The Further- “Other Side Of The Valley” single review

By: Jerome Fitts

Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeromeFitts

The “Other Side Of The Valley” single by  the Derby, United Kingdom based band, The Further reassures us that melodies that compliments emotions still exist. The Brit Pop influence three piece band (James- drums, Barrington-gutair and Peter-vocals), collectively wrote the song in the early stages of the winter with the intentions of a winter feel. However, the results will inequivically ride throughout the four seasons.

Download the single here:

The roadtrip music lovers lyrics “I hope you can hear me, I am here if you need me” will stick out. After reviewing the starlets who happens be on the active Soundhub Label, (WJ) , just as yourselves will be eagerly awaiting  for more. If anyone of you can remember a song that you don’t want to end, then this is it. The single which will inevitably be considered a film score anthem consistently delivers a tone that is never ending.

Follow the band & label below:

www.Twitter.com/TheFurtherUK

www.Facebook.com/TheFurtherUK

www.SoundCloud.com/TheFurtherUK

https://www.sound-hub.com/

 

“Selfie Music” – Smokin’ Mirrors and Delusional Self Entitlements

“Selfie Music”

Smokin’ Mirrors and Delusional Self Entitlements

   Jerome Fitts

Here we are some two years later after the “Who Do Think They Are?” post and it seems that although the reaction was positive and there has been over 97K followers that read the article, the truth is, the submissions from DIY artist to the public and within the music industry has gotten worse.

Sure there are the renditions of tapes, CD’s and Vinyl along with the current trend of streaming that keeps the music industry machine going and this is great. However, the approach and the delivery of quality music is still lost in the mix bowl of talent or should we say self entitled talent.

We can blame the discovery of taking pictures in mirrors (selfies) as a perfect example of people who are looking at themselves in mirrors based on what their own delusions are. The facts are the same within the current state of music delivery and some of these artist are delusional. There are some amazing music out there and good music still sells while a great song will live forever. The 7.5 billion census question is:

Where is it?”

The hilarious "like" my page adverts. Used by kind permission.2016

The hilarious “like” my page adverts.
Used by kind permission.2016

These days you can’t create a social media page or troll your own social media site, most notably Twitter or Facebook, without those selfie musicians demanding you to check out their music or video. But one has to wonder or ask several questions and among those important questions its always: “Whats next? Or even better “Why?” At some point most of the new age artist or selfie artist are demanding you check out their material as if its going to bring them fame. In this day and age where our beloved YouTube has replaced television or  music video channels, anyone can buy impressions or views for the videos they upload. If there are a million and one likes or views are we suppose to follow a trend based on the number of views or does this mean that because there are a certain number of views then its quality or like-able material. 

First and foremost, if its already out there then someone will “check it out” even if its yourself. Yes that is right, you can pay someone to “get likes” after posting some of the music then celebrate as if you are a star. Imagine someone desperate enough to pay for likes or followers that leave no comments or invite you to play live in their city. Maybe there should be an additional option for the public to choose from based on the statistics that are also displayed such as geographical and demographic analytical views. Then again this would shatter the glass mirror so maybe its better to leave it smoking to fulfill those delusions. Need we say more?

According to Webster Dictionary: The definition of desperate is: (of a person) having a great need or desire for something. In reference to this piece its about demanding likes or followers. Hilarious or not it is without question a cruel reality.

Kiss Army advert. Getty Images. 2016

Kiss Army advert. Getty Images. 2016

Remember the days when we would sing in the mirror and pose as if you were Paul Stanley from KISS or Madonna then tell your friends or family to come and see. Well its the same isn’t it? In modern times the translation of “check this out” would mean “hey look at me, I think I am sexy or I can sing so follow me!” Funny right. Has anyone wrote an honest and constructive comment on those posts? Was your comment deleted and your profile blocked only for the submitter of the post to destroy you in a response without you being in a position to defend your initial comment. The results is smoking mirrors or selfie music that makes up the body of smoking mirrors. It makes you wonder what independent music is these days if that is the case. One can also wonder why these artist are not asking the public what they think and accepting the response. It seems this would be the logical way of not only building a brand through genuine followers but its also a way to expand their sound. Are these artist are afraid to find out the truth? Is this a new genre being created within this selfish industry? Here we go: Cowards of Selfie Music.

Where did being creative and different go to?

Over the years there has been some exceptions to the growing trend in remarkable artist such as Lindsey Stirling, but we all have to agree that her formula, style and quality of material is above the norm. The result has seen the Los Angeles starlet sell out theaters and arenas around the world yet you wouldn’t find her playing live at an in-house popular music awards. Maybe the judges or panel of such awards are mechanical or machines as they are year after year selecting the same shite music such as Drake, Rihanna and some other copycat self proclaimed pimp or whore. The moral police of music have unfortunately succumbed to supporting the new genre of clown music. Charlie Chaplin and crew have to be in heaven going f**ks sake!

Here we go, the definition of courage in the Webster Dictionary is: Strength in the face of pain or grief. Bravery

In this case its about the artist pouring their heart and soul into their sound by mastering their craft to express themselves. The courageous part of it is, they are leaving it up to the recipient (listener) to chose for themselves.

