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Lemme tell ya little something bout Black History

February 21, 2007

Christopher Brummer posits the question, “Is Hip Hop worthy of Black History Month?” I suppose his rationale should be obvious, all the posturing and misogyny and fake violence has rendered rap a cancer rather than a salve. You’ve all heard the arguments before. So in light of this, Brummer was troubled by a radio program that would salute “hip hop pioneers” in a celebration of Black History.

When I first read the post, I had an instinctually negative reaction. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I read a comment that called Brummer’s post elitist. Now, that’s not the word I was searching for. I was thinking, short sighted. First, I understand, that especially to card carrying members of the Black Bourgeoisie like Brummer and myself, Black History Month (Week when I was a lad) was always about firsts; who invented what, who was the first to do what, who freed our people. We looked at some posters of African kings (Egyptians tossed in for the Afrocentrists) and that was it.

Yet, it says “History” in the title. I see it right there. Black History. History is the study of past events. It isn’t the study of past events that promote the general good and to the exclusion of what we don’t like (which is of course the reason for having a Black History Month in the first place, so that “they” cannot exclude what they don’t think important). There aren’t a whole lot of developments in recent African American history bigger than the global takeover/influence by/of hip hop culture. Not to acknowledge this because of Ying Yang Twins and Rich Boy and Polow would be worse than keeping the Hit King out of the Hall because of a few gambling indiscretions.

We celebrate our heroes fanfare, however, to have an honest discussion about history, we acknowledge their folly. A discussion about the things we don’t like about hip hop culture is essential to any discussion about Black history, recent or long-standing.

Run DMC once did a song about Black History Month on some TV show, the song was never released on a record. Youtube failed me this time, or I would have had the clip up in this post. That’s where the post’s title originates, from my fuzzy memory.

38 Comments leave one →
  1. J Harden permalink
    December 22, 2007 7:28 pm

    I came across this by “google”ing Run DMC. The tv show was Reading Rainbow with Lavar Burton on PBS. What I was looking for was seperate from the tv show It is a 1986 Run DMC song about 15 min long called Black History. It was a free cassette tape that came with the purchase of a black hair care product. The b side of the tape was a Kurtis Blow song that at the time I did not care for that much.

  2. realpeoplre permalink
    January 1, 2008 4:28 pm

    I remember that song also. I think it was given away i nJet or Ebony

  3. Darius permalink
    January 26, 2008 3:58 pm

    I’ve been trying to find a download site for that song. Had I known it would be this hard to find it 20 years later, I would have kept it in a tropy case. Let me know if you find it.

  4. Joe permalink
    February 7, 2008 9:40 am

    The song was called “black History”, the B-side with Kurtis Blow was called “Famous Firsts”. It was a promotional give-away with Johnson & Johnson haircare products, that’s why it’s hard to find.I no longer have my tape either, but the lyrics are committed to memory.

  5. Zaid permalink
    February 8, 2008 2:25 pm

    And I thought I was the only one looking for that “Black History” tape! (And yes, we all know it was on a tape — not on CD!) My family used to rock to the Run DMC version (we didn’t car as much for the Kurtis Blow song). I have been searching for years — maybe Johnson & Johson can re-release it?? If anybody finds it, let people know!

  6. erica permalink
    March 24, 2008 10:34 pm

    omg, i’m 24 years old and would pay any price for that tape! i have been looking for it a long time and miss it so much! how about that open heart, red lights and more 🙂

  7. Joe Jelks permalink
    July 11, 2008 1:21 pm

    notable lyrics:

    some inventive black people set the scene,
    for the way the world would look at things,
    like the bantu tribe used the bark of a tree,
    to cure all kinds of pain formalities
    today we use the very same medicine too,
    this medicine is know as aspirin to you.

  8. Joe Jelks permalink
    July 11, 2008 1:23 pm

    this next inventor was extremely bright,
    he made the first gas mask and the first traffic light,
    the first time he used the mask was to save the lives,
    of tunnel workers who were trapped on night,
    the very same invention was later used,
    as standard equipment for American troops,
    the Garret A Morgan went on to invent,
    the traffic light and we been using it ever since.

  9. Joe Jelks permalink
    July 11, 2008 1:26 pm

    Now let’s step into the boxing ring,
    and see how the Brown Bomber did his thing,
    He went from a job on an assembly line,
    to be one of the greatest fighters of all time
    In front of over 70,000 fans,
    the champion defeated a German man,
    In 1938 on that history night,
    Joe Louis showed the world we knew how to fight.

  10. Joe Jelks permalink
    July 11, 2008 1:27 pm

    From the very first time she picked up a racket,
    everybody knew Althea Gibson could hack it

  11. Joe Jelks permalink
    July 11, 2008 1:28 pm

    Benjamin O. Davis was the first black to be,
    made a General in the US army,
    Then Benjamin Jr. followed daddy’s course,
    and was the first black general in the US air Force.

  12. Joe Jelks permalink
    July 11, 2008 1:32 pm

    When his show aired on NBC ,
    it was the very first time in history,
    that a radio show was hosted by a black
    and I might as well give you another fact
    he was also the first to have his own TV show,
    this melody maker was Nate King Cole,
    He was truly Un-forgettable
    and his name was Nate King Cole.

  13. Joe Jelks permalink
    July 11, 2008 1:39 pm


    I hope you listened hard,
    and I hope you listened well,
    to all the wonderful stories that me and dj run had to tell
    but just do me a favor
    just remember that your roots run far and very deep,
    and when it comes to being great, we’re all on top of the heap
    all those that came before you are examples for you to see
    of all the wonderful beautiful things that we all can be
    be black, be strong and always be proud,
    and do me a favor, don’t let anyone put you down,
    be the best you can, in whatever you do,
    who knows, you may be a part of black history too!

