“A Match Made in Heaven” by Butch Ford

 

Friendship

“A Match Made in Heaven” by Butch Ford

There was a hodge-podge group of people I met back in the fall of 1982.  I was the new kid and essentially “a fish out of water.”  I didn’t live in the area and had no history with any of them to speak of.  I would just observe and take mental notes until I felt more comfortable with things.

KB was the first one I met. She was a sweet, quiet, and shy young lady who was really kind to me but was always about her business.  YB was the “cutie” in the designer jeans.  She had long flowing hair and always seemed to turn heads whenever she would strut past you.  RR was this fast-talking, loud chick who always appeared angry to me.  You would hear her coming long before you’d actually see her.  She was an acquired taste, in my opinion.  DD was a bright, charismatic, intellectual sista who was simply brilliant.  And she knew it too.  A precursor of things to come, perhaps?

Double J. was the “around the way girl” who knew everybody and vibed with everyone she came in contact with.  LS and BS were the laid back biological sisters who you could barely tell apart.  They had million-dollar smiles and were sweet as pie.  They had a younger sibling LS, who was a little rough around the edges and wasn’t one to play with.  But we got along great.

DM and NP were best friends from way back. They were a bit hard for me to assess.  Probably because I didn’t see them very often.  According to the brothas, NP flaunted the physique of a grown-ass woman much older than her actual teenaged years.  A “traffic stopper” if you will.  And DM was a lady in every sense of the word who carried herself with a quiet and sneaky confidence…like she was hiding something.  JE was the athlete.  She played every sport…and excelled at each one of them.  She was smart, as well.

KM was a quiet brother who resembled someone from the DeBarge family. He barely spoke above a whisper.  SS and OP were down-to-earth, cool individuals that were unassuming and mostly played the background.  But they were loved by all.  And then there was me.

None of us really hung out together.  And we all seemed to run in different crowds.  I’d later discover that the majority of them did indeed have a history with each other.  As they attended elementary and middle school together years prior.  But at that time, everyone was trying to find themselves and carving their own niche in the world.  It’s called growing up.

Today…35 years later: Kecia, Yolanda, Rita, Dionne, Joycelyn, Linda, Brenda, Lisa, Dianne, Nichelle, Jacqueline, Keith, Sylvia, Onza, La’Tricia, Patricia and my cousin Freda share the tightest and most incredible bond.  They are more than just my friends.  They are my family.  Although It’s hard to put into words what they truly mean to me.  If you were to sit them down and ask them about it… I’m sure they’d tell you something similar to what I’m trying to describe to you right now.  It’s special.

Life is so short and nothing is guaranteed.  Love one another.  Be good to each other.  We never know where life will take us or what God has planned for us.  I couldn’t have foreseen the closeness I would eventually share with these people.  None of us saw this coming.  But it’s here and we’ve embraced it.  I can’t imagine what my life would be like without any of them.  We’re all still very different, but that’s what makes it all work.  Truly a match made in heaven.

 

Butch

 

“Motown Philly” by Butch Ford

Motown Records

 

“Motown Philly” by Butch Ford

The 1960s introduced us to a brand new sound.  It originated in a tiny little home on the westside of Detroit called “Hitsville”  The founder and visionary Berry Gordy recruited every talented musician, singer, and songwriter in the area to put his dream in motion.  He wanted to make “music for the people.”

The result was a musical revolution dubbed “The Motown Sound.”  Happy music with the ability to bring people together peacefully and harmoniously.    We fell in love with The Temptations, The Tops, Marvin, Stevie, The Supremes, Smokey, Gladys, The Jackson 5 and so many others.  The backbone was a group of relatively unknown musicians named The Funk Brothers (google them) who brought Gordy’s vision to life.  Songwriters such as William Robinson, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Norman Whitfield, and countless others combined to form this dream team that changed American History forever.

In 1971, Philadelphia International Records was launched.  It was the brainchild of the legendary songwriting/production team of Kenny Gamble/Leon Huff with their long-time friend and collaborator Thom Bell.  The goal was to tap into the endless supply of talent in and around the city of Philadelphia.  Hence…”Philly Soul” was born.

The sound was built upon beautifully orchestrated string arrangements combined with driving bass and percussion.  Not to mention strong soulful vocals and intricate harmonies.  From this…Patti LaBelle, The O’Jays, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, Billy Paul, Lou Rawls, and The Jacksons (who defected from Motown) made their mark in Soul/R&B History.

There’s still a friendly debate that exists today.  You might hear some old cats arguing about which Record Company or era produced the greatest music.  It’s a matter of opinion, I suppose.

