James Jones Jr. “Chains of Love” Continuing A Legacy (Diamond In the Rough)

James Jones Jr. is a musician in every sense of the title. He is an arranger, composer, vocalist, and musical director. He is the vice president of the Jenjillus Music Corporation. One of the artists he worked closely with was his late father and music mogul, Jimmy “Handyman” Jones.  Jimmy is best known for his 1960 hit “Handyman.”  “Handyman” was released in 1959 and gave Jones his first US and UK hit single. James Jones Jr directed Jimmy in the recording studio as well as all live performances. They did numerous shows and sold out tours including The United Kingdom and The Greek Amphitheater in Los Angeles California. James Jones Jr is hoping to give honor to his father’s legacy but also to leave his own unique signature on the music industry.  His new CD has been released on the JenJillus Label and it is entitled, “Chains Of Love”.  The album is a compilation of love songs with a plethora of background vocals and upbeat tempos.  It’s what I call “step music.”  Catchy lyrics and the musicality is just plain ol’ FUN! 

Check it out at: http://www.jango.com/music/James+Jones+Jr+?l=0

CD’s can be purchased at: http://www.jenjillusmusic.com/    

See James Jones Jr’s notorious father on You Tube:www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKpbNvDg6zY

James Jones Jr

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What the Heaven Are You Looking At?

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Cookie. “
“No honey, Mommy doesn’t have a cookie,”I whisper.
“Cookie.”
“Be a good girl, we’re in church,”I whisper.
“COOKIE!  COOKIE!!!!!!!!!”

My one year old flails herself around screaming to God himself for a cookie that I don’t have. Her big sister looks at me helplessly watching my brown face turn beet red in embarrassment.  Then she sweetly leans in and says, “You have crackers though right?”

The innocence. 

As I fumble through the diaper bag l glance up and see an impatient onlooker two pews ahead of us. She looks over her shoulder every time one of my children or any child says or does anything! 

Bear in mind, we are sitting in the very last row of the church.  Why? It is simply because I remember being young and single with no kids and shaking my head as I watch a parent provide pacifiers, goldfish, handheld electronic games, or anything short of monetarily bribing their children to be quiet during a church service. I always said I would sit in the back when I have kids.
A friend of mine said they once sang the ABC song during a baptism to keep their little one calm during service.  I thought to myself, “I wonder if that will work. ”

Meanwhile, the baby seems to have built an equaliser in her lungs and a microphone in her throat.

COOKIE.COOKIE. COOKIE. COOKIE!!!”

I stayed calm. “They can sense your fear,”I thought.

The lady two pews ahead is still staring. 

“What the hell …heaven. ..is she looking at?!”

This is when you will hear non-believers say the church is full of hypocrisy.  It is because of situations like this. A kid is fighting a nap and you are giving a parent a murder one ice grill (my slang shows my age) instead of being empathetic. A scripture came to mind:

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
~Matthew 19:14

The next time the woman glanced I smiled.  I simultaneously tuned in to the preacher saying,

“Reach into yourself when it is difficult and be your better self always.  Forgive those you’ve trained yourself to forget because of the pain they’ve caused you.”

I chuckled to myself knowing adults have a hard time focussing in church,  let alone children.  I gave the girls a granola bar to share. I kissed them on the foreheads and we snuck out (towards the end) with stealth while another kid had a breakdown over juice. I silently hoped they enjoyed fellowship and hoped they learned something.  I know I did.

By:Shaun Nickens

 

Don’t Go To Bed Angry

Dear Mr. Sandman I heard you may be at the bottom of this glass. All I have to do is keep drinking.  So breathing through my nose I’m gulping this remedy passed down to me by my papa and my daddy and probably a few aunties. See I can’t seem to turn my mind off. I’m stuck with these damned thoughts that never go away. Actually,  can you guarantee me they won’t come back in my dreams?  Some of them are frightening.  Some of them are mean. Some of them antagonize me and make me think of things I shouldn’t think of. The visions are really tough.
Can you hear me in there? I know you’re in there. I can’t see you but I’ve been told that this glass filled with liquid poured from this bottle is where people find rest. I can’t see you but I know you’re there. Its funny how people believe in some things so easily.  

