#ThrowbackThursday Old School Summer Jams

It’s #Cookout season. You know what that means right? Alot of #OldSchool dance music to set the mood. Before I Let Go, by Frankie Beverly, has got to be one of everyone’s all time favorites for family reunions and weddings. Keep this one on blast and you will be sure to have a successful Que (BBQ that is and guarantee that somebody’s auntie will break out into a line dance after a mean game of Bid Whist on the card table! And we can’t leave out the Hip Hop classic, Summertime, by Will Smith because the title says it all! This should be in heavy rotation in your “CD player”, lol, or on your playlist, either way, it’s the jam! Enjoy!

#HappySummer #the40andoverproject

One More Chance. March 9, 1997

I always know it’s March when the anniversary of this rap icon, the Notorious B.I.G, comes upon us. March 9, 1997, I remember it well. Not only is my birthday in March but, in 1997, I was in my last year at Kent State University, a graduating senior. Tupac had just been killed in the Fall of 1996. This all happened 24 years ago. What a crazy time in #HipHopHistory #OneMoreChance #StillMyFavorite #the90s #BiggieSmalls #BabyBaby

Photo Credit. Barron Claiborne

SHARING. Love letters from Tupac, crown worn by Biggie offered in 1st-ever hip-hop auction at Sotheby’s

As an old school Hip Hop head, imagine my delight when I heard about this on the news this morning!

SHARING FROM KTLA.COM

Rivals in life, the rappers Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur are being united for an auction at Sotheby’s, the first-ever dedicated hip-hop auction at a major international auction house. Bidders will be able to vie for the crown worn and signed by the Notorious B.I.G. during a 1997 photo shoot held three days before he was killed in Los Angeles. They’ll also get to bid on an archive of 22 autographed love letters written by Shakur at the age of 15-17 to a high school sweetheart. The auction will be held Sept. 15 and features over 120 hip-hop-related lots. The items can be viewed in person — reservations are required during the pandemic — at Sotheby’s in New York City and the exhibition will also be available to the public online via its digital gallery. “The impact of hip-hop is everywhere — sneakers, clothing, jewelry, art, music. I wanted to have a sale that really recognized how massive that impact really is,” said Cassandra Hatton, the Sotheby’s senior specialist who organized the sale. The estimates for the headlining lots — $200,000 to $300,000 for the crown and $60,000 to $80,000 for the letters — are low, with the hope that the auction house can attract first-time bidders and show it is not just a stuffy place for multi-million-dollar watches and paintings. Onetime friends who became rivals in a hype-fueled war between the East and West Coast rap scenes, Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. — also known as Biggie Smalls — were gunned down within months of each other. Both crimes remain unsolved. The crown has been in photographer Barron Claiborne’s possession since he captured Biggie for the cover of Rap Pages magazine. Claiborne had provided the prop, hoping to portray Biggie as the king of New York. Sean “Diddy” Combs, owner of Biggie’s label Bad Boy Entertainment, was with the rapper on the photo shoot. “I’ve seen the crown. Everybody’s seen the crown. It’s so famous. It’s so iconic. When I was first thinking of doing this sale, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to track that crown down?’” Hatton said. “I’ve sold all sorts of wild things. But this is a little different.” Shakur’s letters — many on lined stationary pages with neat hand-lettered script — were written in 1987 and 1988 to Kathy Loy, a fellow student at the Baltimore School for the Arts. The 42 pages chronicle their approximately two-month long romance, including a letter of regret for breaking up sent a year later. Loy provided the letters for auction. “I’ll always be there for you,” Shakur wrote to her in one. In a poem, we writes: “Everything is so beautiful/since I fell in love.” The trove also reveal his friendship with fellow student Jada Pinkett Smith, who he mentions in one letter: “Jada told me she can see how much I love you.” What interested Hatton most is the tone of the letters. Unlike Shakur’s tough public persona, the letters reveal a “sweet, poetic, sensitive young man.” “There are definitely moments that made me blush reading the letters — he is a 16-year-old boy after all,” she added. “But he is very respectful. He advocates for clear communication and boundaries and wants to define relationships.” The auction continues Sotheby’s recent trend toward embracing items prized by popular culture, including hosting the first dedicated sneaker auction at one of the big auction houses in July 2019. A pair of Michael Jordan’s signed, game-worn Nikes was recently auctioned by Christie’s for a record $615,000.