Does it work? Sure these artist are putting their dreams into motion without feeling the public owes them something. They promote themselves just as much as the professionals does but the successful ones never go rogue. They sweat and win together and those standards are based on a delegated process within each sector of working behind the music. The formula is quite simple, everyone is on the same page.There is music out there that genuine labels and distributors believe in such as Proper Music Distribution that works with large and small booking agencies. The thing of it is that those reputable entities working relationship is based on the belief in the same artist genuine promotion.


For those that are reading this lengthy piece, try it out. When it comes to approaching PR companies, due your due diligence and ask what is the finish line. Have the courage to look past the name dropping some may use to secure your check but look deep into their strategy in regards to your music.

The positive side to hiring professionals, if you take yourself serious enough, you can learn from their mistakes as well as get better along the way.

For the artist that are reading this and will continue to partake in the DIY system, take a deep breath and don’t add to much water into the instant gratification process of your music. You will receive exactly what you put into your music and if you don’t require professionals to handle your music then the reality is you don’t need the public. So.. What is your objective? – Selfie Music. Have fun in your bedroom or kitchen performing to the smoking mirrors.

In closing, good food is like good music, we just eat it and it becomes our favorite food and its what you prefer. When the package or label of the food or music is presented right it looks and smells good and more than likely it will taste good. But if the package and label of the food or music looks cheap and smell like shite, then it probably is!

Enjoy..

Jerome Beau Fitts

Introducing “The Eve” Short Film

The Eve Short Film promotional poster. Used By Kind permission. 2016

The Eve Short Film promotional poster. Used By Kind permission. 2016

The world-wide Film Festival favorite THE EVE by director Luca Machnich is a thriller. Imagine having a family tragedy and meeting up with Santa Claus. An innocent imagination while longing to escape makes up a must see summer short horror film. As of May 2016, the film has won an astonishing 78 film festival awards.

CAST
Valerio Santosuosso, Mary Wall, Ulf Kusdas, Maurizio Rapotec.

SYNOPSIS

Simon is an eight-year-old boy who seems to have everything from life. He’s a handsome child, he’s rich yet unhappy. He senses that there’s something wrong with his life and this leads him to wander off thanks to his fervid imagination. His greatest wish is to leave the materialistic world behind since he isn’t fond of it. That’s why the only present he wants for Christmas is for Santa Claus to take him away to live in his fairyland toy factory. At the same time, a secret that his family has been keeping for a long time suddenly comes to the surface and it is feared that the worst might happen soon. The expectation for the stroke of midnight on the night before Christmas is transformed into reality for everyone on the eve of something truly different. Something terrible that might happen.

“A Woman Called Moses”- Harriet Tubman

By Jerome Fitts

(February 13th, 2017- REPOST)

To close Black History Month, I was asked why the majority of our readers this month were caucasion, instead of those who should celebrate the individuals who drew the blue print for “their opportunities and progression” in our world. – people of color.

Harriet Tubman influence.- 2013. Getty Images. Copyright controlled. 2015

Harriet Tubman influence.- 2013.
Getty Images. Copyright control. 2015

Prior to taking the defensive stance, I had to succomb to the embarrassment of the truth. All of a sudden the relevancy of this weeks featured story became more relevant, we choose Harriet Tubman.

Her words; ” I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”- rang out to me.

The WorthJourneys’ blog is a blog based on facts in our attempt for our readers to engage in the information posted and gather more facts for themselves. If one find those facts educational, then please utilize the tools of our brave new world and share it. If by chance the aformention action does take place, then our joint efforts and objectives would have been met.

“The Woman They Call Moses”- Harriet Tubman.

Early Life:

Harriet Tubman, whose original name was Araminta Harriet Ross, was one of nine children born to Harriet “Rit” Green (mother) and Ben Ross (father). Because slaves were not recognized as civilians, historians have estimated Araminta (Harriet) birth was between 1820 and 1825. (ref.1)

Harriet Tubman and Family. Copyright controlled. New York Times 2015

Harriet Tubman and Family.
Copyright control. New York Times 2015

In 1844, Arminta (Harriet), married a free slave by the name of John Tubman. To honor her mother, Araminta changed her name to Harriet while carrying the surname of her husband. Harriet and her husband were later seperated by her choice to live a life of being free. Harriet eventually escaped from slavery, while her husband decided to remain in the south.

Abolitionism and The Underground Railroad:

In 1849 Harriet, escaped from slavery fleeing to Philadelphia, using the “Underground Railroad”. (ref.2) Harriet – later returned to free up to her entire family.

The first series of trips is when Harriet, earned the nickname “Moses” for her courage and leadership. Those courageous voyages resulted in the Fugitive Slave Law.

reward photo

The Fugitive Slave Law stated that escaped slaves in the North could be captured and returned to the south. This led to law enforcement officials in the North aiding slave capturers. – (Hint -12 Years a Slave).

During her courageous escapdes of freeing more slaves Ms. Tubman was qouted as saying;

“If you hear the dogs, keep going. If there is shouting after you, keep going. Dont ever stop! Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”- Harriet Tubman

Harriets response to this law, was to re-route “The Underground Railroad” to Canada – where slavery was prohibited.

