The only decent thing that came out the Hot Ghetto Mess controversy brought to us by BET in 2007 was the re-introduction of an American legend, Oscar Brown, Jr. to a new audience of young people. Do y'all remember the Bid 'Em In song?
I have a dozen or songs from Oscar Brown, Jr. on my I-Pod. Dat Dere ... Signifyin' Monkey ... The Work Song and others. He was a talented brother. Check out these clips from a documentary done on his life.
Oscar Brown, Jr. was rooted in jazz. He was a singer, poet, and activist. At the end of the day it was impossible to put a musical categorization on his long and eclectic career -- a forerunner of the political consciousness that would become predominant in soul, funk, and hip-hop in the decades to follow, his efforts to exact social change spread across the arts and even into government, spurring two unsuccessful but memorable campaigns for office.
Oscar Brown, Jr. appeared on Def Poetry Jam at least three times before he died in 2005. Check out his jazzy poem called, 'I Apologize'.