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This monthly podcast looks back at the pop culture of Generation X, from an African-American perspective.

Aug 31, 2020

Topics: Million Man March, TLC, Friday, UPN (Bonus Artist: Luck Pacheco)


1995 Notes
1.    Snapshots
2.    President: Bill Clinton
3.    Jan - The WB Television Network and The United Paramount Network (UPN) launches.
4.    Mar - Yahoo! was incorporated and soon became the first popular online directory and search engine on the World Wide Web.
5.    Mar - Mississippi ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment, becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery. The amendment was nationally ratified in 1865. Until February 7, 2013, the state of Mississippi had never submitted the required documentation to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, meaning it never officially abolished slavery.
6.    Mar - Eric Lynn Wright (September 7, 1964 – March 26, 1995), known professionally as Eazy-E is suddenly hospitalized, diagnosed with AIDS, and dies due to its complications.
7.    Apr - Oklahoma City bombing: 168 people, including 8 Federal Marshals and 19 children, are killed at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Timothy McVeigh and one of his accomplices, Terry Nichols, set off the bomb.
8.    May - In Culpeper, Virginia, actor Christopher Reeve is paralyzed from the neck down after falling from his horse in a riding competition. [See - “Superman Curse”]
9.    Sep - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opens.
10.    Oct - The Million Man March is held in Washington, D.C. The event was conceived by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
11.    Dec - The presidents of Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia sign a peace treaty in Paris, ending a three-and-a-half-year war.
12.    Music Snapshots
13.    #1 "Gangsta's Paradise", Coolio featuring L.V.
14.    #2 "Waterfalls", TLC
15.    #3 "Creep", TLC
16.    Record of the Year: "Kiss From a Rose", Seal
17.    Album of the Year: Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morissette
18.    Song of the Year: "Kiss From a Rose", Seal
19.    Best New Artist: Hootie & the Blowfish
20.    Best Female R&B: Anita Baker for "I Apologize"
21.    Best Male R&B: Stevie Wonder for "For Your Love"
22.    Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group: TLC for "Creep"
23.    Best R&B Song: Stevie Wonder (songwriter) for "For Your Love"
24.    Best R&B Album: TLC for CrazySexyCool
25.    Best Rap Solo: "Gangsta's Paradise", Coolio
26.    Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group: "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By", Method Man featuring Mary J. Blige
27.    Best Rap Album: Poverty's Paradise, Naughty by Nature
28.    Movie Snapshots
29.    #1 Die Hard with a Vengeance
30.    #2 Toy Story
31.    #3 Apollo 13
32.    Notables: Higher Learning, Major Payne, Bad Boys, New Jersey Drive, Friday, Braveheart, Batman Forever, Pocahontas, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Clueless, Waterworld, Mortal Kombat, The Tuskegee Airmen, The Usual Suspects, Seven, Dead Presidents, The American President, Casino, Money Train, Heat, Waiting to Exhale.
33.    TV Snapshots
34.    Top TV Shows
35.    #1 ER
36.    #2 Seinfeld
37.    #3 Friends
38.    Debuts: The Wayans Bros. (WB), The Parent 'Hood (WB), Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (still airing), In the House
39.    Economic Snapshots
40.    Income = 35.9k (Previously 37K)
41.    House = 113.1K (119)
42.    Car = 15.5k (12.5)
43.    Rent = 550 (533)
44.    Harvard = 26.2k (24.9)
45.    Movie = 4.35 (4)
46.    Gas = 1.12 (1.09)
47.    Stamp .32 (.29)
48.    Social Scene: Million Man March
49.    A political demonstration in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 16, 1995, to promote African American unity and family values. Estimates of the number of marchers, most of whom were African American men, ranged from 400,000 to nearly 1.1 million, ranking it among the largest gatherings of its kind in American history.
50.    Several African American leaders did not support the march, including Mary Frances Berry, chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and Rep. John Lewis, the latter of whom saw Farrakhan’s message as an effort to “resegregate America.”
52.    Featured Speaker: Louis Farrakhan, @62 yrs old
53.    Born Louis Eugene Wolcott on May 11, 1933, in New York City, New York, to Sarah Mae Manning and Percival Clark. His parents separated even before he was born.
