Beyond Black & White » Education http://www.beyondblackwhite.com Chronicles, Musings and Debates about Interracial & Intercultural Relationships Fri, 24 Oct 2014 05:45:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Lineage: The Extraordinary Gift of Knowing Where You Came From http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/lineage-extraordinary-gift-knowing-came/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/lineage-extraordinary-gift-knowing-came/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 05:46:18 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=32977 For my birthday, my husband gave me a precious gift: my identity. My husband has always known who he was. He has a family crest and can trace his ancestry back centuries. Me? I’ve wandered around in complete ignorance, mostly because my family, descendants of slaves, kept horrible records even after the practice was abolished. My mother, who […]

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For my birthday, my husband gave me a precious gift: my identity.

My husband has always known who he was. He has a family crest and can trace his ancestry back centuries. Me? I’ve wandered around in complete ignorance, mostly because my family, descendants of slaves, kept horrible records even after the practice was abolished. My mother, who suffers from a serious case of shade inferiority due to color-struck relatives, stumbled around my questions about my lineage, and would reply with the oft-repeated, “You have Indian in you,” for no other reason than because my hair grows long. She’s make these statements proudly but with further explanation or proof.

Turns out my mother was only half right. I do have Indian in me, but not of the Native American variety. My Indian roots come from the source–India, Pakistan, China. Wait till I tell her. She might need to take a moment to recover.

I discovered this fact because my husband sent for the National Geographic GENO 2.0 DNA kit as a birthday gift. He wanted me to know who I was, and he wanted our children to know as well. This is such an extraordinary gift, because many African Americans focus on slavery as Year One, with no deeper understand where their ancestors came from. Knowing who you are, your lineage, is incredibly empowering. I have now recaptured a part of my history that was stolen from me so long ago.

I just found out the results tonight so as I write this, I’m still processing this new information. I, Christelyn Karazin, am 77% Luhya, a Bantu-speaking tribe from Kenya.

boma-fund-img_0298-woman

Kenya!!

In fact, I’m more “African” than the average African American. My remaining lineage comes from Eastern Europe (think Scandinavia, Russia, etc), Mediterranean, and Southwest Asian.

Here’s how my lineage compares to the average Kenyan:

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 10.16.57 PM

Time to start saving for a trip “back home,” and now I know EXACTLY where to go.

But here’s the mystery: how did my folks get to the U.S.? My maiden name is Russell, which is English.

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TBT: Lady Sings the Blues http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/tbt-lady-sings-blues/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/tbt-lady-sings-blues/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 22:13:26 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=32300 In 1972 Diana Ross took on the role of the magnificent and tragic life of Billie Holiday. As she she withers in a strait jacket in a prison cell, waiting to hear the sentencing for her most recent drug charges, she reflects on her turbulent life. “Lady Sings the Blues” has most of the clichés […]

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In 1972 Diana Ross took on the role of the magnificent and tragic life of Billie Holiday. As she she withers in a strait jacket in a prison cell, waiting to hear the sentencing for her most recent drug charges, she reflects on her turbulent life.

“Lady Sings the Blues” has most of the clichés we expect—but do we really mind clichés in a movie like this? I don’t think so. There’s the childhood poverty, the searching for love, the unhappy early sexual experiences, the first audition, the big break, the years of climbing to the top, the encounter with hard drugs, the fall, the comeback, the loyal lover … we know the scenes by heart. ” said  Roger Ebert

Diana Ross, Billie Dee Williams, Billie Holiday, singer, jazz, history, throw back Thursday, movies, history, Motown, music, biopic, biography, drug abuse, movie, Richard Pryor, pop culture,

Though based on the life and career of the late Billie Holiday the story line of the movie was entirely fictional to the chagrin of Jazz music buffs who believed that the details of Holiday’s life should remain as close to reality as possible. Produced by Motown, as the pet project of powerhouse Barry Gordy, it is said this movie and staring role were his gift to the object of his affection, Diana Ross. Ross was an accomplished singer but had never previously acted, and it was not believed that she would be able to re-create the voice and spirit of Billie Holiday’s performance. 

It all begins in the early 1930’s in Baltimore, where a teen Billie, played by Diana Ross is raped which leads to her being sent to live in New York with a friend’s of her mother’s. She works first as a maid, and later as a whore, in a brothel in Harlem. The brothel’s “piano man”, depicted by Richard Pryor encourages her to sing. Holiday then begins singing professionally and eventually becomes the lover of gambler the notorious gambler Louis McKay. The character played by the charming Billy Dee Williams was actually Holiday’s third husband but their relationship is the sole romantic interest during in the film.

“Lady Day’s” unique style begins to earn her fame on the local club circuit, and she is invited to tour the South with a band led by white musicians.

