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I started doing these at work for co-workers while I was avoiding ACTUAL work (cough. I’m certainly not doing that now. I am very productive and busy doing work things). Back before my sissie got all fancy, she’d (very) occasionally help me, so y’all would sometimes get them on days when I wasn’t workin’ away.

BUT THEN, she didn’t have time for the riff raff (aka: ME) and I was on my own*. So that means, that I do them when I have time. And my weekends are my own, so when I’m not here, neither or your facts. WOMP WOMP.

This weekend I scooted up to NorCal to hang with The Boy and see friends/go to a concert. I had some downtime/insomnia, so I also watched The Grammy’s. Which means that YES I watched Diana Ross wish herself a happy birthday.

Anyway. So ‘member when I told y’all that I never know what I’m gonna do my facts on until I start writing them? That is mostly true. Today though, I definitely decided to do a BHFOTD on Motown.

Which. Guys. Motown was originally founded by Berry Gordy Jr. as Tamla Records on January 12, 1959. So, technically, it’s Motown’s birthday (as sung by Stevie Wonder, Motown artist who was AT the 2019 Grammys)!

:::clears throat:::

Berry Gordy got his start as a songwriter for local Detroit acts such as Jackie Wilson and the Matadors. Wilson’s single “Lonely Teardrops”, written by Gordy, became a huge success, but Gordy did not feel he made as much money as he deserved from this and other singles he wrote for Wilson. He realized that the more lucrative end of the business was in producing records and owning the publishing. So, in 1959, Billy Davis and Berry Gordy’s sisters Gwen and Anna started Anna Records. Davis and Gwen Gordy wanted Berry to be the company president, but Berry wanted to strike out on his own. On January 12, 1959, he started Tamla Records, with an $800 loan from his family and royalties earned writing for Jackie Wilson.

Early Tamla/Motown artists included Mable John, Eddie Holland and Mary Wells. “Shop Around”, the Miracles’ first number 1 R&B hit, peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960. It was Tamla’s first million-selling record. On April 14, 1960, Motown and Tamla Records merged into a new company called Motown Record Corporation. A year later, the Marvelettes scored Tamla’s first US number-one pop hit, “Please Mr. Postman”. By the mid-1960s, the company, with the help of songwriters and producers (Did you know that Smokey Robinson – ALSO at the 2019 Grammys – was a producer at Motown? Me either.), had become a major force in the music industry.

Motown specialized in a type of soul music it referred to with the trademark “The Motown Sound”. Crafted with an ear towards pop appeal, the Motown Sound typically used tambourines to accent the back beat, prominent and often melodic electric bass-guitar lines, distinctive melodic and chord structures, and a call-and-response singing style that originated in gospel music. In 1971, Jon Landau wrote in Rolling Stone that the sound consisted of songs with simple structures but sophisticated melodies, along with a four-beat drum pattern, regular use of horns and strings and “a trebly style of mixing that relied heavily on electronic limiting and equalizing (boosting the high range frequencies) to give the overall product a distinctive sound, particularly effective for broadcast over AM radio”

More importantly, Motown, an African American owned label featuring mostly black music, contributed to the racial integration of popular music that achieved crossover success.

:::closes Wikipedia tab:::

So anyway. Back to the Grammys. They opened with Camila Cabello (Cuban American) singing her hit single (I guess, chile. I never heard of her before Sunday) “Havana” with surprise guests Ricky Martin (Puerto Rican) and J Balvin (Columbian). Which, also, can we all talk about just how FINE Ricky Martin, remains, ooooo? No. Okay.

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There was a Dolly Parton tribute! Honestly, I have always loved her. (heh. It’s still black history month y’all. Even though it’s been a dumpster fire as of late)

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There was also a tiny tribute to Ms. Aretha Franklin, with Yolanda Adams, Fantasia, and Andra Day. [Something Something Full Tribute To Ms. ‘Retha Coming Soon ™]

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And I was like, WOW. Look at Recording Academy, you guys are really REALLY nailing this tribute/representation in music business! Because Honestly, Yolanda and Fantasia are probably some of the best voices to sing an Aretha Franklin song. Like, WHEW. They can SANG A SONG. (Andra Day was wearing the cutest little outfit too!)

So back to the Motown tribute. I cannot think of a better way to congratulate Motown on 60 years of black music that made bands like The Jackson 5 and Diana Ross (and the Supremes *cough*) household names, and not just “race records”, than to do a musical tribute featuring past Motown Artists and new and upcoming black artists singing the songs that made Motown famous. Like, Motown was black owned company in a time when their singers had to use the service entrance, singing black ass songs that your parents (okay, MY parents/your maybe grandparents) grew up on. This was definitely something to honor during Black History Month.

Good job, Grammys!

