took place that evening. You can read about that HERE

Jimmy Castor who gave us the b-boy anthem ‘It’s Just begun‘ along with fun funk songs like Troglodytes (Cave Man) and  Bertha Butt Boogie..Although him and his band The Castor Bunch were funk legends, they were also cornerstones to Hip Hop.. many a bboy move was done to his signature song…

Chuck-Brown-Blue2Chuck Brown..The Godfather of Go Go Music Passes 

We were sorry to see so many music and entertainment outlets overlook him when he passed as well as in their end of year tributes. Chuck was a giant among giants. His musicianship was exceptional. The GoGo sound was essential in continuing DC’s long music legacy as well as helping shape Hip Hop’s evolution. Here’s our tribute to him who always kept it 100% and in the pocket. Looking Back, Remembering Chuck Brown and the Go Go Sound He Pioneered


We Lost MCA from the legendary group Beastie Boys after he endured along battle with cancer…We paid tribute to him and had an insightful interview w/ author Dan Charnas of the Big Payback about MCA’s legacy

Here’s our tribute mix to him courtesy of DJ Sloepoke out of LA who did him true justice

We lost the iconic Whitney Houston in 2012 Her funeral which was viewed by folks all over the world was moving and much needed considering all the drama surrounding her death. It was something to behold..

We lost actor Michael Clark Duncan.. His passing caught many of us off guard, because we had no idea he was sick until we got word he had a heart attack and his finance former Reality TV star Omarrosa helped revive him.. We didn’t hear anything more for what seemed like a few weeks and then we got word the popular actor had passed at age 52.

We lost George Jefferson (actor Sherman Hemsley) We lost Moesha star Yvette Wilson. We also lost music legend Donna Summer

Drake-225“Woke up this morning and got hit w/ this foolishness from the bottle thrower named Drake.. He’s just told the Jewish press he’s the ‘first person to successfully rap and sing’ I was ike WTF? This is why Hip Hop history should be required b4 putting out a record.. Can we start with Angie Stone of Sequence.. she raps and sings better.. Maybe Drake forgot 8x Grammy winner Lauryn Hill? Cee-Lo, Mos Def, hell Black Thought kills it in both genres? Did dude forget Queen Latifah, Force MDs, Devin the Dude? Hell, Teena Marie, Blondie and Tom Tom Club blow Drake out the water doing both.. First time I heard singing and rapping was in 78-79 when GMF and the Furious 4 came to Bx Science and harmonized routines.. Later I heard Crash Crew and of course we had Cold Crush who killed it everytime on the singing/ rap tip y’all remember this from back in the days?? Damn Drake even ja Rule and 50 Cent kill u on the sing rap tip..LOL

kreayshawn fail

Killer Mike is a NRA Member, Says Black People Need Be Stockpiling Guns to Fight Domestic Terror

Killer Mike is one of my favorite artists, because he’s willing to speak truth to power with passion and conviction. Unlike many of his mainstream counterparts, Mike is willing to tackle important social issues and put it in his music..We saw him do that in songs like The Pressure w/ Ice Cube and the the song Burnwhere he had compelling videos..that captured the hearts  and minds of those who have long felt disenfranchised and voiceless.

The other day he sat down with Sway of MTV and expressed his anger with Reverend Jesse Jackson. He was upset that Jesse was directing people to lobby congress to get rid of assault rifles..He felt that Jesse who was speaking out on the back of the Trayvon Martin tragedy. He noted that Trayvon wasn’t killed by an assault rifle and that most people who die are killed by handguns not assault rifles.

Killer Mike said we shouldnt be banning assault rifles, we as Black folks should be stockpiling them and arming ourselves more. He noted that we should have  Black men at every corner who are armed, not just to protect ourselves against the George Zimmerman‘s of the world, but also to make sure our daughters aren’t being harassed by thugs on the corner as they go to school.

You can peep the video HERE

During his interview Killer Mike  also noted that we as a Black community need to get back to a point where we not only protect ourselves from fake authority figures, but also know how to survive on our own in case of mass blackouts or any other situation where we no longer have electricity and the modern comforts of life. In short, he talked about how important it is for all of us to know how to fish, hunt and survive the land. He said every family member needs to know how to handle themselves and be familiar with guns.

Killer Mike noted that we are under terrorist attack and we need to be protecting ourselves. He said its a damn shame that Black men as old as Dick Gregory to men his own age and little boys as young as 10 are afraid of the police when we see them.. He said no other group until recently with Arab-Americans after 9-11 has been subjected to that sort of terror.

