Thursday, July 2, 2015

Black Acceptance Of Gay Rights & Video "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" by Sylvester

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases an excerpt from an online article urging Black people to join others in embracing and advocating for gay rights.

Information about Sylvester James, Jr. and a video of Slyvester's hit song "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" are also featured in this post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, sociological, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Brandon Ellington Patterson, the author of the showcased article, and thanks also to Sylvester James, Jr. for his musical legacy. Thanks also to all those quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of this video on Youtube.

From "Why You Can't Be Pro-Black and Homophobic at the Same Time" by Brandon Ellington Patterson, Jul. 2, 2015

Every chain must be broken if freedom is to be achieved for all black people.

..."Thirty-four percent of black transgender people live in extreme poverty—a rate three times that of black people as a whole and eight times that of the general US population. Homelessness is rife. Only 19 states have state-wide non-discrimination laws that cover both sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2013, two-thirds of all LGBT homicide victims were transgender women of color, while LGBT people are more likely to be subjected to hostility, brutality, and unjust arrest from police after reporting a crime against them. And forty-three percent of black gay youth have attempted suicide as a result of issues related to their sexual orientation.
Through anti-LGBT bigotry, we add to the marginalization of these black folk….

There is no caveat or asterisk on the phrase "Black Lives Matter." All black lives matter, not just the ones you are comfortable with. You cannot be pro-black if you oppress black people. And, more importantly, you cannot love all black people if you oppress black people. You do not mean "black lives matter" if you protest when an unarmed straight black man is killed by the police because they are black, but don't care about the the many transgender black women who have been murdered this year because they were trans.

If we are to liberate black people as a whole, then we must combat all forms of discrimination against black people, including anti-LGBT discrimination and that which we inflict upon them from within our own communities. The struggle must be multi-layered, just like the identities of black people. Every chain must be broken.

If black people do not come to grips with the homophobia and transphobia within our own communities, then all black people will never be free. That, indeed, would be a tragedy that we brought upon ourselves. I, for one, join the LGBT community—black LGBT people—in celebrating a milestone in their struggle for freedom."

"Sylvester James, Jr. (September 6, 1947 – December 16, 1988), better known as Sylvester, was an American disco and soul singer-songwriter. Known for his flamboyant and androgynous appearance, he was often described as a drag queen, although he repeatedly rejected such a description. Responsible for a string of hit singles in the late 1970s, Sylvester became known in the United States under the moniker of the "Queen of Disco."

Born in Watts, Los Angeles, Sylvester developed a love of singing through the gospel choirs of his Pentecostal church. Leaving the congregation after being persecuted for his homosexuality, he was an early founder of a group of black cross-dressers and trans women known as The Disquotays, who disbanded in 1970. Moving to San Francisco, he embraced the counterculture and joined drag troupe The Cockettes, eventually producing solo shows heavily influenced by female blues and jazz singers like Billie Holiday and Josephine Baker. During their critically panned tour of New York City, Sylvester left the Cockettes to focus on his solo career...

Gaining new backing singers in the form of Two Tons O' Fun and Jeanie Tracy, he obtained a recording contract with Harvey Fuqua of Fantasy Records. His first solo album, Sylvester (1977), was a moderate success, and was followed by acclaimed disco album Step II (1978), which spawned the hit singles "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" and "Dance (Disco Heat)." He recorded four more albums, including a live album, with Fantasy Records before signing to Megatone Records, the dance-oriented label founded by friend and collaborator Patrick Cowley, where he recorded four more albums, including the Cowley penned and produced hit Hi-NRG track "Do Ya Wanna Funk." An activist who campaigned against the spread of HIV/AIDS, Sylvester died from complications arising from the virus in 1988.

On September 20, 2004, Sylvester's anthem record, "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)," was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame. A year later, on September 19, 2005, Sylvester himself was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame for his achievement as an artist. His life has been recorded in a biography and made the subject of a documentary and a musical."

Sylvester - You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) - 1978

Lazaro Santos Published on Apr 6, 2013

Grande sucesso "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" gravado em 1978, faixa do álbum "Step II" (pela Fantasy Records), e que foi número 1 da Billboard club hits. Por Sylvester James (Los Angeles, 6 de setembro de 1947 - São Francisco, 16 de Dezembro de 1988).

Google Translate: from Portuguese to English:
Big hit "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" recorded in 1978, the album track "Step II" (by Fantasy Records), which was number one on the Billboard club hits. Sylvester James (Los Angeles, September 6, 1947 - San Francisco, December 16, 1988).
Click for the lyrics to this song.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

"Bad Mind People" - Jamaican Folk Song & The Wailer's Recording

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases the lyrics for the Jamaican folk song "Bad Mind People" (given without a standard American "translation") and a sound file of the Wailer's recording with that title (given without a transcription).

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the composer/s of this (or these) songs and thanks to the Wailers for their musical legacy. Thanks also to the transcriber of this folk song and the publishers of this sound file on YouTube.


Chorus: I don’t know, I don’t know why some people bad minded so

I don’t know, I don’t know why some people bad minded so
If you hol’ yuh head in de air dem sey you fasty and fresh me dear

And if yu friendly wid dem mi love, dem sey a dry yaws yu waan fi scrub

If yu got nuff money fe spen, dem sey a tief yu tief it an den,
If yu bruk and out a yu luck, dem sey a witless whey mek yu bruk

If yu single and by yu self, bad minded people sey yu pan shelf
And if yu married yu mek big catch, or else de two a oono no match

If yu fat an yu looking well, bad minded people sey yu da swell
An if yu maga and looking t’in, dey sey consumption a ride yu skin

If yu dress up and wear good clothes, bad minded people sey yu a pose
And if one day yu no change yu frok, dem call yu poting and naked back

If yu go church a Sunday time, dem sey a axe yu da try fe grind
And if yu stay home an take a rest, dem sey poor hypocrite im a confess

Chorus: I don’t know, I don’t know why some people bad minded so

I don’t know, I don’t know why some people bad minded so



The Wailers bad mind people live

solnascenteroot, Uploaded on Jul 26, 2009
This song is included on the album The Wailers Band - Majestic Warriors

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Names Given To New York City Newborns By Race In 2014 (with comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases lists (categorized by race & gender) of the top ten names that were given to newborns in New York City in 2014. Selected comments from that article about are also featured in this post.

Lists of the top ten males & female names for newborns born in United States in 2014 (from the social security administration, and from baby are also given in this post.

This post is part of an ongoing pancocojams series on names and nicknames that are given to Black people.

Click for Part II of this series.

Other pancocojams posts on names and nicknames can be found by clicking the tabs that are given below.

The content of this post is presented for sociological and cultural purposes.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

From "Here Are The Most Popular Baby Names In NYC" by Lauren Evans in News on Dec 29, 2014

1. Jayden
2. Jacob
3. Dylan
4. Matthew
5. Ethan
6. Daniel
7. Alexander
8. Angel
9. Noah
10. Mason

1. Ethan
2. Jayden
3. Aiden/Noah
4. Elijah
5. Joshua
6. Jeremiah
7. Amir
8. Mason
9. Josiah
10. Liam

1. David
2. Joseph
3. Michael
4. Moshe
5. Daniel
6. Benjamin
7. James
8. Jacob
9. Jack
10. Alexander

1. Jayden
2. Ethan
3. Ryan
4. Lucas
5. Aiden
6. Muhammad
7. Daniel
8. Eric
9. Jason
10. Liam


1. Isabella
2. Sophia
3. Mia
4. Sofia
5. Emily
6. Emma
7. Camila
8. Ashley
9. Leah
10. Samantha

1. Madison
2. London
3. Aaliyah
4. Ava
5. Chloe
6. Olivia
7. Taylor
8. Kayla
9. Serenity
10. Brielle

1. Olivia
2. Emma
3. Esther
4. Sophia
5. Sarah
6. Leah
7. Rachel
8. Chaya
9. Miriam
10. Ava/Chana

1. Sophia
2. Chloe
3. Olivia
4. Emily
5. Emma
6. Isabella
7. Angela
8. Mia
9. Grace
10. Zoe

From [Social Security Administration, USA]

Top 10 Baby Names for 2014 [USA]
1. Noah
2. Liam
3. Mason
4. Jacob
5. William
6. Ethan
7. Michael
8. Alexander
9. James
10. Daniel

1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Sophia
4. Isabella
5. Ava
6. Mia
7. Emily
8. Abigail
9. Madison
10. Charlotte
That website also provides options to find information regarding "Popular Names by Birth Year",
"Popularity of a [Particular] Name", and other data.

