One of R&B’s most popular current hits is “Quickie” by Miguel, who declares, “I don’t wanna be loved. I want a quickie.”
There’s nothing wrong with singing about sex. Few songs are as sexually charged as Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” And few singers can evoke bedroom heat like Al Green. But black men don’t even bother to romance women in love songs anymore, says Kimberly Hines, editor-in-chief of SoulBounce, an online progressive urban music site.
Consider a recent Valentine’s Day song by popular R&B artist Chris Brown called “No Bull S**t,” in which he sings about inviting a woman over to his place at 3 in the morning because “you know I’m horny.”
Then he sings to her to take off her clothes because “you already know what time it is” and orders her to “reach up in that dresser where them condoms is.
“What happens when millions of young listeners — regardless of color — learn about intimacy from songs that reduce love to reaching “up in that dresser where them condoms is”
And what happens to black people if we can’t sing about love?
So where do you go if you want to hear good contemporary R&B? Critics say to check out independent labels, neo-soul websites and Internet destinations like iTunes.
Boykins and a collection of other artists are trying to start a “new romantic” movement in R&B to revive the genre. He says he still listens to artists like Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye for inspiration.
There you’ll find singers like Jesse Boykins III, a 26-year-old with a supple, soulful voice that would’ve fit right in during the classic soul era. “They taught me that it’s OK to be vulnerable as an artist,” he says.
“Love music is not gone, it’s just harder to find,” he says.
Music was never just about entertainment in the black community. It was about hope. From the spirituals that slaves sang to survive brutal racism to civil rights anthems like “We Shall Overcome,” love of God, self and one another was the message in much of our music.
It was a message that made a difference.
Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.
But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.
He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.
“He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, ‘Here you go,’” Diaz says.
As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, “Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you’re going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm.”
*compassion. it’s a powerful tool. hope this brightens your day!
On the first anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, Patrick Elie, a longtime Haitian democracy activist and Haiti’s former Secretary of State for Public Security:
“I don’t think, truly, that the Haitian people have to be pitied or mourned. They have to get true solidarity in their endeavor to rebuild,” Elie says. “We must resist the impulse to rebuild Port-au-Prince the way it was: a city of exclusion, of hyper-concentration and of shanty towns, which contributed very, very much to the high toll that we’ve paid after the earthquake.”
One year after the massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti, reconstruction efforts have barely begun. Alex Dupuy, a professor of sociology at Wesleyan University:
“There is a dramatic power imbalance between the international community—under U.S. leadership—and Haiti. The former monopolizes economic and political power and calls all the shots,” Dupuy writes. “This unequal relationship is reflected in the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission.” The IHRC is co-chaired by Bill Clinton.
Just received word from my mama’s people in Croix-de-Bouquet and everyone is well and accounted for!!! God is good! The house is still upright, but it’s too damaged and unsafe to live in and so the family has been sleeping outside. Our family is lucky enough to have seats booked on one of the first flights out of Port-au-Prince, but thousands aren’t nearly as fortunate. Please keep the country and its people in your prayers and give generously whatever help you can. Take no day and no person for granted.
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is urgently appealing for emergency assistance to aid the victims of a devastating earthquake that rocked the Caribbean nation of Haiti early today.
The quake, which registered 7.0 on the Richter scale, triggered a tsunami warning for neighboring countries situated in the Caribbean Sea.
The earthquake was centered about 14 miles west of the capital city, Port-au-Prince and early news stories report of wide spread devastation.
Funds are urgently needed to provide safe water, temporary shelter systems, essential medical supplies etc. UNICEF’s country office in Haiti and the regional office located in Panama has deployed emergency teams to assess the situation and determine what the additional emergency needs are for the people of Haiti.
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and has a population of 9.6 million inhabitants, of which more than half are under 21 years old. UNICEF has been working in Haiti since 1949 and works directly with Haiti’s government on developing long term solutions to current problems caused by poverty and lack of basic health care, education and sanitation services.
The country has been suffering from long-term political strife and a severely depressed economy. In recent years the effects of the global food crisis and particularly strong hurricane seasons have left the country dangerously vulnerable. This catastrophe will only exacerbate the already critical situation for the people of Haiti, especially women and children.
To donate to the ongoing emergency relief efforts in Haiti and the Caribbean region, please visit: www.unicefusa.org/haitiquake or call 1-800-4UNICEF.