During the Civil War, Harriet worked for the Union Army as a cook and a nurse. As the first woman to lead a combat expedition, Harriet was recognized as the leader in the Combahec River Raid.This event liberated more than 700 slaves in the South Carolina.

Getty images. Copyright controlled. 2015

Getty images. Copyright controlled. 2015

After the Civil War, Harriet re-married a Civil War veteran by the name of Nelson Davis. The couple, with their adopted daughter Gertie, resided in Auburn, New York.

Getty Images. Copyright control. 2015

Getty Images. Copyright control. 2015

Harriet, died of pneumonia in 1913, in the home that was named after her : “The Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged”

References:

(1)Retrieved on February 19th, 2015. By Jfitts http://www.blackhistorystudies.com/resources/resources/facts-about-harriet-tubman/

(2) Retrieved on February 19th, 2015. By JFitts http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Harriet_Tubman.aspx

Dr. A.G. Gaston- “The Entreprenuer of the Century”

When Arthur George Gaston, was approaching his 100th birthday, he was dubbed “Entrepreneur of the Century”.(1)

A.G.Gaston business enterprises consisted of providing jobs and recourses to the Africa-American community before and after the Civil Rights movement. Those enterprises still exist in 2015 as well as the results of his efforts. A.G. Gaston ideas, concepts and influence has made a difference.

The opportunities Gaston created was in the heart of Dixie in the state of Alabama. Most notably the communities within the cities of Birmingham and Mobile. He was also a key figure in the civil rights movement.

A.G.Gaston was born on July 4th, 1892 in Demopolis, Alabama. Gaston, who was raised in a log cabin that his former slave grandparents built, began his entrepreneurship as a child. Gaston would charged the neighborhood children a button and pin to play on the swing in his yard. He would later sell the button and pens to local women for their sewing.(1)

In 1900, Gaston and his mother Rosie moved to Birmingham, because his mother was hired as a cook for the Lovemanns.

For his preliminary education Gaston, attended the Carrie Tuggle Institute, a boarding school which was ran by former slaves. Although Gaston left the school in the 10th grade because he could not afford the expenses of the boarding school. To make ends meet, he began selling subscriptions for the Birmingham Reporter.

The year 1910 saw Gaston enlist in the U.S. Army, which he served as a sergeant in an all black unit in France during World War I. After he left the Army in 1918, he worked briefly as laborer at Tennessee Coal and Iron Company. While working there and with the help of his mother,  he sold lunch boxes to fellow coworkers for an extra income. It should be noted that he also loaned his coworkers money and charged them 25 cents on each dollar loaned.

In 1923, most blacks in the south did not have an option of burying relatives and love ones in traditional funeral homes because of cost or segregation. It was then he started “Brother Gaston’s Burial Society”.

Gaston’s policy, was to provide a respectful burial for those who perished in the African-America community.The policy that exist today was; the customers paid a regular fee in exchange for the security of a burial paid for when their love ones perished.

In 1932, the aforementioned business was incorporated as Booker T Washington Insurance. This was the foundation for many other businesses that prospered. One of those businesses was Booker T Washington Business College, which was set up to train clerks for Gastons other businesses.

The Booker T Washington Business College was, at the time, the only school that African-American women could receive a certificate for business training.

During this time he also suffered a business failure in Brown Belle Bottling Company. A.G.Gaston was quoted in 1986 by saying that: “The bottling company failed due the fact that this venture was formed to make money, where as the other ventures was created to serve the people.”

A.G.Gaston Motel was founded to serve black travelers when they were not allowed to stay in white hotels. The motel, which is today recognized as a historical site, was the headquarters for the SCLC (Southern Christrian Leadership Conference). The motel was also known for  accommodating Civil Rights Leaders and in some cases served as a safe haven.

Martin Luther King Jr. at the A.G. Gaston Motel.  copyright getty images. 2015

Martin Luther King Jr. at the A.G. Gaston Motel.
copyright getty images. 2015

 

 

When Martin Luther King was arressted in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement it was A.G Gaston who posted the $150,000 bail from his personal finances.

Business Timeline:

1955- Vulcan Reality and Investment Corporation

1957- Citizen Federal Savings and Loans Association

1963- A.G.Gaston Home for Senior Citizens

1966- A.G.Gaston Boys and Girls Club– (It should be noted that the author of this post was a member of A.G. Gaston Boys Club).

1975- WENN-FM and WAGG-AM

1986- A.G.Gaston’s Construction Company

All of Gaston enterprises gave their employees stock options. The majority of his businesses was created to give the community (mostly black) an opportunity or something they needed.

“Becoming rich was accidental because my main objective was to serve the community”-Gaston said in 1992.” (4)

Dr. Gaston outside Citizens Insurance Building.  copyright getty images. 2015

Dr. Gaston outside Citizens Insurance Building.
copyright getty images. 2015

On January 19th, 1996 Arthur George Gaston died. He was 103 years old and still working. He is survived by great grandchildren and grandchildren who is now continuing his legacy of sharing and making the community of Birmingham, Alabama better.

Arthur George Gaston is without question the “Entrepreneur of the Century”.

References:

1. Retrieved on February 16th, 2015. By Jerome Fitts http://www.nytimes.com/1996/01/20/us/a-g-gaston-103-a-champion-of-black-economic-advances.html?