54.    He did not know his biological father and was brought up by his stepfather Louis Wolcott. The death of his stepfather in 1936 led to the relocation of his family to Boston, Massachusetts.
55.    From an early age, he received rigorous training in violin, so much so that by the time he turned 13 he had mastered the instrument and was playing along with the ‘Boston College Orchestra’ and ‘Boston Civic Symphony.’
56.    In his first year as a teenager, he became one of the first black performers to appear on the ‘Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour. ‘The following year, he had two national level victories under his belt.
57.    He attended the prestigious ‘Boston Latin School’ after which he was admitted to ‘English High School. ‘After graduating from ‘English High School,’ he enrolled for a three-year course at the ‘Winston-Salem Teachers College’ on a track scholarship.
58.    Starting from the 1950s, he pursued a career in music. He recorded several calypso albums under the pseudonym ‘The Charmer. ‘He toured frequently since the release of his first album. In 1955, he organized a show titled ‘Calypso Follies’ in Chicago.
59.    Interestingly, one of his songs remained a chartbuster and on top of the ‘Billboard Chart’ for five years in a row.
60.    It was while pursuing his professional music career that he was first exposed to the teachings of ‘Nation of Islam’ through his friend and saxophonist Rodney Smith.
61.    Later, Elijah Muhammad invited him to attend the Nation of Islam’s annual ‘Saviours' Day’ address. Inspired by the discourse, he resolved to be a member of ‘Nation of Islam’ (NOI) in 1955. (@22)
62.    He fulfilled all the requirements to become a registered Muslim/ registered believer/ registered laborer of NOI. Subsequently, he received an approval by the NOI headquarter in July 1955.
63.    Initially known by the name Louis X, his name was later changed to the ‘holy name’ Louis Farrakhan. A derivative of the Arabic word furqan, which means "The Criterion". He gave up on a music career and dedicated his life to the ‘Nation of Islam.’
64.    Within a span of nine months, he worked his way up and started serving as the assistant minister to Malcolm X, who was heading the Muhammad’s Temple of Islam in Boston at that time.
65.    He was soon made the minister as Malcom X was shifted to the Temple of Muhammad in Harlem, New York. Farrakhan replaced Malcom X as the minister at the Boston Temple.
66.    Malcolm X was assassinated on 21 February 1965 and Farrakhan profited from it as he was appointed to two prominent positions in NOI. (@32)
67.    He was appointed to the chair of the minister of the influential Harlem Mosque in 1965, a position which he held until 1975. Furthermore, he became the national spokesman and representative of NOI and served in this position until Elijah Muhammad’s death in 1975.
68.    In 1975, the Nation's leadership chose Wallace Muhammad, also known as Warith Deen Mohammad, the fifth of Elijah Muhammad's sons, not Farrakhan, as the new Supreme Minister.
69.    Though Farrakhan remained a loyalist of the Muhammad clan for some time, in 1977 he withdrew his support from the organization and rebuilt the original ‘Nation of Islam’ which had been established by its founders.
70.    Soon after its foundation, he started a weekly newspaper by the name ‘The Final Call, Inc.’ The objective of this initiation was to communicate his views and thoughts to the supporters and members.
71.    Two years later, along with his supporters, he organized the first ‘Saviours’ Day’ convention in Chicago. His group promised to walk by the principles of Elijah Muhammad.
72.    Throughout his leadership, he blamed the Jewish community and other ethnic and racial groups for the sufferings endured by African Americans.
73.    In October of 1995, he planned a broad coalition, intending to assemble about one million men in Washington DC for the ‘Million Man March.’
74.    At the convention, he was the keynote speaker along with distinguished African American intellectuals, such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King III, Cornel West, Jesse Jackson, and Benjamin Chavis.
75.    Question: Who else could pull this off today? Where have our leaders gone? (Besides Obama)
76.    Music Scene
77.    #1 "Gangsta's Paradise", Coolio featuring L.V.
