Telling others people’s stories – the victim and the race question

The brilliant actor Denzel Washington is set to take the role of Hickey, in Eugene O’Neill’s epic classic The Iceman Cometh.

The brilliant actor Denzel Washington is set to take the role of Hickey, in Eugene O’Neill’s epic classic The Iceman Cometh.

Where does this end?  Men can’t depict female characters?  Irish Americans can’t depict Irish immigrants?

Michael Schwartz is hardly an Irish name.  Schwartz, who died last week at the age of 73, was a Bronx-born photographer whose work appeared in the New York Daily News for decades.

Confederate Memorials Debate at Dallas City Council is Huge

… of the city’s four African-American City Council members to … conservative Republican and the first African-American in Texas to win … of the first resolution: “Whereas African Americans have been subjected to … from the dank recesses of racism? Why isn’t the … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News

COMMENTARY: Asian Americans urge others to stand against white supremacy

Asian Americans Advancing Justice has launched a new pledge campaign calling on Asian Americans to come together, join the fight, and take a stand against white supremacy.

“We call on all Asian Americans to join us in defending our vision of democracy — one where we protect the vulnerable amongst us, resist efforts to erode our hard-won rights and protections, and fight to advance progress for all marginalized communities.”

Here’s the full letter:

Dear fellow Asian Americans,

Modern day Ku Klux Klan members marched through Charlottesville [on Aug. 12], emboldened, in their own words, by our current president. They lacked hoods, but if anyone doubted their intentions, they carried torches and Nazi and Confederate flags to ensure the world knew what they stood for: white supremacy, white power, and nativism. They came ostensibly to protect and promote Confederate history, but took clear aim at African Americans, immigrants, and the civil rights movements of the past and present.

While few Asian Americans trace our roots to the Civil War, our history in this nation is deeply intertwined and impacted by white supremacy and nativism. At the turn of the 20th century, white mobs threatened — and even lynched — Chinese, Filipino, and South Asian immigrants, in part for fear they would taint (white) American culture. White supremacist groups helped to pass the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first law to ban an entire ethnic group. And white supremacy birthed “alien land laws,” barring “non-citizens” from owning land at a time when mainly Asians could not become U.S. citizens, and anti-miscegenation laws, prohibiting interracial marriage (a law that in California specifically singled out Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and other Asians). White supremacy also paved the way for the U.S. government to violate due process and incarcerate 120,000 Japanese Americans, many U.S. citizens, during World War II — an action upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Korematsu vs. United States and never formally overturned.

Given our history, we as Asian Americans cannot stand idly by and watch as white supremacists march through our neighborhoods. Even before this past weekend, hate crimes were surging upwards, including nearly 200 incidents against Asian Americans since January documented through our hate tracker ( and the murders of two South Asian immigrants, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani, in Kansas earlier this year.

We as Asian Americans also must not be complicit in the white supremacist agenda of this current administration. White supremacy drives the president’s Muslim bans, seeking to ban entire groups of people based on their national origin and non-Christian religion. It drove last week’s one-two punches from the White House. First, when the president announced his support for the RAISE Act, an immigration bill that would gut the current family-based immigration system, which has brought millions of Asian, African, and Latin American immigrants into the United States and remade the racial demographics of the United States in the past 50 years. And second, when the White House redirected federal civil rights resources to undo long-standing affirmative action policies. The administration’s purported claim to be fighting discrimination against Asian Americans flies counter to all other evidence that this administration and its allies and supporters seek to advance only the interests of fellow white Americans.

Our nation is at a critical crossroad. White supremacist leaders like David Duke have seized upon Charlottesville as a turning point in moving their hate and nativism mainstream. Without clear and decisive leadership from the president or other administration officials or Congressional leaders, it falls on all of us to resist white supremacy, including efforts to be co-opted by white supremacists who do not and have never had our communities’ interests at heart.

