Gil Scott and Jimmy Ruffin

 
“The artist must elect to fight for Freedom or Slavery. I have made my
choice. I had no choice. I had no alternative." Paul Roberson

Robeson was one of our leaders  behind the 1951 “We ChargeGenocide”

campaign. Faith Nolan made the same choice as Robeson. Nolan
has fought for the liberation of Africa, Africans and all oppressed
people.

I wouldn't say all God's children. I don't think Nolan is too fond of
Canada's Prime Minister Steven Harper. Nolan is about the liberation of
Africans from Cape Town to Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia produced Nolan,
Rocky Jones, Shauntay Grant, El Jones and the late great Jean Daniels.
Daniels was one of the driving forces for black history month in
Toronto, Canada.

Nolan is not from the same tribe as Ban Ki-Moon or Kofi Annan. She is
from the same tribe as Nina Simone, Jayne Cortez,(Wolde)  Semayat, 

Peter Tosh and Gil Scott-Heron.

Nolan is about Bandung unity – the unity of Africans and Asians. She
remembers what happened in Indonesia in 1955.

The singer/songwriter producer is about internationalism. She knows
the difference between Communism and rheumatism. Many university
professors who are paid to teach political science don’t know or
pretend not to in order to keep their cash flow coming in.

Pick up a copy of Nolan’s latest CD, Jailhouse Blues. As the liner
notes point out: “Canada’s female federal prison population has

grown by 40 per cent in the past decade, and that growth appears to be
speeding up with a higher incarceration rate of Aboriginal women and
women with mental illness.”

Nolan is the 2014 winner of a Min Sook-Lee Labour Arts Award. These
awards are named after a Korean Canadian activist-artist. Mayworks, is

a Canadian based Labor/Arts organization.   
 
According to Mayworks:"Lee also helped Mayworks focus on programming
that engages new, non-arts audiences and challenges Euro-centric notions of art."

Check out Nolan: at www.faithnolan.org
faithnolan@xplorenet.com

GIL SCOTT-HERON'S PIECES OF A MAN

Marcus Baram’s biography of Gil Scott-Heron, “Pieces of a Man” is hot
off St. Martin’s Press. Baram’s 308 page biography of Scott-Heron is a
great follow up to Scott-Heron's own 2011 memoir “Gil Scott-Heron:

 
The Last Holiday”. The book traces the Chicago-born Scott-Heron's life
from growing up in small town Jackson,Tennessee to his death on May 27,
2012.

Scott-Heron was called the "Black Bob Dylan" and the "Godfather of
Rap" both titles he rejected. Clive Davis, the head of Arista records,
called Scott-Heron, the "Black Bob Dylan" and encouraged his
promotional executives to use that term in their publicity material.
Says Scott-Heron, according to Baram, Scott-Heron was a Dylan
fan but resented being labeled as the folk  singer's Black counterpart.

Baram points out: "Clive said that so people could relate to what we
did," he later explained. “But he never said that to me. As far as I
knew, Dylan played harmonica and I played piano, Dylan couldn't

sing and I could – that made a difference right there."

Scott-Heron had a Canadian connection and "Pieces of a Man" reveals
it. The book mentions Roy Heron, Scott-Heron's Jamaican-born uncle and
this writer. Roy Heron is the brother of Scott-Heron's father Gil Heron.

Gil Heron was a professional soccer player who was also born on the
Caribbean island of Jamaica.  Scott-Heron told me when I first met him
that his father was called the "Black Arrow" when he played in
Scotland.

When I first met Scott-Heron I got the impression that he had not met
his father at that time. Baram points out:"On his first Canadian
tour that summer (1976,), journalist Norman Richmond was introduced to
Gil and asked him about his father. Gil snapped,

 
"The Scott's raised me", insisting that his mother's family was responsible for his
upbringing.
Thirty-eight years later I learned from reading Baram's volume that
Scott-Heron had only met his father six months before.

BLUES WOMEN IN CANADA

Shakura S’Aida, Diane Braithwaite, and Divine Brown ran the first,
third and last leg of the 28th Annual Women’s Blues Revue. These three
women brought back memories of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. S’Aida
came out the blocks like the Jamaican-born  Robert “Blast Off” Esmie.
Braithwaite, like the Haiti-born Bruny Surin, ran the third leg and
Brown, like the Jamaican-born  Donavan Bailey, anchored the team.

JIMMY RUFFIN JOINS THE ANCESTORS

Jimmy Ruffin, who had the smash classic, "What Becomes of the
Brokenhearted", died in Las Vegas on November 2014. He was 78.

The Mississippi-born Ruffin had a 50-year career, from the Motown
sixties to the digital music era. David Ruffin, who led the
Temptations from 1964 to 1968  died in 1991.

 
Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown, summed up Jimmy Ruffin this
way:”Jimmy Ruffin was a phenomenal singer, He was truly underrated
because we were also fortunate to have his brother,
David, as the lead singer of the Temptations, who got so much acclaim.
 
Jimmy, as a solo artist, had 'What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,' one
of the greatestsongs put out by Motown and also one of my personal favorites."

 

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