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Meandering Thru Memphis

30 May

blues city cafe

I took a trip to Memphis, Tennessee last week. I’ve always wanted to go to the city and I finally got my chance. I stayed at the popular Peabody hotel in downtown Memphis — very swanky. I visited the Rock N’ Soul Museum and learned of the deep musical history of Memphis – soul, blues, and rock and roll. I went to the National Civil Rights Museum the actual site where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated — The Lorraine Hotel, but unfortunately the museum was closed. What establishment is closed on a Tuesday? #disappointed

But I was able to take a few pics.

 

lorraine hotel

 

lorraine hotel 3

lorraine hotel 2

 

The food was delicious and insanely unhealthy but one must indulge while on vacay. I dined at the Blues City Cafe, B.B. King’s Blues Club, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, and Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous. Yummy. And I toured the famous Beale street — the once black dominated business and music district. Present day Beale Street is Memphis’s answer to Bourbon Street (never been there). It was a new experience seeing folks roam about drinking freely in the streets. It was liberating but slightly off-putting. What if something pops off?

I was surprised to learn that the city of Memphis is actually more populated than Atlanta. It was ranked the largest poor city in America in 2011. And it’s the fourth most dangerous city in the America. I knew that the TV show, The First 48, was filmed there but I didn’t know it was like.

I definitely enjoyed my time but I can’t imagine living there permanently. The city’s infrastructure desperately needs improvement. The downtown area was rather deserted and underdeveloped.  One block would be populated and the next abandoned. Also Memphis felt like the true south.  And although I love southern charm, I don’t care for the racist undertones and the stark economic disparity between blacks and whites. I know it’s reality but it’s unnerving nonetheless. And I suppose that’s how it should be — unsettling. I also learned that African-American women in Memphis die from breast cancer at a rate twice that of white women. Black women have all the luck don’t we?

Take a trip and judge for yourself. It’s sure to be an experience.

Here’s a pic of a mural that I stumbled across. Famous soul singer Otis Redding recorded many of his hits at Stax Records in Memphis. I attempted to check out the Stax Museum but it required a trek through a sketchy part of town so I aborted that mission.

 

otis

 

Why not close with some Otis? Here’s one of my favorites. Happy Weekend!

 

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Exploring South

29 Aug

North Carolina State Flag (Asheville, NC)

In honor of my recent family trip to the ATL and to Asheville, North Carolina I thought I’d post this video by the Kings of Leon. Yes I like them and it upsets me that Caleb Followill married — absolutely tragic.

ATL reminded me a lot of of the DMV (where are the black men?) and Asheville is always refreshing, just wished there were more us black folks down there. I guess I’m spoiled growing up in Prince George’s County and all. Seventeen percent of the city’s 83,383 population is black which translates to 14,175 of us. Next year I want to check out the city’s Goombay Festival — apparently that’s when all the black folks come out. It is a festival of our own. Check out Asheville — you’ll love the mountain air. Perhaps I shall retire there and live the sweet life like my Aunt Sallie aka the Silver Fox.

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