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Adam Clayton Powell Jr. on Black Men Rock!
Category: Black Men Rock!
Tags: adam clayton powell black men rock word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. loomed as a giant in the Black community of Harlem, not only as the pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, but also as a community activist and as the first African-American to represent New York in the United States House of Representatives.

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. was born in New Haven, Connecticut on November 29, 1908. He was the son of Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., then a Baptist minister in New Haven and his wife Mattie Buster Shaffer. He had an older sister Blanche and the family was of mixed racial origins, African, European and Native American. Powell Sr. had graduated from Wayland Seminary, Yale University and Virginia Seminary and was chosen to pastor the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, eventually growing the church to more than 10,000 members.

Adam Jr., because of his father’s success, grew up in a rather wealthy household and attended Townsend Harris High School before studying at City College of New York and then Colgate University (his father sent him to Colgate, a baptist school, to put Adam on the right path and to get him away from the nightlife and nightclubs that he avidly frequented). He was a handsome young man and because of his fair skin and hazel eyes, he was often able to pass as being white (at birth his hair was blonde), often allowing him to avoid much of the racial strife that was directed towards his Black classmates. This caused a great deal of anger on their part towards him because he withheld his racial background from his classmates, even joining a white fraternity (very uncommon in those days).

His father encouraged him to follow in his footsteps as a minister. Adam Jr. (Adam) received his bachelors degree from Colgate in 1930 and then received a M.A. in Religious Education from Columbia University a year later. Although he had originally planned for a career in medicine, he realized that the church would provide him with a ready-made career. Following his ordination, Adam assisted his father at the church, both preaching to the congregation and in growing the outreach to the community, (primarily in charitable endeavors) and took over for his father as Head Pastor of the church in 1938. He had married Isabel Washington, a star dancer at the Cotton Club, in 1933 and adopted her son Preston and was deeply committed to the church, its parishioners and those community around him. He was now the pastor of the largest protestant congregation in the United States.

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. - Great Black HeroesHe became prominent in political activism, fighting for employment opportunities and fair housing. He became the Chairman of the Coordinating Committee for Employment, mounting pressure on local businesses to hire Blacks on all levels of employment. He led very noteworthy protests. He led a “Shop Only Where You Can Work” boycott of all of store along 125th, shutting most of them down, thereby forcing them to hire Black workers. During the World’s Fair of 1939, his protesters picketed in front of the Fair’s headquarters at the Empire State Building which resulted in Black hiring to increase by 250%. Two years later he led the bus boycott of the New York Transit authority leading to 200 additional jobs for Black constituents. His activism on the part of the community led him to run for the New York City Council and he was elected in 1941, the first Black to serve on the Council.

Three years later he ran for a seat in the United States House of Representatives. He ran on a campaign of fighting for the civil rights of Blacks including seeking a ban on obstacles for voting rights (such as poll taxes), fair employment opportunities and a ban on lynching. Running as a Democrat, he was elected in 1944 representing the 22nd Congressional district (which included Harlem) and was the first Black Congressman from the state of New York. He did not try to ease his way in quietly and instead directly addressed issues that affected his constituents. With Jim Crow being the law of the land in the south and almost all of the southern Congressmen being segregationists, there had been no one willing to stand on the House floor and raise issues that affected Blacks throughout the nation. Powell would be the man to do so.

Powell did not make many friends, especially among the southern Congressmen but he stood up and addressed issues facing Blacks. One particularly noteworthy incident occurred when he stood on the House floor and chastised Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi. A tradition within the House was that freshmen Congressmen did not speak on the House floor during their first year. On this occasion, however, when Rankin used the word “nigger” on the House floor, Powell stood and announced “the time has arrived to impeach Rankin, or at least expel him from the party.” To take on a Congressman as powerful as Rankin demonstrated that Powell would be a force to be reckoned with. Powell would take particular delight in irritating Rankin. Rankin had called Powell’s election to the house “a disgrace” and when Rankin made it known that he did not want to sit anywhere near Powell, Adam would find any opportunity possible to sit as close to the Mississippi Congressman. On one occasion he followed him from seat to seat until Rankin had moved five times.

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. - Great Black Heroes

In 1945, having divorced Isabel, Powell married Hazel Scott, a jazz singer and pianist. The two had a son whom they named Adam Clayton, Powell III.

Powell served with only one other Black Congressman (William Levi Dawson of Illinois) until 1955 and they were subject to numerous informal barriers within Congressional offices. Powell protested and refused to defer to the bans on the “Whites Only” House restaurant, the Congressional Barber Shop, the House gymnasium and other facilities. He constantly battle segregationist on both policy and decorum and found allies within the Black community and organizations like the NAACP to push for equality for Blacks throughout the United States.

One method he used to attain his goals was referred to as the “Powell Amendments.” On any proposed legislation that would call for federal expenditures, he would offer an amendment that required that federal funds be denied to any jurisdiction that maintained segregation. This grated on both liberal allies and conservative foes but it gradually seeped into the mindsets of the politicians as they realized that Powell was not going to stop and was not going away. Some were not ready to give up their fight, however. During a 1955 meeting of the Education and Labor Committee, Powell was punched in the face by West Virginia Congressman Cleveland Bailey, a segregationist who was so incensed by Powell’s persistent use of the “Powell Amendment” rider.

