Bitcoin Mining Pools Vs. Traditional Investing: 11 Great Reasons to Invest In Decentralized Currency
Bitcoin mining has made itself known and greatly impacted how we conceive what investing is and what makes a profitable investment.
The history of investing goes as far as the early 17th century when the Amsterdam Stock Exchange was established as the first modern stock exchange. Trading was exclusive to only wealthy merchants and brokers. Nonetheless, over time, this exclusive enterprise became more accessible and spread throughout the world.
Stocks became the default investment strategy for the average man, so he could build wealth over the long term. Then, only in 2009, crypto came onto everyone’s purview.
Though, before people started investing in crypto, “it [Dogecoin] was a literal joke,” said Randi Hipper, an 18-year-old influencer known as Miss Teen Crypto, in a late 2021 conversation with CoinDesk. It wasn’t until Tesla CEO Elon Musk started tweeting about it that “it got serious.”
What further sparked interest in cryptocurrency was billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban (4.5B networth) accepting DOGE for payment of the Dallas Mavericks. Today, cryptocurrency also makes up 80% of his investment portfolio. The reason behind Cuban’s avid involvement in the decentralized currency makes sense, though. In a tweet from May of this year, Cuban compared crypto to the early days of the internet, “crypto is going through the lull that the internet went through.”
He since followed that up by speaking on the emergence of crypto’s smart contracts (IBM on smart contracts: “programs used to automate the execution of an agreement so that all participants can be immediately certain of the outcome, without any intermediary’s involvement or time loss”) and how they’ll improve business management and profitability.
To learn more about why billionaire entrepreneurs are getting involved in the world of decentralized currency, continue reading below:
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The Inevitable Profits of Bitcoin Mining Pools
There are very few things that are lackluster about cryptocurrency. However, one of the few uninspiring parts is Bitcoin mining, an intensely difficult task that sees very little in rewards compared to the effort expended.
Still, despite, the complications of mining Bitcoin, there does seem to be an easy and increasingly valuable solution, mining pools. Mining pools are a joint task force of two or more crypto enthusiasts using their joint computational forces to increase the profitability of mining crypto and later split the profits.
1. It’s Easy To Get Involved
While the concept behind crypto may seem a bit niche, investing in this and other forms of cryptocurrency is quite simple. However, there are a few rules of thumb you should keep in mind before investing. First, as you begin investing, crypto should only be a small portion of your investment portfolio. Second, there are several types of altcoins, so do your research before choosing the one you want to bet on. Lastly, though cryptocurrency has remarkable returns, it is notoriously volatile, so expect and prepare for dips in crypto stocks every so often.
2. Diversify Your Portfolio
Speaking of diversifying your portfolio, Bitcoin offers you an advantage not seen in the traditional marketplace. For instance, when worldwide events disrupt the stock trends or when inflation decreases the value of the dollar, cryptocurrencies will be largely unaffected.
Thus, including Bitcoin in your investment portfolio protects you from the ever-fluctuating financial marketplace of centralized currency.
3. The Increasing Value of Bitcoin
In August of 2012, a single Bitcoin was valued at $112. While, at the time of writing this (May 31, 2022), a single Bitcoin is valued at an estimated $32,000. As Bitcoin continues to advance and become more accessible to the layman, the intrinsic value of the coin will continue to grow while being largely unaffected by traditional, centralized financial trends.
4. The Security of Decentralized Currency
The technology backing the blockchain ledger is inherently secure due to the decentralized (i.e. public) nature of transactions, in addition to the encryption process every transaction undergoes.
5. Enjoy a Tremendous Return on Your Investment
With the aforementioned increasing value of crypto, you have the opportunity to make thousands of dollars in the months to come at a modest cost right now if you were to get involved in cryptocurrency.
6. The Growing Usage of Crypto Worldwide
Both online and brick-and-mortar establishments accept cryptocurrency as a legitimate form of cash. Thus, it is now possible to walk into a store and purchase actual goods with currency backed solely through consensus-based transactions. Nonetheless, with the growing trend of establishments supporting cryptocurrency, this decentralized currency is starting to gain actual, real-world value.
7. Discover Transparency in Your Transactions
Because cryptocurrency exists on a publicly distributed ledger, transactions can’t be altered; there are fewer chances of risky investments due to internal manipulation (e.g., falsifying data) often seen in traditional trading.
8. Crypto is Becoming Integral to Fundamental Infrastructure of The Finance Industry
Cryptocurrencies are not only gaining real-world value through merchant enterprises, but entire nations are also adopting them. As of 2021 and 2022, respectively, El Salvador and The Central African Republic have begun to recognize cryptocurrency as official currency.
While during the war with Russia, The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine has taken to accept donations through 14 types of cryptocurrencies, “Crypto really helped during the first few days because we were able to cover some immediate needs,” says Alex Bornyakov, one of Ukraine’s deputy ministers for digital transformation.”
9. Protect Your Funds From Inflation
Because cryptocurrencies are decentralized and have a cap on supply (21.000. 000 units), they cannot be affected by inflation in a traditional sense. Instead, cryptocurrencies have the potential to earn more in returns than the speed at which the dollar loses value over time.
10. Support and Benefit From Innovation
As using cryptocurrencies become a part of the mainstream, the project that Satoshi Nakamoto first started in 2008 gains evidence of its legitimacy. At the same time, the growth in the use of crypto over time enables it to innovate further and evolve into a better version of itself.
11. The Blockchain is Here To Stay
You may be thinking that it’s too late to get involved in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, as the blockchain continues to braid itself into the financial marketplace, there will never be a better time than now, tomorrow, or even months and years from now to get involved in this decentralized currency.
Loans for Students & The Top 6 Guilt-Free Alternatives to Student Loans
Your child has graduated high school and gotten into a great university, so you think the hard part is over. Not quite. In truth, it has just begun. Around this time, most parents are applying for countless student loans with ridiculously high-interest rates and wondering how much debt they will be in during their retirement.
However, you can be one of the few who breaks out of this cycle of debt. Though student loans are the mainstream means to support a student’s education financially, there are other tried and true ways to pay off increasingly expensive tuition without negatively impacting your own future.
Read more to learn how:
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Choosing a School Your Family Can Afford
Multiple factors are involved when choosing your child’s school; however, you and your child ultimately must weigh in on which school is the most affordable for your family. It is true that some of the more well-known schools may pay themselves off when your child is applying for jobs, and they have a name like NYU or UPenn on their resume. Nonetheless, it is certain that a school that offers more in scholarships, rather than in recognition, will leave you and your child in great financial standing.
Scholarships, Scholarships, Scholarships…
Chances are that if your child got even decent grades they are receiving some scholarship aid. However, the opportunities to receive more “free money” are endless if you and your child put in the time and effort to apply for more scholarships.
Below are some of the sources of scholarships that you can reach out to:
And be aware that scholarships can be based on gender, religion, sexuality, merit, and more, so your child may be eligible for countless scholarships without you even knowing it. However, it’s best to apply for niche scholarships, since the pool will be smaller and your child will have an increased chance of receiving the reward.
Having your child work through school can sometimes be a hard choice. Nevertheless, for most, it’s an effective decision.
A little-known loophole to paying tuition turns out to be having your child work for a company that is willing to support them financially and is willing to fulfill the terms of their loans. Some employers are willing to go as far as paying for their degree if they only remain at the company for a certain amount of years.
Here’s a list of 7 companies willing to pay off your student loans:
Work-study programs allow your student to work while attending school. At the same time, they provide your student with real-world experience, so once they graduate from school, they’ll be well-adjusted to the working world.
Your child will find out if their eligible for work-study programs in their FAFSA letter. Once your child starts working, be sure that they know that their paycheck should be going towards their education, not beer and booze.
If you find that your child is not eligible for work-study, rest assured that there are countless other jobs suitable for them to work while they’re in school. Working part-time is an excellent way for your student to understand what it means to be self-reliant and recognize that they have what it takes to juggle competing tasks, such as school and their workload.
An income-share agreement or ISA is a contract between your child and their employer that allows them to receive the funds they need in return for their future income.
Repayment for this contract begins when your child graduates from school and reaches a certain income threshold, so rest assured that you and your child won’t have to think about this loan until they’re well-prepared to pay it off.
Note: These contracts have a cap on the amount you can pay and a set repayment schedule.
