When I was a kid I used to watch a programme called ‘America’s Top Ten’
I was a music buff. I had a fascination with the charts, how many records were sold, and how long these chunks of vinyl stayed popular. It was natural that one day it would become my job.
The programme used to be on ridiculously late at night, so I would tape it on our battered VHS…and watch it when I got home from school with a peanut butter sandwich and a pint of Um Bongo. Ah heady days. One of the segments of the programme that used to confuse me was a two minute run down of ‘The Black Chart.’ I was not clear what this meant…but I assumed it was a chart for black artists…or was it a chart for black music? The point is…it was a sub-chart for the main thing…the real deal Billboard. It was a chart to separate a certain genre and artist away from the mainstream. Sometimes it would be refered to as the RnB chart, but some of the acts were clearly NOT RnB. It was a sign of the times in 1985. Segregation was understood, even though strides were being made to break down barriers. Years later in the UK, in the late 90s…we would call it the Urban chart. This was to escape the racial direction the name of a chart could lean on, and to try to promote an inclusive element to music purchasing. To make sure that discrimination had no place in our modern industry.
When Sir Alex made his bombastic comments about Jason Roberts, and then his promise to ‘deal with’ Rio Ferdinand for not wearing a Kick It Out T-Shirt…I was perplexed, and a tad angry. Yes we worship Fergie. He has been there and bought the t-shirt! The old man knows the game inside out. And as much as I love him…I realise he isn’t always right. I thought he had dropped a ricket…pulling rank on a player who has spent a year supporting his brother in what is the most famous case of a racist accusation in English football history.
So I was delighted when later the manager publicly came out and backed Rio’s right to have freedom of choice, giving his opinion on how we should move forward together, rather than acting in an old skool manner. His words were reassuring. He explained his thoughts on ‘union’…and he sounded like the wise sage we know he is. Harmony was restored swiftly…just how we like it.
Now we hear of ‘The Federation of Black Players’… (More …)