New Edition and Bell Biv Devoe member and co-founder Michael Bivins were onto something when he coined the phrase “Motown Philly” back in the early ’90s while developing Boyz II Men.  He understood the influence of both companies and the impact they had on the history of Black Music.  Personally…you can’t go wrong with either.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the contributions of Staxx and Chess Records.  They both played a huge part in the fabric of soul music as we know it today, as well.

Butch Ford

 

 

 

 

“Inspired by George Floyd” by Butch Ford

George Floyd

“Inspired by George Floyd” by Butch Ford

Sometimes I sit and reflect on the way life used to be.  Naw that’s actually some bullshit.  Honestly…I do that quite a bit.  Things were a lot easier when we were the kids.  We had parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles to lead and guide us.  They showed us right from wrong and there were lessons in everything they would say.  Life seemed so pure and innocent back then.
There were obvious challenges, but we were protected from them.  We didn’t know we were poor.  We weren’t aware that they struggled so mightily.  All we saw and felt was the overabundance of love that they showered us with.
Personally, I had strong ties in my church home in which I was raised.  The block I grew up on was a tight-knit extended family.  Little League, Highschool & College Baseball produced unbreakable lifetime bonds. And dozens of friends have lasted throughout the decades.
But today…a lot of the influential people I made reference to earlier have gone on to glory.  And life isn’t quite the same without them anymore…as now, we are the parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles.  It’s our responsibility to carry on the legacy of strong, positive, respectful, and proud role models & leaders to the generations watching us.  In some aspects, we’ve made strides.  And in several ways, we’re failing them.
The name George Floyd has become synonymous with change, reform and unity.  But there’s a lot of additional work that has to be done.  This is only the beginning.  But it seems as though we’ve turned the corner.  Whites are standing with us in our struggle.  Our voices are being heard.  And it’s stretched beyond our borders.
I can’t speak for everyone.  But I know my relatives, church family, neighborhood family, educators, coaches, friends, and Civil Rights Activists who are no longer with us…have to be smiling down on us & beaming with pride.  Maybe we have finally “overcome.”
                                               Butch Ford

Fool’s Paradise by Butch Ford

Fool's Paradise

Fool’s Paradise by Butch Ford

Comedian Chris Rock once said the profound words, “I love my black people.  But I can’t stand n***as” during a comedy tour two decades ago.  I laughed hysterically as did the rest of the audience.  But sadly, those words still reverberate in my mind, body, and spirit to this very day…for obvious reasons.

I’m saddened, embarrassed, and infuriated at how far we…as prideful people have fallen in just over a half-century.  Dignity, self-respect, and honor have all but dissipated.  Almost as if it never existed.  Mission Accomplished!  I feel that this was orchestrated by “the establishment.”  But we’re playing right into their hands.  Keep us poor, uneducated, unhealthy, superficial, angry, barbaric, and at odds with each other…fighting for scraps.  That way we’re diverted and unaware of the bigger agenda.

Stimulus packages, unemployment bonuses and government hand-outs were implemented to create further chaos and dissension within our communities.  Designed to infiltrate, separate, and further destroy…in my opinion.  But when does it end?  There’s a target on our backs.  And the majority of us can’t see beyond the current fashion trends, the marijuana dispensaries or the latest beef in the entertainment industry.  Mass media outlets flood us with this garbage.

Black on black crime, unspeakable acts committed against African Americans by other races, and the Covid-19 pandemic are at a premium and are taking us out at an alarming rate.  Either nobody’s paying attention.  Or…no one seems to care.  That’s what’s so disturbing.  And the government wants us to believe that it’s safe to open everything back up and resume life as we knew it previously.  Jump starting the economy seems to have taken precedence over the general safety and welfare of the U.S. citizens.

But it’s a trap people.  We must stand for something…or we’ll continue to fall for anything.   It starts by using common sense and exercising good judgment.  It’s a tall order to expect the millennials (who refuse to listen and feel as though they have all the answers) to buy-in.  But we must take accountability and fight for what our ancestors believed in and what they died for.  We are lost and directionless and can’t seem to get out of our own way.

The once-proud People (who are the pulse of America) must take back control and lead by example.  We can’t continue to walk this path of self-destruction that’s been laid for us.  If so…we’re doomed.  To trust and believe in the media and our current administration is equivalent to living in a Fool’s Paradise.  “You better think twice.  It’s not very nice.”  Don’t fall for the okey-doke.  If we know better, we’ll do better.  Continue to protect yourselves and love one another.  It’s the only way.