78.    #2 "Waterfalls", TLC
79.    #3 "Creep", TLC
80.    #4 "Kiss from a Rose", Seal
81.    #5 "On Bended Knee", Boyz II Men
82.    #6 "Another Night", Real McCoy
83.    #7 "Fantasy", Mariah Carey
84.    #9 "Don't Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)", Monica
85.    #10 "This Is How We Do It", Montell Jordan
86.    #11 "I Know", Dionne Farris
87.    #12 "Water Runs Dry", Boyz II Men
88.    #13 "Freak Like Me", Adina Howard
89.    #15 "I Can Love You Like That", All-4-One
90.    #18 "Boombastic" / "In the Summertime", Shaggy
91.    #20 "You Gotta Be", Des'ree
92.    #21 "You Are Not Alone", Michael Jackson
93.    #23 "One More Chance", The Notorious B.I.G.
94.    #24 "Here Comes the Hotstepper", Ini Kamoze
95.    #25 "Candy Rain", Soul for Real
96.    #27 "I Believe", Blessid Union of Souls
97.    #28 "Red Light Special", TLC
98.    #29 "Runaway", Janet Jackson
99.    #31 "Colors of the Wind", Vanessa Williams
100.    #32 "Someone to Love", Jon B.
101.    #34 "If You Love Me", Brownstone
102.    #36 "I Got 5 on It", Luniz
103.    #37 "Baby", Brandy
104.    #40 "He's Mine", MoKenStef
105.    Vote:
106.    Jan - My Life, Mary J. Blige
107.    Feb - Cocktails, Too Short
108.    Mar - Safe + Sound, DJ Quik
109.    Apr - Me Against the World, 2Pac
110.    Apr - Friday, Soundtrack
111.    Jun - Poverty's Paradise, Naughty by Nature
112.    Jul - HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I, Michael Jackson
113.    Jul - Operation Stackola, Luniz
114.    Aug - The Show, the After Party, the Hotel, Jodeci
115.    Aug - E. 1999 Eternal, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
116.    Sep - The Show, Soundtrack
117.    Oct - 4,5,6, Kool G Rap
118.    Oct - Daydream, Mariah Carey
119.    Oct - Doe or Die, AZ
120.    Nov - Dogg Food, Tha Dogg Pound
121.    Dec - R. Kelly, R. Kelly
122.    Dec - Waiting to Exhale, Soundtrack
123.    Vote:
124.    Featured Artists: TLC
125.    Tionne Tenese Watkins (@25) was born on April 26, 1970, in Des Moines, Iowa, into a family of African American, Native American and Irish descent. Both her parents, James and Gayle Watkins, were musicians and singers.
126.    Her parents divorced when she was three years old. Thereafter, she was raised by her mother, who taught her to be “confident and independent”. At the age of nine, they moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where her maternal grandmother used to live.
127.    As a child, she was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia (SCA), as a result of which, she had to spend a lot of time in hospitals.
128.    As a teenager, she began working as a hair model, eventually serving as a manicurist and shampoo girl at a popular Atlanta hair salon.
129.    In 1990, (@20) Tionne Watkins heard that a teenager named Crystal Clear was planning to open an all-girls group like Bell Biv DeVoe, having a tomboyish, hip-hop image. Eventually, she appeared for an audition and joined the three-member band, the third one being Lisa Lopes.
130.    Calling themselves ‘2nd Nature’, they soon started working with Jermaine Dupri and Rico Wade on demo tape material.
131.    Meanwhile, Watkins met Perri "Pebbles" Reid, the owner of the management and production company, Pebbitone, and managed to arrange an audition with her.
132.    Impressed by the girls, Reid arranged an audition with the local record label, LaFace Records, co-founded by her then husband Antonio Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmund. She also changed the group’s name to TLC with ‘T’ representing Tionne, ‘L’ Lisa, and ‘C’ Crystal.
133.    Although Antonio Reid was impressed by Watkins and Lopes, he did not approve of Clear, who was eventually replaced by Rozonda Thomas in April 1991. Very soon, Watkins became "T-Boz", Lopes became "Left-Eye", and Thomas became "Chilli”, so that ‘TLC’ continued to be the acronym of their names.
134.    Their debut album, 'Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip' was released on February 25, 1992, by LaFace Records. It peaked at number 14 on the US Billboard 200, selling six million copies worldwide, and was certified quadruple platinum RIAA.
135.    'Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip' scored three top-ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with ‘Baby-Baby-Baby’ peaking at number two, ‘Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg’ at number six and ‘What About Your Friends’ at number seven. Moreover, ‘Baby-Baby-Baby’ also peaked at number one at Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks.