We call on all Asian Americans to join us in defending our vision of democracy — one where we protect the vulnerable amongst us, resist efforts to erode our hard-won rights and protections, and fight to advance progress for all marginalized communities. We pledge to challenge rising hate, to fight the president’s Muslim bans, to oppose the RAISE Act and the gutting of affirmative action, to fight deportations and defend DACA, to champion health care for all, and to ensure all voters can cast their ballots. We cannot do this alone, and we will be calling upon you to join us on the streets, in legislative chambers, and on the steps of the courts to stand up for our democracy.

In unity and resistance,

Stephanie Cho, Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Atlanta
Andy Kang, Legal Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Chicago
Aarti Kohli, Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice — ALC
Karin Wang, Vice President of Programs and Communications, Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Los Angeles
John Yang, Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice — AAJC

To sign the petition, go to

Health screenings plus 5K run highlight 5th African American Male Wellness Walk/Run

Published: Sat, August 12, 2017 @ 6:43 p.m.


Carol Smith’s face beamed after she received the results of one of her important numbers.

“Everything is wonderful. My blood pressure is good, and my cholesterol numbers are to be mailed to me,” said Smith, a nurse and community health activist. “It’s a wonderful way to learn what we need to know about staying healthy.”

Smith was among the many men and women who took advantage of free health screenings, which were the main offerings of this morning’s fifth annual African American Male Wellness Walk/Run of the Mahoning Valley that began at the Covelli Centre.

People of all ages took part in the 5K walk and run that meandered through much of the downtown and back to the Covelli Centre. The first two participants to return were brothers Marquan and Marquise Herron, both of whom play for the East High School Golden Bears football team.

Licensed medical professionals, including more than 30 nursing students from ETI Technical College in Niles, provided the screenings for blood pressure, body-mass index, cholesterol, blood glucose, weight, dental care and hearing. Also available were flu vaccines and tests for lead.

Read more about the event in Sunday’s Vindicator or on

Things to do this week in Detroit

our picks


at Detroit River

This annual weekend of excitement on the Detroit River features two boating competitions. The Presidents Cup has its final race at 5:10 p.m. Sat. and APBA Gold Cup race will run its final at 4:35 p.m. Sun. Qualifying and other races are Fri.-Sun. $10-$200. Detroit River, Detroit. (313) 329-8047 or


in Iron Street Neighborhood

This block club party has two stages of live music, dancing and lots of hugging. Sky Covington, Thornetta Davis, Sherry Scott and others are scheduled to perform. It’s also a backpack drive, and school supplies will be collected at the party. Organizers are asking for donations of backpacks and things that students would need for school, like spiral notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons, hand sanitizer, etc. Noon-9 p.m. Sun. Free. Iron between Jefferson and Mt. Elliott Park, Detroit.


at Chene Park

One of hip-hop’s and modern music’s most influential artists, Run-DMC was the first rap act on the cover of Rolling Stone and the first to get a Grammy nomination. Rakim and EPMD open the show. 8 p.m. Sun. $80 and up. 2600 Atwater, Detroit. (313) 393-7128.

big shows


Bob Seger & Silver Bullet Band at Huntington Center, classic rock, 7:30 p.m. Thurs. $96 and up. 500 Jefferson, Toledo. (419) 255-3300.

Rusted Root at Saint Andrew’s Hall, rock, 8:30 p.m. Thurs. $20. 431 E. Congress, Detroit. (313) 961-8961.


Summer Slaughter Tour with the Black Dahlia Murder, Dying Fetus, Oceano and more at Majestic Theatre, metal, 2 p.m. Fri. $29.50. 4140 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 833-9700.

Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy at DTE Energy Music Theatre, comedy, 6 p.m. Fri. $25 lawn, $39.50-$99.50 pavilion. 7774 Sashabaw, Clarkston. (248) 377-0100.

Playboi Carti at Saint Andrew’s Hall, hip-hop, 7 p.m. Fri. $56.46. 431 E. Congress, Detroit. (313) 961-8961.

