Category Archives: muse
ELLE CLAY reminded me of the great Dominique Dawes, making mention that I need to do a post about her. “Of course!” I thought, “how could I forget!”. Her perfect bun and wispy bangs had young girls everywhere feeling empowered after she stole the show at the 1996 Olympics. So…in honor of the Olympics and how beautifully it brings the world together (or apart, depending on how you look it) I will post weekly blogs about my most favorite Olympians!
In 1996, Dominique Dawes became the first African American to win an Olympic gymnastics individual event medal. She took the bronze metal at the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta while serving as a stand-in for injured teammate Kerri Strug. After she dazzled the crowd and national television with her graceful moves, she was immediately thrust into the fame – inspiring young women everywhere. Here’s to her accomplishments. Although it was 16 years ago, she still deserves celebration!
“Fishbone is a U.S. alternative rock band formed in 1979 in Los Angeles, California, which plays a fusion of ska, punk rock, funk, hard rock and soul. Critics have noted of the band: “Fishbone was one of the most distinctive and eclectic alternative rock bands of the late ’80s. With their hyperactive, self-conscious diversity, goofy sense of humor, and sharp social commentary, the group gained a sizable cult following during the late ’80s, yet they were never able to earn a mainstream audience.”
Fishbone was assembled by John Norwood Fisher (bass, vocals), with his brother Phillip “Fish” Fisher (drums); Angelo Moore, who sometimes uses the stage name “Dr. Madd Vibe” (vocals, saxophones ranging from sopranino to bass, and theremin); Kendall Jones (guitar); “Dirty” Walter A. Kibby II (vocals, trumpet); and Christopher Dowd, who sometimes uses the pseudonym “Charlie Down” (keyboards, trombone, vocals).”
In 1979, Fishbone got it’s start as ”disparate, all-black oddball crew”. The band members were in junior high school in South Central Los Angeles. They had a unique blend of styles and although they started out more as a ska/reggae band, they later developed more of a rock/soul sound.
This band is special to me, because growing up in the 80′s and 90′s it wasn’t cool for people of color to be different and they were a confirmation to me that I was a-okay being weird. Also, I used to have a little crush on Angelo Moore, the bands wild and unpredictable lead singer.
Some other interesting facts about Fishbone via Wikipedia:
- In the 1988 blaxploitation-spoof I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, members of Fishbone appear on the street as hecklers of Antonio Fargas’ character Flyguy, and also as a “back-up band”.
- Angelo Moore, John Norwood Fisher and John Steward appear in the 2006 film Idlewild as members of the band led by Rooster, the character played by Big Boi of OutKast.
- The characters Freddie and Lena of A Different World wore the shirts (both are fans).The characters Freddie and Lena of A Different World wore the shirts (both are fans).
- John Cusack wears a Fishbone shirt in the film Say Anything…. (In that movie’s iconic “boombox scene”, Cusack is actually blasting Fishbone from the radio. Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” was added later).
- In the Movie Bull Durham, Tim Robbins’ character Ebby “Nuke” Laloosh is wearing a Fishbone T-Shirt with his suit while giving his first interview after getting called up to the big leagues.
- In 2010′s Hot Tub Time Machine, Cusack pulls out and clearly advertises a black T-shirt with the band’s logo out of his character’s suitcase.
- In the TV show Northern Exposure, the character of Ed Chigliak (Darren E. Burrows) is frequently spotted with a Fishbone shirt under his leather jacket.
- Early episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210 had scenes filmed against a set of lockers that featured a sticker logo in almost every shot.
Now you all know what I want for my birthday which is April 23rd, a vintage (not vintage style) Fishbone T-Shirt. Thank You and I love you.
Before Spike Lee, John Singleton, The Hughes Brothers or any of the black Directors you know today – there was Oscar Micheaux.
I forst learned about him in film school at SVA and I was blown away that I had never heard of him before.
Oscar Devereaux Micheaux was born on January 2, 1884 on a farm in Murphysboro, Illinois. He was the 5th child amongst 13 others, born to Calvin and Belle Michaux. Oscar later added an “E” to his last name. His family was originally from Kentucky and his grandfather was a slave.
