Saturday, February 29, 2020


Beneath the Spin*Eric L. Wattree


I have a friend out there in the either, let’s just call him “Hutch”. He’s a brilliant man – one of the reasons I decided to become a writer was I used to read his articles when I was a young man. But I have one bone to pick with him. He has a radio show where he discusses politics and the Black experience, but during the breaks and interludes in the show, for some reason he feels inspired to play so-called “classical” music.
Now, each to his own, and far be it for me to try to tell a person what they should enjoy in their private lives, but he’s a public person, and I think that playing classical music after discussing Black people having their brains blown out by racist cops on the street is highly inappropriate. It’s reminiscent of Hitler playing the music of Richard Wagner as they marched Jews off to the gas chamber.
There’s also the problem of promoting what has come to be called “classical music” as what it really means to have “culture” and “class”. It sends the subliminal message that Black culture is less so, and that what it means to have class is to follow in the tradition of people who wore powdered wigs and pedal pushers.

These subliminal messages are toxic on many levels, but most importantly, it negates the fact that Black people have a highly creative and complex intellect that requires much more stimulation than what most “classical music” brings to the table. What we so casually and dismissively refer to as "Soul", for example, is nothing short of intellectual brilliance straining to be unleashed, but most Black people are completely oblivious of that fact because we've been taught that it's nothing more than a Black idiosyncrasy, so we simply take it for granted. But it's much more than that. 
The kind of music that an individual craves says much about their intellectual acuity. That's why as we get older and our minds begin to mature we're no longer quenched by "Mary had a Little Lamb". The mind craves nourishment, so as our minds expand we begin to seek more complexed stimulation. That's the role that jazz was designed to provide, but the establishment has gone out of its way to block that at all costs. They can't afford to have an entire country filled with intellectually mature Black people running around, so they've inundated us with hard thumping semi-melodic Pablum to take its place. 


So the brilliance of a Charlie Parker, Ray Charles, or Aretha Franklin is not just confined to music, it can also be applied to other areas of knowledge, like science, philosophy, and mathematics. I was fortunate enough to have a father with the insight to recognize that fact, and I’ll be forever grateful to him for it. As a result of his insight, while I'm far from an intellectual giant, I've learned to leverage what intellect I do have most effectively.
From the time I was a baby, my father weaned me on jazz – people like Bird, Miles, John Coltrane, and Dexter Gordon. Then when I was 12 he bought me a tenor saxophone and moved a dope fiend in the back house to teach me to play (that was Jimmy, who turned out to be one of the most impressive men, and musicians, that any of us had ever known, but that's another story that I deal with elsewhere). But thanks to Jimmy, by the time I was 14 years old I knew as much about jazz as any adult - and much more than most, and I have an artistic skill that stimulates my mind and brings me joy to this day. My horn is sitting here next to me as I write.
So I’ve never been into anything else, not because I’m closed-minded, but because my mind has always craved the rapid chord progressions and complexed harmonies that other forms of music don't provide, and as a direct result of that craving for complexity, I’ve always shunned frivolity in other areas of life. So music is much more than just a form of entertainment, it’s an intellectual stimulant, and it’s used extensively by the establishment to control the thinking (or the lack thereof) of society.
The music that's promoted by the establishment is designed to distract us, dim our wits, and delude us into thinking that we're happy. It's more conducive to shaking our asses than stimulating our minds, and the lyrics are pure and unadulterated brainwashing. No, they don't control what a song writer writes, but they do control the distribution and marketability of their output. So while the Black community may think that they control their own taste in music, we're actually being spoon-fed what the establishment has decided is in it's own best interest - and anything you're fed often enough, you'll begin to crave. But the bottom line is, jazz is conducive to thought and intellectual development, so that's the very last thing they want Black people to listen to.


When Jackie McLean first appeared on the scene he swung it like nobody else;
He stood all alone, with that bittersweet tone, owing nobody, only himself.
With his furious attack he could take you back to the beauty of Yardbird’s song,
but that solemn moan made it all his own, as burning passion flowed
lush from his horn.

Hearing “Love and Hate” made Jazz my fate, joyous anguish
dripped blue from his song. 
He both smiled and cried and dug deep-down inside,
until the innocence of my childhood was gone.
He took me to a place that had no face, I was so young when I heard his sweet call,
but he parted the fog and in no time at all, a child of bebop sprung fully enthralled.

As I heard this new sound, and embraced the profound, childish eyes now saw as a man; 
I stood totally perplexed, but I couldn’t step back, from the hunger of my mind to expand.
I saw Charlie and Lester, and a smiling young Dexter, as I peered into Jackie’s sweet horn;
It was a place that I knew, though I’d never been to, but a place that I now call my home.


