Showing posts with label Rest In Peace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rest In Peace. Show all posts

July 24, 2014

Rest In Peace: Sherman Hemsley (1928-2012)

Sherman Hemsley was an actor that we didn't appreciate as much as we should. I suspect that we will end up appreciating him more in death than we did in life. He died at the age of 74. He had no wife or children.

He made a good living as an actor after spending four years in the Air Force and eight years working at the post office. Hemsley made a name for himself as George Jefferson, carrying the iconic sitcom for a decade and earning a 1984 Emmy nomination for his work as lead actor in a comedy series. He also starred as Deacon Ernest Frye on the NBC series "Amen" for several years.

Sherman Hemsley created his own future with the energy and creativity that he gave to his supporting character on 'All In The Family'. He was a great foil to 'Archie Bunker's white supremacist attitude as the Black neighbor. Hemsley's brilliance led to a spin-off situation comedy called 'The Jefferson'.

His bodacious portrayal of a successful Black entrepreneur trying to 'move on up' hit home for many of us ... he had a successful marriage in that show and he raised a good son in a tradition nuclear family. His comedic genius was evident in each episode ... and he showed a different side of Black America that hadn't been seen before on prime-time television.

I suspect that there never would have been a Huxtable family in the 'Cosby Show' if George Jefferson hadn't been so great in 'The Jeffersons'.

Rest In Peace Mr. Hemsley!

July 3, 2014

Rest in Peace: Andy Griffith (1926-2012)

Andy Griffith will be remembered as a remarkable television star for his work on television series such as 'Mayberry, RFD', 'Andy Griffith Show' and 'Matlock'. Griffith died at the age of 86 on this day in 2012 .

America was so much more innocent when Sheriff Andy, Opie, Aunt Bea and Deputy Barney Fife were creating memories on our black-and-white television sets. Later in his life Griffith created a memorable character, 'Matlock', who kicked butt with the regularity of Perry Mason. I remember liking Matlock because the show had strong Black male supporting characters throughout its run.

However, my favorite television image of Andy Griffith occurred early in his career when he played Lonesome Rhodes in the movie, 'A Face in the Crowd'. That is a movie that you should add to your Netflix queue if you haven't seen it yet. I think it must have been a favorite movie of disgraced presidential candidate John Edwards ... but, that is another story.

Rest In Peace Andy Griffith -- your legacy is secure in our 'village'.

June 25, 2014

Rest In Peace: Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Whatever argument you have about his lifestyle ... there can be no argument about his life's work ... Michael Jackson is the greatest Black artist of all time. Consider his body of work as a child ... teenager ... and adult. He survived the test of time from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.  He left us too soon...

I shared my favorite MJ tune a few months ago during Old School Friday. Here is another of my favorite Michael Jackson tunes: 'Human Nature'

M.Jackson Human Nature
by nicobus

Truth to tell, I didn't follow young Michael much when I was a child. However, he did enter into my world during college. My night as a DJ, whether at a club, skating rink or on the radio, was never complete in 1979 unless we played 'Rock With You'. Did you know that the original title to this track was “I Want To Eat You Up.” It was changed to “Rock With You” to better fit Jackson’s image. Little did we know...

Anyhow, Michael Jackson is my selection as the GOAT ('greatest of all time'). Who would you choose for that title?

Rest In Peace: Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Hold Me
Like The River Jordan
And I Will Then Say To Thee
You Are My Friend

Carry Me
Like You Are My Brother
Love Me Like A Mother
Will You Be There?

Tell Me Will You Hold Me
When Wrong, Will You Skold Me
When Lost Will You Find Me?

But They Told Me
A Man Should Be Faithful
And Walk When Not Able
And Fight Till The End
But I'm Only Human

Everyone's Taking Control Of Me
Seems That The World's
Got A Role For Me
I'm So Confused
Will You Show To Me
You'll Be There For Me
And Care Enough To Bear Me

In Our Darkest Hour
In My Deepest Despair
Will You Still Care?
Will You Be There?
In My Trials
And My Tripulations
Through Our Doubts
And Frustrations
In My Violence
In My Turbulence
Through My Fear
And My Confessions
In My Anguish And My Pain
Through My Joy And My Sorrow
In The Promise Of Another Tomorrow
I'll Never Let You Part
For You're Always In My Heart.

