Mello Yello: The Incredible Life Story of Jack the Rapper

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9780990499640: Mello Yello: The Incredible Life Story of Jack the Rapper
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In the 1920s a little boy named Jack Gibson shook hands with the great Marcus Garvey. Over the course of his amazing life, Gibson continued to cross paths with the most famous personalities of the 20th century. He would become a giant of the music industry, known to all as "Jack the Rapper."

In the '40s, he and J.B. Blayton established the first black-owned radio station in the United States--WERD. As a disc jockey and emcee, he built enduring friendships with the royalty of black entertainment: Sammy Davis Jr., Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Nat King Cole, Pearl Bailey, Nancy Wilson, and Ray Charles. In the '60s and '70s, he worked at Motown, Revelot, and Stax promoting a new generation of stars: Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson, Isaac Hayes, and The Staple Singers.

During the Civil Rights Movement, he reported history as he lived it. He interviewed both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, and reported from Detroit as it burned following Dr. King's assassination.

As publisher of an influential Black trade magazine called the Mello Yello, Gibson contributed to sweeping changes for African Americans in radio and the recording industry. But The Rapper's most long-reaching achievement was his glittering "Family Affair"--an annual black music convention and springboard for new talent. The heavy hitters of the music industry always cleared their schedules to lend their talents to The Rapper's big night: Prince, Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, James Brown, Whitney Houston, Eddie Murphy, Hammer, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Sinbad, L.L. Cool J, Babyface, Heavy D, Tupac, Queen Latifah, Snoop Dogg, Suge Knight, Bobby Brown... And the list goes on like a "Who's Who" of entertainment superstars.

This tell-all book contains the inside stories you have never heard before...

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From the Author:

Over the course of my two-year collaboration with Jack the Rapper Gibson, I listened to hundreds of stories--some personal, some historical.  He always called me "Father Walker" because he said that talking to me was like going to confession.

I listened to Jack laugh and talk trash as only he could. I was his sounding board for ranting and raving about life's injustice.  I heard the pain of too many goodbyes and felt the indomitable spirit of a man who fought that "final curtain" right up to the end.  Jack the Rapper. Jockey Jack. Ol' Nosey. He was part "Green Onions" and a little Shostakovich. A zoot-suit wearin' bebop man and the voice of The Symphony Hour. From the Rum Boogie to the Lord Calvert and Club Wallahajee to Hitsville, U.S.A. and the White House. From "assuming the position" as a policy man in 1940s Chicago to his place in the spotlight, center-stage at all those glittering Family Affairs that we all miss so much. He crisscrossed the country riding on airwaves, and probably shook more hands than any president or his old buddy Thurgood Marshall. He was a man who lived history and then reported it. He played too hard and loved too many women. And he raised hell when hell needed raising.

Only two things sobered him.  Impassioned him.  Gave him pause.

Music and angels.

His rap went completely rhapsodic when it came to music--from Arthur Prysock's "This Is My Beloved" to "Purple Rain" by Prince. Jack the Rapper showed us the colors of music and made us feel its magic with every spin. And he did have his angels. First there was Sadye, who blessed him with two angels of their own, Little Jack and Jamilla, Lady of the Moonlight. And one last angel named Elsie came along "Just In Time" for one last lovely romance.

Music and angels.

The volume of Jack's voice has faded over the years, but it's still alive in my memory. Now I guess it's my turn to put in my two-cents' worth...

Jack, this was so much more than a book project. There was so much wisdom between the lines of your stories; so much truth in your tall tales. Even when your wicked side was wrong, you always walked on the side of right when it counted. For over two years you were my clown prince, a grouchy pain in the ass, a "Talking Book" of history, and a streetwise philosopher. You were one of my most revered teachers, and you will always be my cherished friend. Writing your life was a blast. Thanks for the ride in your time machine.

                                                            With love,
                                                            --Father Walker

About the Author:

With a background in writing and music, Walker recorded three solo albums with the prestigious Casablanca label before shifting back to writing. Moving from the L.A. music scene to New York, she wrote interviews and commentary for Vertigo and African Voices, as well as features for the Reel Sisters Film Festival. After the publication of her first novel The Color Line, she completed two additional novels, Bluestone Rondo and Letters from Rome. Mello Yello is the result of a two-year collaboration with Jack Gibson.
 
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