BookS from Resistance Works, WDC
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Schomburg Center for Research In Black Culture in HARLEM has Copy of Critic ARMOND WHITE's Book on MICHAEL JACKSON, "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles" Available For Reading
New York City Residents as well as Tourists who are not able to buy Armond White's Book on Michael Jackson, "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles" are able to read it for FREE.
The Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture, a branch of The New York Public Library, has a copy of the "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles" book available for reading in it's archives.
The Collection of Essays on Michael Jackson by Critic Armond White, "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles" is only available for In-Library reading. Meaning, you must visit the branch to read it. You cannot take the book out of the library.
Located in The Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (in the basement); Students and New York City Tourists can visit that section of the Schomburg Center to not only learn about Michael Jackson, but all sorts of aspects of Black Culture.
A trip to The Schomburg Center is ideal for students as well as New York City tourists interested in learning about Michael Jackson as that Harlem institution owning a copy of that collection of essays on Michael Jackson is a match made in Heaven!
According to Wikipedia, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a research library of The New York Public Library and an archive archive repository for information on people of African descent worldwide. Located at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard (Lenox Avenue) between W. 135th Street and W. 136th Street in the Harlem neighborhood of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. It has, almost from its inception, been an integral part of the Harlem community. It is named for African-American scholar Arturo Alfonso Schomburg.
In addition to research services, the center hosts readings, discussions, art exhibitions, and theatrical events. It is open to the general public.
Schomburg Center For Research in Black Culture 515 Malcolm X Boulevard (a.k.a. Lenox Avenue) New York, NY 10037
Subway: 2 or 3 Train to 135th Street Subway Stop Bus: M7 Bus, M102 Bus, BX33 Bus
(VIDEO) #FreddieGray supporter in Baltimore Dances Like MICHAEL JACKSON to tell police to just "Beat It" while Riots Go On
As demonstrators protest the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man while in police custody in Baltimore, one protestor creatively expressed his dissent. VIDEO from various sources show a Black Man performing Michael Jackson's hit song, "Beat It", lip-syncing and dancing while riots swirled around in the surrounding area. Yes, that's correct, a Michael Jackson impersonator offered his own form of dissent in Baltimore.
Reporter for NBC in Washington D.C. Shomari Stone posted this on his Twitter account. It shows a Black man dancing like Michael Jackson in the street to the Michael Jackson hit song, "Beat It" in the evening.
On April 12th 2015, Freddie Gray was arrested by Baltimore Police after running away from a group of police officers. While in Baltimore Police Department custody, he suffered a severe injury to his spine and died a week later. His death and funeral sparked the current protests in the Baltimore area.
Another video posted on youtube shows a black man, perhaps the same one dancing in the Shomari Stone video, dancing like Michael Jackson atop a truck during the day while riots ensued.
In 2009, Critic Armond White published "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles"; a collection of essays about Michael Jackson that he wrote throughout the duration of his journalistic career. Of interest to readers of this post are his comments about the "Beat It" music video as well as his interpretation of the coda to the "Black or White" music video, where Michael Jackson does a violent, sexual, acapella solo dance. In that essay, "The Gloved One Is Not A Chump", Armond White explores the meaning behind Michael Jackson's artistic act in that "Black or White" musical short film.
To read that essay, buy Armond White's book, "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles". Price and Ordering information are included in the sidebar.
Sunday, February 8, 2015
Armond White Compares Kevin Costner Movie BLACK OR WHITE to Michael Jackson's song and short film BLACK OR WHITE
In Chapter 3 of his collection of essays on Michael Jackson, "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles", Armond White focuses on the "Black or White" song and short film. He explores the meaning and expression layered throughout that seminal work in both it's official and original versions. This essay won an ASCAP Deems-Taylor award for Excellence in music criticism in 1992.
If you are familiar with this essay and would like to share your thoughts on Armond White's writing comparing and contrasting the Black Or White movie starring Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer as well as his original 1991 essay on the Black or White song and short film, please write below. If you are interested in buying a copy of the book, "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles" please email us.
In a story in the New York Post Newspaper Mr. Eddie Murphy talked about being friends with Michael Jackson for a very long time and also talked about what it was like working with Michael Jackson in the "Remember The Time" music video / short film.
