Tag: literature

10 Best Music Books of 2012

121211-the-oneJames Brown’s life was as deep and mythic as his celebrated groove. In the magisterial, rollicking biography The One: The Life and Music of James Brown, former SPIN staff writer RJ Smith goes further than anyone ever has in getting to the formidable, often contradictory essence of the Godfather of Soul. Rich with novelistic detail and revealing reporting, the book also serves as a history-text-in-disguise, using Brown’s story as a prism through which to view race, politics, Southern identity, and the music business. Like the man himself, The One encompasses multitudes, and it is SPIN’s pick for Best Music Book of 2012. Read on for our conversation with Smith, as well as the rest of our choices for the year’s top music books.

Did you set out to assert or correct any specific notions about James Brown with The One?
I went in with a pretty clear knowledge that he intimidated lots of writers into either not going in certain directions or only telling part of what they saw, and I wanted to give a fuller picture and put in what Brown was good at keeping out. But I didn’t have a fleshed-out agenda of things I wanted to say.

Given that Brown was so strong-willed about controlling his image, was it hard to get those close to him to share information with you?
That was an ongoing thing. With his family, the problem is that it’s somewhat divided; different children and relatives are not all on the same page about what’s happening with the estate and who’s getting different amounts of money. More or less, there’s one spokesperson for the children, his daughter Deanna, and the rest of the kids defer to her. But Tomi Rae, his last wife, was definitely helpful and very talkative and a very important person for me to speak to. It’s funny: My assumption was that there would be racial issues, because he’s such an icon and a powerful embodiment of blackness. I thought that would be an issue approaching people who didn’t know me. But by far the biggest issue was the Southern thing, which wasn’t about being black or white. It was about going to Augusta, Georgia, or towns in South Carolina, and people who didn’t know me, white or black, not being inclined to speak. I had to go back a few times, and every time I’d go back to a town, people would be a little more likely to talk, and finally they’d sit down, and the third time we’d talk they really started saying interesting stuff. It was a “You’re not from around here” vibe that took time to overcome.

We think of Brown as this almost archetypal American figure. Were you surprised by how central his specifically Southern background was to his identity?
Here’s a guy who was born and died within a half-hour drive of the same spot. He lived a lot of his life within 45 minutes or an hour of the place he was born [in Barnwell, South Carolina]. So the region meant a huge amount to him, and I really had to go there and read a hell of a lot to even begin to understand what it meant to him and means to people there now. I had no idea of the tradition of a very particular kind of violence in South Carolina and Georgia that touched him and touched other people from that region — like Strom Thurmond. There’s a number of really amazing, interesting books and essays and crazy renegade accounts of eye-gougings and street-corner wrestling brawls and duels. Violence touched the lives of anybody who grew up in Brown’s area. CONTINUE READING ARTICLE

2012 Summer Issue Swagga Digital Magazine

Summer Issue 2012 Swagga Digital Magazine

By Ronald Fulcher in Swagga Digital Magazine

96 pages, published 6/11/2012

2012 Summer Issue, featuring on our cover page Former NFL Player and Entrepreneur Bret Lockett, and his protégé the emerging music sensation Prince Syc, who share their vision about their ‘Get It All’ campaign. “Inked Up” a pictorial illustration of tattoos. Behind the Lens with International Photographer, PAOLO PRISCO, MONACO, FRANCE showcasing his fashion editorial entitled, “A Scarf Tale”. New Crop of Fashion from Discarded to Stylish…

2012 Summer Issue Swagga Digital Magazine

Swagga Digital Magazine is a quarterly publication illuminating people of color, from different backgrounds in four (4) areas, including fashion, lifestyle, culture and music. We feel there is a need for our publication for people of color that focuses through photographic illustration on the other aspects of their lives. In addition, we try to promote books and reading, healthy eating, style, and community organizations making a difference in their respective niches, fashion, lifestyle, art and culture and media in written word designated to each subject matter. We also spotlight “On Our Radar” which is short stories inclusive of people, places and things that we feel people should be more knowledgeable of whom they are and why they are of importance.

Connect with us: www.swaggadigitalmagazine.com

Steve Harvey, Micheal Ealy, Gabrielle Union & More Attend ‘Think Like A Man’ Premiere

Last night (April 3) celebrities flocked to the Crown Life for the red carpet premiere of Think Like A Man. The movie, which is based on Steve Harvey’s popular relationship book of the same name, has a star-studded cast of some of the greatest African American actors and actresses in the business.
Rainforest films producer Will Packer, Steve Harvey, Micheal Ealy, Gabrielle Union, Lala Vasquez-Anthony, Keisha Knight Pulliam, Terrance Jenkins, T.I., Nelly, and more hit the red carpet.
Check out the gallery of your favorite celebs from the premiere on VIBE Vixen!