When the Lyrical Muse Sings the Creative Pen Dances – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

If you’re a regular reader of my national African-American cultural arts column, you may have noticed that I have not been posting articles as frequently as I once did. The reason is simple enough. Having reached a certain point in the research for my current book-in-progress (at least one of them anyway) I had to reduce as many additional writing obligations as possible to fully concentrate on completion of the work.

For me, this is the part of authorship when the lyrical muse sings and the creative pen dances. The greater bulk of the more rigid tasks of verification and documentation have been satisfied, and imagination may be allowed to take over the processes of narrative construction. The resulting musical flow of image and language stamp the work with its own unique identity. And its own self-defined meanings destined to merge with different readers’ interpretations of the same.

The Writer and the Times

I started the national African-American cultural arts column on July 13, 2009, with a story about the debut of Johnny and Me, Savannah author Miriam K. Center’s play based on her friendship with the late 4-time Academy Award-winning composer Johnny Mercer. That was followed by a profile of acclaimed artist Jerome Meadows.

The next month, August, saw the launch of the controversial series on the trial (and eventual execution) of Troy Anthony Davis, convicted for the murder of Savannah policeman Mark Allen MacPhail.  Not writing about Davis’s trial, to my mind, would have been a case of gross negligence. Doing so was one early indication of what readers would discover over the next few years: basically, I found it impossible to restrict myself (as asked to do) to the subject of “the arts” as pertaining to African Americans.

Please check out the full post by clicking here: When the Lyrical Muse Sings the Creative Pen Dances – Bright Skylark Literary Productions

Text and Meaning in Michael Jackson’s Xscape (part 5 of 5)

Art graphic for

“In more ways than one, his status as a ‘superstar’ served largely as a vehicle that allowed him to render as much service to humanity on as many levels as he could.”––Article Excerpt (Aberjhani) 


The lucky number seventh track on Xscape, “Blue Gangsta,” is the perfect musical metaphor for the would-be thug of steel who discovers he is as vulnerable to the anguish of a broken heart as anyone else. The L-O-V-E giveth and the L-O-V-E taketh away. 

The menacing progression of chords and scheming vocals that made “Smooth Criminal” so irresistibly sinister is brought to its knees in “Blue Gangsta.” With atmospheric rhythmic tension generated by snare percussions, violins, and anxious horns, Jackson’s voice with impeccable delivery creates a brooding drama of the heart:

“No where to run, no where to hide
All the things you said
And the things you’ve done to me
You can no longer make me cry…”

The song extends the album’s theme of love as a multifaceted adventure through great joy and sometimes equally great pain. In “Blue Gangsta” we view it from the painted perspective of a realist, as Jackson has done before in compositions that explore love’s less euphoric side. The title also gives a nod of respect to the musical genre most famous for lamenting shattered hearts: the classic Blues themselves.  


Xscape and Guerrilla Decontextualization

Tempo-wise, the title track of Michael Jackson’s second posthumous release holds its own with such fever-driven classics as “Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” and “Tabloid Junkie.”  That Rodney Jerkins worked extensively with Jackson on the original recording from 1999-2001 and was able to revisit it more than a decade later makes it easier to accept the contemporized version as something the megastar himself might have done.

Lyric-wise, the song “Xscape” documents the King of Pop’s nonstop battles with the forces of guerrilla decontextualization. As a black man who defined and redefined pop culture with virtually every album released during his solo career, Jackson was a prime target for those who used guerrilla decontextualization

to portray him in the media as a “whacko” or “pervert” rather than as the brilliant creative artist and exemplary humanitarian that he was.

For the full post by Aberjhani please click this link:

Text and Meaning in Michael Jackson’s Xscape part 5 of 5 – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

 

King of Pop Michael Jackson and the World Community – The Journey and the Rainbow

          Michael Jackson with Spanish translation of quote from article by Aberjhani.
(graphic art poster courtesy of Facebook Group Blues Away)

The book Journey through the Power of the Rainbow, Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry, contains a full chapter of quotes on Michael Jackson as well as the short essay which follows. Anyone interested in winning a free copy of the book is encouraged to check out the Goodreads widget at the end of the essay.