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[mostly black male backup dancers looking adoringly at white Latina]

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[only black woman backup singer/dancer]

 

 

*yes. I know she wasn’t on the Motown label. I don’t curr. SHE IS AN ICON. AND I CAN ADD HER WHEREVER I WANT. BUT ALSO: Michael McDonald WAS under Motown at some point, so. I still get this one.

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WELL. I DO. Because it seems to be a lot truer than people think. In my case probably more than others, but to be fair: I live in LA and I used to go out an awful lot (HEY. SHUT UP. I mean OUT OUT, not just “I go to a pile of concerts” out) And I have definitely managed to connect people this way every once in a while. For instance, I once connected my sissie to Maurice White (singer of one of my favorite bands: Earth, Wind & Fire) in like three degrees.

BUT. I feel like this week has an ongoing theme and that theme appears to be Janet Jackson (and Super Bowl half time performers), AND I can never EVER resist a chance to poke at my sis, so it would be ridiculous to NOT connect some dots. Are we ready kids?

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that my sis used to date a rapper wayyyyy back in the day? That guy? Was Ras Kass.

And Ras Kass’s song, Ghetto Fabulous featured Dr. Dre.

Who collaborated with 2Pac for California Love

And he was in a movie with…Janet Jackson.

(Listen, if you don’t know WHAT movie, there really isn’t any hope for you)

 

HOWEVER. None of these these could be the BHFOTD because I already did a fact on Ms. Jackson, and Can you imagine 2Pac or Dr Dre doing a Super Bowl performance?  HAHAHAHAHAHA *cough*

BUT. Janet Jackson has a song called Burn It Up, featuring ANOTHER Super Bowl Performer: Melissa “Missy”/”Misdemeanor” Elliott.

Missy  Elliott embarked on her music career with all-female R&B group Sista in the early-mid 1990s and later became a member of the Swing Mob collective along with childhood friend and longtime collaborator Timbaland, with whom she worked on projects for Aaliyah, 702, Total, and SWV. Following several collaborations and guest appearances, she launched her solo career in 1997 with her debut album Supa Dupa Fly, which spawned the top 20 single “Sock It 2 Me”. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, the highest-charting debut for a female rapper at the time. Her 2nd album, Da Real World produced “Hot Boyz”, whose remix broke the record for the most weeks at No. 1 on the US R&B chart TO THIS DAY. The release of the next 3 albums resulted in 5 Grammy Awards and her being the best selling female rapper of all time (in 2017).

Additionally, Missy’s experimental concepts in her music videos changed the landscape of what a hip-hop video had as themes at the time. Her catalogue of songs have included themes of feminism, gender equality, body positivity and sex positivity since the beginning of her career, being one of the first to center on these topics among hip-hop and R&B performers. Performers such as  Destiny’s Child, Eve and Macy Gray have credited her for “clearing a path” in the American music industry towards “their own pop pre-eminence.”

ALSO. Missy is the ONLY female rapper to have six albums certified platinum by the RIAA, and the FIRST female rapper to be inducted into the songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2019.

So there’s your facts ladies and gentlemen. Never underestimate my ability to pull a fact outta my ass, connect some very random dots or drag my sister into my foolishness when she’s probably somewhere workin’ it.. I mean working.

BYYEEEEE…

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the other day Spank and I were having a very random conversation about LL Cool J and his GAP commercial that was FUBU commercial and how this NEVER woulda happened if they had even ONE black person in the room.  And she responded by telling me about a movie made about transgendered folk with NO TRANSGENDERED INPUT and she was not with this at all. Like, AT. ALL. She went on to say that obviously the best person to tell a story about a community would be a person from that community (see: reason I didn’t go see Green Book even though my boo Mahershala Ali is in it and for him I’d definitely… you know what? This isn’t what I came here to talk about), and instead Hollywood keeps giving country to white people when other people are RIGHT THERE ready and willing and CAPABLE of telling their own damn story (that does not center white people…Oh)

And one such person is Janet Mock. Writer, television host, director, producer and transgender rights activist.

Janet (who chose her name after Janet Jackson – I swear that Janet Jackson popping up in all of these facts is pure coincidence. Anybody who knows me well, knows that I do not plan these facts even though I keep saying that I will) began her transition from male to female as a freshman in high school, and funded her medical transition by earning money as a sex worker in her teens.

Mock started working at People magazine, where she was a staff editor for more than five years. Her career in journalism shifted from editor to media advocate when she came out publicly as a trans woman in a 2011 Marie Claire article, written by Kierna Mayo in Mock’s voice. She went on to become a contributing editor at Marie Claire, where she has written articles about racial representation in film and television as well as trans women’s presence in the global beauty industry. In 2012, Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, signed Mock to her first book deal for a memoir about her teenage years which was released as Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More in February 2014. It is the first book written by a trans person who transitioned as a young person. Feminist critic bell hooks referred to Janet’s memoir as, “Courageous! This book is a life map for transformation” while Melissa Harris-Perry said, “Janet does what only great writers of autobiography accomplish—she tells a story of the self, which turns out to be a reflection of all humanity.”

