BLACK ROCKERS UNITED

WE ROCK TOGETHER. BLACK ROCK MATTERS.

 

       

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☆ See our #BRU Spotlight! ☆

Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton played for keeps, had been a sonic prodigy well before her Montgomery, AL departure at 14 years old. She joined various Southern blues and R&B tours till a prestigious stint for Sammy Green's Hot Harlem Revue.

Big Mama could SING, slay on harmonica and kick a drum rhythm like nobody's business. The band rolled through Houston's Third Ward (historically segregated/BRU founder Nate's hometown). Hear her interview on The Arhoolie Foundation's site!

Big Mama steadily gave public performances as her tourmates parted ways, then found a perfect opportunity. Houston's 1940's El Dorado Ballroom doubled as a musician's paradise and dance venue. Peacock Records' owner Don Robey would meet Big Mama here, sign her in 1951 and release 'Hound Dog' (1952).

Elvis' racism earned him $4.3 billion royalties. Big Mama Thornton received a flat fee like several African-American performers in exploitative deals: $500. Don't re-envision Black history for emotional convenience.

Respect Big Mama and other BRU pioneers on the timeline (BlackPast.org Profile). Bo Diddley is the "Originator" of rock, a blues star who built his own guitar. His fluid playing mirrored violin lessons, he learned in Baptist church.

Bo Diddley transposed his bow movements to finger-picking guitar. Love for stringed plucking and a raucous attitude paired well with a knack for live shows! A huge rock 'n roll landmark is Bo Diddley's first guitar in 1940.

Sister Lucille bought a gorgeous Harmony acoustic for him, and it was named after her. "Who Do You Love"? Bo and that's a fact. Little Richard is the 'Father and Queen of Rock 'n Roll', and was happy to say it! His musical dreams were sponsored by fellow church members.

Little Richard emulated fellow gospel-rockers Sister Rosetta, Mahalia Jackson. They wowed audiences every time with such a clear, distinct voice and raw piano style.

The crowds were wild, but it was a rough start until a solid contract with Peacock Records. His songs "Tutti Frutti" and "Good Golly Miss Molly" are anthemic to this day. Rock had another founder!


Born July 18, 1929

Screamin' Jay Hawkins is amazing!

Have you seen ☆#BRU's Spotlight ☆? This iconic frontman knew how to bewitch a crowd since grade school days in Cleveland, Ohio (where the first all-Black heavy metal band started: Black Death)!

He was outlandish even for the avant-garde era, re-enacted resurrections in the 1950's and innovated a new sound: shock rock.

Tina Turner is rock's "Queen" from Nutbush, Tennessee. Southern Black musicians infused every  resting spot with evolving sounds and stories of daily life.

☆ #BRU Spotlight ☆

She absorbed and performed all of it. "Nutbush City Limits" was our first sneak-peek of Tina Turner as a young woman. Ike & Tina Turner covered classic 'Proud Mary' by Creedence Clearwater Revival and made it their own.

She reigned popular music, come 1965. 1970, Tina Turner & The Ikettes were renowned Black femme super-stars.


☆#BRU Spotlight ☆

Black rock is deep: "River Deep, Mountain High".

Jimi Hendrix blazed into rock like a wildfire. He played blues as a young musician, and found employment in the military. He rocked like no other has or will again! His phenomenal talent and open soul took Jimi from Morocco to England, every world corner and hole in the wall.

@blackrockersunited His charisma and phenomenal talent blow us away 51 years later. 🎸 How do you describe rock without Jimi Hendrix? Is it possible? #JimiHendrix #rock ♬ original sound - Black Rockers United

Jimi revolutionized an instrument which existed for thousands of years. Such artistic power. He loved B.B. King, Buddy Holly, Robert Johnson and electric guitar with passion (biography).


☆#BRU Spotlight ☆

Betty Gray Mabry or Betty Davis birthed an entire discography of funk, rock, soul, even metal in her lifetime. Now it's time to tell the story of Betty Davis. She was raised in Durham, North Carolina and Homestead, Pennsylvania!

The entire family's incredibly artistic. They would inspire Betty to enter show business. Her father rocked so much that she followed a similar path, and Grandma always loved the roots: blues. Once she graduated from Homestead High School, NYC called her there.

Betty then attended Fashion Institute of Technology, otherwise known as FIT. She attained Wilhemina, Seventeen Magazine, Ebony Magazine gigs while living with her aunt. Soul star Lou Courtney became a good friend who produced Davis' first record 'The Cellar' (like the club)!

Welcome to the Masekela-Columbia Records era before Miles. Did you know they made a song together? "Live, Love, Learn"! Got that right. The golden year 1969 brought us rare firepowered demo songs by Betty herself.

But neither Atlantic or Columbia accepted them so we heard the queen on her creative ascent...in the 2010's. Betty Davis (first album) dropped. Then the glorious record They Say I'm Different followed in 1974.

Decades after those initial steps toward funk-rock, you can witness her impact. Each track from cradle to grave meant something. Now it's up to us. And we will miss her.

