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Legend of 50’s Do-Wop, First of the R&B Soul Groups — The Orioles and Diz Russell

Earlington Tilghman created one of the most influential vocal groups of all time when he formed the Vibranairs in Baltimore after World War II. Tilghman was better known as Sonny Til, a charismatic tenor who loved rich arrangements and had a knack for picking (and writing) great material.

After 60 years, this R&B singer’s wife said it was time to retire. Then came his final show.

“I never thought I would be this old,” Diz Russell said.

Sitting on the worn black leather couch in his sunlit Capitol Heights, Md., living room, the 81-year-old singer was surrounded by reminders of a long, busy life . Framed photographs, record covers and concert posters hung below a red sign proclaiming “THE LEGENDARY ORIOLES.” There was a black-and-white portrait of the band members from the 1950s, with a fresh-faced Diz in the middle. Here was a photo of Diz sitting on a committee for longtime mayor Marion Barry — “my buddy,” he said.

But mostly he nodded and smiled behind tinted glasses as his wife of 59 years, Millie Russell, explained the mementos on their wall. The nostalgia-heavy decor of Millie’s careful selection is largely lost on Diz, who became blind from a cataract at age 55.

Since then, Millie, 75, has been watchful. When Diz shuffled out of the room and came back with white foam around his lips, she furrowed her brow. “You didn’t do too good of a job shaving,” she said, getting up to wipe the cream from his chin.

They met backstage at the Howard Theatre, when Millie was 13 and Diz was 19. Millie was in the crowd for a show with Jackie Wilson, and she spotted a jeans-clad fellow on her way out. He told her that he was a singer.

“You don’t look like a singer to me,” she retorted.

Diz responded with a chuckle, “Honey, you better believe it.”

They married four years later, shortly after Diz joined the Orioles, the band widely recognized as the first R&B vocal group and credited with popularizing the musical style in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Although the version of the group that Diz sang with was considered its second generation — after frontman Sonny Til broke away from the original Orioles and started a new combo, tacking on the “Legendary” to distinguish them from the baseball team — he still recalls the band being in hot demand wherever it went, selling out shows in Texas, Michigan and at their home base in Baltimore…

Wife Millie Russell, who has managed the band for 34 years

 

For 34 years, Millie has been Diz’s band manager. For 26, she’s been his eyes. More recently, she’s become his memory.

The diagnosis of early-onset dementia came almost a year ago, although there were signs before then. Sometimes the name of a close friend would draw a blank, or Diz would claim to have misplaced a piece of clothing that he never owned. As bandmates brought their equipment inside for their weekly Friday rehearsals, Diz still held a shaving razor in his left hand as if he’d forgotten to put it down.

When Diz rambles about his past, Millie tends to roll her eyes and swat the air, as if his distorted memories were swarming like flies. But when she vocalizes her disagreement with his version of history, he’s quick to contest.

“I know this,” he said through gritted teeth. “I lived this.”

But Millie doesn’t trust those stories anymore. She winced recalling Diz stumbling on the lyrics to “Baby Please Don’t Go” — one of the group’s greatest hits — while performing at Echostage last November. He skipped the second verse entirely and went straight to the last.

The band kept playing as if it was business as usual, and likely no one in the audience noticed, but for Millie the incident was searing.

“I won’t let him embarrass himself like that,” she said. The band’s 68th-anniversary celebration at Mr. Henry’s restaurant on Capitol Hill was to be Diz’s last major performance before going into “semi-retirement,” a dignified term for a plan to suspend all but the occasional cameo.

After so many decades as her husband’s right hand, Millie admitted that she was also ready for a slower pace. A sense of injustice dogs her view of their relationship.

“You think if it was the woman who needed so much help, the husband would stay?” she said.

“She’s steadfast,” Diz nodded.

“A man is weak,” Millie said. “And I’m tired.”

But the band will stay in Russell hands. After Millie retires as manager, their 52-year-old son, Christopher, will take up the mantle….Read the Rest Here

A very early hit by the group in 1948  –

 

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2015 in Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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Cop Crashes, Shoots Own Car…Blames it on Nonexistent Assailant

This rooter-tooter Cop crashed his car. Rather than explain he lost control, he decided to shoot his car with his service weapon…

And claim he was assaulted by a “man with a gun in a pickup truck”.