Chad Calek at Royal Oak Music Theatre, television personality/paranormal, 7:30 p.m. Fri. $20-$200. 318 W. Fourth, Royal Oak. (248) 399-2980.

Ted Nugent with Jackyl at Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, classic rock, 7:30 p.m. Fri. $25 lawn, $25-$99.50 pavilion. 14900 Metropolitan Parkway, Sterling Heights. (248) 377-0100.

Shreya Ghoshal at Fox Theatre, Indian pop, 8 p.m. Fri. $53-$254. 2211 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 471-6611.

The Music of Prince with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Meadow Brook Amphitheatre, rock, 8 p.m. Fri. $20 and up. 3554 Walton, Rochester Hills. (248) 377-0100.


Marduk, Incantation and Abysmal Dawn at Harpo’s, metal, 6 p.m. Sat. $20. 14238 Harper, Detroit. (313) 824-1700.

Maze featuring Frankie Beverly with Chaka Khan at Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, R&B, 7:30 p.m. Sat. $30 lawn, $69-$145 pavilion. 14900 Metropolitan Parkway, Sterling Heights. (248) 377-0100.

The Alarm featuring Mike Peters at Magic Bag, rock, 8 p.m. Sat. $25. 22920 Woodward, Ferndale. (248) 544-1991.


Moonwalker — the Reflection of Michael at Emerald Theatre, pop, 5 p.m. Sun. $15-$30. 31 N. Walnut, Mount Clemens. (586) 630-0120.

Make America Rock Again Tour at Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, rock, 7:30 p.m. Sun. $16 and up. 14900 Metropolitan Parkway, Sterling Heights. (248) 377-0100.

Depeche Mode at DTE Energy Music Theatre, pop/rock, 7:30 p.m. Sun. $30 lawn, $49.50-$129.50 pavilion. 7774 Sashabaw, Clarkston. (248) 377-0100.


Lil Yachty at Royal Oak Music Theatre, hip-hop, 7 p.m. Mon. $26.50 and up. 318 W. Fourth, Royal Oak. (248) 399-2980.


SZA at Fillmore Detroit, R&B/soul, 7 p.m. Wed. $40 and up. 2115 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 961-5451.

live music


Science for Sociopaths, Fresh Breath and Chris Degnore at Small’s Bar, pop/rock, 7 p.m. Thurs. $10. 10339 Conant, Hamtramck. (313) 873-1117.

Jonathan Taylor Trio at Cliff Bell’s, jazz, 8 p.m. Thurs. No cover. 2030 Park, Detroit. (313) 961-2543.

Cosmic Knot with Gasoline Gypsies, Muruga & the Cosmic Hoe Down Band featuring Tonuy P-Funk Strat at Loving Touch, rock, 8 p.m. Thurs. $8. 22634 Woodward, Ferndale. (248) 820-5596.


Jason Richardson and Luke Holland at Loving Touch, rock, 6 p.m. Fri. $13. 22634 Woodward, Ferndale. (248) 820-5596.

Herbie Russ at Ocean Prime, rock, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Fridays. No cover. 2915 Coolidge, Troy. (248) 458-0500.

Canton Color Block Jazz Concert Series with Greg Nagy at Heritage Park, jazz, 7-9 p.m. Fri. Free. 1150 S. Canton Center Road, Canton.

Shallow Side with One Block South and Second Echo at Diesel Concert Lounge, rock, 7 p.m. Fri. $10. 33151 23 Mile, Chesterfield. (586) 933-3503.

Tart EP release with Double Winter and DJ Marcie Bolen at Ghost Light Hamtramck, pop/rock, 8 p.m. Fri. $5. 2314 Caniff, Hamtramck.

The Night Game with Nightly and Signature Mistakes at Magic Bag, indie rock, 8 p.m. Fri. $12. 22920 Woodward, Ferndale. (248) 544-3030.

The Torch Twisters at MotorCity Wine, pop/jazz, 9 p.m. Fri. 1949 Michigan, Detroit. (313) 483-7283.