Those who have read the Armond White collection of essays on Michael Jackson, "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles" are aware of the essay in Chapter 5, "How Deep Is Your Afrocentricity? Ask Michael and Iman", where Critic Armond White offers an intriguing interpretation of the Remember The Time music video directed by Film Director John Singleton. Would any of you care to offer any thoughts on the insight of Mr. Armond White's essay? Comment below if you can.
In an interview with Jeff Weiss in the Billboard Magazine website, Eddie Murphy expounds further on his collaboration with Michael Jackson in the "Remember The Time" music video / short film. In particular, how surreal the whole experience was.
Those who have read the Armond White collection of essays on Michael Jackson, "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles" are aware of the essay in Chapter 5, "How Deep Is Your Afrocentricity? Ask Michael and Iman", where Critic Armond White offers an intriguing interpretation of the Remember The Time music video directed by Film Director John Singleton. Would any of you care to offer any thoughts on the insight of Mr. Armond White's essay? Comment below if you can. If you are interested in buying a copy of the "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles" book by Armond White, please email us and let us know.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Monday, June 21, 2010
SUNDAY, June 20, 2010
REVIEW OF ARMOND WHITE’S “KEEP MOVING: THE MICHAEL JACKSON CHRONICLES”
Armond White’s book, KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles is the first crucially important book of Michael Jackson criticism I have been privileged to read. It eclipses Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Margo Jefferson’s On Michael Jackson by considering not the imagined internal life of a carnival freak, but the very real social and political impact of a powerful artist. It shames opportunistic Nelson George’s The Michael Jackson Story, and more recently, Thriller: The Musical Life of Michael Jackson by its honest response to artistic merit. It elevates itself above Dave Marsh’s Michael Jackson and the Crossover Dream by its examination of Black musicians’ impact and commentary on society rather than Marsh’s ugly, prejudiced, patronizing commentary interspersed with a timeline-type narration of Afro-American music history. And it answers Saying the Unsayable: The Non-verbal Vocalisations of Michael Jackson, Melissa Campbell’s vacuous media-mimicry about a very important topic in MJ’s work, by talking about non-verbal anger, urgency, connection, solidarity, and a stance against bigotry and racism, instead of the media-favorite topics of race, sexuality and gender. Along the way we get treated to a glimpse of the participation in the white media’s defamation of Blacks by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and a couple of shrewd condemnations of Obama, whose grudging condolence revealed the same kind of participation. It is truly an important book - necessary reading for all those embarking on scholarly work about MJ’s art and personage or for those who don’t want to go through life thoughtless or unchallenged.
This book could almost equally be titled KEEP MOVING: The Armond White Chronicles because we see Michael Jackson’s influence on Armond White’s development as a social commentator and critic as much, if not more than we see Jackson’s artistic development through White’s eyes. Starting with White’s first written mention of Michael in his article Janet, The Last Black Jackson, written in 1986, the book moves from White’s initial elite-music-circle-influenced opinion of Michael as seen through the lens of Janet Jackson’s Control to a series of kairos moments in which White experiences growing recognition of MJ’s true importance to the world.
Armond White moves from thinking of MJ’s Thriller videos as being enigmatic, banal, and inept to The Gloved One is Not a Chump where he acknowledges that no one else can touch “the most significant personal gesture any American artist has made in years.” The next moment in the string of epiphanies is in Michael Takes a Bow for Jam in which White recognizes MJ’s artistic achievement as “important as anything being done in this era.” In Screaming To Be Heard, Book I, White articulates that Michael Jackson “takes American ideology to its extremes and disrupts it.” He notes that Jackson’s “genius expresses unexpected, complicated feelings in any musical form.” And in Screaming To Be Heard, Book II, White concludes Michael is “today’s most interesting pop figure.” White has kept moving from banality to recognizing the genius of individual works to MJ’s supremacy as an art figurehead. He has moved from the specific to the general.