136.    In 1993, the group started working on their second album, ‘CrazySexyCool’. But because of Lisa’s personal problems, it took time to complete and was ultimately released on September 15, 1994.
137.    Certified Diamond, the album was a huge success, peaking at the 3rd position on the US Billboard 200. It sold over 11 million copies in the United States alone. The album was nominated for six Grammy Awards, out of which it won two and helped TLC to become the second-best selling girl group of all time.
138.    Billboard named them the ‘Artist of the Year’ at the Billboard Music Awards. The album also appeared on Rolling Stone Magazine’s ’500 Greatest Albums of All Time’.
139.    Despite the success, TLC was forced to file for bankruptcy because of poor contracts they had signed in 1991. Eventually, the group signed a new contract with the same company and went back to work.
140.    Rozonda Ocelian Thomas (@24) was born on 27th February 1971 in Atlanta, Georgia to Abdul Ali and Ava Thomas. Her mother is of African American as well as Native American descent, while her father is of East Indian and Middle Eastern Background. She was raised by a single mother and did not meet her father until she was 25.
141.    Thomas studied at Benjamin E. Mays High School, from where she graduated in 1989. Soon she started working as a back-up dancer for the R&B group Damian Dame.
142.    In 1991, (@20) Rozonda Thomas joined the pop group TLC.
143.    Lisa Nicole Lopes (@24) was born on May 27, 1971, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her father was Ronald Lopes Sr., a staff sergeant in the US Army, and her mother was Wanda Denise, a seamstress. She was of Cape Verdean, Mexican, American, African and Portuguese descent. She was the eldest of three siblings. Her parents divorced when she was in school. Following this, she was raised by her paternal grandmother.
144.    At the age of five, she began playing the piano and eventually started composing songs over the next few years. She studied at the Philadelphia School for Girls.
145.    In late 1990, having heard of an open casting call for a new girl group through her then-boyfriend, Lopes moved to Atlanta to audition.
146.    Lopes’ personal life, though, was marred by her rocky relationship with football great Andre Rison, and in 1994, she was arrested for burning down his home.
147.    In 2000, she began her solo-project ‘Supernova’ which was set to be released in August 2001. However, the date was postponed repeatedly. It was eventually broadcast over the internet in 2002. The album was yet to be released formally and a fourth TLC project was in the making, when Lopes met with a tragic car accident in 2002 which unfortunately put an end to her life.  she was just 30 years old.
148.    Question: Is the WAP controversy justified?
149.    Movie Scene: Friday 1995 film
150.    (Links and Resources: Strong Black Legends: John Witherspoon; "John Witherspoon's Style of Comedy was Timeless," Justin Tinsley, The Undefeated; Gene Siskel's review, Chicago Tribune; Desson Howe's review, Washington Post; "After 20 Years, Friday Is (Still) The Most Important Film Ever Made About The Hood," Kelley L. Carter, BuzzFeed; "John Witherspoon Made Every Scene Better," Rembert Brown, New York Times; Review by Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly. - Find additional episodes, leave a comment, or make a donation to support the podcast at
151.    Reviews:
152.    Gene Siskel: For all of the shouting, mugging and rap music, a surprisingly dull comic yarn about a young man (Ice Cube) trying to survive in the 'hood. Colorful characters abound, but nothing ties them together. I knew the picture was in trouble when its first gag involved an old lady spewing obscenities. (Rating: 1 star)
153.    By Desson Howe, Washington Post Staff Writer - April 28, 1995: "Friday," a comedy starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, is dirty, offensive, infantile and may launch a few sanctimonious opinion columns. And I mean that in the nicest way. The movie, which shamelessly hawks its own "Friday" music video at the beginning and eschews political correctness whenever possible, happens to be incredibly funny.
154.    After 20 Years, “Friday” Is (Still) The Most Important Film Ever Made About The Hood: - Kelley L. Carter, BuzzFeed News Reporter. Posted April 20, 2015.
155.    “...Todd Boyd, a professor at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts as well as screenwriter and producer of the 1999 coming-of-age drama The Wood, says that Friday didn't just add an element of comedy to depictions of everyday life in black neighborhoods, it spawned a new genre — the hood comedy.
