Jan 2 2012

Cee Lo Green Changes Two Words of John Lennon Song, Gets Slammed With ‘F— You’ Tweets

When Cee Lo Green performed at NBC’s televised New Year’s Eve party, he offered his own rendition of the classic John Lennon song, “Imagine.”

It would seem that the Lennon song would make a great choice for a diverse crowd celebrating together and looking forward to beginning a new year — since the lyrics are all about how peaceful the world would be if we didn’t find ridiculous ish like nationality, class and religion to kill each other over.

Lennon’s version of the song asks the listener to picture a world in which the things that divide us are not in the way:

“Imagine there’s no countries it isn’t hard to do
nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too…”

For reasons Cee Lo later clarified via his Twitter account, he sang:

“…nothing to kill or die for, and all religions true…”

Lennon’s fans apparently didn’t appreciate Green’s editing, and the profane backlash at Twitter was instantaneous:

Cee Lo argued back and forth with the irate tweeters into the early hours of New Year’s Day, beginning with this explanation for the lyric change:

“Yo I meant no disrespect by changing the lyric guys! I was trying to say a world were u could believe what u wanted that’s all,” Green wrote. “I meant all faith or belief is valid…that’s all.” 

Green’s apology didn’t stem the flow of vicious tweets, but seemed to bring out even more extreme hate, such as,

Cee Lo exchanged tweets with a few of the more rabid tweeters, shooting off a few expletive-laced messages of his own, including an (expenses paid) invitation to one angry tweeter to come to Los Angeles and deliver his message to Cee Lo in person, and another that read, “F— you! Happy New Year!”

As of this morning, Cee Lo removed all of the tweets on his Twitter timeline related to the controversy, leaving only a holiday greeting for his followers:

The level of rage, the racism and the threats of violence Green’s performance incited is beyond ironic, since the song’s composer was a man known for his devotion to the ideals of peace and brotherhood. Interestingly, John Lennon was not against religion, he just imagined a world in which it was not the cause of hatred and bloodshed.

“I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.” -John Lennon

Sounds like Lennon and Cee Lo are saying the same thing. Give the brother a break already.

By Kathleen Cross for rollingout.com


Jun 16 2011

Happy Birthday Tupac

Yes, I am aware of the news that broke yesterday about Dexter Isaac confessing to shooting ‘Pac back in 1994. But, I don’t feel like writing a story about that today.

Not today.

Instead,

Happy Birthday Tupac…

“And my AIM is to spread more smiles than tears

Utilize lessons learned from my childhood years
Maybe Mama had it all right
Rest your head
Straight conversation all night
Bless the dead
To the homies that I usta have
That no longer roll
Catch a brother at the crossroads
Plus nobody knows my soul
Watching time pass
Through the glass…”

-Tupac Shakur “Hold Ya Head”

…wish you were turning 40 today.

Visit www.16thofjune.com for information about the 40th Birthday Celebration tonight in Atlanta hosted by Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur. The show includes a star-studded list of guests including Mike Epps, who is co-hosting the event with Ms. Shakur…


Jun 2 2011

Scott Heron’s Music ‘Reflected Black Anger’ (WTH ?!) I Can’t…

On Friday, May 27th, 2011, Gil Scott-Heron died, and it was up to the rest of us left here on Earth to decide whether that mattered much. Within hours, the Internet began buzzing about his life, his incredible talent, and the impression his words and music left on the minds and hearts of millions of us, of every ethnicity, around the globe.

I was one of the writers online that day, hurriedly putting together a post that might somehow reflect the impact this man had on me when I was first exposed to his music/heart/genius at a young age. Finding words to explain the emotional connection I feel to this poet/griot/brother I never even met is impossible, so I posted his words instead  and mourned his passing privately.

Two days later, after spending the weekend with his music, I thought I’d try again at a more in-depth tribute to Mr. Scott-Heron. I began a fact-finding mission by visiting Google to find details related to his life and death. I typed “Gil Scott-Heron” “died,” and at the top of the results list was this headline from a Washington Post obituary by Christian Salazar, a writer for the Associated Press:

Gil Scott-Heron, Whose Music Reflected Black Anger, Dies at 62

WTH?

You’re a journalist for the AP. You are given the great honor of writing Gil Scott-Heron’s obituary.  That’s your headline?

I can’t…

The matter-of-fact obituary was sprinkled with bland tidbits about Scott-Heron’s life, but was mostly a commentary on his “battle with crack cocaine,”  “time in jail,”  and “living with HIV.”

It is beyond me to figure out how anyone who has investigated this incredible artist’s body of work could write 546 words about him without the terms “legend” “genius,” “soul,” “passion” or “intensity” ever coming to mind.

“His songs often had incendiary titles — ‘Home Is Where the Hatred Is,’ or ‘Whitey on the Moon,’ and through spoken word and song, he tapped the frustration of the masses.” -Christian Salazar

There was no mention of  Scott-Heron’s Pieces of a Man:

I saw my grandma sweeping
With her old straw broom
But she didn’t know what she was doing
She could hardly understand
That she was really sweeping up..
Pieces of a man

Save the Children:

“We got to do something yeah to save the children
Soon it will be their test to try and save the world
Right now they seem to play such a small part of
The things that they soon be right at the heart of

Rivers of My Fathers:

Looking for a way. Got to find a way out of this confusion
Looking for a sign point my way home
Let me lay down by a stream miles from everything
Rivers of my fathers. Rivers of my fathers
Carry me home. Please carry me home

or his rendition of Withers’ Grandma’s Hands:

Grandma’s hands clapped in church on Sunday mornings
Grandma’s hands played the tambourine so well
Grandma’s hands used to issue out a warning…

Grandma’s hands soothed the local unwed mothers
Grandma’s hands used to ache sometimes and swell
Grandma’s hands, well they really came in handy…

But I don’t have grandma anymore…
When I get to heaven I’ll look for grandma’s hands.

It feels sadly tragic to me that a person could focus so intently on the perceived deficits in Gil Scott-Heron’s life and character and miss the wealth of love, honesty and instruction with which he gifted us.

As with countless creative geniuses such as Jackson, Joplin, Gibran, Hemingway, etc. (who possessed an extraordinary ability to tap into the love, hopes, struggles, pain and anger of a people) Heron spent much of his life emotionally raw—it is an existence that often leads exceptional poets, authors, artists and musicians to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.

It is interesting/frustrating/infuriating to peruse the Internet for obituaries of other infamous icons and find the legendary Johnny Cash, who fought drug and alcohol addiction and had several brushes with the law, but whose “angry music” is respectfully balanced against his entire body of work.

Yet, somehow the genius of Gil Scott Heron can so easily be reduced to “…black anger.”

Black anger.

*blink*

I’m wondering what you might say about that today, Mr. Scott-Heron ?

A Prayer for Everybody to be Free
by Gil Scott-Heron

This is a prayer for everybody
In the world
‘Cause I need you and you need me
We need each other

This is a prayer for everybody
in the world
A prayer for you
A prayer for me
A prayer for love and harmony
A prayer for light for all to see
A prayer that someday we’ll all be free

‘Cause…
There’s a lot that’s wrong
We must be strong
And not become bitter
If there’s a chance
That mankind will profit
Why should we scoff at something new
Or old – if it can make us better?

This is a prayer for everybody
In the world
‘Cause without you
And without me
Without love and harmony
Without courage and dignity
What would it mean
To be free?

Amen, Brother Gil.

Amen.