At least part of worldwide reading audiences’ growing familiarity with my work has to be attributed to the late “King of Pop” Michael Jackson. Although I started writing about Mr. Jackson’s life and legacy after in his death in 2009, I did not understand just how many people around the world had been taking note of those writings. Then it was brought to my attention that several full articles had turned up on multiple websites in the form of unauthorized translations into German, Italian, French, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese, and other languages. Given the ease with which Internet technology makes it possible to accomplish such linguistic feats––precision of the translation notwithstanding––I told myself it had been inevitable.

Technological ease was only part of the reason. Another very significant part was what I had sensed myself and what author and Minister Barbara Kaufmann had identified as the “spiritual emergency” into which Jackson’s fans around the globe had found themselves plunged upon his death. They had discovered little to no consolation within a mainstream media and sideline tabloid press that continued to employ guerrilla decontextualization to sensationalize and capitalize off distortions of the megastar’s image even as the worldwide community he left behind flailed about in a tsunami of unrelenting grief. 

Please enjoy the full post by Aberjhani at this link:

King of Pop Michael Jackson and the World Community – The Journey and the Rainbow.

African-American Music Links Cultural Legacies around the Globe (part 1 of 3)

                 Following the death of Michael Jackson during Black Music Month 2009 a crowd
                 gathers and dances outside the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York.
(photo by Getty Images)

The basic idea underlying the concept of Pan Africanism is that of cultural awareness and connection leading to mutually beneficial cooperation between people of African descent throughout the Global Village. It is a concept which those who are possibly more politically, philosophically, and economically motivated have promoted at least since the year 1900.

One of the ways this powerful theory has met with notable success in practice has been in the area of music. To help ensure the viability of African-American music in particular, famed music producer Kenny Gamble and broadcast executive Ed Wright in 1979 persuaded then President Jimmy Carter to declare June as Black Music Month. The crowning event that year was a celebration concert held on June 7 at the White House. Featured on that occasion were representatives of the broader spectrum of black music, from the rock and roll rebel guitar of Chuck Berry to the sacred harmonies of gospel choirs.

It was a great moment and beautiful day that I won’t forget,” said Gamble, speaking with Dyana Williams in an interview for Frequency News. One of the architects of what came to be known as the “Sound of Philadelphia,” Gamble added that observance of the month remains important for a number of reasons:

It is a reminder of what a great art form Black music is. Our legacy and present contributions still encourages those of future generations. It is a cultural expression of multiple American genres. We need to keep it going.”

The producer’s interviewer, Ms. Williams, played an integral role herself in the establishment of the observance.  President Carter’s 1979 declaration did not declare Black Music Month as an ongoing annual event. That did not occur until Williams reportedly co-wrote, with Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) of Philadelphia, House Concurrent Bill 509, which sealed the official deal in 2000.

The Value of a Legacy

Nevertheless, each president since Mr. Carter has recognized June as Black Music Month. It took on deeply poignant significance with the death of Michael Jackson in June 2009. In addition, the loss in recent years of other iconic figures such as Whitney Houston, Abbey Lincoln, Lena Horne, Donna Summer, and Don Cornelius have further magnified the value of the legacy.

To enjoy the complete post by Aberjhani please click the link:
African-American music links cultural legacies around the globe (part 1 of 3) – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.

Looking at the World through Michael Jackson’s Left Eye (Part 1 of 4)

The late great Michael Jackson is the subject of the highly-anticipated forthcoming book, "Man in the Music," by Joseph Vogel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some philosophies claim that the eyes symbolize such qualities as the gift of prophecy, intelligence, and conscious awareness. In her Chakra Bible, Patricia Mercier describes the eye “chakras,” or centers of spiritual energy, as those which “feed the brain but can develop to detect extra-sensory information or send healing to others.”

That’s a pretty heavy thought. But as heavy as it is, it’s not all that difficult to entertain such luminous possibilities when considering the life and legacy of Michael Joseph Jackson.  Why? Because the life he challenged himself to live turned so many dreamed theories––both his own and that of others–– into material reality. It happened while he lived until his death on June 25, 2009 and it is happening now in the year of what would have been his fifty-third birthday.

