Justin Timberlake, is there disparity in treatment on the Radio?


 

Is there cause for a Civil Rights Movement in Radio?

 

    

     I’m really confused.  I first heard this really incredible ditty that mixed a lot of Old School flavor with a touch of Robin Thicke minus the rap.  The song was actually sung by Justin Timberlake!  For the life of me, when I realized that, I could not believe a song like that could even get airplay.  It just sounded too Black…not Hip-Hop, but Black.  While many Black Americans, and even those who grooved to the Soulden Oldies with their Newport cigarettes and Bartles and Jaymes wine coolers, remember the somewhat carefree time period of the late 70’s and early eighties, Justin tries to bring back that emotion with a song that would only survive on the radio because of his back-up feature.  Had rap and business mogul Jay-Z not offered his pedigree to “Suit & Tie,” radio stations would not have helped the record debut first on the R&B Chart at number 9.  In lieu of that, not even His Royal Spoiledness, Kanye West, would have had such a chance to even hit the airways with a song of such tempo as J.T. has bestowed upon us. 

 

     In other words, remove Justin Timberlake from “Suit & Tie” and what have you got?  That would be a B-side to a 45. 

 

     Is Justin Timberlake an R&B singer/performer, or is he right-at-the-line Pop?  Not even the ever-effervescent Bruno Mars could have payola’d his way between the white noise.  Yet, Justin has yet to debut on the Pop Chart with the song.  Remembering a time when Hennifer Hopez entered the music world with her “Waiting for the Night,” her affiliation to make a mark on any chart was to use and nearly abuse Black artists with sheer prowess, coyness, and manipulation.  Since she split with the kind of artists and producers that fill dancehalls and occupy the charts – because of true talent, repeat performances have yet to appear in Miss Hopez’s life.  Along with that now lack of lyrical camaraderie, Hennifer is now allowing her nude body to be displayed with pleasure in films that try to show her softer-side after children.  It seems that the group Hennifer abandoned has now abandoned her.  No longer is she considered elegant, demure, or graceful.  Hennifer Hopez is desperate.  But why is Justin so desperate?

 

     Although “Suit & Tie” is a quality-song, just imagine it as Justin only featuring and Jay-Z taking the lead.  Would it make it to the airways?  Not on the Pop charts without another Black artist.  Well, Justin brought “sexy” back in his own way and wants to infect the world with a false sense of security.  “Suit & Tie” is in no way a typical Pop Song.  For the most part, the record does have meat.  It’s just a shame that a Black male artist couldn’t and wouldn’t be given the same opportunity to do the same thing.  A true feel-good period lyric, (minus the social message) has no mainstream radio play for a Black artist…mainstream meaning Pop.   Though that artist may sell millions of a cd, not even Robin Thicke could expect to be so lucky to be heard by those who wouldn’t give R&B music the time of day.

 

     Singer Maxwell most definitely could sing “Suit & Tie” without the help of grandmaster Jay-Z or anyone for that matter.  Commercially, the choice to release the record mainstream would be disastrous for his record label.  Maxwell is considered an R&B singer.   Compare Maxwell’s “Sumthin’ Sumthin’” from his ‘Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite’ with J.T.’s new single.  Funky, groovy, chillin’…only to go on deaf ears to the world outside of Soul/R&B.  Congratulations, Justin!  There is favoritism on the radio, so you are NOT the Biggest Loser!  It’s just that there are numerous artists of color who are saying, “Hey, that sounds like…!”  Then again, even Hall and Oates hit the Soul/Rhythm and Blues charts, just as George Michael did with the album that held such soulful songs like “Father Figure” and “Faith.”  I guess there was just no need to incorporate somebody else’s rap into their music…with so few of them out at the time.  Still, radio stations only make it dark when they want to.  Ole School just doesn’t seem the same without a true trooper. 

 

     Just when we thought we had lost J.T. to Hollywood’s big screen, he shows us that all men are not created equal.  They may have been created “equally.”  Just not equal.  Not everybody can afford a “Suit and Tie.”  I guess a really good actor can make you feel something from nothing.  You would never see any person of color in any of the roles J.T. has had in Hollywood.  It’s no surprise. 

