by baldilocks

With it being Independence Day and all, on my Facebook page, I’ve mostly been posting videos of people singing pleasantly sonorous versions of the Star-Spangled Banner and other patriotic songs. On my page, there’s a mariachi band singing a fantastic version of the SSB, a Christian “boy-band” harmony foursome doing a medley of songs and, of course, Ray Charles’ iconic rendition of America, the Beautiful—this one from a 1972 episode of the Dick Cavett Show. Lady Gaga also did a wonderfully understated version of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl a few years back, showing us—surprisingly–that she understands something that many female singers of the Anthem do not: less is more and better.

And then there’s the standard against which all versions of the Anthem are measured: Whitney Houston. Her appearance at the opening of the 1991 Super Bowl is still a tear-jerker.

Houston died a few years back of a drug-overdose and it has almost become her legacy, but not quite. The voice and showmanship of the young Houston and the flawless performance of the Anthem were too powerful to be totally over-shadowed.

What goes less remarked upon about Houston are her other renditions of patriotic songs and her performances for the troops. And when I looked it up on YouTube, I found that there was, arguably, an even better performance of the Anthem by her—this one was for the Navy. In it she is still young, slim, beautiful and in perfect voice, albeit in a lower key than in the Super Bowl performance. It’s very emotion-invoking, especially when you know the outcome of Houston’s story–and that of her daughter.

So, I choose to remember Whitney Houston as the American icon who put the love and feeling back into our National Anthem. As the foibles and tragedy of her life fade away, she should always be remembered for that.

Happy Independence Day, my friends.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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by baldilocksBaldilocks mini

It will be interesting tomorrow to see whether Sit-Down fever has spread across the ranks of the NFL. Allegedly, some of the Miami Dolphins are thinking about it.

Dolphin players may also have something in the works, but it appears to be on an individual basis.“Every man for himself, I guess. Each his own,” said Dolphins safety Reshad Jones.

“Everybody have different opinions and entitled to different things.

This thing has pinged my paranoia streak—like so many other Tempests have.

Just a few days ago, the president of NAACP compared Colin Kaepernick’s stance to that of Rosa Parks.

Aside from the fact that Kaepernick was protected from physical danger by various levels of professional security when he took his stand, while Mrs. Parks had no security when she refused to give up her seat to a fellow bus passenger who was white,

And aside from the fact that Kaepernick was on his job when he took his stand and Mrs. Parks was not,

And aside from the fact that Mrs. Parks’ taxes paid for the Montgomery, AL municipal bus service, while Kaepernick is being paid to be present and to perform at the platform where he has and will make his statement,

There’s something which I wonder about the two events, something which may be a true similarity.

Rosa Parks did not spontaneously refuse to give up her seat. She was planted. There was another black woman who refused to give up her Montgomery bus seat to a white person and who went to court to fight the injustice. But she didn’t have to right reputation for the task at hand, according to the civil right organizations of the time. The task, of course, was to end the segregation of public services–to fight true inequality and oppression.

Few people know the story of Claudette Colvin: When she was 15, she refused to move to the back of the bus and give up her seat to a white person — nine months before Rosa Parks did the very same thing.

Most people know about Parks and the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott that began in 1955, but few know that there were a number of women who refused to give up their seats on the same bus system. Most of the women were quietly fined, and no one heard much more.

Colvin was the first to really challenge the law.

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No, I’m not paranoid. Why do you ask?

To tarnish Mrs. Parks’ place in history is not my purpose. This is: I wonder if Kaepernick was planted. There are other players who have intentionally remained seated during the National Anthem, but he is the first to get such widespread attention.

Who told Colin Kaepernick to sit down? Rumor has it that it was his alleged girlfriend, a Black Lives Matter activist. But I bet it came from higher up. Or lower, depending on one’s perspective.

I don’t take anything for granted anymore–especially when figures in media and entertainment are attempting to rile up Americans against each other.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>