By ONME Newswire
The "rona" blues ...
With the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting everyday-life, the entertainment industry continues to find ways to adapt and still entertain the public.
Although difficult in concept, African-American performing artists are trying to come up with new ways to reach the public, entertain, and still make a living during such difficult times; the norm of playing at restaurants, local concert venues, weddings and other special events has not been possible for artists who usually get a majority of their income from such weekly bookings. Such income opportunities have been halted for the last six months due to county and state closures; artists have had to find unique or no ways to survive the fickle economy.
The African American Historical and Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley (AAHCMSJV), located in Central California, opened its doors in 1989, thanks to the sacrifices made by founder Sergeant Jack Kelley and a host of co-founders and supporters who saw the need to educate and inform residents of Central Valley Black local heroes and trailblazers who made a difference in their communities, against the odds. Today the AAHCMSJV Museum, which is privately funded by community donors, is considered the Black culture and arts hub for all residents in the Central Valley; however, since the beginning of the pandemic in March, their doors have been closed due to state and/or county COVID-19 regulations, causing economic loss from its usual in-person, annual events.
Let the holiday season begin ...
When the ONME Network was approached by several Black California artists to think of a way to use its media platforms and distribution networks to help them, a unique partnership was formed, allowing for both parties to work together for an upcoming holiday production:
The ONME Network will sponsor its first virtual, pay-per view California Holiday Special, December 14, 2020 at 12:00 PM to benefit Black California artists. People can enjoy a spirited, 2-hour commercial-free musical production filled with festive music, spoken word, and holiday messages. The programming will run live continuously all day on Dec. 14, and then will be available for download purchases starting Dec. 15, (for those who purchase before Dec. 14 for the live show, they will also receive a free code to download the production starting Dec. 15)
Featured artists include Les Franklin & The Oaktown Blues Gang, Al Turner & Friends, Baby Bee & The Goodfellas Plus, Keysha & the Impromptu Band with special guest appearances from legendary jazz and blues musicians Bobby Logan and Bobby Brown.
The goal of the benefit is to provide emergency support for Black California artists and the AAHCMSJV Museum who are struggling considerably during the COVID-19 restrictions, causing considerable loss of income. In fact, veteran, Sacramento, CA music management genius, Mr. Rick Warren, president of Rick Warren Presents, has attached himself to this music benefit with the intention of helping fellow artists; he has spent the last 30 years working in the communities of California on the behalf of African Americans, Latinos and other undeserved ethnic groups to assure they have an equitable opportunity towards success in the music industry.
The Incentive to support now
The first 1,000 donors will receive name recognition as a "VIP Supporter" scrolling at the bottom of the video screen during the 2-hour program, as a thank for helping California Black artists.
# # #
Biographies of the Artists
Les Franklin is no stranger to the industry as he's been on the theatrical stage in the Smokey Robinson play "The Gospel Truth", Model for a few books such as "Dueling Pistols by Omar Fletcher, & Swamp Man by Donald Goines", Appeared on Masayoshi Takanaka Japan's Blues/Rock Guitarist and more recently, Les Franklin was one of the lead singers for Danny Thomas and Confunkshun!
Now stepping out on his own with the release of his new single entitled "I'm A Good Man" Les Franklin is a throwback to the days when guys would confess their love for their lady, however, Les Franklin is the dopest sound to hit the airwaves or Broadband since the like of Mr. Teddy P.
Les Franklin is working with the legendary "Ice Dogg" one of the dopest producers in the business even though Les Franklin is wearing multiple hats as he serves as Producer & Writer on both tracks (Easy Love & "I'm A Good Man".)
Les Franklin is a classic showman as he has learned from some of the greatest artists to ever grace the stage, especially touring the world with the late great "Little Richard" who taught Les Franklin how to master the stage and work the crowd into a frenzy, with smooth, powerful vocals and a mastery of the stage!
Los Banos, CA native Keysha Burns moved to Fresno, CA in 1998 where she raised her 3 children. Her love for people ultimately landed her working with special needs adults.
Keysha began a career in music at the tender age of 5 when she led her first solo in church; that was the point she realized music would ultimately be the bread-winner for her family. Keysha began singing & writing for other artists both well-known and unknown, eventually leading her to her European tour to places such as Helsinki, Finland; Tallinn, Estonia; Germany; London, England, and Amsterdam. She has also toured nationwide and California wide. Keysha has said, “I want to change lives one soul at a time through music; when people see me in action, I don’t want them to leave the way they came. I want to be an EXPERIENCE for hurting souls.”
On top of serving 6 counties working with special needs adults, Keysha also is the leader of her band, The Impromptu Band, and the worship leader at her church, The Word Community Church.
In her own words, Keysha believes, “I know my voice is to be used to help heal the wounded, the hurting, or just the person that just needs to relax. I’m thankful to be where I am today.”
Keysha is a domestic violence survivor. She noted, “I live an intentional life. My goal is to reach people. People LOVE music and I know I can change people’s hearts through a song.” Keysha’s genre of music is pretty much endless, gospel being her first love; however, she does it all.
Charles A Turner born in 1955, is the eighth of 13 children to parents Archie and Lola Turner in Detroit Michigan. He started singing and performing at age 5 with his siblings, "The Turner Brothers," a gospel Quintet.
By age 14, Charles started his own band, "Cat Turner and The Dynamic Intellects,” performing primarily in the southern states where his family had relocated to Tennessee. After graduating high school in 1973, he attended and graduated from Tennessee State University and Meharry Medical Colleges in Nashville, Tennessee.
In late 1981 he entered into a partnership with a former employer and started a business. Twelve years into the business, he purchased his partner's interest and remained in business until 1994.
All along the way, he has always performed and played music from Papa Bear &Co. for 25+ years and various other bands in addition to his own, " Al Turner and Friends.”
He continually performs weekly for numerous occasions including some 15+ assisted living and memory care organizations throughout the Central Valley.
Rarely do you find the talent that Baby Bee possesses in a small central valley town such as Fresno. Baby Bee is definitely your proverbial, small-town girl who makes it big. She has put her stamp on West Coast music.
At an early age the music bug bit Baby Bee. She had so much love for R&B and Blues that she started beating on her parent's pots and pans and singing along with the records.
In no time flat Baby Bee was playing every style of music that the City of Fresno offered; R&B, Blues, Country, Jazz, and Gospel. As a female drummer in the male-dominated music industry, she was a standout receiving calls for gigs from Blues Legends such as the late-great Ron Thompson, who played guitar for Blues icon Jimmie Reed, Big Mama Thornton, and Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac fame. She also was a show drummer for the old school show of The Warren Milton Blues Revue.
Baby Bee reaches the pentacle of her drumming career and backed up some of the Blues & R&B legendary icons such as; Chick Willis (Stoop Down Baby), Bobby Day (Rocken Robin, Little Bitty Pretty One, Over and Over,), Lowell Fulson ( Tramp, Black Night, Reconsider Baby), Floyd Dixon (Hey Bartender, Blues Brother's movie song), Big Time Sara (Chicago Blues Queen), The Tucker Brothers (the most popular family Blues band ever out of the Central Valley) and the list goes on and on. After Baby Bee's success as the top drummer in her field, it was time to try something new and move to the microphone.