Reflections: Warped Priorities

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    It was amazing that a Detroit City Council hearing on strip clubs attracted a standing-room-only crowd, when any public school official will tell you how difficult it is to get parents and other adults to volunteer for anything or come to Parent-Teacher Association meetings.

    Meanwhile, while they are getting all bent out of shape about strip clubs, Detroit’s public schools continue to badly under-perform, crime figures are through the roof, formerly nice neighborhoods decline further, drug dens operate freely, thieves  break into buildings to steal copper, chop shops sell parts from stolen cars without fear, etc.

    And, of course, far more people continue to move out of Detroit than move in.

    I am not for or against clubs that offer adult entertainment. But no matter how anyone feels about them, they have a right to exist — with liquor licenses — and will continue to exist, even though some people want them gone.

    Why not have “red light districts,” as several countries do, thus containing those kinds of businesses, keeping them away from children, etc.? (Just a thought!)

    Also, it is hoped that Detroit City Council will not allow itself to be bullied by grandstanding, holier-than-thou, self-serving, mean-spirited, publicity-loving  ministers and others of their type.

    It is time for Detroit to take an honest look at itself and then begin rearranging its priorities.

    THERE IS much to be said for good behavior.

    The Los Angeles Superior Court judge, Patricia Schnegg, praised Chris Brown for not missing any of his domestic violence counseling sessions. In addition, he dutifully completed the required  32 days of hard labor in his home state of Virginia.

    The judge was so pleased that she gave him permission to leave the country in May and June for concerts. (His album, “Graffiti,” is solid.)

    Now he can really get on with his life and career, just as ex-girlfriend Rihanna has.

    AND SPEAKING of Rihanna, she has, as you may know by now, signed on to appear in the remake of “The Last Dragon” starring Samuel L. Jackson. Rihanna’s character will be a dominatrix! The 1985 “The Last Dragon” starred Vanity and Taimak.

    Rumors are circulating  about Whitney Houston. We sure hope it’s not true that she has been falling off the drug cessation wagon. If she has, we hope she gets back on it and stays there. A lot of people have been pulling for her, just as they have been for Robert Downey Jr., who has apparently gotten himself together.

    Clever: Rap star Ludacris (real name: Christopher Bridges) says his next album is likely to be titled “Ludaversal.” Meanwhile, he is promoting his current release, “Battle of the Sexes.”

    Alicia Keys and Beyoncé went all the way to Brazil to film the video for their duet, “Put It in a Love Song,” featured on Keys’ album, “The Element of Freedom.” It’s nice that two beautiful young divas can work together.

    JOHNNY MATHIS has the distinction of being the first artist to have an album with the words “greatest hits” in the title. Today, of course, it is commonplace.

    “Johnny’s Greatest Hits” was also history making in that it remained on the Billboard best selling albums chart for an amazing nine and half years (490 weeks!). It landed the legendary crooner a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. His accomplishment was not surpassed until the 1980s.

    Mathis’ hits include the classic “Chances Are” plus “It’s Not For Me to Say,” “Wonderful! Wonderful!” and his No. 1 hit with Deniece Williams, “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late.”

    I LOVE reading mail from readers. For example, Tom Constand was in agreement with yours truly regarding the making of a second “We Are the World” video and recording, good intentions notwithstanding.

    “The original ‘We Are the World’ was representative of all the stars aligning for a magical, inspiring, one-of-a-kind event that will never be duplicated, in terms of its place in music history as well as its clarion-call effectiveness in raising awareness and funding for USA For Africa,” he said.

    “The attempts by the current assembled cast of artists is less than inspiring, transparent and, frankly, an embarrassment. I would have expected much more from Quincy Jones.”

    Meanwhile, Kevin Keegan has some issues with sampling, which goes on a lot in rap/hip-hop.

    “There has been some debate about how restricting a producer’s  ability to sample beats, grooves, etc. hampers the creative process and negates one’s opportunity to create new works,” wrote Keegan.

    “Times change, but sampling is more like holding someone prisoner, recording them against their will, adding lyric content they may abhor, and then adding insult to injury by claiming that the injured parties should be grateful for the boost in their ‘sputtering career.’

    “How arrogant and wrong, not to mention disrespectful. Artists should have the option to deny or accept access for sampling purposes. There are people out there who are actually recording beats and grooves specifically for the purpose of sampling, so the creativity argument is covered. But some people want shortcuts.”


    BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW
    …that Elton John was the first White artist to appear on “Soul Train.” His No. 1 Pop hit, “Bennie and the Jets,” had previously crossed over onto the R&B charts.


    MEMORIES:
    “Ladies Night” (Kool & the Gang), “Baby, Don’t Break Your Baby’s Heart.” (Kashif), “Nothing From Nothing” (Billy Preston), “Higher Ground” (Stevie Wonder), “Lookin’ For a Love” (Bobby Womack), “I Only Have Eyes For You” (the Flamingos), “Tonight I Celebrate My Love” (Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack), “Up For the Down Stroke” (Funkadelic), “Sweet Love” (Anita Baker), “Floy Joy” (the Supremes).

    BLESSINGS to Dave Bing, Gisele Caver, Brenda Perryman, Ortheia Barnes, Charles Pugh, Gary Brown, Bill Banfield, Sandra Woodall, Gwen West and Mary Wilson.

    WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Carlos Santana: “I’m not afraid of what people think. My reality is my reality.”

    Let the music play!

    (Steve Holsey can be reached at Svh517@aol.com and PO Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.)

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