Killer Mike during his interview noted that he recently joined Al Sharpton‘s organization National Action Network and he’s member of the NRA.. That remark drew a lot of raised eyebrows, primarily because the NRA is a lobbying arm that has long supported causes that have led to further eroding of rights and eventual suppression of Black folks.. Someone was upset and even posted a video where Malcolm X speaks to this issue.

This just in.. Killer Mike upon seeing this article responded in the comment section.. Here’s his take on the video..and the NRA

This Is Killer Mike. I joined the NRA as a Public display that WE as BLACKS can use that organization to “Protect” our 2cd amendment rights also. I think it be more important to stop blacks from joining the 700 club but, I digress. Here is why i joined.

My Father was a Cop. He taught me Gun Safety and has in his life been a member also. It’s about using every resource available at your disposal to ensure we can have the full American Experience. The NRA offers many classes on Gun safety and gun owner responsibility and rights. These are things all Gun owners need to know. In short their practicality for advancing safe gun ownership and rights out weigh their political stance because Black NEED that knowledge in the NOW.

WE HAVE NO BLACK NRA and until we do i will continue to use the organization that my white counter parts use to “Protect” them against law makers infringing upon 2cd Amendment rights. I hunt and Fish. I shot with my father and wife. My kids will begin shooting this year. I am glad that I have an organization that has programs and classes for all of us to use at our disposal.

Malcolm has a grand idea and I will be asking my black friends to join me in organizing a shooting club.

Salute and Love.

On a side note.. the way this conversation with Killer Mike has been framed is he is angry with Black leadership..I disagree, Killer Mike is angry with Jesse Jackson and at this point in time when you are over 30, have kids and a platform to speak to the masses you are also Black leadership. Many of the old guard i.e Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and others were all leaders in their community at young ages. They were folks barely out of their teens and in their early 20s. We saw this with many of the leaders in SNCC, The Black Panthers and numerous other organizations.

We can no longer be upset with 60 and 70 year old men who we call Black leadership as if we aren’t able to go out and help craft solutions and implement them.. This doesn’t mean we have to go and reinvent the wheel or be in some sort of competition, but at a date and time where there is so much need in our respective hoods, there’s no excuse for us not to be out there filling the voids and being ‘leaders’ in our own right.. We should be helping fortify or building institutions and not be to be tripping too hard with elders in our community. We can definitely disagree. We can and should debate. But again at this stage in the game we should all be helping lead those who are coming up behind us..and be factors in our respective communities.

Who Shot Ya?-The FBI Informant Civil Rights Photographer & the Murder of Dr Martin Luther King

In recent days damning information has surfaced about the role a pioneering Civil Rights photographer named Ernest C.Withers played in the murder of Dr Martin Luther King. Withers who died in 2007 had long been rumored to be an informant for J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI even though he was very popular figure in Civil Rights circles. It’s been reported that under his guise as a photographer he was reporting on King’s movement up to the moment of his assassination and in the days that followed.

Like so many organizations that were fighting for Freedom including the Black Panthers, SNCC, The Nation of Islam then known as Black Muslims, SCLC to name a few were all under constant surveillance with orders from Hoover to disrupt and discredit their operations. Hoover considered many of them to be hate groups, terrorists and communist sympathizers.

Sometimes the surveillance came from FBI agents planting listening devices, recording phone conversations and following Civil Rights leaders in cars. Other times it came from sending Black agents into key organizations where they would earn positions of high rank and trust and later report back critical information. This was all done in addition to the FBI sending letters to various leaders where they would attempt to black mail, play one-off the other, make threats or play mind games like encouraging distressed individuals to commit suicide.

Martin Luther King

The murder of Dr King is especially troubling, because it demonstrated the lengths the FBI would go to stop a movement…. I think people should pause for a second before reading on and really think about this. Again the FBI operates from the money we pay to them via our taxes. They are here to serve and protect the people.

The second point is when you’re talking about an individual like Martin Luther King, you’re talking about a man who was calling for racially harmony and non-violence. He was challenging systems of Jim Crow and overt racial discrimination that I would imagine very few would support in 2010.

On the day of his death he was working feverishly on a Poor People’s Campaign for economic justice. How much more benign could one get?  Sadly our government which to this day has buildings named after Hoover, the architect of these surveillance policies called Cointel-Pro stopped at nothing to get him. from the looks of things they got Withers to go along with the plan and several others.

