Live at the Royal Palm Cafe!

Posted in Cultural Matters, Music Reviews with tags on April 28, 2021 by playthell


A Rising Star in the Beginning
Soulful Afro-American Arias

Featuring James Brown and the Dew Drops 

What is opera? It is a melodramatic story often dealing with matters of the heart, love stories, especially Italian Opera, which embodies the passion of the romantic people who invented the art form.  Alas, one irreverent wag said opera’s featured “words too silly to say, so they had to be sung,” thereby rescuing the audience from a boring banality by virtue of the magnificent music and marvelous singing, the apex of which is the aria.

It is the moment that everyone waits for with great anticipation, as it features the best singers with the most beautiful complex passages in the score.  Add to this melo-drama, elaborate costumes and sets, occasional dance, and we have the stuff of Opera in its original form as it emerged in 16th century Italy.  In the 19th Century the French elaborated on the art form and “Grand Opera” was born in Paris, a city world famous for artistic innovation.

It is no exaggeration argue that some rhythm and blues performances are a series of arias created by Afro-Americans, whose lyrics are often passionate and clever, as they tell tall tales of love won and love lost. In a classic Rhythm & Blues performance the costumes are elegant, the staging colorful, the singing dramatic, and the choreographed dance moves bewitching…real Black Magic!

The majesty of these shows was captured in the movie The Five Heartbeats,  which resurrected glorious memories from the halcyon days of my youth when I sang bass in the “Dew Drops,” a five man Rhythm& Blues group who sang hit songs by the groups of the day. Our favorite acts were “Harvey and the Moonglows,” “Sonny Till and the Orioles,” “Hank Ballad and the Midnighters,” “Pookie Hudson and the Spaniels,” Jerry Butler and the Impressions,” “The Dells,” “The Penguins,” “Shep and the Limelights,”  “The Five Satins.” and if we sang Gospel our favorite group was “The Soul Stirrers,” which featured first Sam Cooke, and then Lou Rawls and Bobby Womack as lead singers. All of whom went on to become legendary R&B crooners.


Harvey and the Moonglows


Pookie Hudson and the Spaniels


Sam Cook and the Soul Stirrers


The Five Royals


Ray Charles at the Royal Palm Cafe, Circa 1960

Yes…The Genius Could Also Play Sax

Our paramount goal, aside from the pure joy of singing, was to win the Sunday talent show held at the “Royal Palm Cafe,” in Jacksonville Florida, a major southern City, with a fabulous black community that produced a flourishing black business class that was home to the Afro-American Insurance Company, which insured black families and businesses across the state of Florida, and a black owned medalion cab company with 1000 cabs! For a poignant portrait of this black business class and the community that produced it, read the book: “American Beach.”

And they also owned “The Royal Palm Cafe,” a fabulous supper club with a spacious dance floor that featured live music. As a major venue on the so-called “Chittlen Curcuit,” the black owned theaters, auditoriums and nightclubs that presented the leading Afro-American performing artists of the era, I saw everybody from Count Basie, Dinah Washington and Duke Ellington, to Ray Charles, Big Maybelle and James Brown. I would look around at all the elegantly dressed black, brown and biege beauties and think: “Heaven must be like this!”

While my reveries of those halcyon evenings at the Royal Palm constitute an embarrassment of riches, making it nearly impossible to choose one magic moment over another, without a doubt my most treasured moment at the Royal Palm Cafe was the first time I saw James Brown!

This Dance Floor Was Always Crowded!

The Royal Palm Cafe was Originally the “Two Spot”


One of Several Bars

Every Seat Was Taken By Showtime!


It was at an evening matinee, where the three best vocal groups were selected to perform in a grand finale to determine the winner of the talent contest, and the winner would be awarded a record deal with a local record company in which the most popular Black Disk Jockey in Jacksonville, and outlying towns for miles around: Johnny Shaw, “The Devils Son-In-Law!” had an interest. So, your record was certain to be played on the hottest radio show in North East Florida.

We were as serious as brain cancer about winning the contest. All the cats in the group could really sing; we were all members of my Aunt Marie’s Choir. A classically trained pianists, organist, and choir master, she taught us to sing the classical European chorales as well as Lieder, and we learned how to sing gospel and R&B in that great conservatory which has produced more musical innovators than the Julliard School: THE BLACK CHURCH!

James Brown came right out of the church: as did everybody from Grand Opera Divas Kathleen Battle and Jyssee Norman, to Jazz masters Max Roach, Dizzy Gellespie and Charlie Parker. Peerless singers such as Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, and the genre crossing Diva Jean Carn, as well as the blind musical genius Ray Charles.

The broadly learned and ever insightful Blues Philosopher, Albert Murray, has described Brown as the “blues idiom” equivalent of a “down home” sanctified preacher in his masterpiece on Afro-American music: “Stompin the Blues.” And the emotional ferver JB generates with his electric performances often amounts to a secular revival that inspire our spirits to dance. The night of the finals competition, James Brown was the main attraction!

On this enchanted evening we got to sing with the full house orchestra, and we put on a show. Our three alloted songs were: “When I’m With You,” by Harvey and the Moonglows; “Oh What A Night!” by the Dells, and “This is Dedicated to the One I Love,” by the Five Royals. These are classic Rhythm and Blues love ballads, and unlike the saccharine renditions of the songs on “The Hit Parade” – which celebrated artists like Pat Boone and Rosemary Clooney – if you sang these love songs before a black audience, you damn well better sound like you are REALLY in love. Otherwise, admiration can quickly turn to ridicule, and the performer driven from the stage in a cacophony of course commentary.

We sang together in perfect harmony; it was as if our souls took flight as one. “Blackhead” Bascomb sang the lead on the Moonglow’s tune, his mellow baritone voice conjuring up the sound of the entrancing Harvey Fuqua. “Baby Lumkin” sang the lead on “Oh What a Night!” “Bubba Duck” Jackson, a handsome star running back with a chiseled physique, sang first tenor and could croon in falsetto like Eddie Kendricks and my boy Eddie Holman. When he sang the lead on “This is Dedicated To the One I Love,” falling to his knees on the edge of the stage, tears running down his cheek, induced by the raw onion juice on his handkerchief, which he dabbed in his eyes, the girls went wild!

It was the high point of the competition, yet the “Dew Drops” came in second, and we never abandoned the belief that we had been robbed! We believed we were the he victims of a home town decision, since we were from St. Augustine Florida, 38 miles to the south – the oldest and most beautiful small town in America – they chose there Jacksonville homies over us. We had no doubt that we had iced it. We were sharp county slick dudes, good looking football players in football crazy Florida, and could sing and dance our asses off! We thought we should have won first place,

However, we didn’t stay sad for long, because a few minutes after they announced the contest winners the MC bellowed out: IT’S STAR TIME AT THE ROYAL PALM CAFE! The Maestro struck up the band, and introduced James Brown, who had a big hit on the R&B charts: “Please! Please! Please!” The song that taught a generation of black men how to beg!

A young, really country dude with an athletic physique from Augusta Georgia, which was just up the road, walked onstage decked out in an exquisitely tailored white tuxedo with tails and stared singing “Caldonia!,” which had been a monster hit for Louis Jordan. one of the farthers of R&B and of all that’s called “Rock&Roll.” James started doing the “Mashed Potatoes,” which was the dance of the day, and he lit the place on fire with his spectacular performance!

This was 1956, and that boy blew up like the Goodyear Blimp, mashing potatoes and doing spectacular splits all over the world! Folks even started calling him “The Godfather of Soul,” although Little Richard, Bo Diddly. Loyd Price, Shirley and Lee, Etta Jame, Fats Domino, ,Ray Charles, et al were also right there in the beginning and they were all stars!

I love hearing the great classical singers perform the beautiful arias from the Grand Opera, with their heart wrenching tales of love and loss. Yet watching the great Rhythm & Blues performers, I am reminded of what the canonical American novelists, whom some learned literary wags claim is the first “original American literary voice, “Mark Twain,” said after watching an operatic performance at “La Scala,” then the unquestioned Mecca of the Grand Opera, during a tour of Europe. When asked what he thought of the performance, Twain said in his usual candid fashion: “Well for my money the Europeans can keep their Grand Opera! I’d rather see a good Nigger show any day.  Let the show begin!


Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

April 28, 2001

Click on Links to see the Groups Perform


The Mighty Dells  “Oh What a Night!”


This is Dedicated to the One I Love – The Five Royals


Harvey and the Moonglows









We Won a Battle…..

Posted in Chauvin Convicted on All Counts, Uncategorized with tags , on April 21, 2021 by playthell

Racist Killer Cop Escorted to Jail

But We Could Still Lose the War!

After watching the masterful case put on by the prosecution, with airtight arguments by a variety of expert witnesses establishing the guilt of Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd last May 25 – which ruined my birthday – I wondered what would happen if this killer white cop were acquitted, or even if there was a hung jury.  Considering the rage I felt at the thought of either outcome, I shuddered for the fate of my country when I reflected upon what enraged youths might do.  As I felt like throwing a Molotov cocktail at a police station, and I am not anti-police.  I think talk about abolishing the police, or disarming them, is reckless folly.

Given the rampages of armed criminals, especially in low income black and Latin communities, either alternative would be suicidal.  We need armed police, we just need to weed out the ignorant racists, and see to it that they protect and serve law abiding citizens and shoot armed criminals who pose a danger to citizens or themselves.  And the struggle to achieve these ends continues.

Hence, I think the celebrations after the guilty verdict against the former cop turned convict, may have claimed a greater victory than was won.  Some observers, such as Dr. Jason Johnson, a professor of political science and journalism at Morgan State University, in the troubled city of Baltimore, thought the celebrations excessive, because the outcome of this case might prove a pyric victory that could be an asset to the reactionary forces opposing wider police reform.

His fear is that the effusive praise of a verdict, won after the extraordinary efforts of the prosecution, obscures the fact this this should have been an open and shut case, a prima facie case of guilt.  After all, the whole world watched the murder in living color on television, thanks to the diligence and courage of the new breed of citizen journalists like 17-year-old Danella Frazier, armed with cell phone cameras, who are recording police brutality in on the scene.  However, while Johnson’s fear of the real possibility that this case will be used to oppose wider efforts at police reform has merit, Joyce Vance, a former federal prosecutor and professor of Law at the University of Alabama, believes that this guilty verdict will act as “a deterrent” to future police abuse of power.

Yet the real test of the importance of this case will be decided by the extent to which it is able to influence the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which is being debated in the US Senate as I write.  This bill contains a package of reforms that will put the full force of the federal government behind the victims of police abuse of authority, putting an end to it.  This is of critical importance because it will create a uniform standard for police conduct nationwide, removing the disciplining of abusive officers from the incestuous snake pit of local politics.

The history of racial oppression in the former Confederate states in the South demonstrates the effectiveness of federal power in pursuing racial justice.  In the aftermath of the Civil War, the defeated southern slave masters and their poor cracker dupes – who had fought and died to preserve a system of slave labor that denied them any chance of achieving better working conditions and wages for themselves because they were competing with unpaid labor that had no rights – attempted to re-enslave the black population with a series of hastily passed laws that became known as the “Black Codes.”

Andrew Johnson, the anti-Confederate white southerner that became president after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, opposed slavery precisely for the role it played in impoverishing the class of white southerners from which he hailed, but was a devout white supremacist, and opposed efforts by Congress to empower the freedmen – as the newly emancipated former slaves were called.  This provoked congress, led by anti-slavery members such as Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania in the House, and Charles Sumner of Massachusetts in the Senate, to take over the rebuilding of the nation from the ruins of Civil War and introduce a plan for “Radical Reconstruction.”

During this period 1866- 76 the Congress passed seven Civil Rights bills and added three amendments to the constitution. The 13, 14 and 15 Amendments, known as the “Reconstruction Amendments, were designed to end chattel slavery permanently, confer citizenship and equal rights on the Freedman, and extend the voting franchise to them, giving them a vote in deciding who shall govern them.  The results of these federal laws dramatically elevated the status of the Freedman.

However, most of these gains were nullified with the retreat of federal protections beginning with the Compromise in the Presidential election of 1877, and a series of defeats in the Supreme Court culminating in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, which stood the crucial Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment on its head, and created the legal basis for racial segregation everywhere in the US, with it’s infamous “Separate but Equal” doctrine.

This doctrine quickly resulted in the creation of a legal racial caste that was separate but manifestly unequal, until the Brown v The Board of Ed decision of 1954 – argued by the brilliant Afro-American litigator Thurgood Marshall and his team of lawyers from the NAACP – resulted in a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court that “Separate is inherently unequal.”  Yet it took the Omnibus Civil rights Bill of 1964 and the Voting rights Act of 1965, to restore Afro-American Americans to the status we had enjoyed in 1875!

As I write, the spate of voter suppression laws being passed by Republican controlled legislatures around the country – a reaction to their defeat by Democrats in the last election with the Afro-American vote making the difference – in conjunction with “anti-riot” laws cropping up in some states, threatens a similar reversal of hard-won gains. This is why federal protections from official police violence is critical to the well being and progress of Afro-Americans. The prevention of such protections have been consistently  opposed by racists, which is the paramount reason for our failure to get an anti-law on the books for a century; the most recent attempt championed by Afro-American senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris – who has since become the first female Vice President –  was defeated in the Senate just a couple of years ago.

This is why the struggle must now focus on getting the Senate to pass the Bill sent up from the House, which was vociferously opposed by House Republicans, as is exemplified by the rancorous debate between that pugnacious pasty-faced charlatan Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, and beautiful, brilliant Val Demings – of Florida, a former police chief with 27 years in policing. Beauty and the beast! Hence the true measure of the Victory in the Chauvin conviction will ultimately be determined by the outcome of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.  I will have more to say about the trial itself, and what it tells us about the state of American jurisprudence in a forthcoming essay.



They Thanked Everybody from God to the Jurors


Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
April 21, 2001












Harlem Darky’s Daughter

Posted in Uncategorized on April 19, 2021 by playthell
The Embodiment of Oshun

 Reveries of a Caribbean Conjure Woman

An Erotic Fable

Sweet T&T/My Country/I want you to know….I love you 

She loved to Jump up and wind to sensuous Calypso beats, flashing a joyous smile as luminous as the Caribbean sun.  Her generously proportioned ebony physique was molded into dangerous curves that drove men, wise men and fools, and some women, to distraction.  Silky satiny chocolate skin, luscious lips that begged a kiss, high cheekbones surrounding a prominent nose revealing her Afro-Carib genealogy, jutting mammary mounds and jaunting  Gluteus Maximus – tits and ass in spades – with long curvaceous legs worthy of a star mud kickin ho.

She spoke with the melodious mellifluous sing song sounds of her enchanted island of the Three Peaks, sounds so sweet it put the song birds to shame as the took to the skies in silence.  Indeed, even the forces of nature seemed bewitched by her charms.  And no man who ever loved her, that she deigned to love back, was ever free of her spell; she constantly intruded into their waking thoughts causing pauses as they went about their labors….and even invaded their dreams.  Only the grave could free their body and souls from her black magic.

This is no mere hearsay, idle chatter, or second-hand gossip.  I know whereof I speak, for I been bewitched by the conjurations of this mahogany Enchantress, the natural issue from the luscious ebony lions of the intoxicatingly beautiful “Harlem Darkie;” a soubriquet bestowed by her village, because her extravagantly seductive beauty seemed made for that marvelous Negro metropolis in uptown Manhattan – center of that seductive colossus in the decadent dynamic wilderness of North America – the most famous cultural community in Babylon.  Harlem, a place of such legendary beauties the world was forced to take notice after the Poet Laureate Langston penned panegyrics to them in his epic poem Harlem Sweeties: ”[Peach-skinned girlie, Coffee and cream, Chocolate darling out of a dream.” And Maestro Ellington painted marvelous musical portraits of them in “Black, brown and Beige  Suite, and “Black and Tan Fantasy.”

