I'm trying to remember when I first heard certain music, what it meant, and in a circular way why I remember it. What was it that made it stand out and why do I associate the hearing and the doing?
In 1977 I went to secondary school. Before this my music had been that brought into the house by my siblings who could afford the singles and occasionally albums of American soul artists.
Average White Band (pick up the pieces), Stevie Wonder, Billy Paul (Mrs Jones), Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, The Isley Brothers, Heatwave (mind blowing decisions), Candi Staton (Young Hearts Run Free), Gladys Knight (The Way We Were).
This music, despite the basic HiFi system it played out on, was immediately pleasing, smooth, harmonious, soulful. It’s backstory was a blissful work of my imagination, a Hackney boy born and bred I knew nothing about the actual United States, only what I’d seen on TV shows.
At the same time, I was growing up and blundering my way through changes that would take me across the tracks; from a world in which identity hadn’t crossed my mind, into one in which identity was a conscious state of mind.
My real music selection memories begin at this crossing point; where "half-caste" boy (no mixed-race at that time), raised solely by a loving and ‘doing-her-best’ white mother, finds a black side to his existence.
I've included my playlist below and in the full article have interspersed some of these tracks with a little more recollection of my figure-it-out-as-you-grow boyhood.
Roy Ayers, Everybody Loves the Sunshine (1976)
Harvey Mason, Do you take my love (1977)
Funkadelic, One nation under a groove (1978)
McFadden and Whitehead, Ain't no stopping us now (1979)
Atmosfear, Dancing in outer space, (1979) - British
Light of the World, London Town (1980) – British
Sugar Hill Gang, Rappers Delight (1980)
Freez, Southern Freez, flying high (1981) (and who could forget ‘Southern Breeze’) - British
Maze, before I let go, (1981)
Slave, album ‘Show Time’, track Snapshot (Steve Arrington) (1981)
Everlyn Champas King, Love Come Down (1982)
Chuka Khan, Ain't Nobody (1983)
Adolescent identity, as now, was all. Me and mine weren’t dub-steppers and we certainly weren’t soul-boys; rather we were modern jazz-sophisticates – cutting our own line between ‘roots reggae’ and ‘popular soul’ - we were about hard core musicians and some of the greatest music ever made – which as every self-styled group likes to think – made us something different all together. Read the full article
Media Diversified is a young and growing non-profit organisation which seeks to cultivate and promote skilled writers of colour by providing advice and contacts and by promoting content online through its own platform.
On a global note, its'also worth checking out The Media Diversity Institute (MDI); which works internationally to encourage and facilitate responsible media coverage of diversity. It aims to prevent the media from intentionally or unintentionally spreading prejudice, intolerance and hatred which can lead to social tensions, disputes and violent conflict.
It’s been a while since I posted any original content to unheardwords, not that I haven’t considered doing so many times. But wait. I thought. Don’t commit unless you have something to say.Unheard is sometimes a good thing.
It’s been Crystal Mahey-Morgan (ownit.london) who has brought me back.
When I first heard her talking on the Hay Festival Debate “Are we publishing too many books?” (BBC Radio 4, May 2015) my ears detected the refreshing sound of someone young-ish who seemed to be talking in twenty-first century language about “publishing” and “books”. It got me to thinking, where are we at now?
Well, the old media and digital media make strange bedfellows.
When people talk about “books” and “publishing” - the ancient art of getting them made and onto shelves - it somehow sounds at odds, not only with digital means, Content and Platforms, but with lifestyles.
Is there a distinction between the different strands of inform, educate and most prized, entertain, that stream through our lives now?
And, even someone of my age – an analogue native - is asking this, so I can only imagine how it looks, feels and sounds to someone half my age or half their age.
The thing is, despite the speed at which the revolution has occurred, we adult humans take our own sweet time to change. So we might be talking about how to transform publications to appeal to the young, whilst the world has already transformed all sense of content and its distribution, for everyone.Believe me, I know it’s hard to keep up but then I also realise that no one’s explicitly asking me to keep up. This is a time for ‘meeting the world as you find it.’ For, being mindful of contexts past, whilst being ready to roll with the disruption present or even, to be prepared to create a disruptive future.
Khome, © unheardwords.com, 2016 (all rights reserved)
Heben and Tracy of "Another Round" bring us How to Diversity
courtesy of the Podcast Movement.