Big Sam’s Funky Nation at the Cube at the Max, funk/rock, 6 p.m. Sun. $15. 3711 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 576-5111.

Psychostick with Ideamen and Screamking at Token Lounge, rock/metal, 7 p.m. Sat. $15. 28949 Joy, Westland. (734) 513-5030.

Lillie Mae with Craig Brown Band at Third Man Records, pop/rock, 7:30 p.m. Sat. $10. 441 Canfield W., Detroit. (313) 209-5205.

James Gardin, Red Pill, Cye Pie and Peace to Mateo at Loving Touch, hip-hop, 8 p.m. Sat. $10. 22634 Woodward, Ferndale. (248) 820-5596.

George Bedard’s “Let it Rock” a Chuck Berry Celebration at the Ark, rock/roots, 8 p.m. Sat. $20-$27. 316 S. Main, Ann Arbor. (734) 761-1451.

Hot Talent Buffet at Northern Lights Lounge, rock, 9 p.m. Sat. $10 donation to Freedom House. 660 W. Baltimore, Detroit. (313) 873-1739.

Dude with Six and the Sevens at Cadieux Cafe, rock, 9 p.m. Sat. 4300 Cadieux, Detroit. (313) 882-8560.


Samantha Fish at Callahan’s Music Hall, blues, 3 p.m. Sun. $20-$30. 2105 South Blvd., Auburn Hills. (248) 858-9508.

Arco Voz at Cliff Bell’s, Latin/jazz, 7 p.m. Sun. $10. 2030 Park, Detroit. (313) 961-2543.

The Chamanas with Vybra at Majestic Cafe, Latin rock, 8 p.m. Sun. $20. 4120 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 833-9700.


Ben Sollee at the Cube at the Max, folk/pop, 7 p.m. Wed. $15, $49 VIP. 3711 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 576-5111.

Flatfoot 56 with the Speakeasies at Small’s Bar, punk/rock, 8 p.m. Wed. $10. 10339 Conant, Hamtramck. (313) 873-1117.

Bucky Harris, Matt Wixson’s Flying Circus, Full Monty and Lily Livers at New Dodge Lounge, rock, 8 p.m. Wed. $10. 8850 Jos Campau, Hamtramck. (313) 874-5963.



Gigamesh at Necto, 9 p.m. Thurs. $12.50-$15. 516 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor. (734) 994-5835.


Night Bass Summer Phases with AC Slater and Jack Beats at Magic Stick, 9:30 p.m. Sat. $15-$17. 4120 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 833-9700.



Matt McClowry at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle, 7:30 p.m. Thurs., 7:15 p.m. Fri. and 7 and 9:30 p.m. Sat. $10-$18. 310 S. Troy, Royal Oak. (248) 542-9900.

“ROBOCOP! The Musical” at City Theatre, 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sat. $20-$25. 2301 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 471-6611.

BoxFest Detroit 2017, a showcase of women directors, at Planet Ant Theatre, through Saturday. $10 per day, $30 festival pass. 2357 Caniff, Hamtramck.

Andy Pitz at Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. $12 in advance, $14 at the door. 212 S. Fourth, Ann Arbor. (734) 996-9080.


Mike Bonner’s Uptown Friday Night at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle, 9:45 p.m. Fri. $20. 310 S. Troy, Royal Oak. (248) 542-9900.


“Satori Circus: the Choir” at St. Albertus Church, 8 p.m. Sat. $15 suggested donation. 4231 St. Aubin, Detroit. (313) 831-9727.

visual arts/film


“Wizard of Oz” at Redford Theatre, 8 p.m. Fri. and 2 and 8 p.m. Sat. $5. 17360 Lahser, Detroit. (313) 537-2560.


“Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement” artist discussion at Detroit Institute of Arts, 10 a.m.-noon and 1:30-3:30 p.m. Fri. Free for tri-county residents. 5200 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 833-7900.

PizzaCon 2017, pizza-themed art show and pizza party at Small’s Bar, 8 p.m. Fri. 10339 Conant, Hamtramck. (313) 833-9700.