Oshun and Yemaya: A Black and Tan Fantasy Jumping up at Carnival

Naughty Trini Gals     

Harlem Darkie’s mysterious beauty evoked all this…and more. Oshun the Conjurer was her daughter, inheriting her gorgeous gams, comely chocolate complexion and lustrous crown of black hair. I am her happy bondsman, permanently fettered by amorous chains. This tale will tell…how I fell under her spell.

Harlem Darkie
Where Oshun Got her Beauty

 It Only took a Minute Girl…

I had only been in my new office for a couple of days when I had the sudden urge to go to the restroom, which was shared by the principal and teachers of a school for young children.  A young man that worked in the building directed me to a stairway and told me the restroom was located at the top, just turn right and I would see the door, which bore a sign.  As I reached the bottom of the stairs and looked up, my eyes immediately fixated on a pair of long, luscious, exquisitely sculpted legs, covered in a rich satiny smooth deep chocolate skin.  As I raised my gaze, I caught a glimpse of generous gams that exploded from a compact waist into curvy baby making hips. And as my eyes continued their upward trajectory while climbing the narrow stairway, her generous breast was suddenly in my face.

I greeted her as we passed and she graciously responded, flashing a quicksilver smile as lovely as first morning light that animated her beautiful face, then quickly casting her lovely brown eyes downward, away from my persistent gaze.  Her voice had the musicality of the Caribbean Isles from whence she came, yet despite her modesty and proper demeanor she was enticingly hot and gave off  sensuous vibes as our bodies nearly touched in passing on the narrow stairs. In a flash of the spirit, I was struck in the heart by Cupid’s arrow…I was smitten.

Dying to know who this dark and lovely woman was, I hasted to my officed and called François, the Haitian fellow who had directed me to the restroom.  “Who is that tall beautiful sexy creature with the exotic accent that works upstairs.”  Without a moment’s hesitation he said, “Oh you must mean Ms. Padmore,” I was intrigued by her name, since it was famous in the Caribbean Isles, and belonged to a hero of the race.  But then he warned, “Yes, she is beautiful, but she is happily married”.

For a moment I was deterred by the disappointing news.  Having come of age in the 1960’s, in the savage wilds of Babylon, a troubled time when the America nation was in turmoil,  when all the traditional values were viewed with a jaundiced eye and up for question, I had not been a  respecter of matrimonial claims.  If I wanted a woman and she was willing,  I just seduced her into an adulterous affair…taking her from her husband altogether on more than one occasion.

Thrice I had been shot at by enraged cuckholds, I was alive to play another day only because they had been bad shots and their hands were trembling with rage, a condition that could cause even a sharpshooter to miss.  As I had grown older and wiser –I was 23 the last time I had been shot  at – and I was reluctant to press my luck.  After all, the next dude might be a cold-blooded killer.  So, I was thinking about chillin on the whole thing…to just play past the charms of this sensuous Caribbean queen who had suddenly appeared in my midst like a generous gift of the Gods.

But then, at the end of the workday, I happened to gaze out of my window and glimpse her walking down the sidewalk.  The graceful swing sway motion with which she moved, her bountiful booty bouncing about like two melons in a grocery sack, she looked like her goody-gap was so good it felt good to her every time she took a step!  I was reminded of that song by the folk blues singer Taj Mahal:” I know you ain’t no street walkin woman…but I sho loves the way you struts yo stuff!” Overcome with wonder/lust, I wanted to taste the juice box of this succulent chocolate delight, literally and figuratively, so I began to devise a plan to seduce her.

 Executing the Plan

 All I knew about the lady whom I was trying to ensnare was her full name, Muriel Padmore; she was married to a prosperous businessman; she was teacher of small children; a Caribbean immigrant; a proper lady in style and manners, the kind of highly civilized British West Indian that always used her butter knife to push food onto a fork in moderate portions.  And after having witnessed the way she wiggled when she walked, I strongly suspected that just underneath that placid proper prissy surface lurked a voracious sexy beast yearning to be set free. And I intended to be her liberator.

I began by secretly giving her the name Oshun, because she reminded me of the beautiful Yoruba Goddess of erotic love, the West African counterpart of the Roman and Greek Goddesses Venus and Aphrodite.  Muriel seemed to embody the physical attributes of Oshun as I imagined her, with lush sexy curves and a delicious chocolate complexion. I had to have her…so I began plotting.

As with every good plan I had to develop clearly defined objectives.  Early on I decided that I had to distinguished myself from the common lot of salivating dogs who must come sniffing around such a stunning sexy woman.  Which means that I could not come at her with cliched pick-up pitches.   Hence, I decided to present myself as a gentleman and scholar.  Since that was one of the things I was, it seemed a role to which I was born.  I also wanted to distinguish myself from the common lot of “ignorant arrogant Yankees,” whose ignorance of her country and its impressive culture was insulting.   And my hope was that this would make her curious about me, and thirsty to know more.  I figured if I couldn’t win with that, I should get outta the game.

With the plan at hand, I set to work, a seasoned wolf of great experience in hot pursuit of a succulent innocent lamb.  The next time I saw Oshun she was on her way to work.  I walked up to her and greeted her.  She looked pleasantly surprised when I said cheerily , “ Good Morning Ms. Trinidad.”  “ Good Morning,” she replied in that lovely Trini accented voice accompanied by an incandescent smile that could brighten up a dark day.  “I am a big fan of your country.”  “Really, how so?” she asked with a hint of skepticism.  “Well, I love your music; I believe Calypsonians are the greatest song poets in the world. And I have been tutored and greatly inspired by some of your leading intellectuals.”

Her skepticism became palpable as she said, “Well that’s a surprise because you are the first Yankee I’ve met who even knows where my country is…if they heard of Trinidad at all….So who are these intellectuals that enlightened and inspired you?”   There was a put up or shut up quality to her question.  She was going to see if there was anything more than mother wit and bullshit with me.  But little did she know, she had taken the bait and was strolling right into my tender trap.

“Well, there are three in particular, and they have had a great influence on how I see the world politically, economically and historically.  George Padmore was the first, his book “Pan-Africanism or Communism” pretty much shaped how I view the anti-colonial struggle for the independence of African nations.  And CLR James’s book “Black Jacobins,” where he brilliantly analyzes the Haitian Revolution against French slave holders, greatly expanded my knowledge of the three great 18th century revolutions – the American, French and Haitian – events that changed the world.  CLR showed how they were all inspired by the same set of universal humanist ideas.  It was a brilliant insight.

Once I discovered this brilliant original thinker, I went on to read many other works by James. Including his brilliant analysis of the Mighty Sparrow’s Calypso’s and how West Indians created their version of Cricket, a game I had always thought of as the epitome of the boring style of the British upper class.  And then there was the singularly important book by your former Prime Minister, the great historian Dr. Eric Williams, “Slavery and Capitalism.”

This book changed the way the whole world understands the birth of the capitalist system, and how the Industrial Revolution in England, which ushered in the modern industrial age, was financed by the African slave trade…the sale of our ancestors as if they were livestock.  This book helped me to see that all black communities in the Americas were created by the same historical forces, and that we are one people with different flavors.”

As I expounded on my analysis, in answer to her question, I could see her facial expression transform from skepticism, to surprise, to wonder as she broke into a gushing smile and said: “Wow!  You really do know a LOT about Trinidadian intellectuals, I have certainly received a quick education this morning.  Not only have I never met a Yankee that knew as much as you on this subject, I can’t think of any Trinidadians either.  That was very impressive Mr. America!  Well, it’s been a pleasure talking to you, but I have to get to work now.”  I gently kissed her hand and assured her, “We’ll talk again Ms. Trinidad,”  “I’ll be looking forward to it Mr. America.”

As I watched her walk away in with that sensual swing sway motion, I saw her look back and flash a teasing nice/nasty smile that promised a visit to paradise, where I would come to know here as Adam knew Eve.  I felt like break dancing…spinning on my head and shit.  But I just maintained my cool, certain that I had achieved my objectives.  I distinguished myself from the run of the mill Yankees; established myself as a gentleman and scholar in her eyes; sparked her curiosity and left her thirsty to know more about this bold and unusual Yankee.  I was convinced it wouldn’t be long before I lured her into my bed…It was pretty much a done deal.

The Long Beg!

It soon became clear that Oshun was a different breed of woman from the multitude that had gone before her.  The promise of her sensuous voice and alluring smile turned out to be illusionary, although she became more flirty and friendly…she wasn’t letting me see or feel any parts of that pussy.  I began to believe, after six weeks of persistent efforts, that this was going to be a protracted struggle.  But I didn’t have a clue what a mighty trek it would be.

Although I was convinced Oshun was a hottie, I would soon discover that she was also a “Dorothy Do Right” a very faithful wife.  She was flirtatious enough to keep me hanging on, making no attempt to disguise the fact that she found me something of a charming “Yankee scamp,” but she had not the slightest intention of going further…she didn’t intend to even give me a peek at the pussy. But the sunshine smiles and teasing banter was quite enough to keep me hangin on…if that’s all I would ever get from her…the cheap thrills were more than worth the effort.  So, I decided to adopt a policy of wearing her down with persistence, after all, I had lots of time, everything to gain…and nothing to lose.

Every time I saw her, I found a clever way to beg Oshun for some pussy.  Having grown up listening to great Soul singers like Ray Charles and James Brown, I knew how to beg.  Anybody who had listened to Ray sing “OH Come Back Baby” and “Drown in My Own Tears,” or James Brown shouting “Please, Please, Please” could learn how to beg if they paid close attention to these masters.  I had to be artful with it though, I didn’t want to say something that turned her smiles into frowns and drive her away.  I played it so cool I damned near slipped into a state of suspended animation.

My task of seduction was made immeasurably lighter by the discovery that Oshun was moved by the intoxicating alchemy of well-spoken words.  For me, this was like throwing Brer Rabbit in the briar patch!  For I was a master of the spoken word:  In the streets, the suites and…especially the sheets.  I had wowed crowds around the world, so I was qualified to blow soul in her ear til she was satisfied.   Thus, I stuck to my plan and put the beg on Oshun every time I saw her…composing witty panegyrics to her myriad charms on the spot, original lines, whose cleverness and spontaneity always elicited some of the brightest smiles in town.  And that was more than enough to keep me in pursuit, with my eyes firmly fixed on the pulchritudinous prize.

Alas, as the days extended to weeks, and the weeks became months it became harder and harder to find original ways to beg for pussy.  Afraid of sounding like a broken record stuck on stupid, I began to vary my approach and just tell her how great she was looking, how I admired her outfits and other small talk.  I would have retired from the chase altogether if it were not for those flirty fresh smiles that seemed to promise better days ahead.  And besides, the more I saw her the more convinced I became that she was really special…and if there was any chance at all it would be worth the wait.  But after nine months of persistent effort employing different tactics, I was running out of game…and hope.

Oshun had long passed the six weeks limit for most women, and the 90-day maximum for even very special ones.  The truth be told, I usually had my way with women I really wanted in much less time that the deadline.  But Oshun, Dorothy Do-Right that she was, seemed as cold and unmovable as an iceberg.  Perhaps calling her “cold” is an inartful way of describing her attitude.  Although she appeared impervious to my sexual advances, Oshun was always warm to me, greeting my attempts to seduce her into an adulterous liaison with shy smiles and teasing eyes.  And she never showed a hint of anger…or disgust.  That would have killed my dreams and ended my fruitless efforts mucho pronto. When my hopes of having my way with her seemed most remote, I would think of what the old folks in Florida would say when I was a boy: ”Good things will come to those who wait”…So I waited.

Yet things were not all downers, there where some bright moments that buoyed my spirits, fortified my spirit, and inspired confidence that my efforts would eventually bear fruit.  For instance, there was the magical night of the New Moon.  When Autumn came to New York and the days became shorter, there were days when darkness fell before we left work.  One evening we both left the building at the same time; it was a purely chance encounter and it turned out that we were going in the same direction.  She was on her way home, and I was walking to the bus stop three blocks away.

As we strolled along the tree lined sidewalks of Crown Heights, the silver light of the moon seeped through the leafy canopies and seemed to dance off Oshun’s beautiful ebony complexion, hovering around her beautiful face like a halo.  She looked every bit the black magic woman immortalized in song, like the Goddess Oshun, I felt like genuflecting before her alter even as the throbbing bulge in my britches grew.

As I fixed my gaze upon her sensuous lips, painted in glossy purple lipstick, they seemed to invite a kiss.  I thought she felt it too from the coy way she looked at me, and the warm smiles that animated her face as her eyes met mine in lingering gazes.  There were several dark spots under the elms that seemed perfect places to poach a kiss.  But that would have been a daring move and I didn’t want to press my luck.

Yet it required every iota of will power I could muster to restrain the powerful impulse to sweep her up in my arms and plant a deep wet kiss on her sensuous mouth,  sucking her tongue into mine.  But I chilled and cautiously played past the moment, although she would later admit that had I made a move to kiss her it would have been welcomed with a passionate response.  We never touched physically, nor spoke nary a word about sex…yet our conversation was a highly stimulating mindfuck.  It was more than enough to keep my hopes of entering the promised land alive.


Since Oshun was a happily married woman, I thought the best I could hope for was a fling. I, of course, was not suffering from a paucity of willing female admirers.  And I was in a relationship with two ladies, one of whom lived in another state that competed for my affection.  I was fond of them both, but suffice it to say, had Oshun been available, and I had my druthers, I would have wifed her faster than Hopalong Cassidy could draw his guns! However, one of the ladies gave me an ultimatum, piss or get off the pot, marry her or forget about her.

She was not willing to wait for me ad infinitum, she was a beautiful, educated woman and did not suffer for male attention.  In fact, she was quite a catch in her on right.  Since Oshun was not available and would never be for any sort of permanent union, I decided to tie the knot.  However, when I told Oshun that I would be leaving the job, and getting married, her response surprised me.

At first, she looked shocked, but quickly composed herself then smiled and congratulated me on my upcoming nuptials…but it did not seem sincere…her body language suggested disappointment, and a bit of anxiety.  It caught me off guard, I thought she would be happy because I would finally be off her case.  And we could have the Platonic relationship she seemed to desire, just be buddies.  I don’t think I have ever misread a situation so badly.

 A Great Leap Forward

 I was married within a week, and I didn’t see Oshun with the regularity of the past because I was tying up my affairs, finishing some projects, before I left my job for other interests, and would no longer have an office in the building where Oshun worked.  In fact, I was preparing to move out of the borough of Brooklyn, altogether for greener pastures in glamorous Manhattan, in fact, I was moving to beautiful crib in Harlem!  And I was looking forward to building a wonderful life with my new wife.

Except for the ceremony, married life didn’t seem that different, because my wife and I had been living together for months, as she had gotten a good job in New York and moved in with me.  So, life went on as before, except that she now had “papers” on me and everything I had was hers.  I had had more than my share of beautiful women in my lifetime – black, white, and tan – English and Spanish speakers.  Hence, I was quite prepared to commit myself to my wife completely, forsaking the myriad temptations of shameless succulent wenches, who held the bonds of matrimony in no higher regard than I had when I seduced the wives of unsuspecting husbands.