This Janet has also been a VERY BUSY BEE, so some highlights:

  • In 2012, she started a Twitter hashtag to empower transgender women, called #GirlsLikeUs, which received attention from several queer-media sites.
  • In 2014, Mock was featured on the fifth anniversary cover of C☆NDY magazine along with 13 other transgender women – Laverne Cox, Carmen Carrera, Geena Rocero, Isis King, Gisele Alicea, Leyna Ramous, Dina Marie, Nina Poon, Juliana Huxtable, Niki M’nray, Pêche Di, Carmen Xtravaganza and Yasmine Petty.
  • In 2017, Surpassing Certainty, Mock’s second memoir, was published. The book’s title is an allusion to Audre Lorde, who wrote, “And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”

But my favorite thing is this: Janet is a writer, director AND producer on the TV Show, Pose on FX. She is the FIRST Trans woman of color (ahem, Black Woman) hired as a writer for a TV series in history. The series has been congratulated for casting actual trans women in trans roles and for accurately depicting a unique queer subculture. In 2018 Mock directed the episode of Pose titled “Love Is the Message”, thus making her the first transgender woman of color (Hi there! Stop saying woman of color when you mean Black woman Wikipedia! Please and thanks!) to write and direct any television episode.

I know you’re thinking to yourself WTF you mean, highlights?! Like, that’s a pretty big milestone yeah? BUT HERE IS THE THING. 2019 just got started! And it looks like she did too!

Anyway. That’s today’s BHFOTD, folks. Janet Mock is here to slay.

mock

 

Protesting the NFL means that I did not see one second of the Super Bowl this year, not even the halftime show which I kinda wanted to see because The Root wrote an article calling Maroon 5:  “The Great Value Rolling Stones”, and “The Dollar Tree Beatles” … and HAHAHAHAHAHA. But then I realized that I’m not even interested enough to even give them halftime ratings. AND I heard that Adam Levine took off his top ON PURPOSE and not at all “accidentally” and well, THEN I was like UH OH. THE FCC IS GOING TO BE UP. IN. ARMS ‘bout dis. And it turns out, nothing. Hm. I wonder why this is different? HAHAHAHA, no I don’t.

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SO THEN, I was thinking to myself…what should I talk about? Because also, A WHOLE BUNCH OF SHIT happened over the weekend. But then I remembered I was here to talk about HISTORY*, not the present. And because it was Super Bowl weekend and apparently #JanetJacksonAppreciationDay exists, but I’d already talked about her (like, seriously dudes. I had ZERO IDEA), I decided I’d talk about another lady with four names who ALSO performed at the Super Bowl (in1996):

Diane Ernestine Earle Ross. Singer, Actress, Record Producer.

What? DIANE? Well, according to Ross, her mama actually named her DIANE, but because people don’t listen, it ended up being recorded on her birth certificate as Diana.  In fact, she was listed as “Diane” during the first Supremes records, and she introduced herself as “Diane” until early in the group’s popularity.

Anyway. Back to my facts. Ms. Diana Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group the Supremes, which, during the 1960s, became Motown’s most successful act, and are the best charting girl group in US history, as well as one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time. The group released a record-setting twelve number-one hit singles on the US Billboard Hot 100, going on to become Motown’s most successful vocal act throughout the sixties. Following significant issues with her comportment, weight, and alcoholism, Florence Ballard was fired from the Supremes by Gordy in July 1967. Gordy renamed the group Diana Ross & the Supremes, making it easier to charge a larger performance fee for a solo star and a backing group, as it did for other renamed Motown groups. Gordy initially considered Ross leaving the Supremes for a solo career in 1966 but changed his mind because the group’s success was still too significant for Ross to pursue solo obligations, but by 1968 Diana was performing a solo artist on TV specials. By 1969, she started recording her initial solo work.

Following her departure from THE SUPREMES, Diana released 5 albums in the 70’s, including two soundtracks (Lady Sings the Blues and Mahogany). By this time, she’d also ventured into acting: Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany, and The Wiz.