Dick Gregory spoke about sinister forces at work that eventually killed Martin Luther King

Long time activist Dick Gregory spoke on the murder of Dr King and how there were all sorts of folks involved including the Black preachers in his entourage. I want folks to peep this video and pay close attention to the video he plays during his presentation. You can later on watch the rest of the lecture which is 3 or 4 parts.  After you watch pt1, I want folks to read this excellent article from Margret Kimberly of Freedom Rider/ Black Agenda Report to get better insight into Withers and the damaging role he played. pt1 pt2 pt3 pt4

Also as an added piece I am including the conversation Malcolm X had with the FBI when they tried to get him to turn on the Nation of Islam. I want folks to have richer context in which to understand the depth the FBI went in trying to compromise and intimidate our leaders.

Freedom Rider: Ernest Withers the Informant

by BAR editor and senior Margaret Kimberley

Margaret Kimberley of BAR

The long and infamous history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its attacks upon black Americans in their struggles for human and civil rights are by now well-known. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover actively worked to destroy any and all black activists beginning in 1919 when he pursued the political and personal destruction of Marcus Garvey. That subversion of legal rights and the democratic process continued for decades but operated at its fullest extent in the 1950s and 1960s.

The purpose of the FBI Counter Intelligence Program, COINTELPRO was, in Hoover‘s words, to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” what Hoover called “hate groups” but which were in fact organizations fighting for full citizenship rights. The most infamous COINTELPRO action was the murder of the Black Panther Party Chicago chief Fred Hampton. An informant, William O’Neal, joined the Black Panther Party under FBI direction, served as Hampton’s bodyguard, and was then instrumental in planning his killing.

Commercial Appeal, Withers was an FBI informant who gave extensive information on King and other activists in Memphis, their movements, and their conversations. Withers reported to the FBI on the day of King’s assassination and in the days following.

Unfortunately, Withers died in 2007 without ever being confronted with the longstanding rumors of his activities. His colleagues are left to their own devices in trying to understand why he acted as he did. They are also left trying to decide how and, in some cases, whether to judge Withers for his betrayals.

“He actively sabotaged the work of others and endangered their lives, livelihoods and a movement which was bigger than any one person.”

The human response of wanting to defend someone thought to be a friend may be understandable on a personal level, but should never be acceptable politically. The charges against Withers are well documented and in all likelihood he was an informer and was paid by the FBI. This means he actively sabotaged the work of others and endangered their lives, livelihoods and a movement which was bigger than any one person, even those who may still feel a personal connection to Withers.

Whatever the justification for their activities, informants like Withers should never be forgiven and their acts should not be justified. Sadly, many of the people personally victimized by Withers are defending and rationalizing his actions. He had a large family to support, he may have been threatened, the information he gave probably did little harm, etc. Andrew Young’s comments about Withers are the worst of all. “I don’t think Dr. King would have minded him making a little money on the side.”

Andrew Young has been the king of the cringe-worthy comment for some time now, but this remark is appalling even for him. As one of King’s closest confidantes, Young should know better than anyone the damage caused by FBI’s actions against King. They tapped his phones, recorded his conversations and encouraged him to commit suicide. Because there was no timely investigation into the King assassination, we will never know if the FBI was directly involved. The fact that Withers was located in Memphis and reported on King’s activities and movements up until the very moment of his death is in and of itself suspicious. The revelation of Withers’ activity should be a reminder of the extent to which the state dedicated itself to destroying any organized effort at black empowerment.

The muted response to the Withers revelation is sad proof of the lack of study of the movement, its fall and its aftermath. If this world-changing phenomenon were considered in the light that it ought to be, there would be unified revulsion expressed about Withers and a meaningful discussion of how the movement ended. The killing of Martin Luther King meant the effective end of one of the most successful mass movements in the history of the world. It is difficult to imagine that the information Withers provided to the FBI was not in some way connected with King’s death. For that reason alone, the outrage surrounding this revelation should have been loud and clear.

“It is difficult to imagine that the information Withers provided to the FBI was not in some way connected with King’s death.”

The Withers case should not be seen through the window of the past. It is a warning to us in the present and a reminder that the police state apparatus is ever present.

J Edgar Hoover may be dead but his legacy and damning Cointel-Pro policies live on today

The Withers case should not be seen through the window of the past. It is a warning to us in the present and a reminder that the police state apparatus is ever present. Should the civil rights movement be reactivated and organizing for change become the norm once again, there will be another COINTELPRO, under a different name no doubt, but the activities will be revived and some “friends” will turn out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing.