As there are exceptions to every rule, Oshun would prove to be the exception to my new rule.  Strangely, after I was married Oshun became friendlier than ever.  It seemed as if her voice grew more melodious and seductive, her eyes swept lazily over me from, my cranium to my phalanges as if she were appraising a prize stallion.  And her playful flirting grew.

As a seasoned Master Cocksman, I could feel when a woman was radiating erotic vibes toward me, and I was feeling Oshun with a growing intensity whenever I had been in her presence lately.  I wondered if it was just my imagination, but then, I had reconciled myself to the belief that nothing was happening with her.  So why would I be fantasizing about her secretly lusting for me?  After all I had given her countless opportunities to say yes to my passionate lust for her.

Oshun’s growing effervescence was puzzling.  But affairs of the heart often defy logic, and the ways of women are a mystery to men.  It would not be long before the truth would out, as the old adage promises.  One sunny day just as Spring had sprung, and perfumed flowers had begun to bloom, I encountered Oshun walking to work later than usual, and I was walking in the opposite direction having just left my office.  And it set off a chain of events that rocked our worlds.

One of the many splendid joys of Spring is that the warm weather causes the ladies to shed their heavy winter garments and adorn their bodies in colorful sheer fabrics that reveal contours of their bodies…whether they are stacked with lovely, sensuous curves, or piled with ungainly fat.  Oshun was stacked for days: She had it all.  Usually if a woman has a fine generously proportioned booty, she has skinny legs or small boobs, or both.  And if she has luscious legs, she will often have a flat booty – like many East Asian women.

If a woman has big boobs, she will often be top heavy and suffer from lackabooty syndrome.  And she may or may not have spindly legs.  Alas, it is the rare female specimen that has all three in generous finely sculpted endowments.  Oshun was that rarest of beautiful women: she had it all in exquisite proportions.  She did not have the buffed body of an athlete or dancer, but a firm fine female body built for loving and bearing children.  My kinda woman!

On this fine Spring day Oshun wore a white dress with high heels that made her look good enough to eat.  Her smooth ebony skin was accented by the white garments she wore, and when the sunlight hit her dress from certain angles you could see the outline of her lush curves.  The very sight of this sable siren nearly took my breath away. As soon as I could get myself together, I said to her as we walked closer to each other: “Good Morning Miss Trinidad, my aren’t you the perfect picture of Spring…in any field of flowers you would easily be the most beautiful of them all!”

“Good Morning Mr. America!” she gushed; her face animated with sunshine smiles bright enough to illuminate the dark corners of human character.  “My goodness, you always know just what to say to make a lady feel great!”  Oshun’s proclamation was made with such enthusiasm, as she passed me by hurrying to meet her class, a Caribbean cutie of the deepest chocolate hue walking a few paces behind her whispered, “That’s a hell of a recommendation mister,” and slipped me her card as we passed.

I looked back at them as they walked away, and the spectacle could easily have been billed as “The Battle of the Booties,” as they were both built like the ladies in the Commodores hit song “Brickhouse!”  Although the dark and lovely stranger’s gesture was flattering, I was a happily married man…smitten by a Goddess, and that might be more than I could handle.

The last thing on my mind was initiating a peccadillo with a third woman…if it were not for the fact that I was bewitched by Oshun, I would have been like Caesar’s wife: “pure as the driven snow.”   Pussy bullying rogue that I that I had been, I was now committed to doing the right thing, to be true to my wife.  But, alas, try as I might, I could muster no armaments to defend against the charms and conjurations of the Goddess.


Later that day, upon returning to my office to retrieve some papers I had forgotten, I had a chance encounter with Oshun as I was leaving the building.  She seemed genuinely excited to see me.  “Good Afternoon Mr. America, what a surprise to see you here.  I thought you had left for the day…I noticed your office was locked up.” She said in that manner of speaking that I called “genuine West Indian eloquence.”  It was a cross between upper-class British speech seasoned with the cadences and phonetics of the local Patois.

I found it quite lovely and endearing; I loved to hear her speak, especially when she spoke directly to me, embellished with that million-dollar smile.  “Well Ms. Trinidad, my eyes demanded that I treat them to another feast, so naturally I came back to get another peek at a chocolate delight dressed in white.”  “Oh, go way mon,” she said with a chuckle and wave of her hand. “If I listened to you my head would be so big I would have trouble holding it up.”  “I’m just an honest umpire in the game of life, I’m just calling it like I see it…keepin it ‘Cricket’ as you bourgeois West Indians say.”

My clumsy Yankee attempt to reference Cricket, a popular sport among British West Indians, was met with a gale of laughter. I loved it when she laughed…it was something of a thrill.  I had it bad for this wonderful woman…and that wasn’t good, given the fact that from all appearances we would never be more than friends.  Still, it was like walking on air as I escorted her to her car.

Having moved out of the neighborhood Oshun was now driving to work, and she offered me a ride.  “Can I drop you somewhere Mr. America?”  “Why thank you Miss Trinidad, but you know what I would really like?  Let’s take a spin through Prospect Park on the way.  It’s such a beautiful day, and there is no better place to see mother Nature in bloom in this city of  concrete and steel.”  “That’s a splendid idea Mr. America, I am in no hurry so let’s do it.”

While the popular image of New York City in the minds of those elsewhere is of a paved-over place with too many people, a “concrete jungle,” the City is actually very green in many places.  And it  has many parks, especially Central Park in Manhattan, and Prospect Park in Brooklyn.  Both were designed by the same prescient planner, Frederick Law Olmstead, who was fascinated by London’s Hyde Park and the great parks of Paris, Berlin, and other European cities.

A visionary landscape architect who was also a journalist, social critic, and public administrator, Olmstead saw that in order for cities to work, given the contradictions arising from a widening gap in the distribution of wealth, and the disparity in living conditions  in 19th century American cities, there needed to be public spaces where all classes could meet as equals, a sanctuary for Mother Nature amidst the miles of concrete.

Here, surrounded  by the singing of birds, lush green meadows and perfumed flowers, one could dress up in Sunday go to meeting clothes and promenade through Central Park, with no one able to tell if the strollers hailed from overcrowded squalid tenements on the lower East Side, or the grand townhouses and palatial mansions of Fifth Avenue.  In the creation of Central Park, along with its Brooklyn counterpart, Olmstead achieved his dream magnificently.

Entering Prospect Park

Prospect Park at the Birth of Spring

We Were Bewitched by the Beauty of Mother Nature

As we drove leisurely through Prospect Park, the bouquets of blooming flowers tickling our noses, we were treated to the many splendors of Springtime.  The sparkling sunshine created a sheen on Oshun’s mahogany face and magnified her beauty.  She had raised the hem of her dress slightly above her knees so that she could easily access the brakes.  Sitting beside her in the front seat I had a perfect view of her long, smooth, exquisitely curvaceous legs.  She looked so sexy I got such a boner that it felt about to pop outta my pants.  And it was becoming uncomfortable because I am big boned.  I tried my best to maintain my cool , but Oshun was looking so good I had to speak on it.

“You always look great Miss Trinidad, I believe you would be stunning in a flour sack, but you just look extra special fine today.  The designer and manufacturer should pay you a generous fee for wearing it.  The fact is that it would look rather ordinary on the average woman, but it looks spectacular on you!”

“ Oh, thank you Mr. America,” she said with a coquettish smile, “but I bet you chat up all the ladies with your silver tongue.”

All of a sudden, an idea popped into my head and I decided to take a chance and really go for it…to make a bold move.  I thought about the fact that we had become friends and at worst she would admonish me to cease and desist…but then, things might break my way…who could say.   So, I decided to fire from the top and shoot my best shot, and like Mellin told Snellin wasn’t no tellin.

As a teacher I felt she would at least see the humor in my maneuver, and that was in my favor.

“Do you believe that the scientific method is the best means of discovering truth.  Miss Trinidad?

“Of course, science is a fool proof method, which is to say it will produce the same results wherever it is employed to solve a problem.  Why do you ask?”

“Because the things I tell you about the way you excite me is a scientific fact, and I  can prove it.”

“Well prove it then, you talk a lot, but where is your proof,” she said with a playful show me attitude.”

“ You understand that the heart of the scientific method is the careful observation and examination of hard evidence, right?”

“Righto,” she said flippantly.

Without further comment I whipped out my rock-hard cock and announced:” Well here is the hard evidence Miss Trinidad, and you may observe and examine it as much as you require to satisfy any doubts you may have about its authenticity.”  I held my throbbing Rod of Correction in my hand and then released it to stand boldly on its own so the Oshun could get a full gander at it and waited for her to respond with bated breath.”

She looked over and gasped loudly when she saw it, her eyes widened, and she shrieked with genuine astonishment. “Oh Gosh man…you are CRAAZZZY!”  Yet she could not take her eyes off my generously proportioned finely carved chocolate tool.  “Oh, My Goodneesss, you are really CRAZY!”  She said as she continued to observe the evidence.  I noticed that Osun was laughing as she spoke, and she was staring so intently she damned near ran off the road.

 “You better watch where you are going girl!  Let me put this sugarcane away before you smash up the car and kill us both,” I said, as I put my rigid Johnson  bar back in my pants.

Still laughing incredulously, she said “Sugarcane?”  That’s a Guyana cane Mon.”  And she laughed heartily, “You are really Craaazy…I can’t think of anybody else who would do such a outrageous thing!”

She said as she continued to crack up laughing.  But what struck me most about this moment, was that there wasn’t a hint of anger.  I knew then that all things were possible.  So, I told her to drive over to the gallery of composers, a special place in Prospect park where the busts of great European classical composers’ repose on pedestals.  It was a perfect setting, because as she set her gaze my way, it was as if a chorus of viols began to play – Violin, Viola, and Cello – all sang a romantic rhapsody in perfect harmony…it was the ideal background sound for my next move.

As we strolled among the musical icons, I suddenly swept Oshun up in my arms and planted a deep wet kiss on her mouth, she responded by slithering her tongue in my mouth.  And as we swapped slobs, her leg slipped between mine and her percolating sugar pussy was pressing right up on my swollen soul pole and I began to slowly grind on it.  Things could not have turned out better, because I was a master of the art of grinding…

Back in the day, when I was in high-school, and dry fucking was all the pussy you was gonna get – unless you got lucky and she let you play “stink finger” – the gals nick-named me “Dr. Coffee,” cause I grind so fine.  The feeling  got so good we lost our heads and was oblivious to the fact that we were in a public place.

“Well, Mr. America, what now?”

“You just follow my lead Ms. Trinidad, cause this is the start of something really big.”

Stealing Kisses under the Master’s Gaze

What wonderful music our budding romance could have inspired….

Osun had a winsome smile on her face as she drove me home.  Several times I took her willing hand and placed it on my throbbing dick, reminding her: “This is all yo fault Miss Trinidad.”  She rubbed and squeezed it firmly, while feigning innocence:

”How, me cause such a ting mon, I jes an innocent woman  mindin she business!  Is you that mek trouble, pulling that treacherous black snake out on me with no warning.”

“Oh, you know you like it,” I said as she conducted a hands on examination of the abundant evidence.   By the way, you said I had a Guyana Cane, what did you mean by that?”

She smiled coyly and said: ”Well there are sugar cane farms all over the Caribbean, but Guyana, which is just 8 miles off the coast of Trinidad in South America, is famous for growing the hardest, thickest, sweetest cane of them all.” She chuckled, as she negotiated the traffic with one hand and squeezed my Guyana cane with her free hand.  I liked the sound of it, “Guyana cane.”

As we approached my building, she removed her hand and assumed a prissy proper school momish  demeanor.  I didn’t tarry long, after all who knows what unseen obscene eyes were gazing upon us.  So, I quickly told her.

“Thanks for the ride and the company beautiful. But I think it is past time that we met in private, where we can really explore each other and see what this thing is about that’s been vibing between us all this time.   What say ye?”

“Sounds good to me.  If  you have a place where we can meet just tell me when and where, and I’ll be there.  Just give me a couple of days’ notice.”

“No Problem Sweetie, I have a cousin who has a nice crib right here in Brooklyn.  I’ll hook it up and let you know.”

“I’m looking forward to it,” she said as she squeezed my hand, “I had a lovely time…the most excitement I’ve had in a while.”

Then she smiled that bewitching smile, a conjuration that made heart flutter, my liver quiver, and my knees freeze.  Transforming me into silly putty in her hands.  She could mold me into whatever she desired.  It was her world…I was just a squirrel…tryna get a nut.

Strangers in Paradise

A few days later I met Oshun after work and we drove over to my cousin Ernest’s crib.  As usual, Oshun was looking fine as vintage wine and I suspected she offered a more potent high.  The red dress she wore accented her rich chocolate skin, which had been buffed to a sheen with coco butter.  The white strapped heels she wore enhanced the curvature of her long legs and was sexy as hell.  I was like a starving man about to finally partake of a fest that I had been salivating over as I watched from outside  the window.  She was in a great mood, as if she had thought it through and was satisfied with her decision.  Whatever that turned out to be.  We had never explicitly said that we were getting together for the express purpose of making love…but it was implicit in everything we did.

It was early evening when we got to Ernest’s crib and the sun was beginning to set, its crimson rays streaked through the windows and amplified the subtle red hues in her ebony skin, an inheritance from her Carib grandpop.  I just sat across the room and stared at her.  I never tired of looking at her, I actually experienced a physical sensation from just staring at her.  It was akin to experiencing eyegasms.  And I had never had the opportunity to just ogle her openly to my heart’s contentdk, looking at her sitting right in front of me with those fabulous legs crossed wearing those “fuck me” shoes.

Instead of jumping her bones as soon as we entered the crib, I wanted to savor her beauty, enjoy the warm titillations of her charm,  swoon to the sound of her sensuous cultivated Caribbean contralto voice, and bask in the sunshine of her smile.  I was in no hurry, I wanted to enjoy every nano-second exploring the luscious feast of a female from head to toe.  I wanted the evening to build in intensity like a crescendo in a great piano concerto.  So, we sat making small talk, skinning and grinning at each other like Cheshire cats from Alice in Wonderland, and just grooving on each other.

It was an enchanted evening, the kind of evening when it seems the God’s are happy in the heavens, the ancestors are pleased, and all is right with the world.  Oshun sat there all prim and proper, every inch the  well- educated Afro-British lady, elegant of style and manners, speaking with the cadenced eloquence  unique to her nation’s oral culture, a tradition in which the well-spoken word is highly prized, and their popular music is epic poetry.  I lit up a splif, and although she had grown up around East Indians – whose ancient Sages had first cultivated Marijuana and called it “The Heavenly Guide,” and “The Poor Man’s Heaven” – she didn’t smoke Ganja.  Rum Punch de Crème was more her thing.

The more we sat there making eyes at each other the hotter we got.  I put the album John Coltrane Plays Johnny Hartman  Sings  and played the song “You are too Beautiful,” and as Johnny Hartman’s silky baritone voice crooned “You are too beautiful my dear to be true” Oshun looked at me dreamily and smile a mystic smile.  She was so alluring I could no longer contain myself.  I took a long drag off the herb, rose from my chair and walked over to her, making no attempt to hide the pulsating bulge in my pants, so she couldn’t miss it.

Besides she knew what I was working with because she had seen and physically examined it.  And I remember the look on her face the first time she saw it…for those who know about sugarcane, is enough to know that she called it “Guyana cane.”  I knelt before her, took her face in my hands and kissed her deeply, blowing Ganja smoke down her lungs slowly.  She coughed a little and asked:

” What was that?”

