Category Archives: Issues



Lost In The Shuffle : Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown
“Little Miss Rhythm”

“This is the lady, take my word for it, who started it all. Wasn’t for Ruth Brown, there wouldn’t be no Aretha, wouldn’t be nobody. I’m here to tell you this lady is a true legend.” – Stevie Wonder

The Original Queen of R&B?

Little Richard, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder have all cited her as an influence, but have YOU ever heard of Ruth Brown? Unfortunately, I’d be surprised if you say you have! Before Beyonce, before Mary J. Blige and even before Etta James, the lovely and sassy, Ruth Brown (aka. Miss Rhythm) ruled America’s R&B and pop charts in the 50s. She was one of the first artists signed to Atlantic records and because of her multiple million-selling singles, such as “Teardrops from My Eyes”, “(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean” and “Lucky Lips”, the company was often referred to as, “the house that Ruth built!”

Brown’s career went into decline in the late 1960s, during which she left the industry to start a family and work as a domestic. Yes, you heard right, I said a domestic! She wasn’t receiving any royalties from the company she had helped to build and this lead to a battle between her and Atlantic for many years. Her career resurfaced in the 80s and she is probably best remembered by our generation for her role as “Motormouth Maybelle” in the original version of the John Waters directed cult classic, “Hairspray”. In 1993 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In researching some of my favorite artists such as Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Janis Joplin, there was one name that repeatedly came up, Ruth Brown. So I wanted to know more and I was left wondering how someone so influential could be so Unsung. Though her records still sell well globally, her name goes virtually unmentioned. Could it be because she chose to fight the company that abused her? Whatever the case, her story unfortunately isn’t unique in the industry. Another great artist lost in the shuffle…

Some follow up research so you’re sure to impress at your local indie music shop:
Tidbit: Ruth Brown is the aunt of Hip Hop Legend, Rakim.
Tracks you should hear: “I Don’t Know,” “5-10-15 hours” and
“Teardrops from My Eyes”
Contemporaries: Sam Cooke, Little Richard, Lavern Baker & Big Maybelle.

By Terrence Lathan aka IBelieveInMuzik

John Mayer + The White Chocolate Syndrome

I blame you, black people.

And before you start to organize your twitter campaign against me too,
I say that as a black man.

It’s our fault.

First off, what he said is not a racist comment. Anyone with 2/3 of a functioning brain can see that. We are so quick to throw out that race card. So quick to pre-judge before taking the time to fully understand the statement or action in question.

The man pointed out our own social contradictions. Why do we call it a “hood pass”? Are we really stating that all black people and thus our culture emanates from socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhood streets? Is that all we’ve attained? Have we not surpassed that?

And like I’ve stated before. It’s our fault. We bless these white men and women, whom we deem come close to embodying our creative spirit and identify with our culture with special recognition which insinuates certain privilege. We publicly endorse them as “getting it,” as being “just like us.” Hell before Barack, we called Clinton “our president.” But we’ll just as soon turn against them when they don’t mind their place. We’re promoting hypocrisy and creating confusion.

A similar thing happened with Eminem a few years back when we found out he really isn’t black either.

Black people, stop teasing these boys. You told Eminem, who grew up on the streets of Detroit, Michigan, made a name for himself by battle rapping, surrounded by black aggressive male culture, that he couldn’t say n***a (kids may be reading this) or speak about black women the way black men speak about black women? C’mon son!

I’m not saying we should overlook ignorant actions or bad decisions. But let the reaction equal the crime.

And as far as his second targeted statement from the interview:
John Mayer doesn’t date black women. (But didn’t we already know that already? Jessica, Jennifer… Just sayin.)
That is preference, natural attraction, or prejudice, depending on who you ask.
It is not racist.

This is racist:

Are we clear?

Good, because if anyone should be mad it should be Jessica Simpson.

& I thank you.

-Juan Pierre

And before you go, The Video: