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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Review: The Art of Being by Danielle Allen

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The Art of Being is a collection of inspirational words and motivational messages designed to empower, inspire, and encourage. Whether you’re looking for a pick-me-up, a life coach, or a personal cheerleader, this nonfiction journey of life lessons, quotable messages, and poetry will hit the spot. While the premise is centered on the idea of being your best self in order to live your best life, the real power comes from what each point encourages you to reflect on in your life. Inspirational, motivational, and spiritual, The Art of Being is the perfect gift to yourself.

Fall in love with The Art of Being by falling in love with the art of being YOU.

 

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“I am a work in progress, but please believe the hype.”

The Art of Being is part self-help, part inspirational, and part devotional. If you add all of the parts of the book together then you realize that it has taken you on a journey to find your true and authentic self. The Art of Being isn’t your typical over the top self-help from a guru that makes you feel as if you’re being preached to and/or made to believe that everything will turn around as soon as you finish the book.

“There’s freedom in realizing that you don’t have to experience life the way you’ve been told to experience it. My journey is mine. Your journey is yours.”

This is the true beauty of The Art of Being. It is all about self; Self-discovery, self-acceptance, and most of all, self-love. It forces you to look deep in the mirror and analyze who you are, what you think about you, and then what you allow.

Some books come along right when you need them the most and The Art of Being is one of them. It is one that can be visited many times on your journey of becoming the you that you want to be. Your answers to some of the questions posed will change over time and this will document your growth. Danielle Allen is a prolific fiction writer so this was a risk. One can easily tell that she put her heart and soul into it and as a result she has produced a book that I truly believe every woman should read.

 

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Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond by Marc Lamont Hill Review

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Unarmed citizens shot by police. Drinking water turned to poison. Mass incarcerations. We’ve heard the individual stories. Now a leading public intellectual and acclaimed journalist offers a powerful, paradigm-shifting analysis of America’s current state of emergency, finding in these events a larger and more troubling truth about race, class, and what it means to be “Nobody.”

Protests in Ferguson, Missouri and across the United States following the death of Michael Brown revealed something far deeper than a passionate display of age-old racial frustrations. They unveiled a public chasm that has been growing for years, as America has consistently and intentionally denied significant segments of its population access to full freedom and prosperity.

In Nobody, scholar and journalist Marc Lamont Hill presents a powerful and thought-provoking analysis of race and class by examining a growing crisis in America: the existence of a group of citizens who are made vulnerable, exploitable and disposable through the machinery of unregulated capitalism, public policy, and social practice. These are the people considered “Nobody” in contemporary America. Through on-the-ground reporting and careful research, Hill shows how this Nobody class has emerged over time and how forces in America have worked to preserve and exploit it in ways that are both humiliating and harmful.

To make his case, Hill carefully reconsiders the details of tragic events like the deaths of Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, and Freddie Gray, and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. He delves deeply into a host of alarming trends including mass incarceration, overly aggressive policing, broken court systems, shrinking job markets, and the privatization of public resources, showing time and time again the ways the current system is designed to worsen the plight of the vulnerable.

Timely and eloquent, Nobody is a keen observation of the challenges and contradictions of American democracy, a must-read for anyone wanting to better understand the race and class issues that continue to leave their mark on our country today.

 

“An impassioned analysis of headline-making cases….Timely, controversial, and bound to stir already heated discussion.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A thought-provoking and important analysis of oppression, recommended for those seeking clarity on current events.” —Library Journal

“With Nobody, Hill marshals the full weight of multiple scholarly traditions to expose complex, ancient, and intersecting injustices of American racism. This is the book that respects Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, and all the other lost black women, men, girls, and boys by taking them seriously. This is the book we needed to understand how we got here and to understand what it means to be here. This is the definitive text. It will remain so for generations.” (Melissa Harris-Perry, Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University and Editor-at-Large, Elle.com)

“Marc Lamont Hill is the most courageous and progressive voice in ‘Main Stream Media,’ whose new book, Nobody, is a subtle and persuasive historical and contemporary analysis of our state of emergency in America. He gives new meaning to the now popular idea of “intersectionality” with intellectual gusto and political urgency!” (Cornel West, author and professor of philosophy and Christian practice at Union Theological Seminary and professor emeritus at Princeton University)

“An essential primer on the relationship between anti-Black racism and state-sanctioned violence, Nobody chronicles historical and social developments around race, class, gender and the role of the State in America which have served to develop, maintain, and expand an expendable underclass. In Hill’s book we see how repression breeds resistance, the very same dynamic that has led to an upsurge in the Black Freedom Movement that seeks justice for all of us.” (Alicia Garza, cocreator of the Black Lives Matter Network)

“Marc Lamont Hill proves once again why he is one of the leading voices on race in America. With its fresh insight and careful on-the-ground reporting, Nobody is a powerful call to action that gives a voice to our most vulnerable communities. As with anything Hill writes, this book is essential reading.” (Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress)

“Marc Lamont Hill has written the book we desperately needed. No mere chronicle of recent anti-Black violence, Nobody digs deeper, revealing how the killing fields of urban America were tilled by seven decades of Jim Crow and four decades of neoliberalism, turning the very people who brought the prospect of genuine justice, democracy, and citizenship to America into a disposable nation of ‘nobodies.’ But as Hill reminds us, precarity is not death, the market is not God, and an equitable, just future is in ‘nobody’s’ hands.” (Robin D. G. Kelley is the Gary B. Nash Professor of American History at UCLA and author of Freedom Dreams; Thelonious Monk; and Africa Speaks, America Answers)

“Nobody provides a comprehensive look at the effects, where police are shooting unarmed minority citizens, and their drinking water is literally poisoned . . . . It will constantly energize you and never bore you.” (The Intercept)

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I have read quite a few books over the past few years dealing with police brutality, systemic racism, and general inequalities and some of them have been fluff pieces and others were groundbreaking in the material they presented so I was not sure what I was getting into when I started reading Nobody. The topics range from the killing of unarmed black men, to the water crisis in Flint, to the most bone chilling concept of feeling like a “nobody” in a place that is supposed to be your home. This book not only digs deep into the longstanding societal and procedural issues behind recent police shootings but it also perfectly captures the emotions that many African-Americans felt each time we heard of someone dying.

But there were many who said, “There is no way that a police officer would ever shoot somebody in the back six, seven or eight times.” But like Thomas, when we were able to see the video, and we were able to see the gun shots, and when we saw him fall to the ground, and when we saw the police officer come and handcuff him on the ground, without even trying to resuscitate him, without even seeing if he was really alive, without calling an ambulance, without calling for help, and to see him die face down in the ground as if he were gunned down like game, I believe we all were like Thomas, and said, “I believe.”

Marc has been one of my most favorite journalists to watch on television, but I now have a new found respect for him after reading this book. If you are looking for a book that includes thought-provoking analysis into how we got to this point in our country then this is the book for you. Nobody is painful, exhausting, and yet quite brilliant. If you are a fan of Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and/or The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander then you should definitely add Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond by Marc Lamont Hill to your list to read!!

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img_0012.jpgBuy Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond here!