Posted by Witch Hazel | Posted in Natina Reed, rip | Posted on 27-10-2012
Natina Reed, of the girl group Blaque, who had success in the late ’90s with songs like “808” and “Bring It All to Me,” has died. Reed –who was just 32– was killed early Saturday as she crossed an Atlanta street. Police say the driver did stop, was not at fault and will not face charges. Reed was the rapper of the group and in a very strange coincidence, she was the protégé of the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes who also died young in a vehicle-related accident. Reed co-starred in “Bring It On” with Gabrielle Union. She would have turned 33 tomorrow. Fellow group member, Brandi Williams, tweeted about losing Natina.
Last night the world was changed forever, life will never be the same….she was my sister.
Posted by Fleur Delacour | Posted in rip | Posted on 24-07-2012
By now you’ve probably heard that actor Sherman Hemsley has gone to God’s deluxe apartment in the skkkkyyyyy… Hemsley has always been a grouchy uncle in my head. I snickered behind my parents backs when he called Archie Bunker “honky” on All in the Family . I laughed and sometimes cried during his 11 seasons on The Jeffersons. And who could forget the deacon double-dutching in the intro to Amen? Hemsley was a HUGE part of my childhood. No matter what was going on outside, I could escape to George and Weezy’s house every week. I’ll sure miss that fast walk and even faster wit.
Posted by Witch Hazel | Posted in Chuck Brown, rip | Posted on 16-05-2012
Sad news for real music fans and the Washington, DC community today. Chuck Brown, the beloved Godfather of Go-Go passed away. Brown had suffered from pneumonia for the past few weeks, forcing him to cancel his packed schedule. Brown was 75. As I watched the news of his death roll through my Facebook Timeline, it occurred to me that almost all of friends in DC had fond memories of Chuck but virtually no one on my friends list (except for one) who lives outside the DC area had much to say about Chuck. It was a sea of virtual crickets. Most seem to have never heard of him which is a shame. He gave us decades of good music that stayed largely in this city and parts of the East Coast. There were a couple of shining “mainstream” moments, like “Bustin’ Loose” and when Nelly sampled him on “Hot In Herre,” so I figured I’d share some of his music with my Brewchies! When I think of all the crap artists we can’t escape on the radio, I’m left to wonder, why aren’t they playing more of THIS?!? I remember as a kid that I could not wait ’til I hit 25 so I could go to an official Chuck Brown show. And when I finally made it there, it was a moment I wouldn’t forget. I’m grateful to have been able to witness this legend on stage over the years, whether it was in a park, sitting on the grass or on a formal stage — he rocked it!
If you’ve never heard of Chuck and don’t know his music, here’s 11 minutes of what it was like at a Chuck Brown show. Non-stop music and lots of two stepping…only the weak sat down but he never did. I mean, the man was 75 and would perform non-stop for an hour or more in one continuous groove that would just go and go (hence, the “Go-Go“).
But, there was also a softer, jazzier side to Chuck. He helped propel the short lived career of the late Eva Cassidy in the early ’90s. Their voices together were magical.
Jill Scott also recognized the power of Chuck’s music, often collaborating with him when she performed in DC. They also recorded the song, “Love,” together in 2010. I could only find this random line dancing video of the song, but hey, watch it and learn some new moves.
Jill tweeted her thoughts about Chuck about an hour ago:
Ohhhh Chuck!!!!! R.I.P. ,Dear friend and lover of the original beat, your music captivated and lifted. You will be MISSED!!!!
I’m saddened by this morning’s news that Soul Train creator, Don Cornelius, was found dead at his California home today. Adding to the troubling news: police say it appears he took his own life, shooting himself in the head. Three years ago, Cornelius went through a bitter divorce, telling a judge he was suffering from “significant health issues” and wanted to “finalize this divorce” before he died. You may remember he was also arrested in 2008 for domestic violence. His probation for that case just ended. Sources close to him say his health was not the best in recent years. You really never know what’s ailing another man’s soul. He will certainly be remembered beyond his recent personal troubles.
Today marks the start of Black History Month and without a doubt, Cornelius is part of that history. He put many black musical acts in the living rooms of families across the country when “other,” more mainstream programs would not. Ask any major performer or group in the last 40 years and they’ll tell you how much Soul Train changed their lives. And what would weddings (cookouts, Tyler Perry movies) be without the famous Soul Train line?
Rap legend and Mr. Big Stuff himself, Heavy D, has died. TMZ reports he was rushed to a LA hospital this afternoon and was pronounced dead an hour later. Heavy D (real name: Dwight Arrington Myers) was just 44 years young. A 911 call was placed from his home to report an unconscious male on the walkway. But, he was said to be conscious and speaking when help arrived to take him to the hospital. There’s no sign of foul play but the details of his death are under investigation.
