MMF Celebrates Black History in Music, Feb. 28

On February 28, 1984 Michael Jackson swept the 26th Annual Grammy Awards with 8 wins of the success of his 1982 album, Thriller. He took home: Album of the Year, Record of the Year (‘Beat It’), Best Recording for Children (‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’), Best Pop Vocal Performance Male (‘Thriller’), Producer of the Year (along with Quincy Jones), Best R&B Vocal Performance Male (‘Billie Jean’), Best Rhythm and Blues Song; songwriter (‘Billie Jean’), and Best Rock Vocal Performance Male (‘Beat It’).

Here’s a compilation of his acceptance speech at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards.

Thriller was released on November 30, 1982. The album only featured 9 songs so for him to have won 8 Grammys for the album it’s like a Grammy per song! In addition to the 8 Grammy wins he won 8 AMAs, a special Merit Award, and 3 The video for ‘Thriller’ was more of a motion picture with their even being a special on the making of the video.

Jackson’s videos ‘Beat It’ and ‘Billie Jean’ are noted for breaking the color barrier on MTV. During the early 80s not many black artists were played except for a few. When ‘Beat It’ aired on MTV it was still not played on a high rotation. In fact, ‘Billie Jean,’ was not put into medium rotation (2-3 times a day) until it peaked on the Billboard Hot 100. Although those two songs set the tone for what what was to come with breaking the color barrier on the station the release of ‘Thriller’ was what really eliminated the barrier.

The album was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records on February 7, 1984 as the world’s best-selling album. On August 21, 2009 the album was certified platinum 29x by the RIAA having sold 29 million copies in the U.S. and over 20 million outside the U.S. The album is still iconic to this day averaging 130,000 in the U.S. yearly.

Below is a playlist of the album. ENJOY!

MMF Celebrates Black History in Music, Feb. 1

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On February 1, 2012, Don Cornelius passed away. He was a pioneer in creating a platform for African American artists and more to showcase their talents on Soul Train. Throughout the years of the show there were A-List celebrities to touch the stage including: Michael Jackson (and the Jackson 5), Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and countless others. He not only gave a platform to recording artists, but to upcoming dancers as well. A couple dancers to highlight are Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel who went on to become 2/3 of the group, Shalamar.

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I found this book called Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation┬áin Barnes and Noble. It highlights the entire Soul Train history through pictures and a few excerpts. It retails for $45, I was able to purchase mine on sale for $25. The book is broken into 3 sections, Love, Peace, & Soul which was Cornelius’ signature at the end of each show.

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Here’s a glimpse into the history of Soul Train from VH1‘s special, Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America.

Cornelius ended his time on the show on June 26,1993 after 22 seasons. From that point there were guest hosts weekly until comedian Mystro Clark took over in 1997 and Shemar Moore would go on to host from 1999 to 2003. After Moore’s exit the show was hosted by actor Dorian Gregory until the shows finale in 2006. The newer version of Soul Train featured more urban artists and highlighted not only R&B, but included Hip-Hop as well which was something that Cornelius had began during his time. Although Soul Train is off the air the Soul Train Awards are still being shown on Centric/BET.

Rest in peace to the pioneer and visionary, Mr. Don Cornelius.