Monday, April 26, 2021

#NewMusicMonday • April, 2021

I wrote this post right after the guilty verdicts came in for the Derek Chauvin trial in the murder of George Floyd. During the past couple of weeks, there have been marches in Minneapolis and Chicago for recent police shootings, including a thirteen year old boy. 

My current thoughts are a general feeling of relief, and that these marches and protests will continue, peacefully. I believe that the Black Lives Matter protests in the streets for the past several years actually helped create a positive result in the Minneapolis courtroom last Tuesday.

New police shootings of unarmed people of color seem to happen every week. The black body count continues. The difference now is video- from phones, security cameras, and police body cameras. This is why the purpose of shining a light by the Black Lives Matter movement is not going away. 

The Black Lives Matter movement is a continuation and renewal of the civil rights movement started in the early 1960's. It's actually a wonderfully simple branding that harkens back to the, "I Am A Man" posters carried by the black Memphis sanitation workers in their 1968 strike, and at protests shortly after Dr. Martin Luther King’s death.

As a sixty-six year old white man, the Black Lives Matter movement has given me a better understanding of what black people deal with everyday in America. 

The Black Lives Matter movement simply presents the fact that white lives have always mattered in a dominant Anglo-American society, but with particular favor compared to people of color in our criminal justice system. 

Of all the things for and against the slogan, "Black Lives Matter," I believe Michael Che has said it best way back in his 2016 Netflix special.

 

In the Chauvin trial, one realizes that justice itself is something much systemically larger than a singular guilty verdict of a police officer methodically killing a black man in the street. But, I'm hopeful that this may be 'the catalyst event' in our history to begin the process for the transformation of law enforcement in our country. The blue wall of silence was not a factor during this particular trial, and I'm encouraged by the testimony of the many law enforcement individuals called to the stand. The factor that made this guilty verdict possible was in large part due to the brave citizens who stood witness, and most importantly video-taped what the Minneapolis Police Department initially reported as a "medical incident." 

Darnella Frazier (Center)

My thoughts are with the eyewitnesses who also testified at the trial. I can't get out of my head seventeen year old Darnella Frazier who recorded the entire killing on video, as she was crying on the witness stand,

"When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles," Frazier said. She said she has stayed up some nights "apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life." But, she said, "it’s not what I should have done. It’s what he (Chauvin) should have done." (USA Today)

Darnella, the whole world watched your video, you're a hero.

We don't need to "Defund the Police," a stupid liberal branding that in fact does not help solve the larger problem of systemic racism in the criminal justice system. 

We have to move forward with national strategic planning to completely 'transform' NOT 'reform' law enforcement as it currently exists. To me, policing reform initiatives are like buying retread tires where new tire tread is molded onto an existing tire, for an old car. Criminal justice transformation is entirely different, it's like designing and building a new car not dependent on dinosaurs.

The planning and implementation required for such a transformation will in fact need MORE funding to help structure an entirely new criminal justice system. A new justice system that systemically performs at least to the low bar expectation that the lives of all people of color 'just matter' in interactions with the police. This verdict is not justice, it is rare. Hopefully it's the beginning, that spark in time for a new standard of accountability in law enforcement.

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In my search for new music this month, I found an Allison Russell song on Spotify who will be releasing her debut solo album, Outside Child in May.

Allison Russell is a new find for me and so I began to search her on the Internet. In that discovery, I found her moving spoken word essay, Dream of America published on YouTube (10/30/2020) just before the Presidential election. As I listened to Ms. Russell talk about her life experiences, I found it an important piece that continues to help my awareness of race and culture, and where we need to be as a people, for the people. 

I would suggest that if you don't have the time right now to view this video, that you come back to view it later as it will be well worth you time.

   

My usual moaning in new music searches for rock 'n' roll and Americana genres of music is that there is just sooooo much music coming out every month. Actually, a nice problem to have in a world full of real problems, don't you think?

I look at lots of different 'New Releases' reviews and playlists from many of the music streaming services or major (and even minor) online music publications out there. 

So why check out my little music publication every Monday? 

My answer, I generally curate a new playlist every week. I do this from artists' EP's or albums over just 'singles' releases. It doesn't mean I don't do singles, I include them in almost every playlist I make. It's just a marked contrast with the commercial music streaming playlists today that are typically put together with a mix of singles only. 

As a distinction from the pack, my YouTube playlists are most often a mix of  2-5 songs from an album or live video recording with individual artist singles mixed throughout. My hope is that you'll come away with at least one familiar or new artist that causes you to further seek out their songs or albums. 

With that said, here's 68 songs, most you've probably have never heard before. Believe me, I'm often just a couple of weeks or even days ahead of you on that one, but in channeling my inner Stephen Colbert I'll say, "A curated mix of my taste in music, found in album, sifted and separated by song, and carefully sorted, that is my segment... A Playlist." 

Enjoy my friends, stay well and mask-up!

3 comments:

  1. Strong essay on these turbulent times. It’s so disheartening when the U.S positions itself as a world leader on human rights issues and falters so glaringly with these issues at home. Haven’t gotten too far on the playlist as of yet but I’m liking what I’ve heard up to this point. Sounds like some honest, straight ahead rock and roll that eschews connection to a certain time period. Maybe it’s too early in my listening to say that. Anyway, thanks, as always. And I liked the early morning post.

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    1. Woke up at 4am on Monday, hit 'Publish' on Blogger, took a shower and got dressed, and looked around the house one last time. Got into my car and onto the 101 South heading to San Diego. Thanks for our time together on Sunday!

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