“How are Bitcoins Mined?” and 5 Best Ways To Get Free Bitcoins
The conversation around Bitcoin has been brewing for the past 13 years since Satoshi Nakamoto first developed this decentralized currency in the early 200s. Doing a simple Google search of the word “Bitcoin” easily provides you with 857,000 results, many of them relating to Bitcoin mining and how this currency has made waves within the economy.
However, despite being a hot topic, little is known about the logistics of acquiring Bitcoin.
So the question, today, is:
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How are Bitcoins mined?
Bitcoin mining is the arduous task of entering new Bitcoins into the crypto ecosystem. The process is critical in confirming recent transactions and maintaining the blockchain’s ledger. The mining is performed using computational software known as advanced Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) machines that solve complex mathematical problems. The first computer to solve the problem receives the next block of Bitcoins, and the process starts anew.
The rewards for mining Bitcoin are cut in half every four years, so as of March 2022, miners receive $243,750 (6.25 x 39,000) for completing a block. So all in a hard day of work, right? Correct, but… the computers needed to mine Bitcoin also cost quite a pretty penny as well (easily running from $500 to the tens of thousands of dollars). While the chances of your hard work paying off steadily decrease as more and more individuals begin to tune into this profitable industry. Thus, you must first weigh the risk and rewards before getting involved in this game of chance.
Nonetheless, there are alternative ways to win free bitcoins.
Blogging About Cryptocurrency
Use your knack for the written word for good. If you’re a crypto aficionado, you can earn free Bitcoin by writing stories on your favorite topic for blogs and news outlets.
The popular cryptocurrency forum publish0x rewards creatives for writing articles on topics related to Bitcoin.
Completing Odd Jobs Online
Another way to earn Bitcoin is by completing tasks on websites like Freebitcoin.io and CoinPayU. Some of the activities on these sites are as simple as:
Viewing ads and offers
Clicking a button
Reading expert testimonials about Bitcoin
Playing Games Online
If you’re looking to have fun while making an extra buck, join a Bitcoin casino. While there, you can bet your own money or your Bitcoin on casino games or lotteries to get a high Bitcoin payout.
Doing Some Retail Therapy or Shopping Online
Ever thought that you could make money while shopping? No, well, today, you can. You can earn free Bitcoin by first downloading a browser extension, so when you purchase various products you will be rewarded with a fractional amount of Bitcoin.
For instance, Lolli‘s browser extension will reward you with free Bitcoin after shopping at over 1,000 top stores.
Refer a Friend To a Service
Affiliate programs are also a profitable means to earn free Bitcoin. For example, when you refer a friend to a service, you and your friend will have the opportunity to get a discount, accrue rewards points, or even get a Bitcoin or alt coin currency bonus.
Apply to Binance now to get 40% in commission when your friends make a transaction.
Buying a home is the American Dream; however, before buying a home, you must find a reliable mortgage calculator.
Mortgage tends to be the thing that gets in the way of most people buying and owning a respectable living space. Some prospective home buyers run into obstacles like their debt-to-income ratio being too high, so they’re turned away by most credible lenders. While others face difficulties determining how their finances stack up against the cost of a home.
However, today, we’ll be showing you some of today’s best and accredited mortgage calculators to set you on the right step to buying a place you can proudly call home.
1. Rocket Mortgage
Rocket Mortgage puts prospective homeowners in the driver’s seat and allows you to determine whether the price of a home is right for you. Key features of the app include a user-friendly loan calculator, refinancing options, and responsive bankers that’ll help you in your home buying journey.
2. Mortgage By Zillow
Zillow is one of the first apps that probably come to mind when house hunting. The application has come in handy when searching for a home within your price range and in the best location for your family, so it probably doesn’t come as a shock that it ranks as #2 on the list of best mortgage calculators. We love Zillow’s app because it provides users with mortgage rates and local lenders, making home-buying easy.
3. Loan Calculator %
While a Controversial review since Loan Calculator technically has a higher rating than Zillow’s calculator. Loan Calculator only comes after Zillow due to its less than stellar user interface. If you’re looking for a loan calculator app that provides various options to learn about home buying and rates in your area, this probably isn’t the app for you. However, if you need to calculate your mortgage in a pinch, Loan Calculator will do just that for you with its clean and easy application.
4. My Mortgage
Tired of talking to unsupportive lenders and reviewing countless mortgage rates online? If your answer’s yes, I don’t blame you. Buying a house, though an exciting endeavor, is nonetheless a struggle. Creators of My Mortgage recognize the difficulties home buyers go through, so they’ve created an app to make the process easy.
With My Mortgage expect immediate and fast responses from lenders and a company that cares about making your experience great.
Need help navigating through the complicated home buying process, need a team of honest, trust-worthy loan officers, or simply need an accurate loan calculator? Well, Loanzify has all that and more. Nevertheless, despite Loanzify’s countless programs, this app comes at #6 for its sometimes fraught interface and technical difficulties.
6. U.S. Mortgage Calculator
One of the best features of U.S. Mortgage Calculator is its various breakdowns of mortgage calculations. With a host of graphs, charts, and more this app provides with you all the answers to your financial questions, so you’ll be in control of your financial future.
7. Mortgage Calculator (Financept)
Mortgage Calculator is the app for you if you’re looking to calculate numbers and see a breakdown of payments quickly. Still, this app can improve by saving information, so users don’t have to redo calculations.
8. EZ Financial Calculators
Good mortgage calculators come a dime a dozen, so discovering EZ Financial Calculators is a win for everyone who has it. This app accurately and expertly calculates your mortgage, in addition to giving you the option to calculate various other milestones—other than buying a home—such as calculating your 401k, stock, bonds, and car leases.
The 90s gave us Tupac, Wu-Tang Clan, and a record number of other rappers and singers. However, with such a variety of great artists, it’s difficult to name which ones were the best and brightest. Nevertheless, we have scoured the web and found the diamonds among the gems of best 90’s songs, based on listener count, acclaim and awards, and how well it has aged into the 21st century:
“The World Is Yours” By Nas (1994) – Best Songs From The 90s
Probably one of the best rap songs of all time, Nas’ hit from his most-listened-to album, Illmatic (originally titled Stillmatic and The Lost Tapes), presents us with a story that many of us can identify with about overcoming poverty, racism, and violence. And we can’t even talk about the tragic irony of this song, which spins the idea of the world being our oyster into something sadder and grimmer when he renames the big apple with the moniker of “the rotten apple.”
“No Scrubs” By TLC (1999) – Best Songs From The 90s
Now let’s talk about “No Scrubs,” because this song puts into words every thought every wronged woman has experienced about dating a lazy, desperate man. It’s also a song that empowers women to say no to these men who are constantly, “Hanging out the passenger side of his best friend’s ride/Trying to holler at [them].” There’s so much more to say about this 90’s hit, but let’s leave it with this: the spunky lyrics definitely a 9/10, the fact that it still sits as no.1 in Billboard’s Chart History a solid 10/10, and their MJ and Janet Jackson-esque “Scream” look from their music video a close 8/10, thus making this song one we’ll never forget.
“Killing Me Softly With His Song” By Fugees (1996) – Best Songs From The 90s
Based on Roberta Flack and Lori Lieberman’s 1973 song of the same name, “Killing Me Softly With His Song” brought us to our knees and drove grown men to weep over its words of grief. While the lyrics were not written by the Fugees, Lauryn Hill sings it as if the words and the pain in it were her own.
When the song first came out, in the summer of 1996, over 3 million people bought it, and all they could do was listen to it to drown out the summer heat and exorcise the pain of lovers that “kill[ed] them softly.”
“No Diggity” By Blackstreet ft. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen (1996) – Best Songs From The 90s
You know that song Anna Kendrick started rapping (and surprisingly killing) in Pitch Perfect, well apparently it was by Blackstreet and once you listen to the original, you’ll understand why it’s on this list. Talking about a girl he has feelings for, Blackstreet comes complimenting this girl, saying, “no means average/She’s on when she’s got to have it/ Baby, you’re a perfect ten” and has all of us wanting a man to go gangsta and gives us his game.
“C.R.E.A.M.” By Wu-Tang Clan (1993) – Best Songs From The 90s
For all you anti-capitalist aficionados, you’ll find yourself in good company with “C.R.E.A.M” (Cash Rules The World Around Me); the song reveals the hopeless reality of capitalism, which traps many into a life of either crime or poverty.
