Displaying an ability to explore the aural landscapes of the subconscious–with a guitar—and yet still rock the blues hooks, the Jimi Hendrix Experience stormed onto the rock scene in the spring of 1967 with the debut album Are You Experienced?–but Jimi was just getting started. On “If 6 was 9,” from his second album, Axis: Bold as Love, Hendrix was able to articulate the social and cultural dichotomies he was helping to confront:

White collared conservative flashing down the street,
Pointing their plastic finger at me.
They’re hoping soon my kind will drop and die,
But I’m gonna wave my freak flag high, high,
Wave on, wave on,
Fall mountains, just don’t fall on me,
Go ahead on Mr. Business man, you can’t dress like me.
                          Jimi Hendrix Experience, “If 6 was 9” (1967)

The dialogue is set along a spacey, free-form groove, transcending the blues riffs that begin the jam. The spacey sounds were only the backdrop for an existentialism never experienced in rock before. As the jam expands further, Jimi can be heard whispering, “I’m the only one that’s got to die when it’s time for me to die/so let me live my life/the way I want to.”

When Jimi played Woodstock in August 1969, it was with a six-piece multiracial band, with Jimi, his old army buddy Billy Cox on bass, two Afro-Latino percussionists (Jerry Velez and Juma Sultan), a black rhythm guitarist named Larry Lee, and Mitch Mitchell, his drummer from his first hit group, the Experience. The performance, the finale of the three-day ultimate rock event to end the ultimate rock decade, actually had a distinctive African polyrhythmic energy to it. However, the engineers effectively mixed out the percussionists and much of the work of the other guitarists, leaving the sound of Jimi and Mitch Mitchell, the sound of the old Experience.

Jimi’s African ensemble, exposed to the world, vanished with a sweep of the mixing board. As biographer Dave Henderson wrote, “The sound the African drums made was lost, an entire acoustical realm lost in the air.” This may be a small point, but careers are made at significant points in history, as James Brown’s was solidified after Dr. King’s death. The best-selling Woodstock soundtrack featured only “Purple Haze” and Jimi’s solo performance of “The Star Spangeled Banner,” the subtleties of which, the ironies of which–the knowledge of which–evaded the typical black listener, who was not even exposed to Hendrix on black radio. While the ultimate concert was a showcase for the propulsive Latin rock of the then-unknown act Santana, and Sly Stone’s triumphant rendition of “Higher” is legendary, Jimi’s efforts to flow musically in that same direction were sadly missed.
—  Rickey Vincent, Funk: The Music, The People, and The Rhythm of The One

So I’ve been overwhelmed by the black panther comicon appearance and I’ve been dwelling on how revolutionary the black panther movie is going to be, what it’s going to mean to countless people when this movie comes out and how long we still have to go, So I decided to put this short photoset together to illustrate exactly how big of a deal it is and how it is bigger than one person.

it’s so bittersweet because when I was younger (especially growing up where I did, a black kid in Finland) I really wished I had more access to imagery and media that reflected who I was because it would have made my life radically different for the better and I wouldn’t be at 26 (STILL) doing damage control but on the flipside, I’m so in awe of all of the beautiful talent in 2016 that younger black kids are able to see and be inspired by.

I think I was like 4 years old when I conciously picked up race and color via watching Disney’s “Aladdin” and I noticed how Jafar, the evil royal guards etc the villains were more ethnic looking or a shade darker than the “good” characters.

it’s insidious because you’re seeing something but at age 4, you don’t have the comprehension skill or knowledge to break it down and see it for what it is (Colorism, Societal bias against black people which is rooted in centuries of white supremacist doctrine, society associates things that are dark/darker colors with evil, danger, ugliness, dirt etc) and reject it.

so you pick it up and see it on a surface level and you think to yourself “well darker must mean ugly, criminal and less human”…then what happens when you look at yourself in the mirror and find out that you are black?

  how is that going to impact how you see yourself?

and guess what? if a 4 year old black kid can pick that up and internalize that about him/her/themselves….then a white kid can sponge up the same language and imagery that dehumanizes black people too (subconciously/conciously)…what happens when when these people grow up? become teachers, doctors, law enforcement etc? what kind of impact is that going to have?

I’m going off on a tangent and that’s just one personal example but society does that on a global grand scale and it is largely unchecked.

but honestly though,look at the photoset and think about how many talented people out there that we love and respect….who would NOT have achieved the things they did if it wasn’t for another person before them inspiring them to reach their goals and acting as trail blazers when it seemed as though it was impossible….then think about the flipside and how many people, with all the potential in the world, never lived to become great because they were met with more images dehumanizing them than ones uplifting them…this is why the fight for HONEST representation is important and it continues.

argh, I didn’t plan on typing anything but I got in my feelings after watching this again

…anyway, here are some pictures to make you smile, the next gen gives me hope

and if none of that gets you going, here is a video of Michael Jackson surprising James Brown on stage and then thanking him for being his biggest influence (BET awards, 2003)




ART: Famous Musician Portraits from Their Own CDs

For the inauguration of First Floor Under, a pop-vanguard culture magazine, artists Moreno De Turco and Mirco Pagano spent more than 200 hours lining up the CDs to recreate the portraits of seven world-famous musicians including Bob Marley, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Hendrix, Michael Jackson, James Brown, and Freddie Mercury.

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Just because a modern day artist breaks a record that was set by either The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Elvis, Madonna, or etc., doesn’t mean that artist is better than the greats. It just means that this generation doesn’t know where true, original music came from and won’t listen to anything else before they form an opinion.

How dare Adam Lambert copy Natalia Kills’s husband.

How dare Bruno Mars copy Natalia Kills’s Husband.

How dare Elvis Presley copy Natalia Kills’s husband.

How dare Justin Timberlake copy Natalia Kills’s husband.

How dare James Dean copy Natalia Kills’s husband.

How dare Ryan Gosling copy Natalia Kills’s husband

How dare James Brown copy Natalia Kills’s husband.

How dare Chadwick Boseman as James Brown copy Natalia Kills’s Husband.

How dare Willy Moon steal Natalia Kills’s husband’s look.

Good lord, no originality. It’s disgusting.