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

Feb 3, 2020

Topics: A Black Renaissance?, Mariah Carey, House Party, In Living Color / The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (Bonus Artist: hidingtobefound)
1990 General Snapshots
1.    George Bush Sr. President
2.    January - United States invasion of Panama: General Manuel Noriega, the deposed "strongman of Panama", surrenders to American forces.
3.    January - Douglas Wilder becomes the first elected African American governor as he takes office in Richmond, Virginia.
4.    January - Mayor Marion Barry is arrested for drug possession in an FBI sting.
5.    February - James "Buster" Douglas knocks out Mike Tyson to win the World Heavyweight Boxing crown.
6.    February - A smoking ban takes effect on all domestic U.S. flights of less than six hours.
7.    March - Greyhound bus drivers’ strike for higher pay.
8.    April - STS-31: The Hubble Space Telescope is launched aboard Space Shuttle Discovery.
9.    June - Nelson Mandela tours North America, visiting 3 Canadian cities and 8 U.S. cities.
10.    July - George H. W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act, designed to protect disabled Americans from discrimination.
11.    August - Gulf War: Iraq invades Kuwait, eventually leading to the Gulf War.
12.    September - Chris Rock makes Saturday Night Live debut.
13.    October - Evander Holyfield defeats James "Buster" Douglas to become the heavyweight boxing champion.
14.    November - Sharon Pratt Kelly is elected Mayor of the District of Columbia, becoming the first black woman to head a major U.S. city. She takes office January 2, 1991.
15.    Top 3 Pop Songs
16.    #1    "Hold On"    Wilson Phillips
17.    #2    "It Must Have Been Love"    Roxette
18.    #3    "Nothing Compares 2 U"    Sinéad O'Connor
19.    Record of the Year - "Another Day in Paradise" – Phil Collins
20.    Album of the Year - Quincy Jones (producer & artist) for Back on the Block
21.    Song of the Year - "From a Distance" performed by Bette Midler
22.    Best New Artist - Mariah Carey
23.    Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female - Anita Baker for Compositions
24.    Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male - Luther Vandross for "Here and Now"
25.    Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group - Ray Charles & Chaka Khan for "I'll Be Good to You"
26.    Best Rhythm & Blues Song - "U Can't Touch This" performed by M.C. Hammer
27.    Best Rap Solo Performance - M.C. Hammer for "U Can't Touch This"
28.    Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group - Big Daddy Kane, Ice T, Kool Moe Dee, Melle Mel, Quincy D. III & Quincy Jones for "Back on the Block"
29.    Top 3 Movies
30.    #1 Ghost
31.    #2 Home Alone
32.    # 3 Pretty Woman
33.    Other Notables:
34.    Top 3 TV Shows
35.    Cheers
36.    60 Minutes
37.    Roseanne
38.    Debuts: In Living Color, True Colors, Brewster Place, The Fresh Prince
39.    Economic Snapshots
40.    New Home: 123k (previously 120K)
41.    Avg Rent: 465 (425)
42.    Avg. Income: 29k (27K)
43.    New Car: 16k (15K)
44.    Harvard: 13.5k (12.7k)
45.    Movie Ticket: 4 3.50 - same
46.    Gas: 1.34 (.97)
47.    Stamp: .25 (.25)
48.    Social Scene: Pop Culture Dominance and Influence
49.    Politics: Colin Powell, Douglas Wilder, Congressional Black Caucus @ 25 (John Lewis 2nd term)
50.    Business: Ebony/Jet, Russel Simmons, Reginald F. Lewis
51.    Sports: Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr.
52.    Music: Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney, Janet Jackson, MC Hammer, Anita Baker
53.    Movies: Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, Morgan Freeman, Spike Lee, Robert Townsend
54.    Television: Oprah (Daytime), Cosby (Prime time), Aresnio (Nighttime)
55.    Open Comments:
56.    Question: Assimilation? OK, but who is changing who? Are we changing America or is America Changing us?
57.    Music Scene
58.    Black Songs from the Top 40
59.    #4    "Poison"    Bell Biv DeVoe
60.    #6    "Vision of Love"    Mariah Carey
61.    #8    "Hold On"    En Vogue
62.    #11    "Do Me!"    Bell Biv DeVoe
63.    #13    "Pump Up the Jam"    Technotronic
64.    #14    "Opposites Attract"    Paula Abdul and The Wild Pair
65.    #15    "Escapade"    Janet Jackson
66.    #17    "Close to You"    Maxi Priest
67.    #21    "All Around the World"    Lisa Stansfield
68.    #22    "I Wanna Be Rich"    Calloway
69.    #23    "Rub You the Right Way"    Johnny Gill
70.    #24    "She Ain't Worth It"    Glenn Medeiros and Bobby Brown
71.    #26    "The Power"    Snap!
