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

Nov 1, 2019

Topics: Crack Epidemic, Michael Jackson - Bad, Hollywood Shuffle, Eyes on the Prize (Bonus Artist: Luck Pacheco)
1.    Ronald Reagan President – (Should have been impeached)
2.    January
3.    The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, became the very first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
4.    March
5.    U.S. President Ronald Reagan addresses the American people on the Iran-Contra Affair, acknowledging that his overtures to Iran had 'deteriorated' into an arms-for-hostages deal.
6.    Jim Bakker, head of PTL Ministries, resigns after admitting an affair with church secretary Jessica Hahn.
7.    April
8.    Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of English rock band Queen, is diagnosed with AIDS. He dies four years later after making his diagnosis public.
9.    Matt Groening's The Simpsons debuts as a series of short animated segments as part of The Tracey Ullman Show on Fox.
10.    May
11.    U.S. Senator Gary Hart drops out of the running for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination, amid allegations of an extramarital affair with Donna Rice.
12.    June
13.    During a visit to Berlin, Germany, U.S. President Ronald Reagan challenges Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.
14.    Teddy Seymour is officially designated the first black man to sail around the world, when he completes his solo sailing circumnavigation in Frederiksted, St. Croix, of the United States Virgin Islands.
15.    Edwards v. Aguillard: The Supreme Court of the United States rules that a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught in public schools whenever evolution is taught is unconstitutional.
16.    July
17.    Ronald Reagan nominates former Solicitor General Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. The nomination is later rejected by the Senate, the first and only nominee rejection to date.
18.    October
19.    Jesse Jackson launches his second campaign for U.S. President.
20.    The United States is caught up in a drama that unfolds on television as a young child, Jessica McClure, falls down a well in Midland, Texas, and is later rescued.
21.    December
22.    Prozac makes its debut in the United States.
23.    Open Comments
24.    Black Snapshots
25.    Mar - The first ever Soul Train Music Awards
26.    Apr - Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Al Campanis makes racially insensitive comments when
27.    asked about the scarcity of black field or general managers in MLB. Campanis, who had played alongside Robinson and was known for being close to him, was being interviewed about the subject on Nightline. Anchorman Ted Koppel asked him why, at the time, there had been few black managers and no black general managers in Major League Baseball. Campanis' reply was that blacks "may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or, perhaps, a general manager" for these positions. Elsewhere in the interview, he said that blacks are often poor swimmers "because they don't have the buoyancy." Koppel says he gave Campanis several opportunities to clarify, ("Do you really believe that?") or back down from his remarks, but Campanis confirmed his views with his replies. Campanis was fired less than 48 hours later.
28.    Literature – Rita Dove wins a Pulitzer for Thomas and Beulah and Toni Morrison publishes Beloved; it will win a Pulitzer and become a movie. Terri McMillan's first book, Mama, was published in 1987, later works include Disappearing Acts, Waiting To Exhale, and How Stella got Her Groove Back. James Baldwin, author of If Beale Street Could Talk, passed away.
29.    John H. Johnson is named the first BE Entrepreneur of the Decade, having built Johnson Publishing Co. Inc., producers of Ebony, Jet, and Fashion Fair cosmetics into an international powerhouse. Born and raised in Arkansas, Johnson’s family moved to Chicago when he was a teen. He excelled in school, received a scholarship to the University of Chicago, and began working at an insurance company. He got his start when his mother used her furniture as collateral for a $500 loan to start his first publication, Negro Digest, in 1942, which served as the launching pad for him to create the largest African American publishing company in the world. Seemingly, there wasn’t a single African American household in late 20th century America in which you could not find a copy of Ebony or Jet on the coffee table. In September 1955, Johnson made a decision that forever shook the world. Not one to vacillate on any issue, he revealed to millions the mutilated corpse of Emmett Till, a Chicago youngster who had been bludgeoned and shot in Mississippi for reportedly whistling at a white woman. Shortly thereafter, other black publications followed Jet’s lead in publishing the photos. It galvanized clusters of African Americans nationwide to protest such senseless acts of violence. In one bold move, the determined 37-year-old publisher helped launch the civil rights movement.
