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ABWW Shoutout to: Aretha Franklin and Condoleeza Rice

Now this is an unusual combination! I wish I was in Philly to see this. Condi surrounded by black folks that are not her relatives? This probably has not happened since she left Birmingham. Miracles do happen.

Reposted from theGrio
MATT MOORE, Associated Press
NANCY C. ALBRITTON, Associated Press
07/27/2010
Condoleezza Rice is no stranger to the whims of royalty. So when the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, decided the two should get together to play a song or two for charity, it was decreed. The former U.S. secretary of state and Franklin take the stage Tuesday evening at Philadelphia’s Mann Music Center in a rare duet for Rice, the classically trained pianist, and Franklin, the divalicious voice of a generation. Their aim is to raise money for urban children and awareness for music and the arts. “It is a joint effort for the inner-city youth of Philadelphia and Detroit,” Franklin told The Associated Press the night before their concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Their appearance will brim not only with Franklin’s catalog of hits, but arias from the world of opera and classical music.
“We decided to give it a try,” Franklin said. “So here we are, in the city of Brotherly — and Sisterly — Love.”

Rice, better known as a diplomat and national security adviser, will accompany Franklin singing her hits “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “I Say a Little Prayer.” Rice said she’s been practicing furiously for her performance of Mozart’s piano concerto in D Minor with the orchestra. Franklin’s repertoire will include songs from her new album “A Woman Falling Out of Love,” to be released later this year. Rice’s given name is derived from the Italian opera stage instruction con dolcezza, meaning “with sweetness.” Long a musician of note, she played from elementary school through college and beyond, in quartets and performing chamber music.

She has even played with cellist Yo-Yo Ma but “this will be the first time I’ve played with an orchestra since I was 18,” she said. When she learned that Rice played classical music, Franklin sent for one of her recordings “to hear what she sounded like.”Previously, she said, “All I had seen of Dr. Rice was in a political atmosphere. It just seemed foreign that she would be a classical pianist.”Franklin was surprised.”She really does play,” Franklin said. “She’s formidable.”The two met at a White House function, Rice recalled. “We were just talking and chatting and she said ‘You play, don’t you?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ And she said we should do something together.” Rice told the AP their plan to play together was borne of their mutual appreciation for music and determination to keep it near and accessible to children.

Franklin, relaxing in her hotel suite and holding a single long-stemmed peach-hued rose, deplored school budget cuts of music and arts programs as “a travesty” that cannot be allowed. “Imagine what all of this would be without music. If you have to cut, cut something else. Not the music. We need the music. It soothes the savage beast. We need the music.” Rice, in a separate interview, agreed. “Nothing makes me more unhappy than when I hear people talk about music education in the schools as extracurricular,” Rice said. Both women lauded each other’s talents, and abilities, but Rice made it clear she’ll leave the singing to Franklin.”You do not want to hear me sing!” Rice said. “I’m a good choir musician, but I think I will stick to playing the piano.”

ABWW Heroine of the Day: Josephine Baker

La Baker was rose from the chitlin circuit in America to a one of France’s most honored national heroes. She transcended the gross stereotypes of African American women and became an icon of black femininity around the world.

Born Freda Josephine McDonald (June 3, 1906 – April 12, 1975) in St. Louis, Missouri, she later took the name Baker from her second husband, Willie Baker, whom she married at age 15.

Surviving the 1917 riots in East St. Louis, Illinois, where the family was living, Josephine Baker ran away a few years later at age thirteen and began dancing in vaudeville and on Broadway. In 1925, Josephine Baker went to Paris where, after the jazz revue La Revue Nègre failed, her comic ability and jazz dancing drew attention of the director of the Folies Bergère.

Virtually an instant hit, Josephine Baker became one of the best-known entertainers in both France and much of Europe. Her exotic, sensual act reinforced the creative images coming out of the Harlem Renaissance in America.

During World War II Josephine Baker worked with the Red Cross, gathered intelligence for the French Resistance and entertained troops in Africa and the Middle East.