2. Retrieved on February 16th, 2015. By Jerome Fitts http://www.al.com/business/index.ssf/2013/03/where_is_todays_ag_gaston_blac.html

3. Retrieved on February 16th, 2015. By Jerome Fitts http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/g-gaston-financier-and-advocate-equality

4. Retrieved on February 16th, 2015. By Jerome Fitts http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-2062

 

The Father of Rock and Roll- Johnnie Johnson

By Jerome Fitts

This week we are celebrating the life of The Father of Rock and Roll. The recognition of Johnnie Johnson during Black History Month, should be appreciated and applauded by everyone.

Johnny was born on June 8, 1924 in Fairmont, Virginia but for the majority of his celebrated life he resided with wife Francis, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Johnnie Be Good:

For nearly 30 years, Johnnie was the keyboardist for legendary guitar player Chuck Berry. However the song that is considered the original rock anthem “Johnny Be Good” was written by Chuck Berry as a tribute to Johnnie.

Johnnie Johnson and Chuck Berry. Photo used by kind permission. Getty Images. 2015

Johnnie Johnson and Chuck Berry.
Photo used by kind permission. Getty Images. 2015

The song has been covered by thousands of bands from around the world as well as being highlighted in the movie Back To The Future. The musicians that have covered the song has ranged from modern day pop singers to heavy metal legendaries such as Judas Priest.

Bayersheroff Hotel, Munich, Germany 2003. left to right- J.Fitts, Johniie Johnson, Roy, Kim Kelly

Bayersheroff Hotel, Munich, Germany 2003.
left to right- J.Fitts, Johniie Johnson, Roy, Kim Kelly

In 2003, after a series of shows in Munich, Germany, I asked Mr. Johnson to explain Johnnie Be Good.

“I had served in the second World War and had returned to Detroit then on to St. Louis, which is where I met Chuck. I hired him one night because I was short a musician and that’s when our (Chuck and Johnnie) history started.”

“Chuck and I worked on other material together, but Johnny B Goode was a tribute to myself. Chuck wrote that one about me.”- Johnnie said.

Legendary Status:

Mr. Johnson, fellow Blues and Rock originators, from Keith Richard (Rolling Stones), Eric Clapton to George Harrison (Beatles), have gone on record to acknowledge that their inspirations came from Johnnie.

To question whether or not if Johnnie received his full recognition from the music world, would be irresponsible from the music industry.

However in 2001, Johnny was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

There is could never be enough recognition or accolades for the song that changed the music industry-“Johnny Be Good”. The legitimate argument would have to be directed at what has transpired within the music industry since.

Adversity Turned To Triumph:

Johnnie who faced adversity for several years during the 1970s due to neglect, recognition and LACK OF ROYALTIES from previous work, resurged in 1986. It wasn’t until Keith Richards amongst many other notable Rock Hall of Famers, guided their hero back into the main stage. Ironically enough that resurrection from retirement was in the Chuck Berry concert film Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll of that year.

Johnnie playing live with Keith Richards

Johnnie playing live with Keith Richards

Throughout the 1990s and early millennium, Johnnie enjoyed a successful series of solo records as well as constantly being in demand as a live act.

Johnnie Johnson died on April 13, 2005, a mere eight days after performing at the NCAA Final Four in St. Louis, Missouri. The Father of Rock and Roll, was 80 years old.

Johnnie Johnson we salute you.

Discography:

1987: Blue Hand Johnnie.

1991: Johnnie B. Bad (Warner) with Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and Bernard Fowler
1991: Rockin’ Eighty-Eights (Modern Blues recordings) with Jimmie Vaughan and Clayton Love
1993: Blue Hand Johnnie (Evidence Music) with Oliver Sain
1993: That’ll Work (Elektra) with The Kentucky Headhunters and Jimmy Hall
1995: Johnnie Be Back (MusicMasters) with Buddy Guy, Al Kooper, John Sebastian and Max Weinberg
1997: Johnnie B. Live (Father of Rock and Roll Music) with Jimmy Vivino and Al Kooper
1999: Father of Rock and Roll (Father of Rock and Roll Music) – Accompanying CD with the book Father of Rock and Roll: The Story of Johnnie B. Goode Johnson, featuring all new recordings of Johnson and Berry songs.
2005: Johnnie Be Eighty And Still Bad! (Cousin Moe Music) with Jeff Alexander, Rich McDonough (guitar), Larry Thurston, Gus Thornton, and Joe Pastor (drums).

Hans Massaquoi; “Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany”

By:  Jerome Fitts
February 4th, 2015

To celebrate Black History Month, we, (WJ), are honored to feature individuals who are people of color, that set examples and standards for our society today. On February 4th, 2015 we are celebrating the life of Hans Massaquoi.

Hans Massaquoi (1926-2013)

Hans Massaquoi
(1926-2013)

Hans Massaquoi, a former managing editor of EBONY magazine (1957-1997) most noted for his award winning 1999 memoir; “Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany”. In the book Massaquoi, details his difficult, sometimes desperate life as a child and teen during a murderous time in modern history.(1) His book, has been recognized as the “sole” biography of the Nazi era from a black person viewpoint.