’90s on Maple with Adam Graham at the Maple Theater, 7:30 p.m. Wed. $8, includes small popcorn. 4135 W. Maple, Bloomfield Hills. (248) 750-1030.



Summer Festival with water slide, games, contest, face painting and more at Clark Park, 1-4 p.m. Thurs. Free. 1130 Clark, Detroit. (313) 841-8534 or


Day Out with Thomas: The Friendship Tour 2017 at Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri.-Sun. $22 for ages 2 and older. 6140 Bray, Flint.


MotorCity Cage Night, live mixed martial arts fights at MotorCity Casino Hotel, 7 p.m. Fri. $20-$175. 2901 Grand River, Detroit. (313) 309-4700.


Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit adoption event at PetSmart, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat. 23271 Eureka, Taylor.

Compiled by Melody Baetens

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Local filmmaker highlights colorism in the African American community

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A local filmmaker has recently released a controversial documentary called “The Other Race” and it’s been getting national attention.

After all the buzz on the internet, Pvlse Media is now working on second documentary called “Pretty for a Dark Skin Girl”.

The film highlights colorism in the African American community and examines how some people may or may not perceive beauty.

Women from all walks of life came out to Columbus Public Library on Thursday to take part in Pvlse Media’s new documentary.

In the film real women from across the valley will tell the stories and give their opinions on stereotypes and how a false sense of beauty has affected women in the African American community with darker skin tones.

Terrence Flowers the CEO of Pvlse Media said, “Actually a friend put the idea in my head and once she planted that seed I took off. I have always been involved in writing and stuff like that so I kind of made a plan and it’s all coming to light now. The first one is called “The Other Race”, this one is called “Pretty for a Dark Skin Girl” and the last one is called Light Skin Vs Dark Skin”. They are all a study in colorism.”

In the documentary, Filmmaker Terrance Flowers will elaborate on the idea that society is programmed to think European facial features along with lighter skin tones are more acceptable in society.

Flowers believes colorism in the African American community is a disease that is present in all aspects of life.

Pvlse Media plans on creating more controversial documentaries to shed light on some of the issues in the African American community.

To watch “The Other Race” click here.

5 top picks from our sneak preview of Chapter 2, Khaadi’s new store specialising in handwoven fabrics

There’s a new contender stepping into the high street for fashion and it is helmed by one of the oldest players on the block.

Khaadi launches its ‘Chapter 2’ this weekend, returning to its roots with ready-to-wear and accessories created entirely from hand-loomed fabric and it may just steer local fashion out from its current generic rut.

One remembers the Khaadi of yore that specialised in basic but stylish kurtas created with breathable cottons and silks. One pined for this all-purpose minimalism that had slowly receded as the brand had veered towards mass-centric territory with prints, embroidery and the lucrative avenues of unstitched lawn.

It is this earlier ethos that Khaadi CEO Shamoon Sultan is aiming to bring back with this new chapter.

“It is a completely different brand with an identity of its own,” he agrees, motioning towards the interior of the new store in Karachi’s Dolmen City. Khaadi stores across the country and abroad are recognisable by their earthy wood-and-cement interiors while Chapter 2 follows a monochromatic grey and black artistic theme.

One remembers the Khaadi of yore that specialised in basic but stylish kurtas created with breathable cottons and silks. It is this earlier ethos that Khaadi CEO Shamoon Sultan is aiming to bring back with Chapter 2.

“I started out with pure hand-loomed fabric when I opened the first Khaadi store back in ’99 but then slowly it faded out, replaced by other product lines. With this new store, we’re reverting to our first passion, stocking hand-loomed apparel and accessories with only slight embroideries or block-prints.

“It’s a much more exclusive store compared to Khaadi simply because we don’t have that many craftsmen available to us. Hand-looming is a dying craft and right now, I don’t even have enough staff to create stock for three stores. As a result, the stock we have is limited with only a few pieces available per design.