From by Beth Stebner NEW YORK DAILY NEWS / Tuesday, December 2, 2014,

[According to Baby]

10 most popular girl names of 2014

1. Sophia

2. Emma

3. Olivia

4. Ava

5. Isabella

6. Mia

7. Zoe

8. Lily

9. Emily

10. Madelyn

10 most popular boy names of 2014

1. Jackson

2. Aiden

3. Liam

4. Lucas

5. Noah

6. Mason

7. Ethan

8. Caden

9. Jacob

10. Logan

"According to, both names ["Jackson" and "Sophia"] gained traction in the early aughts and have skyrocketed since, with approximately 0.65% of new babies in America getting called Jackson and an astounding 1.5% of new little girls being named "Sophia."
According to the social security website whose link is given above, "Jackson" is the 17th ranked name for newborn boys in the USA in 2014. And, as noted in the list above, "Sophia" is the 3rd ranked name for newborn girls in the USA in 2014.

SELECTED COMMENTS FROM "Here Are The Most Popular Baby Names In NYC"

[Note: These are some of the comments that referred to the lists in general or to the "Black Names" lists. All of these comments are from December 1014]

WARNING: This article and some of the comments contain profanity.

"The names are way more homogeneous across races than I expected. Ashley and Emily are common hispanic names? Ethan, Aiden, and Liam are common black names? This is wild!"

ftotheyu > [reply to] RB
"I know... gone are the days where you can tell a person's race/ethnicity/national origin by their name.

Mikela123 > RB
"Those names are from Black Bougie parents who are trying to give their sons a fighting chance in the Employment arena."
"Bougie" is an African American word that comes from the word "bourgeoisie". That slang word usually means a person who is acting above their social class.

frenchbeans > Mikela123
"And that's bad?"

Mikela123 > frenchbeans
"Nope. I plan to be one of the Black bougie parents. But I swear if I see another Black mom naming her kid Madison I'll scream."

vegimitehandwich > Mikela123
"or any mom for that matter.

frenchbeans > Mikela123
"I understand. Sorry if I came across as rude. I think that as parents (especially parents of colour) we have to be careful what we name our children. Yes, it's good to be creative. On the flip side, we have to remember that someday, our children will be adults, and will have to date, apply for jobs and live with these names. I've always loved the names (for a girl) Lauren, Amy and April."

Walter Sobchak, Esq.
"Nothing particularly surprising with the exception (at least to me) of London a) being a popular name and b) being a popular girls name. If anything, I would expect that to be a boys name."

Sincerely > Walter Sobchak, Esq.
"You need to watch disney production "the suite life" as one female character is London Tipton. She is wealthy and non white."

Gentle Robot
"The health department needs to know your baby's [profanity deleted] race?"

Trilby16 > Gentle Robot
"Yeah. And I don't know how breaking out the names by race adds anything to the story. What are the top ten mixed race babies' names, huh?"

nicemarmot > Trilby16
"That's what I was wondering. My Chinese friend and his black American wife are having a baby, which race is the health department gonna shove that kid under?"

Walter Sobchak, Esq. > nicemarmot
"I think it is whatever the parents check off as opposed to what the Health Dept decides."

Mikela123 > Gentle Robot
"Anyone who works in Public Health knows there are strong correlations between many health disparities and race in NYC. Race and health are related across the country."

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

The Itch Dance Motions In Various African American Dances

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post presents information about and two video examples of the "Itch" dance motions that has been performed in various African American non-religious dances.

