The funk Texas band shed light on the civil rights movement and how some things never change.
In the landscape of political turmoil and personal accountability, music has become the conduit for change, more than ever before. "It's a new day, and a better day's coming. Well, now who you gonna trust?" implores the opening line of Skull Snaps' 1973 track, lifted from their one and only studio album. The funk song is a declaration of freedom in the aftermath of the civil rights movement and amidst continued racism and segregation in America. Flyjack, a groove outfit out of Austin, are now refocusing the lens, given the detrimental actions of the current President Elect. "'It's a New Day' is special. When we started Flyjack, our mission was to perform obscure funk – what DJs sometimes refer to as 'deep funk.' As a genre, it refers to music created by small regional funk bands in the 60's and 70's--groups that people might know through hip-hop music because so many of their records have been sampled," shares guitarist and singer Buck McKinney about the song--Flyjack's revamped version gets a grainy, filtered visual, soaked with civil rights footage from yesteryear and today.
"You can't get much better than 'It's a New Day.' As far as we know, nobody has ever released a proper cover of the song, which is a shame because it is so much more than a drum break," he continues, citing the many samples of the song's iconic, well-versed drum break. "It's about the dangers of apathy and the importance of political activism, and the lyrics are powerful."
Flyjack is also comprised of Brad Bradburn (bass/vocals), Nigel Finley (keys/vocals), Andy Rumelt (keys/harmonica/guitar), Jeremy Portwood (drums/vocals), Mike Shields (trumpet), Ari Dvorin (sax), William Wright (trombone) and Wyatt Corder (trumpet).
The band were originally expected to drop their own version of "It's a New Day" late last year. "As scary as things were, I got the sense that people were waking-up and trying to be more involved. From the Women's March to social media, they seemed to be responding in a way that suggested had we only done this sooner, maybe we wouldn't be in the spot we're in now," McKinney expounds. "We got together with local director Ray Schlogel to talk about the video and told him that we wanted to try to connect those events with what was happening when the Skull Snaps originally released [the song]. Ray was all over it and dug through archival footage to intersperse it into a live performance video of the band, along with footage from the 2016 presidential campaign and beyond."
It's a pivotal moment in time, when the activists on the right side of history will be remembered forever for their hard work in bringing awareness and change to the things that truly do matter. "Seeing the video, you could argue that things really haven't changed all that much, and I think that's why the song is so important. Our shared tradition of protest--of standing up for what we believe is right--is a vital part of the human experience, regardless of the challenges we face. Together, we really can make a 'new day.' We just have to give a damn: vote, speak out, get involved," McKinney concludes.
"It's a New Day" is lifted from Flyjack's third studio album, the just-released New Day LP.
Watch the clip below:
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The Trump-Twitter Industrial Complex continues to fester and mutate.
This week, President Donald J. Trump tweeted a false statement about mail-in ballots.
He wrote that secretaries of state were sending mail-in ballots to every person, when actually states are only sending out ballot applications. For the first time, Twitter jumped in to fact-check Trump's statement, adding a link to a webpage full of information about mail-in ballots.
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Was the Jimmy Fallon Blackface Skit Intentionally Released as a Distraction from the Murder of George Floyd?
Racist police violence is a modern epidemic. So why are we talking about an SNL skit from 2000?
At this point, celebrity apologies are incredibly common. In 2020, it seems like some formerly beloved actor or TV personality is being put through the wringer of public opinion a few times a week.
Most recently, Twitter canceled Jimmy Fallon after an unquestionably racist skit from the 2000 season of SNL resurfaced online. The skit features Fallon impersonating Chris Rock, complete with black face and an offensive imitation of Rock's speech patterns.
Jimmy Fallon Blackface youtu.be
This quickly led to the hashtag #jimmyfallonisoverparty trending on Twitter. While fans seemed split on whether Fallon should be forgiven for the 20-year-old misstep, most everyone agreed that Fallon should apologize regardless. This morning, he did just that in the form of a tweet.