☆#BRU Spotlight ☆

Buddy Miles was from Omaha, Nebraska. Miles played music professionally before 10 years old with the jazz group BeBops, whose recordings have unfortunately been lost. But we still remember.

Buddy's pre-Electric Flag and Band of Gypsys experience ranged from a young Delfonics back-up vocalist to The Ink Spots, plus Ruby and the Romantics! Monterey Pop Festival brought Jimi and Buddy Miles into the same dream. Electric Flag headlined, and Jimi Hendrix let loose.

@blackrockersunited

##BRU Thought we'd let ya forget? This Buddy Miles spotlight is near + dear to our heart. He was a special guy!🤘🏾true innovator. BuddyMiles ##rock

♬ original sound - Black Rockers United

Buddy's solid drumming and unique blues-funk-rock rhythms were untouchable alongside Jimi's elaborate guitar, the great bassist Billy Cox in Electric Flag then Band of Gypsys. 'Fire', 'Foxy Lady', 'Purple Haze', 'Them Changes', 'Voodoo Chile' and 'Who Knows' absolutely blow your mind.

John Campbell is Europe's #1 tribute artist in Are You Experienced. Read his words. "Jimi Hendrix didn't see white or black audiences, his music was universal.

But even he had a struggle with getting his music accepted in certain radio stations, etc. It's a shame that so many folks today feel like they have to like a certain type of music based on the colour of their skin!" (#BRUTalk No. 1)

Thin Lizzy began in 1975: Irish hard/blues rock with Phil Lynott as lead performer. They churned out grittier version of Irish reels (folk songs) like nobody's business!

Thin Lizzy accelerated rock's popularity alongside traditional tunes beyond the States. Lynott's heritage was always up for debate, but he expertly shut anyone down about it.

☆ #BRU Spotlight ☆

Remember "The Boys Are Back In Town" and "Ode To A Black Man"? They were so ahead of their time.

Living Colour is Black rock since 1984, and their fruitful career includes Vivid ("Cult of Personality", "Glamour Boys", "Which Way to America), Time's Up ("Elvis Is Dead") and Collideøscope ("Song Without Sin"). Vernon Reid, Doug Wimbish, Corey Glover and Will Calhoun are a major foundation of rock as a succinct sound today.

"We were listening to Funkadelic and Parliament in those early days and they were such a huge influence on us and we also loved Fishbone who were one of our peers." (Metal Express Radio) CM Punk used well-known 'Cult of Personality' as their WWE ring entrance for a while.

☆ #BRU Spotlight ☆

Living Colour's message is loud and clear. "...The deification of John F. Kennedy; the deification, for us, of somebody like  Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. What they were doing was struggling through something very, very important and very, very life-threatening, and now it's a T-shirt." (Billboard)

Each album captures the senses and violent times of today. Black rock is also a radical art anthology, an ideological movement. Today Konda Mason, Vernon Reid and Greg Tate lead the strong Black Rock Coalition: a progressive Afro-solidarity collective of Black rockers and our accomplices/allies.

We love this excerpt from BRC's Manifesto! "Rock and roll, like practically every form of popular music across the globe, is Black music and we are its heirs.

We, too, claim the right of creative freedom and access to American and International airwaves, audiences, markets, resources and compensations, irrespective of genre." You go, Black Rock Coalition!

24-7 Spyz came to the L.A.  metal/punk foreground in 1986: singer P. Fluid, guitarist/producer/vocalist Jimi Hazel (Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Hazel), bassist Rick Skatore, drummer Kindu Phibes. Enter the golden era: Fishbone, Black Death, Living Colour, Prince, Total Sexual Freedom, Bad Brains all toured in those times!

☆#BRU Spotlight ☆


24-7 Spyz and Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1990's

What a confluence. Ryan Bland became a hardcore punk fan at a Prince concert through Ras Israel. Don't forget! Black Rockers United across the world! Stay tuned and support your community, artistic and all. Support Black people.

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#BRUTalk: Fallon Bowman (2-19-22)

#BRUTalk: The Phoebes (2-08-22)

#BRUTalk: BÖNDBREAKR (11-24-21) 

#BRUTalk: SATE (11-19-21)

#BRUTalk: Maya G./Sokora (11-14-21)

#BRUTalk: mynameisblueskye (9-22-21)

#BRUTalk: Militia Vox (2-2-21)

#BRUTalk: Jay Lamal (12-23-20)

#BRUTalk: Julie Outrage (12-12-20)

#BRUTalk: Kelvin Kaoz (11-22-20)

#BRUTalk: Woven In (11-19-20)

#BRUTalk: GuitarGabby (The Txlips) (9-29-20)

#BRUTalk: Lord Bishop Rocks (8-25-20)

#BRUTalk: Samantha Hollins (GhettoSongBird/The Culture Rock Griot) (8-14-20)

#BRUTalk: John Campbell (Are You Experienced?) (8-07-20)

Black-Owned Metal, Punk & Rock Labels

Black Female Rock Journalists Share Their Experiences (L.A. Weekly, 9-9-16)

Encyclopedia of Chicago: Rock Music

Dallas Coyle

Sound Frontier