Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Thursday, December 28, 2006

    Brian McKnight Interview on Vibe.com

    Normally a Brian McKnight interview wouldn't be that interesting... but in this interview Brian let's it out on Motown, current R&B music and Me'Shell NdegéOcello.

    Brian McKnight: Bringing Soul Back

    I love interviewing the old school kats because they are usually the most candid, raw and have that "I don't give a fuck attitude because I paid my dues!" R&B music is in a complete crisis and Brian McKnight said it best in this line: "I truly believe that if I was 19 and trying to do this now, I probably wouldn’t make it. I play, I sing, I don't do all the dancing around, I haven’t stabbed anybody, or shot anybody, and I actually sound like my record live."

    Go off Brian! Brian's new album Ten is in stores now.

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 4:14 PM :: 7 comments

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    Friday, December 22, 2006

    It's that time of the year where people are praising God and handing out gifts. Never really got the link, but so be it. Like everyone else, I will be posting very little for the next two weeks so have a great holiday. Also, thanks to everyone one who supported me this year -- it is deeply appreciated.

    Pasted below are three intense poems from Christmas, and Poems on Slavery for Christmas, 1843, a set of Christmas and antislavery poems published by Thomas Hill (1818-1891) in 1843 for the Boston antislavery fair.

    Often slaves were given as Christmas presents, some have argued that slaves were able to runaway easier during Christmas and during this time slaves/free blacks started to search for new masters -- isn't this some holiday cheer for ya'?

    THE RUNAWAY.

    A True Tale.

    Covered with ashes the little girl lay
    In a cellar’s darkest part,
    Wild in her fears she dared not breathe,
    And she stilled her throbbing heart.

    In the night she steadily crept forth, [5]
    By her hunger’s pangs impelled,
    But the strong-locked doors from her eager hands
    Their treasures all withheld.

    Covered with ashes the girl is found
    When the morning light appears, [10]
    And is to the master’s presence brought
    To tell her tale of tears.

    “I am owned, Sir, they say, by Colonel Y.,
    Who lives a mile from here,
    And I live with him a wretched life [15]
    Of anguish and of fear.

    “Tight to my leg above my knee
    A log of wood he chains,
    And this I drag till it galls the flesh,
    And my life is filled with pains. [20]

    “And if, thus clogged with a heavy load,
    My motions are too slow,
    He flogs me with a whip that brings
    The blood at every blow.

    “Three days ago my chain got loose, [25]
    So I slipped it off and ran,
    And hid myself in your cellar, Sir;
    O, help me if you can!

    “A withered pear in your ashes I found,
    ‘T is all I’ve had to eat [30]
    For three days; but I’d sooner starve,
    Than I’d my master meet.”

    When the man heard the little girl,
    At the “lazy wench” he swore,
    And sent her back to Colonel Y., [35]
    To suffer as before.

    But the shrieks of the beaten child
    Reached a kinder neighbour’s ear,
    And he bought the child to save its life
    From anguish and from fear. [40]

    That child has now to a woman grown,
    From bondage she is free,
    And in her own neat cottage rears
    A happy family.
    ___________________

    THE DEATH OF THE SLAVE.

    In a low and ill-thatched hut,
    Stretched on a floor of clay,
    With scanty clothing round her wrapped,
    The dying woman lay.

    No husband’s kindly hand, [5]
    No loving child was near,
    To offer her their aid, or shed
    A sympathizing tear.

    For now the ripened cane
    Was read for the knife, [10]
    And not a slave could be spared to aid
    His mother or his wife.

    She is struggling now with Death,—
    Deep was that dying groan,
    For a corpse now lies on the cold clay floor, [15]
    The soul, set free, has flown.

    The planter, walking by,
    Chanced at the door to stop,
    And he cursed his luck, “there was one hand less
    To gather in the crop.” [20]

    O, Jesus! hast thou said:
    “The poor your care shall be,
    Who visit not the poor and sick,
    They do it not to me”?
    ---------------

    THE SECOND ADVENT.

    Not in a humble manger now,
    Not of a lowly virgin born,
    Announced to simple shepherd swains,
    That watch their flocks in the early morn;

    Not in the pomp of glory, come, [5]
    While throngs of angels hover round,
    Arrayed in glittering robes of light,
    And moving to the trumpet’s sound;

    But in the heart of every man,
    O, Jesus, come, and reign therein, [10]
    And banish from the human breast
    The darkening clouds of guilt and sin.

    Come, spread thy glory over earth,
    Fill every heart with truth and love,
    Till thy whole kingdom here below [15]
    Be filled with peace like that above.