Promoting Hip-Hop, flooding the Black community with Crack cocaine, and mounting an assault on our educational system are all a part of the very same effort - the White establishment's desperate attempt to see to it that the Black community never produces another generation like the one that came out of the 60s.
When I was in college it cost me $6.50 a term – and that included parking. Now a young person has to go in debt for life just to afford a degree. There’s two reasons for that. The first involves class. The White establishment wanted to establish a class system that keeps the “Haves” on top by ensuring that the “Have Nots” wouldn’t be able to get an education, because with an education, the White “Have Nots” began to realize that Black people weren’t the only ones being oppressed, so they became a part of the struggle. But now, due to a lack of education, the ignorance of many lower-class Whites keep Donald Trump in office and help to maintain the viability of the Republican Party.
Secondly, when the White establishment began bringing Black people here in 1619, they thought they were merely importing dumb beasts of burden. But as the Africans began to adapt to the White culture our intellectual brilliance began to reveal itself and the White establishment began to recognize that the very same intellectual creativity that led to what today is commonly referred to as Black “soul”, could very easily be applied to other areas of intellectual pursuit, like math, science, engineering and politics. That made us a clear and present threat to their status in society. 

It was a Black slave who introduced inoculation to the White society, which all but wiped out Smallpox and many other virulent diseases that plagued their society for centuries and that had completely eluded their great institutions of "higher learning".
And beyond that, a Black school teacher did the math that made it possible to send man to the Moon – or, at least, made it possible for man to go there and get back safely without being lost in space – and later, a Black man made personal computing possible. In addition, Black music (jazz) serenaded this nation through the “Roaring Twenties” (or what’s commonly referred to as “The Jazz Age”). It made the Roaring Twenties roar. Jazz also helped to inspire this nation's victory over Hitler during WWII.

So, for generations the White establishment has made it their top priority to keep Black people dumbed-down, and prevent us from unleashing our powerful and creative intellect – they even made it illegal to teach us to read. But in spite of their most valiant efforts, after the Civil War former slaves walked right out of the fields into the halls of congress, and Frederick Douglass, a self-educated escaped slave, became a confidant of President Lincoln, and one of the most celebrated and sought-after intellectuals of the 19th Century. He was way ahead of his time, and was one of the first prominent intellectuals to address the issue of women's rights.
But in spite of that, the White establishment wasn’t about to give up on their efforts to convince the Black man that he was inferior, so they instituted “Jim Crow” laws and traditions, and promoted anti-intellectual schemes that continue to this day, and the promotion of Hip-Hop is a big part of that effort. But they're fighting a losing battle, because what we call "soul" is nothing less than Black intellectual brilliance straining to be unleashed. So the Black community should dedicate all of our efforts to demolishing all of their efforts to dumb-down our people, and not allow the pursuit of instant wealth and fame make us stupid.

The technique currently being used to obstruct Black intellectual development is brilliant in its simplicity. The White establishment clearly recognized that we are what we think, so they're attempting to influence young Black minds during their early development. Through the use of the corporate media the White establishment is making it possible for a handful of underinformed Black individuals to gain wealth and fame by denigrating our people and referring to the very womb of our culture as “bitches” and “hoes”. They’re also keeping many of our Black youth distracted from developing their intellect through the simple use of vulgar nursery rhymes. In short, they’re indoctrinating many of our youth into believing that being dumb and self-destructive is cool, and that's the Black man's place.
The establishment has convinced many young Black people that ignorance is what it means to be Black, and that trying to embrace intellectual development is "bougie", selling out, and trying to be White. So instead of helping to promote this nonsense, it's the responsibility of the older generation of Black people to help our young people to understand that knowledge and intellect are not synonymous with White.

And I’m not spewing a conspiracy theory here. The evidence is clear. Look at the video below of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Notice how dead serious every member of this band is in representing their culture. There’s no struttin’ around, bouncin’ their heads, or acting like damn fools for the benefit of the television audience. They simply put on, without any fanfare, an incredible display of pure artistic genius - and without bustin' one sweat bubble.
Unlike today, Miles and Coltrane simply represented the dignity of their people. They didn’t try to tell the White man who we were, they showed ‘em what Black people represent, and in a very matter-of-fact way. 
This video was recorded in 1959 when you rarely even saw Black people on television, yet, they weren't fazed a bit. None of them even bothered to look into the camera - in fact, at one point you can see Coltrane even turn away from it. They were so solemn, dedicated, and dead-serious about what they were doing, in fact, that Robert Herridge, the White man who introduces them, whispers their introduction in complete awe, and the White musicians who were fortunate enough to be on stage with them obviously considered it a great honor - and check out their effortless groove! They were laid-back and completely in their zone - their Black zone.
So young people, don’t buy into the bullshit. In the introduction Robert Herridge points out that "There are many ways of telling a story." Well, Miles is telling you yours. He's telling you who you really are, so listen and take heed. You’re not the product of idiots and clowns who have to tap dance, denigrate your culture, and put on a minstrel show for the White man. You’re the product of masters, and true creative and intellectual giants.


We knew him as Miles,
the Black Prince of style;
His nature fit jazz to a tee.
Laid back and cool,
a low threshold for fools,
he set the tone
of what a jazzman
should be.
Short on words,
and unperturbed, about
what the people thought;
frozen in time, drenched
in the sublime,
of the passion
his sweet horn
had wrought.
Solemn to the bone,
distant and torn,
even Trane could
scarcely get in;
I can still hear the tone
of that genius who mourned,
that precious note
that he couldn't
quite bend.

Eric L. Wattree
Religion: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act
like me - it's just that God does. 

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