Reflections: Not much compassion

George ClintonI was, as they say, “taken aback” when I heard that George Clinton owes the Internal Revenue Service a whopping $115,522. How in the world could something like that be allowed to happen? And to make matters worse, that is just for 2007 and 2008. 

One entertainment writer quipped, “George Clinton believes in one nation under a groove. He just doesn’t want to pay taxes to that nation.”

It is very difficult for your heart to go out to people who are that reckless with their finances, all the more so in the case of big-name celebrities who make far more money than the average person, and usually do a lot of over-the-top spending on non-essentials. 

Of course, often the fault for the situation is laid at the feet of crooked business managers and personal managers, and no doubt that happens.  But even when that is the case, the celebrities should have been watching the situation more closely. Wouldn’t you keep a close watch on the person (or people) entrusted to handle your finances? I would.

But George Clinton is certainly not the only one. There are dozens — no, make that hundreds — who have fallen into the same situation. Wesley Snipes, Toni Braxton, Willie Nelson, Lil Wayne, Roberta Flack, Christie Brinkley, Billy Joel, Ben Vereen, Lionel Richie, Kirstie Alley, Dennis Rodman, Al Pacino and Bow Wow are among the multitude. There is good reason for them to be ashamed of themselves.

    STILL SPEAKING of George Clinton, but on a much lighter subject, the P-Funk creator and supergenius gave the albums of his groups, Funkadelic and Parliament (essentially the same people!), some of the strangest names in the history of Black music and the history of rock ’n’ roll.

For Parliament: “Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome,” “Motor Booty Affair,” “Chocolate City,” “The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein,” “Mothership Connection,” “Osmium,” “Gloryhallastoopid” and “Trombipulation.”

For Funkadelic: “Cosmic Slop,” “Uncle Jam Wants You,” “Free Your Mind…And Your A– Will Follow,” “Hardcore Jollies,” “The Electric Spanking of War Babies,” “America Eats Its Young,” “Standing on the Verge of Getting It On” and “Maggot Brain.”

Who else but George Clinton has an imagination that vivid?

RIHANNA didn’t have to use such crude language when bringing down a reporter, but it is easy to understand why she (and Chris Brown) get sick and tired of being asked about “the incident” that happened three years ago. They have both gotten on with their life and career, quite successfully, and have obviously made peace.

When they collaborated on two songs recently, a substantial number of people said it “sent the wrong message,” especially to women, and the assumption was that they were going to get back together despite the massively publicized incidence of violence.

But Rihanna countered with, “Look at it for what it was. It was just music. A lot of people jumped to an assumption that was incorrect and they ended up looking stupid.”

Bottom line: It’s their business.

 YOU HAVE TO give credit to Ron Tyson, who has remained a member of the Temptations since 1983, singing the tenor parts originally sung by Eddie Kendricks. 

It has been said that original member and group co-founder Otis Williams can be difficult in some respects, but apparently Tyson has mastered what it takes to be in sync with Williams. And Williams is to be admired for keeping the Temptations alive and performing; he always said the group was more important than any individual, no matter how popular or significant that person.

True, today’s group lacks some of the pizazz of previous line-ups, but the Temptations are an institution.

For those who have lost track (or interest) in who the Temptations are today, the group consists of Otis Williams (from the start to today), Ron Tyson (1983-today), Terry Weeks (1997-today), Joe Herndon (2003-today) and Bruce Williamson (2007-today).

Twenty-two gentlemen have been Temptations: Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin,  Elbridge Bryant, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, Dennis Edwards, Ricky Owens, Damon Harris, Richard Street, Glenn Leonard, Louis Price, Ron Tyson (full name: Ronald Tyson Presson), Ali Woodson, Theo Peoples (real first name: Theopolis!), Ray Davis, Harry McGilberry, Terry Weeks, Barrington Henderson, G.C. Cameron, Joe Herndon and Bruce Williamson.

PEOPLE IN show business, particularly those on the way up (or presumed to be on the way up) would do well to adhere to the words of famed bandleader and music conductor Rickey Minor, formerly of “American Idol” and currently of “The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno.” 

He said, “Fear and doubt creep in when you start believing everything that is being said about you, both the good and the bad. If you are dealing with fear on a daily basis, it is going to eat you up.”

Will Smith informed the media and public recently that just as there is currently a “Men In Black 3,” there will be a “Bad Boys 3,” starring him and Martin Lawrence.

JANET JACKSON, truly an open-minded person, says it is way past time for people to get over their prejudices and hang-ups regarding people who are different than themselves. 

That is why she agreed to step in front of the camera to produce a documentary titled “Truth,” which is scheduled to begin filming this summer. The focus is on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, the numbers of which are much higher than most believe, or want to believe.

“We want to stop the hate and find understanding,” said Jackson. “All of our hearts are the same.”

Kudos to her.

WE  WILL miss Detroit songstress Belita Woods, who left this level of existence recently. Even though her performing history was extensive, she is best known for her sizzling performance on Brainstorm’s huge, and still popular, 1977 hit “Lovin’ Is Really My Game.”

Some will also remember her as first runner-up in the WDIV/Channel 4 competition to determine who would be the voice of the station by way of the “Go 4 It” promotional song, heard extensively in commercials. Woods also recorded a duet with Ron Banks.

From the Mailbox: Janice Marcum agrees that there are too many award shows th
ese days, and she expressed disappointment with the BET Awards in the last couple of years.

BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that Philippe Wynne wanted the Spinners to change the name to “Philippe Wynne & the Spinners.” But that, he was firmly informed, was never going to happen.

MEMORIES: “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” (Nina Simone), “Get It Right” (Aretha Franklin), “Remember the Time” (Michael Jackson), “Vogue” (Madonna), “Our Love” (Natalie Cole), “Another One Bites the Dust” (Queen), “I Like to Live the Love” (B.B. King), “Call Me (Come Back Home)” (Al Green), “I Only Have Eyes For You” (the Flamingos), “Lovin’ You” (Minnie Riperton).

BLESSINGS to Frank Bates Junior (thanks for the letter!), James Alexander, Theresa Robinson-Stanley, Jim Burns, Tyrone Mills, Jay Berry, Chuck Bennett, Mary Evans, Eric Merchant, Janice Marcum and Carol Smith Dixon.

WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Don Lemon: “No one owes you anything. If you wait for what you think is owed you, you’ll never have anything. You have to do it yourself.”

Let the music play!

(Steve Holsey can be reached at and PO Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.)

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