Hans Jurgen Massaquoi was born on January 19, 1926, in Hamburg, Germany and passed away on his birthday in 2013. He was the son of Al-Haj Massaquoi, an African business man from Liberia and Bertha Baetz, a German nurse.

His father (Al-Haj), who was the son of a Liberian consul general, left Germany because of the rise of the Nazi regime.

Hans Parents-

Hans Parents- Al-Haj Massaquoi and  Berthan Baetz

Unlike other German women at the time who were giving their “Brown Babies” up for adoption, his mother Bertha, decided to raise Hans in Germany alone instead of joining Hans father in Liberia.(2)

In his autobiography Hans mentions being taunted on a daily bases in regards to his colour stating his classmates would say ; “Neger, Neger, Schornsteinfeger!” (*Schornsteinfeger means chimney sweep in English)-Ed

It is highlighted in “In Destined to Witness”, that when Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power in 1933 he was fascinated by the uniforms, “goose-stepping” marches and the military might of the Nazi soldiers. Massaquoi recalled the first time Hitler’s motorcade came to Hamburg, and the thrill that he experienced watching the new “Führer” roll past.(1)

“Like everyone around me, I cheered the man whose every waking hour was dedicated to the destruction of ‘inferior non-Aryan people’ like myself.”- Massaqoui

tumblr_mh2xdnHtTD1qcw9y0o1_250As a 7-year-old boy in Hamburg, Massaquoi noted that his proudest moment was when a baby sitter sewed a swastika on his sweater. He also stated that the disappointment he had because a teacher told him he couldn’t join Hitlers Youth.

“Of course I wanted to join. I was a kid and most of my friends were joining. They had cool uniforms and they did exciting things – camping, parades, playing drums,”- wrote Massaquoi.

During his teenage years Massaqoui and his mother lived in fear because of the Nazi elimination of all non Aryans. He mentions that although he was not deported himself, he credited this to being black. He felt because he was black he was more of a rarity than a threat.

“Unlike Jews, blacks were so few in numbers that they were relegated to low-priority status in the Nazis’ line-up for extermination,” Massaquoi said.

When Massaquoi’s mother lost her job because she had a black son, he boxed as well as played saxophone in a “Swing Jazzband” to support himself and his mother. It should be noted that at the time and yet still today (February 2015), Swing and Jazz music as well as any type of Urban Music is considered “Black Music” in Germany. Massaquoi, who dreamed of immigrating to America as he followed the careers of African American sports heroes Joe Louis and Jesse Owens, boxed to earn extra money but was forbidden by law to take on Aryan opponents in the ring.(1)


He also revealed the kindnesses of German neighbors and friends who helped him and his mother survive during these difficult months. At one point, Massaquoi even attempted to join the Germany Army after recognizing that he was the only young man left in his neighborhood who did not wear a uniform. “This Lieutenant Colonel bawled me out saying how dare I even presume to ask. So that did it for me. That was the real turning point. By then, I had got all the Nazi stuff out of my head, and it was the final insult.”- Massaquoi recounted.

In 1948, Massaquoi left Germany for Liberia and lived with his father. However, he became dissatisfied with the black-on-black racism and applied and received a student visa for America.

Hans arriving in America. *photo used by kind permission.2015

Hans arriving in America.
*photo used by kind permission.2015

While attending aviation mechanics school in Chicago, he received a draft notice to fight in the Korean War, despite having alien status. Massaquoi was stationed in the deep south of America ironically enough during the start of the Civil Rights movements.

After the Korean War, in which he was never deployed to fight in combat, he returned to Chicago to resume his studies. Massaquoi began working at Ebony Magazine in 1957 in as an associate editor. By 1967, ten years after working at the prestigious publication, Massaquoi was awarded the Managing Editors position. He held this position for another 30 years until his retirement in 1967.

Encouraged by the late Alex Haley (Roots), he penned the remarkable “adversity turned triumphed”, autobiography “Destined To Witness; Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany.” (3)

Qouting Hans Massaqoui Jr in loving memory of his late father; “Hans Massaquoi lived to become not just a footnote in history, but a figure of note.” (4)

nie-hans

Hans Massaqoui, The WorthJourney not only celebrate your remarkable life, but we thank you for setting the example of creating and accomplishing your dreams.- J.Fitts

We encourage all of our readers to not only buy the book but read it!

 

Career: Played saxophone in jazz clubs in Hamburg, mid-1940s; British Military Government, Hamburg, Germany, interpreter, 1945-48; National Association of Educational Broadcasters, Urbana, IL, editor, 1956-57; Jet Magazine, Chicago, IL., associate editor, 1957-58; Ebony Magazine, Chicago, associate editor, 1958-64, assistant managing editor, 1964-67, managing editor, 1967-.

Awards: Overseas Press Club of America citation, 1975, for coverage of Heads of Government Conference in Kingston, Jamaica.

References:
(1) Retrieved on February 1st, 2015. By Jerome Fitts http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2873200048.html
(2) Retrieved on February 1st, 2015. By Jerome Fitts http://inamerica.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/20/germanys-brown-babies-still-searching-for-their-american-fathers
(3) Retrieved on February 1st, 2015.By Jerome Fitts. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/hans-massaquoi-who-grew-up-black-in-nazi-germany-dies-at-87/2013/01/23/3faaa5bc-64b1-11e2-b84d-21c7b65985ee_story.html
(4) Retrieved on February 1st, 2015. By Jerome Fitts http://www.npr.org/2013/01/26/170281062/ebony-editor-began-life-black-in-nazi-germany

Black History Month

Black History Month.

