The Shamelessness of Jennifer Lawrence, Carrie Fisher, Michael Douglas

By N Oji Mzilikazi

27 December 2016

Wealth, celebrity status and popularity allow their owners to adopt a different value system; get way with behaviour and acts the ordinary would be impaled for, as well as access, a lifestyle and quality of freedom most people cannot begin to comprehend.

Unfortunately, the great mass of plebeians in embracing their beauty, the fame of their on-screen roles/performances, accomplishments on the field, stage and in the field of music or notoriety fail to recognise their privilege, elevate them to role models, follow their every move and lap up their utterances as if they are a well-spring of intelligence – when they are far from. The perspicacious are dispassionate and not afraid to call them on their shytt.

Hunger Games propelled Jennifer Lawrence into the famous actress and lovability stratospheres, as well as opened doors for magazine covers, awards, to choose roles, command a hefty salary, and have box-office clout. (In August, Lawrence was named film’s best-paid female star for the second consecutive year.)

Box office clout allowed Lawrence to publish “Why Do I Make Less than My Male Co-Stars?” in an October 2015 issue of Lenny, a feminist newsletter.

Box office clout allowed Lawrence a salary of $20 million for Passengers, though her role actually is somewhat secondary to Chris Pratt, who is being paid $10 million.

Movie critics found Passengers a disappointment.

While in England doing press for the then not released Passengers, Lawrence revealed to the host that while filming Hunger Games in Hawaii, she disrespected the directive to not sit on rocks that are considered sacred to native Hawaiians.

Regaling in white arrogance, Lawrence laughingly recounted that not only did she sit on them, but she used them for butt-scratching, prompting a landslide. “One rock that I was butt-scratchin’ on came loose… I wedged it loose with my ass.”

I’ve lost all respect for Jennifer Lawrence. I wouldn’t be watching any of her films. She has to be in a film with Denzel Washington, Samuel l. Jackson or Don Cheadle for I to even contemplate watching her.

The lifestyle, freedoms and financial independence that comes with stardom present single as well as married celebrities, especially males, with unrelenting sexual temptation, unlimited opportunities and access for sexual encounters with fellow celebrities as well as casual copulation with fans; willing females or males per preference, and to explore the full range of human sexuality among other things.

For the famous and moneyed, while being faithful/monogamy and/or maintaining a long-term relationship is doable, the many pressures that come with status makes it is extremely difficult. Not everyone has the fight and wherewithal to be disciplined. Thus, the rich and famous are known to engage in extramarital affairs, have short-lived affairs, marry, divorce, separate or break-up as soon as problems arise, they become bored with their lover or they find someone better/new; someone that is younger, more beautiful, more exciting, have more money, or is even more kinky, and for having serial marriages.

Still, there are certain truism in regards to the sexual life of males and females:

  1. While women would always find a man with a good bank balance attractive (It is proof positive they can provide.), females are immediately attracted to alpha-males, males with a high degree of testosterone, the handsome, the rugged, tough, strong, and physically active (Active males have high testosterone levels.). Those characteristics inform the female that the male has good genes to father children (A great gene pool/good genes ensures the best survival of offspring.), he is strong, healthy, able to engage in prolonged intercourse, and he can protect as well as provide for family. (And we still wonder why good girls love bad boys or jocks gets the prettiest girls in the school.)
  2. Hard-wired for casual sex/sex without intimacy, the ability to divorce love from sex and breaking down women to body parts come easy for males. Thus, a male in a relationship can sleep with a female and consider it nothing, or like a female just for her lips—to perform fellatio on him. Women, on the other hand, have an inner craving for intimacy. Sex comes with a lot of emotions and they tend to have a list/views on the kind of male they would or wouldn’t sleep with.

Despite all the qualifications in a man women demand/want in a relationship, women would have a secret list of alpha-males/celebrities they would drop their panties for at the drop of dime, irrespective to them being married.

