Twenty 20 by Butch Ford

2020
Twenty 20 by Butch Ford

As we kick off a New Year and New Decade, I’d like to get something off my chest that’s been weighing heavily on me for some time now.  With the rash of kidnappings, infestation of drugs, poverty and crime in our communities, I thought about how things were for generations past.  Check it out and tell me what you think?

“Mother, mother there’s too many of you crying.  Brother, brother, brother there’s far too many of you dying.  You know we’ve got to find a way…to bring some lovin’ here today.”

“Thousands of lives wasting away…people living from day to day.  It’s a challenge just staying alive.  Cuz in the ghetto, only the strong survive.  Broken down homes, kids strung out…they don’t know what life’s all about.  Stealing cars, robbing bars, mugging, drugs, rat infested.  And no one’s interested.”

“Her brother’s smart.  He’s got more sense than many.  His patience’s long… but soon he won’t have any.  To find a job is like a haystack needle.  Cause where he lives they don’t use colored people.”

These are a compilation of lyrics from Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” (1971), The Temptation’s “Masterpiece” (1973) and Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City” (1973).  All written 45+ years ago but still quite relevant in today.

It’s scary that nearly 50 years have passed and we’re no closer to the dream that MLK spoke of.  We’re not unified like our forefathers taught us to be.  Nor are we trying to make a difference to others.  It’s 2020 my people.  Not 1970.  We’ve got to get it together.  AND FAST!!!

 

Butch Ford

 

References

Gaye, Marvin.  “What’s Going On.”  What’s Going On.  Tamla, 1971.

The Temptations.  “Masterpiece.”  Masterpiece.  Motown/Universal, 1973.

Wonder, Stevie.  “Living for the City.”  Innervisions.  Tamla, 1973.

Photo Cred:  Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

The Trendiness of Looking Like Everyone Else by Chellyz View

urban wear

The Trendiness of Looking Like Everyone Else by Chellyz View

Ummmmm, let’s just state wearing designer labels isn’t a big deal to me.  Now, I am not saying I haven’t or won’t purchase name brand items for myself.  However, I am known for being frugal.  As a child, I stated I would never shop at thrift stores.  Hey, things have changed.  I am my momma’s child and I get along very well with popping tags at second-hand stores.  I have been teased at times for being “cheap.”  So, you must think I have quite a bit of coins in my pocket. Not. (That’s a post for another time my dear readers).  Anyway, my children probably have more brand names in their closet than I do.  At the same time, I have taught them that there needs to be a balance.  Everything doesn’t have to be designer.  Create your own style.  I remember stopping at a red light and everyone at the bus stop looked the same.  What do I mean?  Same furry boots, same hoodies with a swoosh sign, same kicks, same jackets with the fur, same lashes, same length hair, same, same and same…  I believe everyone had different names but looked the same.

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I recall my younger years.  The styles consisted of Guess, Fubu, Apple Bottom Jeans, Colored Levi’s with the matching denim jacket, Eight Ball Jackets, Nautica, Coogi Sweaters, Herringbone Chains, Big Gold Hoop Earrings, Nikes, Swatch Watches, Adidas, Triple Fat Goose Coats, and Motion Rings.  Come on. I know there are some other middle-aged folks out there who can recall the styles.  One of my favorite stores was Merry-Go-Round found at the infamous trying to hold on Eastland.  I also shopped at Hudson’s located at the forever missed Northland.  Fellas I know some of you shopped at 4 Men Only at Tel-Twelve Mall which has been reassembled to house other stores.  Oh yeah, if you weren’t feeling the prices of the mall there were boosters (who sold clothes out of their homes) and the flea market (Country Fair on Dequindre).  Come on. Y’all know of some other stores.  When I think about it, many of us looked the same back then as well.  We were all shopping at the same place at the same d@#n time!

Northland Mall

Generation after generation.  Yes, we’re all trying to fit in where we can get in. Even my Momma and aunt had their own style which consisted of high waisted jeans, platforms, and bell bottoms during the 70’s.   Back in the day, I was one of those teenagers spending their whole part-time job check for one pair of pants.  I remember when I paid almost $70.00 for a pair of jeans known as Used.  Yep, I spent most of my check on a pair of ripped jeans.  My granddaddy at the time looked at me, shook his head, and said, “You crazy for buying a pair of jeans that are ripped.  We HAD to wear ripped jeans when we were growing up.” Also, I was blessed to have a cousin that wore the same size as myself.  She had all the colors of Guess Jeans.  We would swap clothes since we attended different high schools.  It seemed as if I had various colors to choose from also at home!