 

Butch Ford

 

“Wake Up vs. Stay Woke” by Butch Ford

 

Coronavirus Crisis

“Wake Up vs. Stay Woke” by Butch Ford

It’s week seven of being confined in my home. And there’s not much to do other than observe, learn, accept and change. If anyone comes out of the Coronavirus crisis the same as you entered it…you should seriously consider getting your life in order. Things have become so vivid and crystal clear. So why is it so difficult for “some” to see what’s going on?

“Stay woke” is a trendy term that gets tossed around far too loosely by the masses. But what does it really mean? You must first WAKE UP before you can “stay woke.” Let that sink in. What are we missing here? There’s a bounty on our heads, and we’re focused on things of irrelevance. The government shut down is real. But it’s not being taken seriously. Why are we in such a hurry to purchase superficial items that we are programmed to depend on? Why is there a rush to re-open beauty supply establishments, beauty and barber shops, nail salons & tattoo parlors? These aren’t essential businesses. But they’re establishments that rely on the African American consumers to survive.

It saddens me to see a generation of people lost and in need of direction and purpose. Where are our community leaders? African Americans are losing our lives senselessly by other African Americans and everyone else…for that matter. While we’re busy twerking on social media and filming each other committing unspeakable acts against one another, the enemy is stocking up on firearms and ammunition. And they’re teaching their youth how to defend themselves and protect their assets.

We need to WAKE UP! Does it really matter that your designer mask matches your outfit on the daily? What’s wrong with giving yourself a mani/pedi? Save that stimulus package. We’re not out of the woods yet. Why are we standing in line to purchase $200 pairs of Jordans during a pandemic? Why are we still congregating in large groups socializing? Hospitals and Funeral Homes are over-crowded and haven’t a clue what to do with the astronomical number of sick and deceased patients. And we’re acting as if there isn’t a care in the world.

Y’all better WAKE THE F*** UP and stop talking about stay woke. This ain’t no joke. So why are we the only ones laughing? Get your life and priorities in order.

 

Butch Ford

“There’s Only One Way To Turn” by Butch Ford

road

“There’s Only One Way To Turn” by Butch Ford

Today is Resurrection Day 2020.  But globally, it’s more popularly known by its other name. I have some thoughts and intense feelings on my mind and in my spirit this morning.  Yet I didn’t know which platform to utilize.  I just knew I had to get it off my chest.  So I chose to vent via my friend Chellyz View’s blog (as I’ve grown to rely on the past several months).
Each day we’re forced to accept this new norm, and I try harder to sort out my feelings regarding the state of the world.  It’s a combination of disappointment, anger, sadness, concern, confusion, and embarrassment.  I’m disappointed in the current White House Administration for apparent reasons.  I’m angry with how racially divided our nation is.  I’m sad because of the devastation this pandemic has caused.  I’m concerned that there are so many unknowns.  I’m confused as to how we got here in the first place.  And I’m embarrassed by the actions and irresponsibility of my people.
Waking up daily to hear the mounting death totals is mortifying and becomes more difficult to accept.  I find myself having to socially distance myself from all news telecasts and social media commonly.  The heart/soul can only take so much.  We need to take accountability as people and learn to be of one accord.   There’s a need for us to be more unified and work peacefully and harmoniously.  We need to wisen up and recognize that we are our own worst enemy.  We’re destroying our present and our future.  When is enough, enough?
                                                   Butch Ford

A Sad State of Affairs by Butch Ford

A Sad State of Affairs

A Sad State of Affairs by Butch Ford

By now, we’ve all been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another. We are hearing about it on our televisions, reading about it on various media platforms, or experiencing a personal loss. Whatever the story…it has impacted our daily lives. And life as we know it may never be the same.

There are hundreds of rumors circulating about the virus. And conspiracy theorists are running amok with their countless, unsubstantiated theories of the scientific, logic-based, and political variety. When in actuality, nobody seems to know very much about what we’re facing with the coronavirus.  Several states have implemented a stay-at-home order for businesses and employees that are considered non-essential. Citizens have also been instructed to utilize social distancing for safety and the containment of the virus.

Sadly, a specific demographic doesn’t appear to be following the safety guidelines that were put in place, prompting law enforcement to change the rules on the fly aggressively. Citations totaling upwards of $500 are being issued, and arrests are being made. I’ve seen several disturbing videos of African Americans congregating in large groups…drinking, partying, and not taking the crisis seriously. They can be overheard dismissing the pandemic altogether and cursing the rules and those attempting to enforce them.

There should be just one goal in mind…that’s survival and self-preservation. But why is it so hard for US to do the right thing? Why can’t WE simply stick together? It’s frustrating and often embarrassing to watch the younger generations self destruct. Where did we go wrong? What could we have done differently? Is it too late to turn things around? These are all valid questions. We’re losing so many people to this devastating virus. And nothing’s going to change if we don’t follow the blueprint for safety that’s been laid out. We need help. But it starts with ourselves.