Love letters from Tupac, crown worn by Biggie offered in 1st-ever hip-hop auction at Sotheby’s

Back To School Shopping. Old School Edition

As parents prep to send kids back to school (or not) during this pandemic, I thought I would share some memories I think some of you might appreciate.

Back to school shopping back in the 1980s, was an annual event, that involved parents taking their kids to local popular department stores to get the best deals on clothes, shoes, and school supplies for their growing boys and girls for the new school year.

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and shopping local, was a thing, long before it was a thing. My friends and I often wax nostalgic over stores like Gold Circle (which I’m convinced became Target) and Value City, both Ohio and Midwest based chains, that were very popular in the 70s and 80s. Also, I’m old enough to remember the onset of “the mall”, which was a new phenomenon for a generation who was used to the “one-stop shop” department store concept, which, ironically, has made a comeback through stores like Target and Walmart.

Another thing my generation grew up on, was the catalog. There was the JC Penney and Sears catalogs. These catalogs were not unlike the size of a phone book and was very much the precursor to online ordering so your mother either called the 1-800 number to place your order or you pressed her luck with a mail-in order form and pray the item wasn’t on back order by the time the form reached the warehouse.

Also, I would be remiss, if I did not give a shout out to the Sears store, and the Garanimals clothing line for kids. What made Garanimals awesome was the concept they created for coordinating and color matching through the use of animal figures on the hang tags. This, to me, was a genius concept. It was like the Sesame Street of clothing, teaching kids about colors and matching through fashion. I loved it.

Unfortunately, the 21st century and the onset of online shopping, has seen the demise of multiple large department stores and catalogs that were once the stallworth of shopping for a whole generation. A piece of nostalgia, that recently filed for bankruptcy is J. Crew. If you are #40AndOver and attended college in #the90s, you probably remember receiving a #JCrewCatalog in your dorm/residence hall. It was probably the first catalog that catered to the college age student, so unlike the JC Penney and Sears catalogs of our parents and grandparents day. It was a hallmark of life on campus. I never ordered anything from them and I’m guessing not many of my friends did nor this current generation, because, unlike the JC Penney catalog (or Penny’s as my grandmother liked to call them), J. Crew was super expensive so really, most of us just looked at the pictures, it was actually more like a magazine for us, more of an aspiration, if you will, that was delivered monthly to our student mailboxes and front desks in our dorms. As J. Crew goes by way of JC Penney and others, the only thing left will be the memories of a whole generation who defined the what “Back To School” shopping really meant.

#the40andoverproject #OldSchool #memorabilia

A Favorite Professor

I’m 47 now, but 23 years ago, 1997 to be exact, my senior year, a group of students from #KentStateUniversity , got on the bus headed to the first ever #MillionWomenMarch in Philly, PA, accompanied by Dr Adilene Barnes-Harden (pictured with us in the Kente cloth outfit, I’m next to her, holding the sign) . During my time at Kent State, I switched my major about 5 times, had some interesting experiences (we’ll just leave it at that, thankfully before the Facebook lol) , and I had some very awesome professors, especially in the Department of #PanAfricanStudies . If there was anything that was constant during my college years, in between all of the fun, it was the classes I had the privilege to take at Kent State. One of my favorite and one of the best professors EVER, was Dr. Barnes-Harden who taught The Black Woman, The Black Family, and other courses that changed my life! She was so raw and so real in the classroom and inspired us as black students on campus! She has transitioned, gone but definitely not forgotten. Ashe! RIP #KentStateForever #PAS #BlackStudies #PeaceAndLove

The Million Women March, circa 1997