What is your favorite memory of Michael Jackson?

June 12, 2014

Rest In Peace: Ruby Dee (1924-2014)

Hollywood lost an icon when stage and screen legend Ruby Dee died today. Dee was at her home in New Rochelle, New York and surrounded by loved ones when she passed. She was 91 years old.

The Cleveland-born, New York-raised actress and activist — winner of an Emmy, a Grammy and a Screen Actors Guild award, among others — was an icon on Broadway, cinema and television. With her husband and collaborator Ossie Davis, she was also a major figure in the Civil Rights movement.

Dee’s first film role came in 1949, in the musical drama That Man of Mine. She worked frequently with Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever) and earned an Academy Award nomination in 2007 for Best Supporting Actress for American Gangster.

She appeared in the 1979 TV movie Roots: The Next Generation, and costarred with husband Ossie Davis in their own short-lived show, Ossie and Ruby! in 1980.

Her final film was the still-in-production crime drama King Dog, opposite Ice-T.

Rest in Peace Rudy!  I'm sure that Ossie was waiting for her at the pearly gates!

June 10, 2014

Rest In Peace: Marcus Garvey (1887-1940)

Villagers recognize that we can not depend on others to tell US History completely. Too often, it becomes HIStory instead of OURstory. As such, we try to share OURstory whenever possible.

Today, with kudos to Ori-Piankhi, we tell the story of the Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Born in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, on August 17, 1887, Marcus Garvey was the youngest of 11 children. Garvey moved to Kingston at the age of 14, found work in a print shop, and became acquainted with the living conditions of the laboring class.

He quickly involved himself in social reform, participating in the first Printers' Union strike in Jamaica in 1907 and in setting up the newspaper The Watchman. Leaving the island to earn money to finance his projects, he visited Central and South America, amassing evidence that Black people everywhere were victims of discrimination. He visited the Panama Canal Zone and saw the conditions under which the West Indians lived and worked. He went to Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Colombia and Venezuela. Everywhere, Blacks were experiencing great hardships and discrimination.

Garvey returned to Jamaica distressed at the situation in Central America, and appealed to Jamaica's colonial government to help improve the plight of West Indian workers in Central America. His appeal fell on deaf ears. Garvey also began to lay the groundwork of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), to which he was to devote his life.

Undaunted by lack of enthusiasm for his plans, Garvey left for England in 1912 in search of additional financial backing. While there, he met a Sudanese-Egyptian journalist, Duse Mohammed Ali. While working for Ali's publication African Times and Oriental Review, Garvey began to study the history of Africa, particularly, the exploitation of Black peoples by colonial powers. He read Booker T. Washington's 'Up From Slavery', which advocated Black self-help.

In 1914 Garvey organized the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and its coordinating body, the African Communities League (ACL). In 1920 the organization held its first convention in New York. The convention opened with a parade down Harlem's Lenox Avenue. That evening, before a crowd of 25,000, Garvey outlined his plan to build an African nation-state. In New York City his ideas attracted popular support, and thousands enrolled in the UNIA. He began publishing the newspaper The Negro World and toured the United States preaching Black Nationalism to popular audiences. His efforts were successful, and soon, the association boasted over 1,100 branches in more than 40 countries. Most of these branches were located in the United States, which had become the UNIA's base of operations. There were, however, offices in several Caribbean countries, Cuba having the most. Branches also existed in places such as Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Namibia and South Africa. He also launched some ambitious business ventures, notably the Black Star Shipping Line.

Garvey promoted two new business organizations — the African Communities League and the Negro Factories Corporation. Financial betrayal by trusted aides and a host of legal entanglements (based on charges that he had used the U.S. mail to defraud prospective investors) eventually led to Garvey's imprisonment in Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for a five-year term. In 1927 his half-served sentence was commuted, and he was deported to Jamaica by order of President Calvin Coolidge.

Garvey then turned his energies to Jamaican politics, campaigning on a platform of self-government, minimum wage laws, and land and judicial reform. He was soundly defeated at the polls, however, because most of his followers did not have the necessary voting qualifications. In 1935 Garvey left for England where, in near obscurity, he died on June 10, 1940, in a cottage in West Kensington.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey advocated that Africans control the wealth of Africa. He taught that control, control of resources, control of self, control of nation, requires preparation, Garveyism was about total preparation.