AGAIN, because Ms. Diana “The Boss” Ross is a FUCKING LEGEND (and even with all the shit I’m leaving out, there’s still SO MUCH), and I have actual work to do, please to enjoy these fun facts:

  • Diana worked at Hudson’s Department store, where she was the first black employee allowed outside the kitchen.
  • She was the first entertainer in Japan’s history to receive an invitation to the Imperial Palace for a private audience with the Empress Nagako, wife of Emperor Hirohito.
  • She was the first African-American woman to co-host the 46th Academy Awards, with John Huston, Burt Reynolds, and David Niven.
  • Dreamgirls was not about the Supremes. Or Diana Ross specifically. It was just super coincidental that the plot of the musical was VERY SIMILAR to true life events of the Supremes. Down to the character of Deena Jones leaving the Dreams in 1972 to pursue a career as an actress. Like Diana. Who starred in her first motion picture (Lady Sings the Blues) in 1972.
  • Motown: The Musical is a Broadway show that is about the creation of Motown AND Berry Gordy’s romance with Diana Ross.
  • Diana Ross’s sister, Barbara Ross-Lee was the first African American woman to be appointed dean of an American medical school. Yes. I know that this could really be a separate fact, but this is already SO LONG (that’s what she said), that I’d figured I’d give y’all a two-fer in case I don’t get to this tomorrow. Also, did you know that Barbara Ross also had that same long ass gorgeous pile of hair? She did! So I guess it’s no surprise that a bunch of racists from East Virginia Medical School got her confused for her sister.

And. In case you’re wondering what she’s up to these days: On February 10, 2019, she’ll be honored by the Recording Academy at the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards.

Not all the BHFOTDs are gonna be short and sweet like me, but lest you think I want the last thing you see to be a story about a bunch of racists doing racists things, please enjoy one of my favorite clips from The Wiz, featuring Ms. Diane/a Ross.

 

 

 

*So yeah. I know that I said I was here to talk about HISTORY and not the present, but technically 1984 is the past AND as it turns out when you let people be racists in 1984, turns out they have kids who become racists in 2011. Go figure.

 

 

 

It’s 57 degrees in California which is equivalent for Californians to the polar Vortex in the Midwest, so what else would I be talking about except… baby suits. (Bathing suits for those who don’t know that when spank was learning to talk she couldn’t pronounce BATHING SUITS and it stuck.)

Here’s where I’d normally post a picture of me in a baby suit. BUT INSTEAD, Imma post the reason you’re not gonna get that:

PartyT

(My SIL understands me AND my boobs)

That’s right kids! It’s the first day of Black History Month and I’m kicking it off by talking about how my boobs don’t know how to stay in their assigned seats! And if you’re new here (and you might actually be! I added some suckers new friends to the list this year!), WELCOME. Welcome to “Lookit Stuff Black People Did/Do” Month via a somewhat questionable peek into my brain.

And if you’re NOT new here, then WELCOME BACK, and you know that even though I said this post was about MY boobs, you know that it’s really not. It’s about Janet Jackson. (That part you probably didn’t know, but that’s why *EYE* write the facts and not you), which is kinda perfect since the Super Bowl is this weekend and I’m not gonna guarantee y’all a Super Bowl post because I still haven’t been supporting professional football and MIGHT NOT watch the game.

Anyway. Back to Janet. Ms. Jackson, if you’re me nasty.

Janet Damita Jo Jackson, the youngest child of the Jackson family, is a singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer. A prominent figure in popular culture, she is known for sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, and elaborate stage shows. She began her career with the TV series The Jacksons (1976) and went on to appear in other shows through the 70’s and 80’s, including Good Times and Fame.

After signing a recording contract with A&M Records in 1982, she became a pop icon following the release of her third and fourth studio albums Control (1986) and Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989). Her collaborations with record producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis incorporated elements of rhythm and blues, funk, disco, rap and industrial beats, which led to crossover success in popular music.

In 1991 Jackson signed the first of two record-breaking multimillion-dollar contracts with Virgin Records, establishing her as one of the highest-paid artists in the industry. Her fifth album Janet (1993) saw her develop a public image as a sex symbol as she began to explore sexuality in her music. That same year, she appeared in her first starring film role in Poetic Justice and has continued to act in feature films. Jackson then released her sixth studio album The Velvet Rope (1997), which is distinguished for its innovative production and dark lyrical content. By the end of the 1990s, she was named by Billboard magazine as the second most successful recording artist of the decade after Mariah Carey.

Ok. Now that we have the backstory (because when you are a Mother Fucking LEGEND, there’s a lot of information to sort through), let’s get to the lightning round. DID YOU KNOW:

  • Janet Jackson has the most albums with five or more Top 10 hits.
  • She holds the record for the most consecutive top-ten entries on US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart by a female (black/white/whatever) artist?
  • In 2008, Billboard ranked her 2nd most successful dance club artist of all-time after Madonna (who is dead to me. So that makes Damita Jo No.1. Why do I feel this way about Madonna? I’m glad you asked!)
  • Her album Janet opened at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, making her the first female artist in the Nielsen Soundscan era to do so.
  • Jackson’s second hits compilation, Number Ones (retitled The Best for international releases), was released in November 2009. The album’s promotional single “Make Me”, produced with Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, debuted in September. It became Jackson’s nineteenth number one on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart, making her the first artist (black/white/whatever) to have number-one singles in four separate decades.