While on tour she’s devastated by racist treatment and so turns to drugs to cope with the stress, eventually, becoming an addict–a habit which threatened both her professional and personal success.

She is then devastated by the death of her mother, and vowing to re-take charge of her life Holiday enters a sanitarium (hospital) in an attempt to get clean. McKay stays by her side, and makes several attempts to restrict her drug abuse but to no avail. Although she tries to begins a new life with McKay, her victory is short-lived. The final scenes of the film ends by glancing over her remaining, troubled days until her death at the tender age of 44.

Billie Holiday lived in a place and time in contemporary history that allowed her days on Earth to be well documented. There was quite an uproar from industry insiders who felt that Motown and Hollywood took the story of Lady Day and dramatized it for profit.

Jazz critic Leonard Feather, for one, noted that the film made no mention of Lester Young, Jimmy Monroe (to whom Holiday was married), John Hammond, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Artie Shaw and Teddy Wilson–all important people in her life during the time reenacted over the course of the movie. There are many opinions about Lady Sings the Blues though that hasn’t stopped Diana Ross, Billie Dee Williams, nor Billie Holiday from becoming a cherished and celebrated part of American Black entertainment history.

Never seen the movie? No worries, you can catch the entire film for free on Youtube.

It was nominated for five Academy Awards. The nominations were for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Diana Ross), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Carl Anderson and Reg Allen), Best Costume Design (Norma Koch), Best Music, Original Song Score and Adaptation (Gil Askey) and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced. The film was also screened at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, but was not entered into the main competition. 

The movie was based on the autobiography Lady Sings the Blues written by Billie Holiday and William Duffy.

Motown released a hugely successful soundtrack double-album of Ross’ recordings of Billie Holiday songs from the film, also titled Lady Sings the Blues. The album went to number one on the Billboard Hot 200 Album Charts, for the week-ending dates of April 7 and 14, 1973.

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TBT: It’s…………… SOUL……….TRAIN…………..! http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/tbt-soul-train/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/tbt-soul-train/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 22:09:29 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=32601 I don’t know where you were raised or who taught you how to dance. All is know is that the only place to be on any given Saturday morning was in front of the television to catch the latest episode of SOULLLLLLLLLLLL TRAINNNNNN!! After which time the show was done, twas customary to go lock […]

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I don’t know where you were raised or who taught you how to dance. All is know is that the only place to be on any given Saturday morning was in front of the television to catch the latest episode of SOULLLLLLLLLLLL TRAINNNNNN!! After which time the show was done, twas customary to go lock yourself into your room and get in front of the mirror to practice those dance moves for the day that you’d be called on to dance. Or at least, that’s my recollection and I’m sticking to it.

music, entertainment, dance, media, music, television show, culture, pop culture, history,

I was not allowed to gyrate, jiggle, bounce, squat or anything else that used my hips and thighs. Oh, no. Mother didn’t play those games and the only kind of dance that was relevant was that done under the tulle of an expensive dance instructor and to exceptionally boring music. I learned how to switch the channels rather quickly to hide my Saturday indulgence.

Try as she may, my mother wasn’t capable of keeping me away from the sin known as A SOUL TRAIN LINE. The impact of this show is evident in the fact that no matter where one may be, the call for a SOUL TRAIN line is universally understood by human’s in general.

music, entertainment, dance, media, music, television show, culture, pop culture, history,

Race didn’t seem to matter much, what was most important was letting go and having the moves to make your time in the Soul Train line worth everyone’s while. The best part of having an internal Soul Train line is that you can do it with or without people, and it works before interviews and after awesome dates and everything. I bet you didn’t even realize how embedded we are all with ‘Love, Peace and SOUL!”

music, entertainment, dance, media, music, television show, culture, pop culture, history, Rosie perez, Brooklyn, Darnell Williams, Nick Cannon, MC Hammer, Heather Hunter,

The Jackson 5 in the early days.

music, entertainment, dance, media, music, television show, culture, pop culture, history, The Jacksons, the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson,

As usual, you aren’t truly a fan unless you had merchandise to show your loyalty.

music, entertainment, dance, media, music, television show, culture, pop culture, history,

With a young Stevie Wonder.

music, entertainment, dance, media, music, television show, culture, pop culture, history, Stevie Wonder,

Some commentators have called Soul Train a “black American Bandstand,” another long-running program with which Soul Train shares some similarities. Cornelius, however, tended to bristle at the Bandstandcomparison.[11]

Dick Clark, host and producer of American Bandstand, attempted to divert viewers from Soul Train with a similarly themed program called Soul Unlimited, whose brief run on ABC in 1973 was controversial for its pronounced racial overtures. Clark ended Soul Unlimited after a handful of airings and agreed to work with Cornelius on a series of network specials featuring R&B and soul artists.[12]

Cornelius was relatively conservative in his musical tastes and was admittedly not a fan of the emerging hip hop genre, believing that the genre did not reflect positively on African-American culture (one of his stated goals for the series).