We now have a government which gives itself the right to order the assassination of American citizens and which claims the right to order anyone arrested and incarcerated without charge or trial. Black Americans have been entrapped in dubious, false flag terror cases created out of whole cloth by the government and its informants. The past is prologue and Ernest C. Withers will not be the last person used to sabotage his own people.

An energized, well organized movement for political change is what this nation needs most. That movement should learn the history of past movements, including the errors, and the betrayals that brought so many people and organizations to premature death. Individuals brave enough to speak truth to the powerful should be able to do so without repeating past mistakes or falling prey to the snares which brought down so many in the past. Ernest Withers should be remembered as a traitor. Yes his photos are iconic but they are now tainted and cannot be rehabilitated for the sake of sentimentality. The revelations about Withers are indeed frightening and rightly cause paranoia and anger. Those feelings cannot be submerged. They should be discussed openly. If they are not, then there are more Ernest Withers’ in our future and more destroyed movements.

Commercial appeal

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains an edifying and frequently updated blog at Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

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The Wisdom of Dick Gregory-Obama, Racism, White Supremacy & Haiti


Long time Civil Rights activist, author and comedian Dick Gregory made his rounds in Washington DC where he took in the State of the Union and the healthy Families USA convention. We caught up with Gregory and talked to him about the situation in Haiti. He pointed out some of ther glaring flaws in the relief efforts including the irony of having two men who don’t like each other, George Bush and Bill Clinton being the face for recovery operations. 
Dick Gregory also talked about why he is going on a 30 day fast and how that action is powerful and will help out those in Haiti..
In this clip Dick Gregory sat down with his good friend, long time radio show host  Bev Smith. Here is goes in on President Obama in response to his State of the Union speech.  Gregory talks about why Obama doesn’t flex his power and how the shackles of racism hold pyschological effect. He said Obama doesn’t flex because he knows he’s a Negroe in America.
Here Gregory talks about the meaning of racism and white supremacy.  

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How Michael Got Gangsta With Sony Music Over Black Music & Racism



How Michael Got Gangsta With Sony Music Over Black Music

Michael Jackson was not as timid as one might think when it came to doing battle with the industry. Not too many people wanna talk about his battle with Sony Music

Michael Jackson was not as timid as one might think when it came to doing battle with the industry. Not too many people wanna talk about his battle with Sony Music

This is what I liked about Michael Jackson. Call him weird, call him eccentric, but the man was no dummy and he would step if needed to.. I am including a story we ran the day after Michael Jackson was in Harlem where he called out Tommy Mottola and Sony Music. He said Mottola was a racist which was bold  given that at the time Motola was one of the industry’s most powerful executives in the industry..

This is the article that we  ran in June 2002 in my FNV Newsletter

-Davey D-


The article below is reprinted with permission from  Ayana Soyini who documented this historic event which originally appeared on the website The new website is Khamouflage Productions


Greetings: On Tuesday July 9, 2002 I attended a music industry summit
in Harlem at the headquarters of the National Action Network.  The
Summit was called by Rev.  Dr.  Al Sharpton, Johnny Cochran, Michael
and many other prominent people in the entertainment, legal,
and political activist communities.  Contrary to what some of the
media has been reporting, the Summit was not solely for the airing of
grievances by Michael Jackson.  As you may or may not know, Michael
recently said some very candid, open and straightforward comments
about the historical racism and economic disparity that is prevalent
in the music industry.  This has been extremely detrimental,
specifically to the African-American community who has historically
been at the forefront of innovation in America.  One cannot talk about
the history of the United States without talking about the
contributions African-Americans have made.  Most notably, all
recognized popular American musical art forms have been created and
developed first from within the African-American community (i.e.
Blues, Jazz, Hip Hop, R&B, Soul etc…)

Our music was often called “race music” by white Americans to
highlight the fact that as a people, the African-American experience
is unique and our expressions culturally rich.  Let me emphasize once
again that the focus of this Summit was not on Michael Jackson.  No.
The focus of this Summit was on calling attention to the historically
corrupt, exploitative and one-sided business dealings perpetuated by
the music industry.  The focus was on what particular strategies can
be implemented to end the injustice.

Let me clear up some of the inaccurate reporting being done by the
larger media outlets.

THE LIES: Michael Jackson is disgruntled because his last musical
project “Invincible” only sold 2 million copies and he is desperately
trying to save his career.