Present day: Ms. Jackson is still performing and making movies and being philanthropic AF! Took her some time to get back into music. WHY IS THAT, you ask? I mean, Janet Damita Jo Jackson was doing her damn thang and then all of a sudden…silence. Again. SO GLAD YOU ASKED.

AHEM. Janet was chosen by the NFL and MTV to perform at the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime in 2004 with surprise fuckboy Justin Timberlake (yeah, I said it). She performed a medley of songs, before singing “Rock Your Body”. As Timberlake sang the lyric “I’m gonna have you naked by the end of this song”, he tore open her costume, exposing her right breast to 140 million viewers. Both performers apologized, but only one was blacklisted. And ONE went on to perform again in 2018.

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Anyway.

This is how I combined a story about my boobs with Janet Jackson, the Super Bowl, AND Black History. I don’t NORMALLY make BHFOTD this long, but sometimes I do. AND I DO WHAT I WANT. You didn’t really think I wasn’t gonna add my favorite Janet Jackson song, did you? (Also, Janet (her boobs) and her brother throwing up the middle finger is a WHOLE. ASS. MOOD.)

Happy Friday/Black History Month boys and girls!

 

 

Do you ever wonder about nick names? Because I do. Because OF COURSE I DO.

I am ever called my name (and Briya, IF I ALLOW IT).

Please also know that I only ever respond to my name, unless of course you’re the Starbucks barista because honestly I don’t have time in the mornings to spell out my name and if y’all could see the daily variations of my name when you say HELLO SABRIYA to me pretty much every damn day, while I’m wearing a badge WITH MY NAME ON IT, you would just…

*cough*

Sorry. Off topic.
Anyways. I always wondered about how Richard became Dick.
Because also, OF COURSE I DID.

So anyways, lemme tell you what I read on the internets:

How Dick became a nickname for Richard is known and is one of those “knee bone connected to the thigh bone” type progressions. Due to people having to write everything by hand, shortened versions of Richard were common, such as ‘Ric’ or ‘Rich’.  This in turn gave rise to nicknames like ‘Richie’, ‘Rick’, among others.  People also used to like to use rhyming names; so someone who was nicknamed Rich might further be nicknamed Hitch.  Thus, Richard -> Ric -> Rick gave rise to nicknames like Dick and Hick around the early 13th century.

While few today call Richards ‘Hick’, the nickname ‘Dick’ has stuck around, and of course has come to mean many other things as well.  Its persistence as associated with Richard is probably in part because around the 16th century Dick started to be synonymous with ‘man’, ‘lad’, or ‘fellow’, sort of a general name for any ‘Tom, Dick, or Harry” (with Dick at this point firmly established as an “every man” name).  It may well be that this association with ‘man’ is in turn how ‘dick’ eventually came to mean ‘penis’.

I know. WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS, BRIYA?
Because I just am. And I ain’t sorry.
And I how else am I gonna talk about to talk about a man named Nat (pronounced Nate – yeah, I dunno either) “Deadwood Dick” Love?

AHEM.

Nat Love (pronounced “Nate” Love) (June 1854 – 1921) was an African-American cowboy and former slave in the period following the American Civil War. His self-reported exploits and claims (as found in his published autobiography) have made him the most famous black hero of the Old West

Love was born a slave on the plantation of Robert Love in Davidson County, Tennessee around 1854. Despite slavery-era statutes that outlawed black literacy, he learned to read and write as a child with the help of his father, Sampson. When slavery ended, Love’s parents stayed on the Love plantation as sharecroppers, attempting to raise tobacco and corn on about 20 acres, but Sampson died shortly after the second crop was planted. Afterward, Nat took a second job working on a local farm to help make ends meet. At about this time, he was noted as having a gift for breaking horses. After some time of working extra odd jobs in the area, he won a horse in a raffle, which he then sold back to the owner for $50. He used the money to leave town and, at the age of 16, headed West.

Love traveled to Dodge City, Kansas, where he found work as a cowboy with cattle drivers from the Duval Ranch (located on the Palo Duro River in the Texas Panhandle). He trained himself to become an expert marksman and cowboy, for which he earned from his co-workers the moniker “Red River Dick.” In 1872, Love moved to Arizona, where he found work at the Gallinger Ranch located along the Gila River. He claims in his autobiography that while working the cattle drives in Arizona he met Pat Garrett, Bat Masterson, Billy the Kid and others.

