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Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

“And for love’s sake, each mistake, ah, you forgave”

In Uncategorized on August 24, 2011 at 9:39 am

I was very fortunate to grow up in a household where music was used as entertainment, therapy, and as a way of expressing ourselves. I learned to play the piano by ear. My aunts Jackie, Joyce, Velma, and even Melissa and my uncle Terry were pretty good singers. But it was my uncle Earl who somehow consumed all of the musical talent for himself or so I thought. Now other relatives all share in this gift. Unfortunately, however, I could not carry a tune in a bucket and I attribute that wonderful gift to my mother. Odd isn’t it; I could play it by ear, but singing was never a strength! And a staple in our household were Ashford and Simpson. And so, Nick Ashford, one of the most talented artists I have come to follow passed away after a battle with throat cancer.

He and his wife, Valerie Simpson, seemingly knew how to touch many lives, but especially mine. “Solid” was my ultimate jam, then as a kid, and now as an adult. “The thrill is still hot, hot, hot, hot…” And when I marry my affinity for music with my affinity for politics, I am in heaven. The election thrill is still hot as Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree marched through town after town on a grassroots campaign “becoming the first African American in modern history to win a major-party nomination for Mississippi governor.”

DuPree will now face Republican candidate and Lt. Governor Phil Bryant on November 8. DuPree said that “What we’ve been trying to express to people is a message,” he said. “I don’t think I have to focus on (race).” After realizing defeat, Democratic challenger Bill Luckett stated “We’re gonna have a party tonight. We’re just not gonna be celebrating my victory, I’m afraid.” He continued that “We’re gonna celebrate changing Mississippi…(DuPree)’s a good man, an honorable man [and] he’s a whole lot better than we’ll ever get with Phil Bryant.”

Back in July 2009 rumor mills had Greenville’s Mayor Heather Hudson as a potential candidate for either the Governor’s or Lt. Governor’s race. While that did not come to fruition, it is DuPree and his supporters who have taken on the challenge in this election thrill. As Ashford in Simpson would say “and with that feeling we were willing to take a chance, so against all odds, we made a start.”

The start that DuPree has made, the start that Mississippi has made is worth mentioning, noting, and documenting. I am greatly anticipating seeing a great campaign from Bryant and DuPree, as politics takes center stage and I will be anxiously watching, taking it all in.

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“My Mississippi”

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2011 at 10:45 am

Two versions of “My Mississippi.” One Black, one White. David Banner’s Mississippi Mixtap Vol. 1 or his album Mississippi. Jeff Bates’ song “My Mississippi.” Regardless of the point of view, regardless of the musical tastes one may have, these artists talk about Mississippi and how the state–or better yet, the people have made their experiences in Mississippi memorable.

Mississippi has been in the news quite a bit lately. Some coverage good, others not so good. From a highly controversial death of a Jackson man to the premiere of The Help, Mississippi is again commanding the spotlight around the issue that seemingly continue to be a sore spot, to say the least. Race. Mississippi is not the Mississippi my mother grew up in, definitely not the one my grandmother knew. My Mississippi has come to shape my life and experiences. My Mississippi continues to wear the shameful past of old…And yet, while stereotypes abound, I know that I have chosen to stay in My Mississippi because our pasts are so intertwined, our future is based on these intricate relationships, and to know that My Mississippi has matured so great that I fully participate without the shame of wearing separate and unequal.

No place is perfect, no state is without its very own regional, economic, or race issues; it is played out differently, but seemingly Mississippi is branded as the worst of the worst because of its past. While Mississippi sheds the skin of the old, it is leading the nation in the number of interracial marriages, according to the American Community Survey (click here for New York Times Article). Again, we are not perfect, yet, the largest number of gay couples who raise children raise them in the Deep South (Mississippi included).

So think twice when you think of the closed Mississippi of before; well, My Mississippi is a lot more…