D.j. Khaled can add a new gig to his résumé. Apple Music named the music mogul as its first artist-in-residence.
Khaled celebrated his Apple residency via Instagram, sharing a promotional video of himself at work.ADVERTISING
“Bless up @applemusic for making me the very first artist-in-residence ever for @applemusic,” he wrote in the caption. “This means imma taking over the biggest playlists on the platform every month!”
He added, “Also the goal is to break new artists in the process. All record labels and artists, hit me up. This month, we gon start with Office DJ and then I might hit y’all wit a Gymflow playlist vibe next month. #WETHEBEST Go check out office dj play list now this what I’m listing to in my office right now .”
According to Apple Music, Khaled will craft one playlist during every month of his residency. The We The Best Music Group founder will be working with their team to create and executive produce special editions of the streaming service’s top playlists, including the popular It’s Lit!!! and Gymflow.
Khaled’s residency kicked off the launch of his first playlist, Office DJ Khaled. The collection is his own version of Apple Music’s Office DJ.
When Salt-N-Pepa announced they were going on the road with New Kids On The Block for their The Mixtape Tour earlier this year, Spinderella was quick to point out she wasn’t included. In fact, she revealed Salt and Pepa sent her packing with a “termination” email.
Now, the group’s longtime DJ is reportedly suing the other two members for unpaid royalties.
According to TMZ, the bad blood started to boil in 1999 with The Best Of Salt-N-Pepaalbum. The suit says she was to receive a third of the royalties for the record and was promised she’d be getting $125,000 by phone. But she says she was never paid.
The suit also claims Spinderella was excluded from a VH1 show based on Salt-N-Pepa’s rise to stardom. Despite the occasional guest spot, she says she received way less than one-third. Spin also says she wasn’t paid for their 2018 Billboard Music Awards appearance.
Spin is reportedly most upset about what she learned from SoundExchange, a company that collects and distributes royalties to artists. She was told Salt and Pepa have been paid over $600,000 in royalties in the last 10 years and Spin insists she didn’t receive a dime.
Spinderella is suing for trademark infringement, fraud and breach of contract.
When she explained her absence from the NKOTB tour in May, Spin pointed out her name was still included in promotional items.
“Despite my participation in promoting the tour and being highly publicized as one of the acts, in January 2019 I received a ‘termination’ email from #SaltnPepa excluding me from performances with the group,” she wrote on Instagram. “It was my expectation, after making that decision, that they would also take responsibility for sharing the news with the public and other affected parties. It has been months now with no mention.”
Who hasn’t sat in front of the TV on a Saturday morning… dressed in your favorite pajamas… equipped with a big old bowl of your favorite cereal… watching cartoons?
That has always been the drill. You did it. Your momma did it. Depending on your age, your momma’s momma did. However, recent testing has proved that one of our favorite and most sacred past-times could actually kill us. Many of the cereals marketed to children have been contaminated with a controversial weed killer called glyphosate.
The Environmental Working Group has presented research saying that 17 of the some of the most popular breakfast foods contain high levels of the this weed killer. Out of the batch, Cheerios and Nature Valley products had some of the highest levels.
The acceptable levels is about 160 parts per billion, but in testing cereals, breakfast bars and granolas, scientists show that various products already on the market have surpassed these numbers.
Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch had 833 parts per billion. Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal had 729 parts per billion. Nature Valley “Maple Brown Sugar” Crunchy granola bars had 566 parts per billion. Nature Valley Granola Cups, Almond Butter brand had 529 parts per billion
Why is this so important?
These levels have been classified by the International Agency for Research on Canceras “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Technically, these levels are high but not exceed the legal limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency. In fact according to Reuters, just this past weekU.S. District Judge Robert Scola in Miami, FL has dismissed a classed action against the cereal giant, General Mills that distributes Cheerios regarding the traces of weedkiller glyphosate in her cereal. The grounds of the dismissal? The plaintiff, Mounira Doss of Broward County, failed to present evidence that she was harmed by the poison so sick.