Mr.Sandman how will I sleep with all that dirt in my eye? Are there side effects?  You know there are always side effects.  I just want to be normal. I heard you may know what normal is. Mr.Sandman?

By:Shaun Nickens

What is a Strong Black Woman?

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Once, my uncle walked in on me crouched over the washing machine in tears. I was “venting” to myself and I didn’t realize anyone else was there to listen to my present plight. 

He walked over and said, “Shauness”, in his low and steady voice. That is his nickname for me. In his relaxed and laid back way he said, “everything alright?” I chuckled to myself because my uncle is like that.  He’s not overly emotional but he has a way of letting you know he cares about you.  I proceeded to tell him about whatever was upsetting me at the time and I continued to let the tears stream down my face.  Then he said something I will never forget:

“It’s alright to cry.  It’s alright to completely fall apart.  The catch is, you have to put yourself back together again. That is what a strong black woman is.  It is not the lunatic yelling and screaming or the person who gave up. It is the woman who has unmatched resilience.  That is the legacy.” 

Today for Martin Luther King Day I have been thinking about “the legacy.”  I came across a reading I have always loved from “African American Political Thought” with quotes from Washington, DuBois, Garvey and Randolph. It is one of my college favorites. There is a DuBois excerpt from “A Philosophy from 1913”:

…I will be a man and know myself to be one, even among those who secretly and openly deny my manhood, and I shall persistently and unwaveringly seek by every  possible method to compel all men to treat me as I treat them. 

In 1968 Martin Luther King was assassinated. 

Prior to his death he was fighting for and preaching about the same thing. Today is an American holiday because it wasn’t about black supremacy it was about human rights.  It was about change.  It was about…LOVE. 

What legacy does his widow Coretta Scott King have to preserve? I wonder how often she has to “fall apart and put herself back together” again. I wonder how often all the wives, girlfriends, and mothers of slain activists or martyrs “fall apart.”  I wonder if they have ever said “I don’t need no man!”  I wonder what trials they have faced.  I wonder if they have ever called AAA for the 2 gallons of gas that comes with the membership because they can’t afford to get to work.  I wonder if anyone has ever called them a “bitch” or looked down on them. I wonder if they even see color at all or if they just feel pain with no identification and no overly simplistic labels. I wonder what their definition of a SBW is and if they even consider themselves one. Is Coretta glad he fought and died or would she have chosen normalcy? Would she have chosen a movie and dinner?

What will your legacy be?

 

By: Shaun Nickens 

 

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Girl Bye Part IV “Mae”

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She drove a two-tone, 12 year old mini van.  It had one of those “baby on board” signs in the back passenger window.  Sometimes the sign would fall but the suction cup that held it up would remain.  She was middle aged and her children were grown but she said the sign made people drive “sensibly. ”  Her “luxury car” as she sometimes called it,  was dated but it was hers…she owned it. She didn’t have many things that she owned.

Mae pulled right up next to a 2014 Camaro in the parking lot of the local popular pizzeria. They advertised you could get a large pie for $10.95 and that would be enough for Mae.  She could save some for breakfast the following morning with a cup of instant coffee. The Camaro had a confederate flag in the back window.  Mae had a “Obama 2012” sticker in the window.  The two drivers exchanged glances but no pleasantries were made.

Mae used to take long drives when she was stressed out. Those days were long gone. There was 123,000 miles on her van. Gas prices went up to 3.78 a gallon. So there was no escape.  Mae used to do hair but she was no longer as easy on the eyes as she once was. Women don’t usually trust you to make them beautiful when you aren’t. So age and a hard life retired her. Mae used to be an escort. She was good at it too. She still unofficially “did favors” as she liked to call it. She would frequently meet new clients at “Biddies. ”

Aniya saved Mae’s ass multiple times. She pulled an old dirty bastard off of Mae once. A brute who had no intention of paying for the “merchandise.” She let Mae sleep on her lazy boy recliner one night when Mae was evicted.  Aniya was the closest thing Mae would have to a friend. 

When Aniya called Mae after 2 years of not speaking,  she knew something was up.  Aniya always said no favor was free.  Mae was a benefit because she had nothing to lose…not even her life.

To be continued

By:Shaun Nickens

*Day 11 I didn’t post but I wrote! #30daywritingchallenge Comment.  Like. Share.