His willingness to anger even his allies led him to buck the party ticket in 1956 and throw his support behind Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Powell was dissatisfied with the Democratic Party platform on civil rights and made sure that he was not seen as a rubber stamp for the Democratic party. He also sailed against mainstream opinions when he travelled to Indonesia for the 1955 Asian-African Conference which celebrated the recent move to independence from colonialism for countries which included Ghana, Sierra Leone and Indonesia. The State Department had asked him to not attend but he did so as an observer and ended up speaking of the need to end colonialism abroad and segregation at home while also defending the United States against the communist talking points being used against his country. Powell returned home to a warm reception, honored as “Man of the Year” by the Veterans of Foreign Wars,” and invited to speak with President Eisenhower. He offered the opinion that the United States was wasting an opportunity to truly compete with the Soviet Union by trotting out ballet companies and symphonies to tour around the world. Instead, he thought, the country should focus on presenting more current and popular American offerings such as jazz music, which was an American created style of music appealing to and engaged in by members of various races. Powell suggested sending well known jazz musicians to tour abroad, spreading the American art form to catch the ear of younger citizens of the world. The State Department agreed and set up such a goodwill tour including well known musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie. Gillespie headlined the tour which many referred to as “Jazz Diplomacy.” The musicians were able to meet with high-ranking officials as well as the common man and was considered a great success. One man who attended a concert in Zagreb, Yugoslavia stated “What this country needs is fewer ambassadors and more jam sessions!”

In 1960, having divorced Hazel, Adam married again, this time to Yvette Flores Diago, the daughter of the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico. They had a son whom he also named Adam Clayton Powell (this son would later change his name to Adam Clayton Powell, IV).

 

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. - Great Black Heroes

After serving the House of Representatives for 15 years, Powell was finally granted a committee chairmanship in 1961 when he became the Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. The committees stated purpose is “to ensure that Americans’ needs are addressed so that students and workers may move forward in a changing school system and a competitive global economy.” Under his leadership, the committee created federal programs addressing Medicaid, minimum wage and equal pay for women, as well as education for the disabled, support for libraries and vocational training. Much of this legislation was incorporated into President John F. Kennedy’s “New Frontier” program as well as President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” and “War on Poverty” programs.

Some of his greatest triumphs involved passing legislation to protect the rights of Blacks, particularly those affected by Jim Crow laws in the south.  He authored bills to criminalize lynching, dismantle public school desegregation and to abolish the Southern practice of charging a Poll Tax to Black voters. This tax was applied to voters in many southern states, but a grandfather clause allowed those adult males whose father or grandfather had voted prior to emancipation to be exempt from the tax. As such, white male voters were allowed to vote while many Black voters who could not afford to pay the tax were prevented from engaging in the electoral process. The Civil Rights Act of 1965 included many of these provisions and called for enforcement of them.

His growing power made him a target for his political enemies. Unfortunately, in many ways, Powell made himself an easier target through his spending of committee funds, his legal problems, his erratic behavior and habit of constantly traveling and often being absent from the House. Without a doubt, many of the southern House members opposed him simply because of his race and looked for any opportunity to punish him. Unfortunately for Powell, although he had fight so hard against unfair treatment by House members, he had also given them plenty of ammunition to use against him.

In 1958, Powell was indicted by a Federal grand jury for income tax evasion. The trial ended in a hung jury but the Federal government continued to investigate his finances. In 1960, Powell gave a television interview in which he accused a Harlem widow named Esther James of being a “bag woman” for corrupt police payoffs. James sued him and was awarded $211,500.00 in a jury award. Powell refused to pay the damages and instead would only return to his district in Harlem on Sundays when he when he could not be served by court officials (the award was eventually paid out years later after he was cited for criminal contempt, but the matter damaged him significantly). In 1967, a House committee suspended Powell’s third wife, Yvette Diago, and accused her of being on the House payroll without doing any work. Diago, in fact, admitted that she had moved to Puerto Rico in 1961, but was paid from Powell’s Congressional payroll from that time until January of 1967 when the allegation came to light and she was fired.

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. - Great Black HeroesHe also travelled a great deal with stays in Florida as well as a vacation home he owned in Bimini in the Bahamas. House opponents accused him of using House funds to pay for this travel including once when he was accompanied by two young women at the expense of the Federal government (the women were Tamara Wall, a staff attorney and secretary Corinne Huff, the first Black Miss Ohio, with whom Powell was romantically involved). As such, the House Democratic Caucus stripped him of his committee leadership in January of 1967 and the full House refused to seat him until the Judiciary Committee completed an investigation of him. On March 1, 1967, by a vote of 307 to 116, the House voted to exclude him from its proceedings. Powell decided to sue to retain his seat. Although he won a Special Election to fill his vacant seat (by a margin of 7-1), he refused to take it, preferring to challenge his removal in court. In the meantime, in November of 1968, his constituents in Harlem defiantly re-elected him with overwhelming support. The House had no choice but to seat him now, but did so while at the same time denying him seniority and fining him $25.0000.00. In June 16, 1969, the United Staes Supreme Court decided 7-1 in Powell vs. McCormack that the House had violated his constitutional rights in refusing to seat him as he was a duly elected member of Congress. Unfortunately, after his Supreme Court victory, he seemed to rub it in the nose of his foes, showing up for only nine roll calls out of 177, a record for absenteeism. He was the most powerful Black politician of his time, but like many great men, it seemed hubris was to become his most destructive opponent.

Regarding his travel expenditures, Powell defended himself saying that “that I will always do just what every other Congressman and committee chairman has done and is doing and will do.” His constituents had grown weary of their Representative always seeming to have to put out fires, whether in the form of lawsuits, political fights or embarrassing scandals. He was defeated in the Democratic primary in 1970 by Charles Rangel by a mere 150 votes. He attempted to get on the November ballot as an independent through a signature campaign, but failed to do so and resigned from his position at the Abyssinian Baptist Church and retired to his home in Bimini.

In April 1972, Powell’s health began faltering and he was rushed from Bimini to Miami, Florida where he was hospitalized. He died on April 4, 1972 due to acute prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate gland. His funeral was held at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem and his ashes were spread by his son, Adam III, over the waters of Bimini.