On Wednesday, the officer reported that a white man in a dark pickup truck fired shots at him, causing his patrol car to spin around, strike a tree and catch fire. The officer said he returned fire.

Police conducted an intensive search with officers from other law enforcement agencies, firefighters, police dogs and a Massachusetts State Police helicopter.

Also on Wednesday, somebody made a threatening call to a local middle school. City schools were locked down for the day and were closed all day Thursday. Police don’t know if that threat and the cruiser incident are related.

Kinda fell apart when the forensics folks found out the only bullets in the truck were from his gun.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2015 in Nawwwwww!

 

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3 Time Divorcee, 4 Times Married Clerk Plays the God Card

Don’t know if you have been watching the freak-show down in Kentucky, but a County Clerk has made national news with her stand to not issue Marriage Licenses to Gay couples. Her rationale? God told her not to do it!

She is currently locked up for Contempt of Court, and may be spending quite a while in the hoosegow for refusing a Court Order. Of the 6 Clerks working in her office, one of whom is her son (nepotism, anyone?), all but her son have agreed to issue Marriage Licenses, As of today, she is making a “brave stand” not to change her ways…

From where I sit, at least – I really don’t care about her religion – in terms of her job. I mean, she signed up to serve the people of her County, and nowhere in that oath of office did it include anything about she could serve only some of the people. Her role is to execute the law, period. After hours if she wants to waive her cross and participate in civic action to change the law, as is the right of every other citizen (at least unless conservatives like her take over) – then right on.

This writer compares her to another Southerner who took a stand on the Courthouse Steps…

Kim Davis follows the footsteps of George Wallace

Kim Davis is in jail for contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but make no mistake: this uncivil civil servant isn’t a religious freedom fighter. She’s a homophobe, pure and simple.

“The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order,” said Judge David L. Bunning of Federal District Court. “If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems.” Davis, county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, will be released when she complies with the law and issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Now Davis will play the martyr, tossed behind bars for putting the laws of God above those of mere mortals. Even after the Supreme Court ruled against her, Davis spent the week telling gay men and lesbians that in rejecting their request for a marriage license, she was acting “under God’s authority.”

Can God sue for defamation of character?

Wrong and strong, Davis’s actions are reminiscent of Alabama Governor George Wallace’s infamous “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.” In 1963, Wallace, who had declared “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” literally stood in a doorway at the University of Alabama to block two black students from entering the school, despite federal laws. Of course, this was nothing more than a political show for the cameras and segregationists. After jabbering on about states’ rights — as shallow an argument as it had been a century earlier during the Civil War — Wallace eventually stepped away, a small man pushed aside by the resolve of a nation struggling to be just.

Defying the rule of law didn’t work for Wallace, and it won’t work for Davis. (Davis had been trying to skirt the law by denying all marriage licenses. “I’m not discriminating, because I’m not issuing licenses to anybody,” she said.) Still, even the shameless Wallace didn’t try to hide his bigotry behind the Bible.

“To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of a marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience,” Davis wrote in a statement issued by the conservative Liberty Counsel, which is representing her in federal court. “It is not a light issue for me. It is a heaven or hell decision.”

As Mahalia Jackson once sang, “Everybody talkin’ ’bout heaven ain’t going there.”

They actually went there…

Davis is just the latest in a long, infernal line of fanatics to contort their so-called faith into an excuse for hatred and division. Religion has been misused to justify the Crusades, slavery, apartheid, the Holocaust and — more recently — terrorism and extremism around the world. If faith is a comfort to some, for people like Davis it’s a cudgel to scold and threaten anyone with whom they disagree.

In her statement, Davis, an Apostolic Christian said, “I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience.” Except, of course, she isn’t serving the people of Rowan County, at least not the ones who want to get a marriage license. Just because Davis has been married four times, it doesn’t make her the moral arbiter on who should be allowed to walk down the aisle. Davis should also be reminded that God does not pay her $80,000 salary; that’s the burden of taxpayers, some of whom want the licenses Davis is denying them.