White keeps moving - to the overarching. In Earth Song Moves Music Video Mountains he places MJ’s Earth Song “among the most magnificent combinations of music and imagery in the centenary of motion pictures,” a video that “once seen can never, reasonably, be denied,” doing something that is “almost miraculous – dramatizing hubris for the purpose of enlightening and improving life for others.” White moves on again in In MJ’s Shadow where he states, “If Bob Dylan, Kurt Cobain, P.J. Harvey and Eminem are pop’s ‘geniuses,’ what word can adequately describe the world-changing creativity, astounding craft and miraculous precision of Jackson’s output?” White’s perception of Jackson has changed from the almost miraculous to beyond genius.
Finally, in Twenty-First Century Renaissance, White sees MJ’s expression as “world-shaping.” His death has “unmoored” us. Throughout this book, White’s astute observations have often had to do with Black issues, rightfully so. But here, in this last essay written last summer, he finally moves into the universal and theological, because ultimately, that is where Jackson is located. He says Berry Gordy’s accolade that Michael was the greatest entertainer who ever lived doesn’t go far enough – it doesn’t “settle one’s awe” because there was always God’s word “in MJ’s love-spreading and truth-telling messages.” White concludes that Michael Jackson “solicited call-and-response from the world – and got it.” That, my friends, is the definition of redemption. It is the pinnacle kairos moment of these essays, and, I think says more about Armond White than Michael Jackson, for that universal message of redemption was always there in Michael’s music-making from the beginning. That is why the resolution of the “other” in the words “I used to say ‘I’ and ‘Me’ / Now it’s ‘Us’ / Now it’s ‘We’" from the song Ben causes even children to cry.
Not included in this collection is his review for This Is It which can be found at The New York Press. Also not here are the never-written reviews for Invincible, Moonwalker or Ghosts, all of which are among MJ’s most important works, which were sorely missed by me, and of which I hope he will choose to grace us with his thoughts.
I was riveted from the moment I sat down and turned to the first page. I did not move from my chair until I closed the book, having read it straight through at one sitting. Then I immediately started again, this time taking three days and scribbling notes in almost every margin. My reactions did not diminish the second time through, and I took time to savor, meditate upon, and cry over the most important observations, of which there are many. This book should be in a nice hardback edition illustrated by some of the beautiful pencil drawings which exist of Michael. It is a shameful comment on our society that that is not the case. I hope, over time, it becomes a “classic,” thus proving White’s company name – Resistance Works. So please, buy this book. It is worth every penny. The essay “The Gloved One is Not a Chump” easily makes the cost worthwhile, but there is so much more wealth in store after that. Thank you to Armond White for his redemptive words about an artist that has no parallel in our history.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Mr. Armond White,
I am writing to you from California. I recently received and read your book, "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles".
I wanted to say that I read it in one sitting and just loved it. It was interesting to read your comments as Michael's work and life progressed over the years.
I'm old enough to remember all the landmarks along the way. I recall the release
of Black and White as a single and as a short film. It has always been one of my favorites, but I must say that as many times as I have listened to it, I remained unaware of the important issues he was addressing in the music and film. Once those things are brought to attention, it's an Aha moment. Just brilliant.
His Panther Dance is amazing and I see something different each time I watch it.
Now I have even more to appreciate, knowing the statements he was making in
movement and dance. He really was a genius.
I so appreciate your comments about how Michael Jackson was treated by the media for
so many years. I am going to include a link to a great article, well researched,
about both extortion attempts and media complicity--very powerful.
There is so much in your book that I loved. After Michael Jackson's passing, I found myself feeling very personally connected to him and extremely protective of his person and his legacy. It's great to find such appreciation and insight into the man from someone in the press--thank you so much.
FRIDAY, June 25th, 2010
While scanning the internet on Michael Jackson related articles, we came across a posting on another book on Michael Jackson. If you scroll down and read the comments, you will notice a spirited mention (dated April 2010) of Armond White's book, "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles".
FRIDAY, June 18, 2010
Came across a comment on the Armond White book, KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles on a Michael Jackson Fan Website earlier today.
MONDAY, June 14th, 2010
Dear Mr. White:
I want to say that I love your book, "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles"...I'm just about to the end of it...I do plan to rent or buy the movie The Band Wagon...I also loved what you said about the movie Nine...I think that would have made a far more interesting and entertaining film...