Sometime in the late 70s, perhaps 1979, I saw Richard Pryor, Patti Labelle and Teddy Pendergrass in concert at Carnegie Hall.  When Teddy started to sing, women began throw their panties on stage. I’ve seen anything like that since.

  1. Sexual encounters between celebrities and fans are only meaningful to the fan. Coitus or whatever sexual play they engaged in often the highest point of their life; a mental or emotional trophy and a cherished experience, while not even a memory for that celebrity. Nonetheless, casual intercourse can turn around and bite the rear of well-known.

When Bill Clinton was the president of the United States of America, he was the alpha male of the world. As is known, intern Monica Lewinsky gave Clinton head. Rather than swallow his ejaculate and hide the evidence, semen landed on her dress. Rather than burn the dress or send it to the cleaners, Lewinsky kept the semen-stained dress—as trophy. Perhaps for a future tell-all book and irrefutable evidence. After all, how many females can boast about having performed fellatio on the most powerful man in the world?

As degrading or morally corrupting as many tried to make Bill Clinton out to be, Monica Lewinsky was not the victim of a lecherous and powerful man. If Lewinsky is to considered a victim, it should be to the pull of the hormone estrogen. Estrogen imparts on females the characteristics and wiring that define them. Since part of the hard-wring in females is to feel honoured to give it up to the male that is king of the hill, Lewinsky submitted. Her keeping of the semen-stained dress shows she had ulterior motives as well as the encounter was extremely meaningful for her.

Monica Lewinsky did not suffer when her relationship between Bill Clinton hit the fan. She was rewarded for sucking Bill Clinton’s dick. She was paid millions to write a book and became a television spokesperson for Jenny Craig. The company had no problem using her notoriety sell its product and be a role model.

After tennis legend Boris Becker lost a Wimbledon singles match in 1999, he went drinking to drown his sorrows. Wimbledon was the seat of his greatest triumphs and he was on a come-back. The loss was devastating.   A woman stepped to him and Becker had sex with her in the janitor’s closet of a Japanese restaurant in London. Years later Becker is in court facing a paternity suit. The was Angela Ermakova, Russian model. Even though Becker lamented that the intercourse was just “five minutes,” DNA evidence proved that he did father the child. “Five minutes” in a closet will cost him child support for at least eighteen years.

This brings me to Carrie Fisher, the actress known for the iconic Princess Leia role in the Star Wars film franchise. Last month Fisher revealed that she and Harrison Ford had a three-month affair while filming the original Star Wars in 1976.

Sex between consenting celebrities/adults on a movie set or elsewhere is to be expected. Naive me expects that celebrities of all people would understand the need to be more circumspect and to keep things on the downlow as revealing could devastate, especially if either or both parties are married or are in a monogamous and committed relationship. Fisher was 19 and single, while Ford was married with two children.

While “what the heart don’t know, the mind cannot grief,” revelations of infidelity regardless of the passage of time can still hurt. Yet Fisher had the temerity to say, “How much longer could I wait… it’s not like anyone’s deeply affected by it anymore.”

I guess Carrie Fisher never heard about taking things to the grave… Then again, it could be all about money and Fisher’s need. Hence, the publishing of her adulterous relationship with Harrison Ford in The Princess Diarist, and its highlight in interviews—to sell the book.

Perchance, it was also because sleeping with an alpha male superstar over a three-month period was the biggest high in her life, and she had this insatiable desire to share it and make her contemporaries who lusted after Ford, and weren’t able to bag him feel jealous.

Carrie Fisher’s revelation brought flashbacks to Barbara Walters.

To coincide with Barack Obama’s rise to power, and ostensibly to lay claim to some kind of insight into the Black psyche as well as to sell the book Audition, Barbara Walters outed herself as an adulterer.

Without any sense of shame or care as to repercussions, she memorialised that in the 1970s she had an affair with a Black man, former U.S. Senator Edward Brooke.

Increasingly, women who ought to know better have no qualms about divorcing themselves from the grace, dignity and fearlessness of conscious femininity, and gladly kiss and tell just to make a dollar.

