LL Being Pushed to Step Up Like James Brown Was After He Did a Race in America Song

Davey-D-yellow-225-frameMany have been up in arms about LL Cool J‘s lyrics in the song Accidental Racist where he expresses forgiveness for slavery (iron chains) if white America can accept him wearing sagging pants and a gold chain.. He explains that he has no problem with white people rocking the confederate flag if they don’t get freaked out with him wearing a doo rag..

The out cry against LL has been harsh and swift.. Many have resorted to calling him LL Coon J, remembering how he famously came out in support of Republican Governor George Pataki who was vying for a third term against Black gubernatorial candidate Carl McCall. Fellow rappers like Rhymefest have called upon LL to come get a history lesson. NY Oil formerly of the UMCs jumped in the fray and called for an intervention. In fact Oil reworked LL’s classic cut I’m Bad’  where he provides a history lesson on Confederate General Robert E Lee who LL name checks and the Confederate Flag.

NY Oil

NY Oil

NY Oil spoke to my Black Creative Arts class yesterday and explained it was important to publicly push for correction because he sees first hand in his role as an educator on how artists and celebrities influence actions and the thoughts of young people. He said he didn’t want folks to over simplify the legacy and institutions of slavery and Jim Crow and act like these are things to sweep under the rug.

He noted that it’s clear from the current state of poverty, mass incarceration and other societal ills institutional racism is alive and well.. NY Oil referenced as proof, what was going on in his hometown New York City around Stop-N-Frisk  where Black and Brown men are targeted to the tune of 90% with over 5 million stops made and less than 10% yielding any sort of violation…

NY Oil had stepped in the arena and felt it was necessary to call LL out and ‘push him back into greatness’.. He said he wants LL to respond and do better..

James Brown

James Brown

When hearing those remarks  I could not help but think of another great artists who had this happen to him. His name was James Brown..soul brother number one..the hardest working man in show business. The story goes as follows in 1967 at the height of the Black Power Movement,  two years after Malcolm X was assassinated and the Watts Riots jumped off and one year after the Black Panthers formed in Oakland and SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee ) had taken a more militant approach to resolving issues concerning Black folks, James Brown recorded a song called ‘America is My Home‘.. Although sentimental to Brown, it came across as corny to many others and outright coonish to many in the movement.

Folks stepped to Brown pretty hard about that song and pushed him…In fact there’s a famous story about James Brown having a meeting with SNCC leader H. Rap Brown (know known as Jamil Al Amin) and Rap expressing his disdain for that song and pushing for James to do something meaningful for the people.. The end result was James Brown recording a song a year later that went on to be a Black power anthem.. ‘Say It Loud I’m Black and I’m Proud‘. We should note after Brown did that song, he caught major heat from white folks and even had the record pulled from many radio stations..

In the clip below from the 1970s interview Brown talks about the concern about Black athletes and entertainers and how they were being used by white power structure. He also talks about how culture is dangerous if not informed by politics..



Rickey Vincent

Rickey Vincent

This morning I spoke with my radio colleague Ricky Vincent  better known as the Uhuru Maggot, He just finished penning his second book. The first was called The History of Funk.. This new one is called Party Music The Inside Story of the Black Panthers band and how Black Power Transformed Soul Music..

In our conversation, Vincent also noted that Brown always defended his song ‘America is My Home‘.  He explained that Brown always held a sentimental feeling for this country and reflected those feelings in the song. In defending the song, he was able to point out that he had done a number of songs for the people with the movement in mind. Ultimately Brown was about enhancing what he described as the ‘revolution of the mind’

With that being said, Vincent noted that H Rap did indeed step to James Brown, but it wasn’t some planned out formal conversation. The two literally ran into each other in the street. Also it wasn’t the only conversation Brown had with movement leaders.

H Rap Brown

H Rap Brown

Vincent noted that’s important to understand, because back in those days running into an entertainer was not unusual. In fact it was commonplace. It was a reflection of the type of  mindset many entertainers had.. They needed and wanted to be with the people. Brown and other popular artists at that time were always in the mix and amongst the people. They didn’t have walls up and handlers keeping them apart. It’s not like today where are top stars are sequestered by bodyguards, PR folks and corporate interests that ultimately wind up informing and controlling them. James Brown heard from more than just H Rap Brown about that song.

