"Black Like Bernie Mac"
I love Stevie Wonder, I love black colleges-I am a grateful product of one-and I grew up on the UNCF's Lou Rawls Parade of Stars. We watched it every Christmas Eve in our townhouse in the SandPoint neigborhood of Seattle. My mother always called in and pledged as much as she could. So I can remember when the UNCF's Lou Rawls Parade of Stars was aired on Network T.V. in primetime no less. But those days are gone; it's fucking two o'clock on a sunny Sunday and The Evening of Stars: A Celebration of Educational Excellence, as it is called now, is on NBC. This year's telethon is honoring Stevie Wonder. A bunch of black performers are attempting underwhelming but well-intentioned covers of Stevie's vast catalogue. James Ingram and Kathleen Battle joined forces on the grave and contemplative "They Won't Go When I'll Go." I've been listeing to Fulfillingness' First Finale a lot these days and I know every vocal twist and turn. James is ill suited for the material. Kathleen sounds amazing but the arrangement should have been adjusted (read: slowed down) for her operatic style. Donnie McClurkin just butchered "Jesus Children of America." Toni just got up and sang a forgettable selection from her recently released and overlooked album, Libra. Her weave is especially bad and her songs falls flat on account of its attempt to grasp at the young market. Kirk Franklin's doing his booty dance. What else would you expect! The song is the jam, though. I wish his obese, big-voiced choir got some shine since they are doing all the work (I also want to consult with them on healthy diet and exercise. I want them to fully understand that our bodies are our temples). Terrence "punk ass" Howard is on stage shucking, albeit slickly (thanks to his throwback conk). I despise him 'cause he spites us in his performance and public comments. Come on black people! Why are we so fucking masochistic?! Let's renounce black people who denounce us in thought words, and deed. Let's develop some motherfucking cultural self-esteem. I saw Stevie this summer at the Apollo and Stevie's back up singers would murder all these "stars" but Stevie is sitting and often standing there clapping and cheering on these performers sincerely. That's Stevie's heart. That's his spirit. I am not there yet but I've been trying. Lord knows that I've been tryin'. You gotta love Stevie and you gotta make a donation to the UNCF. "A mind is a terrible thing to waste" but black people are too often seen- in their own eyes and those of other races-as disposable, mind, body, and soul. I do not ascribe to this philosophy.
"We must always remember that being here on this planet is a blessing in of itself."
Rawls reciprocated his blessings. That's why I tuned in this year. Haven't watched the Parade since I left the nest. And I left a long time ago for sojourns abroad. So there it is. Peace be with him. SoulShower has a nice memoriam to Mr. Rawls with some choice mp3 downloads.