Tributes to ancestors – Prince, Michael Jackson

Tributes to ancestors – Prince, Michael Jackson
Emperor of Reggae recipient, Bob Marley.

The king of reggae — Bob Marley, the king of pop — Michael Jackson, the queen of soul — Aretha Franklin and another entitled, music, royal named Prince all have something else in common. In life they were superstar achievers the world revered for their unrivalled talent. In death they are revered ancestors.

Along with Peter Tosh, Whitney Houston: political figures Dr. Eric Williams, Sir Alexander Bustamante, Michael and Norman Manley, Kofi Anan, Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Emperor Haile Selassie I; and other world acclaimed house-hold figures, their legacies will be recalled and hailed during an annual ritualistic memorial tribute slated for Coney Island on June 8.

Through a daylong ceremony that began three decades ago at the seaside locale, the commemoration known as Tribute To The Ancestors, slates another year the public memorial will be fraught with cultural expressions of gratitude through music, dance and sea-side floral reverence.

Each year the waterside, sunset, finale entice spirited expressions prompted by drummers who pound hypnotic beats.

Previewed by platitudes, poetry, gratitude and recitations about glorious legacies, guests usually flaunt white outfits, offer sacraments, pour libations and sanctify the memory and contribution of politicians, diplomats, prime ministers, presidents, recording artists, composers and ordinary departed Africans whose contributions surpassed the ravages of the slave trade through the Middle Passage.

That the annual has always been held at the outdoor, breezy, boardwalk setting this year California rapper Nipsey Hussle, film director John Singleton, jazz singer Nancy Wilson, calypsonian Shadow joins the roll call annually recited for their exemplary role in prolonging the legacy of ancestral Africans.

In historic context Africans were captured, transported on ships and sold into slavery on arrival to foreign shores.

Taken for profit to South America, the Caribbean, and southern ports of America, the recall of the travesty is meant to remember and pay tribute to the enduring spirit and fortitude of those survivors — and those that didn’t — of the atrocities they overcame despite the abhorring and intolerant captors.

Bad weather on the seas, lack of proper food, horrific sanitary conditions, no medical attention, separation from families, racist profiteers, and a long list of inhibitors compounded the journey.

Habte Selassie, host of WBAI-FM’s “Labbrish” will host the ceremony.


Invincible: A Glorious Tribute to Michael Jackson tags a multimedia live performance set to honor the legendary performer often described as “the greatest entertainer of all time.”

Slated for May 25 at Lehman College in the Bronx, the return tribute — now acclaimed for being “the number one Michael Jackson in the world” promise to deliver an unrivalled spectacular song and dance showcase dedicated to the legend.

Also described as the avowed king of pop, Jackson’s spectacular talent will be reprised with performances from two talented individuals who specialize in as many categories as his distinction.

The concert will spotlight Pete Carter in Moonwalk reprise of the body-defying, fast-footed dance moves Jackson repeatedly showcased.

Jeffrey Perez will deliver “Billie Jean,” “Thriller,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Beat It” and other number one songs Jackson composed.

Both talents will likely pay homage to a singer / dancer / songwriter / actor / philanthropist whose memory perpetually resonates with gratitude long after the legend’s June 25, 2009 passing.

The concert begins at 8 pm at the Lehman Center for Performing Arts.


When Academy award winner Spike Lee accepted his best director Oscar earlier this year, his purple plenty outfit confirmed his long-standing devotion to Prince. Dressed from head to toe in the color the Minneapolis native preferred, Lee made a statement that demonstrated his passion for the departed, now ancestor who died three years ago.

Since Prince’s passing, the Brooklyn native has hosted three, free, public tribute gatherings in the borough of borough.

It’s that time again and in addition to celebrating the lifelong contributions of Michael Jackson, Lee will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of his movie “Do The Right Thing.”

The date is June 30.

The location is the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant where the film was mostly shot at Stuyvesant Ave. between Quincy and Lexington.

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