After driving a herd of cattle to the rail head in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, he entered a rodeo on the 4th of July in 1876. He won the rope, throw, tie, bridle, saddle, and bronco riding contests. It was at this rodeo that he claims friends and fans gave him the nickname “Deadwood Dick”, a reference to a literary character created by Edward Lytton Wheeler, a dime novelist of the day.

In 1889, Love decided he needed to leave the cowboy life. He married his wife Alice and settled down, initially in Denver, before finally moving to Southern California. In 1907, Love published his autobiography entitled Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as ‘Deadwood Dick’. [NOT a Tale of Two Dicks. How do you end up with TWO nicknames with Dick in the title? These are Questions That Need Answers]

ANYWAYS. Love spent the latter part of his life as a courier and guard for a Los Angeles securities company. Love died there in 1921, at the age of 67.

 

I was watching Boogie Nights. And LOL. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be this hilarious, or it was me. To be fair though, I am easily amused.
ANYWAYS. It was my first time (seeing the movie. Ahem) and it reminded me of this story, which of course reminded me of a black history fact:

When Nesto was deployed, EVERYONE went by a nickname. I have my theories on why this was, but it’s not really important to the story unless you really wanna understand how terrifying it must be to be told that if they know who YOU are they can find out who your family is and retaliate accordingly. ANYWAYS. Nesto’s name wasn’t Shadow. Which I found kinda hilarious, because here’s a guy that already has a nickname and y’all give him a different one, but okay.

SO THIS ONE TIME… we had a cookout, and he invited some guys that were deployed with him.

Him to me: This is so-and-so. He was deployed with me.
Me: So what’d y’all call him over there?
Him: Dirk.
Me. Who is also standing next to my mama: AS IN DIGGLER?! And then I laughed so hard I almost choked.

And now for the black history fact. It’s safe for work. Promise.

(The moral of this story: I can find a black history fact pretty much anywhere. You’ve been warned)

And that’s all folks! Thanks for playing this year’s look at stuff black people did even though white people did they’re damnest to hold them down! Stay tuned for next year’s BHFOTD where I’m going to SAY that I’m going to do better and plan them out, but them I’m not because that isn’t what I do. Not sorry. Although I really hope God’s got a sense of humor, or I’m gonna be in a LOT OF TROUBLE.
Love y’all!

Hi Guys!

I know, I know…IT’S we don’t care about black history anymore because it’s MARCH. BUT. I was on vacation AND I came back to office feckery. So yesterday was NOT the day, and I don’t plan these out so you get what you get when I give it to you [WOW. I am really turning into my mama]. ALSO. It’s the second to last BHFOTD until next February*. OR. Until I feel like writing a surprise fact, which definitely won’t be happening any time soon. ON TO TODAY’S FACT!

SO. As I write this fact Spanky is supposed to be somewhere studying for midterms, but I’m fairly certain that she’s watching/waiting on a giraffe to give birth.
Senioritis, y’all. The struggle is real. [ALSO: HOOOOW IN ALL TF IS SHE ALREADY GRADUATING?! I JUST DROPPED HER OFF TO FRESHMAN ORIENTATION YESTERDAY]
*sniff*
BUT. I will say that she’s had an amazing experience.
Last semester she “studied” abroad.
“Studied?”
Yes. Because that chile sent me pictures of her everywhere but class. Clubs. Restaurants. Her bed. Other countries.

Me: How you gettin’ any school work done?
ALSO ME: As long as she’s passing her classes, do I really care?

No. If we’re gonna be honest. And I am, because hello! In fact, sounded like she learned more from traveling that I expected. She messaged me from Munich to tell me that her and her friends went to the Dachau Concentration Camp memorial. I ain’t get any pictures, because Spanky knows that I would fly to wherever she was to knock her phone on the ground. But, she told me how heartbreakingly sad it was to SEE. And how cold it was when she was there and she was layered up. She told me couldn’t imagine being in that weather with no jacket or shoes. She couldn’t understand how people could watch other people being marched 3 miles from the train station to certain death. [Short answer: because people have no problem letting horrifying things happen to other people so long as that people is not them] She also told me that every German student is required to tour a concentration camp. Because they’re pretty serious about this terrible history not repeating itself.

And in typical me fashion, I said: This is what it looks like to really be sorry for things that you’ve done. You acknowledge it, and learn from it, AND YOU DON’T LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN.

And in typical YOU fashion I’m sure you realized that I’ve finally gotten to my fact for today:

Did you know that there is such a thing as America’s Black Holocaust Museum? It was located in Milwaukee, WI. It was founded in 1988 by James Cameron, the only known survivor of a lynching attempt. When Cameron was 16, he and two friends were charged in the murder of a white man during an armed robbery attempt. He said he ran away before the man was killed. The three were arrested. A lynch mob “broke” into the jail and the two friends were beaten and hanged. Cameron was beaten but before he was hanged an unidentified woman intervened, saying he was not guilty. He was returned to the jail. After that come to Jesus (literally), he changed his life, got an education, and studied all his life about slavery and the African-American experience in the United States. He worked in civil rights, wrote independent articles, and collected materials having to do with African-American history.