Dr. Sebi tried to tell us that the government is in on it.
Be that as it were, the concerns of EWG are the long-term effects that glyphosate may have on people, particularly children who have been exposed “during early life.”
The old music industry is dead. We’re standing in the ruins of a business built on private jets, Cristal, $18 CDs and million-dollar recording budgets.
We’re in the midst of the greatest music industry disruption of the past 100 years. A fundamental shift has occurred — a shift that Millennials are driving.
For the first time, record sales aren’t enough to make an artist’s career, and they certainly aren’t enough to ensure success. The old music industry clung desperately to sales to survive, but that model is long gone.
Even superstars have it tough. Pitbull — despite having 50 million Facebook fans and nearly 170 million YouTube plays — has sold less than 10 million albums in his entire career. This is the reality of the new music industry, which is built off of liquid attention, not record sales.
Why? Well, the answer lies with us , the Millennials. We’ve taken over the music industry by controlling the two things that matter most:
1. THE DEMAND
The music industry is just like any other big business: It follows cash. Over the past two decades, music has suffered through the CD bubble, torrents, Napster, iTunes (with Apple taking a 30 percent cut of everything) and now, the ubiquity of streaming services, which reduces sales below the already rock-bottom level.
The music industry has been rocked by new trends and over the past few years, has succumbed to a state of near free-fall. It’s clutching whatever few straws are left in an attempt to salvage profit from the remains of its broken business models.
As music becomes more and more entrenched in the digital realm, Millennials have emerged as the dominant consumers. More importantly, we dominate the most promising emerging market for music: mobile devices. We use music, media and entertainment apps more than 75 percent more and social sharing apps about 20 percent more frequently than any other age group.
In a nutshell, Millennials consume the most music and tell the greatest number of people about it. While it’s obvious that consumption is important, why is it so important that we share what we listen to?
The old music industry had a banner metric of artist success: album sales. For years, album sales have been declining and the growth of singles and streaming services have accelerated the trend.
As we’ve transitioned into a digital music economy, new measures of success have emerged. A new generation of artists has hit the scene and they thrive on attention rather than units of music they sell.
The attention has become just as valuable as our likelihood to purchase, as it leads to festival and performance attendance, merchandising sales and other sources of revenue. However, we still won’t buy your music.
Brands know this, too. Companies like GUESS, Red Bull and Steve Madden will pour more than $1.34 billion into sponsoring music venues, festivals and tours this year.
Over a billion dollars will be spent for the opportunity to build customer relationships and brand equity with digital natives. In contrast, the top 10 highest-earning electronic artists last year cumulatively made just over $240 million — less than 20 percent of what brands will spend in 2014 to capture Millennials’ attention.
What brands understand is that music is an important part of Millennials’ identity. It’s more than entertainment for us. The music we listen to can be as important as how we dress and influences who our friends are.
Going to festivals and shows is an expression of identity. Brands know that if they can identify with a DJ like Skrillex and his dedicated fan base, they’ll have more than just the consumer’s brief attention. The brand will become part of the fans’ lifestyle.
The end result is that the music industry and the big brands are both chasing the new generation of artists; artists who can capture, retain and monetize attention — instead of album sales — and who can keep Millennials interested.
2. THE SUPPLY
All that’s required to make a modern record is a computer and a piece of affordable recording software. One of the most powerful professional DAWs (a digital audio workstation, used to produce music) is Logic Pro from Apple, which costs only $200.
Inside the DAW are virtual instruments like pianos, synthesizers and drums, as well as all the necessary tools to edit and produce audio.
Most of the equipment required to create music has been absorbed into the DAW, while the software continues to get easier and easier to use. The end result is that artists can create music more quickly, more efficiently and less expensively than at any other time in history.
