The Wonder of Stevie

Again this year I was fortunate to be on Stevie Wonder's radio show on KJLH-FM 102.3, the station Stevie owns and operates in the City of Inglewood. I've always admired Stevie's music, creativity, and community commitment. He's a man who gives to the betterment of all our lives.

I was invited to sit in on his show after my mornings this week as guest host of the "Front Page" talk show with Dominigue Di Prima (I've been guest host about three times over a couple of years, thanks to Dominique's gracious invitations).

I'll be back tomorrow morning from 4:30 AM until 6 AM.

Today, however, I got to sing solo over the air (with some technical improvements to my voice) one of my favorite songs of all time: Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." Stevie played on keyboards and I belted out as best I could (trust me, it's nothing nice).

Everyone at the station were encouraging and kind (I'm sure they knew I sounded like a horse with a bad cold--but nobody said nothing about it, so thank you).

Of course, I'm deeply honored to have this moment. It may never be heard again anywhere but for a few minutes I sang while Stevie Wonder played on Keyboards (and Marvin's Gaye's music played in the background).

What a dream come true. I mentioned this to my daughter Andrea and she knew how much I've loved Stevie's songs and his long-time participation in social compassion and true justice (way before she was born, and she's 31 years old).

Thank you, Stevie, and all of KJLH's staff and listening community.

This week on the Front Page we dealt with a number of important issues, including the recent killings of young black men in Inglewood by police and the growing campaign of Mr. Barack Obama for President.

I've been a supporter of Barack Obama for some time. It's clear to me there has never been a more visionary and connected presidential candidate (and I've been around for some time). Is Obama the perfect candidate? Will he resolve all the major economic and social ills of this land? Can he truly present a real alternative to the system of politics & economics we are being strangled by?

No one man can do this. We have to be active in this campaign, not just to make sure he's elected but so we can maintain active ties to the vision of transformation, peace & equality that's inherent in his position.

Capitalism is a massive and intricate system that will require massive social participation by most people, especially those who are conscious and hungry for deep change, if it is to be transformed into a just and equitable society for all. Any and all of these events, these campaigns, these actions can be steps toward this if we all work together -- beyond race, nationality, sexual orientation, or skin color -- and push forward our class and human interests.

We are on the brink of a major economic breakdown, but also as the earth intensifies in earthquakes, hurricanes, global warming. We have to awaken and be active, to cohere and strategize toward a world that ensures the healthy and full development of everyone as the best way to have this for oneself.

Today we also talked about Michelle Obama and the hard time she's had to be adequately seen, understood and appreciated as an independent, intelligent and dignified African American woman. The attacks by the right-wing media against her and her husband are pandering to the worse of the American people (claiming she's too "ghetto," linked to urban terrorism, and on the other side, too "privileged" and "out of touch" -- Obama's "bitter half"). We can't let such racist and shallow ideas permeate the dialogue and campaign.

We also heard from Dr. Gail Wyatt, a renowned clinical psychologist with a number of important books on sexuality, woman, and the Black experience. She requested this morning's segment on Michelle Obama that was highlighted by an interview Dominique conducted with the potential First Lady last December -- one of the best interviews I had ever heard with Michelle Obama.

This has to be one of the richest resources for truly intense and inteligent community conversation in all of LA radio. I'm truly grateful to be given this space to air my ideas, poems, and interests.

I also want to remind everyone that on August 3, this Sunday, from 7 to 9 PM, Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural, Inc, will be holding its 2nd Annual Benefit Event at the Ford Amphitheater in Hollywood. Like last year we expect a packed house and a great time for everyone -- with Cheech Marin and friends; Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band; our own Azteca Danza group, Temachtia Quetzacoatl; conscious Hip Hop performer Olmeca; songs and performance by Nobuko Miyamoto; the political comedy of Opening People's Minds; the amazing Chicano Ska/sounds of Upground; poetry by Luis Rodriguez; and again hosted by Chicano comedian, Ernie G. You don't want to miss this!

Tickets are $30, and $12 for students and children.

Go to or for tickets. You can also call the Ford Theater at 323-461-3673 or Tia Chucha's at 818-896-1479. Let's celebrate together.


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