WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY - February is African American History month (click here for AAHM resources). I believe that any well-rounded AAHM celebration should address accomplishments and struggle, family and church, love and art. Of course, foodways are important elements in African American culture, too. Alas, covering that base would have thrown today's 30 minute show into overtime, but my guest and old friend, Raymond Aydelott, and I covered all of the other bases. We also touched home on another February celebration: Valentine's Day (click here for V-Day resources).
Ray is an African American playwright and master storyteller. In today's show, he shared excerpts from his latest work-in-progress, "Pastor Mobile's Ticket Booth." Whenever Ray reads from that script, I wipe tears of laughter. The comedic plot centers around a church whose streetwise minister introduces a $2.50 admission fee. The reactions of the cast of colorful characters and ensuing scenes are vividly entertaining. Ray has other projects in various stages of development, including "The Janitor's Closet," a serious drama that we'll discuss in an upcoming broadcast. Stay tuned.
Ray's a personable, hardworking guy whose GQ exterior houses a prolific writer and entertainer. His chocolate brown good looks make him an ideal model for a Valentine's Day Card. As he shared on air, Ray's credits include acting, bodybuilding and fashion modeling. His talent and passion for writing have garnered moral support and referrals from long-term friends Rico Drayton, a.ka. "Flava Flav" ("Yeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhh Boyyyy!!!!!! Hah hah! That's right), and "The King of Nostalgia," a.k.a., "The Wizard of Was," nee Joe Franklin. That's led to audiences with luminaries such as Magic Johnson. The outcome: Ray's collaborated on various projects and been asked to customize scripts and concepts for particular stars.
Impressive, indeed. But serious artists need time to write and funding to move their own productions, as it puts it, "out of the darkness" (of the writer's imagination) and "into the light" (of stage and screen). That process takes longer for writers like Ray, whose goal is to create quality, family entertainment, rather than for "streakers" (who churn out, for a quick buck, shallow or profane products that pimp street culture). Consequently, Ray’s kept his day jobs while seeking actors, investors and others with a genuine passion for theater and film to participate in his productions. For talented professionals who truly love the craft, he believes the money will follow. So do I. Interested? Contact Ray via the 360 MERIDIAN message center at (01) 309.279.7528.
Audio media played during the show included:
- The Black National Anthem: "Lift Every Voice and Sing." The clip we played on air was from A Splash of Pops / Keith Lockhart. 09026 63516-2. BMG Entertainment, 1999. (Written by: John Rosamond Johnson - James Weldon Johnson; arranged by: Charles Floyd; performed by: the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the Boston Pops Gospel Choir, and members of the Boston Men's Gay Chorus.) To listen online to an audio clip performed by Women of the Calabash, click here. To read the lyrics, click here. To listen to other audio clips online click here.
- An aural Valentine’s Day dedication to my late father: "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." The clip we played on air was from Rosemary Clooney Sings the Music of Cole Porter, Disc 2. Concord Jazz CCD6-4933-2, Concord Records, Inc., 2000. (Written by: Cole Porter (C. Albert P.) for the 1938 show: “Leave it to Me”; sung by: Rosemary Clooney. At Julie Andrews.org/A Tribute to Julie Andrews, you can hear the song and read the lyrics online by clicking the appropriate links posted 3/4 of the way down the page under "Julie Andrews Hour (ABC-TV, 11 Oct 1972)," i.e., My Heart Belongs to Daddy [757KB, 1:50, Lyrics].
- Hank Aaron, “Address to Congress,” June 18, 1974. The clip we played on air was from Great Speeches of the 20th Century, Volume 3. Rhino Word Beat, Rhino Records, Inc., 1991. To listen online at the Authentic History Center, click here.
I'll next be on air February 22, 2006. I'll be hosting "SCORE Radio: Counselors to America's Small Business" at 1:00-1:30 p.m., Eastern Time and "The Lisa Tolliver Show" at 1:30-2:00 p.m., Eastern Time. My topics: "Minorities and Business: We've Come a Long Way, Maybe," and other timely tidbits. Please join us on New York Radio WVOX AM 1460 and www.wvox.com. Listeners can also hear and share via call-in line at (01) 914.636.0110. ###