Black History Month February 2015.

To launch our ¨Event¨ page in February 2015, we realised it was a necessity and responsible to start with celebrating Black History Month!

We are all aware of this historical month and  we are proud to display the progress the world has made in regards to acknowledging those who sacrificed their lives for a better world.

However, we do feel responsible to also feature and highlight the inspirational stories from todays African communities.

We have decided to give our loyal readers a chance to honor and also acknowledge some of the individuals that were not recognized in the past. We are encouraging our readers to submit information and inspirational stories to our digital platforms. That information, which require to be supported facts, will be open for discussions and  responses from the public via our digital platform(s).

We are honored to have those digital panel discussions hosted by celebrated author, Tim Rice.

Mr. Tim Rice highly regarded book: The Missing Link

The Missing Link

The Missing Link

Available here:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Missing-Link-Simple-Living/dp/0990623408

“A Series of Train of Consequences” The Balkans Part 1- Summer 2014

“Train of Consequences”

Contributed By: JFitts

All photos taken by: JFitts

I have decided to mark the last two months of unequivocal events into a post that that our few readers might relate to. Besides, this is a blogging post where the truth has to be told based on supported facts and gathering those facts takes time through a real journey. Through the never ending WorthJourney, which we do not intend on ending, there is a selection of real music from artist that have influenced not only enquiries about different cultures from around the world but what also motivated those artist into writing the songs.

For this particular journey there were a few songs that made a difference to me but two of them stood out; James Blunt “No Bravery” and Megadeth “Train of Consequences”.

The “Train of Consequences” started as my departure from my beloved Rodos by accepting an invitation from a “friend- if they really exist these days” to come and see him in the Balkans. Where? Sit tight and pour your coffee as this might be a tasty one.

Leaving Greece heading to the Balkans via Ferry and Sea

Leaving Greece heading to the Balkans via Ferry and Sea- late May 2014

This particular friend, lets call him Dou, is Albanian and just like most things in the world I am open to anyone. Not that it should have mattered, but I had very little idea of knowledge of the traditions of the region as well as if there were any conflict(s). But obviously Dou knew this. You see I had invited Dou and lets say Fio, to participate in a event in Ireland in January of this year for the latter part of the summer. In conditions of the arrangement, I would visit them in their country(s) first and see if they were the individuals I would have liked to have partake in this special event.

I set sail on the 36 hour world wind trip from Rodos, Greece that included a ferry to Athens to a bus to Thessaloniki and from there I was to meet Dou in Skopje, Macedonia. “From there bro, my father will take us to Prishtina.” Dou said.

I was like kewl, so I packed a bag with a few cameras and started filming along the way.

I was informed in Thessaloniki, that traveling to Macedonia was more or less forbidden unless I took a van via a private company. I had no idea there was tension in that area and I have to admit that I was under the impression that Skopje was part of mmm well I didn’t know or cared. I trusted my friends and with my camera in hand and a half-gallon of Ouzo it didn’t matter. Nevertheless when I enquired about a ticket to Macedonia I was told politely that, “This is Macedonia”. Eh?

Macedonian political campaign.

Macedonian political campaign.

“THIS IS MACEDONIA”

I purchased a ticket from an unusual ticketing agency, and asked, “Will there be any immigration problems?” The response was; “Sir you have two passports and one of them is an American passport so you will not have any problems!: I took that as a clear sign to have another swag of the Ouzo and recharge my Cannon for some exclusive filming.

The ironic thing of it is, the border from Thessaloniki to Macedonia is only a little less than an hour away, so I had to be a little kewl with the booze and sight seeing. For some strange reason I have this weird sixth sense when I am traveling and even though I ignore my sixth sense for the most part, those senses are always right.

The luxurious van journey. Photos By: J.Fitts

The luxurious van journey. 

The van arrived at the border and it was as if we were crossing into a land of another state on Mars. The van driver collected the passports from everyone on the van (most had either Bosnian passports or Serbian passports), so I was a little more than relaxed. But that big man called the “sixth sense” told me to keep an eye out while we waited in the van. Sure enough the big man “sixth sense” got a little bigger when the van driver return with only one passport in his hand- Mine!.

“You must pay 6,000 euros or you wont be allowed to cross..”- The driver said with a smile. My first thought was maybe I should have given this guy a shot of my Ouzo. But he was serious. So I followed him back to the passport control and was told; “No its not 6,000 euros but its 600 euros unless you show proof that you are a E.U. resident.” I did. Then the cute little lady from the Greek passport office asked me, “Where are you traveling to?” I answered with a confidence smile “Macedonia”.

If you have ever heard a balloon burst in the middle of a funeral this then this was as close as it could get. The cute Greek passport agent, suddenly turned on me and said, “You are in Macedonia!, its going to be 600 euros sir.”

Upper right corner my leave fee from Greece? the first time in 6 summers coming and going with two passports, I had to pay a fee?!