I've got to disagree about your interpretation of the Scream lyrics though...(What Michael lost in translation, he definitely got across with emotion...)...He's saying "Dammit", not "Daddy". If it weren't for closed-captioning...I don't think I'd have known either. (If someone else has already pointed this out to you, I apologize in advance.) There's an uncensored version of the Scream video on YouTube...not sure if you can somehow get it close captioned...There's a lot of anger there...(and rightly so...) I only wish that he had let it out sooner and not turned it inward on himself...
Thank you again so very much for getting me thinking and writing...
Ternell Jade McCullough
TUESDAY, June 8th, 2010
I recently ordered your MJ book, "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles" and I just wanted to say thank you. Your insights have widened my appreciation for the King of Pop exponentially.
As an aspiring filmmaker, I also want to say that I love your work on Steven Spielberg's films. Your admiration for, and analysis of A.I. is what sealed the deal for me. I find it to be so sad that your stance on the film was ridiculed the way it was when the film came out, and now every other film critic in the country has it listed somewhere in their top ten films of the decade...
Thanks Armond. Keep moving.
Sean Paul Maguire
SATURDAY, May 29th, 2010
Dear Mr. Armond White,
I’ve received my copy of your book, “Keep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles” today.
Thank you very much for your kindness.
Lots of LOVE and GRATITUDE from Anne Mette Jepsen,
SUNDAY, March 28, 2010
Dear Mr. White:
I’ve just finished your collection of articles, “KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles.” More passages underlined, more words that had to be looked up, and more tears than from any little book I can remember. Thank you.
I’m not sure I can explain the tears. It isn’t just the loss. This may sound crazy, but I feel like I’ve been standing in Jackson’s corner while the court of public opinion condemned him, and your book is the joyous, last minute reprieve. It feels like a vindication—even though a vindication should never have been required. And I’m not talking about the molestation charges he faced, but about the intent and quality of his art.
I believe your sense of Jackson’s legacy will eventually permeate the record. I’m grateful that you maintained such clarity through the years and that you shared it. You provided context for my own feelings—for why “Jam,” “Black or White,” the prison version of “They Don’t Really Care About Us,” “Earth Song” and “Stranger in Moscow” are the videos I return to time and again (the first four because they present a world view that resonates and the last because of the aching sadness, compassion and promise in it). In all the eulogies, these are forgotten. I hope they’re seen anew in the years to come, and that your little book wends its way across the globe!
Tammy Lacher Scully
THURSDAY, November 19, 2009
Dear Armond White,
Thank you for your book, "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles". I have really enjoyed reading it. You introduced many points about his work that I hadn't considered. It was exactly what I was looking for in terms of an academic study of Michael Jackson's work. I live in California, so I am disappointed that I won't be able to see your presentation at the Lincoln Center. Will you be bringing that to San Francisco or selling a video tape of it? I would really like to see it.
To answer your question of how I heard about the book. I was browsing the internet and came across an article about the lecture that you gave at NYU, which was attended by Spike Lee. The article talked about your book and provided information on how to order it.
Again, I have been really enjoying the book - reading the essays a few times so that I can absorb and savor your analysis.
Something that has really struck me about Michael Jackson, when I look back, is how he was able to stage large, national, cultural events. There are several events that I remember watching with my family as I was growing up -the 25th Anniversary of Motown, the first time I saw the Billie Jean video, Black or White, Scream. It's quite amazing how he was able to bring a national audience together. That is something that no one else as ever done, besides presidents and a few presidential candidates. Who else could have orchestrated multi-network, simultaneous broadcasts of a music video? Not only that, but a national broadcast of a video that stunned the world, such as Black or White. The morphing sequence and the solo dance at the end were both groundbreaking, but even more astonishing is that so many people saw it at once. And, like me, they probably remember seeing it for the first time.
Now, in his death he has brought people together again. First with the memorial and then with This is It. I will never forget sitting in a theater with every seat filled, with people laughing, clapping, sighing, and gasping together. He had our full attention.
