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

Oct 1, 2019

Topics: Chicago Bears, Janet Jackson, Anita Baker, She's Gotta Have It, 227-(TV Sitcom)(Bonus Artist: hidingtobefound)


General Snapshots
1.    Ronald Reagan is President
2.    Jan - The first federal Martin Luther King Jr. Day, honoring Martin Luther King Jr., is observed.
3.    Jan - The first group of inductees to the Rock and Roll HOF, included Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and 3 other white performers. Also inducted were, James Brown*, Little Richard*, Fats Domino*, Ray Charles*, Chuck Berry*, Sam Cooke*, Robert Johnson*, and Jimmy Yancey*.
4.    Jan - Super Bowl XX: The Chicago Bears defeat the New England Patriots 46–10 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
5.    Jan - Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrates 73 seconds after launch, killing the crew of seven astronauts, including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe (see Space Shuttle Challenger disaster). President Ronald Reagan postpones for one week the State of the Union address that had been scheduled for the evening and instead addresses the nation on the Challenger disaster.
6.    Mar - Halley's Comet is a comet visible from Earth every 75–76 years. It last appeared in the inner parts of the Solar System in 1986 and will next appear in mid-2061.
7.    Apr - The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults, hosted by Geraldo Rivera, is a two-hour live American television special.
8.    Apr - In Ukraine, one of the reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear plant explodes, creating the world’s worst nuclear disaster. 31 are killed directly by the incident, many more die from cancer in later years, many thousands more are exposed to significant amounts of radioactive material, and vast territories in Ukraine and Belarus are rendered uninhabitable.
9.    May - Hands Across America: approximately 6.5 million people form a human chain from New York City to Long Beach, California, to raise money to fight hunger and homelessness. The event raised about $15 million. A total of 24 cities participated along the route, including: Champaign, Illinois (with Walter Payton), Chebanse, Illinois (A cornfield in central Illinois served as center-point of the nation with 16,000 people in attendance), Springfield, Illinois (with 50 Abraham Lincoln impersonators), and St. Louis, Missouri (with Kathleen Turner under the St. Louis Arch)
10.    Aug - In Edmond, Oklahoma, United States Postal Service employee Patrick Sherrill guns down 14 of his co-workers before committing suicide.
11.    Sep - Desmond Tutu becomes the first black Anglican Church bishop in South Africa’s Cape Town, the most senior position in southern Africa's Anglican hierarchy.  Theologically, he sought to fuse ideas from black theology with African theology; politically, he identifies as a socialist.
12.    Nov - Iran–Contra affair: The United States has been selling weapons to Iran in secret, in order to secure the release of 7 American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon. Also, profits from the covert weapons sales to Iran were illegally diverted to the anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua. National Security Council member Oliver North and his secretary, Fawn Hall, start shredding documents implicating them.
13.    Nov - Mike Tyson wins his first world boxing title by defeating Trevor Berbick in Las Vegas. Tyson won the title by TKO in the second round, and at the age of 20 years and 4 months became the youngest heavyweight champion in history. Tyson won his first 19 professional fights by knockout or stoppage, 12 of them in the first round.
14.    Dec - Three African Americans are assaulted by a group of white teens in the Howard Beach neighborhood of Queens, New York. One of the victims, Michael Griffith, is run over and killed by a motorist while attempting to flee the attackers.
15.    Open Comments:
16.    Top 3 Pop Songs
17.    1 "That's What Friends Are For, Dionne and Friends
18.    2 "Say You, Say Me", Lionel Richie
19.    3 "I Miss You", Klymaxx
20.    Grammy Award Winners
21.    Record of the Year: "Higher Love", Steve Winwood
22.    Album of the Year: Paul Simon (producer & artist) for Graceland
23.    Song of the Year: Burt Bacharach & Carole Bayer Sager (songwriters) for "That's What Friends Are For" performed by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight & Stevie Wonder
24.    Best New Artist: Bruce Hornsby & the Range
25.    Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female: Anita Baker for Rapture
26.    Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male: James Brown for "Living in America"
27.    Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group: Prince and The Revolution for "Kiss"
28.    Best Rhythm & Blues Song: "Sweet Love" performed by Anita Baker
29.    Open Comments
30.    Top 3 Movies
1.    Top Gun
2.    Crocodile Dundee
3.    Platoon
31.    Other Notables: The Karate Kid Part II, Star Trek IV, Back To School, Aliens, The Golden Child, Ruthless People, Ferris Bueller's Day Off,  Crocodile Dundee, The Fly, Howard the Duck, Labyrinth, Little Shop of Horrors, Platoon, Pretty in Pink, Stand By Me, Top Gun, The Three Amigos ---AND UNDER THE CHERRY MOON!
