I’ve spent most of my professional life in DC, where go-go music was created.
Chuck Brown, the undisputed Godfather of Go-Go, put the genre on the map.
The Washington Post reported the Godfather died yesterday at the age of 75. Longtime radio DJ Donnie Simpson told the Post:
Chuck was like the Washington Monument. He was like Ben’s Chili Bowl. He was the big chair. He was all of that. Chuck Brown was Washington D.C.... People feel you when it’s genuine and Chuck was always that.
I last saw the Godfather in 2010 when he played rocked Ben Franklin Parkway during Philly’s 4th of July celebration. Chuck Brown will be missed but his music will live on. May he rest in peace.
In the Labor Department's August jobs report, released Friday, overall unemployment was unchanged at a dismal 9.1 percent and the economy created no net new jobs -- but black unemployment soared to catastrophic 16.7 percent. For black men the rate jumped a whole percentage point to 18 percent, and for black youth the rate rose from 39.2 percent to 45.5 percent. Blacks now comprise 12 percent of the labor market, but 22 percent of the unemployed.
President Obama has famously avoided emphasizing race. One can fairly debate how much of the higher black joblessness today is the result of persistent racial discrimination, and how much reflects gaps in education and the fact that blacks tend to be concentrated in vulnerable sectors of the economy.
But either way, it is calamitous for the black community and what matters is that Obama has let all this fester.
We do need to acknowledge that it is more difficult for this president because of the historical nature of his presidency to have the kind of conversation that many in our community would like to have focused solely on African-American people.
But I hope that that’s a political trap the president won’t walk into.
If the president were to start speaking directly to African-Americans about what he’s doing for them, what he has done for them, as the first African-American president, that during a general election campaign, that could have very adverse results. And I believe that black people understand that.
In 1955, jazz icon Louis Armstrong recorded “Black and Blue” whose lyrics capture the dilemma facing black Americans:
My only sin is in my skin. What did I do to be so black and blue?
What did black folks do? In 2008, they turned out in record numbers and gave 96 percent of their vote to Candidate Barack Obama. But President Obama cannot target policies to assist them because as we are told ad nauseum, he is “not the president of black America.”
Morgan is the CEO of Re-Vinyl, an interactive mobile app that contextualizes the music experience. His target market includes music lovers who want to kick it like back in the day when album covers were art and fans rocked to the music while reading liner notes.
Morgan was one of 14 founders who made their pitch for “dollar, dollar bills y’all” before a large audience of venture capitalists and angel investors. While some pitches were more convincing than others, they were all impressive.
That said, it was a bittersweet experience. But complaining about the lack of diversity is so Web 1.0.
Roosevelt advised folks to get in the arena and brush off those who criticize from the sidelines:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
To get in the arena, minority founders must apply to DreamIt and other incubators.
Indeed, Bookspan talked about the “power of collaboration.” He said entrepreneurs should “iterate, launch, learn.” Then repeat. It’s about people, market and ideas.
Sure, ideas without finance don’t stand a chance. But to get some “dollar, dollar bills,” founders should focus on assembling their team and identifying their market.
Bookspan said DreamIt’s bottom line is whether they can make a meaningful difference with the companies they accept into the program.
There’s little doubt DreamIt will make a meaningful difference for the five minority-led startups selected to participate in the Comcast Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program. They will get their turn on the mic on December 7 during Demo Day Philadelphia 2011.
But right now, it’s about an Empire State of Mind.