Even though Cornelius would feature rap artists on Soul Train frequently during the 1980s, he publicly would admit (to the artists’ faces such as Kurtis Blow) that the genre was one that he did not understand; as rap continued to move further toward hardcore hip hop, Cornelius would admit to be frightened by the antics of groups such as Public EnemyRosie Perez testified in the 2010 VH1 documentary Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America that Cornelius also disliked seeing the show’s dancers perform sexually suggestive “East Coast” dance moves. Cornelius admittedly had rap artists on the show only because the genre was becoming popular among his African-American audience, though the decision alienated middle-aged, more affluent African Americans like himself. This disconnect eventually led to Cornelius’s stepping down as host in the early 1990s and the show’s losing its influence.[13]

Rosie Perez

music, entertainment, dance, media, music, television show, culture, pop culture, history, Rosie perez, Brooklyn,

There was also the popular “Soul Train Line,” in which all the dancers form two lines with a space in the middle for dancers to strut down and dance in consecutive order. Originally, this consisted of a couple—with men on one side and women on the other. In later years, men and women had their own individual lineups. Sometimes, new dance styles or moves were featured or introduced by particular dancers.

In addition, there was an in-studio group of dancers who danced along to the music as it was being performed. Rosie Perez, Damita Jo Freeman, Darnell WilliamsCarmen ElectraNick CannonMC HammerJermaine StewartHeather HunterFred “Rerun” BerryLaurieann GibsonPebbles, and NFL legend Walter Payton were among those who got noticed dancing on the program over the years. Two former dancers, Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel, enjoyed years of success as members of the R&B group Shalamar after they were chosen by Soul Train talent booker/record promoter Dick Griffey and Cornelius to replace the group’s original session singers in 1978.[15]

Darnell Williams went on to become a day time soap opera regular on All My Children, as Jesse Hubbard.

music, entertainment, dance, media, music, television show, culture, pop culture, history, Rosie perez, Brooklyn, Darnell Williams

music, entertainment, dance, media, music, television show, culture, pop culture, history, Rosie perez, Brooklyn, Darnell Williams

Cermen Electra is a dancer, singer and actress best known for her time on Baywatch, parody horror movies and as the host of MTV’s Singled Out.

music, entertainment, dance, media, music, television show, culture, pop culture, history, Rosie perez, Brooklyn, Darnell Williams, Carmen Electra,

Nick Cannon went on to become a household name. He’s also known as Mr. Mariah Carey.

music, entertainment, dance, media, music, television show, culture, pop culture, history, Rosie perez, Brooklyn, Darnell Williams, Nick Cannon, MC Hammer, Heather Hunter,

MC Hammer then.

music, entertainment, dance, media, music, television show, culture, pop culture, history, Rosie perez, Brooklyn, Darnell Williams, Nick Cannon, MC Hammer, Heather Hunter, MC Hammer now.

music, entertainment, dance, media, music, television show, culture, pop culture, history, Rosie perez, Brooklyn, Darnell Williams, Nick Cannon, MC Hammer, Heather Hunter,

Heather Hunter went on to become a noted adult film star, producer and artists.

music, entertainment, dance, media, music, television show, culture, pop culture, history, Rosie perez, Brooklyn, Darnell Williams, Nick Cannon, MC Hammer, Heather Hunter,

RIP Fred Re-Run Berry

music, entertainment, dance, media, music, television show, culture, pop culture, history, Rosie perez, Brooklyn, Darnell Williams, Nick Cannon, MC Hammer, Heather Hunter, ReRun, MC Hammer,

Laurieanne Gibson was the Alvin Ailey trained dance powerhouse behind the Bad Boy records movement. She is still heavily involved in choreography and now works with Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry.

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Jodi Watley then. 20120130092543_00002

Jodi Watley now.

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Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about! I bet if I put on some music and hacked into your computer and cut the camera on, I’d see several of you pop-locking and doing the tick…

You trying to say it’s just me or nah?!

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History Made: Michelle Howard Become Navy’s First Female Admiral http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/history-made-michelle-howard-become-navys-first-female-admiral/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/history-made-michelle-howard-become-navys-first-female-admiral/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 11:43:41 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=31411 Monday was event for celebration as the United States Navy appointed Michelle Howard to the ranks of Admiral making her the first woman in US history to do so. Her also being a woman of color makes this even more of a cause to take note. Along with her new rank and four star shoulder […]

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Monday was event for celebration as the United States Navy appointed Michelle Howard to the ranks of Admiral making her the first woman in US history to do so. Her also being a woman of color makes this even more of a cause to take note.