“Oh, something that will make very thing feel better.”

“You gave me that Ganja smoke?”

“Yeah, but don’t worry about it, just relax and follow my lead. Cause we bout to do a dance of magic.  If you thin yo heart can take it come fly with me.”

“Go ahead, like the song says: ‘Fly me to the moon…let me play among the stars.”

That was all the cue I needed.  I placed my hands on her knees and pulled her legs apart, but when I place my hand on her pussy it was like touching a sponge that had been emersed in water…they were soaking wet.  When I pulled my had from under her skirt Oshun discovered that her love canal was overflowing.  She jumped up and noticed that her dress was wet in the back, and when I grabbed the hem and raised her skirt up to her waist, you could see the do-it fluid beginning to drip down her thighs like a juicy fruit.  She was shocked, and immediately began to apologize.

“Oh, my goodness!  I don’t know what is happening down there.  It has never been like this before,” she said with obvious embarrassment, as she grabbed her bag and began nervously rummaging for a tissue.  “I’ll take care of this…just give me a moment.”

At first, I thought she was joking, I couldn’t believe that she thought this was offensive.  Wow, she was more innocent than I thought.  I quickly moved to rid her of that notion and put her at ease.

“Oh baby, you got this all wrong!  I LOVE IT!  The reason your sweet juice box is hemorrhaging like that is because you really want to fuck me, that’s how nature planned it.  I am deeply flattered!  That looks like Love Potion # 9 that the coasters made that hit song about.  Don’t you dare wipe it away with some tissue, just let me handle this my dear.”

“Okay, whatever you say, but I’ve got to take this dress and slip off.  I have a gown in my bag that I brought along just in case we ended up like this.  Just let me take it off and wash the spot out.  Is that the bathroom over there?  I need to get to the sink.”

“Go to the sink, but only to wash the stain out: DO NOT TOUCH THE PUSSY!  I want it all juicy with its natural bouquet!  Don’t even THINK about using any of those perfumed soaps!”

“Reeeally?  Oh Gosh man you are soo Craaaazy!  Me never hear of anything like that.” She said gushing with laugher, the do-it fluid creeping down her thighs.  I soon come” she said as she dashed in the bathroom.

While she was in the bathroom, I stripped down to my velvet boxer shorts.  Although I was not the same physical specimen that had won the “Mr. Atlas” contest in high school  nearly 20 years ago, I did retain some of my football physique.  As soon as she walked out of the bathroom dressed in a gown and heels, I swept her up in my arms and kissed her while running my hands all slowly over her soft but firm generously proportioned body.

She was grinding on my heart cock through the gown, when I gently pushed her down in the big cushiony chair, fell on my knees, pushed the gown up, spread her legs, and was face to face with her pretty pink pussy.  It seems that dark skin girls have the pinkest pussies…the juiciest too.  Although there are exceptions, they only serve to prove the rule.  Oshun had the juiciest pussy I had ever seen; it was like an overflowing honey pot.  Just looking at it made my mouth water.  Some guy’s suck pussy because they have been told that women love it…but I suck pussy because I LOVE IT!

This is not to say that my paramount objective isn’t to make my lady feel good, but I discovered that the ladies get their greatest thrills when the man also really loves it.  They can tell when a guy approach’s it like a circus performer who holds his nose and kisses a skunk because it’s part of the act.  I looked up at Osun, who had a quizzical look on her face, as if she was not quite sure what to expect since I had forbidden her to make any attempt to swab it.

“Okay Sweetie, now I’m gonna show you what to do with all this sweet nectar flowing outta your brown sugar pussy.  You just lay back and enjoy yourself.”

“Alright Mr. Magic fly me to the moon.”

I surveyed the glossy pink slit, set between yummy chocolate thighs, surrounded by a crown of curly black hair, and it looked delicious.  Cunnilingus is a fine art when it is performed by a Master.  And I was a Grand Master.  I was trying to decide where to start, the first moves would be exploratory, trying to see what she liked…what moved her.  Most women loved direct clitoral stimulation, so my first thought was to just swallow up her beautiful boy in the boat, grip it with my Orbicularis Oris muscles, which are normally used for whistling…and deep kissing.

But as my mouth moved closer to the dripping pink pussy parfait, I decide to go lickety split and slurp it with a broad stroke of my tongue, right down the middle of the gooey goody-gap.  The way she jumped, lifting her butt up off the chair and meeting my tongue, then she stiffened up as if she had been shocked by a live wire that sent electric waves to every part of her body.  I knew immediately that I had a real live one here, that she was highly sensitive in all parts of the pussy.

I was delighted, because women who were fixated on clitoral stimulation are often so narrowly focused on getting the “Big O” that they become quick tricks.  In order to get a quick nut, they forfeit the more nuanced experience that a great cunilingist can offer.  I was like a virtuoso violinist, who had mastered that extremely difficult fretless fiddle which requires the artist to feel the right places to make the music they want to hear.

How they do it is, as near as I can tell, a mysterious alchemy that is beyond the comprehension to all but that special band of gifted artists who can pull it off.  Sucking pussy is like that.  In order to be a great cunilingist, like the virtuoso violinist, one must be prepared to devote many hours to practicing their technique.  Which means that you must really love it.  I loved it…and I had paid my dues.

Ohun had my favorite kinda sucking pussy – pink, drippy and grippy- and the woman who owned it was like my favorite cup of coffee: Strong, hot and black!  I licked it again and she groaned, “Ahhhhggggh,” as her eyes rolled back into her head revealing the pure white of her eyes.   I knew I had the situation under control, the only question was what kinda ride I wanted to take her on.

When I first spoke to Oshun, my objectives had been to dazzle her with my knowledge of her country; distinguish myself from the other Yankees she knew; and leave her wanting to see more of me, now I wanted to amaze her with my knowledge of her body, set myself apart and above every lover she had known, and leave her hungering for more.  I wanted to addict her to my sexual prowess.

I had already captured her mind by virtue of a year of special pleading, leaving her ears greedy for the sound of my basso profundo voice; now I wanted to make her mine body and soul. With that objective in mind, I devoted all my talents in the art of pleasuring to give an unforgettable performance, one that inspires a Sunday kinda love, the kinda love that lasts past Saturday night.  All fuckin is good after a fashion, but love fuckin is out of this world…like astral traveling.

Since the love between us was the real deal, I decided to just go for what I know. But on the third or fourth stroke – I can’t say precisely because I was on a natural high and totally focused on licking the problem before me – a strange thing happened.  The muscles of her pussy reached out and grabbed my tongue, sucked it up her love canal, and squeezed it like a French kiss!  I was fascinated and  amazed.  I had never experienced anything like it; I was reminded that Oshun was a conjure woman, a worker of spells, even if her gift was unbeknownst.

I was tasked with discovering the key to her libido, the location of her special spots, and release the sexy beast that I had long suspected lurked just beneath the surface of her prim and proper persona.  Now it was no longer a matter of speculation…my job was to free the beast. Seeing how sensitive the walls of her vagina was I hesitated to stimulate her boy in the boat directly for fear that she just might lose in and erupt in orgasmic explosion.

I was very careful about that because in my experience, when women bust their nut from manipulation of the joy button, trying to make love to them after that is like whipping a dead mule.  So, I played past the  boy in the boat, pulled out my Rod of Correction, and thrust it balls deep in her pulsating pussy.  Oshun clamped down on it like a Venus Fly Trap, causing my rigid rod to swell up like a blow fish.  She had a frantic look in her eyes as her juicy goody-gap put the mug on the Bald Head Champ. She might have been a proper lady, but she had some gangsta pussy!

It felt so good I didn’t move for several minutes, I don’t know how long I was frozen because the sensations were so fantastic I completely lost track of time.  Wrapping my arms around her I began to kiss those luscious lips and was transported to a space where time ceased to exist.  Most men would have done their office right then and it would all have been over.  Few could have withstood the marvelous sensations induced by Oshun’s super gripper, and I survived only because I had spent years perfecting the art of prolongus coitus.  I could fuck ad infinitum, so long as the pussy was hot, drippy and grippy.  And Oshun’s honey pot was all three!

When I took one of her full ripe breast in my mouth, something I had dreamed of ever since our first chance encounter in the stair well, I was treated to yet another marvel.  I cupped her breast, sucked an erect nipple, and suddenly felt milk trickling from it.  The taste was different, and far more delicious, and when I realized what was happening, I took the tit from my lips and saw the flowing milk.  I thought it was  mad sexy and started sucking on it again.

The effect was like that of Spinach on the cartoon character Popeye!  She was beginning to apologize for the spilling milk, but I put my finger on her lips and suckled on it like a hungry babe.  It caused my Guyana cane to get bigger and harder, and I begin to thrust, wind and grind.  Slowly at first but then increasing the tempo.  Like sucking pussy, fucking is also a fine art.  And I was a master cocksman of the first order: Often tried, never denied, and willing to be tried again.  Off we went into the wild blue yonder, destination moon.  When she fairly shouted “Oh gosh Man!  It’s Greeeat!  It’s Greeat! It’s so wonderful Mr. Magic!”

When I felt her body become spasmodic, trembling like a flower in a tropical breeze, I knew she was cumming…and she came again…and again.  That’s why fucking orgasms are superior to clitoral orgasms…because women can get them over and over again…   Her orgasms were so powerful they could rock the Rictor Scale.  When she went limp in my arms, my dick stayed hard, and her vise like pussy never released its grip.

Oshun looked up at me like she was coming back from a trip to wonderland, and whispered, “I have NEVER ever experienced anything like this, its fantastic, I don’t even have words to describe it.  But you are far and away the best lover I ever had.”  Her words conjured up an old folk saying we used to recite when I was a boy:” Love is a feeling that you feel/ when you feel/what you never felt before.” I stood up and led her to the bedroom, and after a brief rest and recuperation break, we ravaged each other for another couple of hours.

Finally, I decided to suckle on her swollen clit, and Oshun came with such passion she seemed to possess the power of  the Goddess I had named her, it was so violent she nearly passed out.  When she looked at me dreamily and whispered, “Please make me go home.” I knew this was the start of something big!  Indeed, we were on fire for each other, “a boss blaze,” as we used to say during my days at an all-black college, when the artful invention of colorful colloquialisms was common fare. It was a flame that burned intensely for years.

We made love in a variety of clandestine pleasure pads, all of which seemed like Shangri La to us…even when it was just a simple room.  Sometimes we just drove around “The Fruit,” as hip Black Philadelphians referred to Manhattan when I resided in that violent gun totin gang-bangin City of Brotherly Love.  We would drive through Central Park, and chill on upper Fifth Avenue on the cusp of Harlem, where the magnificent statue of Duke Ellington now stands.

I just Loved to Stare at Her Beauty

On such occasions she always asked me to drive, which left her hands free to fondle my Guyana cane as we listened to music on the radio, especially when Frankie Crocker, “the Chief Rocker” played King Pleasure singing “Moody’s Mood For Love, wich was his theme song and he played it intermittently during his five hour drive time show.”  Often we would park and steal a kiss, or I would engage in one of my favorite things…pulling her skirts up above her knees and just staring at her while experiencing multi-eyegasms.  For my money, she was the most beautiful sexy woman in the world, and I loved ogling every inch of her voluptuous ebony frame.

We had to be very careful with our public behavior because we didn’t want to become victims of “seenus,” which would have been an unmitigated disaster if any of her married friends had seen us.  She explained to me that they would love to discover that she was “tippin out” on her husband,  because she was held up as the example of the “perfect wife” by their husbands, especially when criticizing their shortcomings.  And, naturally, they heartily resented it.  It would have given them great satisfaction to discover that Muriel, as they knew her, was “hornin” her husband as the Trinis say.

Miraculously, we were never exposed.  But this was not a matter of chance. We took an abundance of precautions: We never went out together at night, never got together on weekends, or even attended a movie, concert, or Broadway show. We always met right after work on weekdays, often several times a week, stealing a few hours together here there everywhere.  Since we had spent the daydreaming of our coming lovefest, we were always read hot for each other when we met. Hence regular conversation became sexual foreplay…even if we were discussing US-Cuban relations…or Dr. Eric Williams insightful book: “The Education of a Prime Minister.”  My Guyana cane blew up and became rigid from the moment she smiled at me…and every time I reached up her skirts and felt her panties, Osun’s panties were soaking wet.

Those were the days my friend…I thought they would never end. We enjoyed a decade and a half of bliss before our separate responsibilities as married people with children demanded all of our attention, causing us to part as lovers…but we remained loving friends…and who knows what the future holds.  There is one thing of which I am absolutely certain: Of all the gifts that wonderous Ilse of the Three Peaks, “Sweet T&T, has given the world…none is more wonderful than she!

As for the skeptical reader who cares to fathom, who question whether this tale is a fabulation or actual history, truth or fiction, to wit I shall refer them to the observation of that insightful French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire: “There is no history, only fictions of varying degrees of plausibility.”


An Erotic Fable

By: Guyana Cane

 New York

Spring 2001

Music in the Key of Life






Caviar and Bananas

Posted in Uncategorized on March 31, 2021 by playthell

Basquiat and Warhol: Master and Slave?

Ishmael Reed and the Big, Beautiful Art Market

In advance of the full performance we look forward to seeing this year, I make bold to review the video reading1 of Ishmael Reed’s new play, The Slave Who Loved Caviar. The production, beautifully narrated by Tennessee Reed, was produced remotely due to the pandemic. This in itself demonstrates a technical mastery and the prodigious talents of the actors, especially Rome Neal of Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe. The video whets our appetite for the live performance to come.

Pinning down, debating, categorizing or even fully comprehending the complex narratives of of this seasoned, fearless writer can challenge Reed’s most faithful long-term readers. His resources are endless. For example, a pedestrian critique of the Loop Garou Kid, a cowboy character who utilizes futuristic space travel2 as merely an absurdist conflation of heroic structure, is to restrict one’s gaze to the tiny pinhole of genre, and reveals the critic as a pinhead. Thus, Ishmael Reed himself appears in the play as a vampire who ensnares his victims with the aid of his evil assistant and comes to the attention of a fearless detective.

I was inducted into the critic’s role by the caustic Dave Hickey, who challenged me to bring my own voice as a contemporary artist into the art conversation. He also warned me that only an articulate and well-informed writer could hope to succeed in the field. Rather than telling the reader what to think about Reed’s marvelous new play, I will discuss my own lens into some cogent and very current questions he raises.

Teaching lower-division art history to college students throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, I faced a critical obstacle: the textbooks. The artists pictured therein did not match the faces in my classes. Work selected as culturally “good” or “representational” often simply wasn’t. By deft maneuvering and appropriating of instructor’s privileges, I brought our analysis to bear on the context of the texts; we looked at how the work got its visibility and, most importantly, its lasting value.

In his liminal essay “The Birth of the Big, Beautiful Art Market,” Dave Hickey writes about the way art dealers based their sales campaign on the hugely successful commodification of the American car. To sell the consumer a new car every year, you first have to make him want it. In order to create and drive this desire, Cadillac hired designers including Frank Hershey, a former WWI naval officer. Basing his design on the “Fork-Tailed Devil” P38 Fighter 3 so feared by the Nazis, Hershey created the striking tailfins that put the company first in car sales in America until 1955.

To sell art at “white-hot” prices, you must first convince your wealthy buyers of its value, and that must be based upon novelty and scarcity. In his book The Tradition of the New4, Harold Rosenberg pinpoints this driving factor to coincide with the early 20th century art market that began in New York City. Get the newest one, get the only one, make all your friends jealous, and show that you have the best eye for what’s happening in art!

