Visitors Outside New Hope Share Whitney Memories

People of all ages were paying their respects to Whitney Houston outside New Hope Baptist Church in her hometown Newark, New Jersey on Thursday, February 16th.  It was a gloomy, rainy morning and the fence outside the church was no longer visible due to the plethora of flowers, balloons, pictures of Houston and posters covered with messages and signatures. Despite the melancholic mood, viewers outside New Hope shared why they were there and their personal stories.

A fan outside New Hope signs a message for Houston.

“She was a legend,” said 27-year-old Peter, who moved to Newark three years ago from Miami. “I just came to pay my respects and see and read what other fans did. People really loved her. Back then, I never would have thought I was going to come to Newark and so was she. There is no denying—she was a legend” he repeated. Continue reading

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Happy Birthday Bob

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.” 

Reggae king Robert Nesta Marley, better known as Bob Marley, would have been 67 years old on Monday, February 6th. He was the first Jamaican superstar who gave hope to the thousands living in poverty and oppression and preached through his ska, rocksteady and reggae music.

Songs like “One Love,” “No Woman, No Cry,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Exodus,” “Zimbabwe,” and “No More Trouble” allowed not only the people of Africa to move to positive vibrations, but people of all continents.

Born to a white father and a black mother, he criticized the corruption of the masses and urged freedom from mental slavery, while reminding many to live with love and peace. He constantly emphasized the abolishment of racism and hate, stating “Me don’t dip on the black man’s side nor the white man’s side. Me dip on God’s side.” Marley was a not only a musical voice but also a political voice that criticized social injustices. Because of his involvement in politics, there was an attempted assassin in 1976 before his “Smile Concert” in Kingston, Jamaica.

With the melodies of Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, the early Bob Marley & The Wailers set the stage to revolutionize reggae music that seeped everywhere, despite cultural and social boundaries, and hit the right notes on what people of the world were feeling. Marley’s music was something (and is still something) that everyone can listen to.

A common misconception is that reggae music equals marijuana music. Granted, it does have some “mellow” instruments, but nevertheless every facet of Marley’s music has a different tune and beat that works for every feeling. “Get Up, Stand Up” calls for rising to claim your rights, “Is This Love” playfully expresses the blissful feelings of those in love, “Easy Skanking,” and “Punky Reggae Party” let’s you move to the bass in any environment.

While it may be difficult to pick out a favorite, “Redemption Song” is one that is highly cherished by all Marley fans. Marley was a great singer and musician for sure —but he was a greater songwriter. “Redemption Song,” written in 1979 when he was already diagnosed with cancer, is an acoustic that expresses the painful confrontation with morality, reminding one that “nothing can stop a good time,” and immortalizes Marley with Marcus Garvey’s quote, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.”

Since his passing on May 11th in 1981 at the young age of 36, Marley’s legacy has been cherished throughout the world. His music has influenced many greats after him: UB40, Eric Clapton, U2, and Sublime. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, Time Magazine named Exodus Album of the Century in December 1999 and “One Love” was titled Song of the Millennium by BBC. In 2001, he was given The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and was the 2,171st star added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Bob Marley’s music has lived with us for fifty years now and we know there are many more left. Happy Birthday, Bob.

Marley’s Top 10 for V-Day:
Change up the mood with some of Bob’s best 

  1. Stir It Up
  2. Is This Love
  3. Satisfy My Soul
  4. Turn Your Lights Down Low
  5. Mellow Mood
  6. Waiting In Vain
  7. No Woman, No Cry
  8. Soul Shakedown Party
  9. Could You Be Loved
  10. One Love

VIVA LA REVOLUTION: Occupy Wall St. Goes Down

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wealth ownership in US

Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Spain, and even London’s riots that didn’t have much of a revolutionary streak have been covered tremendously by big media outlets. Occupy Wall Street, a ‘peaceful protest’ that has been going on for nine days in the surrounding streets around Wall Street, has barely been in everyone’s face since it began on September 17. It is fueled by the the widening gap between the wealthy and poor, rising unemployment rates, mortgage foreclosures, and of course, bailouts of big corporations and capitalism. Thousands have marched into the financial district of the world, waving boards that say “We are the 99%,” and “Bailout the People,” yet if you ask many people about their opinion on these protests, they have answered, “what protests?”

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Occupy Wall St.
New York, New York

Silver lining for the Golden-voiced man

When I got into my bathrobe after a steaming shower tonight, I was extremely tired.  I think it may be simply the fact that when one takes a good, hot shower, especially after you work out hardcore at the gym, your body tends to get real tired and it just wants to lay down: clean and exhausted.  I have this odd tendency to sit on my big Queen size bed, grab my Macbook and just go on whatever website I feel like surfing, while having my hair wrapped in a towel and still in my bathrobe.  I wasn’t even sure what to surf so I went to my homepage, MSN, the website I’ve been a dedicated follower of even before puberty hit me  hard.  Earlier, I had checked my twitter (follow me!) and read through a few tweets about a “homeless man with a golden voice.” I didn’t pay much attention to it until it was part of MSN‘s collage of Today’s Talkers; along with the death of Gerry Rafferty (RIP) and the  firing of an ESPN announcer.  I immediately clicked on it and watched the video.

Let me tell you my friends: this 1:38 video was absolutely, positively FABULOUS.  This man was standing by the highway with a sign that said something about his voice and help that he needed instead of change.  He looked pretty worn out but had this enthusiastic appearance at the same time.  I thought he was going to sing but  this man, Ted Williams, has the most captivating and absolutely perfect to the T radio voice that any radio station would want!  He later talked about his voice, his past and what he hopes for now.  But, the bigger news here is that this (now former) homeless man from Ohio has landed an actual radio spot on a local radio show.  And that my dear, is just truly amazing.  I mean, why wouldn’t he right? He has a perfect voice and it’s clear that his reservation wage is a lot lower than other aspiring DJs, radio hosts.  My exhaustion went away and I was so delighted after watching and reading about this whole incident.  What I found amazing was 1) the person who recorded and put this video on YouTube, 2) the people who actually contacted this guy to give him a goddamn job and 3) how AMAZING the combination of technology and humanity can be. The fact of the matter is that times now are tough and they may be even tougher for the homeless; but after watching this video tonight, I am reminded that life can be so unusually pleasant and that everyone deserves a second chance and some truly get it.  I sit comfortably in my warm home with my luxuries and fail to realize that there are still people standing with cardboards, yearning for a second chance.  These people hope that someday, someone out there, comes and finds them and gives them the choice to fix things again.  Whatever went wrong is now in the past for Ted Williams because humanity has given him the hand that he has needed for so long.

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