Adm. Michelle Howard, black woman, Navy, historical, promotion, successful, military career, breaking barriers,

Along with her new rank and four star shoulder bars, Howard will also take on the post of Vice Chief of Naval Operations, the second highest position in the Navy.

Howard, no stranger to making history, was the first black woman to command a Navy ship.

Howard was promoted to her new rank during a ceremony held at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

“Michelle Howard’s promotion to the rank of admiral is the result of a brilliant naval career, one I fully expect to continue when she assumes her new role as vice chief of naval operations,” said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. “But also, it is an historic first, an event to be celebrated as she becomes the first female to achieve this position.

Howard was raised in Colorado, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982, and has been breaking down barriers and busting through glass ceilings ever since.

Her earliest tours were aboard the USS Hunley and the USS Lexington. During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, she served as chief engineer aboard the USS Mount Hood. Howard served as executive officer of the USS Tortuga when the ship supported peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia. She made history as the first African-American woman to command a ship in 1999 (the amphibious dock landing ship Rushmore) before going on to command Amphibious Squadron 7 and later Expeditionary Strike Group 2. [Source]

Congratulations to her and kudos to her example that dedication and hard work can remove barriers, just because a Black woman hasn’t done it before doesn’t mean it can’t be done when certain Black women ignore social limitations.

 

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This Brown Baby is Oxford Bound! 8 Year Old Makes University History http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/brown-baby-oxford-bound-8-year-old-makes-university-history/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/brown-baby-oxford-bound-8-year-old-makes-university-history/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 19:20:21 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=31282 His name is Joshua Beckford and he’s ‘just a normal 8 year old’, according to his proud father. He asks a lot of curious questions and he can be difficult at times. He seems like any other little boy but for the fact that he’s been reading since age two, and speaks fluent Japanese. Oh, yeah, […]

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Oxford, Joshua Beckford, college bound, black boys, black males, historic, England, higher education, morals, medical, education, black children,

His name is Joshua Beckford and he’s ‘just a normal 8 year old’, according to his proud father. He asks a lot of curious questions and he can be difficult at times. He seems like any other little boy but for the fact that he’s been reading since age two, and speaks fluent Japanese.

Oh, yeah, Joshua  is also the youngest person to ever attend Oxford University.

Joshua learned to read fluently by the time he was two and a half and taught himself to touch-type on a computer before he could write using a pencil.

He can speak Japanese, practices medical surgery on a computer simulator and has completed more than 1,000 maths problems.

In 2011 Mr Daniel wanted to challenge Joshua so he wrote to the university to see if it would let him participate in a philosophy course for bright children between the age of eight and 13.

Joshua plans to go into neurosurgery though I am sure anything he does will lead to amazing things. His family recently learned of his being autistic (a side effect which contributes to his extremely high intelligence) and are in the process of obtaining the proper emotional and social reinforcement that young Joshua needs.

With his unique intellect and bright future I’m glad to see a family unit doing all that can be done to support their child’s development without losing sight of the needs of the child.

Congratulations to young future Dr. Beckford and clan.

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Are You Going to the NYC Loving Day Celebration or Nah? http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/going-nyc-loving-day-celebration-nah/ http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/going-nyc-loving-day-celebration-nah/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 18:10:30 +0000 http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/?p=31062 I’ll be attending the 11th annual Loving Day celebration in New York City this coming Saturday. I hope to see some our regular readers there since this would be the perfect opportunity to hang out in a place that you know, for sure, is supportive of interracial dating. In the event that you need someone […]

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I’ll be attending the 11th annual Loving Day celebration in New York City this coming Saturday. I hope to see some our regular readers there since this would be the perfect opportunity to hang out in a place that you know, for sure, is supportive of interracial dating.

In the event that you need someone to hold your hand, or whisper encouraging words in your ear, I’ll be around to lend a hand.

I’ve invited some folks along to hang out with me, and this is the second post on this site regarding the celebration. I gather those who are serious, and available will make their best effort to come out and be seen.

I’m still trying to determine what I’m wearing this weekend but keep an eye out for the girl with the huge kinky afro. You can also keep up with me via Foursquare or online via Twitter. Remember to RSVP by visiting FlavorPill and dress for the warm weather, it’s been raining here all week but so far it seems that Saturday will be a dry warm day.

Wondering what happened last year during the Annual Loving Day Celebration? Me, Chris and several of the beautiful ladies found ourselves in Manhattan with a video camera and here’s what had happened.

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