Facebook Badge

Michael Jackson

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Gone Too Soon (tribute to Michael Jackson)

Gone Too Soon (tribute for Michael)

I Remember The Time…
A diamond was formed
Out of tough love and big dreams
Genius was squeezed out
Of a source of infinite potential
Vocal maturity encased in a small boy
Whose personality eclipsed his reality
Childhood eluded him for years
Neverland was childhood come to life
A chance to feel carefee
Embracing his life innocently
Don’t stop Til You Get Enough
Seemed to be his motto
He made us want to Scream
That he was Unbreakable
And that there can be no other
Who can be Black or White
Or a Smooth Criminal….
At the Break of Dawn-
We were all Speechless
But tried to Keep the Faith
When we heard the news
Nothing prepared us for the loss
Of a living soundtrack
That created the music of our era
And we can fondly recall
Billy Jean, Dirty Diana, Liberian Girl, Little Suzie,
or that P.Y.T…
His music set the tone
When we all ran home
To see the World Premiere Video
The eager world paused for this gentle spirit
Who moonwalked into the hearts and homes
Of millions who still swoon
This Time Around
Family and friends remember each and every song like snapshots
He punctuated our musical history
He used his music to Heal the World
He told us We Are Here to Change The World
And if we Wanna Be Startin’ Something
We need One More Chance
to Shout and Say, Say, Say
Keep The Faith
And Come Together
Musically interwoven
This tapestry is our Earth Song
Rooted deep in spirit
This music is our HIStory
Coloring our world
Michael Jackson was and will always be…
The Man
a Thriller and sometimes Off The Wall
He embodied a uniquely incomparable sound and swagger
So, For All Time
The Man In The Mirror
For me, will always be…

Debra Townes- ©2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

We are living in an amazing time....

This is the time for a revolution
time for an evolution of purpose
rising up and beyond the test of time
we are the seeds of a new beginning
nurtured with the hope of a better tomorrow
we seek to be our very best
in the very worst of times
we live as a nation in transition
a nation of diversity, culture, ideas
we are the bad and the good
we are the believers, and the doubters
the rich and the poor the gay and the straight
the left or the right
those who believe that a prophecy was fulfilled
those who think that this is long overdue
and those who think this is right on time
We stand now humbled for this opportunity
to show the world our true lineage
We now stand proudly as one nation
united by our common humanity
that transcends the trappings of color or station
we are a nation of change
of hope
of possibilities
we are what other countries dream to be
the land of the free (now)
yet we are still slaves to foreign oil
and we are falling behind in green technology
not to mention our trillion dollar debt to China
but as President Obama says:
We all rise and fall as one nation...
so it is time for us to care for and care more
for our fellow human beings
in a time where nerves are frayed and money is short
where a paying job is an elusive dream
working to pay the bills is the reality
facing rising costs of EVERYTHING
knowing that if two wars never began
and money wasn't misspent
and transparency given
and the guilty truly punished
we would have less debt, less waste and some peace for a change
but what we do have is an opportunity to finally
get it right
to finally show the world
what we as a people are made of
We are the best when we are tested
but like the lily, we flourish in dirt
for we are connected to this earth

Our growth as a country as a people
is shining forth through the children
who for the first time are part of the process
the shift in our reality is beginning
we are staring at the same horizon now
the new beacon of hope has been ignited
and we, those of us who can remember
back to the struggles of the past and present day
can now feel this new spark
foretold by some and mocked by many
when history will note the transformation of a world's mindset
in a country where new quotes,ideas and ideals bloom
On this inauguration day....
The call to service is resolute and clear
On this inauguration day....
our humanity will shine through

On this new vista we stand together proudly
in our home, this land of opportunity
and know without a doubt...