Adam Clayton Powell - Great Black HeroesOver the years numerous public schools have been named after him as has an office building in Harlem and Seventh Avenue, north of Central Park in New York City was renamed Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard. His real legacy, though, is as a confident political figure when many Blacks were afraid to speak out against the racism and poverty that they saw.  He was a bright and engaging leader who would not back down from his opponents and led the fight to change things in a turbulent society. Most of all, he is seen as a man who opened the doors for a lot of minorities who would follow in his footsteps as politicians in the Untied States Congress.

 Rev. Adam Clayton Powell

Source: Great Black Heros

Celebrating the life of Michael David Larsen AKA Eyedea Tags: michael david larsem eyedea those we've lost word life production featured blog

Micheal David Larsen (November 9, 1981 – October 16, 2010), better known by his stage name Eyedea, was an American rapper of Lebanese and Irish origins. He was battle freestyle battle champion and songwriter from Saint Paul, Minnesota. He had appeared as a solo artist under the pseudonym Oliver Hart, and as the MC half of the duo Eyedea & Abilities (along with longtime friend and collaborator DJ Abilities)] Larsen was first signed under Slug's independent hip-hop label Rhymesayers before founding his own record label "Crushkill Recordings". Eyedea's style of music is philosophical, abstract, political and poetic.

Eyedea first stepped into the hip-hop scene battling against other emcees at notable freestyle joints. His notable wins which included a victory at Scribble Jam (1999) and the televised Blaze Battle sponsored by HBO (2000), turned Eyedea into a hip-hop mogul. Notable hip-hop outlets have labeled Eyedea as a legendary freestyle icon. Eyedea has released numerous albums alongside DJ Abilities where the two performed under the duo name "Eyedea & Abilities". In 2001, Eyedea & Abilities released their debut studio album First Born, which included their successful single "Big Shots". The single was later chosen to appear on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4. In 2004, Eyedea & Abilities released their second studio album titled E&A, which included the singles "Paradise" & "Man vs Ape". In July 2009, Eyedea & Abilities released their third and final studio album called By the Throat, which was followed by highly acclaimed positive ratings. The lead single "Smile" is Eyedea's most viewed music video on YouTube and was listed in Abbey's top 10 best hip-hop songs ever, respectively.

In 2014, Eyedea ranked #2 on Abbey Magazine's Top 25 'greatest freestyle emcees of all-time'. Eyedea died in his sleep on October 16th, 2010 at age 28; the cause of his death was ruled as an accidental overdose. Eyedea was a member of the music groups Eyedea & Abilities, The Orphanage, Face Candy, Carbon Carousel, Puppy Dogs and Ice Cream, and Guitar Party.

Eyedea lived just east of Downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he attended Highland Park Senior High School.

Eyedea became known as a battle MC, touring the circuit between 1997 and 2001. During this time, he won top prizes at Scribble Jam '99, the Rock Steady Anniversary 2000, and Blaze Battle New York 2000. He contributed a track to the Anticon compilation, Music for the Advancement of Hip Hop. Additionally, he toured extensively as second MC and support DJ for Atmosphere.

In 2001, he released First Born with his partner DJ Abilities (collectively, they were initially called the Sixth Sense, but later changed the name to Eyedea & Abilities). In 2002, under his pen name "Oliver Hart", he released the self-produced The Many Faces of Oliver Hart, or: How Eye One the Write Too Think. In 2004, he reunited with Abilities to release the self-titled album E&A.

All of Eyedea's releases have been on the Rhymesayers record label, with the exception of the Carbon Carousel EP, which was released on his own Independent music label, Crushkill Recordings. In addition to touring independently and with Rhymesayers labelmates and members of Face Candy, Eyedea & Abilities participated in the Def Jux-sponsored "Who Killed the Robots?" tour, titled by Eyedea.

He was signed to Rhymesayers Entertainment and collaborated with Slug of the underground hip hop group Atmosphere as well as Sage Francis, Aesop Rock, and Blueprint. He was also a member of a MC super group called "The Orphanage" along with Slug, Aesop Rock, Blueprint, Sage Francis & Illogic. Although never releasing a full CD to the public, songs were recorded and released.[2]

After Eyedea released This Is Where We Were, recorded with his live freestyle rap/jazz group Face Candy, he created Carbon Carousel, an alternative rock band. They have released one EP, entitled The Some of All Things, or: The Healing Power of Scab Picking. This brought on speculation that Eyedea & Abilities were no longer together. However, in August 2007, the duo announced on their Myspace that they would be at the Twin Cities Celebration of Hip-Hop performing old songs and new material.

In December 2007, Eyedea & Abilities embarked upon their Appetite for Distraction Tour with Crushkill labelmate Kristoff Krane and Minnesotan duo Sector7G.

The summer of 2009 saw Eyedea & Abilities joining the touring hip hop festival Rock the Bells for a limited number of dates, performing alongside such acts as Sage Francis, Evidence, M.O.P. and the Knux. E&A also performed at the first Rock the Bells concert in 2004, infamous for being Ol' Dirty Bastard's last performance with the Wu-Tang Clan.

In 2011, an EP of 4 of Eyedea's freestyles, previously released in 2010 but only sold at live shows, were made available for 'pay what you want' download. Guitar Party a group consisting of vocalist (and first grader) Mijah Ylvisaker, drummer J.T. Bates (Face Candy, Carbon Carousel, The Pines) and guitarists Jeremy Ylvisaker (Carbon Carousel, Alpha Consumer, Andrew Bird, The Cloak Ox), Jake Hanson (Halloween, Alaska), Andrew Broder (Fog, The Cloak Ox) and Micheal Larsen (Eyedea & Abilities, Carbon Carousel, Face Candy) released a recording of the only live show they had managed to play before Eyedea's death called 'Birthday [I feel Triangular]' .The second Face Candy album was released on May 24, 2011 on Rhymesayers. This album was recorded in two days at the Winterland studios and one night in front of an audience at St. Paul's Black Dog Cafe.