Diagnosed with throat cancer, actor Michael Douglas revealed that it was caused by HPV (human papillomavirus), contracted through cunnilingus. In other words, oral sex was responsible for his throat cancer. Douglas also made it known that if you have that cancer, “cunnilingus is also the best cure for it.”

I thought Douglas rather brave to admit he loves cunnilingus; he likes to eat pussy. Men do not readily admit to doing it, much more reveal their love of it.

In a Q&A session in London in October, Michael Douglas said that actor Val Kilmer, his co-star in the 1996 film, The Ghost and the Darkness was battling cancer, “dealing with exactly what I had, and things don’t look too good for him.”

Kilmer denied having cancer.

Even if true, what business was it of Douglas to put Kilmer’s alleged illness in the public sphere?

The fact that Douglas mentioned Kilmer’s cancer was akin to pointing out that like him, Kilmer loves eating pussy as well.

In pointing out that Kilmer’s alleged cancer was exactly what he had, Douglas wanted people to know Kilmer loves eating pussy as much as he does. And the only reason he did so was because he must’ve regretted disclosing the cause of his cancer.

Consider: Michael Douglas is married to Catherine Zeta Jones. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. Ergo, Zeta Jones must be infected since Douglas contracted it in his throat. (That was my first thought when the news broke in 2013.) If Zeta Jones didn’t have HPV, who was Douglas eating? Not that I’m interested.

Shame on Michael Douglas for running his mouth on Val Kilmer.

Have Christians Finally Succumbed To Christ’s Extraction From Christmas?

By N Oji Mzilikazi

25 December 2016

In 318 AD, the Roman Empire supposedly put their pagan Gods to sleep and accepted Christianity as their official religion and Jesus Christ as their one true God and saviour.

How could a people that prosecuted and tortured Christians, even feeding them to lions repudiate that history and maintain the masses on their side?  The answer is quite simple—and brilliant.

Assisted by the ruling machinery of the Roman Empire, the Catholic Church employed tact, compromise, and sleight of hand bordering on light-weight cosmetic surgery in order to manipulate the masses and keep the followers of centuries-old deeply-embedded pagan rites, rituals and religious beliefs as well those of newly-formed Christianity happy.

They penciled in religious Catholic festivities or Holy Days immediately after “pagan” high days so adherents of their fledging religion wouldn’t be envious, jealous or feel they are missing out on good times. They also did so with the view towards their new Christian traditions eventually supplanting those pagan festivities.

Thus Lent, the forty-day period of fasting, penance, and prayer commences the day after Carnival, All Saints Day and All Souls Day follow Halloween, and Christmas comes after Saturnalia, the Roman harvest festival that pays tribute to Saturn, the God of the harvest.

Per the Bible, Jesus’ parents did not have any social standing nor were celebrities of any kind. As such, Jesus’ birth was typical of the common man—an ordinary affair with parents, relatives and friends the only interested parties. Consequently, there was never a known birth date for Jesus.

Jesus’ birth was thrust into prominence only because King Herod heard from the Magi (Balthasar, Melchior and Gaspar, the mythical Three Wise Men/Kings) about the birth of the foretold messiah that would rule the world; in effect, supplant him or his heirs. Herod only heard about Jesus’ birth two years after the fact.  Hence, his edict that all male children under two years of age must be put to death—as a surefire way to ensure the death of the infant Jesus.  So why was December 25th positioned as the birthdate of Jesus?

In the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, December 17-23, schools and law courts were closed. There were lavish feasts plus the exchange of the gifts.  Celebrating Jesus’ birth on December 25 allowed the followers of Jesus/Christians to throw their own party. However, their gift-giving was reserved for January 6, the Twelfth Day of Christmas known as the Feast of the Epiphany, and a designated children’s holiday—that seems to have disappeared.

Catholic tradition is that the three Magi brought the gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense for the Christ child. Hence, Epiphany is the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi. And so “Christmas” gifts for children were laid out the night before Epiphany.