I'm interested in finding online comments of and/or videos of other examples of "the Itch" in African American dance and in other dances throughout the world.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, historical, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos, and all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

From "Jazz Dance: The Story of American Vernacular Dance" by
Marshall Winslow Stearns, ‎Jean Stearns [1968, page 27]
"A small but ubiquitous detail from another African dance has shown considerable power of survival. In Africa scratching is part of a dance to Legba, Guardian of the Crossroads who was identified with St. Peter by Negro folk in New Orleans because both are depicted carrying a bunch of keys. “Each went round and round in a circle” writes Melville and Francis Herskovitz of a Winti dance in Suriname, “arms crossed from time to time over his breast, the finger tugging at his clothes, as though scratching to relieve an itching sensation.”

This gesture became a standard routine known as the Itch in Negro dancing, accompanied by eccentric footwork. “Bull Frog Hop”, a song published in 1909 by Perry Bradford, describes the Itch as part of its routine, and the Butterbeans of the team Butterbeans and Susie used it in the teens to the tune of “Heebie Jeebies” as the climax of his vaudeville act. “I borrowed it from the great dancer named “Stringbeans” said Butterbeans.

The Itch is described by Elise Marcus as “a spasmodic placing of the hands all over the body in an agony of perfect rhythm.” It is the rhythm, of course, that makes the motions effective.

Other and later dancers adapted the Itch to suit their own purposes. Clarence “Dancing” Dotson who played the Keith circuit, combined elements of the Itch and the Quiver with singular effect to create what he announced as “Throwing A Fit”. James Barton’s “Mad Dog “ act also utilized the :Itch. By the late 1940s, at the Savoy Ballroom, the Itch was incorporated in the breakaway of the Lindy as part of the improvisation, and turned up again at the Palladium Ballroom in the fifties and sixties as an improvised addition to the Mambo. Indeed, the gesture has a universality that could lead to its appearance-with or without syncopated rhythms-almost anywhere."

From "Free To Dance": About The Film by Katrina Hazzard Donald
"African-American dance really early on is organized around a narrative, around the principles of the narrative. The dances were originally danced plays. When people dance in West Africa, it's organized and it has a purpose and it tells a story and it imparts principles. It imparts the norms of the society. It has a function, a high function. And that is not lost simply because we're transported a few thousand miles across the Atlantic a few hundred years into the future.

Early on, the African-American dances are danced narratives, danced plays. And of course, we see that retained right up through the 1930s and even today when African Americans organize embellishments to a dance -- for example, we'll be doing a basic dance step and then someone will throw in a hand movement or a turn, an embellishment, something to spruce up the dance, to make it more interesting, more exciting, to outdo their partner; those embellishments are drawn from the old dance narratives. Those embellishments are running commentaries on the basic dance movement itself. This is one of the principles that's used to create and organize African-American dances. We see it most clearly in the 1920s with the "Buzzard Lope," which, of course, had a caller on the side telling the story and someone patting the music and someone actually dancing out the narrative. And of course, we see some of that on the theatrical stage. When Bill T. Jones, for example, breaks into "The Itch," he is inserting that in the narrative of that dance. He is making a statement. He is pulling from the old smallpox dances of Africa in which scratching and itching was done to ward off the smallpox deity, to ward off the coming of the smallpox god.
This excerpt was reformmatted for this post. I also added italics to highlight that particular sentence.

Example #1: Charleston -- Original Al & Leon Style!!

Trickeration Uploaded on Aug 31, 2007

Al Minns & Leon James from the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem

Filmed during the 50s-60s
I believe that the dancers did a form of the Itch between 1:24 - 1:46 of this video.

Example #2: The Dlow Shuffle

Bop King Dlow, Published on Dec 5, 2013

BopKing Dlow Present's the "Dlow Shuffle!" WORLD PREMIER!!!!
The "Dlow Shuffle" is a version of the contemporary Hip-Hop dance called "the Bop".

An example of "the Itch" movements occur at 1:52-1:53 of this video to the lyrics “Now touch on yo' body like you need a sweater”
Click for the complete lyrics.

Thanks for visiting this post.

Visitor comments are welcome.