Preserving Black Folk (Soul) Music
Saving Our Own Community
“. . . I paid three hundred years or more of slave driving sweat welts on my back . . .This My Country . . .” This is My Country Written by Curtis Mayfield Performed by The Impressions
June is a very special time of the year. Congratulations to the class of 2010.We recognize the important role of the father in family and community life with the observance of Father’s Day. Also, we honor the African American people’s enormous contribution to American and world popular culture with the celebration of Black Music Month. In New Jersey, through the efforts of music impresario, Dr. Albert Lewis, the state officially sanctions June as Gospel Music Month. We are blessed to be living in times of a rapidly changing society. A friend recently pointed out that just over a generation ago the racial dynamics in this country were black and white. Today it’s black, white and brown. Look at how the computer and cell phones have impacted our lives. I wonder if ever in the history of mankind we have ever witnessed innovation in technology and scientific discovery at such a tremendous velocity in just a few short years! Change happens and time marches on. It is never static. The difference today is that the art of living must now be remastered in a single generation. The technology boom has taken a toll on the nation’s music, Black music in particular. Melody, harmony and message has largely been replaced by beats and rhymes as a dominant theme in today’s popular
Preserving Black Folk (Soul) Music
music. Can we really claim progress when our young people are moving and dancing to a soundtrack that promotes the seven deadly sins as trendy and fashionable? Cleverness is no substitute for true character and artistic creativity. The progress of our children and the integrity of African American culture—our great musical legacy— are essential components to our claim on the American Dream. Prosperity will be proportionate to the recognition of our own collective talents and gifts on our own terms. Black Folk (Soul) Music inspired hope, pride, unity and goodwill during the triumphant Civil Rights/Freedom struggles of the sixties and seventies. It should now be used to promote self-esteem— the community building ideals of selfacceptance, self-reliance and selfrespect into the 21st century. The great folk songs of that era— the hits—“Say it Loud I’m Black and I’m Proud” by The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, Nina Simone’s “Young Gifted and Black,” and the Curtis Mayfield song book, to name only a few— should never be forgotten, marginalized, or obscured. The old must not be despised, nor should that which is novel or new be unconditionally embraced. Let us never forget our God
given right and our patriotic duty to preserve, protect and promote our very best. For we have been entrusted to secure the survival and safe-passage of values from this generation to the next. Finally, we wish to recognize the National Newspaper Publisher Association (NNPA). This organization of black publishers and editors will convene its annual convention, June 16-19 in New York City; kudos to Mr. Walter Smith, publisher of The New York Beacon, and president of the North East Publishers Association (NEPA). The Black Press, an American institution, is now in its 183rd year. Today in a media dominated society, the communications company with the most money gets to speak for and set trends for a community and indeed a generation. The survival of blackowned media outlets is threatened like never before. We encourage you to pick-up or subscribe to a community-owned newspaper, magazine or periodical. Support the businesses and corporations that advertise in them. Buy the NY Amsterdam News, The Daily Challenge, The NY Beacon, Carib News, Harlem News or Christian Times. See your community through your eyes.