To listen, change, dance / by Randy Ortiz

New York in the 60's and 70's... how I wish I lived thee. From the battles fought by The Young Lords, fashion styles, to the creation of Boogaloo these years mark the start of a minority uprising and unification against racism and strengthening of the people by action and music... it was a beautiful era. Is it because back then is when people cared about their rights and not Suri Cruise's heels? Or was it the soul-filled, Afro-Cuban, jazzy, funk, and Latin sounds bumpin out the speakers in Harlem and the South Bronx? All the above and then some folks.

The sweet sounds from the block parties, the talk and walk of my people trying to get their heads above water and hatred at their every step. From all this came what I consider a musical force to be reckoned with from the greats Joe Cuba, Eddie Palmieri, Tony Pabon, Otis Redding, Harlem River Drive, Wilson Pickett, Willie Colon, Curtis Mayfield, Joe Bataan, James Brown... hell I can go on and on. Some using political messages for the people to wake up and do something, while keeping them dancing and enjoying life a little more. It ignited a flame which I think has become the soot now amongst the warriors of this urban jungle. Music with meaning and not just a cash-in by using your own audience to make money off of that STILL sounded good.

To have witnessed the musical magic, struggle, and fight that was going on at that time must have been tough and amazing. Al tho this is all being portrayed as a green grass party, happy paradise it was not. Many battles were fought in the streets by our people just to be recognized as humans and the drug epidemic was no cake walk. The Panthers, The Young Lords, and our musicians also fought to have their music played. I will be forever grateful for the blood and tears shed just so I can have the equality I have today and the amazing music that made times more bearable as they contribute such a large part of my life now.