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Friday, September 25, 2009

Part 2: Where Do You Stand? Prince is Free & Still On Top

Music Successes:
Prince has sold over 80 million records worldwide.

1979 - Prince - 1.25 Million
1980 - Dirty Mind - 1 Million
1981 - Controversy - 1 million
1982 - 1999 - 6 million
1984 - Purple Rain - 22 million
1985 - Around the World in a Day - 3 million
1986 - Parade - 2 million
1987 - Sign O the Times - 8 million
1988 - Lovesexy - 2 million
1989 - Batman - 2 million
1990 - Grafitti Bridge - 1.5 million
1991 - Diamonds & Pearls - 9 million
1992 - Love Symbol - 3 million
1993 - The Hits/B-Sides - 1.5 million
1994 - Come - 1 million
1995 - The Gold Experience - 1.5 million
1996 - Emancipation - 3 million
1999 - Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic - 1 million
2001 - The Very Best of Prince - 2.5 million
2004 - Musicology - 4 million
2006 - 3121 - 2 million
2007 - Planet Earth - 2.8 million
2009 - Lotusflow3r - 1 million

( reports these sales only reflect US, UK and Canada...this is just a fraction of his success.)

Why Do Platinum Artists Flee Underground?

Prince Rogers Nelson removed himself from the bonds of "slavery" held by his record label and went underground to successfully continue his multi-platinum career as an independent artist. Freeing himself of record labels and distribution companies, he used the of power giving away his music, the internet and his specially crafted talent to stay on top of the game.

Here is the answer in his words...

"One thing I'd like to say is that I don't live in a prison. I am not afraid of anything. I haven't built any walls around myself, and I am just like anyone else. I need love and water, and I'm not afraid of a backlash because, like I say, there are people who will support my habits as I have supported theirs. I don't really consider myself a superstar. " 1985 MTV interview
In a May 1997 interview with Spike Lee
"I really felt like a product, and then I started turning in work that reflected
that. I had no problem with people saying I was repeating myself. I knew where I was headed and just needed direction."

While under contract with Warner Brothers, in 1993 he changed his name and released the following statement

"The first step I have taken towards the ultimate goal of emancipation from the chains that bind me to Warner Bros. was to change my name from Prince to the Love Symbol. Prince is the name that my mother gave me at birth. Warner Bros. took the name, trademarked it, and used it as the main marketing tool to promote all of the music that I wrote. The company owns the name Prince and all related music marketed under Prince. I became merely a pawn used to produce more money for Warner Bros... I was born Prince and did not want to adopt another conventional name. The only acceptable replacement for my name, and my identity, was the Love Symbol, a symbol with no pronunciation, that is a representation of me and what my music is about. This symbol is present in my work over the years; it is a concept that has evolved from my frustration; it is who I am. It is my name. "

Interview on Today show March 2004

Here is what he said in the most recent interview with Tavis Smiley April 28, 2009:

Prince: I like criticism. I like constructive criticism from smart people...When people criticize my work and attach my personality, it doesn't help me. I can't do anything with it. I don't know what they want. I asked writers this before and a lot of times they tell me they are just writing for each other. They are not really writing for...'Oh, I really got him that time.' I don't know nobody learns from it really.

Tavis: Who have you felt most often like in the ring fighting the record industry, like Jack [Johnson] or the opponent?

Prince: Oh, like Jack.

Tavis: Like Jack?

Prince: Yeah.

Tavis: Tell me why?

Prince: Well, because I knew I was right, you know. We talked about this in our very first interview, our first conversation together. It's obvious now those artists are suppose to own their master recordings. I mean in the future it will be unconsciousable to even think you can take somebody else’s creation and claim ownership to it.

[On the song “Dreamer”] “Oh well, when I saw the 'State of the Black Union,' Dick Gregory really moved me and a lot of my friends. I show it to everybody who comes over the house, especially white folks, because they need to hear that, you know, so that they know more about all of us. Because what he said affects all of us. He said something that really hit home about this phenomena of chemtrails and when I was a kid, I used to see these trails in the sky all the time and I’d say, “Oh, that’s cool – a jet just went over.” And then you started to see a whole bunch of them and the next you know, everybody in your neighborhood was fighting and arguing and you didn’t know why, okay? And you really didn’t know why. I mean, everybody was fighting. So he started riffing about the chemtrails and he started to say things that hit home so hard, and I would recommend that everybody try to get what he said online or wherever, and try to get a copy of it and just listen to it, because I was so moved that I had to write the song. The other thing is the first line of the song says I was born on the same plantation in the United States of the red, white and blue, and we live in a place now that feels just about like a plantation. We’re all indentured servants. When I found out there were eight presidents before George Washington, I wanted to smack somebody. I wanted to know why I was taught otherwise. Just tell me the whole story – I’ll fill in the blanks. But don’t tell me something that you think I’m supposed to know.”