After the war, Josephine Baker adopted, with her second husband, twelve children from around the world, making her home a World Village, a “showplace for brotherhood.” She returned to the stage in the 1950s to finance this project.

In 1951 in the United States, Josephine Baker was refused service at the famous Stork Club in New York City. Yelling at columnist Walter Winchell, another patron of the club, for not coming to her assistance, she was accused by Winchell of communist and fascist sympathies. Never as popular in the US as in Europe, she found herself fighting the rumors begun by Winchell as well.

Josephine Baker responded by crusading for racial equality, refusing to entertain in any club or theater that was not integrated, and thereby breaking the color bar at many establishments. In 1963, she spoke at the March on Washington at the side of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Josephine Baker’s World Village fell apart in the 1950s and in 1969 she was evicted from her chateau which was then auctioned off to pay debts. Princess Grace of Monaco gave her a villa. In 1973 Baker married an American, Robert Brady, and began her stage comeback.

In 1975, Josephine Baker’s Carnegie Hall comeback performance was a success, as was her subsequent Paris performance. But two days after her last Paris performance, she died of a stroke.
Check out some of her performances on youtube, get more information on this amazing woman at her official website and check out the TV autobiographical movie , The Josephine Baker Story staring Lynn Whitfield at Net Flicks or Blockbuster.

ABWW Heroine of the Day: Jackie “Moms” Mabley


Jackie “Moms” Mabley (March 19, 1894 – May 23, 1975) was an American standup comedian and a pioneer of the so-called “Chitlin’ Circuit” of African-American vaudeville. Moms Mabley was born Loretta Mary Aiken into a large family of twelve children in Brevard, North Carolina in 1894. Her father, James P. Aiken, owned and operated several businesses while her mother, Mary, kept home and took in boarders. Her father died a sudden accidental death when she was eleven. By the age of fifteen Mabley had reportedly been raped twice and had two children that were given up for adoption. After being pressured by her stepfather to marry a much older man [citation needed] and encouraged by her grandmother to strike out on her own, she ran away to Cleveland, Ohio with a traveling minstrel show where she began singing and entertaining.

She took her stage name, Jackie Mabley, from an early boyfriend, commenting to Ebony in a 1970s interview that he’d taken so much from her, it was the least she could do to take his name. Later she became known as “Moms” because she was indeed a “Mom” to many other comedians on the circuit in the 1950s and 60s. She was one of the top women doing stand-up in her heyday, and recorded more than 20 albums of comedy routines. She appeared in movies, on television, and in clubs.

Mabley was billed as “The Funniest Woman in the World”, and she tackled topics too edgy for many other comics of the time, including racism, one of her regular themes was her romantic interest in handsome young men rather than old “washed-up geezers”, and regularly got away with it courtesy of her on stage persona where she appeared as a toothless, bedraggled woman in a house dress and floppy hat. She added the occasional satirical song to her jokes; her version of “Abraham, Martin and John” hit #35 on the Billboard charts in the summer of 1969. At 75 years of age, Moms Mabley became the oldest person ever to have a US Top 40 hit.

Mabley was one of the most successful entertainers of the Chitlin’ circuit, earning US$10,000 a week at Harlem’s Apollo Theater at the height of her career. She made her New York City debut at Connie’s Inn in Harlem. In the 1960s, she become known to a wider white audience, playing Carnegie Hall in 1962, and making a number of mainstream TV appearances.Mabley died in White Plains, New York from heart failure.

