Black People : JOHNNY OTIS...

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Isaiah, May 18, 2006.

  1. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Peops, this is probably a pretty controversial piece to bring to this board of Black Nationalists, but I thought I'd present it to get your take on this real live person, who seemingly refutes a great many of our claims by individual Whites... I am clear he does not represent Whites on the whole, but in one individual who was so influenced by OUR INFLUENCE that he no longer thinks of himself as WHITE... He married an African woman after having grown up in our neighborhoods, and LEARNED our culture, and so fully ADOPTED it as his own, that he no longer regards himself as a White man... Here is a smidgeon of his story, which was gathered from his website:



    Johnny Otis was born December 28, 1921 in Vallejo, California. He grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood in Berkeley, California, where his father owned and operated a neighborhood grocery store. He began his musical career in 1939 as a drummer with Count Otis Matthew's West Oakland House Rockers. In 1943, at the recommendation of Nat "King" Cole and Jimmy Witherspoon, he moved to Los Angeles to join Harlan Leonard's Kansas City Rockets at the Club Alabam. By 1945 he was leading his own band, and had his first big hit that year with "Harlem Nocturne". In 1948 he joined with Bardu and Tila Ali, and Johnny Miller to open The Barrelhouse in Los Angeles, which was the first nightclub to feature Rhythm & Blues exclusively. In 1950 he had ten songs that made the Top 10 on Billboard Magazine's Best Selling Retail Rhythm & Blues Records list. With this success, he went on the road with his California Rhythm & Blues Caravan, and became the hottest musical attraction in black America. In the early 1950's, remaining active as a writer, performer, and producer, Johnny began a radio career and became one of the most popular disc jockeys in southern California. His career in radio has now spanned almost 50 years. His early radio broadcast success led to a weekly variety show on television. "The Johnny Otis Show" was on TV in Los Angeles for eight years.
    Johnny Otis discovered many legendary Rhythm and Blues singers such as Esther Phillips, Willie Mae "Big Momma" Thornton, Etta James, and the Robins (who later evolved into the Coasters), all of whom were at one time featured vocalists in his band. He also discovered Sugar Pie DeSanto, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, Jackie Wilson, and Little Willie John. He produced, and with his band played on the original recording of "Hound Dog" with "Big Momma" Thornton. He produced and played on Johnny Ace's "Pledging My Love", and produced some of Little Richard's earliest recordings. On his own Blues Spectrum lable, Johnny has recorded and played with Rhythm & Blues pioneers such as Big Joe Turner, Gatemouth Moore, Amos Milburne, Richard Berry, Joe Liggins, Roy Milton, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Charles Brown, and Louis Jordan. Johnny played the drums on Charles Brown's first major hit "Driftin' Blues" in 1946. He also recorded with Illinois Jacquet, and Lester Young. One of the many highlights of his long career was when he performed as a drummer with the great Count Basie Orchestra.


    In the 1960's Johnny served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Mervin Dymally, whose career he followed from the State Assembly, State Senate, Lieutenant Governorship of California, to the U.S. Congress. His first book "Listen To The Lambs", which addressed the 1965 race riots was published in 1968. His next book, "Upside Your Head! Rhythm & Blues on Central Avenue" was published in 1993. Many of his paintings, sculptures, and wood carvings are displayed in "Colors and Chords - The Art of Johnny Otis" which was published in 1995. His most recent book, "Johnny Otis - Red Beans & Rice and Other Rock 'n' Roll Recipes" was published in 1997.

    Johnny Otis's song writing credits include "Every Beat of My Heart", (a song he wrote originally for Jackie Wilson, but was made a hit by Gladys Knight and the Pips), "Roll With Me Henry", (also known as "The Wallflower"), "So Fine", "Willie and the Hand Jive" (which sold over 1.5 million copies), and many, many others.

    Johnny has been inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame, and into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The Archives of African American Music and Culture at the University of Indiana has cataloged hundreds of hours of his past radio shows for his interviews, comments, insights, and historical significance. Today he teaches a course for the University of California at Berkeley exploring the history of African American music titled "Jazz, Blues, & Popular Music in American Culture". He remains active in the recording studio where he is working on his latest album. His 1994 release "Spirit of the Black Territory Bands" on Arhoolie received a Grammy nomination. He is just as active today as a performer. The Johnny Otis Show appears regularly throughout the United States, as well as occasional appearances in other countries.


    http://www.johnnyotisworld.com/biography/index.html

    Your opinions...

    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  2. Blaklioness

    Blaklioness Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Right.....he was born a white man and remains one...as part of the current world power class, it isn't he who hands over his status--despite his affiliations, upbringing, or economic position.
     