Thanks & Best Regards,
Friday, December 18, 2009
Keep Moving: The Continuing Michael Jackson Chronicles
Interview with Armond White, Author of Keep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles
by Lauren Trainor
The Motown Problem
Michael Jackson’s This Is It
This Is It movie
Keep Moving: Michael Jackson's Video Art
Showbiz As Usual
Better-Than List 2009
This Is It > Me and Orson Welles
Kenny Ortega structured Michael Jackson’s rehearsal footage into a postmodern movie-musical that revealed facts of protean showbiz genius that Richard Linklater kept deflating in his humdrum quasi-bio-pic.
Do Movie Critics Matter?
It seems that film critics, as a breed, survive even though so much else in our culture is moving further and faster away from intelligence, individuality, morality, and literacy: As the filmmaker James Toback put it, “the deterioration of life as we know it.” Still, film critics persist, just as great movies—such as Jan Troell’s Everlasting Moments, Michael Jackson’s This Is It, and the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man—persist, in the face of technological changes that leave little room for art, reflection, or human expression.
Check out the full coverage of the event at the Keep Moving blog!
Music Video Presentation
Lincoln Center Book Signing
Friday, October 16, 2009
Friday, October 16th, 2009
With interest in Michael Jackson so high at this time, we here at resistanceworks.blogspot.com thought it would be helpful to post some youtube links where critic Armond White talks about Michael Jackson's Legacy BEFORE Michael's passing.
These two clips are from a music video presentation by Armond White on Michael Jackson. It took place on January 18, 2008 and was entitled, "Pop Video Artists and Hollywood Influence". These two clips (from the introduction to his presentation) focus on the music video JAM. In the music video are rap stars Heavy D, Naughty By Nature, Kriss Kross, and NBA Great Michael Jordan.
If you'd like to read more about Armond White's take on the music video "Jam" purchase a copy of his new book "KEEP MOVING: The Micheal Jackson Chronicles". You can purchase a copy of the book by:
Please send $13.00 money order/check payable to Armond White and your mailing address to the following address:
P.O. Box 20295
New York, NY 10011
Thursday, October 15, 2009
New Book Asserts That Pop Star Michael Jackson was “more than an entertainer.”
NY Press Film Critic (and current New York Film Critics Circle Chairman) Armond White has published a new book on Pop Star MICHAEL JACKSON entitled KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles.
The book is a collection of essays/reviews/capsules/reflections by critic Armond White. They chronicle the creations of Michael Jackson and note the context of related works by others. Written throughout his quarter-century as a critic (including a twelve year stretch as the Arts Editor of the Black-owned New York City weekly newspaper THE CITY SUN), the writing focuses on the work Michael Jackson produced AFTER the record-breaking commercial success of the Thriller album as represented by the songs and music videos created and associated with the Bad, Dangerous, HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book I and Blood On The Dance Floor albums. Throughout, Armond White examines the impact of Michael Jackson as a cultural phenomenon, aesthetic/music force and dance icon/show-biz influence.
During the outpouring of public grieving in the aftermath of Michael Jackson’s passing earlier this year, Armond White noticed that the
“Standard media demeaning of a black male icon was no longer acceptable. Michael Jackson’s art roused deep affection…Not just Black Americans but people around the world felt the same way—protective and loving.”
In KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles, Armond White notes, “Michael Jackson’s importance wasn’t showbiz as usual, it moved through the ongoing issues of race, class, sex, spirituality and aesthetics.” To that end, topics written about include (but are not limited to):
-the universal primal family tensions, competitiveness, pressures and drama that drove the Jackson family (and helped influence/shape Michael Jackson)
-the continuous innovations by Michael Jackson of the taken-for-granted music video form, his Hollywood influences and Michael Jackson’s impact not only on the record industry but pop culture itself
-the showbiz secret behind the change in Michael’s appearance that was announced by the release of the Bad album
-the American shame Michael Jackson addressed (and transcends) with the Black Or White song/music video
-the cultural exchange dramatized by and emotional seduction of the song/music video, Remember The Time
-the psychological conflict suggested by the song/music video In The Closet
-Michael Jackson’s connection to Black culture (and his innovative musical/aesthetic breakthrough) demonstrated in the music video/song Jam
-the groundbreaking characterization of Jackson patriarch Joe Jackson by actor Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs in the TV movie The Jacksons: An American Legend
-the practiced vengeance of the media witchhunt displayed during the controversy generated by the song “They Don’t Care About Us”
While many people point to the albums, Off The Wall and Thriller as creative peaks for Michael Jackson’s solo career, Armond White insists that while those albums are splendid, you CANNOT stop there, paying attention to his post-Thriller work is crucial to understanding Michael Jackson’s development as an artist. In fact, throughout the book, critic Armond White makes the case for Michael Jackson being an artist, not “just” an entertainer. As for Michael Jackson’s work after Thriller being perceived as flawed or troubled or problematic, Armond White writes,
“Michael Jackson’s pleasureable pop art pushed the culture forward—challenging it—as he also challenged himself…Michael Jackson’s art was never meant to be controversial or difficult, and I tried to show in these essays that it wasn’t—if one received it with open eyes, ears and heart.”
KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles measures 5 ½ inches by 8 ½, inches, is 130 pages long and costs $13.00 ($10.00 + $3.00 Shipping And Handling).
For more information (including ordering instructions) on the book KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles, please review the blog:
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
In yesterday's NY Post (MONDAY, October 12, 2009). NY Post music critic Dan Aquilante wrote about the new Michael Jackson single called "This Is It" (with backup vocals by The Jackson 5 or The Jacksons). At the end of the review, Dan Aquilante muses,
"If this free taste is the kind of song that Michael Jackson was working on for the 50 London concerts, you start to believe that had Jackson not died, he might may have enjoyed an artistic renaissance."-- Dan Aquilante (NY Post Music Critic)
Well actually, there already IS a Michael Jackson renaissance going on and Critic Armond White writes about it in his new book, "KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles".
See blog for ordering information.
Attendees of the Michael Jackson panel discussion, went out and, impressed by Armond White's words/presentation on Michael Jackson, bought the book. Figures like Filmmaker SPIKE LEE and Internationally Known DJ DJ Spinna were among the people on line to purchase the book.
Filmmaker Spike Lee on line waiting to purchase the new Armond White book "Keep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles"
Filmmaker Spike Lee on line waiting to purchase the new Armond White book "Keep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles"
Armond White signs a copy of his new book, "Keep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles" for Filmmaker Spike Lee.
Armond White signs a copy of his new book, "Keep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles" for Filmmaker Spike Lee.
Spike Lee and Armond White shake hands.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Here's a taste:
There’s a new book in town! Now that the professional mourners have put their veils and candles away, the enormity of the artistic life of Michael Jackson remains. To help us make sense of and celebrate those numerous achievements, Armond has put together a collection of his MJ writings under the title Keep Moving and although not in my own hand yet, I assure ya’ll, it’s the best thirteen bones ($10 + $3 shipping) ya’ll can spend on the subject. (See The Michael Jackson Chronicles for ordering info and more.) Why? Because Armond knows. He’s from Detroit. He worked in Brooklyn at the City Sun. He’s our favorite writer about David Lean, Robert Bresson and the recently Mos Def-approved Charles Burnett (see Mos’ superb The Ecstatic, best BK hip-hip album of the year), among other filmic things. In 1992, Armond won an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for his essay on Michael’s “Black and White” video title “The Gloved One Is Not A Chump”— indeed.
Thanks for great blog entry, Brian! And thank you for the order!
To order Keep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles by Armond White:
Shipping and Handling: $3.00
Please send $13.00 check payable to Armond White and your mailing address to the following address:
P.O. Box 20295
New York, NY 10011
Monday, September 21, 2009
ARMOND WHITE'S PRESENTATION AT NYU'S 'REMEMBERING MICHAEL JACKSON' PANEL, SEPTEMBER 17, 2009
(pictures of the event below)
"What is the problem with Michael Jackson?" asked an Iraqi insurgent in the process of torturing Marky Mark Wahlberg (of all people) in the 1999 film Three Kings.
Answer: It is the Motown Problem: The devaluing of popular art—as when POTUS belittled Jackson as merely "an entertainer." But Jackson was an artist—with all the seriousness that appellation implies.