Vincent continued my noting it was always made clear to Brown and other artists that if they wanted to be popular and in step with their audience their music needed to reflect where the folks were at and at that time the Civil Rights struggle and Black Power Movements was what was happening.  It was made crystal clear to Brown that his reputation was in jeopardy and so he responded with ‘I’m Black and I’m Proud‘.. The music was a reflection of the movement and the movement was a people’s movement.

With respect to LL Cool J and his song ‘Accidental Racist‘,  Vincent pointed out, that LL who lacks a body of work addressing key issues of the day was already on shaky ground when he stepped into the recording booth. The fact that his song did not connect with many in the Black community  is a reflection of the increasing widening gap between pop entertainers and the movement or lack of a movement. Sadly, today LL and other pop artists don’t have to reflect any movement sentiments in order to be financially successful today. It also appears that credible leaders don’t have much access to him the way they did during Brown’s hey day.

(on a side note it appears that EMI pulled down all the videos to the Accidental Racist song, but this video lays out the lyrics..)


LL Cool J RedVincent expounded by noting there was a constant flow of information from the community to the artists and vice versa. Now it seems walled off even at a date and time when we have so much new technology. Compounding this divide is the fact that pop music is showered upon via broadcast mediums making it easily accessible and overtly familiar while message and conscious music is not. He talked about the number of artists who have message type songs being discouraged and sometimes outright refused by their label to put them out, much less have it promoted.

Although we didn’t speak about this in our conversation this morning, it should be noted that in our respective works over the years both myself and Vincent have highlighted the role of NATRA (National Association of Television and Radio Association) and the important role they played in furthering the Civil Rights and Black power messages of the past.. Dr King talks about that at length in in 1967 speech to NATRA and clearly states that there is no Civil Rights Movement without those radio taste makers of the day getting the information to the people. He also talks about the important role Soul Music plays in bridging important divides.  Rickey Vincent’s new book takes that conversation about the transformative nature of Soul Music to new heights.. be sure to check for it..


Here’s a link to the full NATRA speech http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wxBCl1RDwA


Thoughts on Robert Griffin III (RG3) being called a ‘Cornball Brother’ by ESPN’s Rob Parker

Robert Griffith III

Robert Griffin III

An interesting conversation went down on ESPN’s ‘First Take‘ the other day around Robert Griffin III (RG3) and how he identifies with race and him being Black. Sports writer and panelist Rob Parker raised the question whether or not RG3 was a brother or a ‘cornball brother‘.

Parker took issue with the way RG3 answered some questions about race in a recent USA Today interview.

‘For me, you don’t ever want to be defined by the color of your skin’.. ‘You want to be defined by your work ethic, the person that you are, your character, your personality. That’s what I’ve tried to go out and do….I am an African-American in America. That will never change. But I don’t have to be defined by that.’

In response to those quotes Parker asserted;  “Well, he’s black, he kind of does his thing. But he’s not really down with the cause, he’s not one of us….He’s kind of black. But he’s not really the guy you’d really want to hang out with because he’s off to do something else.”

When questioned as to what he meant by saying RG3 is not one of us, Parker noted that because the rookie quarterback has a white fiance and that there were rumors he might be a Republican his Blackness needed to be called into question.

When asked about his braided hair style, which often times has led to Black people being denied employment, Parker responded; ‘That’s different…wearing braids, you’re a brother’. But he didn’t move off his initial point that RG3 might be a cornball brother

Needless to say this conversation caused a lot of outrage especially among those who read RG3’s USA Today remarks and concluded that it was admirable he appeared to be trying to rise above the minefields that often occur when it comes to discussions about race. Parker’s cohorts Stephen A Smith and Skip Bayless attempted to rein him in and ESPN issued a statement saying Parker’s remarks were inappropriate.


