Wednesday, July 13, 2016


By Cash Michaels

            FATHER OF “THE QUIET STORM” – For many of us “old school” folks who grew up with black FM radio, the legendary “Quiet Storm” was a special time every night when you could hear your favorite slow jams, and nothing but slow, romantic music, all night long.
            For couples, it was that magic time of night to cuddle up, share a glass of wine, and just simply relax. Needless to say, many a baby was conceived during the “Quiet Storm,” no matter what city you were listening in.
            That’s why it was with great sadness when word came last week that the “father” of the Quiet Storm, Vaughn Harper of WBLS-FM in New York, died at the age of 71. Harper, who had the kind of smooth, deep, velvety and of course sexy voice that women loved, and men envied. Kind of like a Barry White on steroids.
            Harper was very popular on WBLS-FM, where he began in 1976.  He started the Quiet Storm in the early 1980s, and the format soon found itself duplicated on black radio stations across the country, and has become  an institution.
            I was young and trying to get into radio at the time. I was also star-struck, and wanted to meet some of my favorite DJs from WBLS, so I would sponsor special Thursday night events at Manhattan discos featuring folks like WBLS morning man Ken “Spider” Webb and Quiet Storm host Vaughn Harper.
            For the Harper event, I would tape several hours of his show, and then edit the highlights together into a single production to playback for the crowd before bringing Harper out to speak and do his thing. Of course, because I was making money, I had to pay Harper for being there, but it was all good. He got money and  a chance to meet all of the girls he wanted, and I got to briefly hang out with a local star and pump him for information about to get into the radio business, plus show – off my production skills.
            I would be lying if I didn’t admit I was also angling for a job (or at least a recommendation to work) at WBLS. That was a draem for many of us budding broadcasters.
            Needless to say, I never saw Vaughn Harper again, even though I continued to listen, of course. He was great at what he did, and no one did it better.
            Thanks, Vaughn Harper, and GOD bless your  soul. You were one of the true legends of New York radio, along with Frankie Crocker, Ken Webb, Vy Higgensen and Lamar Renee. I learned from all of you. Thank you.
            WENDY’S BIG MOUTH – Apparently talk show hostess Wendy Williams has been running her mouth so much lately that it’s costing her business.
            It was recently during the “Hot Topics” segment  of her popular syndicated TV show. Williams seemed to have a problem with the existence of historically black college and universities, and, of all things, the NAACP.
            I would be really offended if there was a school that was known as a historically white college. We have historically black colleges. What if there was the National Organization for White People, only? There’s the NAACP,” Williams said.
            Looks like Wendy has gotten like Fox News token negro Stacey Dash. That’s sad, indeed.
            Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing Writer

            The NC NAACP is once again joining with the movements to free Kalvin Michael Smith and Dontae Sharpe – two black men supporters say were falsely accused, convicted and imprisoned for crimes they did not commit –in “major statewide actions”  to demand that Gov. Pat McCrory and State Attorney Gen. Roy Cooper “… compel justice and hasten the Department of Justice…” to release them.
            "It is immoral to forget the pain of those behind bars so easily-- though they may be separated from us by concrete walls and the label of criminal, they are our brothers and sisters, and they are God's children,” Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP, said in the statement.
            Kalvin Smith is serving up to 29 years in prison, charged with the December 1995 brutal assault in Winston – Salem of an assistant store manager, even though there was no physical evidence connecting him with the crime. Witnesses placed Smith on the other side of town at the time, and subsequent investigations, including by a retired FBI agent, note that the Winston-Salem Police Dept.’s original investigation was shoddy at best.
            Atty. Gen Cooper, however,  has refused to join with Smith’s attorneys to ask for a new trial.
            Dontae Sharpe has been serving a life sentence since 1994 for a murder during a drug buy in Greenville. Sharpe was reportedly offered a plea deal by the Pitt County district attorney for time served, but turned it down, saying that he could not accept it for a crime that he did not commit.
            The Duke University Wrongful Convictions Clinic is working on Sharpe’s case.
            In a recently released statement, the NC NAACP and the NC NAACP’s Youth and College Division designated Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31 as not only special days of advocacy for Sharpe and Smith in Greenville and Winston-Salem respectively, but also days of tribute to the work and memory of the late Darryl Hunt.
            At the age of 19, Hunt as falsely convicted of a 1984 Winston-Salem murder. He served 19 years in prison, even though DNA evidence proved him innocent a decade before he was released. After his release, Hunt worked diligently to help other victims of false prosecutions. Darryl Hunt died last March.
            The civil rights organization has previously called for justice in both cases, most recently last March when the NC NAACP joined with the families of Smith and Sharpe in calling for the governor and state atty. general to intercede on their behalf.
            We are sending a message in North Carolina to all those running for elected office,” Rev. Barber said. “People of good-will will not end our advocacy on behalf of these two innocent men, Dontae and Kalvin, until they are set free and their convictions vacated.”
“This miscarriage of justice must end and courageous leadership must emerge ,” Barber continued. “It is no longer acceptable in the state of North Carolina to play politics with the lives of Black men and Black women, and hope the civil rights community and our allies stand by quietly. We must all cry out against this injustice committed in our names. United, we can bring about a lasting change. “
At press time, the event locations for July 30 -31 were yet to be announced.


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