The Motown Problem is that black artistry (complicated human artistry) is casually disrespected as something glib, or trying-to-be-white artistry. It’s a class and status problem that even exists today.
Let’s briefly look back at how Michael Jackson exemplified Motown artistry in the substance of his earliest Motown hits:
I Want You Back—A kid’s moan expressively imitates an older person’s heartache, but in its closing strains, heartache and joy combined.
ABC—Bubble-gum pop, yet it’s ecstatic.
The Love You Save—Enunciates the discourse of loving, of personal recovery, or intimate and social communion. The mention Isaac Newton, Benjamin Frankliln, Alexander Graham Bell, Christopher Columbus—acknowledges school lessons, facts of kids receiving Western indoctrination/education and applying it to their personal lives. A crucial tenet of Motown’s Civil Rights Era progressive, upwardly mobile agenda.
I’ll Be There—Bring salvation back. Togetherness, it’s all I’m after.
Never Can Say Goodbye—Older regret and longing in kiddie voice ("piercing me right through the core"). It’s powerful. Whether or not the 12-year-old knows what it means, every listener does.
More than any other Motown artist, it was Michael who most successfully translated Motown’s integrationist ethic. The company’s motto: "The Sound of Young America" sounds like what Jay-Z, in the post-WWII, post Brown vs. Board of Education era, would call a "hustle." But it had a purpose—not a hustle, a mission: How to speak to America by enjoining it and becoming it. Claiming it.
Motown was not a gut bucket, deep-south sound—and the ‘60s designation of "Soul Music" was not detached from the genuine, personal expression one hears in Motown. Motown was a sound with the colors of Jacob Lawrence’s Great Migration series in it. That means it had down home rhythm and twang, but Northern pronunciation, vocabulary and diction. It achieves a great American articulation. For the generations who stressed education and advancement, this Motown language and Motown ethic was success itself. Apart from whatever monetary benefits accrued.
In "The Love You Save" Michael demonstrated that he could command the eternal entreaties of pop discourse—terms that are interchangeable whether discussing love or politics. These are terms pop artists must learn to master. And for R&B artists particularly, the Love/Save terms must also describe spiritual aspiration.
This Motown idiom became Michael Jackson’s language—especially as it matured into the complicated expression of his adult pop songs recorded to address a fractious political and cultural era. It’s at the heart of "Black or White" in the assertions of fearlessness and brotherhood that should not have surprised any Motown adept but should have echoed the Civil Rights Era ethics.
Yet, MJ’s most complex enunciations occurred in the stressful hiphop era, when ideas of Blackness had been tortured into rancor and stereotype. I detail this in the Keep Moving chapter on the Black or White music video:
Raised in the Motown ethic of assimilate-and-accommodate, Michael Jackson means it when he preaches brotherhood in "Black or White." Integration and racial unity are indispensable tenets for his philosophy for showbiz success partly because of the practical need for Black artist to work with white musicians, technicians, and buisness people, partly because Jackson, no doubt, believes in it. Jackson ain’t just whislin’ Dixie, to use an old phrase—in fact, he gives racial unity a modern emphasis, adding a new, shocking sincerity, to the politics of crossover.
To misunderstand MJ’s "problem" meant misunderstanding Motown because in so many inarguable ways—statistical, artistic and emotional—he had become its greatest ambassador, its greatest success story. His success spread out from obvious global recognition to a more universal acceptance of black artistry—black feelings and anxieties and aspiration.
In the very personal music that MJ made after leaving Motown the complications of translating African American experience into universal thought and language were ever-present. Now, the Michael Jackson problem is: Who is willing to see it? Who is willing to appreciate it?
Students & more lined up for the NYU Panel Discussion -- "Remembering Michael Jackson" -- featuring, among others, Spike Lee and Armond White (author of Keep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles):
As the attendees entered and took their seats, a projected image of MJ set the tone:
Spike Lee shared his recollections having worked with Michael Jackson on both versions of the They Don't Care About Us videos, while also opening up about his own personal MJ Renaissance in the wake of the King of Pop's passing:
A Q&A after the individual presentations gave Armond White the opportunity to defend Michael Jackson's unheralded later work, which he analyzes in detail in Keep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles:
This picture captures the dynamic on stage:
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Cantor Film Center, Room 200
36 East 8th Street (seats 300)
Thursday, September 17
7 pm-9 pm.
