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

Dec 1, 2019

Topics: Gangs, Keith Sweat, Al. B. Sure!, Bobby Brown, Coming to America, A Different World (Bonus Artist: hidingtobefound)


1.    Ronald Reagan President (Last Year!)
2.    Jan - Doug Williams super bowl [Two weeks earlier, CBS commentator Jimmy the Greek had been fired for remarking that blacks were better at sports because of slave plantation breeding techniques: “During the slave period, the slave owner would breed his big black with his big woman so that he would have a big black kid — that’s where it all started.”]
3.    Feb – Winter Olympics: Jamaican Bobsled team! Debi Thomas 1988 winter Olympics Bronze medal - The best African American figure skater in history
4.    Jul - Jessie Jackson keep hope alive speech at the DNC
5.    Jul - The first ever edition of "Shark Week" airs on Discovery Channel.
6.    Aug - Yo! MTV Raps
7.    Sep - James Brown, while high on PCP, was involved in a high-speed chase with the police. He was eventually convicted of assaulting an officer and possession of an unlicensed firearm, among other charges. He spent three years in prison
8.    Sep – Summer Olympics: Florence Joyner She is considered the fastest woman of all time, based on the world records she set in 1988 for both the 100 m and 200 m still stand. Jackie Joyner-Kersee long jump and heptathlon, Carl Lewis, Steve Lewis, and roger kingdom
9.    Oct - Sega's two-year head start on Nintendo in the 16-bit gaming wars began on October 29, 1988, when the Sega Genesis launched
10.    Nov - George Bush elected President
11.    Dec - Mad Max Robinson dies
12.    Dec - Roots: The Gift, the third installment of the Roots series is broadcast on ABC.
13.    Open Comments:
14.    Top Pop Songs
15.    #1 - "Faith" - George Michael
16.    #2 - Need You Tonight" - INXS
17.    #3 - "Got My Mind Set on You" - George Harrison
18.    Grammy Awards
19.    Record of the Year: Bobby McFerrin for "Don't Worry, Be Happy"
20.    Album of the Year: George Michael (producer & artist) for Faith
21.    Song of the Year: Bobby McFerrin for "Don't Worry, Be Happy"
22.    Best New Artist: Tracy Chapman
23.    Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female: Anita Baker for "Giving You the Best That I Got"
24.    Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male: Terence Trent D'Arby for Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'arby
25.    Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: Gladys Knight & the Pips for "Love Overboard"
26.    Best Rhythm & Blues Song: Anita Baker for "Giving You the Best That I Got" performed by Anita Baker
27.    Best Rap Performance: "Parents Just Don't Understand" – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. [The first award for Best Rap Performance was presented to DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince for "Parents Just Don't Understand". Jeff and Smith led a boycott in protest of the awards presentation not being televised, and some members of the rap community felt that more qualified artists were overlooked.
28.    Top 3 Movies
29.    #1 - Rain Man
30.    #2 - Who Framed Roger Rabbit
31.    #3 - Coming to America
32.    Other Notables: Big, Twins, Crocodile Dundee II, Die Hard, The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!, Cocktail, Beetlejuice, Above the Law, Colors, A Fish Called Wanda, Young Guns, Tougher Than Leather, Child's Play, The Land Before Time, Tequila Sunrise, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, and School Daze.
33.    Top 3 TV Shows
34.    #1 - The Cosby Show
35.    #2 - Roseanne
36.    #3 - A Different World
37.    Economic Snapshots
38.    New Home: 91,777
39.    Avg Rent: 420
40.    Avg. Income: 24,457
41.    New Car: 10,432
42.    Harvard: 12,015
43.    Movie Ticket: 3.50
44.    Gas: .91
45.    Stamp: .25
46.    Social Scene: Gangs and the movie Colors
47.    Trailer:
48.    “Bulls”:
49.    Stevin Levitt, Freakonomics:
50.    @9:35 - Summary: McDonalds vs Gang
51.    Factors: Socio-political-economical, hyper masculinity and criminal justice/policing
52.    Other ethnicities “evolved” out of their “street-gang” phases, but black- brown people are dealt with differently.
53.    Open Comments:
54.    Question: would more representation in the criminal justice system help – how to counter our internal factor?
55.    Music Scene:
56.    Top Black Singles
57.    #6 - "So Emotional", Whitney Houston
58.    #11 - "One More Try", George Michael
59.    #12 - "Wishing Well", Terence Trent D'Arby
60.    #15 - "Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car", Billy Ocean
61.    #21, "Man in the Mirror", Michael Jackson
62.    #27, "Father Figure", George Michael
63.    #33 - "Where Do Broken Hearts Go", Whitney Houston
64.    #36 - "The Way You Make Me Feel", Michael Jackson
65.    #37 - "Don't Worry, Be Happy", Bobby McFerrin
66.    Top Black Albums
67.    Jan – Bad, Michael Jackson
68.    Jan - Characters, Stevie Wonder
69.    Feb - All Our Love, Gladys Knight & the Pips
70.    Mar - Make It Last Forever, Keith Sweat
71.    Apr - Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby, Terence Trent D'Arby
72.    May - Faith, George Michael
73.    Jul - In Effect Mode, Al B. Sure!
