One of my favorite shows on television has to be TV One's music series, 'UnSung' (I know the folks at BET wished they'd came up with that one). It's just something about the show that I can't get enough of it. Being a lover of music, this show is right up my alley.
I can vividly remember being a kid spending my summers in Madison, Fl with my grandfather who owned two restaurants. In both of the restaurants, he had a jook box. Lord did I love those jook boxes! It was those jook boxes that introduced me to The Whispers, Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, The Temptations, and etc. Although I didn't grow up in the era in which these artists were at their peak, I was able to listen to their music because of my grandfather's jook box.
So when TV One came out with 'UnSung', I was hooked. Watching the show takes me back to my summers spent in Madison with my family.
Now back to the show.
I was reading a post that said maybe the name of the show was confusing because some of the artists being profiled are very well known, but I think a commenter summarized my position perfectly when they said that all Black artists are 'UnSung.' What they based their reasoning on is the fact that as talented as most of the black artists were back in the day, they didn't get their just due because of the color of their skin. I mean the fact that people still want to say Elvis is the King of Rock and Roll when we all know it's Chuck Berry should help us understand this. White Supremacy (yes I said White Supremacy) has a lot to do with why these artists aren't the icons that most of them should be. The renaming of Soul music to Rock and Roll was another way for 'The Man' to keep many a black artist down.
If you look at Rolling Stone magazine list of the greatest artists ever you'll be hard press to find a black artist in the top twenty, but yet Rolling Stone professes to be the authority when it comes to everything that is music. How can The Beatles be considered the greatest band of all time when everything they did was influenced by black artists during that time? It's just inconceivable, but yet it's publications like Rolling Stone that continues to perpetuate this myth without taking into consideration the historical facts as to why certain artists were allowed to sell more than other artists. Those things have to be taken into consideration.
This is one of the reasons why I appreciate a show like 'UnSung.' It helps to reminds us what our people had to endure in order to be great. Yes, drugs and bad business deals had a lot to do with the downfall of some of these artists but we can't forget the impact of White Supremacy. It's important that we remember this when they try to tell us how unimpactful some of our legends were.
Here's the season schedule for 'UnSung':
1/23 - Isaac Hayes
1/30 - Midnight Star
2/6 - EPMD (definitely looking forward to this one :-))
2/13 - Lou Rawls
2/20 - Disco Tribute (2 hour special)
2/27 - Eddie Kendricks
3/6 - The Whispers
3/13 - Mint Condition
3/20 - Johnny Gill