32.    Open Comments
33.    Top 3 TV Shows
1.    The Cosby Show
2.    Family Ties
3.    Cheers
34.    Open Comments
35.    Economic Snapshot
36.    New Home: 89,463
37.    Avg Rent: 385
38.    Avg. Income: 22,300
39.    New Car: 9,300
40.    Harvard:10,600 yearly
41.    Movie Ticket: 2.75
42.    Gas: .89
43.    Stamp: .22
44.    Social Scene: Chicago Bears – Super Bowl Shufflin!!
45.    “In March of 1920 a man telephoned me. Mr. Chamberlain asked if I would like to come to Decatur and work for the Staley Company. [George Chamberlain was general superintendent of the A. E. Staley Company, a food starch company of Decatur, Illinois. In 1919, the company's Fellowship Club had formed a football team. It had done well against other local teams, but Mr. Staley wanted to build it into a team that could compete successfully with the best semi-professional and industrial teams in the country.” - George Halas, in his book Halas by Halas.
46.    The franchise was founded in Decatur, Illinois, on September 17, 1920 and moved to Chicago in 1921. It is one of only two remaining franchises from the NFL's founding in 1920, along with the Arizona Cardinals, which was originally also in Chicago. Originally named the Decatur Staleys, the company hired George Halas, a Chicago native, and Edward "Dutch" Sternaman in 1920 to run the team. The 1920 Decatur Staleys season was their inaugural regular season completed in the newly formed American Professional Football Association (later renamed the National Football League (NFL) in 1922). The team relocated to Chicago in 1921, where the club was renamed the Chicago Staleys. Under an agreement reached by Halas and Sternaman with Staley, Halas purchased the rights to the club from Staley for $100 (~$1,400 in 2019). In 1922, Halas changed the team name from the Staleys to the Bears. The team moved into Wrigley Field, which was home to the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise and, as with several early NFL franchises, the Bears derived their nickname from their city's baseball team. Halas liked the bright orange-and-blue colors of his alma mater, the University of Illinois, and the Bears adopted those colors as their own.
47.    The 1985 Bears were simply the greatest team ever, and here's why. The collection of players Chicago put together not just on defense, but also offense, made them one of the most talented teams ever assembled. The Bears steam-rolled their way through the regular season with a 15-1 record. In Super Bowl XX, they destroyed the Pats 46-10, with the only 10 points they would give up in the entire playoffs. At the time, the 36-point win was the largest in Super Bowl history. Chicago finished with an 18-1 overall record and allowed only five of the teams they faced that year to score more than 10 points in a game. They had the greatest running back in NFL history, Walter Payton. They had the best middle linebacker in NFL history, Mike Singletary. And they even had the 1985 Coach of the Year, Mike Ditka. But, most importantly, they had the greatest team in the history of the NFL. (Including the “Punkie” QB and the Fridge!) They were the 1985 Chicago Bears. R.I.P. Sweetness. Although you wore No. 34 on the field, you will always be No. 1 in Bears fans' hearts! - MATT REAGAN []
48.    Question: Did you care?
49.    Music Scene
50.    Black Songs from the Top 40
51.    1 "That's What Friends Are For, Dionne and Friends
52.    2 "Say You, Say Me", Lionel Richie
53.    3 "I Miss You", Klymaxx
54.    4 "On My Own", Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald
55.    6 "How Will I Know", Whitney Houston
56.    7 "Party All the Time", Eddie Murphy
57.    11 "Greatest Love of All", Whitney Houston
58.    12 "Secret Lovers", Atlantic Starr
59.    16 "There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)", Billy Ocean
60.    19 "Kiss", Prince and The Revolution
61.    26 "I Can't Wait", Nu Shooz
62.    31 "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going", Billy Ocean
63.    32 "When I Think of You", Janet Jackson
64.    39 "Dancing on the Ceiling", Lionel Richie
65.    43 "What Have You Done For Me Lately", Janet Jackson
66.    Vote:
67.    Top RnB Albums
68.    Jan - In Square Circle, Stevie Wonder
69.    Feb – Promise, Sade
70.    Apr – Control, Janet Jackson
71.    Jun - Winner in You, Patti LaBelle
72.    Aug - Love Zone, Billy Ocean
73.    Aug - Raising Hell, Run–D.M.C.
74.    Sep – Rapture, Anita Baker
75.    Oct - Word Up!, Cameo
76.    Nov - Give Me the Reason, Luther Vandross
77.    Dec - Just Like the First Time, Freddie Jackson
78.    *Dec - Life, Love & Pain, the debut album of Club Nouveau (Personal Favorite – 1st “Grown Up” album I bumped)
79.    Vote
80.    Featured Artist: Janet Damita Jo Jackson (@ 20 yrs. old): a.k.a, Ms. Jackson if you’re Nasty. 
81.    One of the most awarded artists in the world, her career longevity, hit records and trail of achievements reflect her influence in shaping and redefining the scope of popular music. In her more than four decades of music career that has spanned over eleven studio albums and seven world tours, Jackson has sold more than 100 million records with four of her albums being included in Rolling Stone's ‘500 Greatest Albums’ and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's ‘Definitive 200’ list. She was a fixture on MTV and a major role model for young artist.