THE TRUTH: Michael informed the audience that Invincible has actually
sold 10 MILLION copies worldwide to date and he is personally
satisfied with the numbers.

THE LIES: Michael has gone crazy and this is just another “bizarre
publicity stunt” to call attention to himself.

THE TRUTH: The larger media outlets have always been fond of attacking
him at random.  Michael was in Harlem just 7 weeks ago along side the
likes of former President Bill Clinton at a fundraiser for the
Democratic National Committee and the larger media outlets called him
an ICON then.  Why is he “Wacko Jacko” now for bringing up some very
real issues that directly impact peoples lives?

THE LIES: The idea that racism and economic disparity exists in the
music industry is farfetched considering the success of certain
individual artists and people like Will Smith, Mariah Carey, Sean “P
Diddy” Combs etc…

THE TRUTH: There are absolutely no Black owned public relations firms,
travel agencies, advertising agencies etc…  that have contracts with
any of the major corporate labels.  If $20 million dollars is being
spent on marketing and promotion of an African-American artist or
someone doing a recognized African-American art form, then why have
the talents of African-American business men and women been overlooked
and not deployed to help facilitate the process?  Are African-American
businesses unable to effectively market, promote and work in tandem
with any of the major labels?  With African-American consumers making
up a large percentage of the buying public through our extensive
spending power, how much of the monies generated from successful
commercial endeavors pushed by the music industry goes back into
African-American neighborhoods?  For every Will Smith who has
generated tons of income for his employers you have a multitude of
artists stuck in unfair contracts that find them in debt to their
label for expensive which they have no control or say of.

THE LIES: Many African-Americans in the music industry do not support
this cause.

THE TRUTH: This has been a long-standing concern in the
African-American community.  A broad based coalition has already been
mobilized.  Some of the supporters who were in attendance included:

Londel McMillan – the legal mastermind who helped Prince free himself
from a horrible contract with Warner Bros.  He also represents the
Artist Empowerment Coalition which includes members such as Stevie
Wonder & Chaka Khan.

Terrie Williams – founded the Terrie Williams Agency in 1988 and is
recognized as one of the top public relations and communications
firms.  She has written a number of best-selling books and has a
client roster which includes Fortune 500 companies.

Dave Mays – founder of The Source magazine.  One of the more popular
and influential publications geared towards Hip Hop music, culture and

James Mtume – Musician and Producer extraordinaire as well as a
longtime community activist and spokesperson.

Shakim Compere – Manager of Queen Latifah and Flavor Unit Enterprises.

David Patterson – New York State Senator.

Doug E.  Fresh – longtime Hip Hop entertainer and grassroots community

Also in attendance were reps from National Music Distribution, family
members of W.C.  Handy (credited with pioneering Blues music), the
daughter of Otis Blackwell (the man responsible for writing many of
the hit records for Elvis Presley) and many others just too numerous
to mention.  The room was packed and the media turnout was extensive.
There are many who support the issues being discussed and are
committed to lending support whether quietly behind the scenes or by
more visible and public actions.  Look for a possible Class Action
Lawsuit to be filed as well as an upcoming meeting being called with
the heads of the 5 major distributors and their respective label heads
(i.e..  Tommy Mottola, Clive Davis, Doug Morris etc…).

In closing, please don’t believe the false hype and negative media
propaganda tactics deployed by the larger communications outlets.
They are only presenting distorted facts in an effort to discredit
what is credible.  They are trying to put the emphasis on a few people
(i.e..  Michael Jackson…  who happens to be the best selling artist
of all time and has generated BILLIONS of dollars) to fool you into
believing that this issue is irrelevant and inconsequential to the
lives of the everyday person.  If you have any sort of conscious or
soul, please don’t make snap judgments as to the motives of this
movement and the people who are spearheading it.  It is really the tip
of the iceberg of a long overdue need to reform how big business
operates in the United States and globally.  It is also tied into the
growing Reparations Movement that has also attracted many heavy
hitters (i.e..  Russell Simmons).  It is time for this generation to
pick up the torch and continue to build on what our ancestors have
accomplished so far.  As Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr. so eloquently
stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.  Thank
you for reading and Blessed Love!!

Ayana Soyini, CEO Goldeneyes Entertainment

Below is a video we attached where, Jackson speaks before a crowd in London and explains whats really cracking off. He starts speaking about 3 minutes into this 9 minute video..