30.    Open Comments
31.    Top 3 Pop Songs
32.    #1 - "Walk Like an Egyptian", The Bangles
33.    #2 - "Alone", Heart
34.    #3 - "Shake You Down", Gregory Abbott
35.    Grammy Awards
36.    Record of the Year - Paul Simon for "Graceland"
37.    Album of the Year -U2 for The Joshua Tree
38.    Song of the Year - "Somewhere Out There" performed by Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram
39.    Best New Artist - Jody Watley
40.    Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female - Aretha Franklin for Aretha
41.    Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male - Smokey Robinson for "Just to See Her"
42.    Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal - Aretha Franklin & George Michael for "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)"
43.    Best R&B Instrumental Performance (Orchestra, Group or Soloist) - David Sanborn for "Chicago Song"
44.    Best Rhythm & Blues Song - Bill Withers (songwriter) for "Lean on Me" performed by Club Nouveau
45.    Open Comments
46.    Top 3 Movies
47.    #1 - Beverly Hills Cop II
48.    #2 – Platoon
49.    #3 - Fatal Attraction
50.    Other Notables: Lethal Weapon, Predator, Spaceballs, Full Metal Jacket, RoboCop, La Bamba, The Lost Boys, Who's That Girl, Disorderlies, Dirty Dancing, The Big Easy, Hellraiser, The Princess Bride, Three Men and a Baby, Wall Street, Good Morning, Vietnam, and Eddie Murphy Raw
51.    Open Comments
52.    Top 3 TV Shows
53.    #1 - The Cosby Show
54.    #2 - A Different World
55.    #3 - Cheers
56.    Debuts: 21 Jump Street, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and A Different World
57.    Open Comments
58.    Economic Snapshots
59.    New Home: 92,024
60.    Avg Rent: 395
61.    Avg. Income: 24,375
62.    New Car: 10,370
63.    Harvard: 11,390
64.    Movie Ticket: 3.00
65.    Gas: .89
66.    Stamp: .22
67.    Social Scene: The Crack Epidemic
68.    Crack cocaine
69.    What is it - Crack cocaine, is a free base form of cocaine that can be smoked. Cocaine had a reputation as a “party” drug for rich white people. Heroine was a “street” drug for poor black people. Crack became popular on the “streets” with dealers because it turns powder cocaine into an extremely profitable and addictive drug you can now sell to anybody, rich, poor, black, and white. Users liked it because it is a cheap and very potent.
70.    Epidemic background – In 1981, crack started showing up in southern states, like Miami and Houston, and on the west coast, Los Angeles and Oakland. (Coastal/Port cities) Crack was basically an unheard-of drug until 1985. That year was the first time the term "crack" was used by the press, November, 29 New York Times article - A NEW, PURIFIED FORM OF COCAINE CAUSES ALARM AS ABUSE INCREASES, By Jane Gross. Within a year, over one thousand stories showed up in the press. By 1987, The DOJ said crack was in 46 out of 50 states.
71.    How did it Happen? The main conspiracy theory out there is that Reagan had the CIA do it.
72.    Audio Clip
73.    Question: Did crack impact your life at all? Why/Why not?
74.    Music Scene: Black Songs from the top 40
75.    #3 - "Shake You Down", Gregory Abbott
76.    #4 - "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)", Whitney Houston
77.    #7 - "Here I Go Again", Whitesnake
78.    #14 - "Always", Atlantic Starr
79.    #16 - "Looking for a New Love", Jody Watley
80.    #17 - "Head to Toe", Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
81.    #22 - "Didn't We Almost Have It All", Whitney Houston
82.    #24 - "I Want Your Sex", George Michael
83.    #29 - "Lean on Me", Club Nouveau
84.    #31 - "Lost in Emotion", Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
85.    #36 - "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)", Aretha Franklin and George Michael
86.    #37 - "Control", Janet Jackson
87.    #38 - "U Got the Look", Prince
88.    #39 - "Somewhere Out There", Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram
89.    Vote:
90.    Top RnB Albums
91.    Jan - Just Like the First Time, Freddie Jackson
92.    May - Give Me the Reason, Luther Vandross
93.    Jun - Jody Watley, Jody Watley
94.    Jul - One Heartbeat, Smokey Robinson
95.    Jul - Bigger and Deffer, LL Cool J
96.    Sep - If I Were Your Woman, Stephanie Mills
97.    Dec – Characters, Stevie Wonder
98.    Vote
99.    Featured Artist: Michael Jackson, BAD
100.    Open Floor
101.    Question 1: Best Song on the Album
102.    Question 2: Best MJ song ever?
103.    Movie Scene: Hollywood Shuffle, by Robert Townsend and Keenan Ivory Wayans
104.    Robert Townsend, writer, producer, director, and actor was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 6, 1957, the second oldest of four children to Shirley and Robert Townsend.  Growing up on the Westside of Chicago, Townsend was raised by his mother in a single parent home.  As a child Townsend watched TV where he learned to do impersonations of his favorite actors. In 1974, at age 17, he joined Chicago’s Experimental Black Actors Guild X-Bag Theatre and studied at the Second City comedy workshop for improvisation. In 1975, he had a brief uncredited role in the 1975 movie, Cooley High. After high school, Townsend enrolled at Illinois State University, studied for a year, dropped out and moved to New York to pursue comedy.