Of the videos that the Wu-Tang Clan have uploaded to their YouTube channel, “C.R.E.A.M.” is by far the most loved, with over 90 million views. And their popularity is also matched by the fact the song was their highest-charting single hitting No. 60 in 1994.
“Say My Name” By Destiny’s Child (1999) – Best Songs From The 90s
Another song that’s made its round into Hollywood films, namely last year’s iteration of The Candyman, is Destiny Child’s “Say My Name.” This song is an anthem for all strong Queens who just want Kings to see their worth, and it’s also a song for those who just long for the times of black girl groups and their color coordinating styles.
Plus, we cannot forget to thank Queen B. for giving us her Gold Pick and Drop braids, cause this inspired countless looks throughout the years.
“The Boy Is Mine” by Brandy and Monica (1998) – Best Songs From The 90s
Brandi has treated us with her color-blind casting of Cinderella (i.e. the only Cinderella that exists to me) and some of the best songs, including I Wanna Be Down and Baby, but nothing compares to “The Boy Is Mine”. It has everything we need in a song: drama, a perfect hook, and beautifully blended vocals.
And while it’s not played as much today, it had a chart-topping run, during its prime with it spending 13 weeks at no.1 in the US, which made it the all-time no.1 female duet in US chart history.
“Hit Em Up By 2Pac ft. Outlawz (1996) – Best Songs From The 90s
Ok, anybody that knows me knows that I’m a hardcore pacifist and not interested in hearing the “n” word being shouted in my ears, but when I first heard 2Pac belting about cutting young ‘n-word’ ass up and “leaving [them] in pieces,” I had to bob my head along, cause his tracks were that good. This song and all of his others have lived with us, since his tragic death in 1996.
And if you’re really feeling nostalgic for his sound, you may get a chance to see him (or at least his hologram) at the next Coachella.
“Otherside of The Game” By Erykah Badu (1997) – Best Songs From The 90s
“Otherside of The Game” comes to us as a beloved house single. If you’re feeling tired or dragged down by life, you’ll find a kindred soul in Erykah Badu. From talking about her questionable job to questioning whether or not she wants her baby, Badu exposes us to the reality of what life can be, but also makes all of us, with our repressed pain and sad circumstances, feel seen and heard.
“SpottieOttieDopaliscious” By Outkast (1998) – Best Songs From The 90s
While Outkast has since broken up, we still have this beloved single, which seems to hit us like the highest high we’ve ever felt. Not too fast and not too slow, this song is just right, and is spoken like poetry, “Taste of nightlife, me? Well, I’ve never been there, well perhaps once But I was so engulfed in the “E”/I never made it to the door you speak of hard core/While the DJ sweating out all the problems and troubles of the day.”
And unlike the words in this song, listeners won’t be wasting their time with the humdrum of nightlife when they have this diamond in the rough.
The best songs from the 90s is a list comprising songs of our childhoods and adolescence, and, if you’re anything like me, these songs will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Below is a list of the top 11 black male falsetto singers you deserve to know:
Whether it’s modern indie rock, Motown, or soul, the falsetto technique of vocalizing has been popular across different genres. Some singers make use of their upper-register head voice to showcase power. Others do so to show vulnerability and fragility emotionally.
Michael Jackson – Falsetto Black Male Singers
Born on the 29th of August 1958 and known as the ‘King of Pop’, Michael Jackson had a multitude of talents. He is regarded to be one of the most significant cultural figures in the 20th century.
Michael had a career that spans over four decades and made significant contributions to various fields such as fashion, dance, philanthropy, and music. He was a worldwide influence and popularized some dance moves such as the moonwalk and also the robot. All his talents seem to overshadow the fact that he also had one of the smoothest falsetto voices that were quite sexual due to his virtuosic nature. He died in June 2009.
Eddie Holman – Falsetto Black Male Singers
Eddie Holman is an American recording artist and singer of the genres ranging from R & B to gospel and even pop who was born on 3rd June 1946. He is famously known for his sit song in 1970, “hey there lonely girl.”
Eddie has the kind of voice that can be best described as an astounding precision instrument with the ability to leap octaves extremely fast and also bend notes into the shapes that leave lesser singers in awe and wonder. He has made a permanent spot for himself in soul history. Apart from being such a gifted singer, he also owns Agape Records, his record label.
Philip Bailey – Falsetto Black Male Singers
Born on the 8th of May 1951, Philip James Bailey is an American funk, gospel, soul, and R & B singer and also a percussionist. He is best known as one of the early members and also a lead singer in the band Earth, Wind, and Fire.
Bailey is re-known for his falsetto register and his four-octave vocal range. Philip’s voice is one of those that can be identified as based on virtuosity only. Having one of the highest falsettos known to the human ear, he can hold it for long periods yet still make it sound sensual and overwhelmingly smooth.
The Weeknd – Falsetto Black Male Singers
Abel Makkonen Tesfaye or simply The Weeknd is a Canadian songwriter, singer, and record producer. He was born on the 16th of February 1990. Abel is among the best-selling singers in the world with more than 75 million records of his sold. He is also on Spotify’s list of the most-streamed artists.
Abel has a voice of a kind with a soaring falsetto that has its singular tremolo. He is a big sensation and the fact that he inculcates falsetto in his music has influenced a lot of artists in various contemporary music styles such as hip hop, pop, rhythm as well as blues. He was even named as one of the top 100 influential people in 2020.
Eddie Kendrick – Falsetto Black Male Singers
Edward James Kendrick was an American songwriter and singer who was born on the 17th of March 1939 and died in 1992. He co-founded The Temptations which was a singing group and was among their lead singers between 1960 and 1971. Every vocal group must at least have a tenor who can do falsetto.
Eddie Kendricks took the role to a whole other level. Taking the lead role in a majority of hit songs by Temptations, Kendrick can be said to have been one of the most distinguishable falsetto proponents who came from Motown in the 1960s. He also released several single hits in the 1970s. This includes “keep on tracking” which was the number one single.
Curtis Mayfield – Falsetto Black Male Singers
Born on the 3rd of June 1942, Curtis Lee Mayfield was an American guitarist, record producer as well as a singer-songwriter. He also built his name as one of the most outspoken and influential musicians who did soul as well as music that was African American politically conscious. His career was offset in a gospel choir.
He then joined The Impressions, a vocal group in 1956 when he was 14. Mayfield brought with him social awareness into the soul music scene while still hitting his falsetto notes perfectly.
Smokey Robinson – Falsetto Black Male Singers
William Smokey Robinson is an American songwriter, record producer, singer, and also former record executive who was born on the 19th of February 1940 and died in 1999. He founded and was also the frontman of ‘The Miracles’ which was a Motown vocal group. For the group, he was the chief producer and songwriter.
As the king of Motown, Smokey is one of the reasons that the concept of singing in falsetto became a sound that was sought after back in the ’60s. Smokey could engulf a melody with his falsetto vocals and still manage to throw in more ornamentation.
Russell Allen Thompkins – Falsetto Black Male Singers
Russel is an American singer of soul who was born on the 21st March 1951. He is renown for being the original lead singer of The Stylistics, which was a vocal group between 1968 and 1974. Russel was also known for his countertenor, tenor, and his very admirable falsetto vocals. The group released 12 singles that charted on the Billboards R & B singles between 1971 and 1974
Prince – Falsetto Black Male Singers
Born on 7th June 1958, Prince Rogers Nelson was an American multi-instrumentalist, record producer, singer-songwriter, actor, director, and record producer. Prince was fluid in terms of the genres he did and mostly played all the instruments in his recordings. No one else was able to inculcate falsetto across as many genres as Prince.
Prince made a name for himself with his androgynous persona that was accompanied by his wide vocal range. This included a falsetto like no other with high-pitched screams. He died in April 2016.
Sylvester – Falsetto Black Male Singers
Sylvester was an openly gay black male singer at a time when homophobia was at its peak. His timing was excellent because he entered the industry during the Disco craze which was more geared towards nightclubs and dance music and less radio airplay. He is credited for having one of the best falsetto voices in the history of R&B music but it was often overshadowed by his sexuality.
Conservative black radio stations played some of his songs but steered clear of many of them as well as Don Cornelious, the late creator of Soul Train, refused to have him on the show. Sylvester did appear on American Bandstand several times owned by Dick Clark and Dick Clark productions and he did manage to secure a huge gay and even straight black following.
Everybody loves how it feels when the bass drops…but err’body ain’t able to make it happen. Here are ten of the greatest arbiters of low-end theory for your perusal.
