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Currency

Cover image for podcast episode

PHOTO COURTESY OF Parker Edison

Currency

In this episode, we look at a currency worth more than money and Dr. Tayari Howard tells us how Black radio pioneers had to cross the border to get access to the San Diego airwaves.

Music credits:
•Cee Knowledge - Seguir en Frente by
•Tres ‘Sojourn’ Hodgens - Money Sign
•King Dice - MMSM theme song

Guests:
•Dr William Tayari Howard linkedin.com/in/tayarihoward
•King Dice (rap artist) KingDiceSays.com
•Cee Knowledge ( aka Doodlebug of Digable Planets ) ceeknowledgepresents.bandcamp.com

Show credits: Parker Edison (Host), Kurt Kohnen (Co-creator), Chris Reyes (Head Editor) and Tres ”Sojourn” Hodgens (Music Supervisor)

the gorgeous Casjnoir
You are now listening to the Parker Edison Project project.

Good morning and welcome to the Parker Edison Project. When we look at tenets of the culture and what really makes America great. For this episode, for this particular. It's. ... Moola, clams, cheddar cheese, duckets, it's the loot. Yeah, money is interchangeable with other forms of currency, like street cred. Like in the movie Friday, Deebo was bullyin Red's Bike with street cred. Thats how he was getting in people's pockets. That's currency my first guest talks about a currency more valuable than money. But wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Hold up. I got to switch this beat. The theme of this episode is currency. My first guest is Dr. William Tayari Howard. I need you to really listen to what he's saying because he's bringing out gems. Slow down a bit, Examine them with us, pay attention to how the money moves in the tale he's telling, and also see if you can recognize a currency more valuable than money. I don't want to waste another minute. Let's get right into it. It's an absolute honor to have you on. Thank you for having me. My first question, because I don't know what it's like. What's it like to have your own holiday in the city?

Dr William Tayari Howard
It's not really a holiday and it certainly isn't a paid holiday, but it is a proclamation that declares on the 2nd of February, one day after my birthday as the official Dr. William Tayari Howard day, that's what is on the proclamation. The city is very good at doing it. I'm glad they acknowledge people before they die. So I have to give our city councilwoman on the 4th District, Monica Montgomery, credit for that. Also, kudos to the city council members that have signed the proclamation and our newly elected mayor, Todd Gloria.

you also received an award from former President Obama, correct?

Dr William Tayari Howard
President Barack Obama acknowledged ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things. And at the time, I had one hundred sixty six thousand community service hours since nineteen eighty one.

What kind of what kind of what kind of works earn a man his own holiday.

Dr William Tayari Howard
I was arrested and put in jail for breaking women's hearts over the radio. So let me say that again. I was arrested and put in jail for breaking women's hearts over the radio. Back then I had a program. It was the number one nighttime radio show in San Diego County called Music for Lovers. It was all ballads that was patented similarly, similarly to the Quiet Storm, which was founded by Howard University. So I had a show that ran here for over ten years and they say I am ninety two point five called Music for lovers. And it was all ballads basically. So they they came to the radio station. Police officers served a warrant for my arrest, put me in handcuffs. Drove me downtown, where an African-American judge met me there. And he says, Tayari, is good to see you. Not under these circumstances. You've been you've been found guilty of breaking women's hearts over the radio and your bail is set at one thousand dollars. You have three hours to raise the money or you'll have to do your show in jail tonight. So I did raise the money successfully. All money went to the American Heart Association and the same was called cardiac arrest. And this is what's kept me visible for 50 years in San Diego County, probably raising money for all types of charitable events. That's why I spent 19 years in exile on ninety two point five crossing the border, going all the year because when they are in black analysis over here in San Diego County, and I did that for ten years straight while working twenty five years at San Diego Gas and Electric and I transitioned to Jammin Z90. Anything what let's call it, by the way, is a Mexican station.

Another form of currency, skin color. Being without that currency can stifle a person's progress. In the nineteen eighties, California radio stations did not hire black DJs to work in the stations. Black deejays would record their show on ten inch reels in the back room of black owned record stores in the station would pay a Mexican courier to pick up the tapes and bring them to stations to be played. Let's sidestep the fact that the stations were paying extra money to couriers to keep black DJs out of the station. Let's skip that entirely and just point out that this is radio. That means even in a medium we are unseen, color is still an issue.