Death

Eyedea died in his sleep on October 16, 2010. He was found dead by his mother, according to friend. Cause of death was released November 18, 2010 and ruled an accident, from "opiate toxicity," according to the Ramsey County medical examiner's office. The specific drugs found in Larsen's system have not been revealed to the public.Various hip-hop artists went on their Twitter accounts to pay their tribute to him.

On December 25, 2013, it was announced on Eyedea & Abilities' Facebook page that a star was registered under the name Eyedea to commemorate Larsen on the web site Online Star Register.

Source: Wikipedia

 

Arn Anderson - One of the greatest wrestlers of all time Tags: arn anderson greatest wrestling all time word life production featured blog

Martin Anthony Lunde (born September 20, 1958) better known by his ring name Arn Anderson, is a former American professional wrestler and author. His career has been highlighted by his alliances with Ric Flair and various members of the wrestling stable, The Four Horsemen, in the NWA/WCW. He currently serves as the senior producer for WWE's Raw brand. On March 31, 2012, Anderson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a member of the Four Horsemen.

Lunde began his career in early 1982,trained by Ted Lipscomb(Allen) spending much of the year wrestling in various independent wrestling companies across the United States.[2] By the middle of 1983, he made his way to Southeastern Championship Wrestling, an NWA affiliated promotion operating out of Tennessee and Alabama. Taking the name of "Super Olympia", Lunde soon became a member of Ron Fuller's Stud Stable before the year was out. Lunde saw success in the tag team ranks by winning the NWA Southeastern Tag Team Championship three times with Mr. Olympia and once with Pat Rose throughout 1984. It was also here in this promotion that Lunde met and began what would become a lifelong friendship with Flair. By the end of the year, however, Lunde left the company and joined Mid South Wrestling based out of Shreveport. Lunde's time in Mid South was coming to an end and during a TV taping the Junk Yard Dog mentioned to Bill Watts, the owner of Mid South Wrestling, that Lunde looked like an Anderson. Watts called Jim Crockett and convinced him to book Lunde.

Lunde made his way to Jim Crockett, Jr.'s Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling based in the Virginias and the Carolinas. By this time, the company extended its range into Georgia after rival promoter Vince McMahon purchased Georgia Championship Wrestling. There was a strong physical resemblance between Lunde and Ole Anderson, who had achieved legendary status in the Georgia and Mid-Atlantic territories as a tag team wrestler. Ole noticed that Lunde's style was a no nonsense approach in the ring and specialized in working over a part of an opponent's body throughout the match, much like Ole himself. Anderson agreed to work with Lunde, helping to hone his capabilities, and re-formed the Minnesota Wrecking Crew with Lunde replacing Gene Anderson and taking on the name of Arn Anderson, Ole's kayfabe nephew. The team quickly became a force in the territory by capturing the NWA National Tag Team Championship in March 1985.[2] Arn and Ole defended the titles throughout the year, with their highest profile match being part of the card for Starrcade '85 on Thanksgiving night. The Crew successfully defended the titles against Wahoo McDaniel and Billy Jack Haynes.

In the latter half of 1985, the Andersons formed a loose knit alliance with fellow heels Tully Blanchard and Ric Flair, as they began to have common enemies. The foursome frequently teamed together in six and, sometimes, eight-man tag matches or interfered in each other's matches to help score a victory or, at least, to prevent each other from losing their titles. The alliance quickly became a force within the territory, working in feuds against some of the biggest stars in the company like Dusty Rhodes, Magnum T.A., the Road Warriors and the Rock 'n' Roll Express. Anderson also saw success as a singles wrestler on January 4, 1986 by winning the vacant NWA Television Championship.[2] Simultaneously, Anderson was still one half of the NWA National Tag Team Champions and, even though Crockett promotions abandoned the National Tag titles in March, Anderson's success as a duo champion elevated his status within the territory. It was also during this time (in 1986) that the Andersons, Blanchard, and Flair began calling themselves Four Horsemen with James J. Dillon serving as the group's manager.[2] Anderson also had a tremendous ability to do interviews to further the storylines he participated in. His ability to improvise in interviews allowed him to coin the "Four Horsemen" moniker for the stable, as he likened their coming to wrestle at an event and the aftermath of their wrath as being akin to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the name stuck. Anderson continued his reign as NWA Television Champion for most of the year, holding the championship for just over 9 months before losing it to Dusty Rhodes on September 9, 1986.

The first real setback with the Horsemen occurred at Starrcade '86 after Anderson and Ole lost a Steel Cage match to The Rock 'n' Roll Express, with Ole getting pinned. The subsequent storyline positioned Ole as the weak link within the team, possibly attributed to his age. Ole's position with the group was only further weakened after he decided to take two months off after Starrcade. After Ole's return in February 1987, the other Horsemen turned on him and threw him out of the group, resulting in Ole incurring numerous attacks over the next several months. Afterwards, Ole was replaced with Lex Luger and the Horsemen resumed their dominance of the company.

As a member of the Horsemen, Anderson continued to be involved in high profile angles within the company. By mid-1987, Anderson and fellow Horsemen Tully Blanchard began regularly competing as a tag team and rose quickly through the tag team ranks.[2] The duo faced the Rock 'n' Roll Express for the NWA World Tag Team Championship on September 29, 1987 and were victorious.[2] This win further solidified the group's dominance in the company as Lex Luger was the reigning NWA United States Heavyweight Champion and Ric Flair spent most of 1987 as the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, losing it to Ron Garvin in September, only to regain it at Starrcade '87 on Thanksgiving night. Anderson and Tully continued to feud throughout the rest of the year and first few months of 1988 with the Road Warriors, the Rock 'n' Roll Express and the Midnight Express being their most frequent rivals.

