Black In The Day: The Black Joy Playlist


Welcome to Black In The Day, your bi-weekly serving of yesteryear’s magical, inimitable and unforgettable Blackety Blackness courtesy of Alexander Hardy.

Life can be wack sometimes, especially when living and working amongst shitbag-electing jive turkeys, rabid Iggy Azalea stans, kitten heel hoarders and such. Contending with chirren, work, honey shortages at Popeye’s, and automobills can drain one’s spirit, so it’s important that we take a break from saving the world to enjoy some soul food, to replenish what institutional hateration depletes. Laughter is a wonderful way to shake off the blues and sooth oneself as The Tangerine Terrorist and his cabinet of gargoyles jump into the fast lane to 1862. Here are a few spirit-lifting moments in Blackness to assist with your laughter-as-self-care situation. May your days be merry and moisturized.

Let’s start with that one time Chaka Khan stopped by Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland to sing “Miss Celie’s Blues” from The Color Purple with what appears to be the La La Land orchestra, led by Quincy Jones, who wrote the song along with Rod Temperton and Lionel Richie. And right beside her, huffing and puffing for his life on the harmonica, channeling his inner 82-year-old dusty, Marlboro Red-loving blues musician? Yung Brody Buster aka the Harmonica Homeslice. I totally made that name up. Not the Brody part, unfortunately.

Who doesn’t love watching Black-ass divas emote, shout, and out-extra one another on stage? Somebody who wasn’t hugged enough as a kid, that’s who. Once upon a time, Etta James, Chaka Khan, and Gladys Knight performed “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” (not that one) at B.B. King and Friends, and it was glorious. What I love most about this performance is that I understood fewer and fewer of Chaka’s words as the song progressed and she became more and more crunk.

Sometimes you just gotta hop out the car and shake your motherfucking shimmy in the middle of the street with la familia. A few days ago, Herk William captured the ultimate “Oh snap! That’s my song!” moment when a trio of inner-city Blacks in Chicago taught a masterclass on Black joy after somebody started blasting “You and Me” by Rockie Robbins. Shoutout to your uncle who creeped up at the minute mark and tried to two-step into the cypher and got curbed ever so smoothly. He was a trooper, though. He danced his ass right on out the frame and the party continued.

And because you can’t outdo Black folks, the Hodge Wedding will stay with me until my last breath. Now we’ve all seen and been to our fair share of over-the-top nuptials (that received more attention than the actual relationship). Solos that shouldn’t have happened. Ill advised speeches and dresses and liturgical vows and such. But this beat all of that. I knew something magical was happening when the groom strolled in wearing a red vest and turned around so his groomsman could drape him in his 71-button suit jacket. I won’t say much, but just know that the wedding party involves everyone the couple has ever met, and the procession has choreographed shoulder leans, two-steps, Ron Isley, Keyshia Cole, and much more. Black folks are so special.

This curious little chocolately wonder and his adventures in sneaky shit will either brighten your day or serve as birth control. A few weeks ago, comedian Gerald Kelly shared a video of what happened when he interrupted his son in the middle of his skin care regimen as attempted to keep his melanin aglow. You’re never too young for melanin maintenance.

Seventy-one button suits are a common thread this week. Meet Johnny Mo. This becornrowed gent took his talents to Atlanta Live to bless the world with a sanctified version of R. Kelly’s “Bump N Grind” because why not? There’s even a “Nayhoo” in there for good measure. Other fave: “Drunk In the Spirit,” which replaced “Surfboard” with “The Lord.” Fun times.

Commercial Break:

“Not today, Satan.”

The only good thing to come from that tired-ass Nina Simone cinematic shitshow starring Zoe Saldana was this BBC documentary with British classically trained pianist and songstress Laura Mvula, Nina Simone and Me. Celebrating the movie’s release, Laura went to New York to trace the musical roots of legendary soul/folk/jazz/everything singer Nina Simone. Laura explores her influences, collaborators, impact, training, motivations, career highlights, and why she’s known as “The High Priestess of Soul.” Get familiar.

Whoopi Goldberg was a stage and screen mainstay long before she assumed the role of ringleader on The View. In this clip from her 1985 HBO special Whoopi Goldberg: Direct from Broadway, she flexes her comedic genius as Fontaine, one of five characters from her one-woman show. A few years later, she gave that alter-ego its own show, Fontaine: Why Am I Straight? 

In addition to making me feel old, this clip from PBS’ documentary, Double Dutch inspired me to think about considering possibly maybe returning to the gym. In this clip, the four members of “Black Magic” traveled to England four a Double Dutch championship, during which they tried to break their own world speed record.

And lastly, here Prince and The New Power Generation summoning the ancestors at the 1991 Special Olympics Summer Games. May this inspire you to be better at life.

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