“I remember facing a similar predicament when I first started Khaadi. I sold out most of our stock and then, for six months, I only opened the store for an hour per day because I just didn’t have enough to keep it running all day long. People would be lined up outside the store waiting for it to open and this actually gave me the confidence to expand further,” says Shamoon.

Of course, almost two decades later, Shamoon has made sure that he has enough stock to keep the fledgling Chapter 2 running during the onslaught of Eid traffic. “With time, I do want to open another store for Chapter 2 but I will only be able to do this when I have built a substantial body of craftsmen who specialise in handlooming.”

Chapter 2 made its debut in April at the Hum Showcase to much critical acclaim

One had gotten an initial whiff of Chapter 2’s ethos at the Hum Showcase event this April, where the brand held its own against an industry weighed down by colour and embellishment. In contrast, Chapter 2 was elegant, veering from savvy day clothing to statement wear for the night, all fashioned from fabric that was comfortable and painstakingly created by hand. Very slight tweaks have been made to the catwalk designs as they trickle down to retail racks: brightly colored, striped, delving into cutting-edge but wearable silhouettes.

The clothing itself may be limited in stock but sizes begin at XS (Extra-Small) and extend onwards to XL (Extra-Large). And possibly the biggest selling point is the pricing which thankfully follows in Khaadi’s mass-centric footsteps with the range for pret beginning around Rs2500 and remaining well below Rs10,000.

It’s enough to make one want to splurge out immediately and having gotten the chance to exclusively preview the store before it opened its doors to the world, here are our top five picks at Chapter 2:

1) The zig-zag tunic

This sleeveless tunic with slightly pointed hems immediately catches the eye. The thread embroideries run in zig-zags and the electric blue stripes pop out against the black backdrop. Dress it up or dress it down, wear it to work or an evening soiree, the design is all-purpose and timeless. And at Rs5,500, it isn’t too hard on the pocket.

2) The sunshine top

Every woman needs spurts of yellow in her wardrobe – especially if it looks like this tunic with its yo-yoing hemline and subtle striped cotton silk fabric. The silhouette is free-flowing and it particularly looks great paired with this monochrome black and white chequered pant. The shirt is priced at Rs4000 while the pant is for Rs2000. Not too bad a price for making a bona fide statement, we think.

3) The traditional cream kurta

This off-white handwoven cotton tunic screams ‘Eid’ but unlike most festive wear in the market, it isn’t laden with embroideries. Instead, the beauty lies in the basic off-white fabric, the slight bling added by the golden silk threadwork and in the traditional design. Paired with the matching cotton silk dupatta with golden threads running down it, these are clothes for Eid and beyond. The shirt is priced at Rs7000 and the dupatta is for Rs3500.

4) The technicolour tunic

Horizontal stripes run down the length of this cotton silk tunic, blending bright tangerine with fuschia pink, green and red. Baggy and easy breezy, it is the beauty of the woven fabric that makes this shirt stand out. Priced at Rs6000.

5) Funky footwear

And then there are the shoes, similarly crafted from indigenously created silks, printed with cheeky zig-zags and stripes in bright colors. Unique looking shoes are hard to find in the local market which is why Chapter 2’s capsule lineup is particularly appealing, with prices around Rs3000.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Birthday Special: Remembering Michael Jackson, the entertainer and youth icon

Thirty-four years ago Michael Jackson moonwalked his way to everyone’s heart and became the biggest sensation in the music industry. He is gone too soon but he will always be alive through his music, writes Kalyani Majumdar

Michael Jackson was an enigma when he was alive, and his death too was shrouded with mystery. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that he left a music legacy that is unparalleled. On June 25, 2009, the world got the shocking news of his sudden demise. Just 48 hours ago, he was seen practising for his comeback concert, This Is It.

Although in the last decade of his life he was in news mostly for his oddities and allegations, he will always remain a legend. Despite all the heresy and the rumours, it was his music that everyone would always remember him for.