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All hail the king from the streets of Philadelphia! Clarke is most responsible for bringing electric bass out of the background as a lead instrument, kicking out melodies and jaw-dropping solos – from the frenetic to the eloquent.
His composition “School Days” is an all-time band jam classic. Clarke is also a master of upright/arco acoustic bass in Jazz and Classical contexts, is a prolific composer of songs, suites and film scores, and has produced Jazz and Pop artists from Dee Dee Bridgewater to McCoy Tyner.
He was a member of Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood’s all-star Rock band The New Barbarians, has been the leader of several bands in the tradition of greats from the past that usher great young talent into the big time, is a founding member of the pioneering Jazz-Rock Fusion band Return to Forever (w/ the late Chick Corea) AND one half of the unlimited duo The Clarke-Duke Project (w/ the late George Duke).
He also sings and, early in his career, was a much sought-after session musician/sideman, recording with Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, Deodato, Dexter Gordon, Donny Hathaway, Aretha Franklin, Gato Barbieri and Norman Connors, among many others.
Often spoken of as the greatest electric bassist of all time, South Carolina-born Jamerson grabbed the Fender electric bass in its infancy – after playing acoustic jazz bass for a number of years inspired by Ray Brown, Paul Chambers and Percy Heath.
He proceeded to define its vocabulary on some of the most ebullient music of the `60s: the avalanche of hits coming out of Detroit’s Motown Records.
Close your eyes and just think about “You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes, “Reach Out – I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops, “Shotgun” by Jr. Walker & The All-Stars, “Try it Baby” by The Temptations or “I Was Made to Love Her” by Stevie Wonder – merely five of hundreds that Jamerson’s bass carried like the wind beneath their wings.
He did the same on sessions away from Hitsville, such as “Higher and Higher” by Jackie Wilson and the boogie classic “Boom Boom” by blues legend John Lee Hooker.
The story most often told about Jamerson is that Marvin Gaye sent people looking for him in all the local bars so he could play on this special new tune he was perfecting. (Again, close our eyes and just think about “Ain’t That Peculiar.”)
When they finally brought Jamerson in to play, he was too intoxicated to stand up, so he recorded his now-legendary bass parts lying flat on his back. The song was “What’s Going On,” considered by many to be the greatest song of all time. Tragically, Jamerson died at just 47 years old from cirrhosis of the liver, heart failure, and pneumonia in Los Angeles.
Brother Graham is the minister of sanctified funk as The One who introduced the percussive bass technique of “thumpin’ and pluckin’” to pop music – first as a member of groundbreaking Sly & The Family Stone then as leader of his own Graham Central Station.
On the way out of The Family Stone, Larry Graham hit the world with it on “Thank You Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin” then went balls out nuts with it on GCS jams such as “Hair,” “Release Yourself,” “The Jam,” “It’s Alright,” “Water” and “Now Do-U-Wanta Dance.”
His style of playing gave listeners and dancers double the rhythm to deal with and made hearts thump with Holy Ghost bliss.
By “Earthquake,” he was knee-deep into Jimi Hendrixian fuzz effects and overdrive.
Suddenly, he shifted to primarily crooning ballads (spurred on by the success of the Sam Dees composition “A One in a Million You”) and odes of praise to Jehovah.
To this day, Graham can still throw down on the bass (he did so for years in Prince’s camp) but his custom axe has a special microphone attached so he can further indulge his first love of singing – from deep baritone rumblings, yes, but also to soaring falsetto flights (that was him singing those high parts on GCS’ R&B chart-topping “Your Love”). Respect.
Of the scores of disciples to follow Larry Graham’s lead, Louis Johnson of Los Angeles grabbed the baton…and throttled the ^$&% out of it! Master of the slapping technique of bass playing, his thumb became as valuable to Funk as Wes Montgomery’s was to Jazz.
The world at large got to know Louis and his older brother George first as members of Billy Preston’s God Squad band followed swiftly after as featured guests on four songs from Quincy Jones’ Mellow Madness LP, including the hit “Is it Love that We’re Missing’ (the tame side of Louis’ playing) and “Trying to Find Out About You” (the wild side).
By the time of the duo’s debut LP as The Brothers Johnson, everybody was losing their mind over the club jam “Get the Funk Out Ma Face,” the radio hit “I’ll Be Good to You” (listen at that bottom) and the instrumental “Thunder Thumbs & Lightning Licks” (the brothers’ nicknames).
Louis’ heavy groove and showmanship in concert lifted hits for the duo such as “Ain’t We Funkin’ Now,” “Blam,” “Strawberry Letter 23,” “Welcome to the Club,” Stomp” and the Quiet Storm instrumental “Tokyo.”
Louis also shined as a session musician, first on Funk Jazz Fusion albums by Grover Washington, Jr. (It Feels So Good), Herbie Hancock (Man-child), Harvey Mason (Funk in a Mason Jar), Earl Klugh (“Twinkle”), Gabor Szabo (Macho) and Hugh Masekela & Herb Alpert.
He even guested on an infectious team-up with Stanley Clarke on the single “We Supply” while contributing mightily to Quincy Jones productions for Michael Jackson and Rufus & Chaka. Most significantly, Louis started a pioneering Black Contemporary Christian group with his wife Valerie Johnson and Richard Heath that they named Passage. Sadly, Louis was just 60 when he passed in 2015.
The ubiquitous and virtuous Mr. Miller of Jamaica, Queens, NYC was a prodigy of his father William who started both writing and composing young.
When he placed his first composition, “Sunset Burgundy” for flautist Bobbi Humphrey, Marcus was only 19. As he swiftly rose through the ranks of New York’s session elite, he always had a song in his bass case or in his mind that fit the bill.
His early session work included playing for Lonnie Liston Smith, Lenny White, Tom Browne, Roberta Flack, Grover Washington, Jr., Tom Scott, Kazumi Watanabe.
Lee Ritenour and so many more. However, he left his deepest imprints on the music of three giants: David Sanborn, Luther Vandross and Miles Davis.
For Miles, Marcus inadvertently composed the last great Jazz standard to date: “Tutu,” both covered and lyricized extensively. Literally and figuratively, Marcus Miller wears many hats as a producer, writer, bandleader, film scorer (he also wrote the instant Go-Go classic “Da Butt” for Spike Lee’s “School Daze”), Jazz festival impresario and more.
However, it is always the bass that most colorfully defines him as he glides and grooves over perceived genre boundaries – with or without frets…and even on bass clarinet!
A true hero and groundbreaker as a session player and soul man, THE Chuck Rainey has a fluid bottom and a signature slide to his playing that sent him from essential for Aretha to in-demand by Steely Dan – often in partnership with drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie.
He is another master who started in Jazz yet made himself invaluable across the board, having recorded on over 1,000 albums, making him among the most recorded electric bassists in history. At 81, Cleveland-native Rainey is now officially retired and working on his biography.
The Kingston, Jamaica-born Grand Puba of Reggae bass and dub is among the most influential bassists the world over for his ominous and rock steady playing.
As one half of the duo Sly & Robbie (with drummer Sly Dunbar) he has played behind AND produced a number of artists, perhaps most famously Grace Jones.
The duo were also members of royal Reggae band Black Uhuru. Shakespeare holds the distinction of playing not only with Jamaican stars such as Peter Tosh, Gregory Isaacs, Augustus Pablo and Yellowman, he has also recorded with Rock stars Joe Cocker, Mick Jagger, Cyndi Lauper and on Bob Dylan’s outstanding album, Infidels (Columbia – 1983). His shoutout in the dance classic “Genius of Love” by Tom Tom Club is richly deserved.
William “Bootsy” Collins
To have gone from learning ‘The One’ as a member of James Brown’s JB’s in the early `70s to co-creating the inebriating Funk-Rock pulse for Parliament-Funkadelic (with George Clinton, Bernie Worell and several sundry spin-offs from his own Rubber Band to The Brides of Funkenstein and Zapp) into the early `80s, Bootsy (as he was nicknamed by his mother) stands at master status.
Beyond those distinctions, like Stankey Clarke, Bootsy was major for bringing electric bass front and center as a cartoon character come to life – “a Rhine-stoned, rock star doll, baby bobba” whose colorful outfits and pioneering space bass playing was so powerful, it eclipsed William Collins, the man, to the point where he had to step away from the role for a while.
Upon his `90s return, he could be found everywhere from Keith Richards’ first solo album to club band Dee-Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart” and West Coast Hip-Hop joints.
