Reflections: The Joys Of Simplicity

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    The charming, always optimistic Minnie Riperton — who is still very much missed — once recorded a song she wrote titled “Simple Things.” It was featured on her 1975 album “Adventures in Paradise” that included another favorite of mine, “Don’t Let Anyone Bring You Down.”

    I believe that the simpler things are kept, the happier the person is. People make many — if not most — things more complicated than they need to be.

    “The sky’s fantastic blue or gray,” sang Minnie, also informing listeners that “the simple pleasures are worth more than treasures that your paper money ever brings.”

    What are some of your simple pleasures?

    I love listening to favorite music. Communicating with people who care about and really understand me.  Hearing from readers (especially e-mail and handwritten letters).  Finding a record I’ve spent a lot of time looking for. Watching favorite movies and television shows.  Laughing at silly things.  Overcoming fears.  Tuning out negativity.  Reading. People who are true to themselves and non-judgmental. Having fun on my laptop. YouTube.  Kind people.  Being thought of.

    Minnie Riperton said she “could go on and on and on.”

    That’s easy to understand.

    SEASON 9 of “American Idol” was a real snoozer. Judge Paula Abdul not being there was one problem, but mainly it was the mediocre, non-exciting talent. Hard to believe from a show that gave us such stars as Fantasia Barrino, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert, Ruben Studdard,David Archuleta,  Jordin Sparks, Melinda Doolittle, Chris Daughtry and Kelly Clarkson.

    And with Simon Cowell gone, the show is in a precarious position. The new judging team, consisting of the returning Randy Jackson with newcomers Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, could be a winner.

    We’ll see what happens when the show resumes in January.

    Miles Davis, jazz innovator and icon, made an interesting observation during one of his last interviews. He said that in his 40-year-plus career, no Black publication had ever put him on the cover.

    Justin Timberlake is getting tired of being asked when he is going to make a new album. He laid it right on the line:  “I just don’t know in what capacity I want to be involved anymore. I’ll know when I know. Every time I’ve gone against my gut, I’ve made the wrong decision.”

    Meanwhile, Timberlake is one of the stars of the No. 1 movie “The Social Network” and has three additional films lined up.

    MICHELLE WILLIAMS, formerly of Destiny’s Child, is currently competing on the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) TV show “Strictly Come Dancing.” It is the show on which “Dancing With the Stars” is based.

    One of the all-time best male vocalists, who is not recognized nearly as often as he should be, is Detroit’s own Emanuel (E.J.) Johnson, lead singer of Enchantment. His voice is magnificent, truly a work of art. The group’s first smash hit, “Gloria,” was just one example of what Johnson can do.

    Speaking of great singers, of all the artists that have emerged in recent years, one of the best is Anthony Hamilton. Pure soul. Raw power. To hear him at his best, listen to a song titled “I’m A Mess” — about a man falling apart after a break-up —  featured on his album “Comin’ From Where I’m From.”

    Janet Jackson was seen strolling down a New York street holding hands with Wissam Al Mana, a billionaire businessman.

    Meanwhile, Joseph Jackson, patriarch of the Jackson family, is still trying to gain control of Michael’s estate, which generates millions of dollars. But the judge keeps turning him down, and evidently matriarch Katherine Jackson doesn’t want him in that position either because she has expressed content with the two men the court appointed.

    Another “family feud” involves the son (Teddy II) and wife (Joan) of the late Teddy Pendergrass, both of whom claim they were authorized by the singer to oversee his estate, and they refuse to compromise.

    It was heartwarming last week to hear David Letterman defend the president on his show, saying, “I am proud to have Barack Obama representing me.”

    BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW …that the twist, the biggest dance craze of all time, is a Detroit creation. Hank Ballard & the Midnighters recorded “The Twist” before Chubby Checker. The Midnighters (not Ballard) actually created the dance move.

    MEMORIES: “Grazing in the Grass” (the Friends of Distinction), “I’ve Been Lonely For So Long” (Frederick Knight), “Boogie Oogie Oogie” (A Taste of Honey), “Straight Up” (Paula Abdul), “Give Me the Reason” (Luther Vandross), “You Should Be Dancing” (the Bee Gees), “When Love Calls” (Atlantic Starr), “Up the Ladder to the Roof” (the Supremes), “Street Corner” (Ashford & Simpson), “Standing on the Top” (the Temptations featuring Rick James).

    BLESSINGS to Franklin Mills, Al Chism, Sherrie Farrell, Vickie Winans, Carol Prince, Edgar Vann, Luther Keith, Larry Demps, Cliff Russell and Theresa Hill.

    WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Alan Cohen: “All the figuring, planning and reasoning in the world will do you no good unless you are willing to follow your instincts.”
    Let the music play!

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

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