All Articles Tagged "Band"
One can only assume that back in the day, some recording stars didn’t learn much about the business of music and therefore, it has hurt them many years later. That must be the case for legendary funk star George Clinton. That, or he’s had way too much of the “chief” over the years. Either way, he is about to pay – and hopefully learn in the process – in a major way.
Clinton’s former law firm, Hendrick & Lewis, won a huge case against the musician back in 2010. At that time, Clinton was ordered to pay off the $1.5 million bill he owed them. However, they were only able to collect $340,000 in repayment from him. In court documents obtained by TMZ, Clinton must now hand over the rights to his music in order to pay off the debt since he doesn’t appear to have any other way to pay. Hendricks & Lewis now own the copyrights to “Hardcore Jollies, “The Electric Spanking of War Babies,” “Uncle Jam Wants You” and the classic “One Nation Under A Groove.” Under the terms of the settlement, H&L can do whatever they want to do with the songs…including selling it or using it whenever or however they want.
We might hear his music in commercials any day now.
The federal judge ruled that whenever H&L has recouped the money, they must turn the rights back over to Clinton. For his part, Clinton is appealing the ruling but there’s been no word on how long it will take for a decision.
Not really sure when those with positions of authority in these organizations and bands will get the memo that hazing is wrong on so many levels and needs to stop. But maybe, just maybe, after the death of Robert Champion and the charges brought against 13 members of FAMU’s legendary band, people will learn.
Champion, a 26-year-old drum major at FAMU, was beaten to death aboard a chartered bus after a performance last fall. Band members beat Champion severely, leaving large bruises on his chest, arms, shoulders and back, according to the AP. Witnesses to the beating say Champion might have been targeted not only because he was against members partaking in hazing, but also because he was gay, and was a candidate for the role of chief drum major.
The 13 individuals had the charges brought against them today, five months after the incident happened, and 11 out of the 13 people will face a hazing resulting in death charge, which can carry up to six years. The other two individuals will face misdemeanor charges for their role in Champion’s death. While the parents of the young man were pleased that charges were being filed, they were disappointed that the charges were not more severe. The mother of Champion, Pam, told the AP, “I thought there would be more serious charges. I thought it should send a harsher message.” It seems the possibility of manslaughter and second-degree murder charges were shut down. But State Attorney Lawson Lamar said these charges weren’t sought because murder didn’t seem to be the motive, plus, there’s no evidence to support that thought:
“The testimony obtained to date does not support a charge of murder, in that it does not contain the elements of murder. We can prove participation in hazing and a death. We do not have a blow or a shot or a knife thrust that killed Mr. Champion. It is an aggregation of things which exactly fit the Florida statute as written by the Legislature.”
Because of the incident, the school has suspended the band, and Champion’s parents are even trying to sue the bus company for standing by and allowing the beating to happen–on the bus. But representatives of the company said the driver was not near the bus during the beating, and if he was, he wouldn’t have let it happen.
This is definitely a sad situation, and I hope the family can get some justice for Robert. Unfortunately, this has become far too common of a thing on college campuses. People hoping to get the shine of being a member of a prestigious band or having the chance to wear certain letters have been getting beat, run like mules, forced to drink to the point of alcohol poisoning and more for years now, and sometimes death is the result. Well a lot of the time actually. Look up names like Carson Starkey, Michael Starks, Kenitha Saafir and Kristin High, Vann L. Watts, Michael Davis, Joseph Green–just to name a few names. While this might change the way FAMU and their band happen to do things, what’s it really going to take for students in these organizations and groups elsewhere to get the memo? If the death of someone innocent isn’t the glaring sign these students need, then what’s really left to get them to wake up?
How can schools step in more to stop hazing? Is it possible?
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Moved by the recent death of Florida A&M drum major Robert Champion, U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson says she plans to introduce a federal anti-hazing bill when Congress returns from its holiday break next month.
In Champion’s case, police say he was punched and paddled in a hazing ritual during the school’s Marching 100 band trip to the annual Florida Classic in Orlando. An autopsy report showed that the 26-year-old’s “muscles were beaten so badly that they were destroyed like you would see in a heart attack.” So far, the Marching 100 has been suspended from all activities and its director placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s investigation but Wilson says overall, hazing is demeaning, dangerous, deadly, and needs to be stopped.
The question is whether a law would do any good? Most colleges and universities have policies prohibiting hazing as a means of granting students entrance into fraternities, sororities, and other campus organizations yet the practice still goes on. Some groups get suspended for a semester, maybe even a year, but when the next opportunity rolls around, hazing resumes and vows of silence and solidarity amongst members of these groups keep such practices from being openly exposed although the activity is well-known. So what good would a law do? It could ensure those who are caught hazing endure much stricter punishments, but for any practical change to come about, leaders of these organizations have to take a stance against hazing and truly desire to create alternative means of ushering in new members to a group that don’t threaten their well-being. As long as group members see hazing as a method of proving worth and loyalty, they will just find sneakier ways to go about it.
Do you think an anti-hazing law would stop this activity on college campuses?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.