As far as celebrity apologies go, Fallon's is a pretty good one. He doesn't try to sidestep the blame, he doesn't bring up the fact that there were undoubtedly many, many other individuals involved in the creation of the skit, and he doesn't even mention the fact that in 2000, many people still thought it was possible for black face to be done in the spirit of fun, because the deeply racist nature of the act was largely ignored in mainstream (white) media. Of course, we know better now, and it's easy to see that a white person doing an exaggerated imitation of a black person—darkened skin included—can only be a racist, belittling act with a long, dark history of racial oppression. With that in mind, Fallon's only option was to apologize without caveat or reservation. Indeed, it's refreshing to see a celebrity apology that doesn't try to justify or minimize their own misstep. While we can all agree Fallon made a terrible, racist choice 20 years ago, we have to believe that, like all of us, he's grown since then. If cancel culture is to have any efficacy in making the world a better place, it has to leave room for forgiveness and growth. Hopefully, the whole affair will leave Fallon (and those who witnessed it) more racially sensitive.
All of that being said, one has to ask why the clip was brought up now, given that it's been circulated around the Internet before, and the specific YouTube clip that was shared was posted on the site over a year ago. It's also worth noting that the version of the clip that was going around Twitter has a text overlay that reads: "NBC FIRED MEGAN KELLY FOR MENTIONING BLACKFACE. JIMMY FALLON PERFORMED ON NBC IN BLACKFACE."
Megan Kelly, an outspoken conservative, was indeed fired from her job at NBC because she defended the use of blackface in Halloween costumes, saying on her talk show, "Truly, you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who put on whiteface for Halloween," she said. "When I was a kid, that was OK as long as you were dressing up as a character." While Fallon's instance of racial insensitivity was in 2000, Kelly defended blackface in 2019, long after society at large had begun to acknowledge the hurt that blackface and other forms of racial impersonation could cause. This fundamental difference aside, Kelly also has a long history of racial insensitivity that Fallon does not, even once saying, "What is the evidence that what happened to Eric Garner and what happened to Michael Brown has anything to do with race?" in a conversation about the epidemic of racist police officers in America.
Given the text overlay, it's pretty clear that whoever began the #jimmyfallonisoverparty was not necessarily seeking justice for the black community, but was instead trying to imply hypocrisy in the cancellation of Megan Kelly, given that Fallon (who has been outspoken about the flaws of the Trump administration and political pundits like Kelly) is still on the air. One even has to wonder if, given that it's obvious that the #jimmyfallonisoverparty trend was begun by a conservative individual or group, if the trend was meant to be a distraction from the widespread racist police violence that has been emphasized in recent weeks by incidents like the death of George Floyd, a black man who was murdered in Minneapolis by a white police officer on Monday. It seems oddly coincidental that the clip of Fallon should flood the Internet with controversy the day after Floyd's murder, unfortunately serving to help steer conversation away from Floyd's unjust death.
Indeed, under the unquestionably racist Donald Trump administration, more and more black people are being harassed, attacked, and murdered at the hands of racist white civilians and police officers. But Trump and his supporters don't want you to focus on that–so much so that it doesn't feel impossible that the Fallon skit was intentionally weaponized as a distraction.
In the last few weeks alone we learned that Ahmaud Arbery was murdered senselessly by a white man while simply out for a jog, and we all witnessed the harassment of Christian Cooper, a black man who was threatened by a white woman in Central Park who didn't want to put her dog on a leash. It's clear that racism in America cannot be reduced to insensitive skits from 20 years ago but is instead a current and deadly problem. What Jimmy Fallon did in 2000 was racist, yes; but don't let that distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in 2020, don't let celebrity apologies make you take your eyes of our lawmakers, who aren't doing enough to protect people of color in this country. Don't let the latest "#_____isoverparty" trend distract you from the deadly consequences of racism in our laws, culture, and criminal justice system.
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