In Latin America, Epiphany is known as El Día De Los Reyes or the Three Kings Day. Filled with pomp, ceremony and parades, Three Kings Day is huge, wildly celebrated holiday that is deeply- imbedded in the heart, soul, and culture of its peoples.

Growing up in Trinbago, Epiphany embraced the Feasts of the Holy Innocents or Innocents Day that commemorated the massacre of the male children by Herod. We would take our toys/gifts received for Christmas to mass to both get them bless and to show them off to friends and others.

Some Western churches celebrate Innocents Day on December 28. Eastern churches do so on December 29.

Although December 25 is not an accurate birthdate for Jesus, it has been celebrated for centuries as if it is—and I have no problems with that. Sadly, though Jesus is the reason for the season, Christian churches have stood idly by and allowed the fat red-outfitted Santa Claus rather than Jesus to dominate and be the face of Christmas.

For all the popularity of Three Kings Day in Latin America, the global marketing of Santa Claus has it losing serious ground. Latin American children are increasingly not willing to wait for January 6 to receive gifts when the rest of “Christendom” are getting theirs on December 25.

The rise of Santa Claus and dearth of Christmas carols, Christmas songs, and the telling of Christmas stories, especially in regards to the nativity in communities, homes, in schools, on the radio and in churches now has Christmas divorced from Christianity. In fact, one could say that the two “s” in Christmas now represent dollar signs.

Since Christmas is a period people are conditioned to spend money for; to give gifts, to eat sumptuously, uptake their consumption of alcohol and other drinks—engage in merriment and gluttony, businesses look forward to Christmas for the great profit it generates as well as to get rid of their poorly-selling goods and old stock.

For businesses, Christmas is annually their biggest and highest-grossing period of the year, especially when it snows. The psychological response to deeply-entrenched idyllic and picturesque imagery of a “white Christmas” causes people to shop—and spend more.

The social pressures of Christmas consumerism force people to spend money they don’t have—get into debt with credit card companies, loan sharks and others, and even abandon personal values and morals in order to provide their children with a “good” Christmas.

Would that the Christian Churches call for the period of Christmas to become symbolic of the rebirth of Christ in its followers lives and enjoin more prayers, even fasting to aid in such a spiritual rededication.

“Unto us a child is born, unto us a child is given.”  Would that we could see the Christ child in all children, treat children better, demand better treatment for children, oppose child labour and the abuse and exploitation of children.

Gifts to children can never replace parental love, affection, a safe environment to live and grow up in or children feeling they are wanted, loved, cared for and are protected. The newness of toys eventually wear away, but the pain of hunger, abuse, neglect and abandonment leave deep scars that last a lifetime.

While Christmas is indeed the most wonderful time of the year, Christians ought to guard against its out of control commercialism, otherwise it would be spiritually bankrupt and meaningless.

Merry Christmas!

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz: A Life Well Lived

By N Oji Mzilikazi

26 November 2016

Thanks to you and Cuba for the training of hundreds of Blacks (perchance thousands) from former colonial territories to become doctors when western universities in England, Canada, the USA and elsewhere refused to look twice at their credentials, much more accept them.

Fidel Castro (August 13, 1926 – November 25, 1926)

Rest In Peace Brother Fidel.

ISIS Praying For Donald Trump Victory

By N Oji Mzilikazi

1 November 2016

Shady people often employ the technique of avoiding and deflecting criticism of themselves, their ideology and/or platform by pointing out to others the flaws and errors in their competition or in another. Donald Trump has mastered that art.

At a January 2016 campaign rally in Biloxi, Mississippi, the then Republican presidential hopeful in his typical mischaracterization and impugnation of the character and records of others style, declared: “They’ve created Isis. Hillary Clinton created Isis with Obama.”

Donald Trump is not the only Republican to state such.