This mindless, ostentatious, decadence has become so prevalent among the fashionable super-rich that Maurizio Cattelan’s banana, simply stuck to the wall with ten inches of grey duct tape, sold for 120,000 dollars at the 2019 Miami Basel. Someone ate the banana; critics and fellow artists drubbed Cattelan mercilessly; Arthur Goldstein, chief editor of Artnet, wrote a article titled “The Vultures Are Circling,” stating that young artists might “get in,” but they might not “get out alive.”

Ishmael Reed refers to that same taped banana piece in The Slave Who Loved Caviar. A careless reader might take his meaning to be a wholesale indictment of contemporary art, but it’s the vultures we need to see. Equally, the title of the play invokes the heated historic arguments among African Americans about effective resistance to slavery. According to Malcom X, speaking at Michigan State University, East Lansing, on January 23, 1963,5 the slaves working and living in the owner’s house became invested in their privilege.

They then identified with their white owners and the food, clothing and comforts they experienced, he said. In fact, they would be unable to survive on their own without it. He maintained that given an obviously hypothetical choice, they would actually fight against other slaves in defense of their owners. Malcolm was not making a simple point. He was indicting an entire system. But was he right about the people caught inside it? Weren’t they the ones with the agency for real resistance?  The historical record testifies to the truth of the latter.

Ishmael Reed invokes this familiar cultural discussion with characteristic scholarship and intellectual agility. To assume the artist/slave loves his caviar, his master and his system is to fall into a most ingeniously constructed trap. Resistance has two forms – from inside the system of oppression, or from the outside. The first is characterized by the loss of agency and authority that is imposed upon the individual. In the second case, the individual makes choices and maintains the dignity of selfhood, but loses the “caviar” or rewards of obedience.  As characterized by Ishmael in this play, it appears that the much-celebrated Lower East Side black art phenom Basquiat, who was patronized by Andy Warhol, the fabulously famous white artist, chose the caviar.

When confronted with this choice and its consequences, Reed chose a different path. Unable to find a publisher in the US for Going Too Far: Essays About America’s Nervous Breakdown, 2012, he sought a publisher in Canada. Reed has founded and cofounded several small presses, journals, and organizations, including the Before Columbus Foundation, Ishmael Reed Publishing Company, PEN Oakland, Quilt magazine, and Yardbird Publishing Company, shouldering the responsibilities of funding, publicity and more. African American artist Kehinde Wiley, who painted Barack Obama’s 2017 presidential portrait, is a highly recognized, and well-paid figure in contemporary art. He chose to locate an artist residency in Dakar, Senegal, avoiding the constraints of corporate funding and selection6.

Art historian-literalists who balk at Ishmael Reed’s characterization of Andy Warhol will be lost in a Platonic cave of their own making. By framing the art world through the neo-slave narrative, Reed tears off the veils of whiteness in which its canons are shrouded. Thus, he provides an opportunity for change from within the system, which arts professionals urgently need to recognize.

As a professor of art history, I used my agency and authority to provide curriculum that examined and confronted established concepts and assumptions. For instance, when I invited visiting artists into the classroom, I did not invite anyone white. Similarly, I had a 3-page handout of important artists, available for students upon request when they wrote research papers, that didn’t list any white artists. It is noteworthy that nobody ever commented about this. It gave the students freedom of choice, making them the authority and agents of their own education about art.

I conclude with a final word for my art colleagues, or any others who may remain concerned with Reed’s portrayal of Andy Warhol and distracted from the serious questions examined in this play. Dr. Patrick McGee, Professor of Race & Cultural Studies at LSU, Baton Rouge, gives the best explanation about both my teaching practices and the importance of The Slave Who Loved Caviar as acts of activism and education. In his critique of racial ideology, Ishmael Reed and the Ends of Race7, Dr. McGee says that because of “the historical contradictions that compose American society, …art [is] a symptom of history that can be made to reveal its historical truth only through a critical intervention that lays bare the context of the text.” Ishmael Reed has given us a masterful view of the truth. We will do well to heed it.

The Bard and the Veep
Oakland Homies Hangin Out
Susannah Israel.
Oakland, California


[1] The Slave Who Loved Caviar, video reading.

2 Severson, Aaron. “Fork-Tailed Devil: The P-38 Lightning and the Birth of Cadillac’s Famous Fins.”

3 Rosenberg, Harold. The Tradition of the New. Horizon Press: New York. 1959

4 Benjamin, Playthell G. “Is Manning’s Marable A Re-Invention?: On Myth, History and Special Pleading”.

Commentaries On The Times, Harlem NY

5 Black Rock Senegal. Kehinde Wiley.

6 McGee, Patrick, Phd. Ishmael Reed and the Ends of Race. Palgrave MacMillan, 1997




Dirty Donald Walks Again!

Posted in The Second Trump Senate Impeachment with tags , on March 1, 2021 by playthell

Portrait of a Malignant Narcissist

 Jamie Raskin Calls for Impeachment

 And Presents a Great Opening Argument

If you care about the fate of our constitutional democracy, you should pay close attention to the second Impeachment trial for Dirty Donald, the fascist minded criminal buffoon who tried to disrupt the well-established, constitutionally mandated, peaceful transfer of power. This transfer of power is the litmus test for a democracy. And Congressman Raskin, who was instructed in Constitutional law by the great Lawrence Tribe at Harvard and spent 30 years as a Professor of Constitutional Law, gave a brilliant analysis of the LIMITS of the speech that is protected under the First Amendment. And he explained why Dirty Donald’s incitement of a mob attack on Congress is not protected under the First Amendment, which is the heart of Don tha Con’s defense.

If a president who loses an election which is verified by the legally constituted state election boards, and verified by SIXTY COURTS OF LAW, attempts to block this transfer of power by inciting an armed mob to attack the US Capitol while Congress was in session, with the intention of disrupting this fundamental constitutional function by maiming or killing key members of Congress, in the hope that he will be able to declare marshal law amidst the ensuing chaos, this is treason.

Democrats make Airtight Case for Constitutionality

The Senate impeachment trial of Dirty Donald Treasonous Trump has begun, and the democratic managers from the House of Representatives who are presenting the case are brilliant in their opening arguments. There are many reasons to watch this trial, privileged among these is the opportunity to learn much about the constitutional history and laws of the United States, and the intellectual stimulation of listening to a great debate, especially when poignant examples of erudition and sophistry are dramatically on display.

As I write it is obvious that the Republican strategy, presented by a career Pennsylvania prosecutor, Bruce Castor, a clever bumpkin who was obviously caught off guard, will attempt to obfuscate the erudition of the Democrats with a pile of transparent bullshit…shameless sophistry! The question under discussion this morning is whether the Impeachment proceeding itself is unconstitutional, which is the argument of the Attorney’s for Don tha Con. The Democrats response to this claim was characterized in equal parts by erudition and eloquence of a very high order.

The opening argument was presented by Congressman Jamie Raskin, who was a Professor of Constitutional Law for 30 years before his election to Congress. His argument delved deeply into the history of the Impeachment powers defined in the Constitution. In an amazing display of learned analysis, he cited case after case, and examined numerous legal opinions on the impeachment powers by jurists and constitutional scholars across the ideological spectrum, dating back to the earliest days of our constitutional republic.. These arguments sound the death knell before Dirty Donald’s mouthpieces – smarmy characters who attempt to pervert the letter and spirit of the Constitution in defense of Treacherous Treasonous Trump for fool’s gold – ever says nary a word.

Congressman “Professor” Raskin was followed by two very able Congressmen who are excellent trial lawyers, and the case they presented was deadly! Citing legal precedent and the opining of distinguished legal scholars, they drove the final nails in the coffins of Trump’s advocates as if they were intellectual corpses.

I can envision no convincing comeback for these compelling arguments. And to the optimist who say, “well you never know, where there’s life there’s hope,” I say but for the pervasive moral rot and cowardice among Republican Senators – which is at the root of our present national tragedy – I would put Dirty Don tha Con’s chances of exoneration at less than the chances of a snowflake in a pizza oven!  After Congressman Neguse, a handsome brilliant young East African from Colorado, and a third Congressman whose arguments were no less erudite and compelling than his colleagues that preceded him, concluded their arguments, Congressman Raskin returned to close out. Then the Republican arguments began.




Bruce Cantor Fumbles the Ball

The American adversarial system of trial practice, in which contending sides offer competing narratives of the issue at hand before a jury of peers who will decide the issue in a public trial, has been a blessing and a curse.  It has proved effective in exonerating the innocent and convicting the guilty.  But it has also been used to convict the innocent and exonerate the guilty. Alas, which outcome one achieves is due to a variety of factors: the competence of legal counsel, the nature of evidence, the intelligence, competence and impartiality of the jury.

The nature of legal advocacy is such that it does not require the lawyer be completely convinced of their client’s innocence.  All accused have a right to legal representation under the US system of jurisprudence.  The accused has a right to plead innocent. The 5th Amendment protects them from being compelled to testify against themselves. And the duty of the advocate is to make her clients accuser prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty. Alas, a competent lawyer can construct a counter-narrative that makes the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt difficult even in cases where the guilt of the accused seems obvious to the average person.

The Trump defense lawyers – who remind me of the Three Stooges – did a masterful job of that today.  They followed the dictates of the conventional legal wisdom: If the facts are on your side, argue the facts.  If the Law is on your side argue the law.  If neither is on your side, then impugn the character and motives of your adversary and engage in obfuscation designed to confuse the facts and the law. Leaving the jury unable to distinguish fact from fictions, the truth from a lie.

We saw a textbook example of this today.  To be sure, much of these shenanigans would not have been allowed in a courtroom, but this is an impeachment trial in the Senate, where almost anything goes. For in a courtroom information introduced as “evidence” in a trial must be relevant and material to the case under litigation.  Hence all of the footage from the Black Lives Matter demonstrations against police murders of unarmed black men, would not have been admissible because it is irrelevant and immaterial to this case.

The only way such information could even appear to be relevant in this proceeding is to view it devoid of context.   In the case of the invasion of the US Capitol by Dirty Donald’s red caped MAGA militants, armed with a variety of weapons, these suckers had been cultivated for weeks by torrent of lies fed to them by their President.  Despite the fact  Dirty Donald has been flagged for telling over 20,000 lies during his tenure in the Oval Office by professional fact checkers at the Washington Post and the Toronto Star, these untutored zealous Trumpanzees, unquestioning devotees of the Trumpist cult, continue to regard his every utterance as gospel truth!

However, the measure of their success in this exercise in mass deception is not the intellectual gravitas of their legal polemics, nor even if they make sense when subjected to basic critical analysis; it is their effectiveness in achieving the goals of the Trump defense.  And this cannot be considered apart from the audience at which their arguments are directed.

The Trump Defense team are not directing their arguments to the legal establishment, or the law professors, nor even their Senate colleagues on the other side of the aisle, for they have already been rounded rejected by legal luminaries from these communities on the left and the right, liberals and conservatives! The are zeroed in on two objectives: Providing a fig leaf that will give cover to Republican Senators who refuse to convict Dirty Donald, although they know he is guilty as sin!  And providing lawyerly double talk, lies in legalese that serve as apologia for Donnie’s dirty deeds, confirming the beliefs of the untutored mob of MAGA cap wearing morons that fill the ranks of the fact free Trumpanzees in the Trumpist cult.  By this measure, I believed they have succeeded spectacularly.

David Shoen: Legal Bullshit Artist


“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit…What bullshit essentially misrepresents is neither the state of affairs to which it refers nor the beliefs of the speaker concerning that state of affairs. Those are what lies misrepresent, by virtue of being false. Since bullshit need not be false, it differs from lies in its misrepresentational intent. The bullshitter may not deceive us, or even intend to do so, either about the facts or about what he takes the facts to be. What he does necessarily attempt to deceive us about is his enterprise. His only indispensably distinctive characteristic is that in a certain way he misrepresents what he is up to.”

“On Bullshit,” Dr. Harry G. Franks, Professor of Philosophy, Princeton

While the House Democrats who are managing the impeachment trial of Donald Trump in the Senate attempted to appeal to the better angels of our nature, Dirty Donald’s lawyers Bruce Castor and David Shoen shamelessly played to the cheap seats, and appeared to be attempting, once again, to incite the worst passions of the untutored mob of Trumpanzees; bamboozled boobs whose murderous invasion of the capitol is the raison d’etre for the impeachment.

While their true motives – malice, deception, avarice, ambition? – remains a mystery, the ineptitude of their arguments is beyond dispute. These guys were just not up to the job; they came across like the legal profession’s gang that can’t shoot straight. While the Democrat’s attack was brilliant and deadly, repeatedly hitting their targets with devastating accuracy, the shameless Republican flim flam men were like blind riflemen who couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn. After Congressmen Jamie Raskin’s opening assault on Dirty Donnie and his barbarian hordes he ordered to sack the capitol, laying the Republican defenses to waste, Congressmen Joe Neguse and David Cicilline were like avenging angels who swooped in and wiped out the wounded with formidable legal arguments.

Castor, a small-town prosecutor who is probably a big deal in his neck of the woods but came across as a bumbling boob who substituted guile for intellectual argument and was more shyster than scholar. The jiveass joker also seemed to be suffering from a severe case of “the cutes.” A frog who thought he was a prince. When he was not attempting to intimidate the Senators and the TV audience looking on, by predicting more uprisings of clueless enraged Trumpanzees should the Trump trial proceed, Castor’s argument suggests that he thought he could win the Senators votes by flattering them, openly pandering to their vanities. It was an embarrassing performance that never addressed the question at hand: Is the trial of Treacherous Treasonous Trump unconstitutional?

Castor’s co-Counsel, David Schoen, is a quirky pugnacious little bald head mumser who came across like Elmer Fudd on crack. As I listened to his rapid fire presentation that seemed designed to confuse more than enlighten, I remembered what my Grandfather, Deacon George Benjamin Senior, said the day that I told him I wanted to become a lawyer. He looked up and said matter of factly:” Well, If you gonna be a good lawyer, you got to be a good liar.” No doubt it was shameless charlatans like these Deke had in mind, legal mercenaries who hide behind the Constitutional mandate that all accused must have due process which requires legal representation.

Hence they can go about their nefarious deeds cloaked in the robes of justice, wearing the white hats of good guys. They are sleight of hand artist, bunko artists whose burlesque on legal argument resembles a game of Three Card Monte. However, any Time Square hustler who has managed to survive in the Darwinian milieu of the New York streets, which like the jungle is red of tooth and claw, can play the game better.

Aside from incoherent arguments filled with irrelevant anecdotes and curious legal citations, Shoen murdered a poem in broad open daylight! They were so bad it was funny, the Mutt and Jeff of the legal profession. One Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, from the deep red state of Louisiana, was so appalled by their feckless performance he switched his vote in favor of the Constitutionality of the Trial, which was a vote in favor of pressing on.

Word on the wires is that Dirty Donnie Dimwit is freaking tha fuck out over the fight being waged by his defenders, literally screaming at the television. I almost wish the bubble head bullshit artist had his Twitter account back, so we could share the tweeting Twit’s hysteria and rejoice. Being denied that guilty pleasure, I anxiously await the comedians take on this scene.

Mutt and Jeff’s comic debacle offers them an embarrassment of riches in terms of fresh material for their acts. It is farce masquerading as tragedy, a sad show that lends credibility to the cynicism of a growing number of Americans who increasingly view the legal profession as a haven for lying soulless charlatans who will passionately argue that war is peace if the price is right.