By December 1987, Luger had defected from the Horsemen and began a heated feud with the group, with Ric Flair especially. In early 1988, Luger formed a tag team with Barry Windham and began challenging Anderson and Blanchard for the NWA World Tag Team Championship. The bigger, stronger team of Windham and Luger were eventually successful, winning the titles on March 27, 1988. The reign would be short lived, however, as Anderson and Blanchard regained the titles less than a month later after Barry Windham turned on Luger during their match and joined the Horsemen. Though Anderson and Blanchard were two of the biggest stars in Crockett's company, they were frequently in dispute with Crockett over their pay. Despite the fact that the two, along with the Horsemen, were helping to generate millions of dollars in revenue for the company, they considered themselves to be underpaid. Their last contracted match with the company took place on September 10, 1988 when they dropped the NWA World Tag Team Championship to the Midnight Express before leaving for the WWF.

Arn Anderson once described his style and that of Blanchard's on national TV: 'I'm his strength, and he's my speed.'

Anderson and Blanchard left Crockett's company to join Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation. Upon being named the Brain Busters, the team took Bobby "The Brain" Heenan as their manager and quickly began rising through the tag team ranks, eventually coming to challenge Demolition for the WWF Tag Team Championship. On July 18, 1989, the Brain Busters won the titles, ending Demolition's historic reign of 478 days; the match would air on the July 29 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event. Although they would lose the titles back to Demolition just over three months later, the Brain Busters continued to be a force in the WWF's tag team division.

In December 1989, Anderson left the WWF and went back to his old stomping grounds.[2] Blanchard was slated to return as well but WWF accused him of testing positive for cocaine. Crockett's company was now called World Championship Wrestling and was under the ownership of billionaire mogul Ted Turner. Anderson helped to reform the Horsemen and he quickly found success in the company, winning the NWA World Television Championship an January 2, 1990.[2] Anderson remained the champion almost the entire year before dropping it to Tom Zenk. Zenk's reign would be short lived, however, as Anderson regained the title, having been renamed the WCW World Television Championship on January 14, 1991.[2] His third reign with the title was also considered successful as he held the title a little more than five months before dropping it to "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton on May 19, 1991. Afterwards, Anderson entered the tag team ranks of WCW.

In the summer of 1991, Anderson formed a tag team with Larry Zbyszko and they called themselves The Enforcers. After competing for several months and moving up in the tag team ranks, they successfully captured the WCW World Tag Team Championship on September 2, 1991. The reign would be short lived, however, as they lost the titles roughly two and a half months later to Ricky Steamboat and Dustin Rhodes. Anderson and Zbyszko went their separate ways shortly afterward. Anderson quickly rebounded from his split with Zbyszko and formed a tag team with Beautiful Bobby Eaton, a long-time friend and best known for his time as one half of the Midnight Express. At this point, they were members of Paul E. Dangerously's Dangerous Alliance. They quickly moved up the tag team division and were soon a threat to Steamboat and Rhodes. Anderson and Eaton quickly won the titles on January 16, 1992 and defended the titles against all comers for the next four and a half months before losing the titles to The Steiner Brothers in May.

In May 1993, Anderson joined Ole Anderson and Ric Flair to re-form the Four Horsemen. The Horsemen introduced Paul Roma as their newest member. Although athletic and a skilled in-ring competitor, Roma had spent much of his career as a jobber in the WWF. As part of an interview segment for the Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen DVD, Triple H stated that he thought the addition of Roma made the membership the weakest in the history of the group, and Arn himself referred to Roma as "a glorified gym rat". Although Anderson and Roma won the WCW World Tag Team Championship in August, the group quickly split and was seen as a dismal failure by WCW.

Anderson remained a regular, on-screen performer in WCW over the next few years. He rejoined Col. Rob Parker's Stud Stable in 1994 with Terry Funk, Bunkhouse Buck, "Stunning" Steve Austin and Meng.[3] The Stud Stable feuded heavily with Dusty and Dustin Rhodes until late 1994 when Funk left. In early 1995, Meng left (eventually to join the Dungeon of Doom).

Anderson went to rejoin Ric Flair. Anderson's last championship run began on January 8, 1995 after winning the WCW World Television Championship. Anderson helped restore the prestige of the title, which he held for just over six months before dropping it to The Renegade. He briefly feuded with long-time friend Flair, and was assisted by Brian Pillman in his efforts. However, it was a swerve to reunify the Horsemen with Flair, Anderson, Pillman, and a partner to be named later (who ended up being Chris Benoit).

By the end of 1996, Anderson rarely competed in the ring as years of wear and tear on his body finally started to catch up with him. On the August 25, 1997 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, Anderson formally announced his retirement from the ring.[2] While standing in the ring, surrounded by Ric Flair and newest Horsemen members Steve McMichael and Benoit, Anderson declared that his last official act as the "Enforcer" for the Four Horsemen was to offer his "spot" in the group to Curt Hennig, as he was forced to retire due to extensive neck and upper back injuries. He would work one or two tag matches officially since then, including teaming with David Flair on an episode of WCW Thunder, but his physical involvement was extremely limited in those bouts.

On the September 14, 1998 edition of Nitro, alongside Steve McMichael, Dean Malenko, and Chris Benoit, Anderson ceremoniously reintroduced Ric Flair to WCW after his 12-month hiatus. In doing so, they reformed the Horsemen who then feuded with WCW President Eric Bischoff. Flair would win the presidency of WCW from Bischoff on the December 28, 1998 episode of WCW Monday Nitro followed by winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Uncensored '99 and turn heel in the process. Anderson remained Flair's right-hand man during this time as he attempted to keep Flair's delusional hunger for power at bay.

In 2000, Anderson was a member of the short-lived Old Age Outlaws. Led by Terry Funk, the group of veteran wrestlers battled the revived New World Order. WCW would be purchased by the World Wrestling Federation in 2001, ending Anderson's tenure there.