In November 2015, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told supporters at the Florida GOP’s Sunshine Summit in Orlando, Florida: “ISIS is a creation of a political decision by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to abandon Iraq — against all of our generals’ recommendations, against all of the policy recommendations.”

Republicans cannot but point fingers and blame Obama (And Hilary Clinton, his then heir designate.) for all the ills he inherited—from an 8-year Republican administration. Doing so is much better that putting a mirror to their face. Thus, blaming Obama was one of the GOP main talking points.

How can Republicans explain to the American and British public among others, that the many lives sacrificed in Iraq in pursuit of Iraqi Freedom, and the hundreds of thousands of bodies (and minds) broken and mangled, as well as the families of soldiers damaged and wrecked by their father, son, brother, husband or boyfriend/lover answering the call to duty was for nought; given that many of cities they fought and died for ended up in the hands of Isis—only to be fought for again?

The Republican Party gave birth to Isis. The Republican Administration under George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair created Isis by their illegal invasion of Iraq.

Forget what you heard, ignore what was written, even the findings of the British Chilcot Iraq War Inquiry Report. George Bush invaded Iraq for one reason and one reason alone: To ensure Israel’s safety. WMDS was just a ruse.

Courtesy American and Coalition hands, Mesopotamia, one of the great cradles of civilization was bombed into the stone ages—is in disarray. One less enemy for Israel. A nation under reconstruction lacks the wherewithal to engage in any sort of concerted military aggression. One less enemy for Israel.

Didn’t Israel and its lobbies ratchet-up the screams about the threat to civilization that is Persia—the need to bomb Iran, immediately after Iraq was invaded and Saddam Hussein toppled? George W. declared it would be World War III, if Israel was attacked by nuclear Iran.

Bush never had a U.S. exit strategy for Iraq. The Republicans were prepared to have American boots on the ground in Iraq for the next 1000 years.

In 2008, Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain criticized Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama’s calls for withdrawing US troops from Iraq. McCain declared that a U.S. pullout would harm Israel’s security. McCain will have them stay 100 years.

At a Washington 15 Conference, a United Jewish Communities event, Republican Lawrence Eagleburger, a former U.S. Secretary of State stated “that those people who might want to ‘cut and run’ from Iraq now are endangering Israel,” and that leaving Iraq made Iran stronger.

In a 15 December 2011, op-ed piece in the British Guardian, John Bolton who has served in several Republican administrations, lamented the complete withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. He called it a tragic mistake and stated: “It jeopardises the gains made by President Bush’s (and Tony Blair’s) eminently correct 2003 decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein.”

To paint an illegal war to which Blair, Bush and company deserve to be tried for crimes against humanity as “eminently correct” underlines the neocon ideologies of prevarication and mendaciously defending the indefensible in promotion of their politicised version of truth.

For all the evils attributed to Saddam, America’s invasion of Iraq set the country back at least 100 years, and Bolton has the audacity to speak of “gains.”

Given the widespread destruction unleashed upon Iraq by Coalition Forces, and the subsequent increase of sectarian violence and suicide bombings against Iraqi civilians, pray tell, what were the gains, and who were the real beneficiaries of said invasion?

It is one thing for a foreign power to overtly or covertly support an insurrectionist movement in a sovereign state, and quite another for a foreign power to invade that state.

America was not invited by Iraqis to invade the country nor did they do so in support of revolutionary forces trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

So, other than the companies for whom war and reconstruction are multi-billion industries, who was the true beneficiary of America’s invasion of Iraq? Israel, I submit.

Bolton had no qualms exposing the neocon agenda: “Overthrowing the regimes in Iran and Syria could have been substantially advanced during the US military presence in Iraq,” he wrote.

And who would be the main beneficiary of a destabilised Iran and Syria? Not the United States for sure. Talk about hubris and imperial ways to strategically reshape power in the Middle East—destroy Israel enemies by proxy.

It’s interesting the way Americans are so cavalier about overthrowing of regimes. Yet, when Japan struck at Pearl Harbour and Al Qaida on 9/11, they invoked the mantle of righteousness and displayed wonderment as to why they were attacked.