Although there is no paucity of bi-partisan invective heaped upon the hapless lawyers dispatched on an impossible mission – cause Dirty Donald is guilty as sin – it fell to the grand legal savant Laurence Tribe, Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard, to provide a sober and candid assessment of the Trump team.

Having recently published a book on the impeachment process, Professor Tribe is quite familiar with the issues at hand. And no doubt comparing them to the magnificent performance of his former student Jamie Raskin, he succinctly summed up the performance of Castor and Shoen: ”They lied…and they SUCK!”



Joe Neguse Holding Forth

Colorado congressman Joe Neguse is made an air tight case that the insurrectionist were mobilized by Dirty Donald’s outrageous lies about a stolen presidential election, then he invited them to DC to do their dirty deeds.  Congressman Neguse told how Treasonous Trump assembled “an armed angry crowd on the Washington mall ready to be provoked, and he provoked them!” By “spreading the Big Lie.” He cited evidence that Dirty Donald was ecstatic watching the armed mob with murder on their mind storm the capitol. And how Donnie Dimwit was puzzled that others did not share his joy.

When they, the police, was being attacked, Don tha con said to the mobsters:” We love you, you are very special people….president Trump alone had the power to stop the mob but he didn’t.” Instead he showed how Dirty Donald “Encouraged it!” Then he left us with this parting thought, if we let this go unpunished, he will do it again!”  One thing is certain, anyone who is intelligent enough to get themselves elected to the US Senate, is certainly smart enough to see that the Democratic Managers who have presented the argument for treason, HAVE BRILLIANTLY MADE THEIR CASE, because they know that NONE of them could have done it better!

Their arguments were superb, flawless in its reasoning and unimpeachable it its evidence! Hence we can safely conclude, that those who fail to vote to convict this treasonous amoral criminal, are prepared to impose a fascist autocratic plutocrat over a democratically elected enlightened career public servant who is a master at the art of governing. The choice is crystal clear.

For Dirty Deranged Donald Treasonous Trump has defecated on our nation’s most cherished ideals: ad hoc attacks on the judiciary; constant attacks on freedom of the press; contempt for Congress; and inciting an armed crazed mob of Trumpanzees to assault the capitol, while the Congress was in the process of certifying the peaceful transfer of power based on the votes of more Americans than have EVER turned out to cast their vote for president!  As Congressman Neguse presented the case, there was no room for ambiguity: Popular Democracy or Fascist Plutocracy!


Bravissimo Madeline Dean!

Weaving a Compelling Narrative

Congresswoman Dean painted a devastating portrait of Dirty many blatant attempts to interfere in state election outcomes by personally pressuring state officials to change the election results.  She shows how he was so persistent in his efforts an election official in Georgia that if he continued to claim the election from him, he would inflame passions to the point where “Somebody is gonna get shot.  As a lawyer and a former Professor of writing, she is highly skilled in the art of constructing a compelling narrative.  And those skills were prominently on display in here presentation today, driving yet another nail in dirty Donald’s Coffin!


Stacy Plaskett On A Mission

Stacy Plaskett is a special species of statuesque, brainy, ebony beauty that is cut from the same cloth as Michelle Obama. Born in Brooklyn for parents who immigrated from the American Virgin Islands, in 1966, her mother was a court clerk and her father a cop. As one of the intellectually gifted students selected by “A Better Chance,” ABC, the same program that produced Deval Patrick, the first black governor of Massachusetts, she was provide the opportunity to attend – Cohate Rosemary Hall – an elite private high school.

It was a boarding school that took her out of the Brooklyn Projects into the rarified precincts of the American upper class. The education she received there prepared her for admission to Washington’s Georgetown University, where she earned a degree in History and Diplomacy, and from there to American University Law School, where she studied Constitutional Law under her fellow Democrat impeachment manager Jamie Raskin, who must be brimming with pride over his student’s performance in this trial.

As the Non-Voting Delegate from the Virgin Island, where she now lives in St, Croix, Ms. Plaskett has presented cogent fact driven arguments based on sound legal principle, which formed compelling narratives of Dirty Donald’s dastardly deeds. Her arguments have been distinguished by an abundance of erudition and eloquence forcefully and convincingly rendered.

I will have a more exhaustive analysis of Ms. Plaskett’s arguments, both in her presentation of evidence and her response to the question and answer session following the Trump defense team obscene exercise in sophistry, duplicity, obfuscation, and hypocrisy!



Congressman Eric Swalwell

Congressman Eric Swalwell, a former California prosecutor, was relentless in his systematic presentation of the evidence supporting the democratic narrative that Trump’s culpability for inciting the armed insurrectionist attack on the Congress. The noose is tightening not just around the neck of Dirty Donald, a crude deranged fascist thug, but the ENTIRE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!! It has been one of the more able presentations in a day filled with outstanding legal argument. BRAVO!



Congressman Ted Lieu as a Military Officer

These comments were made by Phil Scott, the Republican Governor of the largely white state of Vermont, as he denounced the invasion of the US capitol by a murderous untutored mob of Trumpanzees of February 6. It was cited by Congressman Ted Lieu, a brilliant Chinese American Democrat from California, a retired US Army Colonel and a former prosecutor, who is one of the House Impeachment managers presenting the case for convicting Dirty Donald in the Senate.

Although he has been called a “communist” by some Vermont residents, who are pissed off by his public health policies designed to fight the Covid19 Virus, Scott is one of a growing number of high ranking Republicans – including elected officials, and former White House civilian and military advisors to Don tha Con – who are speaking out and denouncing Trump’s central role in inciting the attempted “Insurrection.”

Congressman Lieu – who once sponsored a bill with Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey to restrain Ditzy Donald from initiating a nuclear war on an impulse, was cool as a cucumber as he presented a treasure trove of evidence regarding Treasonous Trump’s culpability in inciting the barbarian Trumpist hordes to commit armed sedition. Among those whose words we heard were five sitting Republican governors.

The evidence presented by Congressman Lieu was precise, well documented, compelling, and CONVINCING! It was just more fuel to a raging fire of truth that is steadily consuming Dirty Donald and the Neo-Fascist Trumpist Party, formerly known as the “Republican Party.”



Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas 

Using video tape as effectively as the great sportscaster Warner Wolf, author of the famous lines “lets go to the video tape,” Congressman Castro constructed an airtight narrative of events, showing step by step how Dirty Donald, the Big Apple bunko artist, inspired an armed mob to come to Washington, and incited them to invade the capitol.

His argument is irrefutable to the eyes and ears of ANY intelligent objective observer. If the Republicans vote against his impeachment, it is a confession that they prefer a corrupt, incompetent, ignorant, fascist plutocrat to a democratically elected President who s committed to democratic government with social justice.



Michael Van der Veen

Lawyerly Double Talk and Blatant Bullshit Wins the Day!

Michael Van der Veen, who delivered the closing argument for trump, aside from being a bumbling bore, is the portrait of a charlatan skilled in the techniques of obfuscation. He rambled on about “due process,” and what would be disallowed in the courtrooms in which he normally practices. But, ironically, the majority of his presentation would be disallowed in any regular court of law due to irrelevance and immateriality!  The false faced clown talked about EVERYTHING but the charges against Trump so skillfully argued by the Democrats on the House Managers team that prosecuted the case against Dirty Donald.

He rattled on ad nauseum about the violation of Trump’s First Amendment rights, an argument that has been widely discredited by legal scholars.  And he resorted to blaming the Black Lives Matter movement for normalizing mob violence, when he was unable to defend Trump’s actions, so graphically recounted in brilliant video tape presentations of Dirty Donald telling his followers over and over that the election has been “Stolen from them.” They showed how he whipped up a mob of fanatical true believers who descended on Washington to “stop the steal” on January 6, the day the Congress was certifying the victory of Joe Biden, and incited them to stormed the Capitol building.

He talked about anything and everything except the facts in the case against Trump for inciting an insurrection. As has been the strategy of the Trump defenders, Mr. Van der Veen was relatively brief. With the ability to distract attention to the issues in the case by roaming far and wide, introducing issues with no relevance to the case, and resting assured that virtually all the Republican Senators would vote to acquit Don tha Con, the Trump defense team was assured of victory. Their only mission therefore, was to provide cover for the Republicans who would vote to exonerate, and to supply legal skullduggery that can be seized by the reactionary right wing press to confirm the Trumpist cult in their beliefs.

Since Trump was later found not guilty by a vote of 57 to 43 in the US Senate, we must conclude that their strategy worked, although based on transparent lies. It was the most bi-partisan impeachment vote in US history, with 7 Republicans voting to convict. This may be a viewed as a victory for Dirty Donnie, but it is a grave defeat for American democracy, as one major political party has chosen to support an anti-democratic authoritarian with fascist views!

Let us hope the many legal challenges that Dirty Don tha Con will face in real courts of law will finally give this wannbe fascist dictator his just desserts. In the meantime, the Republican Party will have to contend with the Trumpist fanatics who have infested their party, many of whom now feel betrayed and conned by Don, as they and their comrades face a variety of criminal charges from their participation in the assault on the Capitol.

This alienation and hostility is bound to grow worse as the arrests and trials of hundreds continue. And all of the young charlatans like Senators Hawley, Cruz, and Rubio will agonize over the possibility of Trump running for President again, dashing their hopes for the Oval Office.


Watch Congressman Jamie Raskin’s Opening Argument

(1) Jamie Raskin makes opening arguments – YouTube

Watch Congressman Joe Neguse’s Opening Argument

(1) Rep. Joe Neguse delivers opening remarks at Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial – YouTube


Watch Bruce Castors Opening Defense of Dirty Donald

(1) Trump attorney Bruce Castor Jr. presents defense – YouTube

Watch David Schoen’s Opening Defense

(1) Trump Defense: Full opening statement by Donald Trump attorney, David Schoen – YouTube

Watch Congresswoman Madeline Dean Opening Statement

(1) WATCH: Rep. Dean on why the Senate should convict Trump | Second Trump impeachment trial – YouTube

Watch Ted Lieu’s Opening Statement

(1) WATCH: Rep. Lieu on why the Senate should convict Trump – YouTube

Watch Congresswoman Stacy Plaskett’s Compelling Argument

(1) WATCH: Del. Plaskett on why the Senate should convict Trump – YouTube

Watch Congressman Eric Swalwell

(1) WATCH: Rep. Eric Swalwell on why the Senate should convict Trump | Second Trump impeachment trial – YouTube


Watch Michael Van der Veen’s Closing Defense!

(1) WATCH: Trump impeachment defense lawyer Michael van der Veen delivers closing argument – YouTube


Playthell G, Benjamin
Harlem, New York

***Posted 3/1/21







Blood on His Hands!

Posted in A Remembarance to Aretha With Love with tags , , on January 15, 2021 by playthell

The Sedition FullofshitticusI

A Menace to the World

A Rottening in America…The Danger Zone is Everywhere

Langston Hughes, the late great Poet Laureate of Harlem and one of the most important American literary voices of the 20th century,  penned a powerful poem that posed the question: “What happens to a dream deferred?  Does it dry up like a raison in the sun?  Does it cake over like a syrupy sweet and then run?   Does it sag like a heavy load?  Or does it explode!”  What we witnessed in the deadly assault on the US Capitol by an enraged, racist and untutored white mob, was the result of Don tha Con, a flat footed New York flim flam man, selling them a bogus dream of turning the clock back to a time in which white supremacy reigned supreme.  It is a dream totally at odds with political reality.  And when the election results, much of which was fueled by black political activism, deferred that dream…they exploded in the nation’s capital!

White trash with money, Devious Dirty Donald beguiled, emboldened, and mobilized white trash  across the country, the bamboozled boobs in the boonies, the clueless Trumpanzees to whom he is patron saint , to realize this grand delusion.  And the whole world witnessed the US president exhort this mad motley mob to assault the peoples house, drive Congress into hiding fleeing for their lives, and killing five people, including a capitol police officer.  The question now facing the American people is: Where do we go from here?

At the conclusion of the Civil War, the world’s first modern war and by far the most destructive, Abraham Lincoln pronounced “With malice toward none, and charity for all, we shall bind up the wounds of the nation,”  It was a message that signaled to the southern traitors who had tried their damdest to destroy our constitutional republic, that he intended no retribution.  It proved a mistake, for there had been no change of heart among the southern traitors as they rose from the ashes of defeat to create a system that while not chattel slavery, was far from the “Freedom” promised Afro-Americans in the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th 14th and 15th Amendment to the Constitution, buttressed by the seven Civil Rights Bills passed by Congress between 1866 and 1875.

And judging from the parade of confederate battle flags – the ultimate symbol of the treasonous fight to preserve black enslavement in America, which has also become the adopted flag of the neo-Nazi movement in Germany because it is illegal to display any Nazi insignia –  inside and outside of the supreme parliament of Republic, many of the descendants of that treasonous southern scum remain unrepentant 175 years after the defeat of the Confederacy on the battlefield.  Hence, contrary to the swelling chorus of timid, misguided, and conciliatory voices employing decorous language pregnant with sappy sentimentalism and Christian reconciliation, we cannot simply move on from this tragic episode in our history without a reckoning with the fascist, racist, rebels who wreaked destruction and bloody murder in the great House of the People.

To begin with, before we can seek higher ground, we must face the facts of our history and stop lying about who and what America is!  Those who profess shock at the fact that millions of Americans were willing to believe and act upon the transparent lies of Dirty Donald, a man whom professional fact checkers at the Toronto Star and the Washington Post had catalogued thousands of lies emanating from his lips, are exemplars of self-deception.  For Americans have been prepared to believe colossal lies about who we are, and what American is, all of their lives.  Too much of what has passed for history in  our public schools are blatant lies that would shame a nation that values truth.  Alas, when truth contradicts the Master Narrative of American civilization lies are revered, propaganda is privileged over history, amoral bullshit artist are afforded center stage while wise and moral men languish in the wings.  And this makes certain that we as a people will fulfil the prophetic warning of the Harvard Philosopher George Santayana: ”Those who refuse to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it’s mistakes.”

The almost total ignorance of two critical cautions offered by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington to succeeding generations of the new nation they had founded, lay at the very heart of our present crisis.  In his farewell address to the nation in 1796, George Washington, the nation’s first President, told some timeless truths and warned us about the dangers of the factionalism created by political parties.

“All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests. However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government…”

I strongly implore the curious reader in search of a fuller enlightenment on our present tragedy, when the foundations of our constitutional democracy are being challenged, to read President Washington’s words carefully, then consider its relevance to this moment of national crisis.

As the first man in world history to willingly give up power, Washington’s expressed views on why he would not stand for office again are especially propitious.  For our nation is plagued with a president who is a criminal amoral buffoon, a coward in war and corrupt in economic and political life, who is willing, like Adolph Hitler, to wreck his country if he cannot remain in power.  Although Washington, a shameless hypocrite who, like all of the founding fathers save John Adams, kept or defended the keeping of African slaves as chattel – a horrendous crime against humanity – nevertheless concluded that serving for eight years – from two years after the Constitutional Conference in 1789 to 1897 – was enough.   None had led Americans in war and peace as he had, yet he told an admiring and grateful nation:

“Friends and Fellow Citizens:

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.  I beg you, at the same time, to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.”

Dirty Donald Dimwit shall not compare favorably to this example.  The thoughtfulness of President Washington’s Farewell Address, the eloquence of language, and the deeply felt love of the nation all serves to highlight the lowlife, amoral, treasonous, cowardly, inarticulate, treacherous, Nature of Dirty Donald Dimwit!