Payless.jpg

Now, there were plenty of times when I couldn’t afford the latest styles.  I was teased, because designer clothes weren’t in the budget.  It was a privilege when my aunt or momma gifted me with the latest gear.  In high school, I worked at Kmart. There were plenty of times I purchased the matching 2 items for $20 jogging suits (included pants and sweatshirt on sale), because I didn’t have it like that.  I also worked at DOTS in my 20s and I would look C-U-T-E in my $10 items.  I was teased when I had my own children because, PAYLESS with the Buy one Get one ½ off (BOGO sale) was my spot.  I would purchase my daughter a pair of light up princess shoes and my son a pair of light up character shoes, and still get me a pair of shoes.  What?  Three pair of shoes for the price of one!!!!!

Ok! Ok! Ok!  You’re probably wondering, where is she going with this story?  What is the relevance?  Well, keeping up with the Harrisonsssss, Simpsonsssss (oh yeah, I did purchase a pair of overpriced Bart Simpson jeans), or whoever can be costly.  Parents spending more than they should on designer labels.  I am one of those guilty parents.  Literally, I told myself I would never purchase my child a pair of overpriced Jordans but…. Imma plead the fifth.  Wearing designer labels can cause us to lose focus of our priorities.   Bill money spent so we or our children can look like everybody else.  Who wants to be teased. Some children rather not go to school or have dropped out.  There’s even an issue with school uniforms, because one child might wear a Ralph Polo school shirt with Carhartt or Dickies pants while the other child is wearing French Toast (which is very affordable).  Everywhere we you look, we are looking alike!

Designer items can be dangerous and deadly.  Some individuals have robbed and killed our own brothers and sisters.  Yes, because we needed to blend in and look like everybody else.  Longing for designer labels have costed us our freedom.  We will slang substances that harm others to have bands of money to purchase what we want and when we want.  Unfortunately, too many of our people are behind bars due to illegal activity because we are trying to keep up with the latest trends.  I don’t think I have ever seen any of these designers posting bail for any of our kinfolk.  There is a whole generation of our people looking alike with orange jumpsuits behind bars carrying the weight of lost dreams, because they wanted to look like everyone else.

shopping

What is the solution?  Well, I am not saying don’t wear designer items.  I’m always waiting for my daughter to get rid of her old gym shoes and clothes.  It’s still in style to me even when she states it is not in style!  Do as you please but remember the costs.  Don’t blast me when you see me with a trendy item on, but buying those items isn’t my prerogative or priority.   Most of the time, I create my own style.  I enjoy going to boutiques, and supporting entrepreneurs in my neighborhood, because I don’t want to look like everyone else.  Search the internet, find up and coming local designers who are setting their own trends.  Recycle dollars in the community.  If you have any suggestions or ideas, please share.  It’s time we show and express our creativity!  You know, you don’t have to look like everybody else!

-Let your heart be full of new ventures that will lead you to the possibilities of limitless conversations!

Let’s Start Anew by Butch Ford

start anew photo
Let’s Start Anew by Butch Ford

As we come to the close of another decade, there are some things I’d like to see change within our community.  As a people, we have really lowered our standards and expectations of one another.  And as a society we have come to be too accepting of mediocrity.

Professional sports are all about marketing dollars and network ratings.  Gone are the days of good sportsmanship and integrity.  It’s so much pressure on these kids nowadays.  Bring back the days of playing for the love of the game(s).  

Social Media has taken over as our main source of communication.  There’s no one-on-one interaction anymore.  Everything’s so impersonal.  There was a time when we had to talk to one another, meet up, ask someone out or just getting to know people.  Now everyone’s just typing away.

Which brings me to the education system, or the lack of emphasis placed on learning.  This one’s self-explanatory, but perplexes me nonetheless.  Generations past took pride in being the best at tasks at hand.  Millennials couldn’t care less.  They just want, want, want.  No concept of working to achieve goals.