    For such a glory, when on earth,
    Thou prayedst to thy Father, God;
    He heareth thee, and soon will spread
    Thy glory and thy truth abroad. [20]

    Then shall no more by brothers’ hands
    The blood of brother men be spilled,
    Nor earth’s fair scenes with captives’ tears
    And groans of dying slaves be filled.

    But every where shall songs of joy [25]
    And hymns of praise to God arise:
    The true millennial glory then
    Shall bless thy waiting followers’ eyes.

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 6:03 PM :: 6 comments

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    Friday, December 08, 2006


    The talented gospel group Mary Mary (Erica and Tina Atkins) have experienced a huge amount of mainstream success since they hit the music scene in 2000. Their first single "Shackles" hit number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 and their debut album Thankful peaked at number 59 on the Billboard 200. Their self-titled third album was their first album to crack the Billboard's top ten this year and spawned the hit single "Yesterday." Currently, they have a Christmas album, A Mary Mary Christmas, which came out in October.

    Another interesting fact about Mary Mary is their enormous gay following. Their songs are constantly played in gay clubs and many claim without the support of the gay community Mary Mary would not have achieved such mainstream success -- not sure if I agree and obviously that could be debated. I interviewed the Christian duo this afternoon (not sure who the interview will be for yet -- possibly Blackplanet.com or Rockacandy.com). I asked them several questions, but I wanted to share a small excerpt from the interview.

    I could not help but ask how they feel about their legendary gay following. Since they are supposed to be "young and hip" I wondered if they had a bit more of a progressive attitude. Lawd knows if you want to see a whole bunch of gay folks just turn on Bobby Jones Gospel! I took an "informal survey" and many people (straight and gay) said if they found out Mary Mary is anti-gay they would definitely not support them. Many said Mary Mary is truly on the borderline of secular music and receive airplay on urban radio right after a Beyonce song -- so they obviously love God, but hopefully they did not think anything was wrong with homosexuality. I doubted it -- and I was right.

    Clay: I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but you have an extremely large gay following -- how do you feel about homosexuality and having a massive gay following?
    Erica: We are aware. Ummm... how do I feel about homosexuality? I feel how God feels about it, but I still love them. I don’t agree with the lifestyle, but I love them. They can come to the concert; I’m going to hug them just like I hug everybody else. They have issues and need someone to encourage them like everybody else -- just like the murderer, just like the one full of pride, just like the prostitute -- everybody needs God. What your struggle is may not be what my struggle is, but we all need Him. So, that's what our music is about giving and God, not to condone the lifestyle or to say, Oh it's okay, but not to bash -- but just to give them God. I mean, I’m appreciative of all of our supporters and fans. Hopefully what their hearing in our music is my love for God.

    Tina: You know, I think the fact that our music is very upbeat and works well in clubs -- you know, I think that's something that makes more people gravitate to it. Like Erica said, we don’t necessarily agree with the lifestyle, but we don’t pride ourselves on bashing. Everyone has things in their life that they need to correct, everybody has struggles, everybody has things that, maybe I should’ve done it this way, maybe I should’ve made this choice, you know, or whatever. Even though that's the way we feel, we don’t bash, we don’t do that kind of thing and we embrace everybody who enjoys our music. Hopefully our music is impacting them in a way that if they see there's some things in their life that's not quite right and doesn’t align themselves with what the Bible says -- hopefully our music impacts them in a way that makes them want to change it.

    Interesting comments. Firstly, I applaud them for giving an honest answer – regardless of how hateful, hypocritical, foolish and an unwise business decision it might seem – at least they are honest. Secondly, what they probably don’t realize is in a sense they are “bashing” by saying, "Hopefully our music inspires people to change." What many of the straights don’t realize (as I’ve said several times) homophobia in the black church is a massive reason why HIV/AIDS rates have skyrocketed in the black community as the “peanut congregation” sits idly. They feel the way God feels? Murderers? Prostitutes? They are basically minstering conversion -- I can only imagine the young LGBT people who are grappling with their sexuality that Mary Mary will damage as they give them a "hate the sin love the sinner" hug.

    Is Mary Mary saying, You are going to hell, but you can still buy our records!” Not every gospel artist is anti-gay, not all Christians are antigay -- Cornell West is a great example. Al Sharpton is a legendary Christian and he is pro-gay -- he believes in gay marriage. Being black and Christian does not automatically equate you are antigay, or anti anything else. Also, this is THEIR opinion and it will probably help them sell records. However, please don't tell me they are not “antigay” – comparing homosexuality to prostitutes and murders is not pro-gay, or even neutral! Let me stress, I am not surprised -- they were a little self-righteous than I thought, but I am not surprised.

    Full interview to come in the next month.

    CLICK HERE FOR MY RESPONSE TO THIS INTERVIEW

    Labels: , ,

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 141 comments

    ---------------oOo---------------






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