156.    “The film demonstrated that black life was not all drugs, violence, dysfunction, and pathology — yet instead of offering a Cosby Show-like fantasy, Friday put these issues in context, finding humor in the everyday lives of regular black people,” he explains. “Since the 1970s, Hollywood has always looked favorably upon low-budget black films that produce high profit margins at the box office. Friday expanded the representation of the hood into the realm of comedy and achieved box office success at the same time.”
157.    Other hood comedies that followed include: 1996’s satire Don’t Be a Menace While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, 1998’s The Player’s Club (Cube wrote and directed it), 2001’s How High, and 2002’s Barbershop, the latter of which Cube starred in.
158.    Question: Friday or Carwash? - Chris Tucker or Mike Epps?
159.    TV Scene
160.    “Was UPN Black America’s Last Hope for a Black Sitcom-Friendly Broadcast Television Network?” April 20, 2017 -
161.    “...Since ABC’s "Black-ish" debuted this fall, it has drawn numerous comparisons to "The Cosby Show" — and I have questions. I wonder why the majority of essays and critiques jumped to a show that has been off-air for 22 years. Although few television shows rivaled the mainstream popularity of Bill Cosby’s chef d’oeuvre, plenty of Black sitcoms have filled its gap since its 1992 finale. Does no one remember the quasi-Black glory of United Paramount Network (UPN)? And can there ever be another like it?
162.    From 1995 to 2006 UPN was the home for over 10 concurrently running Black sitcoms (and a handful of dramas). Given the sheer volume of programming, that’s remarkable in and of itself. But perhaps what is more noteworthy than the number of shows is the range of Black life they displayed.
163.    "All of Us," produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment, centered on a blended family of two divorced spouses and their significant others. The Essence Atkins and Rachel True-helmed "Half & Half" explored the relationship between two estranged half-sisters. "Moesha" was UPN’s most successful sitcom during its five-year run and introduced America to another beloved, nuclear Black family besides the Huxtables. Other notable UPN sitcoms included "One on One," "The Parkers," "Eve," and "Malcolm & Eddie."
164.    UPN actively sought programming aimed for Black audiences at a time when Black mainstays from the Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) were waning. "Family Matters" was cancelled from ABC’s coveted TGIF lineup in 1998. Fox declined to extend Martin Lawrence’s eponymously named sitcom the previous year. The major networks were beginning to narrow their viewership to exclude all-Black casting on their sitcoms. Not only were Black actors finding work on shows sold to UPN, but established Black producer-writers like Eunetta T. Boone and Ralph Farquhar found a home as well.
165.    Despite—and maybe because of—its friendliness to Black programming, UPN suffered from a reputation as a sub-par network. The ratings for their sitcoms often scraped the bottom of the Nielsen barrel. UPN is remembered more for its utter failures ("Homeboys in Outer Space") and ignored when we fondly recall the glory of "Girlfriends."
166.    “UPN took the rejects. UPN was 'the Black channel,'” we joke. UPN may not have been perfect, but it gave Black audiences so much to choose from without feeling as if one show had to represent the totality of Blackness.
167.    Accordingly, "Black-ish" has a lot riding on its success. Black audiences tune in hoping big wigs take notice and order more Black sitcoms. But it is telling that major networks began a “blackout” of successful Black cast shows in the late 90s and The CW essentially did the same a decade later.
168.    "Black-ish" could be the start of another heyday for Black sitcoms. We reach backward to "The Cosby Show" because we love it best and we always will. But in doing so, we ignore the stable of Black shows that kept us laughing long after The Huxtables faded to black. However, the success of "Black-ish" will remain singular until executives reexamine their beliefs about African American audiences; we need them, like UPN once did, to give us a chance. I just hope it doesn’t take another decade.
169.    Other Notable UPN Shows: Everybody Hates Chris 2005 / Girlfriends 2000 / All of Us 2003 / Moesha 1996 / The Parkers 1999 / Malcolm and Eddie 1996 / In The House 1995 / Between Brothers 1997 /
170.    Other Notable WB Shows: The WB The Wayans Brothers 1995 / The Parent 'Hood 1995 / Steve Harvey Show 1996 / The Jamie Foxx Show 1996 / Smart Guy 1997 / MIB Animated 1997 / The PJs 1999
171.    Question: What the hell is wrong with BET?
172.    Vote: Best/most important/favorite pop culture item from 1995?