You are hereBlogs
August 5, 2013 - JTMP had been dealing with justice issues all last week, and this week we turn our attention to musicians and artists that have been caught up in the justice system. Many musicians have been caught up in the courts over the years, from Paul McCartney in 1980 getting busted with 7.7 ounces of pot in his suitcase in Japan (he served 10 days in jail), to Pete Townshend getting arrested for visiting an illegal porn website on his computer back in 1999. His flat was raided, computers seized, and even though no illegal pornographic pictures were never found on his computer, he agreed to a "police caution" and was placed on a sex offender list for 5 years. He has insisted innocence from the start and has broken his 6-year silence on the incident in his new memoir "Who I Am", and last September talked about it with Daily Mail. He told Daily Mail that the reason he did not go to court and fight for his innocence was the reason many face; he had a half an hour to decide whether to take a "police caution", or go through a lengthy court battle where the prosecution has virtually limitless funds and resources and would most likely win, and your horrible mistake is splayed out for the world to see. He also said he was simply "exhausted" at the time. He decided to take the caution (sort of like taking a plea deal here in America) and put it behind him and move on with his life. What does everyone think? Should people be able to move on with their lives? Start a conversation or join in the JTMP Facebook Page. (photo credit: Kubackeck/CC)
August 7, 2013 - Tennessee musician Ben Friberg became the first person ever to paddleboard the Florida Straits from US to Cuba. The exhausting 110-mile journey took him 28 hours...whew. His father drove a support boat near him the entire journey. When he departed the US on Thursday he told the press he was "doing this to promote peace and understanding between Cuba and the United States and to promote a healthy lifestyle". Ben hails from Chattanooga, and currently is in a trio playing some awesome jazz. Check out some of his tunes at BenFriberg.com. Read more about the journey on NBC News.com here. (photo credit: www.benfriberg.com)
August 2, 2013 - JTMP strongly supports helping those in need in our communities, and one group often overlooked and facing real hurdles are people returning to the community after being incarcerated. We supported the "Second Chance Act" (P.L. 110-199) that was passed by the US Congress in 2007 and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2008. This act establishes a National Adult and Juvenile Offender Reentry Resource center to help those reentering society. This act requires the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to assist those leaving incarceration in obtaining a Social Security Card, driver's license, or other official photo identification prior to release, and also help them apply for benefits such as veteran's benefits, SS benefits and more. JTMP wants to point out that the Attorney General and the Federal Bureau of Prisons can "implement these provisions at their discretion", so the "required to" is not really a requirement, so JTMP asks our supporters to contact their elected officials and the US Department of Justice and let them know you want the community to help these individuals as much as possible. Tell them you support the Second Chance Act, and hope it is being executed to its fullest extent. Read more about the Second Chance Act here. (Photo credit Clearly Ambiguous/Flickr)
August 30, 2013 - In a bit of good news, singer Randy Travis has left the hospital and is in stable condition. He is now headed for a long rehabilitation, but JTMP feels he will make it, and we continue to send out positive thoughts of healing to him. Randy has made it through some tough times in life, such as substance abuse, but has always battled back. We hope to see him next year back doing what we like to see him do, which is play music, and hear that rich voice of his. Read more on Today.com here. (photo credit Gerry J. Gilmore/CC)
August 1, 2013 - JTMP strongly believes in working with the community and those who have made mistakes in their past and have paid their debt to society and are trying to move on with their lives. One of the issues we support strongly is the restoration of voting rights to felons, and one of our favorite groups is working very hard on this issue, the Brennan Center for Justice. They describe how there are "nearly 4 million disenfranchised Americans who have been released from prison and are living in the community, but are still denied the right to vote." Some states and the District of Columbia automatically give felons their right to vote back once they have paid their debt to society, but there are still 35 states holding on to antiquated prejudices and discriminations against members of the community who have made mistakes in their past, have atoned and paid their debt, and need to move on with their lives. In 2011, the Brennan Center for Justice supported the "Democracy Restoration Act", that called for federal legislation to restore voting rights in federal elections to felons. The bill was introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), but later died in committee. JTMP calls for the current US Congress to pick up the cause, and get a similar bill introduced and passed restoring voting rights to these disenfranchised Americans.
Read more about the Brennan Center for Justice and their efforts to restore voting rights on their website here.
Also, JTMP supports the "Ban The Box" campaign, meaning employers and others cannot ask if that person has even been convicted of a crime on job applications, housing, public benefits, insurance. loans and other services. Once a member of society has paid their debt, some time has gone by, and the crime is irrelevant to the job or situation, it is a matter of privacy and belongs in the past. It is merely callously and unnecessarily prolonging the punishment, and preventing that person from re-entering and being able to to get by in this society. Read more and get involved with the "Ban The Box" cause by visiting the BanTheBoxCampaign.org website. (photo credit: Scott*/Flickr)
July 29, 2013 - In what is being described as a "game changer" move, musician Jack White has donated $200,000 to the National Recording Preservation Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving old audio and musical recordings for history for the US Library of Congress for future generations. White also sits on the board of the NRPF, and donates a lot of his time to this unique mission. Many old musical recording are in "analog format" and on materials such as wax cylinder, magnetic plastic tape, or a plastic phonograph. These range from American folk songs from the turn of the century, to 45-RPM records that have become a part of our American culture and history. These materials break down, and the audio is lost forever. The process to transfer them from analog to a digital format is expensive and time consuming, and this donation will help kick start the effort and raise awareness and action on this endeavor. The foundation also receives matching funds from other individuals, non-profits and even the government, and much of the work will be in exhibits in museums for future music lovers to enjoy and learn from in the future.
Beyonce Signs and Links to MoveOn.org Petition Calling for Federal Civil Rights Charges Against George Zimmerman
July 26, 2013 - There has been some confusion lately on who is and who is not joining Stevie Wonder's boycott of Florida calling for the repeal of "Stand Your Ground Laws"; and part of it why I think some confusion is out there is because many musicians and artists have spoken out in favor of repealing the "Stand Your Ground" laws, and have been publicly speaking out in support of Trayvon's parents and #Justice4Trayvon. Jay-Z has spoke out in favor of repealing the law, and now 5 days ago Beyonce put up a Trayvon Martin tribute page on her website asking everyone to #ActNow4Trayvon, and signing her name and linking to a MoveOn.org petition calling for Eric Holder and the US Department of Justice to file Federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman who believe Trayvon Martin's civil rights were violated; there are many of us who think they were and JTMP is one of them. Check out Beyonce's Trayvon Martin Tribute Page here, where you can sign the MoveOn.org petition also. So, although many artists have come out in droves of the support of repealing the "Stand Your Ground" laws, they will never be any widespread boycott of Florida by musicians and artists; too many have residences there and too much money being handed around. Having civil rights charges filed against George Zimmerman would be a sweet second prize though. Sign the MoveOn.org petition here.
July 26, 2013 - Well, it took me a little while to figure out this confusion on many artists backing off, or seeming to back off, their signals to join Steve Wonder in his boycott of Florida after it was reported that they would. It's so simple.
Many musicians, athletes, and assorted millionaires make Florida their home, or their "base of operations", because Florida charges no state INCOME tax, but they do have sales and property tax. It is one of a few favorite haven for millionaires stateside. Nice. When I read this article on The Grio I figured it out. In that post George Clinton comments what all artists and their representatives would similarly say, that to "boycott Florida is not practically maintained by those of use who reside in and whose base of operation is Florida."; which is many artists, all pulling in some serious income that is totally untaxed by the state. What do you think? Am I wrong? Leave a comment on the JTMP Facebook Page here.
July 26, 2013 - Did Jay-Z, Rihanna and Justin Timberlake signal they were going to join Stevie Wonder's boycott of Florida and then back off? Earlier this week April Ryan of American Urban Radio Network reported that the 3 musicians were going to boycott Florida along with Wonder, until the "Stand Your Ground" laws are repealed following the Trayvon Martin tragedy. But now, AceShowBiz is reporting that they is not what the artists and/or their representatives are saying now, 3 days later. The blogger is standing by her sources though. Earlier this week, JTMP also reported that those three were joining the boycott, quoting The Hill for a source.
Anyways, as of today, all 3 are saying their are NOT boycotting Florida. No word on the other musicians and artists mentioned on the web such as The Rolling Stones, Kanye West, and others. Did they make a commitment and then change their mind? Did the musician's representatives mess up? Are the journalists wrong or mess up? Who knows....tell us what you think about the boycott and what might have happened on the JTMP Facebook Page. JTMP will post updates about what is going in with the Florida boycott almost daily, so check back. Read more on AceShowBiz website here. (photo credit: Joella Marano/CC)
July 24, 2013 - Yaslin Bey, also known as rapper Mos Def, underwent the Guantanamo Bay standard force-feeding with a tube procedure; and it is all caught on video and was released on the Guardian website. The American hip-hop artist is a practicing Muslim, and at the start of Ramadan on July 8 (it runs till August 7) got together with the human rights group Reprieve to make a video showing in graphic detail the procedure being inflicted upon 46 of the 105 Guantanamo detainees on a hunger strike, protesting their conditions and detainment. Mr. Bey said, "When the tube went in, the first part of it is not that bad but you get this burning, I got this burning and it starts to get really unbearable like something that was going into my brain and it reached the back of my throat and I really couldn't take it."
In 2007, JTMP teamed up with activist band Op-Critical and Velvet Revolution to make an anti-torture PSA and music video for their anti-torture song "Exile", and one of the band members was actually water boarded, similar to what Mos Def has done. Watch the two videos below, but be warned...both videos are extremely graphic and is disturbing to many viewers. They should be, because it is all torture. JTMP calls for the US to cease torturing and force-feeding detainees. Read more on the Guardian website here.