Butch Ford

Silver Lining by Butch Ford

family together

Silver Lining by Butch Ford

It’s March 2020, and the world is amidst chaos and disorder dealing with the pandemic known as COVID-19 or the coronavirus. An outbreak that seemingly appeared overnight and has wreaked havoc and disrupted our daily lives as we know them.

Schools nationwide have closed their doors, companies have ceased operations, and bars and restaurants are open for take-out only with early closing hours. Everyone has been ordered to self-quarantine and stay home for a minimum of 14 days to decrease the chance of spreading and contracting the disease. Supplies such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, bleach, and other disinfectants haven’t been available to consumers for over a week. And panic has set in. Everyone is in an uproar. Stores are price gouging, and consumers are hoarding items…whenever they can find them. The stress level of the general public is at an all-time high.

Let’s take a slightly different look at this. Children and parents are at home together. Society has an opportunity to reinvent family. It’s a time to recall past traditions and reacquaint ourselves with the true meaning of family. We can start by praying and eating meals together and communicating with each other. We can attempt to reform and rebuild all that has been damaged over the past several decades.

The new generation needs to have knowledge of the way life used to be before social media, video games, and lack of direction (as a people). COVID-19 is a horrible catastrophe that’s taken us all by storm. But there could be a silver lining, as well. Stay tuned.

 

Butch Ford

COVID-19 by Butch Ford

Coronavirus

COVID-19 by Butch Ford

The Coronavirus or COVID-19…what is it? Where did it originate? And what’s up wit it? We all would like to know. There are several different theories. But only selected individuals genuinely know the answers to our questions.

The definition of a pandemic is the outbreak of disease prevalent over a whole country or the world. Well, this is what we’re facing today. And it’s scary. But should we be? I’m not a conspiracy theorist; however, I have raised my antennas.

I honestly don’t know what to believe. Is this whole thing legit? Or is it a distraction? Are we being lied to or manipulated? It’s all very confusing to me. I saw a graph outlining proof wherein every election year, a new epidemic miraculously surfaces. Coincidence???

Sadly…I don’t put anything past “The Powers That Be.” I’ve lost trust in the system. Although alarmed, it wouldn’t surprise me if this was part of a bigger plan or a hidden agenda. I’ve heard mumblings that if the country is under the State of Emergency, the Commander in Chief reserves the right to postpone the election and retain office for an additional two years. I’ve also heard others mention that the current headlines take the attention off the stock market…which is quietly dropping.

Professional and collegiate athletics have suspended operations indefinitely, and international travel could potentially be in jeopardy. Universities have canceled all in-person campus classes and have plans in place to resume academics on-line.  I ask that everyone keep your eyes and ears open. This could very well be an actual catastrophe of epic proportions, or it could be all smoke & mirrors. We don’t know yet. Everything is such a big secret. Only time will tell, but we need answers. Until we get them…stay safe and take care of one another.

 

Butch Ford

It Starts Now by Butch Ford

Fractured Flag

It Starts Now by Butch Ford

Because it’s that time again…I’d like to discuss the upcoming 2020 Election. Now I’m not much of a political expert. Nor do I claim to be overly knowledgeable on the subject of politics. However…I know that I strongly dislike smear campaign tactics and negative election strategy. That’s when a candidate or candidates use negative information acquired about an opponent to slander his/her character. The objective…obviously being to gain political favor or to sway the opinion of the general public/voters.

I’m on record with my personal feelings regarding political affiliation and voters sticking close to familiar party lines. Again…that’s the individual’s preference. I ask that the voters do extensive research and familiarize themselves with all the facts before making a final decision on their candidate. Politics is a dirty game, people. Most involved aren’t very noble or upstanding, and EVERYONE seems to have an agenda!

I’m not judging anyone’s political views. It’s your right to vote whatever way you see fit. Whether you lean towards the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, or vote Independent…just make a sound decision based on the candidate’s morals, values, and character. Is your selection a decent human being? Does he or she have the best interest of the American citizens in mind? Will they represent our Nation in a dignified, classy, and presidential manner?

We deserve better! We’ve been lied to, insulted, and embarrassed for far too long. It’s time that we get back to respectability and begin repairing the relationships that have been damaged by the current administration. We are the laughing stock of the free world, and they view us as a joke or a side-show. We used to be a proud country. What happened to us? How did we get here? We can be that again, but we have to come together and work peacefully. And it starts with the upcoming election.

 

Butch Ford