Whatever her agenda, Davis has made a mockery of her position and religion. History has roundly denounced Wallace’s intolerance and intransigence at the door more than 50 years ago; it will be just as unforgiving of the uncivil civil servant of Rowan County, Kentucky.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2015 in The New Jim Crow

 

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When a Good Cop Falls

I talk about the bad actions of some Police, and in the case of Ferguson,MO and Harris County, Texas – bad Police Departments. However – those departments and Officers are not the norm, which makes it even more frustrating the opposition to weeding the bad guys out. There are many, many decent folks who wear the uniform. When one falls doing his/her job, we owe them our respect and support in catching whoever did the crime.

Sad situation in Fox Lake, Illinois. A veteran Police officer was shot and killed by 3 men. Lt. Joe Gliniewicz’s death on Tuesday has left Fox Lake, a community of about 10,000 people in northern Illinois, with a huge void. The apparently well-loved officer left behind a wife and four sons. In a small community like Fox Lake, where typically it seems everybody knows everybody else, folks are particularly hard hit. As a side note, I have driven through that area, on my way from Chicago to Lake Geneva via Rt 12 to see friends, and even stopped there on the lake for dinner.

The lieutenant made the first call at 7:52 a.m. and called three minutes later to request backup. The backup units arrived at 8:01 and found their fellow officer dead, roughly 50 yards from his vehicle, at about 8:09, Filenko said.

Police continue to search for the suspects.

And yeah – I have added this one to my Domestic Terrorism folder.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2015 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Policeman Indicted in KIlling of Portsmouth, Virginia Teen

The reason the racist right is in a near frenzy to attack BlackLivesMatter …

Is quite simply that the BLM Movement has gained traction.  We have seen more indictments of Police for egregious and illegal behavior this year, than I dare say in the last 20 years.

Which is pissing the racist right off. Now, more than ever they need folks who will deny what is going on….And it is a sellers market for any low moral Negro who is willing to buckdance.

Virginia Cop Indicted In Murder Of Unarmed Black Teen

WIlliam Chapman II

Portsmouth, Virginia, officer Stephen Rankin was indicted on a first-degree murder charge Thursday after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old earlier this year.

A grand jury decided to charge Rankin, who shot and killed William Chapman II outside a Walmart on April 22, according to The Virginian-Pilot. Autopsy reports obtained by the paper show that Chapman was shot in the face and chest, and that his body was carted off to the city medical examiner’s office with his hands cuffed behind his back.

“After a methodical deliberation of a thorough investigation by the Virginia state police, the state’s attorney determined that William Chapman was murdered by a police officer,” Chapman family attorney Jon Michael Babineau told The Guardian. “Today, the citizens of Portsmouth agreed.”

The Guardian reports on the incident:

The pair had engaged in a physical struggle after Rankin tried to arrest the 18-year-old on suspicion of shoplifting, according to police.

Witnesses said Chapman broke free and then stepped back towards the officer aggressively before being shot twice. The 18-year-old was the second unarmed man shot dead by Rankin in Portsmouth. An autopsy indicated Chapman was not shot at close range.

The shooting was investigated by the Virginia State Police, which passed its investigation to Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales earlier this month. She said last week that she’d seek an indictment in Chapman’s death.

Rankin’s lawyer said the cop’s actions were justified.

“He gives Mr. Chapman commands, and it’s at that point Mr. Chapman charges at him and the officer had to respond,” Nicole Belote told WTKR.

Officer Rankin

Rankin was in the media spotlight in 2011 when he shot and killed another unarmed man, Kirill Denyakin, though he was cleared of all wrongdoing. Denyakin’s lawyer told 13 News Now that he was “unsurprised” the latest incident occurred and “thought he would do this again.”

The vast majority of Police Officers never discharge their weapon in the line of duty. Hard to believe one officer could be involved into situations of confronting unarmed suspects and need to fire his weapon…

Which gets into why the First Degree Murder Charge.

Officer Rankin’s previous unarmed victim Kirill Denyakin, whom he shot 11 times…

 

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter, Domestic terrorism

 

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Hafu – Mixed Race Experience In Japan

This is a trailer for a movie on how mixed race people are treated in Japan…

This introduction by the authors –

The film is available on VIMEO

To highlight some of the discrimination against mixed race folks and foreigners, there is the case of the first mixed race Miss Japan –

First ever mixed race Miss Japan forced to defend herself after being abused for ‘not being Japanese enough’ because father is African-American

  • Ariana Miyamoto was born and raised in Nagasaki, and is fluent Japanese
  • Mixed race beauty queen born to American father and Japanese mother
  • She has been selected to represent Japan in the Miss Universe pageant
  • But her selection has prompted a storm of criticism in Japanese media
  • 20-year-old has been forced to insist that she is ‘Japanese on the inside’

The first ever mixed race Miss Japan has been forced to defend herself against accusations that she ‘isn’t Japanese enough’ because her father is African-American.

Ariana Miyamoto was born and raised in Nagasaki, speaks fluent Japanese, and has been chosen to represent Japan in the Miss Universe pageant.

But the 20-year-old beauty queen used her first television appearance after her selection to apologetically explain to reporters that while she doesn’t ‘look Japanese’ on the outside, on the inside, there are ‘many Japanese things about her’.

She has faced a storm of criticism that she is ‘not Japanese enough’ to represent the country because although her mother is Japanese, her father is American.

In Japan, Miyamoto is called a ‘hafu’, a Japanese term used to refer to someone who is biracial.

There is a feeling in the country, one of the least ethnically diverse in the world, that mixed-race people are not fully Japanese.

Website Byokan Sunday and Naver Matome report that Twitter users have posted comments such as: ‘Is it okay to select a hafu to represent Japan?’ and ‘Because this is Miss Universe Japan, don’t you think hafu are a no-no?’

Others commented that she didn’t ‘look Japanese’, her face was ‘too gaijin’, meaning literally ‘outside person’, or that the country deserved a ‘pure-blooded Japanese’ beauty.

Elsewhere online, one person commented, ‘It makes me uncomfortable to say she’s representing Japan.’

Miyamoto, grew up in Japan in Sasebo, Nagasaki, close to a major American naval base, but later moved to the United States for high school,

When she returned home to Japan, after a part-time bartending job, she decided to become a model and try her hand at pageantry – not expecting to get far due to her ‘foreigner look’.

Her selection as the first-ever biracial Miss Universe Japan comes at a time when Japanese attitudes about race are beginning to change, NBC reports.

The vast majority of Japan is made up of homogeneous people.

It is one of the least ethnically diverse countries on earth, proudly counting more than 98 percent of the population as Japanese nationals.

Megumi Nishikura, whose film, Hafu: The Mixed-Race Experience in Japan, looks at the lives of multiracial Japanese citizens, highlights the fact that 20,000 half-Japanese people, including both multiethnic and multiracial people, are born in Japan each year.

Nishikura told NBC that Miyamoto’s selection as Miss Universe Japan ‘is a huge step forward in expanding the definition of what it means to be Japanese. The controversy that has erupted over her selection is a great opportunity for us Japanese to examine how far we have come from our self-perpetuated myth of homogeneity while at the same time it shows us how much further we have to go’.

Miyamoto is aware of the struggles she faces as a ‘hafu’ beauty queen representing Japan.

In interviews she has called Mariah Carey a major inspiration because of ther multiracial background, according to RocketNews24.

‘She went through a lot of difficulties before becoming a popular singing sensation,’ Miyamoto said.

‘She faced some racial hurdles, similar to myself, but she overcame them and became a top star, so she’s been a big influence on me.’

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Prosecutor to Seek Death Penalty for Charleston Murderer

And here I was thinking along the lines of 999 years in Gen Pop with the other prisoners…

Alleged SC Church Shooter Facing Possible Death Penalty

State prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty against the alleged South Carolina church shooter, they announced today.

In a court filing released today, state prosecutors indicated that they will be seeking the death penalty when Dylann Roof is tried in the killing of nine people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in June.

That more than two people were killed and others’ lives were put at risk were cited in the filing as the rationale for seeking capital punishment.

Solicitor Scarlett Wilson is scheduled to explain the state’s decision at a news conference this afternoon.

 

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2015 in Domestic terrorism

 

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