Per the adage, “Nature abhors a vacuum,” the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the dismantling of his party—and soldiers, a country in disarray; severely broken infrastructures, shortages of every kind, anger, resentment, frustration, massive employment, the increase in sectarian violence, the human hard-wiring for strong and organised leadership—and therein the vacuum—filled by Isis.  Isis is George Bush’s baby, and Donald Trump’s godson.

Given all Donald Trump’s pronouncement on Muslims, the prospects of a Donald Trump victory has Isis and every other extremist Islamic groups ecstatic. They have circled November 9 as the beginning of the Trump Era and the rise of America’s Muslims.

They see a Trump presidency as enthronement of deeply held anti-Muslim rhetoric and exploiting that is the perfect Pablum to mobilize the mass of American Muslims contended to live quiet and peaceful lives in the “bowels of the Great Satan.”

Lest we forget, on the heels of The Donald call for a total ban of Muslims from entering the United States, Somalia’s Islamist militant group al Shabaab used his words in a recruiting film.

A Trump presidency is bound to increase homegrown terrorism, especially by lone wolves, as well as encourage copy cats; bored youths in pursuit of thrills.

With a Trump presidency, I not only have to look over my shoulder; be on guard from the police and subtle acts of racism, but I must now profile/be wary of everyone when I’m out and about, especially people from the Middle East for fear that…

We Celebrate Halloween, Why Not All Souls Day, All Saints Day?

By N Oji Mzilikazi

31 October 2016

While helping a buddy earlier tonight push his stalled car from one side of the road to the other to avoid a parking ticket, I couldn’t help but notice children accompanied by parents, unaccompanied tweens and teens in costumes and without—all going about “trick or treating.” I should say “treating.” I don’t think/can’t remember the last time I heard a story/report of a child/children exposed to a “trick(s).”

I never got Halloween celebrations. Perchance it is the Christian in me, as well as I coming to the party late—as an adult.

Though I had knowledge of Halloween; understood its ideology, my encounter with Halloween was only upon emigrating to Canada in the 70s.

With the arrival of children, neither them nor my wife and I were participants—even when my children would screw up their faces and complain about missing out on all the fun with their friends. (They eventually rebelled and…) Halloween was “too devilish” a thing. Allow me to explain.

The Celts once occupied a huge part of Europe. Gaelic, Erse and Welsh are the Celtic languages that survived. Halloween, celebrated on 31 October marked their New Year.

Halloween was the day of the dead and a day of blood sacrifice. Halloween welcomed and invoked the spirits of the dead with the thrust of gaining supernatural powers, as well as having the dead come back to life. Tricks and treats were tools in their invocation.

Ghost stories and tales of the macabre were also told and listened to, not to scare or frighten, but to encourage the presence of the dead. (Transplanted in South America, Halloween was transformed into their religious day of the dead.)

Despite the rule of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe and its colonies, “pagan rites, rituals and religions” flourished.

In recognition that Christian theology and punishment were no match for such deeply held beliefs, the Church decided the next best thing was to temper those beliefs by introducing and instituting Holy Days the very next day; the day after the high days of “pagan” festivity.

Thus, Christmas came after Saturnalia, the Roman harvest festival that pays tribute to Saturn, the God of the harvest; Ash Wednesday followed Carnival, the ancient festival that celebrated the joys of the flesh. Ashes are used to make the sign of the cross on the forehead of believers and those who might have participated in the carnival festivities. Ash Wednesday launched the Lenten period of purification; a forty-day period of fasting, penance, and prayer; and the two days following Halloween being respectively All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

Since Halloween involved invocation of the dead, cemeteries were fertile ground. Graves were vandalized.  And so, on November 1st and November 2nd, All Saints Day and All Souls Day, prayers were said and candles lit on the graves of the departed and on the steps, porches and balconies of homes.