82.    Childhood and career: Born and raised in Gary, Indiana, she was the youngest of the ten children. With the entire family into the entertainment business, it was only natural for Janet Jackson to follow suit. She recorded herself in the studio and by the age of seven, had performed at the Las Vegas Strip at MGM Casino. In 1976, Jackson began acting in the variety show ‘The Jacksons’. The following year, she grabbed a main role as Penny Gordon Woods in the sitcom ‘Good Times’. This was followed by a role in ‘A New Kind of Family’ and a recurring role in ‘Different Strokes’. At the age of 16, Jackson received a contract with A&M Records. Under the label, she released her debut album ‘Janet Jackson’ in 1982. The album peaked at number 63 on the Billboard 200, and number six on the publication’s R&B albums chart. In 1984, Jackson released her second album ‘Dream Street’. The album was moderately successful, peaking at 147 on the Billboard 200, and number 19 on the R&B albums chart. Its lead single ‘Don’t Stand a Chance’ peaked at number nine on Billboard’s R&B singles chart. Continuous tiffs with her father led Jackson to come out from under his shell. She then teamed with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to come up with her third album ‘Control’ in 1986 which became a major hit. The album peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 and was certified five times platinum by the RIAA, selling over ten million copies worldwide.
83.    ‘Control’ gave Jackson her first breakthrough success. It not just spawned top five singles but also gave her, her first number one hit on the Hot 100. The album went on to receive six Billboard Awards, including Top Pop Singles Artist and three Grammy nominations. It also won four American Music Awards from twelve nominations, the highest ever till date. ‘Control’ gained crossover pop appeal, giving Jackson her own identity, away from her clan. Following the stupendous success of ‘Control’, Jackson was bounded by the pressure to come up with its sequel. However, she refrained from bowing down to the pressure and instead came up with her fourth album ‘Rhythm Nation 1814’ that dealt with a socially conscious theme.
84.    Open Comments:
85.    Question 1: Nipple Gate - In a 2006 interview with MTV, Justin Timberlake admitted that Jackson suffered more in wake of the controversy. “If you consider it 50-50, then I probably got 10 percent of the blame,” Timberlake told MTV’s John Norris in a 2006 interview. “I think America is harsher on women. I think America is unfairly harsh on ethnic people.” He also said that he could have “handled [the aftermath] better.” -  Why did she get crushed?
86.    Question 2: TMZ 6/23/2019 - Janet Jackson has broken her silence amid new allegations against her brother, Michael Jackson, in "Leaving Neverland" -- and her message is simple ... his rep will be just fine. Janet says, "I love it when I see kids emulating him, when adults still listen to his music. It just lets you know the impact that my family has had on the world." She added, "I hope I'm not sounding arrogant in any way -- I'm just stating what it is. It's really all God's doing, and I'm just thankful for that." She's also defended him in the past, specifically when Jordy Chandler accused Michael of sexual abuse in '93. At the time, Janet called it a money grab. – Denial or Business?
87.    Featured Artist: Anita Denise Baker (@ 28 yrs. old): a.k.a., 'The Songstress'. Singer and songwriter.
88.    Childhood & Early Life: Born in Toledo, Ohio. She was abandoned by her parents at the age of two and was raised by a foster family in Detroit, Michigan. Her foster parents passed away when she was only 12 and her foster sister took care of her upbringing after the death of her foster parents. Baker had an interest in music from an early age and started singing R & B in nightclubs in Detroit by the time she was 16. It was after one of those performances that funk band leader David Washington of ‘Chapter 8’ identified her and asked her to go to go for an audition in order to join the band.
89.    Career: Baker became a member of the band ‘Chapter 8’ in 1975 (@ 17 yrs. old) and following a string of performances, the band was handed a deal by Ariola Records in 1979. The group’s first album ‘Chapter 8’ was released in 1979 and featured the singles "Ready for Your Love," a duet between Baker and bandmate Gerald Lyles, and the Baker-led "I Just Want to Be Your Girl." In 1979, Ariola Records was taken over by Arista Records and Chapter 8 lost their contract as Arista Records was of the view that Baker was not fit to be the group’s lead singer. Baker went back to Detroit and worked as a waitress and a receptionist for a law firm. In 1983 (@ 25yrs old), she released her debut solo album, 'The Songstress', under the Beverly Glen label. The album was a popular one and many of the songs made it to the music charts. Following the release of the album she had a protracted legal battle with the Beverly Glen label over payment of royalties and breach of contract issues. She won the case against the label in 1985, signed with Elektra Records label, and came out with her second album 'Rapture' in 1986. The album became a big hit, with over eight million copies sold worldwide and led to ‘The Rapture Tour’.
