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Only Hurts When I Cry: A Valentine's Day Tribute to Martin Luther King
by psychologist Dr.Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. B.L.T.
April 4th, 1968. It was the day the day that the music died. Bards and balladeers across the nation tried to make music, but only lachrymose tears would come out. It was the day that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a cold-blooded killer. Many Americans greatly appreciate his legacy. Others refuse to look upon the powerful impression he left on American history and American culture.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., imperfect though he may have been, was a modern-day Moses. He aimed to lead African Americans out of a "land" of oppression, out hands of would-be despotic "pharaohs," and into the promised land of racial equality, harmony, and freedom. The extent to which this has been accomplished is subject to variegated interpretations, but it cannot be doubted or denied that Martin Luther King made great strides towards this noble quest.
What most people don't realize is the pervasive nature of his impact. This includes popular music, now dominated by African-American artists. Incredibly gifted African-American artists were once victims of opportunistic record producers who sought out folks like Pat Boone (otherwise a greatly gifted artist in his own right) to record etiolated, or whitewashed, versions of R&B, soul, gospel, and rock 'n roll classics. Martin Luther King Jr. parted the waters of the Blood-Red Sea of Discrimination so that artists like Andrae Crouch, Luther Vandros, Prince, Aretha Franklin, and countless others could cross over to wide commercial success.
Regardless of where we come from or the color of our skin, we have all been touched and moved by the music of African-American artists, and the artists of other races who were influenced by their sound. All consumers of modern music, myself included, owe a great debt to Martin Luther King Jr. He etched the words and the music to an everlasting song of freedom, harmony and emancipation from oppression deep within our hearts.
To hear and download (for free) the musical version of this article, a song entitled It Only Hurts When I Cry by Dr. B.L.T., check out this link: click here