Oscar’s family later relocated to another city for better schooling, where their kids attended a well established school. After a few years the family rain into money troubles and had to move back to the farm. Oscar was extremely unhappy by this and became rebellious, which created trouble for the family. Oscar’s father sent him away to do marketing in the big city, which Oscar loved because he was exposed to many different kinds of people and learned people skills that would later be displayed in his films.
At 16, Oscar moved in with his brother in Chicago. His brother worked as a waiter, which was not Oscar’s idea of a good life. He went on to work many jobs from stockyards, steel mills to having his own shoeshine stand. He eventually landed a job as a Pullman Porter, which was a prestigious job for African-Americans at that time because it paid well and you were able to travel. This position was a form of college for Oscar. He saved a couple thousand dollars in his bank account, traveled most of the United States, and accrued many contacts of rich white folks who would be of benefit to him in the future.
This job was an informal college education for Micheaux. He profited financially, and also gained contacts and knowledge about the world through traveling, as well as a greater understanding for business. When he left the position, Micheaux had seen much of the United States, had a couple thousand dollars saved in his bank account, and made a number of connections with wealthy white people that would prove to be to his benefit in future endeavors.
After a terrible marriage to Orlean McCracken, Oscar lost his money and decided on a new career. In 1913, at the age of 29, he decided to be a writer and filmmaker.
Micheaux went on to write seven novels. 1,000 copies of “The Conquest: The Story of a Negro Homesteader” were printed in 1913. Despite publishing the book anonymously, the protagonists name is Oscar Devereaux and is about African Americans understanding their ability to succeed in areas where they were previously denied.
He produced over 40 films and he was known throughout America and overseas. His novel “The Homesteader” became wildly popular. A white production comapny (Lincoln Motion Picture Company in Los Angeles) was interested in making it a film, but when Oscar asked to be directly involved – they declined. He started the Micheaux Film and Book Company of Sioux City and Chicago and contacted his wealthy white connects to sell stock in his company for 75$ and 100$ a share.
According to Wikipedia:
“Micheaux’s second silent film was Within Our Gates, produced in 1920. Although sometimes considered Micheaux’s response to the film Birth of a Nation, Micheaux maintained that he created the film as a response to the widespread instability following World War I. Within Our Gates revolved around the main character, Sylvia Landry, a school teacher. In a flashback, we see that Sylvia grows up as the adopted daughter of a sharecropper. When Sylvia’s father confronts their white landlord because he feels that he owes the family money, a fight ensues and somewhere along the way, the white landlord is shot by another white man. However, Sylvia’s black father is accused and him and his wife are cruelly lynched. This scene represents Micheaux’s thoughts about the dynamics of the racial hierarchy found within the south. Sylvia is almost raped by the landowner’s brother but discovers that he is actually her father. This mini flashback scene serves to show that lower and middle class African Americans are hardworking people who are being terrorized and unfairly treated by white people. Micheaux always depicts African Americans as being studious and reaching for higher education. Before the flashback scene, we see that Sylvia goes to Boston to find funding for the school in the south where many poor African American children attend.
On her journey, she is hit by the car of a very rich white woman who decides to give the school $50,000. Within the film, Micheaux depicts educated and professional people as light-skinned, and poor people as dark-skinned. However, these light-skinned people also represent the villains of the story. This film takes place within the Jim Crow era, and contracts rural and urban experiences for the African American population. In creating a setting for this film in the present day, Micheaux emphasizes the suffering of African Americans in the present day, and does not discuss who this suffering came to be or who is at fault for it. Some feared that this film would cause even more unrest within society, while others believed that it would open up the public’s eyes into the unjust practices pertaining to the black and white communities. Protests against the film continued up until the day it released. The film continued to create controversy and was even censored or banned from some theatres.”
Oscar Micheaux died on March 25, 1951 at the age of 67…He’s another great example that ANYTHING is possible. If you can can perceive it, you can be it. Just set a plan in motion and do it!
Miss Billie Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915 in Philadelphia PA. Her friend and musical partner Lester Young, nicknamed her “Lady Day”. Best known for her music influence on Jazz and Pop singing, Billie Holiday also co-wrote some of her songs. Some of her most recognizable hits are; “Lady Sings The Blues”, “God Bless The Child” and “Strange Fruit” (a protest song that addresses lynchings).
