Magazine article U.S. Catholic


Magazine article U.S. Catholic


Article excerpt


Alicia Keys (RCA, 2016)


We seem to be in a golden age of smart, ambitious African American popular music that may bear comparison to the great one in 1970-71. Back then, in the wake of the King assassination, Marvin Gaye's What's Going On?, Curtis Mayfield's Superfly, and Sly and the Family Stone's There's a Riot Goin' On all took the temperature of the Black nation in a time of crushed hopes and rampant heroin addiction.

Obama made it through his eight years, but he's leaving office amid an apparent epidemic of police shootings and turning over the White House to a man who thinks we can exclude people of the wrong race or religion from our national community. So Beyonce's Lemonade, Solange's A Seat at the Table, and Frank Ocean's Blonde may have appeared right on schedule, as has this latest album from Alicia Keys.

It all starts with a spoken word "The Beginning" that name checks Nina Simone and summons up the "history in the turntable" in the fashion of an African griot calling up the ancestors. …

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