Carolyn Franklin: Someone You May Not Know

Carolyn Franklin-1

NOTE: The article here inspired me to write the article you are about to read.

I had long known of Aretha Franklin’s younger sister Carolyn Franklin (May 13, 1944 – April 25, 1988). Carolyn herself was a singer and a songwriter and had both written for and sang backup on several of older sister Aretha’s songs. What I did not know was that Carolyn was very likely “family” (a LGBT code word meaning that one is gay or self-identifies as being of a non-heterosexual orientation in the LGBT+ community). Read this article link and this article link then continue reading my article. Perhaps you’ll see why the information about Carolyn has significance.

You see, this article about Carolyn Franklin was posted on Facebook shortly after Aretha Franklin’s death on August 16, 2018. Along with the countless number of postings on multiple social media networks that were made about Aretha, there were several naysayers on those networks who felt that talking about Aretha’s late sister Carolyn – and making particular mention of her sexual orientation – especially so soon after Aretha’s death, was inappropriate and insensitive. Unlike some of the people on social media who had negatively commented on the article, I saw nothing wrong with the article author writing and sharing that tidbit of information about Carolyn Franklin nor with that author making mention of her non-heterosexual orientation. It’s simply something I’m sure many people did not know and perhaps would appreciate knowing. Still, regardless of any appreciation factor, why hide the alleged fact that Carolyn was or may have been lesbian? While Carolyn Franklin possibly being lesbian is not now nor should it ever be an issue in and of itself, that information either does or may have particular significance for those of us who are not only fans of the late Aretha Franklin but who also happened to be either non-heterosexual or heterosexual allies of the LGBT+ community; we who realize the sad yet unfortunate fact that we live in a country and a world where there are still many people who have bigoted and senselessly personal, socially negative and/or religiously negative attitudes against people who are non-heterosexual and/or about non-heterosexuality itself.

A person’s sexuality should never be the main or primary focus of who a person is, although it is an important if not significant part of who that person is. (I hope that makes sense.) In many ways, a person’s sexuality can often help develop, perhaps even help define a person’s character and personality. In short, I feel that a person’s sexuality/sexual orientation should no more be hidden or suppressed, nor should it ever be mocked or made shameful than any other aspect of a person’s nature and humanity.

I believe that had Carolyn Franklin lived during the last twenty to thirty years, she may have been a LGBT rights activist or spokesperson for LGBT civil rights causes and struggles for acceptance, equality, and of course, respect. Perhaps she was or had wanted to be such a person but, as of this writing, I am not aware of nor can I confirm that sort of information. Still, Carolyn’s alleged feelings for women are either expressed or implied in some of the songs she wrote. I also believe her older sister Aretha had openly respected and supported her gay sister whom she loved, just as she (Aretha) was known to have openly loved, supported, and treated with respect many other people – some of them famous like herself, regardless of their non-heterosexual orientation.

In summary, the article I’m discussing is simply about Carolyn Franklin, a deceased younger sibling of the late Aretha Franklin. Carolyn Franklin was someone who was important in Aretha’s life; a person who had made a name for herself as a song writer and recording artist, and who had contributed to Aretha’s fame, as well as to music history itself. Any biographical revelations about Carolyn Franklin should no more be ignored nor rejected from public awareness than the biographical histories of her sisters Aretha and Erma and their father, the late Reverend C.L. Franklin.

I disagree with those persons who choose or have chosen to take the article in negative form and/or who perceive it as being some kind of post-death ugly attack on Aretha Franklin’s fame and contributions to society, if not perhaps upon the late Aretha Franklin herself. It simply isn’t like that at all in my view. Anyone who knows and respects anything about Aretha’s family roots and life history would not read more into the article than what it is.

Click here to see and hear more biographical information on Carolyn Franklin and her sisters Aretha and Erma, in the Soul Facts video (on YouTube) or watch it below.

