HOW H-TOWN GETS DOWN
Beyonce’s internet had much to say about the fact that Queen Bey’s Album of the Year Grammy went to Harry Styles. Still, Beyonce became the official CEO of the Grammys, as she took the title of the all-time Grammy-ist Grammy-winning artist in Grammyland. But the real story here is the fact that Houston is ground zero for the best, most impactful music on the planet… yet, no one wants to recognize. Detroit is still celebrated for Motown, and they haven’t had a hit since the ‘70s. New York birthed hip-hop 50 years ago. But hip-hop left the nest long ago. Hello West Coast, Dirty South, etc. Jazz points to New Orleans, St. Louis and Kansas City as its trifecta of home bases. Country music lauds Nashville as its holy land. But did you see Scarface blow up the spot Grammy night? Or Robert Glasper solidify his role as the pharaoh of modern jazz? Or Lizzo slay with the song of the year? And FYI, H-town birthed enough country music legends to make Nashville blush. And then, of course, there’s “The One Who Must Always to Be Named,” who graciously allowed Styles to borrow her Album of the Year hardware. Still, Houston gets no love from musicheads. But the Grammy’s reminded the world, even if the world wasn’t paying attention, how H-Town gets down. Because Houston – not NY, LA, Detroit, Nashville, Miami or anywhere else – rules the music world.
THE AP AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES LAYDOWN
The College Board, overseers of the nation’s AP program, is acting like it’s enslaved to white nationalists. How on earth does that body employ a collaborative of some of the greatest minds on the planet to scour eons of scholarly works and create the long overdue AP African American Studies curriculum, and then punk out (lay down) to the lynch mob of conservatives who couldn’t spell “AP” if you spotted them the “A”? The College Board, which prides itself on its high intellectual standards (they run the SATs too) gave into the curriculum change demands from man-boy Ron DeSantis and his mindless GOP/Qanon minions; legions of people who have a combined IQ less than the number of Blacks who stormed the US Capitol on Jan 6. So, when they had the chance to “get down” and defend scholarship, research, thousands of years of combined brainpower and honor Black history as world history, the College Board chose to lay down. A reminder that no one’s going to save us but us.
WE ALWAYS GET DOWN
The irony of the College Board’s decision to give up on “Our Story” and lay down to folk with inferior minds and morals, is the College Board acted in a way that was the exact opposite way the Blackfolk they deleted from the AP African American Studies curriculum rolled. The other irony: a course created to push back against the historic white-washing of our story got white-washed. And it’s not just historical figures and movements that have been removed. Award-winning and phenomenal author/thinker Ta-Nehisi Coates’ groundbreaking article “The Case for Reparations” and Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” were axed. But what remains in us and in our ancestral DNA is the resistance we have exhibited every single day of our existence in this land. Always fighting back. Always standing up. Always getting down. Whether it’s in their curriculum or not.