RIP Little Richard, Andre Harrell & Betty Wright

So, let’s just skip the formalities and get straight to the point, son. On the real, when we’re talking about Little Richard, Betty Wright and Andre Harrell, we’re talking about pioneers, man. I mean, between the three of them, damn near every genre of music was touched, fam. All in all, this past weekend was SUPER trash, bruh. Needless to say, rest in peace to all of these legends.

Ok, for those who missed it, Richard, Wright and Harrell all passed away over the weekend. Now, in the cases of Richard and Wright, both singers unfortunately died from cancer. On the other hand, we’re still not sure about what claimed the life of Harrell. According to his ex-wife, Harrell had heart problems for years. So, logic would dictate that this may have been a catalyst for his demise. Regardless, all of this news is incredibly sad, son. Like, it’s hard to put into words how influential all of them were on music.

First, let’s talk about Little Richard. Look, it’s easy for people to think about “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally” when discussing his legacy. However, his shadow looms LARGE over the game, man. Real talk, when we’re talking about Little Richard, we’re talking about one of the main building blocks of Rock and Roll. From the intensity of his songs to his stage presence to his outfits, COUNTLESS artists took inspiration from Richard. On top of that, he gave a lot of subsequent legends their starts. Shit, from James Brown to Ray Charles to Jimi Hendrix to The Beatles to The Rolling Stones, scores of artists owe a portion of their success to Little Richard. Sadly, I don’t think he really got all of his flowers while he was alive, fam.

Next, let’s talk about Betty Wright. Now, outside of having one of the strongest voices ever, she was also one of the most sampled artists ever. From Beyoncé‘s “Upgrade U” to Color Me Badd‘s “I Wanna Sex You Up,” a bunch of other artists tried to get some of her sauce, bruh. In addition, Wright was an individual who marched to the beat of her own drum, son. Hell, NO ONE could tell her what to do with her career, man. She was determined to be her authentic self and she succeeded, fam.

Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk about Andre Harrell. Now, based on the music that I grew up on, Harrell might’ve had the biggest influence on me. Listen, his label, Uptown Records, was the springboard for so much shit that impacted Black culture. From Diddy to The Notorious B.I.G. to Mary J. Blige to Jodeci to Guy to Heavy D to Al B. Sure!, Harrell had his foot on the neck of an entire era, bruh. On top of that, his artists worked with producers like Teddy Riley and Timbaland, which further led to the rise of entities like The Neptunes. Basically, Harrell is responsible for A LOT of Black music in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Frankly, his tentacles were on EVERYTHING, son.

In the end, RIP to the legends, man. Ultimately, all of this shit is garbage, fam. By and by, 2020 is the meanest motherfucker I’ve ever seen. At the end of the day, I can’t take anymore bad news, bruh. For God‘s sake, can this year chill already? Please and thanks. LC out.

My Day At The National Museum Of African American History & Culture

First off, I want to give a major shout-out to the Christian Divas at the Epworth United Methodist Church in the Bronx, New York. My wife is a part of this group/church and they’re the ones who organized the trip to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.. Now, before I continue, let me make a public service announcement: everyone needs to go to this museum, man! It truly is a rich and detailed history of the Black experience in America. Meaning, it wholly documents the good, the bad, the ugly, the super ugly and the egregiously ugly. With that being said, I just want to talk about my day at the museum. Let’s go!

To begin, our group started from the building’s lower levels and worked our way to the top floor. The History Galleries occupy the bottom three floors and they tell our history from the 15th century until today. Now, I won’t lie, son. Walking through these exhibits can be very taxing on the soul. It’s incredibly infuriating to see how we were kings and queens, willfully trading goods with Europe, and ended up being the merchandise ourselves.

On the real, seeing actual chains, illustrations of how we were packed onto ships and quotes from some of our callous captors can be an absolute mind-fuck, son. In addition, seeing things like real slave auction blocks, Nat Turner’s Bible and authentic cowskin whips can leave the strongest people feeling deflated. However; looking at Emmett Till’s casket nearly did me in, man. For the life of me, I will NEVER understand how anyone could do that to a 14-year-old boy. So, for that, Carolyn Bryant Donham can burn in the deepest depths of Hell. Recanting her story does NOTHING to bring that boy back, man.

Moving on, walking through gallery after gallery started to take a toll on me. Seeing my people go from slavery to segregation to the prison industrial complex can be extremely heavy on the heart. With that being said, thank the Lord for the Community and Culture Galleries on the upper floors, son! Being the musician I am, I immediately found myself in the music section. How could I not be happy after taking pictures of J Dilla’s MPC, Funkadelic’s Mothership and Chuck Berry’s red Cadillac? Side note, Rest In Peace to Chuck Berry, man. Fuck what anyone else says, THAT MAN invented Rock & Roll, son! No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Anyway, walking through these galleries was exactly what I needed after the History Galleries.

In the end, I really enjoyed my time there. It was dope to bring my oldest son and watch him learn. I mean, it would be hard for him to grasp everything so soon, but I definitely wanted him to start learning about history. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what ethnicity anyone is. Everyone needs to visit this museum, man. Well done, Smithsonian. Well done indeed. LC out.

P.S. Shout-out to singer-songwriter Kendra Foster. I ran into her at the museum and she was awesome to talk to. Outside of her dope self-titled debut album, she also helped D’Angelo write the lyrics to most of Black Messiah. Now, anyone who knows me knows how much of a D’Angelo stan I am. In any case, she’s awesome. That is all.