  14. Joe Jelks permalink
    July 11, 2008 1:39 pm

    after starting out selling door to door,
    Madame CJ Walker wasn’t poor anymore

  15. Joe Jelks permalink
    July 11, 2008 1:42 pm

    She was the first black to take an Oscar home,
    He was the first black to win one in a leading role.
    Who were these two Oscar winning greats?
    and the winner is……
    Hattie McDaniel and Sidney Potier,
    they’re both Oscar winning greats , yes!

  16. Joe Jelks permalink
    July 11, 2008 1:43 pm

    Black, black, black history,
    where you came from shouldn’t be a mystery,
    so listen up while I school you on black history.

  17. Joe Jelks permalink
    July 11, 2008 1:56 pm

    by the way,
    the song was about 6 minutes long and also included references to Imhotep, Hanibal of Carthage, Duke Ellington ( his name had a very, very royal tone, the Duke, Duke Ellington stands alone), Marian Anderson ( a diva Divine), Paul Robeson ( he did scripts, plays, movies and the rest, Paul Robeson was one of the best), Langston Hughes-who earned his place, as the poet laureat of the whole black race, the brother refused to sing the blues, his name was Langston Hughes, Paul Lawrence Dunbar- Put my arm around her waist, raised her lips and took a taste, love me honey , love me true and she answered, course I do, way back then he was writing rap, Paul Lawrence Dunbar was a rapping chap.

  18. Joe Jelks permalink
    July 11, 2008 1:57 pm

    It’s all in books, at the library of congress, and now that’s one to grow on!!!

  19. Alan permalink
    October 20, 2008 3:27 pm

    I came across this forum by searching for that song. That was my JAM!! We use to listen to it everyday . Kurtis Blows Famous First was off the chain as well. “From the depths of the earth with his own hands, God created Blackman!! If anyone comes across the song PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know

    • cuthbert jamille permalink
      September 5, 2010 12:59 am

      i have 2 copies of this tape and i also have it on independently released vinyl. i thought i was the only one who loved this song. i taped the performance of this from television back in the 80′s but that tape is long gone. rip jmj.

  20. October 4, 2009 7:59 pm

    we need to find this song it is very very its amust that we find this song and shere it with the world

  21. Todd permalink
    January 22, 2010 10:48 pm

    I have the song and I will post it on youtube shortly

    • Tina permalink
      February 2, 2010 10:24 pm

      Great!! What title will u post it as on youtube? I’m so excited I’ve been looking for this song SOOO LONG.!!.

      • johnny permalink
        February 8, 2010 11:20 pm

        is there anyway possible to get a copy of the side a and b, I’vbe been looking for this song for over 20 years

  22. February 2, 2010 7:42 pm



  23. Todd permalink
    February 8, 2010 10:26 pm

    • Tina permalink
      February 18, 2010 7:31 pm

      Wow! thank you soooo much!! I’ve listened to this video about seven times already!! 🙂

  24. Todd permalink
    February 8, 2010 11:38 pm

    sure johnny, let me know how I can help

    • johnny permalink
      October 30, 2010 5:36 pm

      please let me know if there is anyway possible to get a copy of the tape. I have been looking for over 15 years and would be so very grateful if you could assist me in obtaining on these tapes….

      thank you

  25. Kevin DF Highnight permalink
    August 14, 2010 2:27 am

    Great to see the song finally make it to the Internet!! So glad to finally hear it again after all these years. Would you be able to post the .wav or .mp3 so people could download the song? I’d love to have it on my mp3 player to listen to and memorize.

  26. Mark permalink*
    August 17, 2010 1:58 pm

    I actually don’t have it but others may be able to post it for you

  27. cuthbert jamille permalink
    September 5, 2010 12:57 am

    i have 2 copies of this tape and i also have it on independently released vinyl. i thought i was the only one who loved this song. i taped the performance of this from television back in the 80’s but that tape is long gone. rip jmj.

    • johnny permalink
      October 30, 2010 5:43 pm

      is it possible to copy one of the tapes you have and I co pensate you for the tape. Especially the famous firsts sie, the black history side is committed to memory but would love to have it as well. Let me know if you can help…thank you

      • cuthbert jamille permalink
        November 3, 2010 10:56 pm

        the vinyl is often for sale on ebay.

  28. Kia permalink
    January 12, 2011 10:34 pm

    Todd!!! Thank you!! I’ve been asking folks if they remember this cassette!! I knew I wasn’t crazy!! I’m sitting here with my daughter trying to explain how I used to listen to sides A and B 50 times a day!!! So many memories…..thanks again!!

  29. February 21, 2011 9:20 am

    Let me try this again – it doesn’t seem to have posted my comment. If this shows up twice, it is not intentional.

    I am glad that I still have my copy of that 1985 cassette since it seems to be extremely rare today, 26 years later. For those who remember the Run D.M.C. and Kurtis Blow selections from that long out of print cassette, check out my site during the week of February 21, 2011 to hear the songs in their entirety as part of my playlist for Black History Month.

    T-Mad’s Music – www dot outofprintsoulandfunk dot com

    After that week, feel free to request it (or any other song, for that matter) in the Feedback section on the home page.

  30. DARIN ALLEN permalink
    March 30, 2011 4:39 pm

    After 10 years of searching I finally found this song. Praise God.


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