Blackout: My 40 Years In The Music Business by Paul Porter

Blackout

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Since 1976, when the busing riots in Boston sent me scrambling into the radio station at WRBB at Northeastern University, the music industry has been my life. During my very first stint in radio, I was Paul “Pure Love” Porter from midnight to 3 a.m., and I fell in love with the medium of radio and the impact I had on my community. Radio introduced me to women. Radio introduced me to cocaine. Radio introduced me to some of my best friends. And radio killed some of them too. Blackout is a ride through my whirlwind of media jobs, working for and with some of the music industry’s most colorful, well-known and scandalous players. Blackout is an explosive look at the corruption that is running rampant in the industry. And Blackout is an inside account of how corporations erased Black identity from Black radio and mainstream music — and why I chose to fight back.

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“Through commercial rap, young boys were learning to view females as sex objects, while young girls were led to believe that to “get the guy” they had to dress like strippers and embrace titles such as “bitch” or “hoe.” Relationships, at least as they were modeled through mainstream rap, did not include romance, love, or courting. But it seemed as no one saw this as a problem.”

I was riding in the car from from dinner the other night when the song Ain’t No Fun by Snoop Dogg came on the radio, I was in a zone and rapping right along, and then I stopped because the above passage from Blackout crossed my mind. It would have been easy to remember the juicy parts of the book as far as who was and probably still is shady in the radio and music television business as Paul chronicled his career in the industry, but thinking about the impact and impression that modern music leaves on kids stuck with me the most. The above-referenced Snoop song was released when I was in high school and honestly, there was no reason why I should have known all of the lyrics. Music, just like books, tv and movies, can play a major role in how young people think they should behave, especially if parents are not explaining the lyrics to them.

“But after all the conscious talk, what’s the final message to listeners when black radio constantly plays music filled with negative messages and stereotypes?”

This quote is an important question raised by Porter. What message are we sending to our young people and to society in general when the songs played on the radio by black artists primarily talk about drugs and sex. After reading this book, it is evident that Paul Porter has earned the right to question what we promote because of his many years in the industry and it is my belief that others should follow his lead. Blackout is an insightful firsthand account about how black music has changed over the years and is a book that should be read by anyone that is interested in what goes on behind the scenes.

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Buy Blackout Here!

Review: Songbird by Piper Huguley, Deborah Fletcher Mello and Iris Bolling

Songbird

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Sparrow’s Song
Piper Huguley
In the hot summer of ‘68, recent graduate Sparrow Jones takes a job running the summer program at her family’s church hoping to save enough money to attend music school. Despite her mother’s objections, music is Sparrow’s ministry. Yet, as she throws herself into her work, she finds a different calling in little Carole and her stern father. Widower Master Sargent John Charles drops his little girl off at the church everyday, trusting them to take care his daughter while he works and maybe help her to regain her speech. When the feisty program director begins questioning his parenting skills, it takes all of his military disciplines to keep his temper and manners in check. Yet, the thought of her and the care she shows for his child makes the heart he thought he’d buried beat again. With the summer coming to an end, will Sparrow be able to fly away to her dreams of a music career or has her heart become entangled with a helpless little girl and her military father?

Lark St. Clair
Deborah Mello
Devastated by the death of her mother, Lark St. Clair must mend more than a broken heart. At odds with her own child, Lark is determined to honor the matriarch’s memory by repairing the rift between herself and her daughter, Dove. Revisiting history, the two embark on an emotional journey as Lark shares the story of finding herself through her music and discovering the love of her life with choir director, Martin Warren when love seemed elusive to her.

Dove’ Dream
Iris Bolling
Life should be a song worth singing. That’s what Dove Warren’s grandmother always instilled in her. With a voice to make grown men fall to their knees and the beauty to match, Dove has had her fill with singing. Until her grandmother shares a dream giving Dove the motivation to used her gift of music to spread the love.
Anthony Perry, a strong, caring man who lost his brothers to violence, vowed to give his mother at least one child who turned his back on the street life. As District Attorney of the City of Richmond, it never occurred to him that an angel falling into his arms could fill the empty recesses of his life.
Will Dove lose the man whose very presence fills her heart with song or will she have the chance to bring a dream of three generations to fruition?

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Anthologies are sometimes tricky to read because there are instances when the stories don’t connect with another and there is not a consistent theme. Another potential issue with anthologies is that the authors have such different writing styles that it is distracting. And, one last potential issue with reading an anthology is that one of the authors just isn’t as talented as the other contributors. Luckily, with Songbird none of the issues stated above were present!

Songbird is an excellent generational anthology told from three women’s point of view in hopes of understanding each other just a little bit better. I could take the time to break down each story, but just know they all are excellent. Over the course of the books, there is great advice on how to mend broken family bonds, on the importance of passing down stories from one generation to the next, and how love with the right person can turn deter your plans but enhance your life in unimaginable ways.

Piper, Deborah, and Iris are excellent storytellers on their own, and this collaboration is a perfect blend of their talents. Songbird is definitely worth a few hours of your time!

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Review: Underneath It All by A.D.

Underneath It All

 

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Monica Sutton has spent most of her life detesting her reflection. Her best friends love her no matter what, but she just cannot see the woman they see in her. She finally decides to do something about the way she looks and discovers herself during the process. Her long time crush Keith returns home. They connect, but will a secret from her past hinder her future with him?

 

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“I have no intentions of us ending. I agreed to take things slow with you, but know that I’m all in this. My feelings for you are sincere.”

This was a great romance story, but more importantly, it was an important story about self-love. Monica is the girlfriend (or even you) in your tribe that has no idea how smart, strong, or beautiful she is even though everyone else does. Underneath It All is a very relatable story about sisterhood, overcoming self-esteem issues, and allowing love to find you instead of chasing it. A.D. is a new author to me and I was impressed by the story structure, character development, and the entire flow. I look forward to reading the other books in the series so I can learn more about Monica’s girlfriends!

 

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Buy Underneath It All here!!!