Confirmed Speakers: Nelson George, Margo Jefferson, Spike Lee, Alan Light, Greg Tate, Harry Weinger, Armond White
For more information:
The Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music
Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
The Record Label Series / Motown U
REMEMBERING MICHAEL JACKSON
An exciting panel of scholars, writers, artists and executives considers
the legacy of one of pop music’s greatest icons. With:
SPIKE LEE, award-winning filmmaker, producer and author
GREG TATE, Village Voice journalist and author of Everything But the Burden
MARGO JEFFERSON, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist, author of On Michael Jackson
ARMOND WHITE, New York Press cultural critic and author of Keep it Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles
ALAN LIGHT, founding editor of Vibe Magazine, author of The Skills to Pay the Bills
HARRY WEINGER, Grammy-winning producer, writer and Vice President A&R for Universal Music Enterprises
DAPHNE A. BROOKS, Associate Professor, Princeton University, author of Bodies in Dissent
moderated and curated by JASON KING, Clive Davis Dept. Artistic Director and author of The Michael Jackson Treasures
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 17 2009 @ 7 PM
Cantor Film Center
36 East 8th Street, Theater 200
FREE EVENT but RSVP REQUIRED
Seats are limited, first come first served
RSVP line: 212 992 8405 or email: email@example.com
Picture ID is required to enter the building
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to order Armond White's new book: KEEP MOVING: The Michael Jackson Chronicles!
Monday, August 24, 2009
The Michael Jackson Chronicles
ABOUT THE BOOK
“Has there been a more compelling show-biz/arts figure than Michael Jackson?”
In this collection, controversial critic Armond White chronicles the career of Michael Jackson. Written throughout his quarter-century as a critic, these essays focus on the work Michael Jackson produced AFTER the record-breaking commercial success of the Thriller album. He examines the impact of Michael Jackson as a cultural phenomenon, aesthetic/music force and dance icon/show-biz influence. Armond White uncovers the deep meaning in Michael Jackson’s art—especially the songs and music videos from the Bad, Dangerous, HIStory, and Blood On The Dance Floor albums.
TO ORDER OR FOR MORE INFORMATION
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table Of Contents
Introduction: MOVING FORWARD
Chapter 1: Janet, The Last Black Jackson
Billie Jean music video
Beat It music video
Thriller music video
Chapter 2: Understanding Michael Jackson
Bad music video
Chapter 3: The Gloved One Is Not A Chump
Black or White music video
Chapter 4: Sibling Song
Word to the Badd!! single
Chapter 5: “How Deep Is Your Afrocentricity?”Ask Michael & Iman
Remember The Time music video
Chapter 6: Michael Takes a Bow for Jam
In the Closet music video
Jam music video
Chapter 7: Father Figure
The Jacksons: An American Legend TV movie
Chapter 8: Videos Change the Style of “Black Film”
Chapter 9: Jackson’s TV Ad Makes Rhetorical History
HIStory teaser promo
Chapter 10: Screaming To Be Heard, Book I
Scream music video
Chapter 11: Screaming To Be Heard, Book II
Chapter 12: Montell and Michael Exploit/Explore Happy-Negro Fallacy
This Is How We Do It single
Chapter 13: Earth Song Moves Music Video Mountains
Earth Song music video
Chapter 14: Jackson and Jam-Lewis Hope Louder in New Remix
You Are Not Alone music video
You Are Not Alone/Scream Louder Remix single
Chapter 15: Lists & Prizes in the Arts for 1995
City Sun Year’s Best Excerpt
Chapter 16: Hear, My Dears
Blood on the Dance Floor album
Chapter 17: Remembering “Ben”
Chapter 18: Song of the Day: Man in the Mirror
Chapter 19: Jackson Pop: Music Video Artists and Hollywood Influence
Chapter 20: In MJ’s Shadow
Chapter 21: Twenty-First Century Renaissance