We are all ONE.

copyright 2009 - Debra Townes

Monday, January 19, 2009


Dear President Obama,

The other day I was having lunch with my friend, Sharon and we happened to be talking about how excited and proud we were that you would be the next president. As we were musing over the country's current financial slide with our waiter, he asked if we knew the fate of the $700 billion bailout funds and were any slated for the general population. To our knowledge at that time, nothing had been published to that effect.

Our proposal is simple, since the $700 billion is allocated to help restart the economy, consider this: There are about 350 million people living in the US, so create a package that would allocate $1million to each citizen; contingent on the condition that the funds be used to pay off all outstanding debt and remaining funds could be used to reinvest in the economy. Then the remaining funds can go to the banks and other businesses.

Mr. President, your call to service for the country was clear in your speeches and if we are to believe that you want to grow the economy from the bottom up...then this would be the time to pay it forward and put the country back on track.

"Make it a rule…never to lie down at night without being able to say, "I have made one human being at least a little wiser, a little happier or a little better this day." - Charles Kingsley


Harry S. Truman met his successor, Dwight Eisenhower, at the exit of the U.S. Capitol minutes before the president-elect strolled to the stage to take the oath of office. Truman whispered, “There are thousands of folks out here, millions listening on the radio, and yet you’ll never feel more alone and surrounded with quiet as when you walk out here and get the lay of the land.”
Barack Obama now makes the same walk, passing through the Virginia marble, baked brick and Maryland limestone innards of the Capitol, then taking in the National Mall’s panorama—due west of the Lincoln Memorial, north of the White House, south of the Anacostia waterfront.
But he need not feel alone. In our collective memory of the inaugural path, the iconic civil rights marches of the 1960s loom large. But generations of African Americans have also quietly toiled in obscurity, paving the way for this moment. As Obama proceeds through the halls, surveys the stone, views the earth laid out around the inaugural landscape, he can take comfort and strength in the echoes of a long-ignored, often forgotten history.
Before the inaugural ceremony, Obama enters the Capitol through the Crypt, the oldest section of the building. As author Jesse Holland described in Black Men Built the Capitol, slave owners hired out gangs of human property to clear timber, bake bricks, dig foundations and haul limestone.
The Capitol, this temple of freedom, was rising from a hill, in two unconnected wings: House and Senate. The temple was erected by slaves. These forgotten people dug the ditches that drained groundwater from “Capitol Hill” into a fetid swamp, which later became known as a sewer called Tiber Creek. Today, this grassy area is known as the National Mall. The slaves sang as they swung shovels and picks. The echoes of these songs will ring within the crypt’s masonry as the Obama entourage proceeds past the Old Senate Chamber.
This chamber was the site of debates and treaties which grew our nation from infant to toddler. It was also a room in which African Americans declined to act as barbarous as their masters—or indeed, supposed liberators. In August, 1814, a British invasion force swept aside an American army in Bladensburg, Md. and would have captured the president and much of the cabinet were it not for the heroism of black sailors and other freemen under the command of Commodore Joshua Barney.
But other black people—slaves seeking freedom promised by the invaders—joined the British to fight, and they led the redcoats into an empty city. British soldiers and marines held a mock session of Congress in the Old Senate chamber, urinated on the stone, graffitied the plaster. But when the order came to burn down the place—the black British recruits refused. They’d take no pleasure in destroying this temple of freedom, though freedom was denied to them inside its very walls.
Before ascending the marble serpentine steps to the main floor, Obama passes the area the Supreme Court first occupied in 1810, until the court moved to its present building on First Street N.W. in 1935. In the still air, there remains a whisper of John Quincy Adams’ voice as he argues for a man named Cinque, who killed for his freedom on a ship called Amistad; a shadow of a boney finger points to a copy of the Declaration of Independence on the wall—still posted there in 2009—and this whisper proclaims that Cinque is “Forever free, by that document we so cherish.”