Now on the surface all this can be seen as some BS with Parker arguably making controversial remarks as a way to get attention and boost ratings. After all, this is the same Parker who once wrote that baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron was a coward for not showing up to see Barry Bonds break his home run record.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

With all that’s going on in the world why should we be concerned about such discussions?  On the other hand, there’s a lot to consider especially when it comes to the types of demands we have long put on athletes to be better role models and to speak out. It wasn’t too long ago that many of us decried athletes like Michael Jordan for playing it safe by remaining silent or taking apolitical stances on important issues that seemed to downplayed his Blackness.

Many got upset with Jordan when he refused to speak out about all the Black inner city youth killing each other over his high-priced basketball shoes. He was famously quoted as saying ‘Republicans buy sneakers too usually at full retail’, when asked to address the issue.

Jordan further enraged people when he refused to weigh in on two racially charged elections in which former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt, an African-American, challenged long time far right conservative Senator Jesse Helms for his US Senate seat. A lot of attention was on Gantt who stood a good chance at becoming the second or third African-American win a Senate seat.

Gantt sought an endorsement from Jordan who refused.. He played it safe and many accused him of not being ‘down for the cause’. It wasn’t until Jordan met Helms and the Senator dismissively looked him up and down and called him ‘Fred’ that Jordan began to rethink his position. For those who don’t know calling a black man Fred was a long-standing ‘joke’ Helms had when dealing with African-Americans. He’d call them Fred no matter what their name was, because Fred was the generic name for  ‘the Help‘. Jordan reflected on that incident after Helms died and admitted there was more to life than making money.. You can read about that encounter HERE.

All this is not to suggest that RG3 would ever be like Jordan. Perhaps RG3 is the type of guy who will proudly step up and support worthwhile candidates and speak out on issues of importance. He also may be conservative whose opinions stand in stark opposition of the ones held by the majority of Black folks. Time will tell if RG3 is ‘down for the cause’..

Rob Parker

Rob Parker

This leads to the next point..’What cause was panelist Rob Parker expecting RG3 to be down so he could avoid being classified as a cornball brother?

Did he want him to talk a certain way? Often times some Black folks who speak in a certain tone or are too articulate are accused of not being Black and acting white.

Did Parker want him to dress a certain way? Go to a particular church? Have a Black girlfriend?

Did Parker want RG3 speaking out about the recent killing of Jordan Davis, a teen shot to death by a white man in Florida who felt his music was too loud?

Or did he want RG3 to be ‘down for the cause‘ by weighing in on the controversy surrounding the firing of KTBS whether reporter Rhonda Lee?   She was fired for responding to a racist Facebook comment where a viewer told her to get rid of her natural hair and wear a wig. Was this a cause for RG3 to be down for?

Would RG3 be less of a cornball brother if he said he was a fan of Chicago rapper Chief Keef and could kick the lyrics to all his controversial violent themed songs?  Would that be an indication that he’s down for the cause?

black-power-pinParker said he was just being honest and reflecting what folks say on street corners and in the barbershop. Perhaps..The irony is that in many of those barber shops, RG3 may carry himself in a way that they deem satisfactory, while calling Parker’s Blackness into question. For example, some might say Parker is a cornball brother for sitting on a panel, cheesing at white owned ESPN, a Disney company vs showcasing his talents on Black owned TV1.

Some might say Parker is a ‘cornball brother’ because he doesn’t speak out about the prison industrial complex or bring attention to the plight of political prisoners, like; Mumia Abu-JamalHerman BellDr. Mutulu Shakur or Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald or Ed Poindexter to name a few.

Perhaps he’s a cornball for not speaking out about the plight of unions and how Black folks in Detroit, a city he once worked in, will be disproportionately hurt by recently passed anti-union right to work bill.

Some might call him a cornball for publicly blasting RG3 vs sitting him down and talking to him behind the scenes about his politics and ways in which he engages Black culture. Parker’s public condemnation of another Black man for something so personal is the type of behavior we often advise youngsters to avoid for fear of it leading to unnecessary beefs and violent confrontations. How is it ‘being down for the cause’ to call someone out like that? Was he trying to shame Mr Griffith into a particular way of being? Should RG3 upon hearing these remarks dump his girlfriend?


