Tag Archives: roots

VH1 Docs Premieres: ‘Soul Train: The Hippest Trip In America’

Posted by: BuellBoy

Soul TrainFew television series were as innovative and influential to pop culture as “Soul Train.” Set first in Chicago, “Soul Train” launched on WCIU-TV with local radio and television personality, Don Cornelius on August 17, 1970. After moving the dance show to Los Angeles, “Soul Train” skyrocketed nationally and firmly secured its place in television by becoming the longest running, first-run syndicated series in history. To commemorate the show’s 40th anniversary, VH1 Rock Docs and Soul Train present “Soul Train: The Hippest Trip In America,” a monumental 90-minute documentary celebrating the show’s impact on pop culture, music, dance and fashion. The film will also feature a rare interview with Don Cornelius in which he reveals exclusive details regarding the launch and early days of the legendary series.

Host, Don Cornelius

Host, Don Cornelius

From 1970-2006, “Soul Train” offered a window into African American music and culture, and its charismatic host, Don Cornelius, was the man responsible for a new era in African American expression. A trained journalist, Don created a media empire that provided an outlet for record labels and advertisers to reach a new generation of music fans. He was and still is one of the first African Americans to own his own show. As the epitome of cool, many of his expressions entered the popular American lexicon: “A groove that will make you move real smooth,” and “Wishing you Love, Peace, and Soul!”

Terrence Howard

Terrence Howard

“Soul Train: The Hippest Trip In America” is narrated by Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard and features an original score by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of The Roots. The documentary includes memorable performances and moments from the show, as well as behind-the-scene stories from the people who lived the “Soul Train” movement, including the cast, crew, and dancers. In addition, popular musicians (Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Smokey Robinson, Snoop Dogg, Aretha Franklin), Sly Stone’s first exclusive documentary interview in years, comics (Cedric “The Entertainer,” Nick Cannon), music industry executives (L.A. Reid, Clive Davis, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff) and actors of yesterday and today will comment on growing up with the show and will share their stories of how “Soul Train” affected their own lives.

“Soul Train: The Hippest Trip In America” is the newest documentary in the Emmy Award-winning VH1 Rock Doc franchise. Coinciding with the start of Black History Month, the documentary airs Saturday, February 6 (9:30 p.m. ET) on VH1.

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Filed under African-Americans, Art, Culture, Dancing, Documentary, Entertainment, Fashion, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, History, Media and Entertainment, Music, Networks, News, Photography, Pop Culture, Technology, Television, TV Shows, Uncategorized, US, VH1, Video/YouTube, Women's Issues

Billionaire’s for Wealthcare: The Public Option Goes Broadway

billionaires for wealthcareBillionaires for Wealthcare is a grassroots network of health insurance CEOs, HMO lobbyists, talk-show hosts, and others profiting off of our broken health care system.

We’ll do whatever it takes to ensure another decade where your pain is our gain. After all, when it comes to health insurance, if we ain’t broke, why fix it?

AHIP is the powerful insurance lobby that spends 5 million dollars a week trying to kill health care reform. Billionaires for Wealthcare is a grassroots network looking to stop them – with song.

    • AHIP and other insurance and HMO interests spend nearly $5 million per week undermining real health care reform, including a public option.

    • AHIP has resorted to out-right lying and scare tactics to block health care reform. They sent letters that lie to seniors about what health care reform means for Medicare, and they issued a report on the costs of health care reform legislation that is so misleading even the reports embarrassed authors distanced themselves from the way AHIP used their work.

    • Every year, 45,000 people die because they cant get access to the health care they need. Yet AHIP continues to stand in the way of health care reform that would provide coverage to millions of Americans because the industry is more concerned with protecting profits than saving lives.

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In First Lady’s Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery

Posted by Audiegrl

Fraser Robinson III and his wife, Marian, with their children, Craig and Michelle, now the first lady.

Fraser Robinson III and his wife, Marian, with their children, Craig and Michelle, now the first lady.

New York Times/Rachel L. Swarns & Jodi Kantorr—In 1850, the elderly master of a South Carolina estate took pen in hand and painstakingly divided up his possessions. Among the spinning wheels, scythes, tablecloths and cattle that he bequeathed to his far-flung heirs was a 6-year-old slave girl valued soon afterward at $475.

In his will, she is described simply as the “negro girl Melvinia.” After his death, she was torn away from the people and places she knew and shipped to Georgia. While she was still a teenager, a white man would father her first-born son under circumstances lost in the passage of time.

michelle_obama2009-02-10-vogue_cover_2In the annals of American slavery, this painful story would be utterly unremarkable, save for one reason: This union, consummated some two years before the Civil War, represents the origins of a family line that would extend from rural Georgia, to Birmingham, Ala., to Chicago and, finally, to the White House.

Melvinia Shields, the enslaved and illiterate young girl, and the unknown white man who impregnated her are the great-great-great-grandparents of Michelle Obama, the First Lady.

michelle_obama22009-02-10-vogue_Viewed by many as a powerful symbol of black advancement, Mrs. Obama grew up with only a vague sense of her ancestry, aides and relatives said. During the presidential campaign, the family learned about one paternal great-great-grandfather, a former slave from South Carolina, but the rest of Mrs. Obama’s roots were a mystery.

Now the more complete map of Mrs. Obama’s ancestors — including the slave mother, white father and their biracial son, Dolphus T. Shields — for the first time fully connects the first African-American first lady to the history of slavery, tracing their five-generation journey from bondage to a front-row seat to the presidency.

The findings — uncovered by Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist, and The New York Times — substantiate what Mrs. Obama has called longstanding family rumors about a white forebear.

More @

One Paper Trail to the White House

Click here for research

Click here for research

Recent research from Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist, and reporting by The New York Times offers previously undisclosed details of First Lady Michelle Obama’s family tree. The findings provide the first link to a white ancestor in Mrs. Obama’s past, and trace the steps her family members took as they journeyed from slavery to the nation’s most storied house in five generations. Click here to view.

The Family Tree of Michelle Obama, the First Lady

Click here for the interactive family tree

Click here for the interactive family tree


Revelations have emerged recently from the research of Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist, and from reporting by Rachel L. Swarns and Jodi Kantor of The New York Times. Click here to view.

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One Family’s Roots, a Nation’s History

henry-louis-gatesHenry Louis Gates Jr., Annette Gordon-Reed and others discuss what Michelle Obama’s family tree says about America. Click here for the discussion.
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Filed under Culture, Geneology, History, Uncategorized, Women's Issues