Sly Stone has a way with words. Anyone who can use language like Sly does to conceptualize a solution to a problem has my undying respect. Sly formed the first racially-mixed band. His smiling, whirling mass of flashing color danced in the aisles on The Ed Sullivan Show. He is talented beyond measure. And he was royally cheated out of his rightfully due writer royalties for which lawsuits ensued almost forty years later. Besides the systemic and requisite problems bands of that era faced — sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll do take their tolls — Sly constantly got pressure from the Black Panthers to make his message more militant. After all, their “All power to the people” lacked punch and they needed a song they could sing when they marched. Of course, as good Socialists, the Panthers used force and intimidation as their first go-to leverages. But what was worse, and what all artists should Continue reading Sly Stone, Race Relations, Trump Inauguration.
When my children were young, we often engaged in volunteer community work. One early morning in the summer, police were providing security for businesses near where we happened to be. We said hello to one officer and had a friendly chat. The kids were looking up at him in awe. He had a badge! Cool. The uniform was awesome! Cool. He had a gun! Double cool. We waved goodbye and walked on. A little while later I said coming toward us was another policeman. I said, “Oh, let’s say hello to that police man, too.” We made way to the second officer and chatted with him. This time, though, my children kept looking at me like I was a nut. Noticing the expressions on their faces, the man said, “I can’t help but notice…I think your kids want to say something.” They both nodded. Then my daughter, silently chosen to be spokesperson for the two Continue reading Color only as adjective