We could go on and on playing ‘I’m Blacker than thou games’ pointing out where and how someone falls short of some mythical mark. Someone can always claim they are ‘Blacker’. Perhaps we should be more concerned with the types of causes RG3 gets behind.. In short lets choose substance over style. It may have been a bit more instructive if Parker had noted that the folks in the barbershop were looking for RG3 to come hang out at the local youth centers, or speak out on some recent occurrence impacting Black folks who live in DC and the surrounding DMV. Even better would be if Parker himself could’ve invited the star quarterback to join him and others to an activity or be a part of cause that would enrich the community. To simply suggest he’s a cornball brother is in the words of James Brown, is talking loud and saying nothing.

written by Davey D

Should Black and Brown Folks Jump on Board the Secession Movement?

Everyone is talking about all the signatures being collected from citizens in 40 states demanding that some sort of secession take place.. The latest update notes that folks from 7 states have signed a petition numbering 25k or more on the We the People page on the White House website which will thus garner an official response.. You can read about that HERE

For many all the secession talk is new, but the concept has been around for a minute especially in Texas where they have a well-heeled movement around this concept.. Today folks are shocked that more than a 100 thousand people from the Lone Star state have signed a petition. Folks in Texas are not. A few years back Governor Rick Perry famously threatened to have the state secede. It’s something he now says he doesn’t support..Below is an article I penned when I lived in Texas and Perry made those remarks..Its some food for thought I think is still relevant…
-Davey D-

Texas Secession: Should Black and Brown Folks Jump On Board?

I always find this concept of Texas secession interesting. I especially find it interesting when I see and hear the way it’s being framed. Words like ‘Freedom’Independence’ and ‘Oppression’ are used suggesting that it’s a noble endeavor and not something sinister. Some find the conversation compelling when it focuses on our main two parties Republicans and Democrats being a thorn in our collective sides that needs to be done away with. There’s lots of tough talk from secessionist about dissatisfaction with the Federal government which is very relatable when one looks at high unemployment rates, Wall Street Bankers getting bailed out, mismanaged wars and no Universal healthcare. All of this makes a secession argument intriguing.

Today secessionists claim that their motivation is not racism. They emphatically claim an increasingly Browner and Blacker Texas is not their main reason to secede. They want freedom from Oppression. Ok I’ll buy that – we all want that type of relief. Now my question is will a Republic of Texas change the flawed political dynamics of the other 49 states and strive to be a true Democracy? Will a Republic of Texas have a government that is a true representation that is reflective of the population?

For example, will there be proportional representation ensuring all Texans to have voice and a seat at the table or will it be winner take all? In short will the Republic of Texas be for the people by the people? After all, the reason to secede centers around a Federal government that is unresponsive. The Republic of Texas should ideally change this, right? We will no longer have to worry about a federal government that spends our money in all the wrong places. We will no longer have to worry about a federal government that doesn’t listen to the peoples true wants and needs. I can completely understand the frustrations one has with the Feds. I can assure you, those sentiments are not exclusive to the ‘good ole boys’ behind the ‘Texas Nationalist Movement’. Lots of folks feel that way. Lots of Black folks, lots of Brown folks.

I recall during the height of the Black Power movements, in the 60s and 70s groups like the Nation of Islam (then known as the Black Muslims) along with others called for a nation within a nation. It was a type of secession of sorts. Leaders felt like the Democrats and Republicans were morally corrupt. They felt the Federal government was a sham and ideally things would get better if the nation’s Black population could take over the states they tilled the land for as slaves and call it a day. Freedom from oppression was the guiding force. Black folks were looking to get their 40 Acres and mule as promised by the Feds. Perhaps this will happen under the Republic of Texas. Broken promises shall be honored right?

As we now know all that nation within a nation talk was met with swift and ultimately destructive response from our federal government. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, under the leadership of Texan Lyndon Baines Johnson, did ‘name checks’ on opponents and ran a vicious Cointel-pro campaigns to dismantle the Black Panthers, derail the Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King and make any talk of a nation within a nation sound utterly ridiculous.

There are many Chicano’s here in Texas who can recall the heights of the Chicano Movement where issues like Land Grant Movements which originated in New Mexico spread resulting in folks seeking ways to get back ancestral lands that were stolen.