Not long after the closing of WCW, Anderson became a road agent for WWF, renamed World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in May 2002.[2] He occasionally appears on WWE television trying to, with the help of other WWE management, pull apart backstage brawls. Soon after the WCW/ECW Invasion storyline, Anderson took up color commentary for a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match between Booker T and Buff Bagwell, WCW Cruiserweight Championship match with Billy Kidman and Gregory Helms as well as another WCW Championship match between Diamond Dallas Page and Booker T, which would be his only appearances as a commentator in WWE. He made an appearance on Raw in 2002 delivering a video to Triple H before he was supposed to renew his wedding vows to then-heel, Stephanie McMahon. Anderson was also assaulted on Raw by the heel gimmick of The Undertaker leading up the Undertaker vs. then-babyface, Ric Flair match at WrestleMania X8. During that bout, Anderson made a brief in-ring appearance, delivering his signature spinebuster to The Undertaker. He would later turn heel once again by helping the heel gimmick of Ric Flair in his feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin, leading to Austin literally urinating on him. Several months later he became a face once again and attempted to help a then-babyface Flair gain (kayfabe) sole ownership of WWE during a match with the heel gimmick of Vince McMahon, but backed down from a confrontation with Brock Lesnar, who entered the ring to assist McMahon.

Anderson made a special appearance at the October 2006 Raw Family Reunion special, in which he was in Ric Flair's corner for his match against Mitch of the Spirit Squad. Anderson was in the corner of Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes, and Ron Simmons at Survivor Series 2006, where the four faced the Spirit Squad, but was ejected from the arena during the match.

On the March 31, 2008 Raw, Anderson came out to say his final goodbye to Ric Flair and thank him for his career. In October of that year, at the No Mercy event, he was backstage congratulating Triple H for retaining the WWE Championship in a match with Jeff Hardy.

Anderson and his wife Erin have two sons, Barrett Anthony (born 1985) and Brock (born 1997).

Although he was billed as such at various times, Arn is not related to Gene Anderson, Lars Anderson, Ole Anderson, C.W. Anderson or Ric Flair. He was given the Anderson name and was originally billed as Ole's brother, and then later billed as Ole's nephew, because of his resemblance to Ole in appearance and wrestling style and billed as Ric Flair's cousin. Flair is not related to any of the Andersons, but he is a longtime friend of Arn.

In 1993, Anderson was involved in a brutal stabbing incident during a WCW tour of Europe. On October 27, 1993, in Blackburn, Lancashire, Anderson and Sid Eudy were involved in an argument at a hotel bar. After being sent to their rooms by security chief Doug Dillinger, Eudy later attacked Anderson with a chair leg. A pair of safety scissors was introduced into the brawl by one of the participants, with Eudy receiving four stab wounds and Anderson receiving twenty, losing a pint and a half of blood. The fight was broken up by WCW wrestler Too Cold Scorpio, who was credited with saving Anderson's life. Neither man pressed charges against the other, and British police declined to do so since both men were leaving the country. Eudy was later fired over the incident.[4]

As stated in his biography, in a match in 1994, Arn was thrown into the ring ropes. The top rope broke from the turnbuckle, but he was able to land on his feet. Six months later, the same event happened again, but this time he landed full-force on to the concrete and hit his head, neck, and upper back. He never took time off to heal. As time passed, with no down time, the injuries worsened. In his biography, Anderson states that the first sign of problems was, during a match, his left arm suddenly went numb and unresponsive. Later on, they found a rib, possibly torn away from the spine during the accident, was popping in and out of joint, causing shoulder discomfort and weakness.

Upon seeing his chiropractor in Charlotte, North Carolina, and consulting medical experts in Atlanta, Georgia, the damage was found to be much more severe and surgery was deemed the only option to keep his left arm functioning at all. Surgery occurred in Atlanta in late 1996 (resulting in a left posterior laminectomy of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th cervical bones and a fusion of the 7th cervical and 1st thoracic bones) and was successful in repairing most of the damage, but there does remain some muscle weakness, loss of fine motor control, and loss of muscle mass in his left arm. He spent many weeks in the hospital during that time, crediting his recovery to his wife, his physical therapist, and the fact he did not want his children to be fatherless. However, he would be readmitted in March 1997 with symptoms akin to cardiac arrest and pulmonary failure, but was released soon afterwards.

In July 1997, while working out, a friend saw him at a gym and gave him a hearty slap on the back (he recounts this in his retirement speech). He dropped the water bottle he was carrying and could not regain use of his left arm for several hours. He realized that to step back in the ring and take another injury to the neck could leave him paralyzed or worse. Hence, his retirement and subsequent speech on WCW  programming.

The Comedy Central series Tosh.0 has referred to Anderson on a regular basis beginning with its October 15th, 2009 episode featuring a backyard wrestler redemption. Host Daniel Tosh stated that real wrestling is all about "showmanship and tights", and that if "being a great technician were all it took, then Arn Anderson would be the most famous wrestler in the world". Tosh has continued to "call out" Anderson, even referring to a gap between mentions as "(going) easy on you". Tosh's March 6, 2012 memorabilia dump included a signed Arn Anderson action figure.

Source: Wikipedia

Jazz Legend - Sonny Rollins
Category: Voices of Jazz
Tags: jazz legend sonny rollin word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Theodore Walter Rollins was born on September 7, 1930 in New York City. He grew up in Harlem not far from the Savoy Ballroom, the Apollo Theatre, and the doorstep of his idol, Coleman Hawkins. After early discovery of Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong, he started out on alto saxophone, inspired by Louis Jordan. At the age of sixteen, he switched to tenor, trying to emulate Hawkins. He also fell under the spell of the musical revolution that surrounded him, Bebop.