90.    Open Comments:
91.    Question: Parade Magazine 9/12/19 - Short hair, don’t care! Tamron Hall has been rocking a short ‘do for over 20 years—and the TV personality, 48, revealed on her new self-titled daytime talk show that she decided to first go for the chop because of an old flame. “I cut my hair when I was 18 years old because my boyfriend at the time had a crush on Anita Baker, and I had a bigger crush on him than he did on me apparently,” she shared. So, Hall modeled her hair after the “Sweet Love” singer, who has been credited as one of the pioneers of the pixie haircut. – Do you like the pixie on women?
92.    Movie Scene: She’s Gotta Have It
93.    A 1986 American black-and-white comedy-drama film written, edited and directed by Spike Lee. Filmed on a small budget and Lee's first feature-length film, it earned positive reviews and launched Lee's career. The plot concerns a young woman (Johns) who is seeing three men, and the feelings this arrangement provokes. Nola idealizes the freedom to have multiple sex partners that men have typically enjoyed, saying “A woman can be a sexual being, doesn’t have to belong to a man, and perhaps shouldn’t even wish for such a thing.” Nola's voice has been described as the most revolutionary element in the film, a representation of the struggle African American women faced in society at the time.
94.    Review: By Esi Edugyan, he Guardian 12/2017 - Perhaps the most daring aspect of ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ was not its portrayal of sexuality but simply its willingness to view black people just as people. The film never highlights their racial otherness, exploring instead the whole messy business of their experiences. The black experience – to the extent such a thing even exists – is not only slavery and racism and economic disparity and brutality and the endless ongoing struggle, though it is all these things certainly. It is also sex and love and boredom and dreaming and joy.
95.    Question: Are promiscuous black women now acceptable?
96.    TV Scene
97.    Debuts: Oprah Winfrey's Chicago-based talk show goes national, He's the Mayor, The Redd Foxx Show, Melba, featuring singer/actress Melba Moore.
98.    Cancellations: Mar - Diff'rent Strokes, 1978 / Apr - Benson, 1979 / May - The Love Boat, 1977
99.    Featured Show: “227”
100.    “227” stars Marla Gibbs as Mary Jenkins. The series was adapted from a play written in 1978 by Christine Houston about the lives of women in a predominantly black apartment building. The show was created as a starring vehicle for Marla Gibbs, who had become famous as Florence Johnston, the sassy maid on The Jeffersons, and had starred in Houston's play in Los Angeles. This role was similar in nature.
101.    “227” followed the lives of Mary Jenkins (Marla Gibbs), a nosy, tart-tongued, but loving housewife. Her husband, Lester (Hal Williams), had his own construction company, and their daughter, Brenda (Regina King), was boy-crazy yet smart and studious, in her first television acting role. Also cast in 227 was Sandra Clark (Jackée Harry), Mary's young neighbor who constantly bickered back and forth with her about their respective views on life. Except for The Cosby Show and A Different World, “227” achieved higher ratings than other sitcoms airing at the time with a predominantly African American cast during the first two seasons. Awards: Winner of 1987 Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Jackée Harry.
102.    Open Comments:
103.    Featured Character: Sandra's style was so great because it's the quintessential 1980's look of "grown and sexy". Sandra showed us Black women could be bold, fierce, fabulous, and fashionistas and rock any outfit with enough confidence to stop traffic. From interview with Lee Bailey’s Electronic Urban Report, “I was a diva, full and blown up. In fact, I was the ‘It’ girl. Oh yeah, I was that girl. I dressed well, had a lot of money. I don’t know how many cars. You know, it was the 80s, it was not a blur, but it flew so fast.” Fortunately, Harry had a great vehicle to shine in “227,” which struck a chord with its relatable characters. Harry’s hard work obviously paid off with Sandra, who became a certified hit with viewers. It’s a given that Harry put her stamp on the character, but she credits a couple of entertainment icons for helping to lay the groundwork for her and other women to be funny and sexy without missing a beat. Especially when it came to Sandra. “Just funny. Funny. And the clothes she wore, scandalous. Funny lines. Sexy, fancy. People wanted that and I didn’t know that, then,” Harry said about what made her beloved “227” character so endearing. “I grew up watching a lot of TV and I had seen women like that on TV… a lot of different women like Mae West and Lucille Ball. That was my vision of funny. Pretty, but still funny and you can get away with a lot more. Which is still true today.”
104.    Open Comments:
105.    Question: Ever met a real-life “Jackee”?
106.    Vote: Best Pop Culture item/event for 1986