I believe there’s quite a bit of ‘property’ in Texas that folks may be looking to get back. Will that at least be discussed in the Republic of Texas? After all Chicanos and many indigenous folks have major beef with the Federal government who they feel behaved in an extremely undemocratic fashion. They can tell you story after story of broken promises, broken treaties, and unscrupulous land grabs. One should be able to safely assume that within a strong independent Texas such atrocities will not take place. After all the goal of having honesty within our government is one of the reasons to secede.

The Republic of Texas… Is this an opportunity for ALL the people in Texas (Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, Young, old ) to have the wrongs of the past corrected? Is the Republic of Texas intending to be a true Democracy, where the will of the people is listened to or is all this talk of a Free and Independent Texas just a sham conducted by some disgruntled people with its core goal to grab land and resources?

Considering that Texas is pretty much a minority majority state where its largest demographic are of Mexican descent, will, the ROT honor a request from that majority if they want to secede from the US and rejoin Mexico? Will the folks calling for secession be comfortable with Black Brown leadership since that’s the majority population? Maybe the secession thing ain’t such bad idea after all..

Something to Ponder

-Davey D-

An exclusive interview with Daniel Miller, President of The Texas Nationalist Movement

Source: Cypress Times Article

TexasSecession-225Over the past few weeks The Cypress Times has carried several opinion pieces in our Op/Ed Section from supporters of the Texas Nationalist Movement. The Texas Nationalist Movement supports Texas secession, and the establishment of a free and independent Texas.

These op/ed pieces have garnered an amazing amount of attention and have resulted in some very, let’s call it lively, commentary. One of the themes repeated often in the negative commentary is that the Texas Nationalist Movement is motivated by racism and a hate specifically for Barack Obama. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the TNM is not an Obama thing. It’s not a Democrat thing. It’s not a GOP thing. It’s a freedom thing.

The TNM was formed way before anyone outside of Chicago, and a few domestic terrorists, had ever heard the name, Barack Obama. Most people in the U.S. back then thought ACORN was just a nut long cherished by squirrels and that Socialism was something that happened in ridiculous places like France.

The truth is that George W. Bush was the Governor of Texas when TNM launched its initiative to say “Adios” to the United States of America. So, it’s really not an Obama thing, okay.
“We’re non-partisan with people from all walks of life,” Texas Nationalist Movement, President Daniel Miller told me in a recent interview. Truth be told, the TNM hasn’t much use for those now running the DNC, nor the GOP.

“Our organization rejects these dividing lines which are artificial. Both major parties fundamentally engage in the same activity,” Miller says. He also adds, “We (TNM) railed against Bush and the Patriot Act, too.”

So, if the Texas Nationalist Movement isn’t about party politics, what is it about? Party politics after all are what makes our Government go round. It’s about the two party system, right? Wrong.


“It’s about people who agree with individual freedom and liberty not putting trust in government,’ Miller says. “How long can people be disenfranchised from government before they say let’s do our own thing. You saw it in the American Revolution and in Texas history.”

Miller goes on to describe the U.S. Government as “overbearing, oppressive, unwielding and unresponsive.”

I think that pretty well covers it.


I have to admit as a fifth generation Texan the notion of Texas pulling up stakes and saying, “See Ya” to the U.S. has always fascinated me. I’ve always thought of Texas secession as a romantic expression of the individualism and ruggedness of the people of Texas. I see us Texans tipping our collective Stetsons and riding off into the sunset of independence never again to be bothered by those foreigners on the other side of the river. You know, the Red River. However, I never really considered it. Should we really consider it now?

How’s that hope and change working out for you? That phrase is getting a lot of action these days. For that matter how was it working out for you before the change, when George Bush pushed for the first stimulus package and ignored the security of our borders? Have you really seen a change, or is it more of the same?

When the Dems are in office the GOP is complaining, when the GOP is in office the Dems are complaining. Are they really all alike? I make no judgment call here, I’m just asking.
The questions really become:

Are we (the people) okay with how things are? Can we change those things given the current system? If the answer is no, what next?