Today he is an ambassador of good will and funky things to play with. We thank ‘Bootzilla’ profusely for providing us all with “Another Point of View.”
Never before has there been a female artist who started as a bassist then dramatically expanded the way that Esperanza Spalding has done.
She became so proficient on acoustic AND electric bass that while attending Berkley School of Music in Boston, she began teaching there as well.
Initially seen as a Jazz artist, the Portland, Oregon native of Welsh, Hispanic, Native American and African American descent swiftly blurred the lines with Latin, Hip Hop, Neo Soul Pop recordings on which she played, sang, composed, arranged and rapped.
Her American debut CD, Esperanza. was so undeniably stunning, that she upset the 2008 Grammys, nabbing Best New Artist over teen heartthrob Justin Bieber, turning a gaggle of young girls into early Prozac dependency (just kidding).
She’s become a coveted collaborator in Jazz and beyond, and was one-third of the outstanding female trio ACS (the late Geri Allen on piano, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and Spalding).
Born in Philly and raised in San Diego, Nathan East is another of the most prolific and versatile electric bassists in all of music.
His resume is bursting with Soul, Rock, Jazz, Pop and country artists he has served including Teena Marie, Lee Ritenour, Hubert Laws, Kenny Rogers, Elton John, Lionel Richie and more.
He has over a thousand credits just in studio work alone. He is also a member of the all-star contemporary jazz quartet Fourplay. Most interestingly, as masterful as Nathan is as a support player since at least 1977, he held off on recording his eponymous debut CD as a leader until 2014. He released a second, Reverence, in 2017.
And he is still going strong.
Honorable Mentions: Victor Bailey, Darryl Jones, Byron Miller, Paul Jackson, Bradley Bobo, Alphonso Johnson, Lequeint “Duke” Jobe, Freddie Washington, Willie Weeks, Anthony Jackson, Abraham Laboriel, Ralphe Armstrong, Tony Newton, Aston “Family Man” Barrett, Bernard Edwards, Verdine White, Nathan Watts, Nathaniel Phillips, Ronald LaPread, Bobby Watson, Marvin Isley, Ray Ransom, Billy Cox, Prince, Victor Wooten, Thundercat, Michael Henderson, Christian McBride, Jerry Jemmott, Bob Cranshaw, Rhonda Smith, Gail Ann Dorsey, Starr Cullars, Reggie McBride, Gary King, Larry Willis, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Wyzzard, Melvin Gibbs, Marshall Jones, Doug Gibson, Rick James, Allen McGrier, Oscar Alston, Aaron Mills, Mr. Mark Adams, Doug Wimbish… and scores more.
Comedy should be debated like sports. For every fan of Jordan, there are those who feel Kobe or Lebron tops him. For every Brady acolyte, there’s a Mahone disciple or a Rogers apostle. That’s because comedy, like sports, is not so much a matter of stats, but also favorites.
Just as some athletes spark your imagination and inspire, comedy meets the same criteria. I don’t know which comedy movie is the funniest of all time. A lot of one’s opinion is based on one’s age, life experiences, and mood when you first watch the film. So, this list, like most, will be scrutinized and for some, it will make heads explode, but despite all that, nobody can say these particular movies aren’t hilarious gut busters. See what I mean . . .
Table of Contents
LET’S DO IT AGAIN
This film is the second entry in the Poitier/Cosby trilogy of comedies. The first was Uptown Saturday Night. The Third – A Piece of the Action. Like the others this one was directed by Sidney Poitier and co-stars himself and Bill Cosby. Jimmie Walker, Calvin Lockhart, Ossie Davis, Denise Nicholas and John Amos appear, along with a cameo by George -Foreman. In all the films the names of Poitier and Cosby change as do their professions.
In Let’s Do It Again, the duo plays blue-collar workers who scam to make money for their financially strapped lodge. Poitier knows how to hypnotize, and Cosby has a plan. They’ll make the longshot boxer (Walker) think he’s a fierce fighter, bet heavily on him winning and clean up. The scheme works like a charm until the gangsters who lost money on the plot figure it out and pay Poitier and Cosby a little visit. They want to get even. Either the two again use hypnotism to rig the upcoming title bout or the two will be out for the count. It’s an offer they can’t refuse, only they can’t get back into Walker’s training facility – security is beefed up for the new champ. So, they hypnotize the other boxer, and the result is a match that’s a draw. Of course, the two buddies bet on this and the gangsters are once again on their trail.
Let’s Do It Again is considered the best of the trilogy in all aspects. The music is outstanding, with a memorable soundtrack by the Staple Singers. The critics loved it and the audiences were happy. The film grossed $11.8 million dollars on a $70,000.00 budget
COMING TO AMERICA
Reuniting Eddie Murphy and director John Landis, the comedy is about the African crown prince, Akeem Joffer, from the fictional nation of Zamunda, who comes to the United States in the hopes of finding a bride. The film co-stars Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley, and John Amos.
Following a negative press screening in New York, Paramount canceled all press screenings of the film. Their concern proved to be unfounded as the film was a commercial box-office success, both domestically and worldwide, grossing $288,752,301, making it the highest-earning film that year for the studio and the third-highest-grossing film at the United States box office.
Coming to America was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Costume and Best Makeup. The soundtrack also did well. Two singles (“Coming to America” and “Come into My Life”) were released and the song, “That’s the Way It Is” went to the top ten in the UK.
It seemed the only downside was the 1990 Buchwald v. Paramount civil suit. Humorist Art Buchwald claimed the film’s idea was stolen from his 1982 script treatment; a treatment Paramount had optioned from him, with John Landis attached as director and Murphy as the lead, but after two years in development, the studio dropped the project in 1985. Then in 1987, Paramount began working on Coming to America based on a story by Murphy. Buchwald won for breach of contract and settled out-of-court.
WHICH WAY IS UP?
This was Richard Pryor’s first major starring role, and he did not disappoint his fans. Based on the Italian comedy, The Seduction of Mimi, Which Way Is Up? tells the story of a Black fruit picker trying to hide his mistress from his wife. Michael Schultz directed the hilarity, and the laughs roll from beginning to end.
Pryor delivers a tour-de-force as three characters: the fruit picker, his daddy, and the preacher who screws his wife and gets her pregnant. That happened because the fruit picker left his family (with their permission) to go to Los Angeles to pick more fruit. Of course, there are women in Los Angeles and the fruit picker meets one and falls in love with her; probably because she’s super fine (as played by Lonette McKee). He returns home but takes his new family with the fine girl with him and stashes them across town. Back to that preacher. He just did what preachers do and screwed a member of his congregation who just happened to be the fruit picker’s lonely wife. It all ends with the fruit picker walking up the road all by himself.
Which Way Is Up? was not adored by critics, but when did that ever matter when it comes to comedy? Critics who review movies for free like wit. Paying moviegoers like to laugh. This flick delivers. It also delivered a cast consisting of Margaret Avery, Morgan Woodward, BeBe Drake, Otis Day, Luis Valdez, Danny Valdez, and Paul Mooney.
This was rapper, Ice Cube’s first foray into comedy and he and co-writer, DJ Pooh knocked it out of the park. The story of a day getting high was a box office success and made co-star, Chris Tucker a movie star. Directed by F. Gary Gray (his first film), Smokey (Tucker), a low-level weed dealer must pay the dope man (Faizon Love) $200 later that night and he’s just kicking it getting high with his newly unemployed buddy Craig (Cube) until he can figure out how he’s going to do it. That’s pretty much it with the rest being the hilarious antics that situation is bound to set up.
All the neighborhood characters are there. You’ve got the crackhead (A J Johnson) always looking to get some money for the sole purpose of hitting the pipe; the Pastor (Bernie Mac) who’s always lurking around to lay ‘hands’ on the sisters in need of ‘hands’; the unattended to or horny wife (Kathleen Bradley) who the Pastor lays his ‘hands’; the husband of the unattended wife (Tony Cox) who catches the one he said vows with and the guy they might’ve said them in front of involved in ‘hands’ laying; the fine-girl-in-the-ghetto (Nia Long) who Craig likes; the hood bully (Tiny Lister) who whoops you and takes your stuff or vice-versa; the poot-butt (D J Pooh) who gets his stuff taken from the bully and the girl who begs so much you’ve got to tell her ‘bye’ (Angela Means).