Dr William Tayari Howard
When Dr Morrow took over the station in nineteen eighty, he said, I want all of our radio personalities to go live in Mexico. That's a whole other channel just in a foreign country broadcast live. All fifty thousand watt transmitter film travels all the way up to Mission Viejo, California. That woke me up real quick. I have a platform, I have an audience. I have some one of the best music shows in the country right here in a foreign country. And from then on, from that point on, I was driving the Bentley instead of Volkswagen. When Morrow took over ninety two point five in nineteen eighty. And I was one of the first people he called to be on the air because he used to cut my hair. And then I joined Jammin in nineteen, 1990 and stay there for four years, nineteen ninety to 1984 and then I transitioned in 1985 over to Afghan soldiers ninety eight point one and stay there for sixteen years until 2011. I mean this is history. This is untold history of some of the things that people have even forgotten or dont really know about what we did or what Dr. Morrow did in an effort to introduce radio and broadcasting to the black and brown audience in San Diego and keep it going. He wasn't the founder of because before him there was several other African-Americans that brought black music to San Diego. It was a Travis Downs and his wife, they ran the whole series of several record stores here in San Diego called On Target Records, and they made a deal with the Mexican government to broadcast over exchange program. And that's where we first got started. So there were several people, African-American background, that were very concerned about having a voice. And that's really the key message here, having a voice without the opportunity to showcase our voice. We are nothing without the opportunity to mentor. We are nothing.

Let me backtrack just a few points to make sure that I have an understanding of this. You name drop a couple of people who were starting radio stations earlier. You mentioned a married couple.

Dr William Tayari Howard
Yes. Gloria and Travis Down's who ran on target record stores with that radio station.

Was that just a a mom and pop deal or was that a big money corporate thing?

Dr William Tayari Howard
It was a mom pop deal that transcended into a huge deal. They negotiated that deal long before NAFTA, North American Free Trade Agreement. These are African-Americans that are going across the border recognizing that there are Mexican men and women who would like to do business with America. And this is how they did business.

Like essentially this is a regular couple that made this deal and then corporations would follow suit.

Dr William Tayari Howard
Yes, exactly what I'm saying. They had a mom and pop restaurant similar to Tower Records, Warehouse Records, Licorce Records, but their stores were smaller. They had enough vision to understand that they could transcend and compete by getting on the radio. Now they can play what they need to play in terms of black music to promote it and sell it and push it to the white record stores. Does that makes sense?

Mind blown. Yes, sir, it does.

Dr William Tayari Howard
OK at the time Willie Morrow came into it in nineteen eighty. He simply took what he had already learned and then expounded on it. It was a self-made millionaire, so he was able to put two, three million dollars in to it up front, and that exploded ninety two point five into a conglomerate of itself. Then he combined with this newspaper called the San Diego Monitor. So now he has a New Black Newspaper and he has a black radio station. Fifty thousand watts, which was unheard of at that time, broadcasting almost all the way up to Los Angeles. We were able to really step into the market, control the market, take over the market. And we had no competition because we were playing black music or everybody else was playing separate types of music. And we forced San Diego's over twenty five thirty stations at the time to start playing black music as a result of the fact that we had cornered the market

Let that breathe for a second man. These people are pioneers in the currency was music and culture, and they used it to get a seat at the table and on the airwaves. Stay tuned for the second part of this interview. Just getting good. Welcome back. We're smack in the middle of an awesome interview with radio personality and philanthropist Dr. William Tayari Howard. He's been doing this with the history of the city. Listen in..

Dr William Tayari Howard
You have time for some more gems? Are you sitting down now?

I absolutely am.

Dr William Tayari Howard
Cause I dont see seat belts on that chair. Here we go. Now, I just told you, I've spent 50 years in broadcasting in San Diego, California. I actually started going to a radio station at the age of five. My mother was one of the first black females in the United States of America on air coproducing her own radio shows six days a week. My father met my mother at the same radio station in Louisville, Kentucky, and spent twenty one years on the air. He was a former tour manager for the Lionel Hampton Band. He spent twenty one years at the same station and started out as a part time job and raised to the ranks of program director before his death. So that's the first generation of my family and the second generation. I have two daughters behind me who have all been in radio broadcasting and they are the third generation of our family in the business of broadcasting spanning ninety one years as of this year. I remember my father before he died. One of his favorite quotes was he who controls the frequency controls a generation. At one point we had about one hundred and fifty black owners of radio and television stations in America. Today we have about 11 of them. He who controls the frequency controls of generations. I call it divine intervention that I am in this business this day and have done such a good job as a father to the point where I've cultivated my own daughters into this, who became the third generation, and that I was able to mentor over one hundred and fifty students in broadcasting in a 30 year period.

What are you working on right now?