UPDATE: TMZ reports Heavy D had just returned from shopping and walked up some stairs when he began having trouble breathing. Adam Mills, a designer who was in the building and knew Heavy D, found him leaning against a railing and clearly in distress. Adam tells us he cradled Heavy D in his lap as others called 911. Adam says Heavy D was conscious and said to him, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.” When paramedics took Heavy D to the hospital he had a pulse. People in the building are saying he died of a heart attack, but we [TMZ] have not been able to confirm that. Law enforcement sources tell us … no foul play was involved and so far they only know the cause of death was “medical.”
A friend of Heav’s also says the rapper had pneumonia.
Heavy D just rocked the BET Hip Hop Awards last month, dancing through a medley of his hits from the 90s, reminding us all of a time when Hip Hop was fun and it didn’t matter what you looked like or how expensive your clothes were. Back when “you’re a chicken McNugget, I’m a Big Mac” was a serious diss. Back when rappers actually wrote odes to black women that didn’t include instructions on how to “drop dat azz.” Back when you danced. You smiled. You sang. And you diddly-diddly-diddly-deed. Read the rest of this entry »
A Witch is knee-deep in her feelings right now. British singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her apartment in London today. The police report does not specifically name Winehouse but says:
Police were called by London Ambulance Service to an address in Camden Square NW1 shortly before 16.05hrs today, Saturday 23 July, following reports of a woman found deceased.
On arrival officers found the body of a 27-year-old female who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Enquiries continue into the circumstances of the death. At this early stage it is being treated as unexplained.
We all know Winehouse battled years of addiction and had been in rehab several times for cocaine withdrawal symptoms among other things.
She embarked on a European tour this summer but was forced to cancel it after horrible reviews and seeming “out of it” on stage. Photos surfaced recently showing her in better condition but, alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Her death probably isn’t a surprise to many but it’s still sad, nonetheless. Her “Frank” and “Black To Back” albums were the soundtracks to my life when I was going through love woes or just needed to dance around the house. I’m sad that we’ll never really know her full potential. She now rests with other music greats who fell victim to the lifestyle, cutting short their musical legacies. Taste The Brew for some Amy videos
Posted by Witch Hazel | Posted in Nate Dogg, rip | Posted on 16-03-2011
Nathaniel Hale (aka Nate Dogg), one of hip hop’s most noted hook singers has died. Nate passed away Tuesday at the age of 41 after years of health issues. He was one of the voices that put the whole “G-Funk” era on the map, making Death Row Records a force in the ‘90s and earning him four Grammy nods. The cause of death hasn’t been announced but Nate suffered a massive stroke in 2007 that left him partially paralyzed. He had a second stroke in 2008.
Twitter proved to be a credible news source tonight in the worst of ways. Ron Isley, Sheila E., CNN’s Roland Martin and entertainment reporter Jawn Murray were on their grind confirming some very sad news before any of the mainstream press: 54 year old R&B legend Teena Marie died in her home, reportedly in her sleep. Her daughter found her in her bedroom some time today. She had reportedly suffered a seizure last month. Radio stations in Philadelphia and Chicago have also confirmed the very sad news. Taste The Brew for more
Anybody who knows their Parliament Funkadelic history remembers Garry Shider. Of course, you probably recall him as the man in the diaper next to George Clinton. Shider, who was the longtime musical director of the P-Funk, died yesterday after a battle with brain and lung cancer. Turns out, Shider died at his home in Upper Marlboro, MD, just outside Washington, DC. Who knew this guy was so close to the Witches’?
Shider, a guitarist, was just 56 years old. Fans will know him as “Starchild” and, of course, “Diaperman.” He met George Clinton when he was just a teenager at a barber shop and the rest is legendary musical history. Shider co-wrote and provided vocals on P-Funk’s greatest hits… including this little ditty.
Sad news on the opening day of the World Cup in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela’s 13-year-old great-granddaughter Zenani was killed in a car crash early this morning as she was returning home from Thursday night’s kick-off concert.
Police say Zenani died in a one-car accident on a Johannesburg highway. The man behind the wheel, was accused of drunk driving and may also be charged with culpable homicide.
This is the first time the World Cup is being played in Africa and the former president’s appearance at the opening today was to be a high point for the country. But, naturally, Mandela canceled his appearance at the World Cup today to be with his mourning family.
Betty White is the last broad standing. Golden Girl Rue McClanahan has died. McClanahan –who was best known for her role as the sexy, spicy “Blance Deveraux” on the show– died at 1 am today. Her manager says she had a massive stroke.
McClanahan suffered a minor stroke earlier this year after undergoing bypass surgery. Last year, co-star Bea Arthur died of cancer. Estelle Getty passed away in 2008. Betty White is the sole surviving Golden Girl.
Toby S. Jenkins is taking the literary world by storm! Critics are raving about this award-winning professor who has her finger on the pulse of the African-American community. In her latest book, Ms. Jenkins explores ways to understand our cultural heritage and motivate people to create change. Get your copy now at Amazon.com.