Yet grimmer echoes follow the tour, as another 1842 voice declares that slave catcher Edward Prigg wins his case against the state of Pennsylvania, and thus a fugitive slave mother— and her children born in the free state to which she fled—must be returned to slavery.
A portrait hangs from another wall of Chief Justice Roger Taney. It’s a distant echo of his voice that is next heard, a voice that announces that Dred Scott and all of Scott’s black brothers and sisters, free or slave, “…had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it.”
From the Old Supreme Court chamber’s entrance, comes the Rotunda, where another man from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, lay in a flag-draped casket, after having led a nation through its darkest hours—a civil war fomented by Taney’s words.
The inaugural stage juts from the West Front Terrazzo, giving Obama a view of Pennsylvania Avenue’s parade stands and route. In the 1920s, within the lifetime of many elderly Americans in town for the inauguration, thousands of Ku Klux Klansmen (and women, children) marched proudly in full white sheet regalia under American flags, along this same route to counter reports of declining enrollment in the organization.
Six years later, an integrated march of World War I veterans plied that very route. They called themselves the Bonus Army and demanded relief from the Great Depression. Along the present Anacostia Waterfront, they built a shantytown and shared food with black families who were there since the Civil War. Soldiers with bayonets, old-fashioned horse cavalry wielding sabers and newfangled tanks attacked the shanties and burned the marchers out.
The black neighborhood was erased, too, for modern housing and office buildings.
To the northwest from the Capitol steps, Obama will spy the spire of Georgetown University’s Healy Hall, named for the son of a slave, Jesuit Fr. Patrick Healy, who raised the college to its present prominence after he became the college’s president in 1874. Out of safety and necessity, he passed for white when alive, but his commitment to his community never waned.
Around the spired edifice of Healy Hall unfolds the chic shops, cobbled lanes and august townhomes of Georgetown. The neighborhood was settled and occupied through the early 20th century by black artisans and laborers. Slowly the black residents were forced out of their enclave, not by the Klan or soldiers, but by gentrification and “urban renewal.” The same was true in Foggy Bottom neighborhood, where Hillary Clinton will direct the Department of State.
From the edge of Georgetown and Foggy Bottom, over the expanse of the Mall and up to the inaugural state, centuries of echoes reverberate. Echoes from a century of cowbells attached to women and children in slave coffles headed for the auction and holding pens on the Anacostia and across the Potomac upon the now-toney Old Town Alexandria, Va. waterfront.
Echoing, too, will be more triumphant voices from the past, those weary but determined and dignified thousands who filled in the space around the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, when Martin Luther King Jr. gave steely and undeniable voice to rights and aspirations of a people.
From those distant shouts can be heard the sounds of fires burning across the city the day after King‘s assassination, the day the whole city burned black. These grounds, these meeting grounds, these people’s grounds now ring with voices as recent as those gathered in affirmation for the Million Man March in 1995.
These will be the distant whispers, chants and shouts mingling in the ears of all assembled on Jan. 20, 2009. They will be the inaudible perhaps, but indelibly felt, as they echo in time with the contemporaneous words of Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States.
Here at the Capitol. Here, at the temple of freedom, built by those who were not free.

Christopher Chambers is a Washington Post Bookworld and Essence bestselling author, and teaches journalism at Georgetown University.

The dawning of a new era...

In honor of Dr. King's holiday, I would like to begin with one of his famous quotes:

Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: - 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'
Martin Luther King Jr., Speech at Civil Rights March on Washington, August 28, 1963US black civil rights leader & clergyman (1929 - 1968)

When I first heard that quote as a child, I was struck first by the passion of the statement and the hope it promised. I am now keenly aware that his words were prolific and spoke of a hope we had lost but longed for.

Like Mrs. Obama, I too am proud for the first time of our country. We have shown the world that in spite of our differences we can come together for the betterment of all. Just as Mr. Obama has said, we all rise and fall as one nation. To me that call to service is more relevant today than ever and we have to get back to the old tenant of one for all...

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Martin Luther King, Jr.