Below is an article where long time activist Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory’s Comments On Michael Jackson
By Bakari Akil II


Dick Gregory spoke about sinister forces at work trying to undermine Michael once he took on these record labels

Dick Gregory spoke about sinister forces at work trying to undermine Michael once he took on these record labels

Dick Gregory, activist, health guru, ex-comedian as well as advisor to many influential people is a man who has been a mainstay in American culture for decades. As a friend to Michael Jackson for many years he offered insight to the current situation involving Mr. Jackson and provided a perspective that has not been evident in many media outlets.

On a radio show entitled Make it Plain, hosted by WOL’s Mark Thompson in Washington, D.C., Dick Gregory stated in response to the mad media frenzy and tilt toward guilt coverage, that those who believe in Michael Jackson’s guilt or innocence should first ask for truth to be exposed. Whether it is damaging for Michael Jackson or not, he insisted that truth is the most important aspect of this issue.

However, Mr. Gregory does not believe that Mr. Jackson is guilty of the
charges and raised many questions concerning the events leading up to the actions of law enforcement and consequent media coverage. He asked why was it necessary for 40 police officers and 20 FBI agents to raid Michael Jackson’s property. More specifically, why were FBI agents present, especially since the allegations against Mr.Jackson are not a federal offense?

He also questioned the legitimacy of the claim of law enforcement that they did not know of Mr. Jackson’s whereabouts and the timing of the raid.  According to Mr. Gregory, there is a monetary element to this entire situation. He states that Michael Jackson purchased the Beatles catalog for nearly $48 million and it is now worth $1.5 billion. He also owns the rights to the Elvis catalog and found out after his purchase of the Beatles collection that these rights also included ownership of Little Richard’s catalog of which, Michael Jackson promptly called Mr. Richard and returned it to him.

His suspicions arise from the fact that Michael Jackson has taken out loans and his lenders wanted collateral, which was none other than his Beatles catalog. Mr. Gregory stated that Michael Jackson did not mind offering that up as collateral because every time he would come out with a record he would make around $500 million from his efforts. For those who doubt those claims, he explained that there is a mischaracterization that occurs when
people think about what is success for Michael Jackson. Although he  different. He also admonished the audience not to forget that Michael Jackson embarrassed SONY and music mogul Tommy Mottola when he claimed that they were racist and that they took advantage of and mistreated Black artists.

Not holding anything back, Mr. Gregory stated that Rev. Al Sharpton, who came to the defense of Michael Jackson during this time was soon
overwhelmed by media coverage of a video tape which showed individuals attempting to frame him in a drug deal.
He went even further stating that this type of behavior could be traced to Bill Cosby and the suspicious murder of his son Ennis, who was gunned down while changing the tire of his Mercedes on a California highway. He claims that this happened after Mr. Cosby hinted that he wanted to purchase NBC when it was up for sale.

Dick Gregory also alleged that when they showed Michael Jackson in
handcuffs, it was symbolic and when they handcuffed him, they handcuffed us all (Black communities). He stated that they allowed Mr. Jackson to board his private plane in Las Vegas, fly back to California and then handcuffed him and immediately took them off when inside the police station. According to Mr. Gregory, law enforcement had not judged him an extreme flight risk if they let him fly in and obviously not a danger if they immediately uncuffed him once inside, so why the posturing?

Mr. Gregory further intensified his discourse by reiterating that the value of Michael Jackson’s catalog cannot be underestimated and asserted that Mr. Jackson could easily be killed, have it consequently ruled a suicide and thus his collection will be forfeited in lieu of his debt.

He further commented that people such as Liz Taylor, whom he knows Michael would rush to their aid in times of need, have not come to his defense or spoke out on his behalf. He also talked about how many people take “Michael” for a joke, yet he is very intelligent and that he knows what is going on.

Yet for all his concerns, Dick Gregory stated that Michael Jackson will
“come out clean” in this dilemma and he called for people to say a daily
prayer for the “truth to come out” about this situation concerning Mr.
Jackson at 12:00 P.M., no matter what the time zone. He believes,
ultimately, people will be shocked at what that truth is.

In the final analysis, many may balk at the comments and observations of Mr. Gregory, believing that governmental officials, media organizations and corporations in the music business may be beyond collusion or conspiracies (when two or more make a conscious effort to bring about a certain reality), which is fine. Yet, free and independent thought that Mr. Gregory exhibits is absolutely necessary, especially in an era where fact and fiction has taken an equal seat in mainstream media and thought.

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