After retirement, Cameron and his wife visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Israel. He thought that the focus on the personal history of individuals and their stories, rather than on numbers and processes, led to a better understanding of the reality of the Holocaust. Then living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1988 he founded the museum, with the help of philanthropist Daniel Bader, having been collecting materials on the African-American experience in the US for many years.

ABHM’s facility, located in Milwaukee, was the only memorial dedicated specifically to the victims of the enslavement of Africans in the United States. The building was closed due to financial issues, but re-opened as a virtual facility on February 25, 2012 (Me: with another typical belated birthday shout out). The Virtual Museum has guided tours related to six distinct historic earas:
Before Captivity in Africa
The Middle Passage
Slavery in the Americas
Reconstruction era of the United States
Civil Rights
• Modern Day Injustices [I’m assuming this one isn’t linked because it’s AN ONGOING PROJECT. So as a favor, here’s one from YESTERDAY.]

ABHM unlike these here united states welcomed visitors of all races and backgrounds, and encouraged community understanding of the nation’s history of racism, prejudice, social change and cross-cultural understanding.

*Y’all get a second fact, just because I hate ending BHM with sad and depressing facts.

So this one time I was at a bar watching football and talking smack to the bartender (because YES, I DON’T CARE IF THE STEELERS ARE LOSING, THEY ARE STILL MY TEAM, SIR, AND THEY COULD TOTALLY TURN THIS GAME AROUND), and this black lady who ALSO was a Steelers fan walks in:

Bartender says hello to her and then turns to me: Hey! She’s also a Steelers fan.
Me: AAAYYYYEEE!!
Bartender: Oh, do you two know each other?
Me: Why yes, I do. All black people know each other.
Bartender::: looks shamed ::::
Me::: is highly amused:::

The moral of the story is that NOT ALL BLACK PEOPLE KNOW EACH OTHER.

Unless of course you are John Mercer Langston and Langston Hughes:

John Mercer Langston was born free in 1829 in Louisa County, Virginia the youngest of Lucy Jane Langston (a freedwoman of mixed decent – African and Native American) and Ralph Quarles, a white planter from England. Quarles had freed Lucy and their daughter Maria in 1806, in the course of what was a relationship of more than 25 years. Their three sons were born free, as their mother was free. After his parents died, John was moved to Chillicothe, Ohio with his guardian and his brothers. He enrolled in the preparatory program at Oberlin College (following after his brothers who were the first black students to be admitted) at the age of 14. John Langston earned a bachelor’s degree in 1849 and a master’s degree in theology in 1852 from Oberlin. Denied admission to law schools in New York and Ohio because of his race, Langston studied law (or “read the law”, as was the common practice then) as an apprentice under attorney and Republican US congressman Philemon Bliss; he was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1854.

With his brothers, helped runaway slaves to escape to the North along the Ohio part of the Underground Railroad. In 1858 he and Charles partnered in leading the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society, with John acting as president and traveling to organize local units, and Charles managing as executive secretary in Cleveland.

In 1863 when the government approved founding of the United States Colored Troops, John Langston was appointed to recruit African Americans to fight for the Union Army. He enlisted hundreds of men for duty in the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth regiments, in addition to 800 for Ohio’s first black regiment. Even before the end of the war, Langston worked for issues of black suffrage and opportunity. He believed that black men’s service in the war had earned their right to vote, and that it was fundamental to their creating an equal place in society.

In 1864 Langston chaired the committee whose agenda was ratified by the black National Convention: they called for abolition of slavery, support of racial unity and self-help, and equality before the law. To accomplish this program, the convention founded the National Equal Rights League and elected Langston president. He served until 1868. Like the later National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the League was based in state and local organizations.

In 1868 Langston moved to Washington, D.C. to establish and serve as dean of Howard University’s law school; it was the first black law school in the country. Appointed acting president of the school in 1872, and vice president of the school, Langston worked to establish strong academic standards. He also engendered the kind of open environment he had known at Oberlin College. Langston was passed over for the permanent position of president of Howard University School of Law by a committee that refused to disclose the reason.

During 1870, Langston assisted Republican Senator Charles Sumner from Massachusetts with drafting the civil rights bill that was enacted as the Civil Rights Act of 1875. The 43rd Congress of the United States passed the bill in February 1875 and it was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1875.