Tavis: “We’re indentured servants and we’ve got a Black president now?”

Prince:” Well, I don’t vote. I don’t have nothing to do with it. I got no dog in that race.”

Tavis: And for those who would cuss me out and slap me in person if I didn’t ask you why didn’t ask you ‘Why?’”

Prince: First the reasons why is I’m Jehovah’s Witness, and for one, we’ve never voted. That’s not to say that I don’t think Barack Obama, President Obama is a very smart individual. He seems like he means well. Prophecy is what we all have to go by now. It’s very interesting I did a sold out concert in London. We played for twenty one nights in a row. All the concerts were sold out. When I would watch television over there and you’d see the United Nations feed, the direct feed from the United Nations, you’d hear them talk a lot about religion. You’d hear the bible mentioned constantly. This is not what we are use to in the United States. It’s almost as though there is no need for God. No need for religion and justice in politics. So there is supposed to be a separation of church and state over here. We can’t have a separation of state and morality, though.

On "Feel Better. Feel Good. Feel Wonderful"

It's about telling people to celebrate and stop hating. There are references in the song, though, to a record executive who we've had some pretty interesting conversations were we make reference to doing me like my brother Steve. What we believe happens is that you can put out a record Sound Scan refuses to count as many as they actually sell. But you get paid on what Sound Scan says you've actually sold. So if it's a low number then you only get paid on that number. Meanwhile when you go overseas and you check some of the titles and bar codes over there, they've already ripped you off several different times and several different ways. Also with the influx of the internet, with no sales, then you've really got your bank account emptied out. So we never really knew what Purple Rain sold. I don't know to this day. I only know what they tell me.

Prince challenged the music industry for control over his music and demanded payment for his royalties. To do this he sued for his freedrom from the music industry. Arguing that artists should control the rights to their music and make money doing so, he has shown no loss in popularity. Instead his music has became further enriched, by not being infiltrated with the very pop-culture that threatened to take his voice away, remix and remake it into something unrecognizable. His music has remained true to his limitless expressions of himself and the world around him as he renders it. He has shown that once an artists is free you can never lock down their soul.

So I must ask, where do you stand? As ARapperNamedBilal ask, "Are you part of the problem, or part of the solution?"

It's just Mia and you will never guess who is next...


Friday, September 18, 2009

Part 1 - Where Do You Stand: Lauryn Hill Checks Your "Motives & Thoughts"

Music Successes:

w/The Fugees "Blunted on Reality" 2million records sold
w/The Fugees "The Score" Multi-platinum
Solo "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" 18 million
Solo "MTV Unplugged 2.0" Platinum

Question: Why Do Platinum Artists Flee Underground?

Lauryn Hill has successfully removed herself from the mass media and any attempt of them to reproduce or exploit for profit any part of her music and or image. Therefore what is found are snippets of the real Ms. Hill scattered in the media and on the internet.

The answer in her words:

"Fantasy is what people want, but reality is what people need. I've just retired from the fantasy part." ~ Ms. Hill MTV Unplugged 2.0 (2001)

Breaking her silence to protest the child molestation, rape and the pedophile corruption that swept the Catholic church, she perform "Damnable Heresies" and "Social Drugs" at the Vatican in December 2003 for Christmas. This is what she had to say:

"I am sorry if I am about to offend some of you. I did not accept my invitation to celebrate with you the birth of Christ. Instead I ask you why you are not in mourning for him in this place? I want to ask you, what have you got to say about the lives you have broken? What about the families who were expecting God and instead were cheated by the Devil? Who feels sorry for them, the men, women and children damaged psychologically, emotionally and mentally by the sexual perversions and abuse carried out by the people they believed in? Holy God is a witness to the corruption of your leadership, of the exploitation and abuses which are the minimum that can be said for the clergy. There is no acceptable excuse to defend the church."

She continues the battle cry with a call to the Vatican to "repent" and encouraged the crowd to "not seek blessings from man but from God."