Gotye created his song “Somebody That I Used to Know” in his parents’ house near Melbourne, Australia. The self-produced track reached number one on more than 23 national charts and charted inside the top 10 in more than 30 countries around the world. By the end of 2012, the song became the best-selling song of that year with 11.8 million copies sold, ranking it among the best-selling digital singles of all time.
A young Dutch producer named Martin Garrix reached the top of the charts in more than 10 countries with his smash hit, “Animals,” which he produced and released at 17 years old. The song hit number one on Beatport, making Garrix the youngest person ever to receive the honor.
Millennials, who can simply record after class or work, are mostly familiar with this technology, but our open-source attitude toward learning is much more important.
Search “How to use Logic Pro” in YouTube and you’ll find thousands of free tutorials. Sites like Reddit have entire communities with tens of thousands of members who are dedicated to learning about music production.
Technology is cheap and high-quality learning resources are free. As the result, artists have massively successful records without having set foot in a recording studio.
3. MUSIC DISCOVERY IS AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH
It goes without saying that music discovery and music production go hand in hand. However, just as technology has enabled easy music production for young, emerging artists, it has also provided them with a way to reach fans all over the world.
There are the classic success stories like Justin Bieber and Lana Del Rey, of course, but below the YouTube empire rests an entire culture of Millennials who are discovering music online.
Platforms like SoundCloud have more than 250 million active users each month and Millennials discover their music predominately through these digital platforms. Incidentally, when digital natives produce new music, they release it first on the digital platforms.
This is how Millennials are playing both sides of the field: They’re creating more music than ever and releasing it onto platforms where their peers go to discover music.
The music industry middleman has been cut out and a back-and-forth conversation replaced it. Of course, huge stars like Katy Perry still dominate sales, but Millennials are eroding that model with a new, grassroots discovery model.
4. MILLENNIALS ARE FORMING DOMINANT MUSICAL TEAMS
Powerhouse songwriting and production teams back dominant artists like Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. These production teams are one of the main drivers that keep the superstar artists on top. Working in teams allows these writers to churn out tons of highly listenable pop tracks.
Now, Millennials are breaking down this final barrier, too.
Services like FindMySong are connecting independent musicians so they can form their own dominant songwriting and production teams. The FindMySong model takes advantage of the fact that there are more independent musicians than ever before who want a piece of the major artist success without the major label strings.
With cheap recording technology and an effective way to distribute the music, these independents team up online to rival major labels.
You have the power now. What are you going to do with it? For the first time in its long history, the American music business is firmly in the hands of the artists and the consumers. You have the ability to lead the industry wherever you want it to go.
As President Donald Trump and his family trooped into Buckingham Palace for a state banquet with Queen Elizabeth II on Monday night, royal watchers, palace protocol chiefs and journalists were on the alert. Consider, even before Trump landed, he had labeled Meghan Markle “nasty” and the London mayor “a stone cold loser.”
For Trump, however, this royal dinner was clearly more than the usual state visit, as the New York Times pointed out on Tuesday. While Trump has worked hard to build his life into a glittering, eponymous brand, there has long been a royal-specific yearning in the Trump family. What is less known is that this desire arguably dates back to Trump’s mother, an immigrant maid who came to America almost 100 years ago and bequeathed to her fourth child the notion that all that glitters really is gold.
While Trump has worked hard to build his life into a glittering, eponymous brand, there has long been a royal-specific yearning in the Trump family.
Indeed, Trump has a long history of seeking royal stardust. In 1981, he made up a story about Prince Charles and Princess Diana planning to shell out $5 million for a Trump Tower condo. In 1994, he claimed that Prince Charles and Princess Diana had sent in $50,000 checks to become charter members of the Florida Mar-a-Lago club, a Trumpian whopper that a palace spokesman sniffed was “complete nonsense.” Trump even tried (and failed) to date post-divorce Diana, who reportedly said he gave her “the creeps.” Prince Charles reportedly declined an invitation to Trump’s 2005 wedding to Melania.