May 17, 2014

Happy Birthday: Chris Henry (Cincinnati Bengals)

Chris Henry would have been 31 years old today. From all accounts he was turning his life around. Unfortunately, he died in a freak accident during the 2009 NFL season.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Chris Henry played for the Bengals for five seasons. Henry played at West Virginia University and joined the Bengals as a third-round draft pick in 2005.

I'm a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals. As such, I had high hopes for Chris Henry. I'm sad that he is no longer with us. However, I suspect that his story is a cautionary tale for all young athletes ... Never take your talent for granted. Never feel that you are above the law. Mostly, I think that he reminds all of us never to do things that will embarrass ourselves or our family.

All that being said ... I'm sorry that he passed away. Our blog is honored to remember the positive aspects of him memory on his birthday. Rest in peace Chris!

February 6, 2014

Happy Birthday: Bob Marley (1945-1981)

Bob Marley was born on this date (February 6) in 1945. He was a Jamaican singer and songwriter whose name more than anyone represents reggae music, the tenets of Rastafarianism, and the struggle of the economically and politically oppressed. [SOURCE]


January 24, 2014

Rest In Peace: Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993)

Born in Baltimore, Maryland on July 2, 1908, Thurgood Marshall was the grandson of a slave. His father, William Marshall, instilled in him from youth an appreciation for the United States Constitution and the rule of law.

After graduating from Frederick Douglass High School in 1925, Thurgood followed his brother, William Aubrey Marshall, to Lincoln University in Chester County, Pennsylvania. His classmates at Lincoln included a distinguished group of future Black leaders such as the poet and author Langston Hughes, the future President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, and musician Cab Calloway.

Just before graduation, he married his first wife, Vivian "Buster" Burey. Their twenty-five year marriage ended with her death from cancer in 1955.

In 1930, he applied to the University of Maryland Law School, but was denied admission because he was Black. This was an event that was to haunt him and direct his future professional life.

Thurgood sought admission and was accepted at the Howard University Law School that same year and came under the immediate influence of the dynamic new dean, Charles Houston, who instilled in all of his students the desire to apply the tenets of the Constitution to all Americans.

Paramount in Houston's outlook was the need to overturn the 1898 Supreme Court ruling, Plessy v. Ferguson which established the legal doctrine called, "separate but equal." Marshall's first major court case came in 1933 when he successfully sued the University of Maryland to admit a young African American Amherst University graduate named Donald Gaines Murray.

Applauding Marshall's victory, author H.L. Mencken wrote that the decision of denial by the University of Maryland Law School was "brutal and absurd," and they should not object to the "presence among them of a self-respecting and ambitious young Afro-American well prepared for his studies by four years of hard work in a class A college."
Thurgood Marshall followed his Howard University mentor, Charles Houston to New York and later became Chief Counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). During this period, Mr. Marshall was asked by the United Nations and the United Kingdom to help draft the constitutions of the emerging African nations of Ghana and what is now Tanzania. It was felt that the person who so successfully fought for the rights of America's oppressed minority would be the perfect person to ensure the rights of the White citizens in these two former European colonies.

After amassing an impressive record of Supreme Court challenges to state-sponsored discrimination, including the landmark Brown v. Board decision in 1954, President John F. Kennedy appointed Thurgood Marshall to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In this capacity, he wrote over 150 decisions including support for the rights of immigrants, limiting government intrusion in cases involving illegal search and seizure, double jeopardy, and right to privacy issues. Biographers
Michael Davis and Hunter Clark note that, "none of his (Marshall's) 98 majority decisions was ever reversed by the Supreme Court."
In 1965 President Lyndon Johnson appointed Judge Marshall to the office of U.S. Solicitor General. Before his subsequent nomination to the United States Supreme Court in 1967, Thurgood Marshall won 14 of the 19 cases he argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of the government. Indeed, Thurgood Marshall represented and won more cases before the United States Supreme Court than any other American.