To read the full article by Abejhani please click this link:
http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewarticle.asp?id=63535&AuthorID=25279

 

 

 

The Passion-Driven Writer and the Digital-Age Literary Marketplace

Michael Jackson “Immortal World Tour”

Following Michael Jackson’s death in 2009, I wrote a series of blogs and articles to which thousands of websites–and more like two million where one article was concerned– linked or simply “picked up” to add quality content to themed pages studded with ads. Most of the time, I was happy to see this because I knew how personally many of Jackson’s fans experienced his loss. I felt (and still feel) honored that they drafted me into such groups as Counterbalance: Honorable Journalists, Writers, Articles  and translated my writings into different languages to give voice to their grief, bewilderment, and love. In short, my work came to function as a form of global community service and I was comfortable with that.

What I could not appreciate were those sites that used my titles and/or text to draw traffic toward them without links to the original piece or any reference at all to me as author of the work presented. And yet there their digital counters were flashing the number of visitors the site had entertained and giving some indication of the revenue that I and other unacknowledged writers had helped generate for them– without so much as a nod or mumbled “thank you” in our direction.  Why was that?

Passion and Payment

Pens, pencils, keyboards, notebooks, and the eternally classic legal pad have long reigned over numerous writers’ passions whether or not said writers received payment for their finely-phrased ponderings.  For those of my particular literary species, writers are words’ uncompromisingly dominated lovers and there is rarely much we can do except cater to their various whims and desires. This passion lends itself well to the modern need to provide such “free writing” as the ongoing blogs and occasional reviews that help both to advertise one’s published works and to cultivate relationships with readers who might choose to invest in the same. Yet inside the public arena known as the digital-age literary marketplace, personal passion joyfully shared is only one major point of consideration.

How many volumes of journals have been discovered following the deaths of individuals who never promoted themselves as writers but who nevertheless proved, after the conclusion of their muted lives, to have been extremely prolific and mesmerizingly eloquent? How many manuscripts authored by “minor” talents have been “discovered” after the lives that produced them no longer inhaled or exhaled with barely-controlled creative ecstasy and later became bona fide bestselling traditionally published books? Or even more impressively: were adapted into celebrated films?

The physical, mental, and spiritual labors of those marginalized writers may have been under-appreciated while they lived but afterwards somehow magically blessed publishers with stronger catalogues and profits, provided teachers with the tools of their teachable moments, and created jobs not only for the actors performing in movie adaptations but for numerous others in the industry as well. Why should everyone have gone off skipping and singing to the bank except the author who laid the groundwork for their gleeful song and dance? The current success of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy is only one example of the syndrome in question. So is John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, Franz Kafka’s The Trial, and many others.

Something That We Oddly Are

To write for free or not to write for free is largely a question those whose only motivation for writing at all is money. Those who find their thoughts, conversations, and most intimate moments of interactive pleasure suddenly taken over by the need to transcribe a sudden revelation, a re-surfaced memory, or a glimpse of bright possibility into structured meaning have no choice. At the risk of sounding pretentiously grandiose, we write because writing is more something that we oddly are than something which we painstakingly do. So far as professions go, the impulse to constantly write too often feels like an unforgiving curse of divine enchantment and many struggle to transform that curse into a blessing of mundane pragmatism.

With the ability to refrain from writing apparently snipped from our DNA, the more essential question becomes this: whether or not one should allow various media outlets to publish one’s writings for free? The question is as legitimate, relevant, and ethical as such questions get for many reasons. So is the answer, which includes considerations of standards, experience, informed perspective, time, intellectual quality, and readership. Who can afford either the financial or the psychological cost of presenting him- or herself as someone utterly lacking in value?

The payment doesn’t always have to be money but certainly there should be payment of one appropriate kind or another.  How such payment is secured now depends largely on how well authors inform themselves about the changing dynamics of the digital and traditional literary marketplace. Those passion-driven authors determined to carry on their hot or cool love affairs with the written word will do exactly that regardless of the cost. Who knows: the love gifted to an unknown literary work today just might provide the sanity that helps save the world tomorrow.

by Aberjhani

Continue the discussion on redroom.com

Michael Jackson and summertime from this point on – by Aberjhani

A 52nd birthday note for the "King of Pop"

Please Click the Following link:

Michael Jackson and summertime from this point on – National African-American Art | Examiner.com.