Pundits like historian Doug Brinkley have blamed Trump’s obsession on his autocratic political bent — he wanted to be “King Donald.” Or simply a penchant for outrageous marketing strategies. But the true source is likely a far more personal inheritance: A Trump family secret is that his mother worked as a maid in the household of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.
Mary Anne McLeod was the 10th child of a fisherman, born into muck boots and peat smoke on a remote Scottish island. She grew up in a two-room cottage and probably got no more than an eighth-grade education before she left the Isle of Lewis in the 1920s, following older sisters who had nestled into a community of nannies, butlers and maids from the British Isles who worked for the robber barons of New York.
Trump has long claimed his mother came to America on a holiday. But the truth can be found in the 1930 U.S. Census, where McLeod is listed at the bottom of a lengthy retinue of butlers, footmen, chauffeurs, cooks and maids working for Louise Carnegie.
It’s not clear how long McLeod held that position, because the Trump family has never acknowledged it. But in 1936, she married Fred Trump, Donald’s father, and moved to Queens. As Fred Trump got richer, Mary Anne modeled herself as a Queens Louise Carnegie — dressing in furs, her blonde hair coiffed into a now-familiar confection, as she was reportedly chauffeured in a Rolls Royce to, some stories say, collect the change from the laundromats at her husband’s growing middle-class apartment building empire.
Mary Anne’s affinity for royal pomp was so deep that she reportedly couldn’t be dragged away from the television set during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.
Mary Anne’s affinity for royal pomp was so deep that she reportedly couldn’t be dragged away from the television set during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, even as her thrifty German husband and her even thriftier German mother-in-law scorned her for it.
Donald seems to have inherited that yearning whole — along with his father’s scorn when he moved to Manhattan and put up his glass tower. Trump admits in “The Art of the Deal” that Fred Trump told him that Trump Tower could have been built of cheaper brick for pennies on the dollar.
Late in life, Mary Anne Trump finally did get to spend a small fortune decorating her own mini-palace in one of the Trump Tower condos. But, according to a family member who spoke to me for my book, she never spent a night in it, because her husband, by then enfeebled and suffering from Alzheimer’s, wouldn’t or couldn’t live there.
Donald Trump’s abiding sense of being an outsider is also likely owed to his mother — the girl looking in at the castle window in Scotland, the teen maid peeking down a polished banister into the candle-lit Carnegie dining hall. Donald, born and raised in an outer borough, was rich — but not to the Manhattan manner born.
Trump’s children, however, were born to rich celebrities in Manhattan — and in America, that means they can play at being royal issue. Ivanka writes in her first book, “The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life,” that her last name is synonymous with class and luxury. Via Instagram, she assiduously curated her family’s arrival in the White House to look like the Camelot of the Kennedys. Meanwhile, her nickname inside the White House was at least initially a pejorative “princess royal,” according to Vanity Fair.
Many American political families would have celebrated the remarkable ancestral story of a royals-struck maid from the British Isles who gave birth to a son who became president of the United States — and who walked into Buckingham Palace Monday to present that woman’s grandchildren to the Queen of England.
But not the Trump clan. For one thing, to admit that they are living out the culmination of that immigrant woman’s dream would be to acknowledge the possibilities that America offers to other men and women.
Beastie Boys fourth Hip Hop album, 1994’s Ill Communication, turns 25 on Friday (May 31).
To commemorate the occasion, the surviving members of the iconic New York rap outfit – Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “King Ad-Rock” Horvitz — have unleashed a 14-minute documentary on their career and the making of the album.
The doc includes interviews with Mike D and Ad-Rock conducted by Amazon Music’s Nathan Brackett at the 2019 SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas earlier this year.
It also features archival footage and commentary from collaborators Mario Caldato Jr. and “Money” Mark Nishita.