All fun and games aside, Smokey is in a life-or-death situation. If he doesn’t come up with $200 – it’s curtains. Death for Craig, too by association. With his life on the line, Craig starts packing a pistol and gets caught by his dad (John Witherspoon) who tells him to fight with his hands, not a gun. Good advice, but it seems meaningless later when confronting the bully, but he gives the fists thing a try and is losing – badly. So, Craig tries more than his fists – things like a brick and wins. Smokey steals the unconscious bully’s money and pays his dealer; the crackhead gets his shoes and Friday spawned sequels.
Friday also featured the talents of Anna Maria Horsford, Regina King, Yvette Wilson, Reynaldo Rey, Paula Jai Parker, Ronn Riser, Terri J. Vaughn, WC, Meagan Good, Michael Clarke Duncan, Vickilyn Reynolds, and LaWanda Page. On a budget of 3.5 million, the film grossed $24,467,564 domestically and $748,354 internationally for a total worldwide box office gross of $28,215,918.
This Richard Pryor / Gene Wilder comedy marks the first time a film directed by a Black director grossed over 100 million dollars. The director was Sidney Poitier, and the true figure was $101,300,000 on a $10 million budget. It was the third biggest box office hit of 1980 right behind The Empire Strikes Back and 9-to-5. With music by Tom Scott, Stir Crazy was a fun ride.
The story is about mistaken identity. Pryor and Wilder are in the entertainment business but have soured of living in New York. So, they pack up and head to Hollywood, taking odd jobs along the way. One of those gigs is a promotion for a local hick bank. The duo dressed up like giant chickens and dance around like fools singing a silly song. When Pryor and Wilder go on their lunch break, two unsavory characters steal their chicken suits and rob the bank. When our clueless and hapless heroes return to work, they’re arrested and put through a hasty trail that nets them 125 years in a maximum-security prison.
Life behind bars does not agree with Pryor and Wilder. Between their court-appointed lawyer asking them to relax while he appeals and the guards attempting to break them down, they’re ready to go. Their exit strategy makes its appearance in the form of a lucky break. The cocky warden wants to humiliate the two New Yorkers and test their manhood by having them ride the mechanical bull in his office. To the warden’s surprise, as well as that of his galoot guard, Wilder can not only stay on the bull, he’s a natural-born rodeo star. This gets the warden to thinking. If he has Wilder ride in the upcoming annual rodeo then he can finally win the big bet from the warden at the competing penitentiary.
The warden’s plans fail when Wilder refuses to participate. The guards make him work until he’s supposed to drop. He still won’t do it. They put in solitary confinement. No, he won’t do it. Finally, he agrees as long as the warden gives him a bigger cell and lets him pick his own rodeo team. Agreed. The team is made up of the group of prisoners Pryor and Wilder have befriended and who all plan to escape during the rodeo. That plan works wonders as the huge mass murderer opens a panel for each member of the crew to slip out. Once Pryor and Wilder leave they all meet up and some of the crew head off to the south of the border. As Pryor and Wilder drive off in their car the court-appointed lawyer cuts them off. He got a judge to let them off with his newly submitted evidence. They’re free to go on with their lives and Pryor, Wilder, and the lawyer’s cousin, who Wilder is now hooked up with, drive off into the sunset as the lawyer waves his goodbye.
Stir Crazy received favorable reviews. Written by Bruce Jay Friedman, the film featured the talents of Georg Sanford Brown, Franklyn Ajaye, Grand L. Bush, Jobeth Williams, and Craig T. Nelson.
UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT
Directed by Sidney Poitier, this classic comedy is the first in a trilogy that included Let’s Do It Again (1975) and A Piece of The Action (1977). All three films starred Poitier and Bill Cosby. This outing also co-starred Harry Belafonte as Geechie Dan Beauford.
The story revolves around a robbery. Poitier plays a straight-arrow working man on a two-week vacation. Cosby is his wild sidekick, who talks him into going to Madam Zenobia’s nightclub. Next thing they know robbers have everybody stripping naked and stealing everything not down their throats. Unfortunately for Poitier, his wallet wasn’t down his throat and it held a winning lottery ticket, which he now has to get back, with the help of Cosby of course. That’s when the real fun starts.
This film features some of black Hollywood’s most enduring legends. Richard Pryor plays a con man who gets busted right after taking their money to crack the case. Harold Nicholas of the dancing Nicholas brothers plays Little Seymour Pettigrew, a diminutive gangster with a bodyguard named Big Percy. Flip Wilson is a reverend. Roscoe Lee Browne is a congressman and Paula Kelly is pretty much Paula Kelly, but they called her Leggy Peggy. Other cast members include Rosalind Cash, Calvin Lockhart, Lee Chamberlin, and Lincoln Kilpatrick.
Uptown Saturday Night was an immediate success. Written by Richard Wesley and Poitier, the film was produced by First Artists and Melville Tucker. The budget was $3,000,000 and the box office take was $6.7 million.
THE NUTTY PROFESSOR
This was considered an Eddie Murphy comeback film. It wasn’t the first or the last. After his first slump, the unholy trilogy of The Distinguished Gentleman, Beverly Hills Cop III and Vampire in Brooklyn, Hollywood was ready to remove Murphy’s nameplate from his studio parking space until the 1963 Jerry Lewis remake got made. Hollywood had to be quiet until the next slump from the mega-star.
In this updated version Murphy plays the portly Professor Sherman Klump, a genius with a weight loss formula. It makes him develop a slim, toned, wild, and crazy alter ego who gets the unknowing Klump in plenty of real-time trouble. Originally based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’, Klump’s dilemma is that the alter ego, once controllable, takes over. The climax occurs when Klump regains his life and banishes the thin man.
The Nutty Professor co-starred Jada Pinkett, Dave Chappelle, Larry Miller, James Coburn, Jamal Mixon, John Ales, and Montell Jordan as himself. Eddie Murphy displayed his versatility by playing his entire family – his father, mother, grandmother and brother as well as a Richard Simmons parody character. The film deservedly won an Oscar for Best Makeup. Tom Shadyac directed, and Jerry Lewis was one of the executive producers.
The critics loved the film and so did the ticket-buying public. On a budget of $54 million, The Nutty Professor earned $273,961,019 at the worldwide box office. Murphy even received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. This so-called lightning in-the-bottle fluke even spawned a sequel (2000’s Nutty Professor II: The Klumps). The comeback was complete and the string of flops was over; that is until Showtime, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, I-Spy, Daddy Day Care, The Haunted Mansion . .
Written, executive produced, and directed by Eddie Murphy, Harlem Nights featured practically every working veteran comedian of the era. Richard Pryor plays Murphy’s surrogate father who raised him and taught him how to get over in the world of crime after young Murphy shoots a man to save Pryor. They end up running a nightclub in Depression Era Harlem where criminal activity and corruption are always lurking in plain sight. And speaking of sight, Redd Foxx plays a damn near blind partner of the duo. Robin Harris and Charlie Murphy are henchmen. Arsenio Hall is a rival gangster and Della Reese runs the hoes at their brothel. Also featured are Tommy Mikal Ford, Jasmine Guy, Berlinda Tolbert, Michael Lerner, Danny Aiello, Stan Shaw, Uncle Charlie Murphy and Reynaldo Rey.
The plot revolves around Pryor being muscled in on by gangsters. He decides to retire before he has unwanted partners, however, he wants to make sure all his people are taken care of. So, Pryor plans a scheme for an upcoming fight and uses a call girl named Sunshine to help him carry out his plot. Sunshine was so sexy and fine that an Italian bagman called his surely equally Italian wife to tell her he wouldn’t be coming back and to take care of the kids. That along with a series of twists and turns leave Pryor and Murphy triumphant. They get the scam money, avoid death and arrest, and leave Harlem for good after screwing its underworld system.
Critics panned Harlem Nights. They didn’t like the direction. They didn’t like the screenplay. They didn’t like the sets or the cinematography. They just plain didn’t like it. Regardless, Harlem Nights opened at number one at the box office its first weekend. On a budget of $30 million it grossed a total of $60,864,870 domestically and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design.
Produced, directed, and co-written by Robert Townsend, this film is a satirical attack on Hollywood’s systematic stereotyping of blacks in the media. Townsend financed the indie with his own credit cards and used the storyline of a struggling black actor interspersed with vignettes to illustrate his point. There are scenes of slavery, popular films, movie reviewers and more as Townsend’s character’s imagination lets us in on his conflict in being an underused and often degraded minority in the world of entertainment.
