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Happy Birthday To The Original Raconteur

Hey Soul Mates,
Today, I'm celebrating the birthday of one of America's greatest story tellers. He's an actor, playwright, musician. And he happens to be my Dad. My father has always been the best teller-of-tales I've known. No one can bring a story to life like him. Funny thing is, his genre is non-fiction. Oh, all griots embellish. Why not? Who's to argue or counter a plot point or a bit of detail? Especially when it's said with spirit and gusto. But he really doesn't need to because the stories are so vivid already.

I hope that Dad will soon put his stories to tape. But like a jazz artist, recordings still wouldn't capture all the aspects of the performance. Each telling has it's own breath and cadence. It's own weight, but also it's own ease. It isn't surprising that he wrote a play called "Street Rhthym."

Maybe that's why, with no effort at all, Dad held court last night at the Georgia Tech game. Half-time. Chit chat. Small talk. Right. My brother Nathan introduced a young gentleman called Andre Benjamin to Dad mentioning that Dad was an actor and writer. That's all Mr. Benjamin had to know and they were off. For the rest of the intermission, Dad regaled Mr. Benjamin with tales from the set. In return, the latter asked questions about the craft of acting, about choices that actors make, good sources for inspiration and blueprints for bringing life to a character. Mr. Benjamin attentively noted Dad's film recommendations and anecdotes, stories of growing up in Depression era Harlem, etc. while politely greeting other well-wishers. It must have been quite a scene, but not unusual for my father. It will simply become another story to relate to the next listener.

Nate snapped a photo of the two thespians together. Oh, Mr. Benjamin? You might know him better as Andre 3000. Andre seems to have a good grasp of past and present (see Idlewild), so I'm sure that my Dad was a perfect fount of information.



Well, Happy Birthday, Dad! Some of you fans may remember my father who was in L.A. this time last year for our show at B.B. King's. Remember? If you've met him, you'd never forget.

Love, Power, Peace

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