So What Does Stylez Think?
As you may well know, February 1st marks the start of a celebration and memorial of Black accomplishment throughout history. It was originally called "Negro History Week", when started in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. Then in 1976, it was extended to a full month and renamed Black History Month, and is now recognized throughout the country as a time to remember and reflect. For 2014, I have decided not to focus only on well known civil rights leaders and groups. I have, instead, decided to dedicate my blog, to other Black people and newsmakers in history, lesser known events, little known facts and causes that have made an impact on the world, society and pop culture. I want to remember not only the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. but also the impact of those like Ida Wells. Welcome to #TodayInBlackHistory on blog.AskWillieStylez.com! Today, Willie Stylez Remembers... Rick James and John Robinson!
On February 1st in 1948, a Super Freak was born! James Ambrose Johnson Jr. was born in Buffalo, New York, with music, and R&B royalty, already coursing through his vein, courtesy of his uncle Melvin Franklin of The Temptations. After forming several Rock, Soul and R&B bands, and serving as a staff songwriter for Motown Records, Rick James became a solo artist, in 1977. His 1978 debut, "Come Get It! (w/ the Stone city Band), released on the Motown imprint Gordy, included such classic hits as "You and I" and "Mary Jane". In 1981, Rick saw even greater success with his fifth studio album, "Street Songs", which turned out hits such as "Give It to Me, Baby" and "Super Freak"! It also featued a much loved duet with Teena Marie, "Fire and Desire".
After years of writing, touring and releasing music that was a "fusion of funk groove and rock attitude" Rick James succumbed to the perils of endless days, drugs, partying and even jail time. In 1997, while on a comeback tour, Rick suffered a stroke that kept him out of music, pretty much for good. However, he continued to see his music impact and form the foundation for many artists and millions of fans! Unfortunately, and much to soon, this "Whale" of a star, was found dead on August 6th in 2004, of an enlarged heart.
On February 1st in 1887, after waiting 7 years since filing, John Robinson of Coal Valley in West Virginia, was granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the invention of an improvement to the Dinner Pail! Mr. Robinson described this invention, as a "an improvement in dinnerpails for workmen; and it consists in the peculiar construction and combination of devices" to allow food and drink to be stored, kept warm and dispensed. Mr. Robinson is another in a long line of great Black inventors, who improved life and made things better for others around them.
Other important events of February 1st:
1997 - BET Movie/Starz launches, becoming the first 24-hour Black movie channel
1990 - Ida Wells, a Black reformer who compiled records on lynching, is immortalized on a United States Postal Service stamp
1974 - "Good Times", a situation comedy starring an all-Black cast, premieres on CBS
1967 - Langston Hughes, poet, dies
1937 - Garrett Morris, actor and comedian, is born in New Orleans, Louisiana
1834 - Henry McNeal Turner, reverend and elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, Morris Brown College's First President and commissioned by President Abraham Lincoln as the first Negro Chaplain in the United States Army, was born. Read his amazing story of defiance and determination here, here and here.