74.    Aug - Strictly Business, EPMD
75.    Sep - Don't Be Cruel, Bobby Brown
76.    Sep - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Public Enemy
77.    Oct - Don't Let Love Slip Away, Freddie Jackson
78.    Nov - Giving You the Best That I Got, Anita Baker
79.    Nov - Any Love, Luther Vandross
80.    Vote:
81.    Featured Artists: New jack swingers
82.    Keith Sweat (@ 27 yrs. old): Known for his distinctive ‘whining’ vocal style, Sweat has established himself as one of the most successful male R&B/soul singers not only in America but also in other parts of the world. Born Keith Douglas Sweat, he was raised in Harlem and by the time he was 14 he had performed at various nightclubs in and around New York City. He graduated from the City College of New York with a BS degree in ‘communications’, after which he worked for a brief period as a successful brokerage assistant in a Wall Street firm. Despite a prosperous career at the Wall Street, he chose to pursue his passion for music and began writing songs and tried selling them to various record labels. In 1975, he began his career in music as a member of the Harlem based band called the ‘Jamilah’. In 1984, he left ‘Jamilah’ in order to begin a solo career and subsequently sang at various nightclubs in New York. He was quickly noticed and given an opportunity to record an independent album for ‘Stadium Records’. He recorded ‘My Mind Is Made Up’ for the ‘Stadium Records’ and he was also credited as the co-writer and co-producer of ‘You Are the One for Me’. On November 25, 1987 his debut solo album ‘Make It Last Forever’ was released, which sold three million copies. The biggest hit from this album was the song that inaugurated the new jack swing era "I Want Her"
83.    Bobby Brown (@ 19 yrs. old): Brown changed producers for this album and worked extensively with hit-making songwriting and production duo Babyface and L.A. Reid. Alex Henderson of AllMusic wrote: “Don't Be Cruel was to Bobby Brown what Control was to Janet Jackson – a tougher, more aggressive project that shed his "bubblegum" image altogether and brought him to a new artistic and commercial plateau. With "My Prerogative" and the title song, Brown became a leader of new jack swing”
84.    Al B. Sure!(@ 20 yrs. old): During the late '80s, Al B. Sure! enjoyed a brief run as one of new jack swing's most popular romantic singers. Born Al Brown in Boston, he grew up in Mount Vernon, NY, listening to smooth crooners like Marvin Gaye and Johnny Mathis; he later became interested in rap and added that skill to his vocal repertoire. At age ten, he and a friend performed on a song written by Ellie Greenwich for the soundtrack of Sesame Street, and later he began writing songs with his cousin Kyle West. While in high school (where he quarterbacked the football team), he became friends with Edward Ferrell, aka DJ Eddie F, who was working with rapper Heavy D at the time. Eddie F introduced the still-teenaged Al B. Sure! to Heavy D's manager/Uptown label head Andre Harrell, who had him sing backing vocals on several Heavy D tracks and helped him get a deal with Warner Brothers. In 1987, Al was selected by Quincy Jones as the first winner of the Sony Innovators Talent Search. He collaborated with Jones on various projects, most notably the platinum single “The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite)” from Jones’ double-platinum-certified album Back on the Block. On this hit, he was one of a quartet with El DeBarge, Barry White, and James Ingram. His debut album of 1988 In Effect Mode topped the Billboard R&B chart for seven consecutive weeks, selling more than two million copies.
85.    Open Comments:
86.    Question: Al B. Said “There’s a generation of women starving to be told I love you again” What happened?! Who is bringing it back?
87.    Movie Scene: Coming to America
88.    Trailer:
89.    The Hollywood Reporter's original review: “Eddie Murphy's latest Coming to America is likely to leave the wreath-bearers, the frantic faithful, the crowd herders and the legions of line-waiters in numbed, disbelieving disappointment…Distressingly, the film flops into the blandest of sitcom formats, never realizing its regal potential...Coming to America is the filmic equivalent of using a Maserati to go to the corner grocery store…Yes, there are some crazy pieces crammed into America — Murphy and Hall in their multi-roles do a running black barbershop bit that is good and nuts — but this comedy is generally tame and sappy…The plot itself is pathetic…No getting around it, while the script completely misses as a social satire, the writers have botched the romance part of America as well…Rivaling the inept screenplay is John Landis' cornball direction, which includes a TV season's worth of reactive cutaways to an ugly poodle…On a production level, at least, Coming to America gets top marks. — Duane Byrge originally published on June 24, 1988.
90.    Open Comments:
91.    Question: Is this Eddie’s best movie? Was Arsenio better than Eddie? Sequel or a remake?
92.    Television Scene: A Different World
93.    Theme song differences
94.    Debbie Allen’s influence
95.    Why didn’t any of them go onto stardom? -
96.    Vote: Best/most important/favorite pop culture item from 1988?