“People eventually say I don’t want to be a part of this anymore,” says Miller. “Secession, independence or autonomy come into play. It has played out across the globe for thousands of years.”
What would a Republic of Texas look like? Is that bunch in Austin any more trustworthy than the bunch in DC? The thing to look at, according to Miller, is the Texas Constitution. Specifically,

Article 1, Section 2 which reads as follows:


All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit. The faith of the people of Texas stands pledged to the preservation of a republican form of government, and, subject to this limitation only, they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient.”

The Texas Constitution leaves little wiggle room on this matter. It is less open for broad interpretation than the U.S. Constitution. Isn’t that where we began to get in trouble in the first place? All of that broad interpretation.


Can Texas secede, and become a free Republic once more? Miller says “Yes” and perhaps sooner than anyone thinks. Miller believes that the secession movement has the support of between 2.2 million and 6 million Texans. That’s a broad range and Miller understands that. The range is due to how the numbers were extrapolated from several sources and polls. Either way it’s a big number. It is a number that makes the TNM a formidable force in Texas politics.

Miller believes the issue of Secession will be addressed in “a rapid fashion” during the next legislative session (2011) or perhaps sooner, once the Governor’s race has ended.
Miller also says, in the context of the current political climate in America, “I think by the time we get to a vote, Texas independence wins by a landslide.”


Miller explains that the U.S. Government has moved America in the wrong direction for over 20 years.
“Incrementalism is where it’s all going. They’ve incrementally moved us so far that now they’re emboldened to take bigger steps because they have less distance to go.” Miller adds, “For 20 years we’ve been asleep and now the noose is around the neck.”

Miller realizes that secession is not the first thought your average citizen has in terms of fighting back. He sees what is happening with Townhall Meetings, and TEA Party gatherings, but still believes Secession is the right move for Texas and Texans.

“People will exhaust all the usual opposition first. But they’ve (the Federal Govt.) taken the position that they know what’s best for us,” says Miller. Then he reminds me of the Texas Constitution, Article 1, Section 2. It’s about the people!


Secession is not spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, it is an inferred right, according to Miller who also says that the Declaration of Independence makes it plain as to how it all works.
When the colonies declared independence, each “state” seceded from England to form a new union. It would occur much the same now. If the issue is put in front of the people of Texas and they vote to secede, then Texas will declare independence from the U.S. The Governor and the Legislature will hold a convention to call for articles of secession and to negotiate a settlement with the U.S.

If the U.S. Government were to ignore those articles of secession, then Texas could declare unilateral independence.

I asked Mr. Miller what a new Texas would look like geographically. Since it is well known that Texas gave up a good deal of real estate when it joined the U.S., his answer surprised me. Daniel Miller says the better question might be, what would the United States look like?

“Without Texas, the U.S. ought to think about its viability,” says Miller.

Mr. Miller believes strongly that when Texas secedes, others will follow. There are other secession movements underway in the U.S. today in states like Vermont and Wisconsin as an example.


The Secession “nay-sayers” are quick to point out that Texas would lose a ton of Federal money if it were no longer a part of the United States.
Mr. Miller says, “For years now every dollar we (Texas) send to DC is declining in terms of what we get back. In the past 30 years Texas has never gotten back what it sends to the Federal government.”

I shared with Mr. Miller that some of the nastier (and therefore not published) commentary we’ve received at The Cypress Times regarding Secession calls the members of the TNM racists, again asserting that it’s an Obama thing. Can a nation of racists flourish?

“We take exception to that,” Miller says. “Our members are Hispanic, Asian, Black. All power is inherent in the people. Tyranny doesn’t discriminate and freedom shouldn’t either.”


Miller says that the Texas Nationalist Movement needs, “All Texans who believe in independent rights and principles to stand with us in order to see Texas independent and to reserve those freedoms.”

The Texas Nationalist Movement needs to grow. In order to grow they need people. “It takes money to reach people,” says Miller.

“We are engaged at a very personal grass roots level.” The plan is to organize and mobilize.

The Texas Nationalist Movement is hard at work holding meetings in various regions and is planning a 3-Day Conference in March.

The Texas Independence Conference will be the first of its kind. The TNM will have special speakers and guests from Texas and from the outside.

To learn more about The Texas Nationalist Movement, or to join their cause visit their website at http://www.texasnationalist.com/

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