And last…the lack of family dynamics.  We once ate meals together, taught each other hobbies & skills, supported the dreams of our relatives, asked how each other’s day was, etc.  Now everyone’s out for themselves.  Fathers are absent from their children’s lives, which forces the mothers to carry the load.  But they must be mature and responsible enough to take on the duties of parenthood.  Again…we must do better.  

We need to own our own businesses, invest in our communities, teach our youth and overall be better as African Americans.  We owe it to ourselves and to our future.   WE NEED CHANGE…LIKE YESTERDAY!

               

                                Butch Ford

The Curse of the Lions? by Klassy K 

Cursed Lions

The Curse of the Lions? by Klassy K

Home Skillets! What in the hell or heaven is up? Hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas, and let there be a joyous New Year for you as well. As we are counting down the last few days of December and getting ready for 2020, let’s try to reflect on our mistakes, goals and forgiveness. Hope everyone is going to forgive, but not forget.  Let go and let God, and most importantly mind yo business! Speaking of minding my business, I am trying to figure out what in the fart doo doo is going on with our Detroit sports team.

The Lions lost their last three games. The Red Wings lost four in a row.  The only Detroit Team that seems to be staying afloat is the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons played the Washington Wizards 102-132, beating them almost by 30 points last night, spanking that ass, but maybe they beat them because the Wizards beat them just a week ago. Makes you go hmmmm?! The reason why I say that the Detroit Pistons are staying afloat is, because before this big W they lost four in a row! I mean what in the hell or heaven is going on! I ask myself this question all the time.  Yes, I talk to myself sometimes. My momma dropped me when I was a baby. So, there you have it. I haven’t been diagnosed yet, but I’m black.  My parents didn’t take me to the doctor, and they always said, “She’s growing, she’ll grow out of it”, LOL. But my sister and my brother all have the crazies, and we have passed it on to our children.  Maybe we are cursed? Hmmmm, like maybe the Lions?

I read an article the other day about, “Is Jeff Bezos trying to buy the Detroit Lions?” Really, dude! I mean who would want to buy garbage? It’s free at the incinerator. If any of you are wondering who the hell is Jeff Bezos, he is the CEO of Amazon which net worth is $115.9 BILLION dollars. That’s more money than at the Federal Reserve, more money than Oprah, and all the black athletes and entertainers combined. I would love to just spend 1 hour with him and ask what his secret to success is without paying for it. I mean hell, why would he need my $39.99 to buy his book? Home Skillets do ya feel me! That $39.99 to him would be to pay for his one bottle of water. Truth be told, no one wants to buy the Detroit Lions. You know why, because they were cursed by Bobby Layne. Yes, I know what you’re thinking.  Who in the hell is Bobby Layne? Bobby Layne was a former quarterback for the Detroit Lions back in the 1950’s.  During that time, they won four world championships which is now called the Superbowl Championships.  They were an unbeatable team, until the owners at the time traded him to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Can you believe that? Imagine going to work and you are greeted by security guards asking you for your ID and handing you your belongings while exiting you out the door. No notice meaning no call, no e-mail, no text, nothing in writing, nothing. Do you blame him for wanting to “curse” the Lions? Now you’re probably not superstitious, but if you noticed the Lions haven’t won any Superbowl’s within the last hundred thousand years! Great coaches, players have come and gone, Billy Sims, Barry Sanders, Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Sue, Golden Tate, and that’s just to name a few. It just lets me know, it’s not about winning to the owners. They only care about selling seats and making that bag. Have you ever wondered WHY the Ford’s NEVER do a press conference or speak to the fans about the future of the Lions, nope. You know what’s the solution, stop going to the games, stop watching it on T.V, take the Knapp Knee, and stop wasting your money and putting your disgruntle thoughts about the Lions on social media. So, let’s try to bring in the New Year right, appreciate what you have, create new memories, love life, check up on your love ones, take care of yourself, and stay active.  Whatever “active” means to you, LOL.