– RobFather

 

A Simple Message

Ballcap_Don't get killed 4 being BlackThe message on this ball cap is very simple. And in America, especially in recent years, it is perhaps both the upfront and deeply rooted feeling of many Black American men and women.
May your travels to and from your home today and everyday be safe.

– RobFather X

No “Weirdness of Being Black” for Me

RobFather X  (face)I can relate to Atlanta comic artist Cory Thomas’ illustration shown in this link but please; after five decades of living and being aware of my world, I see simply a social norm, not any “strange new reality” or “weirdness of being Black” in everyday life for me and other people of color who live and/or work with White people after Donald Trump’s election to the U.S. presidency.

CHECK IT: Though I live, work and play in a valley which consists of any number of closeted and openly racists and bigots, I – unlike some, shall fear no evil mindset, heart, attitude or spiritual character held or expressed by any man, woman or child. For I have been raised, adequately trained, educated, tried and tested to always be on the ready to fearlessly put such people in check and – when necessary, to aggressively further defend myself against any negative mental and/or physical onslaught against my person. In short, one would be most wise not to ever come for me unless I specifically send for them.
#nofear

– RobFather X

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© RobFather X! Productions

TRANSITIONS: Kashif

Kashif (Kashif Saleem aka Michael Jones) – American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, record producer, artist, composer, author, director and educator – transitioned on Sunday, September 25, 2016.

kashif-album-collage_created-by-robfather-x-2016-kashif-center
Kashif was born Michael Jones on December 26, 1959 in Harlem, New York and was raised in the Brooklyn foster care system. Under his given birth name Michael Jones, Kashif was a member of the music groups The Bus Boys and Artists United Against Apartheid, though he was/is best known for being with the 1970s American disco/funk band B.T. Express (originally named Brooklyn Transit Express). It was B.T. Express who recruited him at age 15 to be their keyboardist and vocalist. As Michael Jones, Kashif is credited with performing on B.T. Express song hits such as Express and Do It (‘Til You’re Satisfied), among others.

Michael Jones/Kashif initially launched his career as a multi-instrumentalist. Among other instruments, he played the piano, flute, trumpet, saxophone and tuba. Kashif left B.T. Express in 1978 to begin pursuing a solo career in music. It was either during or shortly before this time when he studied Islam and would change his name from Michael Jones to Kashif Saleem. [‘Kashif’ is an Arabic name meaning “discoverer” and “inventor” and ‘Saleem’ means “one who comes in peace”.] While solo, Kashif used his talents to play keyboards for R&B music artist Stephanie Mills before segueing into studio work on projects with other R&B artists like Nona Hendryx, Gloria Gaynor, Melba Moore, Tavares and The Four Tops, among many others.

Kashif, who had already crafted his own distinctive sound (a sound I would know anywhere), would sign with Arista Records in 1983 where he enjoyed success as a solo artist. His signature use of synthesizer technology paired with lyrics of love and devotion helped defined urban sounds following the exit of disco music. This helped him earned several awards, including two Grammy nominations for his second album, ‘Send Me Your Love’ (1984) – which has long been and remains a personally loved, often-played favorite of mine and another nomination for his 1985 album ‘Condition of the Heart’. Together with fellow musical genius and famed recording artist Stevie Wonder, Kashif is considered a R&B pioneer and synthesizer master in urban music thanks to his precise synthesizer technology approach and the introduction of MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) in his production work.

Kashif wrote and/or performed a number of successful songs for and/or with artists like Whitney Houston (‘Thinking About You’, ‘You Give Good Love’), Evelyn “Champagne” King (‘I’m In Love’, ‘Love Come Down’, ‘Betcha She Don’t Love You’, ‘Back to Love’), Howard Johnson (‘So Fine’), Meli’sa Morgan (‘Love Changes’), Stacy Lattisaw, Melba Moore, Average White Band, Jermaine Jackson, Janet Jackson, Barry White, Johnny Kemp, Mariah Carey, Dionne Warwick (‘Reservations for Two’), Al Jarreau, guitarist George Benson (‘Inside Love (So Personal)’), Will Downing, The Stylistics and others. Kashif is credited with launching the career of best-selling jazz saxophonist legend, Kenny G with whom he has written, played instruments and/or sang several songs. In addition to his work in music, Kashif is also a successful director and best-selling author of the book Everything You’d Better Know About The Record Industry.

