Minimum Gauge: Rap Pioneer Kurtis Blow is Not Flattered by Virginia Politician's Blackface 'Tribute'

Plus, the woman who bought Billy Corgan's stolen guitar at a yard sale for $200 returns it to the rocker after 27 years and Jack White gets songwriting credit on the weird Pop song that won last year's global Eurovision competition for Israel

click to enlarge Kurtis Blow performing in Germany in 2012 - Photo: Francelada (CC-by-3.0)
Photo: Francelada (CC-by-3.0)
Kurtis Blow performing in Germany in 2012

HOT: Kurtis Blow Does Not Appreciate Blackface Tribute

“It was meant as a sincere tribute” is the latest excuse being thrown around to explain why some white people who have worn blackface aren’t racist. A Real Housewife tried that excuse last year to explain her Diana Ross “costume” and now Virginia politicians have floated it as a possible reason for their ’80s blackface exploits. Virginia governor Ralph Northam said he isn't in a photo from his medical school yearbook featuring people in blackface and a KKK robe, but, sure, he once wore blackface while mimicking Michael Jackson in an effort to win a dance contest. Then Mark Herring, Virginia’s attorney general (and contender for the governorship), fessed up that he too wore blackface, in 1980 when he went to a party dressed as one of his favorite rappers, Kurtis Blow. The now-59-year-old Hip Hop pioneer was not flattered, telling TMZ he found Herring’s actions “totally offensive and disrespectful, degrading. It’s ugly. I’m praying for my man Mr. Herring right now.” Blow told The Washington Times the whole incident was "opening up some deep, historical scars."

WARM: A Smashing Guitar Reunion

An unlikely feel-good story surfaced recently involving Smashing Pumpkins frontperson Billy Corgan and a long-lost guitar he credits with essentially getting him where he is today. Twenty-seven years ago while touring behind the Pumpkins’ debut Gish, a thief walked off with Corgan’s hand-painted Stratocaster after a show in Detroit. Corgan told Rolling Stone that the guitar changed the way he played and was the foundation for the songs and sounds of Gish. After offering up to $20,000 in reward money over the years, Corgan was finally reunited with the important instrument when Alex Heiche, CEO of music royalty finance firm Sound Royalties, facilitated a meeting between Corgan and a Michigan woman named Beth James, who purchased the guitar about a decade ago at a yard sale for $200 to use as room décor in her basement. James (whose friend told her months ago that she might have Corgan’s missing guitar after reading an article about it) didn’t even ask for any reward money, saying she was just happy it was back with its rightful owner.

click to enlarge Alex Heiche, Billy Corgan and Beth James at the guitar reunion - Photo: Erik Voake
Photo: Erik Voake
Alex Heiche, Billy Corgan and Beth James at the guitar reunion

COLD: Jack White’s Latest Credit

Jack White has notched another career milestone, and it’s definitely one of the more unique bullet-points on the accomplished musician’s résumé. White is now credited as a composer on “Toy,” an offbeat Pop song that won the worldwide Eurovision music competition for Israel last year after it was performed by Netta Barzilai. Months before it won Eurovision, an Israeli music critic pointed out the song’s similarities to The White Stripes' hit “Seven Nation Army,” which has become a jock-rock sports anthem chanted at soccer games and other sporting events worldwide. After "Toy" won, Universal Music Group hinted that it might sue on White's behalf, kicking off the process of giving White songwriting credit on the tune. Nearly 10 months after the competition finale, The New York Times recently reported that a settlement was reached and White now has a credit on the song.




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