This is also a propitious occasion to remind the nation of the prescient warning of Thomas Jefferson, author of the American Declaration of Independence, who is widely considered the wisest of the Founding Fathers.  A leader of the American version of the 18th century Enlightenment, which privileged reason over religion and physics over metaphysics, in their quest to understand how the world worked, Jefferson was an impassioned advocate of public education and the free press.

He succinctly summed up these sacred passions in two statements: “If I had a choice between a government and no free press, or a free press and no government: I would take the free press and no government.”  And “A popular democracy cannot work with an ignorant electorate, because an ignorant electorate will elect and return the worst people to power…There never was a people who were ignorant and free, there never was and there never shall be.” 

The profound prudence of these statements, and their self-evident relevance for our times, should be all to obvious to those who are not intellectually handicapped by excess air in their heads, and holes in their souls.  Alas, the 74 million Trumpanzees who voted for Dangerous Devious Donald in the past election, even after all his evil deeds have come to light, offers unimpeachable evidence that widespread ignorance and spiritual corruption pose a greater danger to the health, and wealth, and domestic tranquility of Americans than the Covid plague!

Trumpanzees Commit Murder and Mayhem in our House!

 See ABC TV Chronological Narrative

A visual timeline on how the attack on Capitol Hill unfolded – ABC News (


Enraged Trumpanzees Storm the Barricades!


Crazed Trumpanzees Storm the Halls of Congress!



Terrorists Invade and Trash Speaker Pelosi’s Office

Defiling the Highest Level of the US Government

This Treason Must and Will be Punished!


Playthell G, Benjamin
Harlem, New York


Posted in On Donald Trump, Playthell on politics with tags , , , on January 13, 2021 by playthell



Ever since the reign of Ronald Reagan – a bigoted old Dunce and B movie Actor who bullshitted his way into the US Presidency –  successfully brought angry white working-class Democrats over to the patrician Republican Party of plutocrats, exploiting their racist resentment of the Democrats role in passing Civil Rights legislation and convincing them to vote against their economic interests, I have warned that the Republican Party was the servant of wealthy private interests and didn’t give a damn about the public interests! Which is to say, they did not care about the fate of the working class except as a means of expanding their share of the electorate.

I pointed to their hostility toward labor unions – which are responsible for the wages and benefits that allowed these people to gain a middle class life style – and their constant tax cuts for the super-rich, which amounts to a reverse Robin Hood syndrome of robbing the poor to make the rich even richer, as unimpeachable evidence for my claim. But even so, the Republican elite did NOT want Donald Trump to represent their party. All the members of the “Lincoln Project,” the intelligentsia of the “Grand Old Party,” have quit the Republican Party since Trump’s election. However, even the top elected officials of the party that contested for the Republican nomination in the last presidential election, described Trump in quite candid terms as an amoral, ignorant, corrupt clown.

But Trump captured the allegiance of the Republican “base,” which comprises quite a few former “Reagan Democrats,” and his opponents who once spoke the unvarnished truth about this megalomaniacal Big Apple Bunko Artist, all began to bow down and adopt a permanent lips to posterior posture. Since then they have behaved as if their heads were buried so far up Trump’s rump they apparently failed to see, or just refused to acknowledge, that the corrupt abuse of power by Dirty Donald was endangering the existence of our popular constitutional democracy.

However, the murderous attack on the nation’s capitol, the great house of the people, have reminded us all that they had pegged him right in the beginning. Yet in their corrupt quest for power. they ignored their own warnings when it became politically advantageous to do so. By their hypocritical actions, the leadership of the GOP – GRAND OBSTRUCTIONIST PARTY – has disgraced themselves and dishonored their vows to “Defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.”

Alas, the former “Grand Old Party,” a party that came into existence during a time of national turmoil, of “irrepressible Conflict” between different political factions in the 19th century, that led the fight to defeat a treasonous insurrection of rich southern slaveholders aided by their white trash pawns, has now become the party of treason and insurrection under Dirty Donald Trump!  It is a tragic historical episode recast as contemporary tragi/comic farce.

Charlatans and scoundrels all, Republican leaders have shown the world that when it comes to protecting American democracy, their allegiance is dictated by expedience! Just listen to the things leading Republicans, many of whom collaspsed like lawn chairs when the national interests, that they had sworn to uphold, required that they stand up to this home grown American Fascist!

Check them out on this video, then compare it to their genuflection to the cult of Trump, and you will have a poignant portrait of just how far these Republican leaders have fallen. And it will become apparent, even to the casual observer of politics, how their corruption has contributed mightily to the present crisis.


 To View the Evidence See


Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York,


Posted in On Donald Trump with tags , , on December 24, 2020 by playthell


Puppet and Puppeteer

Malcolm Nance Explains Dirty Donald’s Treasonous Behavior


                                    Malcolm Nance on active duty. 

I am a great admirer of expertise, knowing what you are talking about, an invaluable asset that has been under assault for some years now. Alas, the celebration and elevation of ignorance has reached crisis proportions with the advent of the internet and “social media.” With the rise of websites where anybody can express an opinion on complex current events, even pretend to be an authoritative source on these issues, despite being unable to distinguish their rectum from a hole in the ground…metaphorically speaking, our public discourse, the life’s blood of popular democracy, has degenerated into a tower of babble!

Although in theory having a worldwide forum – that’s what www means, “World Wide Web” – where anyone can speak their mind, is the apex of ‘popular democracy” in action, alas bitter experience has now demonstrated that this is a double-edged sword. And the liabilities may well outweigh the benefits. For what we have is an unmediated forum where damned lies masquerade as essential truth, and wise men are routinely subjected to the interrogations of bumptious fools and pugnacious ignoramuses!

Alas, time will tell whether the rise of social media is a good or a bad thing in general, but I know from personal experience that in the hands of smart, principled, public spirited people it is a powerful weapon in the fight for what’s right. It has been indispensable to my work; giving me a medium to publish my “Commentaries On The Times” world-wide. And I have readers around the globe to prove that my ideas are getting into conversations far and wide.

However I am an award winning professional journalist who has held professorships in history and journalism. (See: who is very careful about the FACTS! When I post an article I employ the same journalist standards that guided my work in the Sunday Times of London, the Manchester/London Guardian, the Village Voice, New York Daily News, et al. Furthermore, I understand far better than most journalists that I am WRITING A FIRST DRAFT OF HISTORY!

In other words, I am not only writing to inform people in this moment; I am also writing for posterity! I know that 100 years hence – if the Homo Sapien species does not destroy itself in a nuclear holocaust, or by human promoted global warming, or protracted pandemic plagues – my Commentaries will be welcomed by historians studying these troubled times. If only because it was written by AN INDEPENDENT BLACK PUBLIC INTELLECTUAL WHOSE COMMENTARY IS UNMEDIATED BY WHITE EDITORS OR CENSORS!

Malcolm Nance, the Brother who is interviewed in this video, is an unusual black man. He is a professional spy who has come out from the murky world of Counter-Intelligence, to tell us what he knows from 30 years of intelligence work on the highest levels. He was the first to call out and explain the Russian interference in the 2016 election that put Dirty Donald Treasonous Trump in the Oval office. He published a book titled: “The Hacking of America,” in which he gave the first comprehensive explanation of who done what to the American public. Now he has written another book titled “THE PLOT TO BETRAY AMERICA,” in which he offers an explanation of why Dirty Donald acts like Putin’s Pussy and provides a motive for TREASON!!!!

I think it altogether fitting and proper to point out that  Brother Nance and I have led very different lives, except for a brief period in my youth when I served in the US Strategic Air Command, on a nuclear strike base whose mission was the destruction of the Soviet Union with atomic weapons. I was assigned to a unit tasked with preventing Russian spies and saboteurs from penetrating our nuclear weapons systems, a job that required a TOP SECRET security clearance. Which means that I was privy to US nuclear war fighting plans. Hence when Nance talks about the constant orientations, he received on how to detect when you were being “worked” or “recruited” by Russian intelligence agents is very familiar to me because I received the same orientations.

However, once I left the military, I joined the “Ban the Bomb” movement and became a vocal advocate for NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT! I believe the very possession of nuclear weapons is a colossal crime against humanity – especially in this cyber age when nuclear weapons systems can be accessed online and are therefore vulnerable to hackers. Some of whom hold apocalyptic religious beliefs and want to hasten the end of this world.

I also became an ardent foe of western imperialism, which promotes white supremacy world-wide. This was a normal progression for me because, unlike Nance, I was an activists in the Civil Rights Movement whose objective was dismantling the racial caste system that was the foundation of White Supremacy in the US.  Hence, I often found myself opposed to the imperialist policies of the American empire. Malcolm Nance was a soldier of the empire, who based upon his telling of his family’s  military history seems to have been born to the role.

Generations of the men in my family also served in the US Military, as enlisted men and officers, from my grandfather Master Sargent Walter Bellamy Sr. – who is buried in a gleaming white hero’s grave in the National Cemetery at St. Augustine Florida, to First Lieutenant James Strawder Sr. the first black combat officer in the Pacific Theater and came home with battle decorations.  But they returned to civilian life at the end of the two World Wars and added their voices and myriad personal actions to the resistance against white supremacy.

Now Malcolm Nance is employing the lessons he learned as a military spy to help us identify THE TRAITOR IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!! In this effort we are comrades.  It is a perfect example of what Vladimir Lenin meant when he coined the phrase: “POLITICS MAKE STRANGE BEDFELLOWS!”


Check out brother Nance,  SEE: “THE PLOT TO BETRAY AMERICA” at


Playthell George Benjamin
Harlem, New York
Christmas Eve, 2020


Posted in Music Reviews, You Tube Classics with tags , , on December 13, 2020 by playthell
One of the brightest moments of my youth was when I came home from school on my 16 BIRTHDAY and found a set of white mother of pearl drums with Zyljan cymbals exactly like those played by the great Max Roach! They were a gift from my Aunt Marie, a classically trained pianist, organist, choir master and certified music teacher who taught music privately and in the public schools go 50.years. Along with the “Negro Spirituals,” her curriculum consisted of mostly European Classical concert music.
However she also loved the music of Ragtime, Stride and Boogie Woogie pianists such as Scott Joplin, Hubie Blake, James P. Johnson, “Fats: Waller; Mead Lux Lewis, et al. And would play them right beside Bach and Beethoven. Her brother, my grandfather the legendary Walter ” Big Nang” Bellamy, was also a pianist and band leader, of whom she would say:” I have the training but Nang has the gift.” She loved all great music and musicians, thus she understood my reverence for the great Max Roach.
Along with her sister, Aunt Rosa, they encouraged me in every worthy endeavor in which I expressed an interest. An English teacher who introduced me to the plays and poems of “The Bard of Avon,” taught me the art of oratory, and gave me beautiful books on every subject on which I showed an interest – from horses to physics – Aunt Rosa is the principle reason that I became a professor of history and journalism, an able orator, award winning journalist and a published Shakespeare critic.
And Aunt Marie is the reason I became a drummer, band leader and widely published music critic. Although I ended up playing conga drums rather than the jazz set, which was my original ambition. However it was because of Max that I became attracted to the drum kit, and also the reason why I quit!
When Aunt Marie gifted me with a replica of Max Roach’s drum set it was a surreal experience, because Max was a God like figure to me! He was everything I aspired to be: Elegant of style and manner, a man’s man and a ladies man, the epitome of hip, a paragon of cool, and the greatest drummer in the world!  When I first heard him play I was a fledgling trumpet player in our school band who was strongly attracted to the drums. A hip young band master and music teacher told us one day in “Music Appreciation” class, that he was going to introduce us to ” the greatest quintet in modern western music!”
Then he put on an album of the Max Roach Quintet featuring Clifford Brown ” Live at Newport.” Although that was over 60 years ago, I can still remember the cuts he played: “Move” and “Delilah.” I had two reactions. After hearing the sonic alchemy of “Sweet” Clifford Brown, I PUT THE TRUMPET DOWN! But after hearing the majestic poly-rhythmic thunder of Max Roach’s drumming, I was smitten by the drums. It was a transcendent sound that lifted my spirit up…and it never came down!
However just a couple of years after my Aunt Marie gifted me the drum kit, I went off to Florida A&M and got involved in the black student Sit-in Movement that swept the south in the spring of 1960, sparked by the courageous students at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro. My commitment to the Black Liberation Movement as the 1960’s unfolded became all consuming, and I recognized the I had to make a choice between activism or striving to become a great musician like my idol Max Roach, a once in a century artist who, like Charlie “Yardbird” Parker with whom he collaborated, greatly expanded the possibilities of his art.  Nobody had ever played the drum kit like Max; a true innovator.
I chose the movement, and devoted myself to the enormous amount of study it required in order to make an important contribution to that great struggle. So I stopped playing.  However, Max would again emerge as a culture hero and inspiration to me when he became a founder and leading figure in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960’s that TRANSFORMED the vision and aspirations of black artists and challenged them to commit themselves to the liberation struggle.
There are several versions regarding the origins of the Black Arts Movement – a transformational event which one could argue was a rebirth and detention of the Harlem Renaissance that flowered four decades earlier during the 1920’s.  However the true birthplace of the BAM was the founding of the “AFRICAN JAZZ ART SOCIETY in 1958 by artists and photographer, Cecil and Ronnie Brathwaite – who metamorphosed into Elombe and Kwame, Max Roach, and his beautiful multi-talented wife Abby Lincoln – singer, songwriter and actress. The album the produced together, “WE INSIST: FREEDOM NOW!”* became the sound track for the Black Liberation Movement.” I can say these things with unimpeachable authority BECAUSE I WAS AN EYE WITNESS TO IT ALL!!!
Hence even after I had abandoned my musical ambitions Max Roach remained a great hero and inspiration to me. During the 1960’s I got to know and became great friends with my boyhood hero. The high points of our relationship was when I got to play Conga’s in a performance with his band in Philly, and we brought down the house on Dizzy Gillespie’s famous tune, “A NIGHT IN TUNISIA.” And the apex was when we appointed Max to a FULL PROFESSORSHIP of Jazz Studies in the WEB Dubois Department of Black Studies, of which I was a founder at U-Mass Amherst. It was as if the Gods and the noble Ancestors had competed the circle of Destiny.
In the photograph above, shot by Ed Cohen, a great Amherst photographer, whose prolific portraits of Jazz musicians are a PRICELESS TREASURE TROVE! I was offering a libation to Max’s memory along with a spoken word eulogy I presented, in a Tribute held in Max’s native home, Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, after the master musician, great man, and indefatigable cultural warrior, had recently danced and joined the ANCESTORS. ACHE!

We Insist!  Freedom Now

The Background Sound of the Black Revolution!
Such Sweet Thunder!
(69) Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite – YouTube
Great Artist Conjure Sonic Alchemy

A Blast From Our Cultural Past!

Posted in Cultural Matters, Film Criticism, Movie Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , on November 27, 2020 by playthell

Spike Lee and the Malcolm X Movie Mess

A reprint from 1991

“We know we can’t satisfy everybody’s vision of Malcolm X. He has achieved mythic proportions …but we knew going into it that we’d have that problem,” said Spike Lee about his current work-in-progress, then he declared his intention “to be as honest as possible” and “to make a great film.” But in tackling this project Spike has not only undertaken a monumental artistic task, he has also waded into troubled political waters.