As of this writing, reports say that Kashif apparently died of natural causes in his home in Venice, Los Angeles in California. However, the official cause of death has yet to be determined. Kashif Saleem was 56 years old.

Many of us remember Kashif and his music and are very grateful for the sharing of his talents and influence as well as the many musical and humanitarian contributions he has given to society.

REFERENCE NOTE: Excerpts of this transition biography were adapted or retrieved from various sources, including Soulwalking.co.uk (which, in my opinion, is usually a good “go-to” source of accurate information on R&B artists of color), Billboard.com, Vibe.com, IMDb.com and AllMusic.com, among others.

– RobFather X

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© RobFather X! Productions

Good TV: ‘Greenleaf’

This show called Greenleaf; Wow!!

If you have ever regularly attended or are long-time members of a predominately Black/African-American church or, if you’re like me – a person who grew up in a family of relatives who are ministers and/or who hold positions of power, importance and influence in the Black church, then you might be able to relate to many of the negative – yet often true – aspects of this television show about a powerful and wealthy family who run a huge predominately Black/African-American church.

Greenleaf (OWN network series)

I got drawn to this show shortly after it premiered this past June (2016) from reading some of the Facebook postings of excitement made over it by my friend Christian Mosby; posts which piqued my curiosity about the show. (Thanks Chris. Now I’m hooked!) Some of the scenes and “mini-plots” in Greenleaf remind me of the realities I’ve witnessed firsthand and/or knew about which occurred in a few of the well-known Black churches in Philadelphia that I either attended or had held membership back in my pre-atheist days.

SERIES PLOT: (from  the websiteGreenleaf follows the unscrupulous world of the Greenleaf family with scandalous secrets and lies and their sprawling Memphis megachurch called Greenleaf World Ministries which has predominantly Black/African-American members. Cast members of this well-written show include (click the names to see photo and bio):

  • Keith David as Bishop James Greenleaf, charismatic and manipulative leader of Greenleaf World Ministries. (Keith David has always been one of my favorite actors. In fact, he’s one of the main reasons I’m watching this series.)
  • Lynn Whitfield as Lady Mae Greenleaf, who is Bishop Greenleaf’s wife and the family matriarch;
  • Merle Dandridge as Grace ‘Gigi’ Greenleaf. She is Mae and Bishop’s middle daughter who returns to home twenty years after escaping from the family;
  • Lamman Rucker as Jacob Greenleaf, the eldest, ne’er-do-well son of the Bishop. (Lamman is another favorite actor of mine.)
  • Kim Hawthorne as Kerissa Greenleaf, Jacob’s ambitious and controlling wife.
  • Deborah Joy Winans as Charity Greenleaf-Satterlee, the youngest daughter of the Bishop and Minister of Music. (Yes, Deborah is a member of that famous gospel music family!)
  • Tye White as Kevin Satterlee, Charity’s husband;
  • GregAlan Williams as Robert “Mac” McCready, as Lady Mae’s brother;
    and
  • Benjamin Patterson as Noah Kendall, the Greenleaf Estate manager and Gigi’s ex. (I have long had a man-crush on this fyne brotha (who is also a model), since I first saw him in the recurring character role of Guy, in the now-defunct Noah’s Arc television series years ago.)

Former daytime TV talk show queen Oprah Winfrey is an executive producer and has a recurring role in the series.

Greenleaf premiered on June 21, 2016. You can catch the series Wednesday nights on the OWN [Oprah Winfrey Network] network. Check your TV local listings for broadcast time. Previously aired episodes are on your cable channel’s On-Demand feature and found online at the Greenleaf website or click here. As of this writing, the Greenleaf series is still in its first season. Enjoy!

– RobFather X

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© RobFather X! Productions