Summer 2015/Post Five/Volume Four

Ron10-183x300The Day That Was…June 17, 2015, at the end of the day it was traumatic, and one that will be remembered as one of the most tragic days in history. And, in the days that passed, the events that took place were also historic as well. As many all over the country were mourning the nine victims of this tragic event that took the lives of these innocent people, the days that followed were filled with events that changed the lives of many people; the Affordable Care Act and the Gay Rights Bill that was passed two days after in succession. As the month of June came to a close, there was a definitive mark on its calendar of days that will be left in searing memory for the ages.

In addition, at this writing, one important event has happened as the result of the tragic events in South Carolina, and that is the Confederate flag being lowered and put away in a museum forever. That event had different meaning to many people on both sides of the issue. But, in reality, pro or con, it was an important step for those who see it from their own perspective. There is a long history associated with that flag and other memorials of its kind and placing the flag in a museum is an opportunity for those who honestly understand the historical background or are interested in finding out the whole and real story of its implications. Regardless of how it is seen from a political standpoint or an honest attempt to change the direction of how it is applied, is a step in the right direction.  Change has come not only to South Carolina but to other locations in this country as well.

In Post Nine/Volume Three of the blog, What Happens Now, I posted a section about the saxophonist, Jimmie Greene, who composed a tribute to his six year old daughter who was tragically taken from him at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut . That concert was previewed and presented on NPR’s Jazz Night In America program recently. This fine composition was a dedication worth listening if jazz is your choice of music. I was happy to include this story to you as readers on my blog and hopefully I will continue to bring this kind of information to you here. Check back and read what I think is a beautiful story.

This year there has been some important jazz and popular centennial celebrations that have occurred and  some that have yet to be celebrated. Of course, as the jazz news hails many musicians in many of the various presentations that they present, they include the passings of many important jazz legendary figures that include the recent passings of Gunther Schuller and Ornette Coleman. Sometimes these events of such passings get a lot of attention and other events such as the centennial events get less noticed because of the positions held by such legendary figures.  Les_PaulSuch was the 100th year celebration on June 9, 1915 of the guitarist, Les Paul, that is worthy of mention. Les Paul was a giant in the world of music for many reasons, because when he passed in August of 2009 he not only was celebrated as he continued to play up until his death, but was the inventor of the Gibson Les Paul, one of the world’s most popular electric guitars. His contributions to the music he played, country, jazz and rock and roll, placed him in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. The celebrated recording, Jazz At The Philharmonic, of that first recording, was a standout that included his solo playing with Nat ‘King” Cole on the standard, Body and Soul, as he replaced Cole’s guitarist, Oscar Moore as a last minute replacement. His popular records included many of the songs he recorded with his former wife, Mary Ford, that were immediate hits back in the 1950’s. Once a week he played at the New York night club The Iridium on Monday nights until his passing. We salute this musical guitar genius on his 100th year.

Recently, I came aware of a current book by Ta-Neshi Coates, Between The World And Me, that he writes to his adolescent son, a personal literary exploration of America’s racial history. Coates, who is a writer for the Atlantic Magazine, has written many important articles, (The Case For Reparations in particular), essays and blogs about race relations in this country and the plight of African-American peoples. His writing should be required reading, especially for people of color, and particularly for young Black people, regardless of whether you agree with him or not. We must get used to getting as much information regarding our history, about who we are and what our responsibilities are to one another.

Finis It seems that in the past several years we have seen a deterioration of so many things, individual productivity, social society, politics, race issues, the list goes on and on to the point you have to comment “let me take time to breathe” before I can take on another thing. For sure, we are living in difficult times and there does not seem to be a let up too soon.

We can place our head in the sand and hope it will pass, that all the problems that we are confronted with in our daily lives will go away, but that is not the solution that we should be looking for if we care about the predicament we are in and not make any effort to find a solution that we need to pay attention to if we wish to resolve them. We can’t solve all the problems, but as individuals we can make efforts to confront the ones we see and take action to get involved and make a commitment to do whatever we can to solve them. You see, we do not live in this society alone, and we have a responsibility to become involved in finding solutions to the problems that are confronting us.

There is so much material that I have sitting in front of me to discuss with you as my readers. On-going discussion about gun violence and how it effects us as individuals; the immigration situation that stirs up long conferences regarding race and ethnicity, police brutality that seems to be the most prevalent all over our country and the different opinions of all races of people who have different outlooks on the situation. So many things, that brings each of us to decide what our quality of life should be in the midst of all the turmoil. Tough times for sure.

Then there is this revelation mixed in to all of this, that on one level could be less important in the list of things that we confront, but it does make a statement on what someone does that concerns all of us, and that is the development of the situation regarding Bill Cosby. I previously addressed that topic in a blog a few months ago (Post Seven/Volume Three), and while I avoided to clearly state disgust of the revelation that took place in this matter, I wanted to express disappointment in my comments. Disappointment is now just a statement of frustration with a person who should know better.

Let us take a moment to consider the fallout that this series of events behold. Bill Cosby at the time was an important icon, associated with the best talents in the entertainment business and sure to evoke disappointment among the best of them who not only called him a friend but held him up with high esteem. How disappointed they must be regarding this revelation. How many of them suspected what was lurking on the other side of his personality?

There is another side of this story as well, and this is a personal comment regarding this matter. What is the responsibility of an artist at that level in the large picture of things to others who learned to respect him and admire him?  All of the people who were young at that time, developing their characters in this vitally important television series, growing up before our eyes, showing us this wonderful African-American family that no doubt had an impact on race relations in this country. It is not only disappointing, but a disgrace, and Cosby should not get away with it, ever. His revelations to the press and his family do not deserve the attention it’s getting. There are those who were willing to give him a pass, because it seemed to be another attempt to bring down another Black icon in the eyes of White Americans. What does he think about all that, as he works with his lawyers to save whatever credibility he has?  Actually, I have no sympathy for him. If it was a sign of dementia or an instability that caused this situation, I would forgive him, but this has been going on for a long while, long before we can use that excuse to save his ass. If it wasn’t for the media, I would consider commenting , Please Go Away, Cosby. GO AWAY!!!

As we finished our blog there were new developments regarding this story.

‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen

This feature story appears in the July 27, 2015 issue of New York Magazine.

To close, there have been some events that have been prominent in the latest news, and should be brought to your attention. But, I will not address them because the results of all the investigations are not in at this posting and I may have some comments regarding them.

Hope the summer is going well for you. Looking forward to chat with you again.


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