Hollywood Shuffle is about Bobby Taylor (Townsend) having to decide to take a cooning part in a Black gang film. His grandmother is against it. His mother supports him, but she is also against cooning. His co-workers and boss couldn’t care less if he coons or not. They don’t think he’ll ever make it as an actor anyway and he needs to keep his mind on his job at Winky Dinky Dog. They’re wrong. He gets the coveted role and finds out he can’t do it. It’s too much cooning. So, he takes his grandmother’s advice and gets a job working for the post office. He does a commercial for USPS.
This comedy classic was co-written by Keenan Ivory Wayans and co-produced by Dom Irrera, Hollywood Shuffle features Anne-Marie Johnson, John Witherspoon, Brad Sanders, Helen Martin, Eugene Robert Glazer and Paul Mooney.
The film was a critical and box office success. It won the 1987 Deauville Film Festival Grand Special Prize Critics Award and Coup de Coeur LTC Award for Robert Townsend and made $5,228,617 on a $100,000 budget.
COTTON COMES TO HARLEM
Based on the Chester Himes novel this Ossie Davis directed hit starred Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacques. It was co-written by Davis and Arnold Perl and the theme song (which was sung by Melba Moore) was also written by . . . Ossie Davis. Oh, and by the way Cotton Comes to Harlem marks the screen debut of Calvin Lockhart, Judy Pace, Cleavon Little and Redd Foxx as a junk dealer.
The story revolves around a back-to-Africa movement and $87,000 in stolen cash. Seems the crooks stuffed their loot into a bale of cotton and dumped it on the streets during their high-speed getaway. Two Harlem detectives are assigned to find the cash, but everybody else who heard about it feels it is their obligation and duty as well and the citywide hunt is on. There are shootouts, more car chases, sexy women, gangsters, and a whole lot of jive-talking. It was considered a Blaxploitation film. What would you expect? Cotton Comes to Harlem boasts an impressive cast of 1970’s character actors: Theodore Wilson, Don “Bubba” Bexley, John Anderson, Eugene Roche, J. D. Cannon, Lou Jacobi, Emily Yancy, Dick Sabol and Mabel Robinson. Produced on a budget of $1.2 million the film grossed $5.2 million making it one of the most commercially successful films starring Blacks in Hollywood history and it spawned the sequel, Come Back Charleston Blue (which was not written, directed or theme song composed by Ossie Davis).
Black Country Singers have been around for decades but have not been at the forfront in country music as much as their white counterparts.
Country music has always been about telling amazing stories. It’s a genre that has diehard fans from around the globe and has changed over the years. Many don’t realize the impact and participation that Black people have in country music.
For example, Ray Charles’ Georgia On My Mind is one of the greatest country classics of all time and has been re-recorded several times. What we have seen in the media when it comes to country music has been limited to white participation but a growing number of black singers are getting more spotlight. Enjoy and comment if you like.
1. Charley Pride
Charley Frank Pride can easily be said to be one of the greatest black pioneers in country music. He was born on the 18th of March 1934. He got his first guitar when he was 14 and taught himself how to play it. Although he had a love for music, he had always dreamt of becoming a professional player in baseball. Charley’s dream came true quite soon for him as he signed his first contract in 1953 with the Boise Yankees.
While still very active in baseball, Charley was being encouraged to consider joining the music field by other country stars such as Red Foley.
In 1958, he finally recorded some songs. He got a contract from Chet Atkins and that was his breaking point.
His first single, The Snakes Crawl at Night” was not a success. It was his third single ‘Just Between You and Me’ that made it to number nine on the hot country charts. He faced a lot of racism all through this period.
The single brought so much success to him that it was nominated for a Grammy the next year. In the summer of 1966, he had his first show where there was a large turn-up and people did not know that he was black until he got onto the stage.
That show however became the first of many more to the point where his race was just a minor issue.
Charley hit his peak between 1966 and 1987 where he had 52 of his singles make it to the top 10 hits charts. He also won an award for Entertainer of the year in 1971. He died on 12th December 2020 due to complications of COVID-19 at 86 years.
2. Darius Rucker
Born on 13th May 1966, Darius Carlos Rucker is an American songwriter and singer. In 1986, he founded a band with Mark Bryan in university (Hootie and Blowfish) and he was the lead vocalist.
The band released a total of five albums with Darius as a member. In 2002, he released an album but no single charted.
He later signed to Capitol Nashville and released an album in which the first single of it got it to first place on the charts of Hot Country since Charley Pride. He won the new artist award as the first black American in 2009.
His third album got to the first position on the billboard charts for US country albums. His most recent album in 2017, got the 8th position on the top 200 US billboards and also 2nd on the top country albums.
3. Kane Brown
Kane Allen Brown was born on 21st October 1993. He is a singer and also a songwriter. He first got into the limelight via social media. In 2015, he released Closer, his first EP, and soon after released another single in 2015 October.
Kane signed with RCA Nashville in 2016 and at the end of that year, he released his first complete album that he named Kane Brown on 2nd December 2016. Again in 2017, Kane became the first artist who had a lot of his singles on all the five charts of Billboard country. His second album was released in 2018 and became the first position on the billboard 200
4. Aaron Neville
Neville was born on 24th January 1941. He has Caucasian and also Native American roots. He is an R & B and soul American musician and vocalist. Aaron released his first album in the late ’60s.
He released on A&M Records, the Grand Tour which became a platinum-selling with the lead single as “Don’t take away my heaven’. In total Aaron has released four albums that are platinum as well as four singles that were among the top hits in the US.
This includes the three that made it to the first spot on the contemporary chart for adults on billboard. The single Tell it like it is was in the first position for more than four weeks straight.
Neville has also recorded songs with his brothers with their name being The Neville Brothers. Neville at 80 years announced in May of 2021 that he had retired from doing tours but he may record some albums for him to perform during special occasions.
Ray was born on 23rd September 1930. He was a composer, pianist, songwriter, and American singer. Due to glaucoma, he was blinded during his early life. He preferred being called ‘brother Ray’ among his friends.
In the 1950s, he pioneered soul through his combination of blues, jazz, rhythm, jazz as well as gospel styles that he inculcated into the music that he recorded for Atlantic. He became one of the first musicians to be granted by a mainstream record company artistic control despite being black.
Charles managed to have quite a number of his singles all through his career reach the top 40 on various charts for Billboard. Charles received the National Meds of Arts, the Kennedy Center Honors as well as the Polar Music Prize. He also managed to win a total of 17 Grammy Awards, five being posthumous. He died in 2004 due to liver failure complications.
6. Jimmie Allen
James Edward Allen is an American songwriter and singer. His first single in 2018 became the second most added song to the country music playlists on the radio. It was then made into a video.
He issued his debut album in 2018. He did a duet with Noah Cyrus in 2020 that was also included in his EP that was released on 10th July 2020. Allan became the first black performer (solo) to win the title of New Male Artist of the year at the ACM Awards.
7. Mickey Guyton
Born on 17th June 1983, Mickey is a country music American singer whose material encompasses different elements of country-pop and contemporary country. The singer was raised in Texas. She then moved to Tennessee where she signed a contract with Capitol Records. Her first debut released in 2015, Unbreakable.
Her single ‘better than you left me’ managed to get to the top 40 in the country chart and that made her a nominee from the Academy of Music Awards in 2015. In 2020, she released another single ‘black like me’.
The song speaks about her experience being a black woman in country music. The song aligned with the Floyd case and got so popular such that she got a nomination for the Grammy awards. In May 2021, Mickey became the first country female and black artist to be featured as the singer of the national anthem on Memorial day. She announced that she will release her debut studio album mid 2021.
8. Cowboy Troy
Troy Lee Coleman 3, was born on 18th December 1970. He is better known as Cowboy Troy. He is a songwriter and an American country rap musician as well as one of the members of the MuzikMafia.
The MuzikMafia is a group of various country music songwriters and singers such as James Otto, Gretchen Wilson, and Big & Rich. Troy has released seven studio albums as well as one EP. On Warner Bros Records, he has three releases and has also managed to chart on the Billboard country singles charts twice.
Petrella Ann Bonner bills herself as The first lady of country soul. She was born in 1947. She got her first record contract in 1988. However, it was not until 1991 that her single with yet another Record charted.
Petrella has managed to score herself the titles of being not only a songwriter and singer but also a music producer as well as an actress. She has released a total of seven studio albums and has had several of her songs charted on the Top 100 Country Singles Chart. She toured the US and in 1994 got to be named the Songwriter of the year by the Songwriters Association of Tennessee.