The festival of lights was a commemoration of the faithfully departed as well as to calm and guide the spirits of loved ones/the faithfully departed back to their place of abode, just in case they were disturbed by Halloween celebrants.

Anglo-Saxon/Norman immigrants introduced Halloween to North America. Repositioned as a children’s trick or treat adventure, Halloween was monetized by Big Business to peddle costumes, chocolates, candies and sweets. Halloween and its association with “evil” became a source and inspiration for horror movies—as entertainment.

The abundance of “evil” based costumes is a reminder of Halloween true essence. Even though we are tempted to think that celebrating Halloween is harmless fun, law enforcement officials annually warn parents and kids of possible dangers lurking within the goodies received. Also, animal rights groups reveal that annually a lot of dogs and cats are mutilated on the night of Halloween. As a preventative measure, there are animal centers that would not allow the adoption of any pet days before Halloween.

Besides the hyperactivity in kids the high consumption of sugars engenders, the constant and high consumption of candies, sweets and chocolates contribute to, as well as result in dental cavities. Trick or treating/Halloween provides kids with candies and a sugar-high for days.

As someone whose formative years involved the celebration of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, it would be an understatement to say I missed their celebration.

Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire: Live In Montréal

By N Oji Mzilikazi

31 October 2016

I own some 29 Earth Wind & Fire albums, including the 2002 Live in Rio, the 1989 Live in Atlanta, and the 1975 Live in Liverpool. I would never pass up any opportunity to see Earth, Wind &Fire live. I am a fan.

Rooted in funk and R&B, I own one record by Chicago, a 45, the 1982 Peter Cetera and David Foster penned, Hard To Say I’m Sorry with the B-side, Sonny Think Twice. Still, you cannot live in Montreal, be exposed to Ralph Lockwood and CKGM, and be unfamiliar with the band Chicago.

On Friday, October 28, my buddy Anthony Dyeth and I attended the Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire Heart & Soul Tour 3.0 at the Bell Centre.

Thanks to Tony (E, W&F) and Naskademini, we had great seats (C11 and C12); third row on the ground floor, right seats in the left of the stage.

The Bell Centre was packed. It looked like a full house to me. Patrons were treated to a laundry list of hit songs by both groups separately, and then together as a 21-member ensemble during which they jammed, rock and roll’ and sang each other songs.

I didn’t know what to expect from Chicago. I thought they would been more rock and rollish. They were smooth, jazzy and MOR (Middle Of the Road). The interplay between the drummer and percussionist on I’m A Man was something to behold. The killer songs, If You Leave Me Now, You’re the Inspiration and Hard To Say I’m Sorry had everyone rocking. While I didn’t know the full range of their repertoire, fans screamed their lungs off.

I still can’t get over Chicago James Pankow’s performance. Pankow, a founding member of Chicago was funkier than a mosquito tweeter. His skill and dexterity with the trombone was such, it sang… and what beautiful melodies. He was truly one with his instrument. His love for it, love of music and what he does was unmistakable, and on full display. I couldn’t help but jokingly whisper to Dyeth that he sleeps with the trombone next to him. Much props to Mr. Pankow.

What can I say about the 12-man Earth, Wind & Fire group, their trademark horns, funky jazz musicianship, and video-screen backdrops including their trademark flames that hasn’t been said before?

Video backdrop of E, W&F co-founder Maurice White and group singing along was touching.  Philip Bailey showed no signs of vocally aging. His falsetto chops were stellar. His solo on the Kalimba pure heaven. Percussionist and vocalist B. David Whitworth was livewire for real. Verdine White killed the bass. He poured so much of his heart, soul, love, and energy into the instrument and performance, I experienced an osmatic transfusion. Verdine was on the one.

I’m an old school funkster. I was weaned on the funk, cut my teeth on the funk, got high off the funk, made love to the funk and made babies to the funk. I’ve broken the funk down; place them in categories according to the licks of the bass. I have the funk grouped in categories like “Fat leg funk,” “Dirty low-down funk,” “Hard Funk,” “Phat Funk,” “Commercial Funk” “Party Funk” and so on. I know my music. When I say Verdine was on the one, he was.