Hill performs at Def Poetry Jam, Episode 1 (S01 E05) Air Date: 2005

"Motives & Thoughts"

Excerpts from the January 2006 interview for Essence magazine with Joan Morgan titled, "They Call Me Ms. Hill:"

Morgan: You experienced a great deal of success at a young age. How did you handle the demands of celebrity?

Hill: I don’t think I ever handled celebrity. For a period of time I had to step away entirely. There were many temptations, enticements, entrapments—whether it was the dependence on image or just some false sense of security. I created from such a sincere, pure place, but those enticements produced a very toxic situation for my creativity, my person. At 23, you don’t know how to handle that in a diplomatic manner, especially when everybody around you has been affected by the money, the fame, the attention. Celebrity itself becomes an addiction. One of my hopes for artists today is that they don’t get trapped in images that don’t really reflect who they are. Everybody is sort of bound to this supercool, supermature, superperfect, superconsistent image. It looks great on the shelf but it can also hurt people, and stunt their growth, because their image is growing, but their persons are not.
Morgan: After The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was released, you became an icon for many young Black women who identified with your music and your image. Is that status ever oppressive?

Hill: I think what’s oppressive is anything outside the truth. If that icon status is the result of people’s appreciating the value of my honesty, then it’s well deserved and organic. It only becomes repressive when it’s founded on a false concept or image. And that’s what I’m constantly trying to remove myself from. People need to understand that the Lauryn Hill they were exposed to in the beginning was all that was allowed in that arena at that time. There was much more strength, spirit and passion, desire, curiosity, ambition and opinion that was not allowed in a small space designed for consumer mass appeal and dictated by very limited standards. I had to step away when I realized that for the sake of the machine, I was being way too compromised. I felt uncomfortable about having to smile in someone’s face when I really didn’t like them or even know them well enough to like them. I thought it was okay for me to write a song about something complicated if I was going through something complicated. But I discovered people could only acknowledge red and blue and I was somewhere between. I was purple. I had to fight for an identity that doesn’t fit in one of their boxes. I’m a whole woman. And when I can’t be whole, I have a problem. By the end I was like, “I’ve got to get out of here.”
Morgan: So you made a conscious decision to remove yourself from public life for a considerable time. What did you discover?

Hill: For two or three years I was away from all social interaction. There was no music. There was no television. It was a very introspective and complicated time because I had to really confront my fears and master every demonic thought about inferiority, about insecurity or the fear of being Black, young and gifted in this Western culture. It took a considerable amount of courage, faith and risk to gain the confidence to be myself. I had to deal with folks who weren’t happy about that. I was a young woman with an evolved mind who was not afraid of her beauty or her sexuality. For some people that’s uncomfortable. They didn’t understand how female and strong work together. Or young and wise. Or Black and divine.
Morgan: Is this a clarity that came with becoming Ms. Hill?

Hill: I’ve always been wise beyond my years. I’ve always been a teacher. When I was a child, I was teaching adults, because I was always learning. I’m Ms. Hill because I know I’m a wise woman. That is the respect I deserve.

June 12, 2009 TV One Blogs, The Spin, posts the following:


It was hard finding Ms. Hill's words not chopped up into propaganda to dismantle her music, style, message, image and causes. Even so in the rare interviews she did grant and impromptu protest she gave, one can only begin to get a glimpse into the mind of this genius. Crazy, never. Misunderstood, always as many artitsts that flee underground for their sanity are forced to live. Dave Chappelle sums it up best:

"Let me tell you something. People talk about Martin Lawrence. People use to always ask me, 'Is he crazy?' I use to hate that...When we did Blue Streak we were promoting it and Martin had a stroke and almost died and what ended up happening is I had to all the press for Martin. But it was really scary and at the time the public didn't know how bad he was. And then after that when I saw him I was like, 'Oh my God Martin, are you OK?' He said, 'I got the best sleep I've ever gotten in my life'...That's how tough he is. That's a tough dude...But let me ask you this: What is happening in Hollywood that a guy that tough will be on the street waiving a gun screaming, 'They're trying to kill me!' What's going on? Why is Dave Chappelle going to Africa?Why does Mariah Carey make a $100 million deal and takes her clothes off on TRL? A weak person cannot get to sit here and talk to you. Ain't no weak people talking to you. So what is happening in Hollywood? Nobody knows. The worse thing to call somebody is crazy. It's dismissive. I don't understand this person so their 'crazy.' That's bullshit. These people are not crazy, they strong people. Maybe their environment is a little sick." ~Hulu Dave Chappelle on Inside the Actors Studio Season 12, Episode 1206 Original Airdate: February 12, 2006

In July 2005, USATODAY interviewed Ms. Hill as stating:

"If I make music now, it will only be to provide information to my own children. If other people benefit from it, then so be it....In order to bare one's soul, one has to display their whole vulnerability, which most people will never do. These people who bare their souls end up being the source of ridicule."
Where do you stand? As ARapperNamedBilal ask, "Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?"