Holiday, like many great artists, led a hard life. Her mother had her at a young age and left Billie in the care of a half sister. Her mother was mostly absent from the first 10 years of her life, from which she suffered from. When she was 10 she went to live with her mother where she was raped by a neighbor at the age of 11. Her and her mother went to work for a Madam as prostitutes. After being arrested and a short stint in prison, her mother left her again for Harlem and this is when she discovered the music of Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith.
Billie started singing by the time she was 14. She eventually moved with her mother in Harlem where they both worked at a brothel, before it was raided. Eventually she started recording music and at the beginning of her career, she found herself in direct competition with Ella Fitzgerald. Holiday went on to record some iconic songs and was heralded by greats; including Frank Sinatra who stated that:
“With few exceptions, every major pop singer in the US during her generation has been touched in some way by her genius. It is Billie Holiday who was, and still remains, the greatest single musical influence on me.”
As her successes stacked, so did her addiction to drugs. By the time she was 44 she was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and although she was advised to stop drinking and stopped for a moment, she continued to drink heavily. A month after being arrested in her New York hospital bed for possession of Narcotics, Billie Holiday passed away. The New York Times wrote:
Billie Holiday died in the Metropolitan Hospital, New York, on Friday, July 17, 1959, in the bed in which she had been arrested for illegal possession of narcotics a little more than a month before, as she lay mortally ill; in the room from which a police guard had been removed – by court order – only a few hours before her death, which, like her life, was disorderly and pitiful. She had been strikingly beautiful, but she was wasted physically to a small, grotesque caricature of herself. The worms of every kind of excess – drugs were only one – had eaten her … The likelihood exists that among the last thoughts of this cynical, sentimental, profane, generous and greatly talented woman of 44 was the belief that she was to be arraigned the following morning. She would have been, eventually, although possibly not that quickly. In any case, she removed herself finally from the jurisdiction of any court here below.
*Billie Holiday and her dog Mister
*Thanks to Reader Jill for this Suggestion!
When my parents moved us 3 kids out of a 2 bedroom apartment and into a 3 bedroom apartment, it lessened the load of having 3 kids sharing one tiny room. I still felt bad for my sister who was 7 years older than me and sharing a bed with her bratty little sister. Part of the bonus (for me) was being smitten with how cool I thought my sister was and getting a close up view of her day to day. She, obviously, had seniority with decorating our room. That’s how’s I got familiar with this English Chinese-Jamaican Beauty. Her image (among posters of James Dean, Black Sheep, Cheap Trick and Neneh Cherry) covered me and my sisters shared bedroom, alongside other greats like; Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista. She was the rare chocolate center in sea of vanilla cupcakes, showing my young self that WE existed in somewhere in fashion and beauty. She was not the first, nor the last…but for me at that tender age, she was the only. Here’s looking at you Naomi!
Let’s not forget her hot cameo in one of my favorite films, “GIRL 6″ Directed by Spike Lee
Born in 1975 and hailing from Los Angeles, California – this beauty rose to fame in the 80′s and 90′s. She gave birth to a baby girl at 17, Cairo, and still managed to keep her svelte figure. She starred in music videos, such as: HEAVY D. “Nuttin But Love”, George Michael’s Thierry Mugler-styled “Too Funky” and Jodeci “FreekN’ You”. She later went on to act in television and movies here and there.
Even if some ladies aren’t aware of how epic her style was back in the day (and I don’t know how you couldn’t since she’s a Tumblr favorite), they are still subconsciously being inspired by her right now (including me). Her ethnic/hippie kits had us gagging as kids. Every boy I know had the ultimate crush “Denise Huxtable”, from “The Cosby Show” & “A Different World” and every girl wanted to be her…or at least just dig in her closet. Her pop style which transitioned into a bohemian look was perfection – hoop nose ring, Lennon sunglasses, vintage signature pieces and more. And her hair! She experimented with short cuts, curly tresses and ultimately her signature of waist-length locks.
Here’s to a gorgeous beaute who has literally aged like a fine wine. She also spits out beautiful babes.
Check her out (and River Phoenix!!!) on a 1990 episode of Phil Donahue discussing Veganism, Vegetarianism, Breastfeeding, Vaccinations, Ecology, Rain Forests and more!