ABWW Hater of the Day: Tim Alexander director of Diary of a Tired Black Man

Tired is exactly what I call this film. The writer and director of this straight to DVD debacle, bill this waste of celluloid as the answer to films like Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Waiting to Exhale. Alexander who claims he is happily married now, decided to produce a film about a failed relationship instead of being happily married. When I say film, it is actually two films badly edited together. The first part of the film is a narrative about a poor brother who is tortured by his mean, demanding wife this bit only lasts for 15 minutes. Alexander’s solution for the downtrodden black man? A white woman, of course! The second part of the film is composed of man on the street interviews that trot out all the stereotypes about how unattractive, stubborn, angry, aggressive, demanding and basically dysfunctional black women are. Although the film states that black men have historically let black women down,  Alexander’s respondents seem place the blame squarely at the foot of the black women. The films theme is that “many black women were raised without a real father around. Their mothers taught them to hate black men, and to think of black men as no-good scoundrels who need to be kept in line. Women seek out men who are like their fathers, so black women tend to seek out no-good men. When they do find a good man, they tend to treat him very badly just because he’s a man.” These biased put downs  are followed by the testimony two Hispanic women who just love their black men.  Despit his meager attempt to be fair and balanced, Alexander’s message is clear especially since he could not find one happily married black couple to talk about how they found bliss.

The video and audio are both rather mediocre. The camera work (handled by Alexander, along with the music and pretty much everything else of note) is rather amateurish. Jimmy Jean-Louis known as the Haitian as hit show Heroes stars as the beleaguered brother. His accent is so thick that I can hardly understand him, no wonder he is silent in his role on Heroes! Sure there have been a few films that point out the failures of black men, but much more of black pop culture (rap, comedy and films) promotes black female stereotypes and loudly declares that we are not fit for love. Alexander is so insecure about his “masterpiece” that he attacks those who don’t agree with his vision of black women on the Internet Movie Database (mecca for film geeks) and then invites them to be insulted on his own site. Luckily this auteur has no other film projects in production and this lemon will live a long life at the bottom of the discount bin at the Dollar Store!

ABWW Heroine of the Day: Viola Adams

I first saw Viola Davis in Todd Haynes, poor sad white girl epic Far From Heaven. Her few minutes as the maid for the naive, self absorbed lead character was done with dignity and left me wanting to know what her life was like instead of the white female character. I then realized I had seen her a public defense attorney on Law and Order for years. She got bigger parts in Solaris and the TV version, the Andromeda Strain and broke my heart in Antoine Fisher.Lately she had a bravura turn on United States of Tara and actually got to tell of the white folks who had used her the get their groove back!

I admired Viola because she handled every role with honesty and never seem to take any role that demeaned her as a black women. Little did I know that she was a prolific Broadway actress.n 2001, she was awarded the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Tonya in King Hedley II, a “35-year-old mother fighting eloquently for the right to abort a pregnancy.”She has also received two Drama Desk Awards, for her work in King Hedley II and, in 2004, for her work in an off-Broadway production of Intimate Apparel. Last Sunday she won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her role as Rose Maxson in the play Fences and has four film projects in production. On top of her sterling career she is happily married actor Julius Tennon.

AWBB Haters of the Day: Howard Stern and Robin Quivers

Howard Stern is a ugly beak nosed male chauvinistic pig in the old school bra burning way. Two weeks ago he and his Aunt Thomasina sidekick Robin Quivers discussed Gabourey Sidibe. Stern began with “There’s the most enormous, fat black chick I’ve ever seen. She is enormous. Everyone’s pretending she’s a part of show business and she’s never going to be in another movie,” he said. “She should have gotten the Best Actress award because she’s never going to have another shot. What movie is she gonna be in?”

“And Oprah’s lying and saying you’re going to have a brilliant career,” said Robin the black woman hater.

“Oprah’s another liar, a filthy liar,” said Stern. “She’s telling an enormous woman the size of a planet that she’s going to have a career.”

It looks like Gabby will prove Stern wrong. She is lined up to appear on the new Showtime series ‘The C Word’ and her next big-screen appearance will be opposite Zoe Kravitz in the drama ‘Yelling to the Sky.’ You have really got to be sick. twisted self-hating black women if your job is agreeing with white men on how ugly black women are! Howard preys at the pedestal of white beauty every day, but Robin you should be ashamed of yourself, especially since you never seem to have a man or a woman of your own. Can anyone give ABWW and example where Robin said anything supportive about her sisters?

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