In 1888, Langston was urged to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives by fellow Republicans, both black and white. Leaders of the biracial Readjuster Party, which had held political power in Virginia from 1879 to 1883, did not support his candidacy. Langston ran as a Republican and lost to his Democratic opponent. He contested the results of the election because of voter intimidation and fraud. After 18 months, the Congressional elections committee declared Langston the winner, and he took his seat in the US Congress. He served for the remaining six months of the term, but lost his bid for reelection as Democrats regained control of Virginia. Langston was the first black person elected to Congress from Virginia, and he was the last for another century.

From 1891 until his death in 1897, he practiced law in Washington, DC. He died at his home, Hillside Cottage at 2225 Fourth Street NW in Washington, DC, on the morning of November 15 from malaria induced acute indigestion.

So.

HOW DO JOHN MERCER LANGSTON AND LANGSTON HUGHES KNOW EACH OTHER?
John Langston was the great-uncle of Langston Hughes, poet.

Happy Wednesday kids! See you tomorrow. Maybe. If I’m not swamped.

Everyone is at home, with a paid day off, and I am at work. DAMMIT.
I didn’t think to take today off because I never remember holidays that don’t apply to me.
But also, since I’m off on Friday and NEXT Monday (so don’t be looking for a fact), I guess I won’t complain too loudly.

NORMALLY, I’d just do a random black fact because after all, that’s what I do.
BUT TODAY IS PRESIDENTS’ DAY.

And really, I COULD talk about our only black President to fulfill this requirement…
For instance: I looked up little known facts about my President, and did you know he says he says he hasn’t liked ice cream since working at Baskin-Robbins as a teenager?
It also said that his childhood nickname was Barry and let’s be honest, that is NOT a little known fact, nor is that at ALL surprising. His name is BARACK FFS. What the hell ELSE would they call him?

ANYWAYS. I’m not counting those as THE fact. Even though, those ARE facts.

Today, I’ma talk about President John F. Kennedy. And his part in Black History.

On this day in 1962 , President John F. Kennedy issues Executive Order 11063, which mandates an end to discrimination in housing. The order, which came during the burgeoning Civil Rights movement, prohibited federally funded housing agencies from denying housing or funding for housing to anyone based on their race, color, creed or national origin.

Since the 1950s, American minorities, particularly African Americans, had been largely relegated to living in overcrowded inner-city ghettos or impoverished rural areas. The “American Dream” of owning a house in the suburbs, or even a small apartment in a safe city neighborhood was unobtainable for many minority families because federally funded lending agencies often refused to give minorities home loans. Although Kennedy’s order was largely a symbolic landmark for ending de facto segregation in housing, the policy was never enforced. The order left it up to the individual housing and funding agencies to police themselves, leaving much room for non-compliance from state to state. After his assassination in 1963, civil rights activists continued to lobby for integrated neighborhoods*. It took Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, until 1968, however, to get a majority of Congress to support a fair housing law.

ALSO.
Speaking of this being Presidents’ Day and The Fair Housing Act and alladat, I have another President that I want to talk about and HIS part in Black History:

In 1973, Justice Department lawyers filed a case against y’all’s (NEVER MY) president (us v. fred trump, donald trump, and trump management, inc) for a constant pattern and practice of discrimination. The Justice Department then issued a news release that said the trumps violated the law “by refusing to rent and negotiate rentals with blacks, requiring different rental terms and conditions because of race, and misrepresenting that apartments were not available.” The suit was settled after almost two years, and on June 10, 1975, the trumps signed an agreement prohibiting “discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions, or priveleges of sale or rental of a dwelling.” The agreement also required the trumps to place ads informing minorities they had an equal opportunity to seek housing at their properties.

Another fun fact: Did you know that donald trump did not want to pay for the ads? “This advertising, while it’s, you know — I imagine it’s necessary from the Government’s standpoint, is a very expensive thing for us,” Trump said, according to a court transcript. “It is really onerous. Each sentence we put in is going to cost us a lot of money over the period we are supposed to do it.” [funny, he wasn’t so worried about the cost of ads when he did this.]

So there you go. I know I usually focus on black folks ‘cause the lordt only knows we only have one (very short) month to show off all the shit black folks be doin’ for the culture. But every once in a while, I want white people to know that y’alls names be going down in black infamy history too. You’re welcome!

Happy Monday, guys! You’ve almost made it to the end of another black history month.
*white flight: migration of middle class white populations out of cities to avoid the influx of minorities and return to more racially homogeneous suburban regions. However, some historians have challenged the phrase “white flight” as a misnomer whose use should be reconsidered. In her study of Chicago’s West Side during the post-war era, historian Amanda Seligman argues that the phrase misleadingly suggests that whites immediately departed when blacks moved into the neighborhood, when in fact, many whites defended their space with violence, intimidation, or legal tactics.

*see also: Gentrification: The Same. Only, backwards.