Ill Communication debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart upon its release and has since been certified triple platinum by the RIAA. It served as the trio’s second No. 1 album, following 1986’s License To Ill.
Contributions to the project came from Money Mark, Eric Bobo and Amery “AWOL” Smith, Q-Tip and Biz Markie.
The video for “Sabotage,” one of the album’s lead singles, was nominated for Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction in a Video, and Viewer’s Choice at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards. However, it lost all five categories, prompting the late Adam “MCA” Yauch to crash Michael Stipe’s acceptance speech as his Nathanial Hornblower alter ego.
NEW YORK, NY – EPMD is back in business. After seven albums and over 30 years of pumping out authentic, boom bap Hip Hop, Parish Smith and Erick Sermon have announced its first album in 11 years.
Smith confirmed the news and revealed they’ve thrown three titles in the ring — All Business, Major Business and Big Business. The iconic duo has recently returned from a trip to Africa, where Smith says they performed after being commissioned by the African government. Now that they’re back in the States, it’s — yep! — business as usual.ADVERTISING
“The demand from the Hip Hop community, the previous dope shows we did like at The Apollo and the trip to Africa really made us want to do the album,” Smith says. “It’s just time. Everything just comes back around. Like ‘Business As Usual,’ we gots to give the people what they want.
“It’s more or less being out in Hip hop and listening to what people are seeing. They want a real album like Strictly Business, Unfinished Business, Business As Usual or Business Never Personal.”
When asked if he and Sermon are on the same page, he says, “Yes, we are really on a good page. It’s less about us and more about what the fans already did for us. Not many people have a career that span over 32 years.
“You have to put yourself aside and listen to what the people are saying. If shows are sold out and they’re wanting more, then it all makes sense.”
Production-wise, Sermon and Smith are going to handle a lot of it on their own, but they’re open to working with other capable beatsmiths.
“Naturally me and E is going to do the production,” he explains. “Also, we’re open-minded to great producers who grew up on us and have the respect for us to help us out on the production.
“It’s great that we’re good producers, but when you have fans that went on to have a tremendous amount of success and grew up on you, that person is going to hand you a monster track and that’s dope. The pressures not all on you.”
Smith says they started working on the album roughly two months ago and are three or four songs deep into the project.
“I already dropped my vocals,” he says. “Now, we’re getting back into it. There’s been a little adjustment after Africa. Without us rushing, if we can’t get it out this year, it’s a 2020 situation. The beauty for us now is Hip Hop seems to be doing a full circle. So many people are into hearing that 90s music and 90s sound.”
The forthcoming album will serve as the follow-up to 2008’s We Mean Business. The two New Yorkers kicked off their storied career with the 1988 classic, Strictly Business. Despite many breakups and makeups, they’ve continued to tour over the past three decades.
Sermon has also embarked on several business endeavors as well, including Def Rugs. He dropped his latest solo album, Vernia,last month.
DJ Scratch, who joined the duo around 1989 for EPMD’s second album, officially left in 2017
World War I was coming to an end, and many African-Americans wanted to know what the end of the war meant for them. So, activist and author James Weldon Johnson raised the issue that everyone was thinking: Would the African-American’s support for the war effort, on the battlefields of Europe and throughout the many factories in the United States mean improvement in the “status of the Negro as an American citizen? During this time Black people were considered second class—and many worse. It was very little that African-Americans were allowed to do during this time. Blacks could not vote, they were usually sharecropping, and not allowed access to workplaces such as their counterparts, White Americans. Black people were subject to be harassed, violently beat and left for death, and some even murdered.
There were some things that did change for Black Americans over the course of the war. Many southern Blacks had migrated to the North and found jobs in industrial workplaces. Doors that had been closed to Blacks but employed Whites, were no opened to Black workers because of labor shortages. People began talking about the “New Negro” which appeared in print, and people were discussing among themselves. Black people thought after the war they would finally get some type of respect. As much to be expected during this time, the White Americans grew weary and tired of hearing of the talk of the “New Negro.” The southern states began to crack down on any Black protest organizations.