72.    #30    "Two to Make It Right"    Seduction
73.    #33    "Step by Step"    New Kids on the Block
74.    #36    "I Don't Have the Heart"    James Ingram
75.    #38    "Rhythm Nation"    Janet Jackson
76.    #41    "Everything"    Jody Watley
77.    #42    "Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)"    Soul II Soul featuring Caron Wheeler
78.    #43    "Here and Now"    Luther Vandross
79.    Top RnB Albums
80.    January Tender Lover Babyface
81.    January Back on the Block Quincy Jones
82.    April Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em MC Hammer
83.    June Poison Bell Biv DeVoe
84.    June Johnny Gill Johnny Gill
85.    August I'll Give All My Love to You Keith Sweat
86.    December I'm Your Baby Tonight Whitney Houston
87.    Featured Artist: Mariah Angela Carey, (Songbird) singer, songwriter, record producer, actress and philanthropist
88.    Childhood - Born to Patricia (Hickey), an Irish American mezzo-soprano opera singer, and Alfred Roy Carey, an aeronautical engineer. They got divorced when Carey was only three. Her first public performance was at the age of six. By the age of sixteen, she was skipping classes to write songs and her brother, Morgan, paid for her first recording session. She finally graduated from Harborfields High School, in 1987.
89.    Career - Before Carey got her big break, she worked as a temp and juggled with a few odd jobs such as a beautician, hair sweeper in a salon, waitress and as a coat check girl. After several years of struggling, Carey began singing background vocals for the pop and salsa singer-songwriter Brenda Starr in the late 1980s. Additionally, Carey wrote four songs with Ben Margulies, which solely constituted her demo tape. Margulies was a drummer, guitarist, piano player and singer. (One of Margulies's bandmates went to high school with Mariah’s older brother) Starr ultimately helped Carey land a record contract by giving her demo tape to Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola. In 1988, Mottola signed her***.
90.    In June of 1990, her self-titled album, ‘Mariah Carey’, which contained four No.1 hits were released. It was the best-selling album of 1991 and has been certified nine times Platinum.
91.    Aside from her voice, she has become known for her songwriting. Yahoo Music editor Jason Ankeny wrote, "She earned frequent comparison to rivals Whitney Houston and Celine Dion but did them both one better by composing all of her own material." Also, according to Billboard magazine, she was the most successful artist of the 1990s in the United States. Additionally, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lists Carey as the third best-selling female artist of all-time behind Madonna, Rhianna, maybe Taylor Swift.
92.    Open Comments:
93.    Point #1 – Divas status is earned. (She stuck to her guns re: song writing / Dunked on everyone / Checked Eminem)
94.    Pont #2 – Studio performer, but not studio tricks.
95.    Point #3 – The Christmas Song
96.    Question: Is Mariah a "Soul" singer?
97.    Movie Scene: House Party,” …an infectious, engaging comedy starring the rap duo Kid 'N Play.”
98.    Plot: Although Kid has been grounded by his father, he sneaks out for a party at his friend Play's house. But Kid has no clue about the trouble that awaits him in the form of three thugs from school.
99.    Release date: March 9, 1990 / Rotten Tomatoes: 93% 4.5 Stars
100.    Budget - $2.5m, / Box office - $26.4m
101.    Open Comments:
102.    Point #1: Cast is great (Tisha & Martin broke out)
103.    Point #2: First truly successful "Hood" comedy franchise. (4! sequels)
104.    Point #3: Not possible without the success of Robert and Spike. Director said the project only got the green light because of the recent box office success of "black" movies.
105.    Question: What are some of your house party war stories?
106.    Television Scene
107.    #1 - In Living Color (1990–1994): [IMDB Rating: 8.1/10] Keenen Ivory Wayans (@ wasn't looking to do a TV show. In 1988, he was riding high on the success of his cult hit I'm Gonna Git You Sucka and contemplating his next movie. But he took a meeting with a fledgling network called Fox, which made an offer he couldn't refuse. "They told me I could do whatever I wanted," Wayans, 61, recalls. What he wanted was to do a show like Saturday Night Live only much, much edgier. Homey Da Clown, Homeboy Shopping Network, Men on Films, Fire Marshall Bill, Oswald Bates, Wanda, The Fly Girls — the skits Wayans and his mostly African American cast performed each week pushed the envelope not just of TV's color barrier but of TV comedy, won an Emmy and incubated the careers of stars Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Lopez, and several members of the Wayans family.
108.    Open Comments:
109.    Question: Chapelle or In Living Color?
110.    #2 - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990–1996) [MDB Rating: 7.9/10]: A streetwise, poor young man from Philadelphia is sent by his mother to live with his aunt, uncle and cousins in their Bel-Air mansion.
111.    Open Comments
112.    Point #1 - Will and Jazzy were supposed to do the movie House Party
113.    Point #2 - Quincy is doing the most! - Fresh Prince, a collaboration of Quincy Jones and the then-married team of Andy and Susan Borowitz, was based loosely on the life of Will Smith’s then-manager Benny Medina (and on the lifestyle of Jones’ own family) and ran on NBC from 1990-96. NBC was wary of a project starring a rapper, and the show was derided at first by some for a lack of grit. Ultimately, critiques proved ignorant, as the sitcom became part of the cultural DNA of the 1990s. “The Cosbys were affluent,” said Quincy Jones in 2015, “but the Banks’ were wealthy. I don’t think you’d ever seen a wealthy African-American family on television until Fresh Prince, and you definitely hadn’t seen a kid from the hip-hop generation until Fresh Prince.”
114.    Open Comments:
115.    Question: Why wasn't this just "Different Strokes" - Pt. 2?
116.    Vote: Best/most important/favorite pop culture item from 1990?