It's just Mia and these are their thoughts.

You will never guess who's next...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where Do You Stand?

photo by mia harris flying from Cancun 2008

September 17, 2009






~~Mia, a lost HipHop fan~~

Dear HipHop Fam,

This is an attempt to do something I have never done before. I want give an answer to a question. I want to give it just as raw and uncut as I have found in bits and pieces by the people giving it. The question: Why Do Some Platinum Artists Flee Underground? We see it happening everyday for the media to dismiss them as the "crazy of the day." Dismissing one person is crazy, let alone a whole group. And as I listen to this crap on the air now, I realize it is more of my ignorant, shear laziness and fear that keep me from jumping out of the loop. To ask these rising stars directly, because they've figured out something we haven't all got too incorrectly. So this is a casting call to all artists who fit this group: WE AS YOUR #1 FANS have jumped outta the LOOP. And since I am just a lost fan of HipHop, I can only submit what I have found, as they-being the media-have cut up, rewroted and bound. What you all have been yelling at us for years, but was all but drowned out by your pop, bling-ing jewels and fancy cars changed up to now serve us brands of cloths, liquors and bars. The wolves just eat our lost and fallen stars as we fans sit, lost in bars. We did not hear the battle cries for help, then we ignorantly stomp on over them running to the next big hit. Those listening now know all too well. That even you will be shocked and amazed at what they have to tell. Stay Tuned for The Answer in Their Words as never heard before, because I won't let them edit me or this...and yes, we need more! The first artist is Lauryn Hill. See you tomorrow for her "Motives & Thoughts."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tasty Pastry: Vanessa & Angela Simmon Are Who's Hot!

September 2, 2009

Dear Hip Hop Fam,

Looks like our darlin girls, Vanessa and Angela Simmons, have grown up to full fledged successful, business moguls and by their actions wonderful role models for youngsters worldwide.

With so many running from the responsibility that comes with the title "role model," the Simmons sisters have instead embraced it by walking the walking and talking the talk. They started their own company, Pastry. Have a television show, "Daddy's Girls." Are not involved in scandals. Support their family and loved ones. Gosh! The list goes on and on!

To me their best accomplishments was becoming the spokeswomen for Girl Scout Cookies; an organization that only desegregated in 1956. I mean who's signing up for "role-model" positions? Last I recall, people were running from this responsibility. Besides leading very positive and successful business lives, they strive to show young women how to "act lady-like" by scrutinizing all published images of themselves, remaining private in their personal lives and out of the lime light for whatever reasons, unless it is for business or to help another out.

I mean how many times have you lost the gleam in your star when you realized the celebrity you were start-struck over was a complete utter mess? We don't know much about them outside of what they want us to know and they guard their lives as if it was their life, cause it is! What a breathe of fresh air!!!

OK. OK. Yes, we know Angela dated the rapper Bow Wow (now Shad Moss) for a minute as was reported in "Take Your Family Back: A Challenge To American Parents," written by their parents Joseph and Justine Simmons. For all the right reasons, that is all we know! We've seen them at press events together, supporting one anothers' work--and of course all smiles not animosity. Now what celebrity break-up have you seen that has been as mature?

Surprisingly, the quiet shy-one, Vanessa leaked on their show "Daddy's Girls" that she is dating Mike Wayans, the son of successful comedian Damon Wayans. Their relationship has been private for years and now is moving towards marriage, that's only why we found out about it.

My point is this: with everyone dating everyone and everyone in everyone's business, for good or bad, these young ladies to have it together and very well. Now they've combined their sweet efforts with the 1912 Girl Scout's Organization and became spokeswomen! America has a sweet tooth for the Simmons' ladies and for all the right reasons.

So tune-out the negativity of others and stay tune-in to their positiveness! It's just Mia and these are my thoughts.


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