Sports and politics value the politics of victory
By Derek Joy
Summer has officially arrived.
The Summer Solstice brought it along with the longest day of the year. That’s right. More than 13 hours of daylight when Summer began.
And with it came the beginning of the end of Black Music Month 2013.
Interestingly enough, only two days earlier, the Miami Heat made its third consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals and repeated as NBA Champions in a thrilling series against the San Antonio Spurs.
It was, in the words of the religious sermon and gospel song, “Up the rough side of the mountain,” for the Heat. But they made the journey.
All in Black Music Month in which scientists made public light of the Super Moon.
As that Super Moon approached, I enjoyed the musical and spoken word presentations at the Ward Rooming House and Tourist Gallery in Miami’s Overtown.
Yes, the spoken word artists – Rebecca “Butterfly” Vaughns, Bertrand Boyd II, Camelia “Red Writing Hood” Brown and Bird Sanders – put on a show.
But DJ Bama and Jody Hill and The Deep Fried Funk Band did wonders for my journey down memory lane of Black Music.
I sat with one of my high school classmates, Errolee Burrows Smith, a retired educator whom I’ve known since elementary school. We talked, listened and enjoyed the entertainment.
As she told me about the youngest of her two sons, Ryan Smith – Richard III is the eldest – being an archivist for the Black Archives of Miami, she mentioned the monthly program called Community Conversations.
Suddenly, I remembered the legendary soul singer Bobby Womack, who cut his teeth in the industry as singer/songwriter and lead guitarist for Sam Cooke in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Womack, like Cooke, got started singing in church. Cooke would later sing gospel music for the acclaimed Gospel singing group, the Soul Stirrers, before crossing over to rock ‘n roll/rhythm and blues.
After Cooke’s untimely death by gunshot in a hotel lobby, Womack struck out on his own.
He told the story of his journey in his first hit album in 1971, titled “Communications.” It was all about how the music producers did not deem him to be “commercial.”
Womack sang about going out, back to the woodshed in the musical vernacular. He came back renewed and ready for the challenge. From there he had a series of no less than five hit albums through the early 1980’s.
And that is that path that Heat President, Pat Riley, along with owner, Mickey Arison, have set out to accomplish – a series of championships while remaining competitively commercial.
Now, if only we could get municipal, state and federal elected officials to do the same.
Blending the harmony of music with the completive unity of sports in working for the good of the masses is sorely lacked among career politicians.