Until his retirement from the highest court in the land, Justice Marshall established a record for supporting the voiceless American. Having honed his skills since the case against the University of Maryland, he developed a profound sensitivity to injustice by way of the crucible of racial discrimination in this country. As an Associate Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall leaves a legacy that expands that early sensitivity to include all of America's voiceless.

Justice Marshall died on January 24, 1993.

I invite all villagers to use the COMMENTS section ('Village Voices') to share your thoughts, memories or insights on Thurgood Marshall.
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January 22, 2014

Rest In Peace: Heath Ledger (1979-2008)

Actor Heath Ledger died, at the age of 28, in his downtown Manhattan residence on this date in 2008. The cause of death was an accidental combination of prescription drugs.

I truly enjoyed Heath Ledger in the roles he played in movies such as 'The Patriot' and 'A Knight's Tale'. He was also convincing in 'Brokeback Mountain' ... a movie that won an Oscar. He won a posthumous Oscar as 'Best Supporting Actor' for his role as The Joker in the new Batman movie.

Click here to see his full bio. Do any of you have thoughts on the life and career of Heath Ledger that you care to share at this time?
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January 13, 2014

Rest in Peace: Teddy Pendergrass (1950-2010)

Teddy Pendergrass died on this date in 2010. The consummate African American sex symbol of the 1970s music scene, Teddy Pendergrass gained unparalleled adulation from female fans for his suggestive crooning and his women-only concerts at which teddy bears were passed out to audience members.

Pendergrass was born in Philadelphia on March 26, 1950. Prior to his solo career, he had already been in the spotlight for many years as the lead vocalist of one of the most lyrical and distinctive of the Philadelphia soul groups, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. In 1982, Pendergrass was in an automobile accident that left him a paraplegic. However, he was able to successfully resume his career until his retirement in 2006.

I encourage all villagers to use the COMMENTS (or 'village voices') option below to share your memories of Teddy Pendergrass. What was your favorite Pendergrass song?
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December 26, 2013

Rest In Peace: Teena Marie (1956-2010)

The Internet and Twitter informed us that legendary soul singer Teena Marie was dead on this date in 2010 at the age of 54.

Teena Marie was a remarkable singer who amazed me when I was in college. I listened and loved her songs like 'Deja Vu' ... however, I didn't realize until much later that she was white. Her voice was such a soulful one ... and her remarkable duets like 'Fire and Desire' with Rick James were a staple at how of the house parties in basements and in the clubs.

I don't recall the song ... it was probably 'Square Biz' ... but, I remember seeing her on a video singing a song that I liked ... and she had on these HORRIBLE bell-bottoms. It took me awhile to digest her look versus what I had imagined from listening to her on the radio or from her albums (which never had her picture on them back in the day).

However, at the end of the day -- her soulful talent could not be denied.   She remains one of my favorite singers.   One of the songs that displayed her full-range of talents was a ditty called 'Casanova Brown'.

Born Marie Christine Brockert, Teena Marie released 13 studio albums, six of which went platinum on the Rhythm & Blues chart. Two of her albums went platinum, and six altogether were gold.

Teena Marie could straight-out sing...

What are your thoughts or remembrances of Teena Marie?

December 25, 2013

Rest In Peace: Eartha Kitt (1927-2008)

81-year old Eartha Kitt passed away on this date in 2008. She was an international superstar who performed in over 100 countries and sang songs in 10 different languages.

She performed on stage, film and television for six decades. I was introduced to Eartha Kitt when she played the role of 'Catwoman' in the weekly 'Batman' television series. There weren't many Black actresses on television back in the day. I'm hard pressed to think of anyone besides 'Julia' and one of the teachers in 'Room 222' ... and most villagers don't remember either one of those shows.

My kids are too young to realize that they were listening to Eartha Kitt whenever they watched the movie or cartoon series, 'The Emperor's New Groove'. She played the role of the villain, Yzma, in that show.

Later, I saw Eartha Kitt in a Eddie Murphy-Halle Berry film called 'Boomerang'. Admittedly, she scared me a little bit in that movie. I'm sad to learn of her death. It's fitting that she went to the other side on December 25th. After all, one of her most popular hits was 'Santa Baby'.