  3. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I imagine in another 50 years or so we'll be hearing how Emininem worked on behalf of black people. BTW brother Isaiah, a little while ago you asked a question about WHITE PEOPLE, AND BLACK CULTURE BANDITRY:

    http://destee.com/forums/showthread.php?t=39816

    You've answered your own question!
     
  4. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    [email protected] PAN AFRICA!

    Yo, brother, I assure you that this cat is mad different than Eminem... I read his bio - the book - and you would be astonished some of the things he says about White People... I wasn't even sure the cat was white after reading the book - really... But, then, I understood before I posted this information that it was going to be a tad controversial among the faithful here... I don't ask that anyone actually accept this guy as a brother, per se, but understand that his story is possible, and is indeed, a reality...

    In other words, this cat happened, though he is most rare in America... So this isn't a "why can't we just accept ALL White Folks" plea at all... I am most aware of the danger of that, as well as the stupidity of that... Just saying that there is that rate needle in the haystack that sometimes broadens your vision of what is possible... BTW, Pan, do you ever listen to WBAI-PACIFICA radio??? There are a number of Whites at that station who belie all that we believe about whites, as they are pretty sincere in their condemnation of this society and the status quo... For example, Grandpa Al Lewis, who recently passed on, was a bodyguard for both Du Bois and Robeson... He was there on the day Robeson was attacked by an angry mob of whites in upstate NY, and helped spirit him out of town... Most of us think of the guy as Grandpa on the Munsters sit-com, but he was much more than that... If a guy like Mumia Abu Jamal will vouch for a man like that, then I can... Other than that, I understand you guys perspective...


    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  5. Bisabee

    Bisabee Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Brother, is this board ONLY for "Black Nationalists." BTW, I've heard that term thrown around for a bunch of years, but I need to know exactly what it means, so that I'll know whether I'm in the right place.

    If you're not sure what the term means, maybe someone else could explain? TY
     
  6. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Brother Isaiah, so far it seems as if your assessment last night was correct. I will not waste time and energy attempting to combat the conventional wisdom but shall choose to thank you for having the courage to post this thread. Johnny Otis has a community of Black folk in California who have mad love for Johnny-O because during my father's era he PROMOTED a large number of inner-city Black folks that were coming up and expressing a new form of music, ROCK & ROLL which was based on the Blues and because he was very influential in furthering the careers of Jimmy Witherspoon, Nat "King" Cole, Big Mama Thornton, Little Esther, Chuck Berry, Jesse Belvin, Laverne Baker, Dakota Staton, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Little Richard, the Coaster, the Penguins, the Orioles, the Teen Queens, the Shantells, Darlene Love, l
    Lala Brooks and countless others.
     
  7. MississippiRed

    MississippiRed Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Isaiah...my man 50grand...ain't that what yall NY cats say.... :) ....man I don't care what color Johnny Otis is dude is fire......I started to listen to his Saturday morning show on 94.1 up here in the bay he was live from Sebastapol this was back in 92, 93 ... played the real stuff and had much and I mean much Jazz knowledge man love that dude bruh......have you ever listened to his show check it ....http://www.kpfa.org/1pro_bio/1b_otis.htm
    didn't mean to bypass the idea behind the thread but you know how I am about my music and this cat was there know what I mean......anyway check that link and some of his shows out man you'll love it .....

    and to your point I think generalizing about any particular ethinc group or race or whatever you want to call it is dangerous....I try and it's extremely hard to do extremely but I do try to treat everyone the same until they show me I can't ......I try to be even handed with everyone I come in contact with and when they show me I can't be cool I'm on the move and that's regardless of race.....or whatever other label we want to use to describe folk.........


    MississippiRed
    I'm trying to go right but keep getting pulled left
     
  8. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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  9. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Brother O and Brother Sip, thanks for the support and the love on this subject... I concur that we can't drop all folks in the same barrel, though I understand our collective paranoia on the issue... Maybe this is a subject for the entertainment section(smile!)

    Thanks for the Links good brothers... Somehow I knew both of y'all'd be familiar with this guy, so I knew I wasn't all out there by myself... Maybe that's where my so-called "courage" comes in...(smile!)

    Now it's on to the Brother Ray and Nat King Cole threads...


    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  10. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sister BEE, in perfect simplicity, a Black Nationalist is a Black Person who wants to build a Black Nation... They believe in NATIONHOOD, and all that NATIONHOOD implies, for African Americans, and Africans in diaspora...

    For more complexity on the topic, I am sureSister BlackLioness or brothers Pan, Omowale, James, and others can provide that, or you can find some definitions on the web...

    No, this website is not just for Black Nationalist, but many are in the house... I perceive that it is they who might provide the counter-position to the one I took on this man, and his contributions to our community - which by the way, he is in every way, a part of, whether we like that, or not..(smile!)



    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
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