By the summer of 1919, race riots and lynchings were taking place over the country. The Black people were angry that the White Americans were not acknowledging the fact that they had served in the military and that the White Americans were going back to the pre-war status for Blacks. From April to October, American cities were explosive in violence. There were extensive amounts of bloodshed and thus Johnson named it the “#Red Summer.” It is believed that over 25 major riots erupted during this time and at least 52 Black people were lynched. It is possible that it could have been more because there was no complete and accurate records that could be kept during the time.
Hundreds of people—most of them black—were killed and thousands more were injured. Tens of thousands were forced to flee their homes.” “In Washington, daily newspapers fanned the flames with lurid, exaggerated, or even fabricated accounts of black crime. In Chicago, postwar unemployment, labor conflicts, housing shortages, and heat provided the context for the massive violence that followed the stoning death of a young black swimmer who crossed an invisible line separating whites from blacks in Lake Michigan. Whites in Omaha, Neb., physically attacked their mayor before destroying the local courthouse to seize and then lynch a black man accused of assaulting a white woman. In Phillips County, Ark., black sharecroppers’ efforts to organize a union to secure fair end-of-year settlements precipitated what one contemporary called “a crusade of death” that left hundreds dead.” (Chicago Tribune, 2011) During this time the riots were getting a significant amount of coverage by the media, and this was just making matters extremely worse. Making no secret of their opposition to black rights, white southern politicians blamed black sharecroppers and called the NAACP “an association for the promotion of revolution.
The war had changed Black Americans who were in the war, as well as the Blacks who stayed back at home. Their mindset know was to protect their homes and families with everything they had inside them. They would fight to the finish, they thought of ways to be ready and waiting for the White Americans before they invaded their territory. Black America woke up to other things happening in the country politically, socially, and artistically as well. Read more of the Red Summer.
More than 300 innocent people were killed when police assisted a racist mob in the burning and looting of the most affluent African American neighborhood in the United States.
On June 1, 1921, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a horrific act of racial terrorism took place, and the perpetrators were actually assisted by the local police and the national guard. The site of the attack was a region of Tulsa known as “Black Wall Street” in a neighborhood called “Greenwood,” which was a thriving center of culture and commerce for African Americans.
At the time, the community was a symbol of black success in America, which unfortunately made it the target of constant hostility from media, politicians and local racists who saw it as an economic threat. The attacks on the community were sparked by an accusation that a black man attempted to rape a white woman. Although the man accused of the crime was arrested and awaiting judgment, a mob of angry racists did not want to wait for the suspect to see a fair trial, and instead wanted the whole black community to pay for the alleged crimes of this one man.
At the courthouse, innocent black bystanders were attacked by a mob and forced to retreat back to Greenwood. The mob then descended on “Black Wall Street,” setting fires to buildings and shooting people indiscriminately, creating a night of terror throughout the city. Airplanes circled the sky dropping kerosene and nitroglycerin on the buildings and people below, according to survivors of the attack.
Authorities did nothing to stop the violence, and in fact, they actually assisted the mob by only arresting blacks, and some reports have even indicated that they also engaged in violence, possibly even flying some of the planes that were responsible for the bombings. These events came to be known as the “Tulsa Race Riots,” but as many survivors have pointed out, calling them “riots” just serves to take responsibility from the mob and the police that protected them.
THE TERM “RACE RIOT” DOES NOT ADEQUATELY DESCRIBE THE EVENTS OF MAY 31—JUNE 1, 1921, IN GREENWOOD… IN FACT, THE TERM ITSELF IMPLIES THAT BOTH BLACKS AND WHITES MIGHT BE EQUALLY TO BLAME FOR THE LAWLESSNESS AND VIOLENCE. THE HISTORICAL RECORD DOCUMENTS A SUSTAINED AND MURDEROUS ASSAULT ON BLACK LIVES AND PROPERTY. THIS ASSAULT WAS MET BY A BRAVE BUT UNSUCCESSFUL ARMED DEFENSE OF THEIR COMMUNITY BY SOME BLACK WORLD WAR I VETERANS AND OTHERS.