December 7, 2013

Rest In Peace: Elizabeth Edwards (1949-2010)

Elizabeth Edwards died of cancer on this date in 2010 at the age of 61. She was surrounded on her deathbed by friends and family, including her estranged husband, John Edwards.

From all accounts she was a strong woman and a powerful advocate for her husband when he ran for political office.  There was a time when I thought that she would be in the White House.  I voted for her husband whenever he was on the ballot.   He wasn't on the ballot when the 2008 Democratic Primary was held in my state.

She was a strong advocate for health care reform.  And she battled cancer for a number of years.   The shame of it all was that her personal triumphs were overshadowed in the end by the gigantic ego and irresponsible behavior of her husband.   Anyhow, I join with other villagers in saying 'Rest in Peace' to Elizabeth Edwards.

December 5, 2013

Rest In Peace: Nelson Mandela (1918 - 2013)

Today we mourn the death of international hero Nelson Mandela. His life personifies 'the heart of a lion'. He led the fight against apartheid with extraordinary vigor and resilience after spending nearly three decades of his life behind bars. He sacrificed his private life and his youth for his people, and remains South Africa's best known and loved hero.

Mandela was born July 18, 1918. He was jailed in November 1962 for leaving the country illegally and for incitement to strike. While serving the sentence he was charged with sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In prison Mandela demonstrated his heart by never compromising his political principles. He was always a source of strength for the other prisoners. Nelson Mandela's reputation grew steadily. He was widely accepted as the most significant Black leader in South Africa and became a potent symbol of resistance as the anti-apartheid movement gathered strength. He consistently refused to compromise his political position to obtain his freedom.

More people watched his release from prison on February 11, 1990 than any other prisoner in the history of the world. Some even analyzed the details of his speech he gave on his release! He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. He served as president of South Africa from 1994-1999.

Mandela has honorary degrees from more than 50 international universities. Nelson Mandela retired from public life in June 1999 and he currently resides in his birth place - Qunu, Transkei.

Here is my Pinterest board dedicated to Nelson Mandela

Villagers, do you remember your participating in protests against apartheid? Do you remember how you felt when Mandela was finally released from prison? Can you deny that this quite man of peace found a way into your heart?

Rest in peace, Madiba!

November 1, 2013

Charles G. Hicks (1962-2004)

My brother would have celebrated his 51st birthday today.  
 I was with him when he celebrated his 1st birthday back in 1963!

Charles was a remarkably talented musician. He played piano at church and at school. In fact, for many years his nickname was 'Schroeder'.

When I went off to college it was left to Charles to look after our two younger sisters, Kyra and Iyisa.

Charles was very close with our youngest sister Iyisa. They are both gone too soon.  This photo was taken in 1979 when Charles graduated from Los Angeles High School.

Here is Charles as a teenager back in 1982.

Charles went to community college for a year of so in Los Angeles before he listened to some sound advice from our maternal grandfather to take his education seriously. At that point he did some remarkable things to get admitted to Morehouse College. He was continuously on the Dean's List at Morehouse and he was a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity (to the dismay of my father and grandfather who were both Kappas!). My mom and dad were very proud to attend the Morehouse College graduation in 1984 where Charles received his Marketing degree.

He received his law degree from the University of Georgia in 1987. He had his own practice in the 1987-1990 timeframe. This photo down below was taken during that period in his private practice office.

Later on in his career he served as a magistrate judge for DeKalb County Magistrate Court (making him one of the few African Americans to be a third generation judge).

He was an officer in U.S. Navy, Judge Advocate General's Corp reserves (Lieutenant Commander -- active duty 1987-1991). He was promoted in 2000 to the rank of full Commander (O-5) in the Navy.

Charles loved his daughters. You could hear the fatherly love and pride whenever he talked about them. He is shown in this photo with Victoria (oldest daughter) in 1999.

Here he is his with Sydney (his youngest daughter) in 2000.

Charles was my 'best man' when I got married in 1993.

He left us unexpectedly in 2004.  I think he is looking down from heaven today with a smile as he sees the growing intelligence and beauty of his two daughters.

I miss my brother.
May he rest in peace.

If you had a relationship, family or friend, with Charles during his life ... then I invite you to share your remembrance on his guest book for posterity.

Happy Birthday Charles!