105.    Townsend met Keenan Ivory Wayans while they were both auditioning at the Improvisation Comedy club and the two formed a lifelong friendship. Keenan left for Hollywood, Robert stayed in NYC, and in 1980, at age 23, he almost landed Eddie Murphy’s spot on SNL. Keenan soon talked him into moving to Hollywood and pursuing an acting career.
106.    He performed on comedy specials such as Rodney Dangerfield: It’s Not Easy Being Me and landed minor roles in films such as A Soldier’s Story (1984) with Denzel Washington, Streets of Fire (1984) with Diane Lane, and American Flyers, a 1985 movie starring Kevin Costner. 
107.    The auditioning process in Hollywood, along with other industry processes, were making Robert and Keenan very frustrated. Tired of the run-around and shuffling back and forth for opportunities that were patronizing and demeaning, they decided to make their own movie. At age 30, without any funding beyond the money saved from his earlier work, he co-wrote, directed, and starred in the critically acclaimed 1987 film, Hollywood Shuffle. Later that same year he directed his old friend Eddie Murphy’s stand-up special Raw. In 1991 he directed and starred in The Five Heartbeats, a biographical drama based loosely on the lives of the rhythm and blues group, the Dells and Temptations. He also directed and starred in The Meteor Man (1993) with James Earl Jones and Bill Cosby and went on to co-create the television series The Parent 'Hood (1995-99)
108.    Open Floor
109.    Audio Clip
110.    Question 1: Is Tyler Perry a Tom?
111.    Question 2: What are today’s stereotypes?
112.    Television scene: Eyes on the Prize- An American television series and 14-part documentary about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States that originally aired on PBS in 1987.
113.    Produced by Blackside, Eyes on the Prize tells the definitive story of the civil rights era from the point of view of the ordinary men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life, and embodied a struggle whose reverberations continue to be felt today. Winner of numerous Emmy Awards, a George Foster Peabody Award, an International Documentary Award, and a Television Critics Association Award, Eyes on the Prize is the most critically acclaimed documentary on civil rights in America.
114.    The 1987 original airing: America's Civil Rights Years 1954–1965 (6 parts)
Pt. 1 - Awakenings (1954–1956)": Chronicles the murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi and the Montgomery bus boycott in Alabama.
Pt. 2 - "Fighting Back (1957–1962)”: Chronicles the school desegregation crises at Central High School by the Little Rock Nine in Arkansas and by James Meredith at the University of Mississippi during the Ole Miss riot of 1962.
Pt. 3 - "Ain't Scared of Your Jails (1960–1961)": Covers the Nashville sit-ins and boycotts that sought to end racial segregation at lunch counters in Tennessee and the Freedom Riders efforts to end segregation on interstate transportation and terminals throughout the southern United States.
Pt. 4 - "No Easy Walk (1961–1963)": Examines the failed attempt by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Albany, Georgia to end segregation and the subsequent lessons learned to win a major victory in Birmingham, Alabama during the Birmingham campaign. The film also covers the March on Washington, one of the largest political rallies for civil rights in United States.
Pt. 5 - "Mississippi: Is This America? (1962–1964)" Chronicles the murder of Medgar Evers in 1963 and the murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner in 1964 in Mississippi. The film also covers the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) attendance at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City during the United States presidential election of 1964.
Pt. 6 - "Bridge to Freedom (1965)": Examines the effort to restore voting rights in Selma, Alabama during the Selma to Montgomery marches.
115.    Review from Common Sense Media: - IS IT ANY GOOD? - This documentary series is wonderfully narrated by Julian Bond and peppered with feisty first-person accounts from the people who lived it. Watching early film of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a 26-year-old clergyman at the beginning of his historic odyssey and seeing the young, future Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall just after his victory in Brown vs. the Board of Education are highlights in a film that consistently strives for excellence, integrity, and clarity. It's a fascinating, emotional journey marked by moments of sadness, disgust, pride, and ultimately joy. Eyes on the Prize brings a crucial part of America's recent past to life.
116.    About Henry Hampton: Hampton was born in St. Louis and as a child suffered from polio. He obtained a B. A. degree from Washington University in his hometown. He was a renowned producer whose television documentary Eyes on the Prize set the pattern for nonfiction accounts of the civil rights movement. His films include The Great Depression and America's War on Poverty, both of which were critically acclaimed. Hampton founded and ran Blackside Productions; the United States' largest African American owned documentary film Production Company. His work focused on the lives of the poor and disenfranchised and chronicled the 20th century's great political and social movements.
117.    Open Floor:
118.    Question: None
119.    Vote: Favorite/Best/Most Important Pop Culture Item of 1987