Poverty continues to exist. Its appearance seems to be relentless in evidencing itself not only to all the things we experience here in America, but certainly what we see globally. And I don't see anywhere any philosophical analysis that suggests we know how to get out of this.
My formative years, until I was 12, was all shaped by Jamaican culture, by that economy, by the people in my family, who are agriculturalists, who were plantation workers, who harvested those crops and took them down to the boats run by the United Food Company, to load those ships at night, hence all the songs that I sing that come from that environment.
When I went to Japan I sang in Japanese; when I went to Greece I sang in Greek. When I went to Spain, I sang in Spanish. I couldn't speak it very well, but I sang, I was beautiful in singing it. These things just constantly attracted people to the uniqueness of who I was and the way in which I performed.
Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich. Color does not necessarily denote quality, content or value. [If] a black is a tyrant, he is first and foremost a tyrant, then he incidentally is black. Bush is a tyrant and if he gathers around him black tyrants, they all have to be treated as they are being treated.
I would hope with all my heart, that Jay Z not take personally what was said... I would like to take this opportunity to say to Jay Z and Beyonce: I’m wide open, my heart is filled with nothing but hope and the promise that we can sit and have a one-on-one to understand each other.
There's an old saying in the days of slavery, there are those slaves who lived on the plantation, and there were those slaves who lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master to exactly the way the master intended to have you serve him. That gave you privilege. Colin Powell is permitted to come into the house of the master, as long as he will serve the master according to the master's dictates. Now, when Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he... Read more »
The Catholic Church had strict racial attitudes and intolerance for anybody who was not Catholic. When I look at a lot of Black ministers and what went on in the Black church, I was more caught up with those who were in Cadillacs and shiny suits than I was with those who were Kingian in their style.
Through electing officials that will protect the Constitution and commit themselves to the rights of the people and the health of the nation, we will be able to ensure that no group of ideologues and no private sector institution can coopt our rights, take us into senseless wars and steal the nation from its people.
Turning against the church I also had to turn against a lot of the teachings of people in my family who were very much of the church and caught in it, and every time I turned to find where resides the good in the church, all I saw was the demonic, the Lucifer of the journey.
Carmen Jones was the first all-Negro film that became a great box-office success. It established the fact that pictures with Negro artists, pictures dealing with the folklore of Negro life, were commercially feasible. This was a sign of growth that had occurred in the United States and throughout the world.
When I go across the country, whether it's Albuquerque, New Mexico, whether it's Birmingham, Alabama or Milwaukee, Wisconsin, there are always forces at play that I choose to relate to and extract inspiration from, and as long as they stay committed to the struggle against poverty, I find a role for myself.
I think America offers a dream that cannot be fulfilled as easily anywhere else in the world as it could be fulfilled here. Although oppression was common to all of us, those styles of oppression gave us the opportunity to see the world in dimensions we didn't quite see growing up in any one place.
We [Americans] move about the world arrogantly, calling wars when we want, overthrowing governments when we want. There is a price to be paid for it -- look at 9/11. [That] wasn't just bin Laden. Bin Laden didn't come from the abstract. He came from somewhere, and if you look where ... you'll see America's hand of villainy.
Since I have escaped the harshness of the economic bounds of poverty, I have stayed very connected to it spiritually. I reside and live and go and socialize and exist among those who suffer daily from the relationship that they have to poverty, Black men and women who are incarcerated. Actually, all people who are incarcerated, not just Black.