Upper right corner my leave fee from Greece? the first time in 6 summers coming and going with two passports, I had to pay a fee?!

After decades of traveling throughout Europe with little to no trouble, I couldn’t believe I had to pay for my ignorance or flirtation. Here the train of those consequences was going off track. Luckily I had the money on me to pay, but 600 euros going into Macedonia or Prishtina was like 2 months of wages in those parts. Suddenly I heard Dave Mustaine’s words from the classic Megadeth track (Train of Consequences), “I am doing you a favor while I am taking all of your money…” rang out in my head. Ironically enough the cute passport control girl frown turn to a grin, just like it was in the video.

Once I met my friend Dou, in Skopje, we were on our way. Funny enough he was a little shaky and I couldn’t understand it. (More details later). But we were off to Prishtina. I had asked Dou before setting off from Rodos, “Shouldn’t we chill in Skopje first and then go up to Prishtina?”. His answer was “Bro, there is nothing in Skopje, Pristina is a lot better and there is more to do!”- Read on.

We arrived in Pristina at 11 pm, and I was beyond tired. All I wanted to do was have a shower, put on some clean clothes and chill.

First and foremost, there was no shower. The water system in Prishtina only works at certain times of the day. They are from 7am to 10am and from 4pm to 10pm so that not only meant I had missed the water schedule but showering or cleaning up was out of the picture.

The outskirts of Pristina, Kosovo

The outskirts of Prishtina, Kosovo

This was my first introduction to a formally conflict and war torn country. Even still we continued to go out. In true WorthJourney fashion, a new territory meant checking out the food, beverages and above all the entertainment scene.

But wait, this is Kosovo!—I was wondering why along the journey from Skopje, Dou had referred to certain areas as “Bro if you could see this in the day time, this and that happened in this small town and that small town, but those fuckers would kill my people along this road, but I will tell you later”. Dous’ people were Kosovo Albanians. From my recollection and influence of the large amounts of Ouzo, I paid little attention to him because I knew we would get to that subject later once the camera was rolling.

Besides I have friends or people I would consider brothers and sisters from everywhere and more than anything some people I cared about were from Serbia and they were the exact people that Dou was complaining about. It was none of my business and part of their recent past, so I chose to remain kewl and just enjoy the ride and venture. Talk about first impressions.

That night I saw perhaps the most remarkable looking women I had ever seen. I couldn’t believe I didn’t know more about the region other than the war conflicts and the fact that there was EULEX – (European Union controlled police), that was there if there was ever any trouble.

E.U. endorsed national park. Photos by: JFitts

E.U. endorsed national park.
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The next day, and taking advantage of the running water for a 3 day old shower, we eventually roamed out in the city. Again the women were absolutely beautiful, the people were calm and every now and then I would see a U.N controlled car go by.

Being the person I am and I am not one to past judgment, the big man “sixth sense” was rearing his head again and there was something more than creepy about my so called friend. He was shaky and all of a sudden his English was getting worse and worse. The only thing he would say to me was; “when do we start work and when do we see money?”

Here we were, totting around with a broken travel bag of mine, both very hung-over, a little cold (and this is June), completely shattered from the 3-day journey still and all he has to say to me was; “When do we start work and when do we see money?”
My response was simple; “Dude I am doing this film either way, it’s a hard graft, but for fucks sake, I just got here!” “Tell me what’s up. It’s your country and your territory.”

I ended up entertaining myself with some of the nicest people in the world, bikers from Albania and Kosovo. Religion, politics or hate related issues never came up. The subject matters were making sure I had enough beer, food and smiles. Without a doubt a highlight of Pristina. This was the perfect example of NOT putting everyone in the same bracket as well as every first impression deserves at least a majority outlook. For the life of me I couldn’t remember the bikers organization nor the names of the individuals I spent the day with.

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A misconception but to rest. “Nothing but a good time”.

Its amazing how much we have in the western world when it comes to free thinking and ideas. I couldn’t believe that people actually depended on others in regards to when to think, when to act and what should be their next move. This was the first of its kind culture shock that I had experienced. But it made me want to know more.

You know, we are all apart of this earth and some of us have been fortunate enough to have more than others. And that “more than”, includes opportunities. Within hours I felt more grateful to hold an American passport than ever. Also within those hours I realized just how close the U.S and Western Europe were similar. But man, the innocent within the eyes of these kids that I saw was amazing. They were born after the conflict but were constantly reminded by anyone that was over the age of 19, just how hard it was and unfortunately branded into “who this land- Kosovo- belonged to”. These remarkable friendly children were considered as the “NewBorn”.

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Just to be clear here, that is what the kids are told, in no way is it my opinion or would I share the same empathy. In fact, I am purposely omitting a large section of my opinion as well as events due to the subject of this blog. (but it will come later that is for sure)-WorthJourney

What I got from Pristina was a life changer.

The Newborn:
These kids had a heart of gold and were open to everyone. Race? Forget about it. Religion? They had no choice because they were born into tradition. Adversities? They are Newborn and anything that happened before them happened, they recognized it, knew about it, but fear was something that wasn’t apart of their make up.

The bold blocks representing the amazing children of Pristina. The "Newborn".

The bold blocks representing the amazing children of Pristina. The “Newborn”.