Come Dance With Me


The stage is set

The music’s playing

All that’s left

Our bodies swaying

 

I see you

In all your glory

What’s left to do

(Is for you to) Come dance with me

 

A song will play for us

And no one else

No need to cause a fuss

You’re my trophy for my shelf

 

Just wrap your arms around

My neck and baby, let yourself go

Like you were lost now found

Somewhere so low

 

We’ll go places

We’ve never been before

Somewhere no one knows our faces

No need for secrets anymore

 

And if the music ends

Hopefully then you’ll see

We can stay more than friends

once you come and dance with me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Days of Monterrey Park


Smoke a doobie

Played like Scooby

Guitar Jammin’

Dashiki a slammin’

 

Waves a wavin’

South’s a slavin’

Life is carefree

As far as I can see

 

Voice rockin’ out

Watch the lips pout

Painted on jeans

Sell-out for greens

 

All posin’ ‘til closin’

No dozin’ while hosin’

Get the Clap without hands

On stage make fans

 

Powder was great

In the Valley was hate

Powder made them all skate

Cocaine made them feel great

 

Elton and Dobie gave ‘em the beat

Rock On fed the heat

Soul tickled the pole

Sucked many through the hole

 

Happiness, Peace, and Love

All fell from up above

Lights out, it all went dark

In the days of Monterrey Park

I Danced Last Night


I danced last night

And it felt good

Real good

 

I danced last night

Just like I should always

I kicked, I dipped, I tripped

I skipped, I hopped, and then

I bopped

 

I danced last night

And forgot I was all alone

I loved myself

And told myself

The music loves me too

 

I danced last night

And all the lights

Shined just on me

For everyone to see

And I was free

And I was me

 

I danced last night

All night

And I was right

All right

To love myself

All by myself

 

I danced last night

If you danced with me

I didn’t see

Cause I was free

Free to be me

Free to be me

 

I danced last night

That’s why I’m dancing today

My own way

My way

Last night danced with me

And it was free

Lip-synching Life


 

It will dare you

To do it your own way

Many don’t

Many can’t

Many won’t

But they will show

that they can glow

 

You want to be

To be you want

Echoes and feedback scares

The needle scratches

  The heart tears

Is there a backup plan

 waiting in the grandstand?

 

Hallelujah

 sang by choirs

Inventors of Prada

 created for liars

Hoping nothing comes to a halt

Keep in reach of the vault

 made on the pillar of salt

 

Must you imitate life

like it’s some strange delightful wife?

Castrate yourself for temporary fun

May a fist pump make you second to none

Soprano sounds do astound

 Though checking the family jewels

could get hung up in lost and found

 

Pretty pictures

Tiny scriptures

Unable to ad-lib

Holding a spoon and fork

Testing positive for the stork

Enya chants with motion

 minus v-fib

 

I, Piano Bench


Rest your playful,

soulful

weight

 on me

Be careful not to expand

 so widely as support of your backbone

  is not available

Dare not treat my disfigurement

 as a hindrance to your talent

For without me

 you will lack the honor of joining

  the tickled ivories

that speak when you rest your playful,

 soulful

weight

on them

Close your eyes and sway

 from side to side

Knowing all along that you can glide

 on me to the left and to the right

Almost as if I am tickling you

  with all my might

The Park and Press are relatives of mine

  Either brings ease to the vulnerable spine

   How kind without a fine

 Yet who walks the finer line?

Never to be exposed in such

    an archaic fashion

the melodies played and created on me

   sometime deserve a tongue lashing

Though in a concert hall

It shows me grander

    than them all

Safer to not add wheels

  Shame to anyone wanting me in the

Court of Appeals

Surely their names do change

to engulf the willing

The composer’s mind derange

and takes the artist’s girth a milling

The Piano


Teclado de un piano.
Teclado de un piano. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ragtime haunts the ivory bone

as the marrow shares the soul of the tune

 It plays

Tickled and fickled are the

acoutements which  give color to the pallet

always in step below pressing on for

 rhythm’s sake

Play they do as keys

 to open a door or storage room

finding the right one was a feat

 even without blinders on

And a rag would pass in time

 across one’s  nape

for the mistake would be hanging the melody

 unable to mend spirit

Only a true medium could awaken those senses

Play do they as the keys

 Minus their flesh you see the mark they make

 With every breath the three-step makes

The ivory bone moans

 in tones as if ringing up phones

Inviting those asleep

 to a party with a good time to keep