Mobutu, Ali-Foreman and the music in 1974

 
Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu  Wa Za Banga was one of the worst African leaders who ever lived. Mobutu had a hand in the deaths of Patrice Lumumba (A Great Son of Africa), Maurice Mpolo and Joseph Okito on January 17, 1961.
 
Many other opponents of Mobutu died or disappeared during his reign. Ironically, eight years later UCLA students and Black Panther Party members Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter and John Huggins were killed at Campbell Hall.
 
In 1974 Mobutu  collaborated with African American fight promoter Don “Only in America” King; allowing the great fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman  to take place in Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo) on October 30, of that year.
 
One of the few positives from this event was the concert that took place September 22-24.
 
It went on before the fight. It was organized by Lloyd Price, who teamed up with King, Hugh Masekela and Stewart Levine.
 
Price was perfect for the assignment, having been born in New Orleans, and been a successful R & B artist who had lived in Nigeria for ten years.
 
In addition to promoting the "Rumble in the Jungle," the event was intended to present and promote African Internationalism.
 
Price told Josh Peter of USA TODAY, “We first were going to call it 'From Slave Ship to Championship.
 
I thought that would have been a tremendous idea because of the event itself and what the intent of it was – to take a lot of African-Americans back to Africa who had never been there.”
 
The concert was a great leap forward for the unity of Africa and Africans. Thirty one performing groups, 17 from Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo) and 14 from overseas performed.
 
Featured performers included top R&B and soul artists hailing from the United States such as James Brown, Bill Withers, B.B. King and The Spinners, as well as prominent performers on the Continent, such as Miriam Makeba, and Tabu Ley Rochereau. Cuban-born Celia Cruz and the Fania All-Stars represented the Caribbean region.
 
Jesse Belvin
 
B.B. King brought Los Angeles’ Jesse Belvin back home when he performed "Guess Who" in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo).
 
Belvin was born on December 15, 1932 and was an R & B vocalist, pianist and songwriter popular in the 1950s, whose success was cut short by his death in a car crash at age 27.
 
This writer developed a close relationship with Jesse Belvin Jr. We wrote about him and his father in the pages of The Burning Spear and played his father’s music on Diasporic Music on Uhuru Radio.
 
Jesse Jr. joined the ancestors on May 9, 2014. His father is truly one of the unsung heroes of our music.
 
He told The Burning Spear: Part of his assignment when they signed him with RCA was that he was the vocal coach for Elvis.
 
They paid him to help teach Elvis how to do what he was trying to do. “If you listen to my father’s recording of “My Satellite” and “Just to Say Hello,” you will get a clear indication of what Elvis was trying to do.”
 
The influence of Augie Johnson
 
Augie Johnson of Side Effect joined the ancestors on October 11, 2014. Johnson was the founder and driving force behind Side Effect. 
 
 Side Effect was a jazz-funk band whose music was rooted in the Blues. They begin recording in 1972. Miki Howard, Sylvia Nabors and Jim Gilstrap were among the alumni of Side Effect. 
 
Soul Tracks pointed out: "Johnson also made an impact working on albums of other artists such as Michael Jackson and Boz Scaggs, with whom he worked on hits like "Don't Stop ‘Til You Get Enough" and "Lowdown." 
 
The Jackson connection came into play in early 2014, when Johnson, attempting to clear up an internet rumor, admitted that he, not Jackson was the father of Brandon Howard son of Miki Howard, who had been rumored to be MJ's offspring."

The New Orleans born Johnson went to Thomas A. Edison Jr. and George Washington High School ( now George Washington Preparatory High School).
 
Stanley "Tookie" Williams, the music group, Rose Royce and Runoko Rashidi also attended Washington High School. 
 
Denzel Washington was featured in a 1986 film "Hard Lessons" about how the school was transformed into an institution that sent many students to university and college.
 
Black music's political impact on the world
 
Black music internationally has been functional and dealt with whatever faced Africa and Africans.
 
Eleven year old Jamaican rapper, Wayne J has released a song addressing the burning issue of "Chikungunya” the virus' name comes from Makonde people.
 
The Makonde are an ethnic group in southeast Tanzania and northern Mozambique. "Chikungunya” " translates as "that which bends up."

Panama – born Jorge Sylvester has a great new CD, "Spirit Driven." I have been playing the track "Remember Haiti" on Saturday Morning Live on Radio Regent and Diasporic Music on Uhuru Radio.
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