Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teddy Pendergrass: The Unbearable Heaviness of a Love TKO

By Barry Michael Cooper 

"Teddy was the spirit and voice of his times. No voice better expressed the aspirations of late '70's Harlem."
--Gary Harris.
Twitter, 14 Jan 2010

Twenty-ten has roared up the on ramp of our lives like a ghostly metallic hearse, looking for the last exit to oblivion. The first psychic toll booth flashed a horrifically blinking snapshot of the Apocalypse; where a 7.0 tectonic plate shift in Port au Prince, Haiti, may have cut down hundreds of thousands of lives.
The second detoured us with the news that legendary American crooner, Teddy Pendergrass--the original Philadelphia International--died from colon cancer. He was 59 years old.

Both world shattering events took place on Wednesday, 13 January 2010. GOD Help us.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Jack City Eats Its Young-Original 1987 Village Voice Feature


By Barry Michael Cooper
Published in the Village Voice: December 1st, 1987
(A Blessed and Bountiful New Year to one and all. Next March 2011--GOD Willing--will be the 20th anniversary of the Warner Bros. film, "New Jack City". This is the Village Voice feature I wrote 23 years ago, that was the basis for the film.)


“Yo-yo, where the money at?”
Lenny Higgins, 17 at the time, didn’t usually go to the store with his foster brother James, also 17, but on the night of March 1, 1987, James asked and Lenny obliged. It was 10:30. At Williamson’s Party Store, on Perry Park Boulevard on Detroit’s West Side, they bought sodas and played some games. They left about 10:45. As Lenny tells the story, he and James were approaching their corner of Heckler Street when a hooded figure ran across the street and stopped them in their tracks. Clad in a black jacket and black hooded sweatshirt, Mark Hunter, 24, pulled a .357 Magnum from his pants waist and stuck it in James’s temple.
“Yo-yo, where the money at?”