Sports:
Because Pristina or Kosovo wasn’t apart of the E.U. nor recognized as a country, then the Federation Boards of Sports such as FIBA or FIFA doesn’t accept them. Why? You as the reader take it upon yourself to find out. As part of our Journey we try to expose the facts. In a region that still have the remains of what happen between Serbia, we feel (WorthJourney), its not our place to express our opinions. The kids and the future suffer the most and this is going to take sometime. That time however may be longer than our patent or copyrights.

One of Kosovo leading Basketball Academies.

One of Kosovo leading Basketball Academies.

Lifestyle and Fashion:
My gosh, the most beautiful women I have ever seen. Everyone was young, there had to be at least 12 women to every man. Funny enough it may have something to do with the war but it’s the facts.

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Prishtina beauty.

Safety:
It was the first place I have been to, in total 72 countries for more than 2 weeks at a time, that people would say “I am here to help you and be careful”. You see I couldn’t understand that as my motto is quite simple; If you walk with respect and respect the traditions anywhere then you should get that back. Without going into to much in this journey- the latter didn’t quite happen.

A curtain view. Photos by: J.Fitts

A curtain view of Prishtina

I asked my editor should I mention anything that would have seemed aggressive or anything that would have made me sleep with one eye open (which I did) and he said- _____ If you do, then you are giving credit to those that will ruin it for the people that you will remember. Besides why doesn’t the rest of the world know other than the reference in the James Blunt song? Has it change? My response was: I remained silent.

You see I was told at a very young age, “If you don’t have anything good to say about anything or people then don’t say anything at all”. I wish I had been forewarned. Maybe this was the reason no one knows about Kosovo, perhaps this was the reasoning that the European Union would never consider making Kosovo part of the E.U. Would it be a rational decision or an irresponsible one based on a one sided story? If the 17 days that I spent in Pristina taught me anything was, there are two sides to every story.

Again, I am not picking a side but there were some things I experienced there that deleted my empathy as well as sympathy for those who cried for help. Maybe the ones that did come to the rescue had little choice as the ones that felt they had to attack the attackers. I suggest the reader look into the origin of the conflicts in Kosovo.

I left with a lot of questions but with little interest in ever returning to Pristina. One of them was; “Why doesn’t anyone in America know about the 25 foot statue of President Clinton in Pristina?” Maybe America doesn’t have the same pride in supposedly helping the people who suffered. Perhaps they had little choice in helping them because someone leaked the situation to the media. (Hint number 2; I suggest the reader look more into conflict)

Bill Clinton Statue Photos by: J.Fitts

Bill Clinton Statue 

Another question I had was; “How can you live in a society that desperately needs modern luxuries such as consistent water and still be productive”

Furthermore it was; It looks as if its modern but underneath there is a thin line of violence and hatred towards anyone that comes from the outside.

“So why do they want to take from the outside, smile in our faces, yet will severe your head if you step on anything that maybe considered theirs?”

Then it was; “Who actually started the conflict in Kosovo, was it the Serbians, was it the Albanians? And wasn’t the conflict here directly after the atrocities in Bosnia?” It started to grow on me what (two sides to every story was), because for the life of me I didn’t understand why those two previously mentioned invitees (Dou and Fio) had deserted me after only two days. I couldn’t understand why when they were amongst their own they were so nervous. Did I mention that I had met them in a remote place in Florida nearly a year from then? Hmm.. amongst our own eh? Pick a fight with a beast then cry for help as if you are the victim. Ok I will stop there because that subject alone could lead to a major dialog that will be a forever ending synerio, as well as my life being threatened. But isn’t respect more important than fear? And why would a certain ethnic group be so proud of being feared yet complain when they are not welcomed or wanted basically anywhere.

Maybe it’s a question of who is really the victim or the original aggressor.

Its strange to me as I sit here in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic writing this, that my experience of Pristina and the fear I experience (for the first time of my life) still had an impact on me. More importantly, how the people there were proud of the fact that someone like myself had that kind of fear towards the city. I was under the assumption that fear and respect are two different things. I came with respect and left with a new found respect of fear.

I have since had a remarkable time since June, yet I wonder mostly during sunsets what the beautiful Newborns future is going to be like. Does anyone care? Does anyone dare to show they care? Does the western power know something we should know? Normally when people are liberated they are also given golden opportunities. Why wasn’t this the case? What is the western world afraid of by giving the Newborns and lets say leftovers a chance? Is it because they had no choice but to liberate them because the world saw photos or some film work of what another group of people felt they had no choice but to make.

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Bikers rally- Pristina, Kosovo

What do I mean by choice?

Lets see. Have you ever seen a person at the zoo, intentionally disturb a sleeping bear then cry for help once the bear is preparing to tear them into treads? Maybe the bear had no choice. That means the person who couldn’t help themselves with disturbing the peace derailed the train of consequences. They took their chances and perhaps they have to suffer the consequences.

In the end I took Dave Mustaines’ words from that remarkable song of Megadeth- “I hocked my brain, packed my bags and headed west!”

It took 1 hr to arrive in perhaps the best kept secret city in the world.. Skopje, Macedonia.. (more details within next months issue)..

I promise the next post wont take so long. Thanks for reading.

JFitts