It will be hard enough to capture Malcolm’s complex personality and the epic tale that is his life story within the scope of a single feature film. But that may turn out to be the easy part. For around this film all the prickly questions of the relationship of politics and art have already begun to swirl. Given a decent script, I have no doubt that Denzel Washington will resurrect that warm charm and sunny smile, biting sarcasm, regal bearing, fearless posture and verbal virtuosity that combined to form the alchemy of Malcolm’s persona. But Spike will have to negotiate myriad hurdles-artistic and political-before the Malcolm X story reaches theaters.

This is not the first attempt to project the amazing life of Malcolm X onto the silver screen. All the other attempts failed. And they all faltered attempting to produce a .workable script that would satisfy the decision makers who could green light the project. Some distinguished names are associated with this history of failure, which extends over a period of 20 years. In 1967 film producer Marvin Worth acquired the rights to The Autobiography of Malcolm X, co-authored with Alex Haley, from Malcolm’s widow, Betty Shabazz, now an administrator at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, N.Y. Worth commissioned the distinguished Afro-American novelist James Baldwin to write the script.

On the face of it, this was an excellent choice. For not only did Baldwin know Malcolm personally, he was also deeply committed to the black liberation struggle. However, after a year of livin’ large in Tinseltown at studio expense, he failed to come up with a usable and finished script. Two other novelists tried their hand at it and failed: David Bradley, a black college professor and author of the celebrated novel The Chaneysville Incident, and Calder Willingham author of the novel Eternal Fire. Two Pulitzer prize-winning dramatists also bit the dust trying to produce a viable script: Charles Fuller and David Mamet.

Fuller, a product of the sixties Black Arts Movement, was significantly influenced-like most of us of that generation-by the example of Malcolm X. So there can be no doubt that he took his task to heart. A brilliant playwright who has taken us on marvelous excursions into the soul of African American culture, he seemed destined for the project. But alas, zilch. After Fuller wrote the script, director Norman Jewison, with whom Fuller had collaborated on the Academy Award-nominated film version of his Pulitzer prize-winning’ play, A Soldier’s Play, abandoned the project.

Jewison told Mother Jones, “If I knew how to do it, I would move heaven and high water tomorrow to do it. The man’s an enigma to me. I just haven’t licked it. I know Spike Lee wants to get involved, and, at the moment, I would encourage him to do it because the film should be made.” As for Charlie Fuller, he ain’t talkin’. So perhaps we’ll never know what really went down with the script. And David Mamet, the much acclaimed white playwright, met a similar fate after writing a script that • director Sidney Lumet described as having a “breathtaking sweep and extraordinary language.” But perhaps its untimely death was the best fate, because Lumet had planned to cast Richard Pryor in the lead role. That would have been a travesty, for while Pryor is an extraordinary performer, he does not posses either the physical stature or the resources as a mature dramatic actor to play Malcolm X.

So if Malcolm’s story is going to reach the screen anytime soon, in a fashion that will do him proud, it looks as if Spike is going to have to do it. Whereas all the other writers have chosen to start from scratch, Spike is rewriting the James Baldwin script which had been completed by Arnold Perl. I thought it was a great script except for the last third-because a lot of history about Malcolm’s assassination has come out since it was completed.” But even with the Baldwin/Perl script as a foundation, Spike will have his work cut out for him.

First of all, there is the question of a suitable length. Everyone who has worked on this project agrees that the normal two and a half hours allotted for most feature films will not suffice. And while the question of length involves aesthetics, in Malcolm’s story it is also political. It is difficult to imagine a situation where the competing claims of politics and aesthetics impinge upon the creative process as much as in the present film. One film pundit confided, “If Spike makes this film anything less than four hours long he’s doomed.” Another assured me, “It can’t be done in one movie. The only way you can tell Malcolm’s story effectively is with two movies of about three hours and ten minutes each.”

But Spike is tightlipped about the length; all he is saying is, “I will have final cut-It’s an epic story.” An epic story indeed, for Malcolm X’s life symbolizes the triumph of the African American spirit over the crippling experience of racial caste oppression. It is also a metaphor for the American Dream: the rise from poverty to prominence. Hence it is a quintessentially American story that embodies as much of Americana as the music of Duke Ellington. Neither of these phenomena could have happened anywhere else in the world. As the premier American promoter and great bullshit artist Don King would say, “Only in America.”

The story of Malcolm X begins with a working class black family in Lansing, Mich., where the father-a militant black nationalist and Garveyite preacher-is mysteriously killed by a trolley car. The mother, a West Indian immigrant who could pass for white, is driven mad while Malcolm is still a child. The family is fragmented and Malcolm ends up years later as a Harlem hipster who only wants to snort nose candy, rag down in fly zoot suits and lindyhop his ass off at the Savoy Ballroom and other dance emporiums.

He has a strange sadomasochistic love affair with a beautiful Boston white girl whose folks are holding grand-theft dough. He later goes to jail, after participating in a variety of criminal activities, and in yet another incarnation emerges from his dungeon as Malcolm X, the most devoted and inspired disciple of Elijah Muhammad, the founder of the Nation of Islam. As the chief spokesman for the Nation, Malcolm becomes one of the most influential charismatic revivalists of the turbulent sixties. Like Othello’s, his is a hell of a story.

No one understands the magnitude of the task of telling Malcolm’s story more than Spike Lee, who has said, “Everybody else who’s working on this film-if they don’t think this is the most important film in the history of cinema, I don’t want them on it.” Spike is gping all out to bring forth a film that will be distinguished by its fidelity to Malcolm’s life and times. Aside from Malcolm’s autobiography, Spike is reviewing journalistic accounts from the sixties, reading Malcolm’s speeches, watching TV clips and, most of all, interviewing family, friends and associates.

Among those he has personally interviewed is Minister Louis Farrakhan. This is a critical interview, because Farrakhan and Malcolm were as tight as Dick’s hat band during the crucial years of Malcolm’s ministry in the Nation of Islam. And beyond that, Farrakhan, although never linked to the shooting, in the minds of many people who lived through that era, was implicated in Malcolm’s assassination. This question continues to dog Farrakhan, and it came up in an interview conducted by EMERGE(see August 1990).

Farrakhan burst into tears when confronted with a clipping from Muhammad Speaks, in which he seems to be calling for Malcolm’s demise because he was a traitor to the Nation of Islam. By his account, Spike did not fudge the issue when he spoke with Farrakhan. “I showed him the paper clippings from Muhammad Speaks, where his comments suggested Malcolm ought to be killed,” said Spike of his meeting with Farrakhan in Chicago.

He frankly admitted his role in creating the conditions of hostility leading to Malcolm’s assassination and said, ”It was the climate of the times. I would do it differently if I had to do it over again.” But interestingly enough, it was not his own image that caused Farrakhan concern. ”He was most concerned about how the Honorable Elijah Muhammad would be portrayed,” said Spike. ”But Minister Farrakhan did not ask to see the script or anything. He just said, ‘Listen to everybody’s truth Spike, pray, and then come up with your own truth.'”

The greatest danger to the realization of this film has to do with neither art nor commerce but with politics, intergroup and intragroup politics. On the one hand there is the age-old struggle of African Americans to control their image in the mass culture and on the other, there is the fight for artistic autonomy from those in-group political factions that would make creative endeavors subservient to the demands of politics.

The fight waged by Afro-Americans to control their own image goes back to the 18th century, when Benjamin Banneker-scientist and writer-was forced to challenge and debunk Thomas Jefferson’s racist ruminations on black people by word and deed. This resistance grew throughout the 19th century and manifested itself in a steady stream of written and spoken polemics, political struggle, art, music, dance and finally, musical theater.

One could argue that history was a major impetus to the rise of a native Afro-American musical theater that produced works like Chlorindy: The Origin of the Cake Walk, by the Paul Laurence Dunbar and composer Will Marion Cook, or In Abbyssinia , a musical review by Bob Cole, J. Rosamond Johnson,  and his brother James Weldon Johnson. “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a multi-stanza art song popularly known as the ”Black National Anthem,” by James Weldon Johnson and his J. Rosamond Johnson.

Afro-American film historian Donald Bogle, the premier authority on blacks in American movies, concluded, “American films are still dominated by stereotypes and distortions. And the history of blacks in films remains one in which individual actors and actresses have often had to direct themselves; rather than playing characters, they have often had to play against their roles.”

The first black character in American movies appeared in the 1903 silent film Uncle Tom’s Cabin, based on the 19th century novel of the same title. But as Bogle points out, “The great paradox was that in actuality Torn was not black at all. Instead he was portrayed by a nameless, slightly overweight white actor made up in black face.” And he offers this analysis of the evolution of the Afro-American image on the silver screen: “After the Torn’s debut, there appeared a variety of black presences bearing the fanciful names of the coon, the tragic mulatto, the mammy, and the brutal black buck. All were character types used for the same effect: to entertain by stressing Negro inferiority.”

Bogle argues that these archetypes survived into the 1980s and says, of the white American films of the last decade that, “the 1980s might be viewed as the age of the hybrid stereotype: a time when major stars played characters who were sometimes part coon/part buck, sometimes part coon/part mammy. Then, too, black men frequently found themselves de-sexed, rarely permitted romantic roles. Women had few major parts.”

The fabulous flowering of the first authentic Afro- American cinema was sparked by the achievements of one young man: Spike Lee. Like trumpeter Wynton Marsalis-who has almost single-handedly inspired a renaissance in classical acoustic jazz-Spike is the father of the contemporary black film movement. In his five films that have made it to theater screens, he has given us a fascinating portrait of Afro-American life. From the outset, Spike has sought to bring artistic values to black cinema. Hence, we have an array of vigorous and varied black characters that run the gamut from sophisticated cosmopolites to uncouth ghetto fools. He has explored important topics previously ignored in American movies and brought African American art music, i.e., jazz, to the sound tracks of his films, thus introducing it to new audiences around the world.

And while Spike has not always succeeded in his creative efforts, I agree with Bogle’s assessment of his contribution, that “the director’s style (and his refusal to make a formula picture) proved fresh and original.” She’s Gatta Have It “was a true rarity; a black film with a black sensibility.” However, this assessment is not shared by some members of the black community.

Some even accuse Spike of subverting black culture, distorting the history of the black liberation movement, and just generally calling us out of our names. Some of the charges that are now being leveled at Spike, by people who oppose his efforts to make the Malcolm X film, are equivalent to calling him a charlatan or an ignoramus. Most offensive in this regard is Amiri Baraka, ne LeRoi Jones, the aging sixties radical, who recently showed up . at Spike’s door and presented him with a letter stating his concerns about how Spike would handle Malcolm’s story. “We were holding a meeting at the time,” said Spike. “So, I just accepted the letter and told him I would read it.”  But before he could respond, Baraka went public.

Railing against Spike at a Harlem rally on August 3, Baraka exhorted a crowd of about 200 listeners not to let Malcolm X’s life “be trashed to make middle-class Negroes sleep easier.” He also announced that he had come “to bring the issue of Mr. Lee’s exploitation film to the masses.” However, some observers who have worked with Baraka in the past and know him well, are skeptical about what motivated this latest outburst. Dr. Maulana (Ron) Karenga, whose Kawaida philosophy Baraka once passionately embraced and then denounced-along with Karenga himself-when he converted to Marxism, thinks: “LeRoi Jones is just trying to call attention to himself, get a little free publicity.”

And writer Greg Tate takes a similar view: “Baraka is just jealous because he’s no longer getting the kind of attention he used to get. Spike has the ear of the people, and he doesn’t anymore, and I believe he can’t stand it. He seems to hate any young black person who is successful.” One irony is that Spike has collaborated on three books, all associated with the release of his films, with Lisa Jones, who is Baraka’s bi-racial daughter by his first marriage.

But whatever motivated Baraka to launch this bitter and ill-conceived attack on Spike, his speech up in Harlem suggests that he is losing his grip on reality. After all, he denounces the black middle class, while just retiring from a protracted war with Rutgers over tenure demands. And what, pray tell, is more bourgeois than a tenured professor at a major white university? And the 200 or so curious onlookers hardly constituted the African American “masses.”

Indeed, this appears to be the rhetoric of a sadly deluded man. And it is not the worst of it; there are other aspects of Baraka’s behavior regarding the role of Spike Lee as a filmmaker that are troubling. For instance, when Baraka appeared on my radio show over WBAl on July 30, he argued that Spike was part of a conspiracy to trash and discredit the Black Liberation Movement of the sixties and subvert the black cultural revolution, a phenomenon he never defined. As proof of Spike’s evil intentions, Baraka pointed out that Spike had refused to publish his critical treatise on Spike’s movies in his recent anthology Five For Five (Stewart, Tabori & Chang). And he said of Spike, “There is a retrograde trend to people here who are being aggrandized based on the fact of their opposing the historical struggles of black people, and I see Spike Lee as one of those. I don’t see where his films have supported the Black Movement.”

This attack was bad enough, but when I read Baraka’s essay “Spike Lee at the Movies,” I knew why Lee didn’t publish it. A vulgar Marxist tract, handicapped by leaden prose and anachronistic ideas, it reads like the ranting of a religious devotee who has flipped his wig. Coming from the pen of one of the most important writers to emerge from the sixties Black Arts Movement, it is a sad and alarming document that is distinguished by a total absence of original thought.

Baraka’s essay is riddled with Marxist cliches and sloganeering which often substitute for thoughtful analysis. For instance, Spike’s innovative and artistic low-budget satire on male-female relations, She’s Gotta Have It, was “tied to an ingenuous bourgeois feminism. (It’s best defense.) The ‘turn-around’ Nola practices, as equality, is still not correct. Revenge, perhaps, but here an entitlement of her philosophical freedom.” Then he tells us why the film is finally unrighteous: “Womanizing among men is negative and needs to be opposed. Manizing by ‘free’ women is normal bourgeois society.”

The fact that Baraka can only perceive Spike’s sexy, stylish and riotously funny film in such morose terms exposes this self-proclaimed revolutionary as a closet puritan. But Ishmael Reed, a novelist poet and essayist of extraordinary intellect and imagination, who is attacked along with Ralph Ellison in Baraka’s cliche-ridden diatribe, has Baraka’s number on this issue: “His remarks about Spike Lee just reinforce the stereotype that the black intelligentsia slavishly devouring intellectual scraps that are thrown out from the academic big house. They seem to always be behind the trends. Marxism, as an economic theory, is being abandoned all over the world. They are still writing essays that use the language of deconstruction when this theory is being abandoned. They still think phenomenology is hip. If Baraka doesn’t like Spike’s films, he should make his own.”

Spike concurs with Ishmael’s view: “With all the problems that plague black people, why are they attacking me? Baraka is full of shit. “When Malcolm was alive, I was a little kid but Baraka was a grown man. And what was he doing? He was running around the Village with Allen Ginsberg being a beatnik. He didn’t even move uptown to Harlem until after Malcolm was assassinated! I don’t tell Baraka what to write in his books, and he can’t tell me what to say in my films.”

However, Baraka is not alone in his skepticism about Spike’s intentions for Malcolm’s story. A pamphlet issued by the hastily formed United Front to Preserve the Legacy of Malcolm X and the Cultural Revolution echoes many of the questions raised in Baraka’s essay. In fact, much of it reads as if written by Baraka, whose name is prominently displayed in it. The United Front is largely composed of middle-aged political activists, many of whom knew Malcolm X. Its purpose is to further ,Political objectives. But Spike Lee, and all artists, must fervently resist any effort to reduce them to nothing more than vehicles for political propaganda. For this possibility poses a far greater danger to the future of African American culture than any honest mistake Spike might make in telling Malcolm’s story. In a work of art, the vision of the artist must be paramount.


Playthell G. Benjamin

Reprinted from Emerge Magazine

November Issue, 1991