The idea of black radio has long been dead as companies like Clear Channel and Emmis have mined the field for “authentic” black on-air talent, while having little to do with the communities they exist to serve.
It is Dyson’s ability to make himself and his work accessible to lay audiences -- ironically much like grassroots activists -- that makes him a target for those folk within the academy and elsewhere, who don’t believe that his work is rigorous enough.
The humanity of the man -- with its funky and messy flaws and frailties -- could never sustain the myth, so much so that the image of the man who gave Black Power its soundtrack became a harsh reminder of its fractured legacy.
By making public his struggles with living a devout life, Kanye West makes such a lifestyle so much more accessible and valuable to the very folk that need spirituality to get them through the day to day. West becomes the receptacle for the folk to think of a 'Jesus' that is truly of the people.
Grit was not just about the 'sound' of soul, but also the grittier social and political realities that soul music offered transcendence from. The recent deaths of Lou Rawls and Wilson Pickett mark the passing of two of the grittiest Soul Men to walk the earth.
Does the soulless sound of contemporary R&B really have its roots in a controversial Harvard study from 1972, an alleged blueprint for the corporate theft of black culture's heritage? Or was it all Clive Davis's idea? The first of a three-part examination of how R&B became big business on the way to becoming irrelevant.
Electric Circus pushed the boundaries of hip-hop -- a psychedelic trip to hip-hop's great beyond -- Be just finds a world-wide Common back home standing on the corner. But you can't go home again and no matter how much he wishes, the Common of Can I Borrow a Dollar? is not the same Common of Be -- and thank God for that.