DURING THE NIGHT AND DAY OF THE RIOT, DEPUTIZED WHITES KILLED MORE THAN 300 AFRICAN AMERICANS. THEY LOOTED AND BURNED TO THE GROUND 40 SQUARE BLOCKS OF 1,265 AFRICAN AMERICAN HOMES, INCLUDING HOSPITALS, SCHOOLS, AND CHURCHES, AND DESTROYED 150 BUSINESSES. WHITE DEPUTIES AND MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD ARRESTED AND DETAINED 6,000 BLACK TULSANS WHO WERE RELEASED ONLY UPON BEING VOUCHED FOR BY A WHITE EMPLOYER OR OTHER WHITE CITIZEN. NINE THOUSAND AFRICAN AMERICANS WERE LEFT HOMELESS AND LIVED IN TENTS WELL INTO THE WINTER OF 1921.
In the aftermath of the attacks, Black Wall Street was left in ruins and many of its residents were left homeless and destitute. Instead of helping, the local government attempted to make it impossible for them to rebuild by placing impossible building regulations on the area and then attempting to take their land. The Oklahoma Bureau of Vital Statistics attempted to downplay the deadly nature of the attacks and officially recorded 39 dead. However, the American Red Cross, who was on the ground at the time, estimated the actual death toll to be 300.
While the attacks may have been sparked by the rape accusations, it was the culmination of years of hostility that was directed towards the community. Many poor and middle-class whites resented the fact that they had affluent African-American neighbors, and this envy was instigated by the establishment media and politicians of the day.
Race relations have come a long way in the past century, but sadly many of the same conditions that led to the violence on Black Wall Street in 1921 are still prevalent today. In modern times, politicians and media outlets build their careers by stoking division between races and social groups, often using fear of economic hardship to sow distrust.
One of America’s most notorious drug lords, Frank Lucas, has reportedly passed away from natural causes. TMZ reports Lucas was en route to a New Jersey hospital to be treated for an unknown condition but died before he could get there. He was 88.
Lucas has been a part of pop culture for decades. Denzel Washington played the infamous heroin dealer in the 2007 movie, American Gangster, while JAY-Z’s American Gangster album was inspired by the same film about Lucas’ life.
The former Harlem resident is heralded as the puppet master behind the “Golden Triangle” gambit of the early 70s. The “Golden Triangle” was coined by the CIA and refers to the area where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong Rivers, one of the most extensive opium-producing areas of Asia.
He claimed that the incident that sparked his motivation to embark on a life of crime was having witnessed his 12-year-old cousin’s murder at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, for apparently “reckless eyeballing” (looking at) a Caucasian woman, in Greensboro.
Lucas claimed to have imported the heroin — which he often called “Blue Magic” — from Southeast Asia in the coffins of U.S. soldiers killed in Vietnam.
“Who the hell is gonna look in a dead soldier’s coffin,” Lucas told New York Magazine in 2000. “We had him make up 28 copies of the government coffins . . . except we fixed them up with false bottoms, big enough to load up with six, maybe eight kilos.”
Lucas was arrested by the mid-70s. When the DEA raided his Jersey home in 1975, they discovered over $584,000 in cash. He was ultimately convicted of federal and state drug violations and sentenced to 70 years behind bars. However, Lucas cooperated with the feds and became an informant. He and his family entered a witness protection program.
Following fiver years in prison, Lucas’ sentence was reduced to time served plus lifetime parole. But old habits die hard. He was later busted for drug dealing again and served another seven years. He was released in 1991.