Before signing off, check out your favorite sport teams.  The Detroit Pistons play this Saturday, December 28, against the Spurs @8:30 pm.  The Detroit Lions play the Packers this Sunday, December 29, at 1:00 pm.  Lastly, the Red Wings play this Sunday as well against the Lightning at 7:00 pm.  The Red Wings also play tomorrow in case you really want to watch it.

Klassy K’s Sport Korner: A contributor writer for http://www.aheartfullofconversations.com

 

Creating Priceless Memories or Endless Debt for the Holidays by Chellyz View

Christmas gifts two

Creating Priceless Memories or Endless Debt for the Holidays by Chellyz View

Disclaimer:  This post is not for those who have it together and have always been financially responsible during the holidays.  This one is for those who are trying to do better.  #help

All Those Gadgets and Toys

toys

It happened just like that.  Two years ago, my Lil Pocahontas reached the ever so “mature” age of 13.  Throughout the years, she had accumulated at least 100 dolls including the ones given to her during Christmas.  Alright, there’s a little exaggeration but it seemed as if she had that many fashionable dolls. Let’s not forget about the ultimate dream house, horse and carriage, and remote-control (you know the infamous doll) car.  Some of these items were given to her by family members including grand mommas, godparents, her hardworking parents, and aunties (blood and spiritual related).  Also, some were dropped off by the mysterious character known as Santa (please let this conversation be addressed during a future post).  Anyway, she took a few large plastic garbage bags, and dumped the dolls inside while stating, “I’m donating these dolls. I am not going to play with them anymore.”  I was informed to take them to that place known for its red and white logo. In addition, her dad assisted her with selling a few items. Huh, she didn’t even treat this momma to lunch.

Let me not forget about my Lil Superhero.  In his designated space, you will find countless miniature cars of all colors in three separate boxes that have compartments to store them in.  Look around and you’ll witness toys collecting dust in storage bins. At least I can tell you he enjoys the 1,000s of colorful block pieces (you know the company that rhymes with saygo) which can be used to make people, small cities, or whatever your heart and mind can imagine.  I usually find these small items under the couch or beneath my feet.  Ouch!!!!  Also, there’s always a few games he “must have” each year.  These video games must be played on a stand alone device or handheld widget which is sold separately and usually a new edition is introduced every other year.

The Holiday Tradition

Every holiday, I found myself shopping at the last minute. I would get all anxious trying to find that “sold out” toy.  Year after year I made a speech to myself, I shouldn’t wait until the last minute to go shopping.  I made a promise that I would not overspend.  I knew I would get upset when I heard the words “I’m bored” once the fanfare of the holiday season was over.  There was no way I would allow them to see me get angry because I had flashbacks of standing in long lines.  Hey, I was just following tradition whether it was right or wrong.  My momma, aunties, and grandparents ensured I had the best holiday every year as a child.  I had declared I must uphold the same tradition for my children.

For several years, I wrapped every single gift starting at midnight until five am in the morning.  The hub and I would argue, because his gifts were never wrapped as a child.  My response would be, “That was boring.  Didn’t you want to tear open the wrapping paper and be surprised?”  Literally, we had the same dispute annually.  Anyway, my ritual was to wrap the gifts all night, and binge watch holiday movies while sipping wine, or drink a few cold Pepsis or glasses of Kool-Aid or maybe consume all the above.  I would cop an attitude cause the hub wasn’t able to help me wrap as many gifts, because he was the chef of the house preparing the feast for the next day. However, as time went by, I had to question what was I spending all this time and effort for?  I watched myself get in debt, get holiday loans (more than I should have borrowed), and spend that holiday fund that was taken out of my paycheck for 10 months to make certain the holiday was “perfect.”

statue

As parents and caregivers some of us struggle, because we delighted in seeing the smiles on faces of our child(ren), nieces, nephews, lil cousin or maybe that family the office adopted.  I can’t beat myself up.  I am trying to “mature.”  I must realize I got to live after the holiday.  All those dollars could be invested in purchasing stock as a gift, placing funds in a savings or college fund, or taking a fun-filled family trip. That’s what we did in 2017.  We went to Disney World, and made it clear: Don’t look for naaaan (not one) toy!

Create Meaningful Inexpensive Moments

My point is do what you can this holiday season.  Let’s not forget why we celebrate during the season.  Whose birthday is it really (don’t answer if your birthday is actually on Christmas) ???  Spend, think, and strategize wisely.   I can’t say I regret those days, but I can say I am learning.  I will do what I can with what I have and not let the holiday giving stress me out.  Make the best memories you can by spending time with loved ones even if you are not able to purchase the “perfect gift” or find that “sold out” toy online (miss you Toys R Us).  Create homemade gifts such as soaps or candles. I almost fainted when one co-worker told me that was their family tradition for years. Then we got into a discussion about was it a cultural experience.  Also, someone else stated they have a large family, so they pull names every year to reduce stress.

All those tangible items can end up in a garbage bag or collecting dust.  Though I have spent my share of dollah bills, my household have created some inexpensive memories as well.  We all get new holiday pajamas (I always find them on sale).  We wear them on Christmas Eve and either make homemade or bake precut frozen cookies (don’t judge).  After the cookies are ready, we choose a few holiday movies to watch together before the children were told to go to sleep to get ready for the excitement for the next day.  Now, they stay up as long as they want!

For this holiday season take a moment to have memorable conversations and heartfelt memories that won’t leave you wrapped up in debt.  Stop for a minute and reflect on why we celebrate the season for those of you who do.  I will continue to be thankful for my support system.  I will only borrow what I can afford to pay back and not extra to spend frivolously.  Make the season bright by knowing you can create more meaningful cost-effective traditions instead of going into the new year with the gift of debt.

-Let your heart be full of new ventures that will lead you to the possibilities of limitless conversations!

Something’s Got to Give by Butch Ford

 

sad fans

Something’s Got to Give by Butch Ford

The Detroit Lions are about to complete yet another disappointing season with a losing record.  This has become the norm around these parts and the fans are outraged.  In fact, some are even calling for the sale of the team by The Fords (no relation).  Unfortunately, ineptitude has become the yearly expectation for the franchise by football purists.

General Manager Bob Quinn, the former Director of Scouting in The New England Patriots’ organization was hired by The Ford family in 2016 to right the ship.  While making several good personnel decisions since his arrival…the one blemish and questionable move was the firing of fan favorite and former Head Coach Jim Caldwell in 2018.  Caldwell boasted a 36-28 record and a .536 winning percentage in his 4 seasons in Detroit…making him the winningest coach in the franchise’s history.

He was let go in favor of another former New England Patriots’ stalwart Matt Patricia, a friend of Quinn’s with no head coaching experience at any level on his resume.  With two games remaining on the schedule, Patricia is about to complete his second full season as the Lions’ Head Coach.  He only has 8 wins to show, so far out of 30 total games during his tenure.  Clinching another losing record, some believe that he has lost his players, as well as respect in the locker room.

Maybe it’s time we demand answers.  For generations, it’s been speculated that football is merely a hobby for The Fords and winning just isn’t a priority.  There have been countless personnel changes in management, a revolving door for players year after year and directionless leadership on the field.  The only constant IS the ownership.  So, what should the next move be?

Is Patricia on the “hot seat”?  Is Quinn’s job in jeopardy after firing a Superbowl Champion Head Coach in favor of an inexperienced former colleague?  Did the Fords drop the ball in their selection of Quinn?  Should the team be put up for sale?  What should the long-suffering fans do?  Should action be taken or recourse?  So many difficult questions and so much uncertainty.  Something’s got to give.  Detroiters simply deserve better.

 

Butch Ford

That’s Rose, Derrick Rose by Klassy K

Derrick Rose pic

That’s Rose, Derrick Rose by Klassy K

What’s up home skillets? Did ya miss me?! I know it has been a LONG time, don’t beat me down! There has been a lot going on, nothing much, it’s called life. Summer is long over, the fall leaves has dropped, now we got this slushy white mess that is going on which will probably be here until April. Well, Prince did say that sometimes it snows in April and you know sometimes it snows in April especially in Michigan.

Now that the Detroit Little League Tigers season has miserably ended, Detroit Buffalo Wings ended also. Now, we are in football and basketball season.  I wanted to wait as long as possible before clowning the Detroit “Kitty Kat” Lions, because the season started off well! I’ m not going to lie.  I was pretty excited at first, because I was trying to keep hope alive.  You know cause the Lions struggled along the years, different coaches, players and uniforms, man they have been threw a lot. I know you can hear the sarcasm. Ok, so the Lions won their home game, and then they tied the next game.  Boy oh boy, Detroit went crazy! People were having tailgate parties.  Men and women of all colors were hugging and kissing.  Well, maybe all wasn’t kissing, but you could feel the love in the air. However, the Lions went from 2-1-1, to 3-9-1, ouch!

I saw a meme the other day on Facebook, and it was right after the Lions lost. It was a boy with his head down on a desk crying, and there was a man standing over him with his hand on his back.  The caption read, “The boy was being beaten by his mom and dad, and the boy pleaded that he wanted to stay with his aunt and uncle. So, he was granted that, but then they also beat him as well.  So, the man that had his hand on the boy’s back, said “Well, see if the Lions can take you in, because they can’t beat nobody”. I was dying laughing! OMG!  Well, you can always show your support by either watching the game on Fox or attending the game when they play the Buccaneers on December 15 @ 1:00 pm. I’m still taking the knee Kapp!

Now, everyone knows that Derrick Rose is a Detroit Piston.  You know Mr. Rose, he has been with so many, one cannot keep count! The Detroit Pitifuls, I mean the Pistons are currently in 9th place in the Eastern conference with a record of 10-14. That’s not bad! Yes, it is, why I’m playing.  Blake Griffin is out due to injury.  So, we have Rose, Derrick Rose to fill in for Blake. Mr. Rose can hold up his own.

The Pistons played yesterday, December 9, against the New Orleans Pelicans. Just in case you are not a college basketball fan, this is the team that the number 1 draft pick Mr. Zion Williamson is part of the roster, but guess what he didn’t play. All that money that he received and he’s not even playing. LOL. The Pistons beat the Pelicans 105-103. It was a very close game, but it was 3 seconds left of the game and tied. Guess who hit the winning shot? Mr. Rose! After the game, off course the announcers interviewed him, just asking some questions pertaining to the game, the team, etc. But, this is how I know that Mr. Rose is going to be a key player in getting us into the playoffs. I know that’s a while from now, but hey a sister can wish.  Anyway, the sports announcer asked Derrick, “So, tell me what you were thinking when you made the winning shot?” Derrick replied, “Excuse my broken English, but dis is what I do!” Home skillets, I almost jumped out of my bed and ran outside my house, cause this man said this on NATIONAL television.

Check out your home boy, cause he and the other Pistons will be playing this Thursday, December 12 @ 9:00 pm against the Mavericks.

Klassy K’s Sport Korner: A contributor writer for http://www.aheartfullofconversations.com

 

Better Days by Butch Ford

Comerica Park

Better Days by Butch Ford

As a life-long Detroit sports fan, it’s been extremely tough to root for our hometown teams lately.  But what seems to be the problem?  Why are they all so bad at the same time, you ask?  Let’s get into this.

The Red Wings are the easiest to explain.  After 25 consecutive years of consistent winning and four Stanley Cup Championships between 1986-2011, they’re entitled to a down period.  They’re in a rebuilding process and deserve a pass.  You can’t stay on top forever.

The Pistons; after two very successful title runs, resulting in three NBA Championships (2 in back-to-back years by The Bad Boys in ’89 and ’90 plus another one by The Going to Work Squad in ’04) are in a bit of turmoil.  They suffered the loss of longtime owner William Davidson, the subsequent sale of the franchise, growing pains by new ownership and management and relocation to a new downtown arena.  This will take time.

The Tigers also suffered the loss of their long-time owner Mike Ilitch, who tried feverishly to put together a World Series title team before his untimely demise in 2017.  The aftermath is the Ilitch off springs searching for a vision and direction.  It isn’t working very well.  This could be a while.

And then there’s the lowly, cellar dwelling, career doormats known as The Lions.  There have been several dozen coaching changes, countless shuffling of management personnel, and a revolving door for players over the past 6 decades.  The one constant is the ownership…The Ford family (no relation).  And still NO Superbowl appearance to speak of.  What’s it going to take?

One thing’s for sure, Detroit is a passionate sports town that loves its teams and deserves much better.  Hopefully we’ll see better days in the near future!

 

Butch Ford

 

Soulless Music by Butch Ford

listen to music.jpg

Soulless Music by Butch Ford

In the early 90’s, approximately 1993, the public school system began shaving numerous programs as a part of massive budget cuts Nationwide.  The biggest impact arguably was the loss of music education in our schools.  The cuts didn’t immediately affect the music industry, but it began to rear its ugly head about a decade or so ago.

In years long since passed, music had meaning, feeling and substance.  Every artist had the freedom to create as he or she saw fit.  And it was reflected in their productions.  There were raw, unadulterated emotions embedded deep within the music.  Joy, pain, sadness, elation and rage could all be felt through the gift of song.  Strong horn sections, string arrangements and later synthesizers enhanced the distinct identity of each artist and what they shared with the world.

Now let’s fast forward some two and a half decades.  Today’s music is very impersonal and lacks substance and creative arrangements.  The subject matter is often disrespectful with very little depth.  And full compositions have made way to simple and repetitive beats programmed by unaccomplished musicians.

Program Directors at radio and television stations rely heavily on “oldies but goodies” to carry daily playlists and product endorsements due to the absence of quality new music.  Great music is still being composed and produced by incredible talent.  However, “the powers that be” are targeting a different demographic.  That would be the millennials. Those who were directly affected by the Music Education cuts in the 90’s and beyond.

Mainstream music, national award shows, and product advertisements are painful to watch/listen to.  And it’s mainly due to what’s being pawned as music today.  What did the masses think the results of the music cuts were going to be?  It’s plain to see.  Music with no soul.

 

Butch Ford

What the World Needs Now by Butch Ford

 

World needs now

What the World Needs Now by Butch Ford

As I look at the state of the world today, I can’t help but think about how things used to be.  When we respected our elders, education was paramount and there was unity and structure among families.  The neighborhoods and communities policed themselves.  Peace and harmony were a way of life.  But things are very different now.  And it’s difficult to watch how far we’ve fallen as a People (African Americans).  It’s deeply concerning.  Our Civil Rights Pioneers are probably rolling over in their graves.

We’re so accepting of mediocrity and underachievement.  What happened to the once proud, determined race who were driven by Faith?  A lot has changed since those days.  Currently, that’s too lengthy of a discussion.  But sadly, we lack direction.  And it’s going to take a lot of hard work, a change of philosophy/focus and some positive leadership to restore our purpose.  Radio, television and video games are poisoning a whole generation.

Today…in the social media era, people are more concerned with likes, followers and views…more so than they are with morals, values and self-respect.  The world is extremely selfish and monetarily driven.  Our role models have dissolved…or just refuse to lead by example.  The love of money is the root of all evil.  And it’s killing us.

Controversy surrounding a sandwich from a fast food establishment, females twerking on video and the recording of physical altercations in public have trumped the more serious issues in our community…i.e.: the kidnapping of our black women and children for the purpose of sex and illegal black-market organ trafficking.  This shit is real.  And we are in danger.  I haven’t even mentioned the resurgence of The Klan yet.

We must find a way to take back control of our communities.  And it starts in our homes.  Parents…we must do a better job of preparing our youth for the real world.  Teach them right from wrong.  They are our offspring…not our equals.  They are products of their environment who mimic what they see…unless we show them a different way.  We must also allow our educators to effectively do their jobs unapologetically, without stress or worries.  We must hold our children accountable!  Use tough love and discipline!   They yearn for it.

Activities such as: Team Sports, Mentorship Programs and Church Involvement, will help us rebuild decades of hardship and blight that has robbed us of who we are and who we’re meant to be.  Bring back Home Economics, Art, Music and Workshop in schools. Our youth need an outlet.  Allow them to use their minds creatively and utilize these skills to excel.  The trap has been set.  The path has been laid out.  But we can’t continue to fall victim anymore.  This should motivate, and not hinder us anymore.  We must rise above others’ expectations of us.  Let’s do better.

Let’s be more than we’re expected to be.  We are still those same proud, strong and determined people.   What the world needs now is a lot of love and compassion mixed in with a little guidance and direction.

 

Butch Ford