MJ and Jackson 5

Michael Jackson was bursting with talent right from the time he started performing as a child artiste with Jackson 5. Even as an adorable little boy his talent and stage presence was noteworthy. He was a natural performer with a soulful voice that surpassed his age with songs like Who’s Loving You. He was born on August 29, 1958, in Indiana, US. Even as a child it was clear that Michael Jackson was meant for greatness. And, that he came to be.

Thriller changed the music industry

He literally changed the music scene of the ’80s with the release of his album Thriller in the fall of 1982. Billie Jean and Beat It were already chart toppers from the album. Then in 1983 with the release of the 14-minute movie based on the song Thriller, the world of music was under his spell. Michael Jackson was a household name. Thriller remained on number one on the Billboard album chart for 37 weeks and became the world’s best-selling album, with sales estimated to 66 million copies.

With the album Thriller, Michael Jackson changed the course of the music industry and how it operated. MTV was a young channel back then, but until the MJ phenomenon, MTV only focussed on playing rock and featured white artistes. His song Billie Jean was perhaps the first video by a black artiste that was played repeatedly on MTV network. It was this album that helped other African-American artistes gain mainstream recognition. The success of Thriller also put MTV on the global map. This was followed by a live performance in 1983 during the celebration of Motown turning 25. During his Billie Jean performance, he did the moonwalk for the first time, and the audience was enthralled. Michael Jackson the superstar had arrived. He was not just a singer anymore, he was a dancing genius.

The ultimate entertainer

Before MJ, the concept of concert involved few guitar players, a lead singer and few musicians. MJ changed that. His concerts were full blown extravagant sets with an entourage of musicians, dancers, lights, special effects and back projections. Every MJ concert showed his showmanship. He changed how the music business worked. The next album Bad in 1987 was also successful, but of course nothing could beat Thriller.

Songs such as Bad, The Way You Make Me Feel and Smooth Criminal enjoyed being chart toppers. With every album MJ was reinventing his talent and introducing new dance steps. The album Thriller brought zombie-style dancing and moonwalking on the foray. The song Smooth Criminal from Bad brought gravity-defying lean.

Michael Jackson during the filming of the video clip for the song Black or White, shot by John Landis.///Michael Jackson with female dancers in traditional Balinese costumes

MJ, the youth icon

Along with dance, he took special care of his look for every album, and his clothes. He influenced the 80s fashion with his bright red jacket, silver gloves, bright suits. He was the youth icon. In 1984, he was signed for a Pepsi commercial. The ad showed young boys imitating MJ’s dance steps and an African- American kid wearing a red jacket and dancing on the street. Clearly, MJ mania was here to stay.

Even today some of the biggest names in the music industry such as Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake have been influenced by MJ’s music.

The man that was MJ

Michael Jackson was a one man show — singer, dancer, choreographer, song writer, visionary, visualizer, and had a keen business sense. There was almost a child-like curiosity in him that made him likeable to all age groups, creed, colour and culture. He was meant for the stage. It was there that he really communicated with the world. His performance can never be dated.

Apart from music, MJ worked on humanitarian and ecological issues, and played his role in the betterment of the world through initiatives such as Heal the World Foundation.

Despite of all the eccentricities that Jackson displayed and the media did not miss an opportunity to attack him on those accounts, one must also consider that he was a star at an age when most of us start our schooling, and he was already impacting the world, and how people should relate and view music by the age when usually one is still figuring out a direction in life. Stardom comes at a price.

The world can often be overly critical of a public figure of his stature, and in the last decade of his life many people, including some of his fans, distanced themselves from him, but through all his trials and tribulations, one cannot refute the fact that he strived for perfection as an artist and, thus created memorable experiences for his fans.

Perhaps the real Michael Jackson was the man performing on stage, as he laughed, cried, displayed his vulnerabilities and truly expressed himself in front of his fans. He was rightfully the King of Pop and will always be loved for being who he was — a musical genius.

© Copyright Indian National Press (Bombay) Private Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment