Khary Kimani Turner's article, "I, Ike" (Metro Times, Sep. 5-11), places Ike Turner on much too high a pedestal. The real father of rock and roll was a much older and more experienced man who died just two years ago. His two names were Jesse Stone (real) and Charles Calhoun (psuedonym). He came from Atchison, Kan., just up the road from Kansas City, Mo.
Turner doesn't even show up in music history before 1951; Stone began in the late 1920s. Stone, alongside Wynonie Harris, Roy Milton, Big Joe Turner, Amos Milburn and Louis Jordan all recorded the music that would be recognized by whites, including Alan Freed and Sam C. Phillips, as rock and roll long before the vaunted "Rocket 88." And "Rocket 88," while featuring Ike Turner's manic piano playing, was really a tune written by Jackie Brenston, which itself was a rip-off of the 1947 Specialty Records tune by Jimmy Liggins "Cadillac Boogie." Ike Turner, is at best, the first stepfather of the baby rechristened upon the coming of Elvis as rock and roll. —Rob Klotz, KANU-FM Radio, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan.
The wrong remedy
I read with interest Keith A. Owens' article, "Payback time" (Metro Times, Sept. 5-11). The idea of reparations may be well-intentioned but seems to be more emotional than rational and violates certain bedrock principles.
First, aren’t we taught to learn from the past but not to dwell in it? Second, who is paying to whom, when both the slaves and the slave owners have been long gone? Third, just because reparations have been given in the past does not mean they are right, for two wrongs don’t make a right and circumstances are not always alike. For example, Japanese-Americans who were compensated were actual victims, not descendents of victims.
Some prominent African-Americans, such as Shelby Steele and Ward Connerly, have emphasized the importance of self-reliance over government handouts. The bleeding-heart liberals are the worst enemies of African-Americans, for they would rather "feed them fish" than "teach them how to fish." A "feed them fish" strategy may be good for politicians to help build their political base but fails to address the real issues that confront African-Americans, such as poor school systems, crime, drug-infested neighborhoods and broken homes. —Pradeep Srivastava, [email protected], Detroit