Tag Archive: soul train


[This post, I had to let marinate for about a week because of the subtle-but-knowing/understanding shock of Mr. Cornelius’ move and because the subject is so haunting]

So…I am not so crazy as those American Generation Xers, who would have every person who’d ever had a depressing thought subjected to some stranger “analyzing” them into true lunacy, eh?!
OR ~ I am just as crazy as most other under-appreciated, under-funded, underemployed Black American men are…
OR ~ The option is always open for some Don Cornelius-style self-deliverance from the “Sooooul Train” of the physical world!

My honesty, which comes from almost six decades on earth, plays to what I think people need to hear upon the news of the suicidal end to the life of the Father of the U.S.A. TV show, “Soul Train”, Don Cornelius, on the second day of February 2012. The first great “loss and tragic death” of this new year in entertainment.

“Soul Train” was the black answer to Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” during that time in American television history. It caught-up with me when I was in college during the mid-1970s, and not a ‘sleep-in Saturday’ went by that my dormitory roommate and I didn’t wake up, turn it on, get back in our separate bunk beds bed to watch it, and maybe learn or validate some of the latest party fashions and dance-floor steps!

But back to suicide and Black American men for a moment. I recently read from the Chicago Tribune http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-02-05/news/ct-oped-0205-page-20120205_1_highest-suicide-rates-hispanic-women-native-american-men, to the Root to Psychology Today http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mood-swings/201008/revolutionary-suicide, where the prevailing noting has been that “Black American men do not commit suicide, or it is a ‘taboo’ or diluted because of that ‘Mandingoness’ amongst us”. Nothing could be more ridiculous! That tells me that this is yet another mis-characterization and perpetuation of the stereotype Black American that those white Americans who were/are uncomfortable with people who look different than they do propagandizes. It goes along with “those ole Negro fairy-tales from slavery days” that we are somehow, because of that subjugation, less-likely to want to end it all? That is illogical and means subtly that “those people” are less than human, in-reality than those who would assume such assassinity. Don’t believe the hype, world! To do so says that Black Americans do not have the same ups and downs, peaks and valleys that the rest of mankind does! I am writing this to put to bed, once and-for ALL-times, this bullshit! To dispel the myth! What does this chart tell you about it?

I can testify…and I “ain’t proud to” admit that I’ve considered self-deliverance several times. Most recently when I was unemployed for an ungodly long time due to NO fault of mine with so much life-experience that nobody wanted to pay me for, as I continued to grow older, day-by-day! I’ve thought about it a couple of days before I wrote this post because, in a moment of panic, I thought I’d never hear from my suddenly, mostly-silent fiancee`, Nina again!! “And so…?” as my Ukrainian [it] would say. Don and I have the same “good eye” for Slavic women, I see! ;-*)
When you are faced with eviction, food banks, injury and denial of benefits; having to ask for Welfare or any kind of social safety net public assistance after having gone to the University, and lived the “right way”, hailing from a “good and “stable” family” (bullshit for another post) with two parents who were married for over fifty years and never getting into criminal trouble, often the edge of the abyss…is the engraved invitation to ending it all by ones own hand if things do not improve exponentially.

I most-often have felt suicidal due to the callousness of a lying romantic interest who got my heart “open”, just to break it. “Damn, some women!” :-j
It may sound silly but, I bet something similar that pushes your suicide button would sound similarly to me! To each their own poison (“oops!”) and I guess I’m at small risk to ever actually “do it” because, as I’m sure a few who are really close to me know, I’ve mentioned it as an option open to me from time-to-time during tough-and-lonely/depressing/unfulfilled times; the odds pundits of human behavior say, “Yee who talk about it will not really DO it”. http://tabangsendong.xu.edu.ph/index.php/the-news/185-indicators-of-suicide-risk, but my deep-seeded optimism that I will be comfortably rich soon always carries the day. When that happens, you won’t be able to get me outta here with a crowbar!
It must be that forlorn, walled-in Black Cat, beating-under-the-hard-wooden floorboards, Telltale Heart “Edgar Allen Poe” in me.

I dare you to now admit your suicidal thoughts, whatever your exterior skin color is, in our ‘comments’ section below! As the really old radio show used to say, “The SHADOW knows“…look in the mirror!

Lately I wax sentimentally about how “things” have changed, and not necessarily for the better.  Then I always catch myself, for I remember how bitter those sentiments sounded when my parent’s generation (the “GI generation”) espoused similarly. 

Sometimes I chagrin metaphorically when I see how greed is dividing the country I was fortunate enough to have been born into among the rich and poor with a diminishing middle.  I often wonder, if prices will ever truly fall while income rises?  Wouldn’t that be headline  good news?!  I see how many things are adding-up on my list of needed replacement or update that I cannot currently afford: my car, my lawnmower, my eye check-up, my dental check-up, my music amplifier, my mixer, my television, my computer, my hammer, my file cabinet, my playstation, my wardrobe, my vinyl milk crates when customed shelves are needed; my bicycle, my glasses, my location, my cordless telephone, my mobile telephone, my fence in my yard, my PC’s monitor and I think, “Damn, this stuff is outpacing my ability to live comfortably, and yet, I’m considered ‘lucky’.” 

Then the verse came to me from a past favorite song that is just as relevant today as it was in 1973 when they sang it for the first time.  It is from a song called “Shoe Shoe Shine” by The Dynamic Superiors; “Shoe Shoe Shine used to cost a dime, A penny would buy you plenty/A nickel was a fare that’d take you anywhere, Troubles we didn’t have many…” penned by my radio personality days acquaintances, Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson.

So I am reminiscing the “good ole days” for my generation (the Baby Boomers), in a similar way as our forefathers did and as every generation will as they age until the aliens really DO come from a far away world in another galaxy, and make prices fall simultaneously with the sky, paving the way for the income of a species that will rise to scorn that we humans squandered thousands of opportunities to finally get it right…or not.  At least that is what tonight’s full moonlit crystal ball is revealing here in me humble casa. 

Now, check out the outfits, their “steps” (choreography) and the “business” falsetto of the late Tony Washington on this record that I cannot get out of my mind…

Pickhit:  Obviously and joyously effeminate (which wasn’t an issue back then), Tony Washington’s sound was so unique! I miss it.  On “Feeling Mellow” he really stretched-out in 1975; Yes, that is emcee Don Cornelius (LOL); “Love, Peace and…SOUL!” who appears to ignore Tony, by the way. Hmmmm… I would have let the lead singer be the spokesman for the group in the interview.

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