10. Carl Ray
Born and raised in Houston, Carl had a love for music and started writing his songs. Johnny Nash discovered him. That is when Carl began to develop a love for country music. His talent was noticed soon.
He has been invited to the biggest country music festival worldwide and been interviewed by countless print media including Billboard Magazine and Green Card Magazine from France. In 2020, Carl’s single “I Stand with this country” was released in 2020 and got to first place in Cash Box 2021.
11. Coffey Anderson
Coffey’s Early life
Coffey Anderson was born on the 15th of December 1978 in Bangs, Texas where he was also brought up. Coffey was born to a black mother and white father making him biracial. During his early life, his mother worked as a teacher of English in a junior high school while his father’s job was at the local jail.
Coffey attended Howard Payne University for his bachelor’s where he joined the school’s yellow jackets basketball team between 1999 and 2002. He did well so well at basketball that he not only got chosen two seasons in a row to play for the state but was also crowned the MVP of his district. He got the MVP title before he joined the yellow jackets which were his junior as well as senior years.
Coffey’s Music career
Coffey’s music journey began when he was in university when he borrowed a guitar from the father to his girlfriend back then. He would sing in his dorm room after learning cords by himself and that would attract his fellow students.
Eventually, there was an opening that came about of a band that had come to town. Coffey managed to get in but did not manage to get signed yet. He, therefore, decided to start his own YouTube channel to take his career into his own hands.
From his garage, Coffey would use his personality, music, and even comedy to gain followers, and that he did indeed. Once his channel started taking off, Coffey then started the production of his albums which he would do videos for and edit them as well still in that same garage. That is how he was able to start booking his shows, right from his garage.
The 6’5 Southern man currently gets more than 790,000,000 views when Facebook and YouTube are combined. On Youtube alone, he has more than two hundred thousand subscribers while on Instagram he has more than one hundred and fifty-seven thousand followers.
He is also on Twitter where he has more than thirty thousand followers and he is still on Facebook where he has more than six hundred thousand likes. What is probably the most outstanding fact about Coffey is that he has been able to sell more than seven hundred thousand downloads on iTunes and without a record label, which simply makes him more unique. Coffey’s last release got second place on the country charts’ iTunes and made it to the sixteenth position on the charts for Billboard music.
Coffey’s other accomplishments
One of Coffey’s videos went viral and Netflix bought it off him and out of it came a reality show. Coffee is on tour a lot which means he performs constantly whether it is at the white house, or live on tv shows, or even for smaller events such as county fairs and shows that are faith-based.
It is fair to say that he is a catch in all markets as he is extremely down-to-earth while still having a very charismatic personality. Coffey is also an actor for channels such as Disney and even Taco Bell.
When he is not doing entertainment-related affairs, Coffey partners with various charity organizations such as that which foundation for military warriors in San Antonio called Keegans Promise and also Leer Vineyards. Coffey is an all-rounded star who is still rising and who indeed deserves all the hype he gets.
There are so many more black country music singers who have made a name for themselves. It is indeed a step in ending racism when the world accepts their music.
10 Black Artists That Could be Great Black Country Singers
While country music is often disregarded within popular culture, with some insisting that “country lacks diversity and individuality” and others labeling the genre a one-dimensional, “cold beer on a Friday night, a pair of jeans that fit just right… every country song ever,” this underdog of a genre has surprisingly come a long way from its podunk roots.
Looking at Lil Nas X’s debut song “Old Town Road” exemplifies how far country has come and how audiences have come to cherish its rebranding. One of the reasons behind the success of this 2019 Billboard Hot 100 hit is that it’s so different compared to regular country music. At the beginning of the song’s official movie, a cavalry of black men come to an immediate halt after racing after Lil Nas X, while well-known comedy veteran, Chris Rock, exclaims in a sarcastic fashion, “when you see a black man on a horse going that fast, you just gotta let’em fly.”
As mentioned previously, country has most often been labeled as homogenous and boring, so for Lil Nas X, a black man, to do a country song with a majoritively black cast, he immediately broke many of the racial typecasts of the genre. While having Chris Rock do the voice-over in his usual, wise-cracking tone further elevated the genre from its dull stereotype.
However, even with the success of “Old Town Road” the then 20-year-old singer faced prejudice from longtime country fans, with some saying that he mutilated the genre. Still, the positive singer seemed to take this vitriol in stride and proudly attended the CMA’s, where he rightfully won “Musical Hit of The Year.” With Lil Nas X’s successful injection of diversity and comedy into country music and the growing number of genre-defying, alternative artists out there today, we will be presenting to you the 10 black artists that could make it as country singers:
Willow undoubtedly deserves to be on this list for her ability to seamlessly cross over from a number of dissimilar genres, like indie, pop-punk, and rock. And it is not only her potential to be a great country singer that places her on this list, but it is her advocacy work, which brings more diversity to predominately white music spaces, like rock and country.
9. FKA Twigs
FKA Twigs music interweaves art pop, electronic, avant-garde, choral, pole dancing, shibari (i.e. japanese bondage) and sword fighting. Yes, you’ve read that right, BONDAGE and SWORD FIGHTING. The number of genres she’s defied is still unclear, but what’s clear is that once she gets her eye set on country music, the genre will be irrevocably and beautifully changed forever.
8. Juice WRLD
The late artist Juice WRLD was called the emo-rap sensation, with his song “Lucid Dreams” being his signature sound. He’s also been tied to the pop-punk genre with his song “Come and Go,” so having succeeded in so many disparate genres in his youth, it’s hard to imagine him not excelling at making his own country verses. Johnny Cash’s song “Hurt” would’ve probably been the best song for him to bring his brand of emo-rap to.
7. Janelle Monáe
First and foremost, Janelle Monáe is a powerhouse. Her music fuses soul, funk, hip-hop, and new wave, but when you hear her voice, all you hear is Janelle. With country being genre notable for its low range, she would be keeping most country artists on their toes with her spectacular, high notes.
As one of the relatively unknown musicians on this list, Santigold is an underrated gem. With her self-titled, debut album, “Santogold,” arriving in the early-200s, she was one of the first genre-benders before there was even a term for the innovative work that she was doing.
Her discography includes new wave, reggae, electronic, hip-hop, so pretty much everything that country isn’t right now, but what it could be, especially if she were to infuse the genre with her dynamic flair.
5. Frank Ocean
I know many will be shocked to see Frank Ocean on this list since when you think of him, you think urban. You think cool, soul, and the rhythm and blues. However, many of the things Frank Ocean is known for are the same things that make country music.
Queen Esther, a historian and TedX speaker, says that country has deep roots in blues music, so, in a way, Frank Ocean’s music signifies what country music could’ve benefit remained a prevalent part of black culture.
4. Leon Bridges
Like Frank Ocean, Leon Bridges’ sound dances alongside country as well. However, Leon Bridges comes before Frank Ocean on this list, since his soulful tunes sound more aligned with country. The New York Times has even called his third album, “Gold-Diggers Sound,” Southern soul for it’s natural sound and affirmation of his faith
3. Dev Hynes (Blood Orange)
These last three on this list should already be in the country hall of fame (and probably will be) with their ingenious takes on the genre. Dev Hines (Blood Orange), while mainly being known for his influence on alternative, indie music, has dabbled in country music and made it his own.
During his early days as his sad alter-ego, Lightspeed Champion, he managed to make country music both psychedelic and emo, with such songs like “Heart In a Cage” and “Galaxy of The Lost.”
While these songs may not sound overtly country, his chosen folky, acoustic style, and frequent use of duets are reminiscent of the genre. And his lyrics, themselves, speak of a number of country themes, including the frailty of human relationships (particularly unrequited love) and loneliness.
2. Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes)
Like Lightspeed Champion, Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes) has already experimented with the twangy genre, with her original fusion of country’s musical cousins: Americana, folk, and garage rock. And with the four grammies she’s already won with her band and seven she’s been nominated for as a solo artist, it looks like she may be coming for a CMA Award next.
We of course can’t have this list without Beyonce. With the singer’s own Texan roots, her strong southern accent, her rustic song, “Daddy Lessons, ” and her singing that aforementioned song at one of the most notable country award shows (the CMA Awards) with a renowned country band, The Chicks (formerly known as “The Dixie Chicks”), it seems that the queen of pop is the queen of country too.