He began to follow Charlie Parker, and soon came under the wing of Thelonious Monk, who became his musical mentor and guru. Living in Sugar Hill, his neighborhood musical peers included Jackie McLean, Kenny Drew and Art Taylor, but it was young Sonny who was first out of the pack, working and recording with Babs Gonzales, J.J. Johnson, Bud Powell and Miles Davis before he turned twenty.

“Of course, these people are there to be called on because I think I represent them in a way,” Rollins said recently of his peers and mentors. “They’re not here now so I feel like I’m sort of representing all of them, all of the guys. Remember, I’m one of the last guys left, as I’m constantly being told, so I feel a holy obligation sometimes to evoke these people.”

In the early fifties, he established a reputation first among musicians, then the public, as the most brash and creative young tenor on the scene, through his work with Miles, Monk, and the MJQ.

Miles Davis was an early Sonny Rollins fan and in his autobiography wrote that he “began to hang out with Sonny Rollins and his Sugar Hill Harlem crowd…anyway, Sonny had a big reputation among a lot of the younger musicians in Harlem. People loved Sonny Rollins up in Harlem and everywhere else. He was a legend, almost a god to a lot of the younger musicians. Some thought he was playing the saxophone on the level of Bird. I know one thing–he was close. He was an aggressive, innovative player who always had fresh musical ideas. I loved him back then as a player and he could also write hisbutt off…”

Sonny moved to Chicago for a few years to remove himself from the surrounding elements of negativity around the Jazz scene. He reemerged at the end of 1955 as a member of the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet, with an even more authoritative presence. His trademarks became a caustic, often humorous style of melodic invention, a command of everything from the most arcane ballads to calypsos, and an overriding logic in his playing that found him hailed for models of thematic improvisation.

It was during this time that Sonny acquired a nickname,”Newk.” As Miles Davis explains in his autobiography: “Sonny had just got back from playing a gig out in Chicago. He knew Bird, and Bird really liked Sonny, or “Newk” as we called him, because he looked like the Brooklyn Dodgers’ pitcher Don Newcombe. One day, me and Sonny were in a cab…when the white cabdriver turned around and looked at Sonny and said, `Damn, you’re Don Newcombe!” Man, the guy was totally excited. I was amazed, because I hadn’t thought about it before. We just put that cabdriver on something terrible. Sonny started talking about what kind of pitches he was going to throw Stan Musial, the great hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals, that evening…”

Chuck UPright

In 1956, Sonny began recording the first of a series of landmark recordings issued under his own name: Valse Hot introduced the practice, now common, of playing bop in 3/4 meter; St. Thomasinitiated his explorations of calypso patterns; and Blue 7 was hailed by Gunther Schuller as demonstrating a new manner of “thematic improvisation,” in which the soloist develops motifs extracted from his theme. Way Out West (1957), Rollins’s first album using a trio of saxophone, double bass, and drums, offered a solution to his longstanding difficulties with incompatible pianists, and exemplified his witty ability to improvise on hackneyed material (Wagon Wheels, I’m an Old Cowhand). It Could Happen to You (also 1957) was the first in a long series of unaccompanied solo recordings, and The Freedom Suite (1958) foreshadowed the political stances taken in jazz in the 1960s. During the years 1956 to 1958 Rollins was widely regarded as the most talented and innovative tenor saxophonist in jazz.

Rollins’s first examples of the unaccompanied solo playing that would become a specialty also appeared in this period; yet the perpetually dissatisfied saxophonist questioned the acclaim his music was attracting, and between 1959 and late `61 withdrew from public performance.

Sonny remembers that he took his leave of absence from the scene because “I was getting very famous at the time and I felt I needed to brush up on various aspects of my craft. I felt I was getting too much, too soon, so I said, wait a minute, I’m going to do it my way. I wasn’t going to let people push me out there, so I could fall down. I wanted to get myself together, on my own. I used to practice on the Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge because I was living on the Lower East Side at the time.”

sonnyonthebridgefixedWhen he returned to action in early `62, his first recording was appropriately titled The Bridge. By the mid 60’s, his live sets became grand, marathon stream-of-consciousness solos where he would call forth melodies from his encyclopedic knowledge of popular songs, including startling segues and sometimes barely visiting one theme before surging into dazzling variations upon the next. Rollins was brilliant, yet restless. The period between 1962 and `66 saw him returning to action and striking productive relationships with Jim Hall, Don Cherry, Paul Bley, and his idol Hawkins, yet he grew dissatisfied with the music business once again and started yet another sabbatical in `66. “I was getting into eastern religions,” he remembers. “I’ve always been my own man. I’ve always done, tried to do, what I wanted to do for myself. So these are things I wanted to do. I wanted to go on the Bridge. I wanted to get into religion. But also, the Jazz music business is always bad. It’s never good. So that led me to stop playing in public for a while, again. During the second sabbatical, I worked in Japan a little bit, and went to India after that and spent a lot of time in a monastery. I resurfaced in the early 70s, and made my first record in `72. I took some time off to get myself together and I think it’s a good thing for anybody to do.”

In 1972, with the encouragement and support of his wife Lucille, who had become his business manager, Rollins returned to performing and recording, signing with Milestone and releasing Next Album. (Working at first with Orrin Keepnews, Sonny was by the early ’80s producing his own Milestone sessions with Lucille.) His lengthy association with the Berkeley-based label produced two dozen albums in various settings – from his working groups to all-star ensembles (Tommy Flanagan, Jack DeJohnette, Stanley Clarke, Tony Williams); from a solo recital to tour recordings with the Milestone Jazzstars (Ron Carter, McCoy Tyner); in the studio and on the concert stage (Montreux, San Francisco, New York, Boston). Sonny was also the subject of a mid-’80s documentary by Robert Mugge entitled Saxophone Colossus; part of its soundtrack is available as G-Man.

He won his first performance Grammy for This Is What I Do (2000), and his second for 2004’s Without a Song (The 9/11 Concert), in the Best Jazz Instrumental Solo category (for “Why Was I Born”). In addition, Sonny received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 2004.

In June 2006 Rollins was inducted into the Academy of Achievement – and gave a solo performance – at the International Achievement Summit in Los Angeles. The event was hosted by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and attended by world leaders as well as distinguished figures in the arts and sciences.

Rollins was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class, in November 2009. The award is one of Austria’s highest honors, given to leading international figures for distinguished achievements. The only other American artists who have received this recognition are Frank Sinatra and Jessye Norman.

In 2010 on the eve of his 80th birthday, Sonny Rollins is one of 229 leaders in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, business, and public affairs who have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A center for independent policy research, the Academy is among the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and celebrates the 230th anniversary of its founding this year.

In August 2010, Rollins was named the Edward MacDowell Medalist, the first jazz composer to be so honored. The Medal has been awarded annually since 1960 to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her field.

Yet another major award was bestowed on Rollins on March 2, 2011, when he received the Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony. Rollins accepted the award, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence, “on behalf of the gods of our music.”

Sonny Rollins and President Barack Obama, White House, March 2, 2011d

Sonny Rollins and President Barack Obama, White House, March 2, 2011

Since 2006, Rollins has been releasing his music on his own label, Doxy Records. The first Doxy album was Sonny, Please, Rollins’s first studio recording since This Is What I Do. That was followed by the acclaimed Road Shows, vol. 1 (2008), the first in a planned series of recordings from Rollins’s audio archives.

Mr. Rollins released Road Shows, vol. 2 in the fall of 2011. In addition to material recorded in Sapporo and Tokyo, Japan during an October 2010 tour, the recording contains several tracks from Sonny’s September 2010 80th birthday concert in New York—including the historic and electrifying encounter with Ornette Coleman.

On December 3, 2011 Sonny Rollins was one of five 2011 Kennedy Center honorees, alongside actress Meryl Streep, singer Barbara Cook, singer/songwriter Neil Diamond and cellist Yo-Yo Ma.   Rollins said of the honor, “I am deeply appreciative of this great honor. In honoring me, the Kennedy Center honors jazz, America’s classical music. For that, I am very grateful.”

The saxophonist’s most recent CD is Road Shows, vol. 3 (Doxy/Okeh/Sony).  Rollins is currently time off from performing and planning to record again in 2015.

Source: Official Website

John Legend on the Art of Soul
Category: The Art of Soul
Tags: john legend art soul word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Singer-songwriter John Legend won his first Grammy Award with 2004's Get Lifted. The album went platinum, thanks in part to the hit single "Ordinary People."

 “I come from a city where 40 percent to 50 percent of our kids drop out of high school. I did well in high school and then went to an Ivy League school, but I was the exception. We need to do more to make sure every kid has a quality education.”

—John Legend

John Legend was born on December 28, 1978, in Springfield, Ohio. He became an in-demand session musician and songwriter, working with such artists as Alicia Keys, Twista and Janet Jackson. He was soon introduced to up-and-coming hip-hop artist Kanye West, and the two musicians collaborated on one another's demos. Legend's debut album, 2004's Get Lifted, won three Grammy Awards. He released his collaboration with the Roots, Wake Up!, in 2010. Legend also appeared on the TV competition Duets as a coach in 2012.

Long before earning a famous reputation as a multiple Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, John Legend was born John Roger Stephens on December 28, 1978, in Springfield, Ohio. A child prodigy, Legend's grandmother taught him how to play the piano, and he grew up singing in the church choir. He went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where he directed a coed a cappella group. After graduation, he switched gears and worked for Boston Consulting Group but continued to perform in nightclubs in New York City.

Legend became an in-demand session musician and songwriter, working with such artists as Alicia Keys, Twista and Janet Jackson. He was soon introduced to up-and-coming hip-hop artist Kanye West, and the two musicians collaborated on one another's demos.

Legend's debut album, 2004's Get Lifted, went platinum thanks in part to the hit single "Ordinary People," a song that he originally penned for the Black Eyed Peas. He went home with three Grammy Awards for Get Lifted: for best R&B album, best R&B male vocal performance and best new artist. Legend's sophomore effort, Once Again, was released in 2006.

Legend's musical talent has made him a mainstream star. In 2006, he performed at Super Bowl XL in Detroit, the NBA All-Star Game, and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Pittsburgh. He soon released several new albums, including Evolver (2008). Evolver featured "Green Light," a collaboration with André 3000. This song proved to be a modest hit, and the album itself reached the top of the R&B/hip-hop charts. That same year, Legend stepped in front of the cameras. He had a supporting role in the 2008 comedy Soul Men, starring Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson.

In 2010, Legend released Wake Up!, which he recorded with the Roots. The album received raves from music critics and tackled tunes made famous by the likes of Marvin Gaye and Nina Simone. The Curtis Mayfield-penned "Hard Times" was one of the record's main singles; another hit, "Shine," Legend's own composition, earned him a Grammy Award. He and the Roots also won a Grammy for best R&B album in 2011.

Legend tried his hand at reality television with the singing competition Duets during the summer of 2012. He worked alongside Kelly Clarkson, Robin Thicke and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. The musical stars coached and performed with the contestants on the show. Later that year, Legend contributed a new track to Quentin Tarantino's 2012 film Django Unchained.

Outside of music, Legend is involved in numerous social and charitable causes. He is a supporter of the Harlem Village Academies, a New York City organization that runs several charter schools. Legend serves as a vice chairman on the HVA board. He explained to Black Enterprise magazine why education is such an important issue to him. "I come from a city where 40 percent to 50 percent of our kids drop out of high school. I did well in high school and then went to an Ivy League school, but I was the exception. We need to do more to make sure every kid has a quality education."

Source: Biography.com http://www.biography.com/people/john-legend-201302#recent-projects

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