Backstage, I had a great conversation with Whitworth on House Music, New Jersey Garage, Club Zanzibar, Marshall Jefferson, Paris Grey…  He went to school with Ce Ce Rogers. Rogers gospel-laced 1987 “Someday” is Classic House, and the Essay Mix of his 1990 smash “All Join Hands” induces goosebumps. And I thanked Verdine and Ralph Johnson for the music.

I told Verdine that the last time I saw Earth, Wind & Fire in concert was in the mid-nineties at Madison Square Garden with Evelyn ‘Champagne” King and Frankie Beverly (Maze). He reminded me it was in December, and was put on by Kiss F.M. Verdine concluded that this show in Montreal was better than that one.

Nuff said!

The Killing of Fredy Villanueva 8th Anniversary

By N Oji Mzilikazi

9 August 2016

The heavy snow and icy cold of winter can be so overwhelming, extended, and depressing, when summer arrives, Montrealers are about extracting as much heat and fun as is possible from its short stay.

Saturdays, especially when steaming hot, tend to be lazy days; days where persons want to do nothing except to “lime,” chill, hang-out, kick back, “shoot the breeze,” play dominoes, play cards, barbecue, play in the park, be in the park, watch girls go by or simply have a cold one in one’s backyard with family and friends.

It was on one such day, smack dab in the midst of summer — Saturday August 9, 2008, to be precise; a confluence of events brought a premature end to summer — for numerous residents in Montreal North.

The bright golden rays of the sun had successfully displayed its strength. Tired, it had changed to a mustardy haze, a heads-up to its withdrawal of light, the waning of the evening, and a signal of preparation for older folks to take their young charges home.

For teenagers and young adults, the transition from evening to night is no intrusion or impediment to their enjoyment, but a seamless extension of the laissez faire attitude of relaxation, having fun and doing whatever.

In such a spirit, a dice game was going on in the parking lot behind the Henri Bourassa arena. The spirited voices of its participants and spectators complemented and added to the clamour and sounds endemic to summer.

Effective policing necessitates police officers patrolling/make rounds to reassure citizens; ensure public safety, enforce laws, and be a visual deterrent to anyone with criminal intentions.

Patrolling, Constables Jean-Loup Lapointe and Stéphanie Pilotte espied the aforementioned group. They recognized one Dany Villanueva in the group and decided to take him into custody. From there, the unfolding events got murky.

One thing is certain. Against a background of raucous and angry voices of objection in regards to 22-year-old Dany Villanueva being arrested, gunshots rang out overshadowing all other noise and sounds — bringing panic in its wake.

In their aftermath, two members of the group; 18-year-old Denis Meas and Jeffrey Sagor-Météllus, 20, had been shot; one in the arm and the other in the back, and Dany Villanueva’s younger brother, 18-year-old Fredy Villanueva was dead. All three unarmed Latino young men had been shot by Constable Jean-Loup Lapointe.

The killing of Fredy Villanueva and the shooting of Meas and Sagor-Météllus served as added nails of police abuse, police repression of non-white communities and police unjustified killing of its members. Peaceful protest morphed into rioting, and parts of Montreal North went up in flames.

The heavier police presence and palpable tensions resulted in summer taking on the stress and discomfort of winter. Except for the angry, and the young with raging hormones, many residents of Montreal North chose to cut their stays outside as short as possible.

As has historically been the case with police shootings of unarmed citizens in Quebec, as well as charges of racial profiling, police abuse and police brutality from “visible minorities” (The official designation; term to describe Canada’s non-white inhabitants excluding Aboriginals.), the media decided to forgo their trappings of journalistic integrity to be the hacks, propaganda machinery and shapers of public opinion for the police. This shooting and killing was no different…

An excerpt from my soon to be published: The Killing of Fedy Villanueva: Policing, Race Bias & Media Complicity In Canada.