Category: natural

“I’ll handle the revenge myself.” ~ Pam Grier …

“I’ll handle the revenge myself.” ~ Pam Grier in Foxy Brown (1974)

Candidly Jimi Hendrix

Candidly Jimi Hendrix

Aretha Franklin, “Rock Steady” on The Flip Wil…

Aretha Franklin, “Rock Steady” on The Flip Wilson Show, aired January 20, 1972. 

Released as a single in February 1971, peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #2 on the Soul Singles chart, this Aretha-penned track gets a blazing new life just 4 days before the release of the astounding Young, Gifted and Black LP. Not only have you never heard this song like this before, you may never have heard Aretha like this before: pedal to the metal and soaring, even by her own elevated standards. 

It’s also inspiring to see the Queen of Soul, “Natural Woman” resplendent in natural hair and an African-inspired gown in this pivotal TV appearance, as detailed in Rickey Vincent’s Party Music: The Inside Story of the Black Panthers’ Band and How Black Power Transformed Soul Music. 

Aretha herself said, “I believe that the black revolution certainly forced me and the majority of black people to begin taking a second look at ourselves. It wasn’t that we were all ashamed of our ourselves, we merely started appreciating our natural selves…you know, falling in love with ourselves just as we are. We found that we had far more to be proud of.

“I must say that mine was a very personal evolution – an evolution of the me in myself. […] I know I’ve improved my overall look and sound, they’re much better. And I’ve gained a great deal of confidence in myself.” 

(More here, although note that Vincent is off on the date of this broadcast, which I verified here. A great read nonetheless.)

This is the sound of Aretha’s newfound confidence, my friends, with one of 1971′s greatest singles taken to new heights. “Rock steady, baby – that’s what I feel now. Let’s call this song exactly what it is!” 

TURN IT UP!

Revolutionary Intercommunal Day of Solidarity …

Revolutionary Intercommunal Day of Solidarity for Black Panther political prisoners including Bobby Seale and Angela Davis, and post-birthday celebration for Huey P. Newton (!), with music by The Grateful Dead (!!!), March 5, 1971

Aretha Franklin on Top of the Pops, July 30, 1…

Aretha Franklin on Top of the Pops, July 30, 1970, by Ron Howard

Jimi Hendrix, by Reg Innell, via lipstickalley

Jimi Hendrix, by Reg Innell, via lipstickalley

The Jackson 5 at the beach, 1969, by Lawrence …

The Jackson 5 at the beach, 1969, by Lawrence Schiller, via jazzinphoto

Prince, 1977 (age 19!), by Robert Whitman, via…

Prince, 1977 (age 19!), by Robert Whitman, via konbini

Jimi Hendrix, Benedict Canyon 1968, via wxxi

Jimi Hendrix, Benedict Canyon 1968, via wxxi

Jimi Hendrix, Newport Pop Festival, June 22, 1…

Jimi Hendrix, Newport Pop Festival, June 22, 1969 by Ed Caraeff, via squaremile