Dr William Tayari Howard
Well, I started a new corporation. It's called Legacy Media Publishing, Promotions and Production Ink. I finished three manuscripts on three different books. One is called The Power, of course, radioactive. And the third, when we're trying to turn into a movie to shop it to either Netflix or Amazon Prime Radio In My Blood, which chronicles three generations of a black family in the business of broadcasting trials and tribulations.

Thank you for those contributions, man. I'm speaking to you right now because of your contribution to me. Thank you.

Dr William Tayari Howard
You exemplify what I've done over 50 years. Thank you.

Thank you. That's an honor. In this interview, Dr. Howard mentioned Willie Morrow. If you like to know more about him after this episode, hop on Netflix and watch the documentary Good Hair. After inventing the Afro pick, which was made popular by the San Diego chapter of the Black Panthers, Dr. Morrow invented the California curl. He then took that money and bought radio towers in Mexico. This allowed black DJs in the city to play artists that weren't getting radio exposure. They basically cut out the middleman like Tony Montana and Scarface to get their product directly to the customer has gangster that increased sales in both white and black record stores, which broke black artists to national audiences. How does nobody in this story have a statue in the city yet? They brought black radio to San Diego in the opening of the show. I mentioned the currency more valuable than money. A platform to amplify voices is that it has the power to impact generations, generate wealth and pave the way for people like me to make meaningful work like this. That's currency. And now a new segment I think you'll enjoy. This is MSMM.

King Dice
I am King Dice, social commentator, hip hop aficionado and connoisseur of fine cheeseburgers.

im P Edison. I'm the co-host today

King Dice
and this is movies millenials should movie where we review a movie that millennials may not have ever seen before. You just need to check out. Today we have movies about money. And I have to say I was a little bit shaky on this one because I felt it was kind of stereotypical. But what I like about it is it's a movie about black people getting money, but it's not the first to do something. It's also not a slave movie, a tale of somebody amassing a fortune. And it's always like that. And my pick, without further ado, is New Jack City that was on family. Starring Wesley Snipes, Allen Payne IceT. It's a movie about a gang of people in New York who are pretty much bringing crack to New York. And I think one of the greatest stories about gangsters ever and 2pac was set to play G money, which is the character that Allen Payne plays in the movie. When you see that. Please watch the movie and imagine Tupac in that role. And I think that would have been that would be crazy. Parker what do you got?

I'm a pick for my movie. I'm go with Boiler Room from my movie. It's got a heavy hip hop soundtrack. It's all about a young kid who gets into stockbroking. But the movie really parallels the classic black story of getting into a street hustle and then getting out of control and destroying people's lives. I want to get out of what you do anymore.

movie trailer
Just get out of here. So it was here, it's time. Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, me along, Tom Everett Scott and Ben Affleck. Anybody who tells you money is the root of all evil doesn't have any.

They of put it in the context of a stockbroker with this kid, I think like Long Island. So that's my suggestion. Boiler room. Let me give it for money stacks. Let me give it for money. Stack emojis. What is New Jack gettin from you?

King Dice
New York City is getting five full emojis because it just keeps calling me. It just keeps calling my name.

Oh, and on that note, this is a fire episode of movies millennials to movie a tell them who you are

King Dice
King Dice. And if you want to follow me and keep up with what I'm doing, check me out at King Dice says Dotcom. This has been another episode of movies Millennials should movie.

Spring is spring in my playlist is warming up and playing this track for like three days straight. Know, I want to put you all on to it, but I'm not sure how to pronounce the title. So I'm calling the artist Doublecheck. But before I do, it should be noted that my next guest is a Grammy Award winning hip hop artist who found success through the currency of authenticity by being true to himself. Who are you and what do you do?

Cee Knowledge
My name is Cee Knowledge, a.k.a. Doodlebug of a group called The Planets. I'm a rapper producer right now. I'm in Fresno, California.

Huge fan. Honored to have you on. Thanks for having me. For your contribution to rap. Groundbreaking material, groundbreaking material. I just found out about the Calidelphian album. can you tell me about the title?

Cee Knowledge
It was basically just describes my new sound. I'm saying who I am now, originally from Philadelphia, now live in California. So I created this new character called The CaliDelphian, inspired from my love of a TV show called The Mandalorian. OK, OK.

Whats something you want your audience to get from this project?

Cee Knowledge
A love of music, philosophy on life and just something that you really understand what you're not used to hearing before you. I'm saying this is something totally different. I'm trying to speak strictly to my inner self. Be free. I stop trying to worry about what other people think about you and just do we do just do you and me and love for hip hop that's enduring, that's endured decades and decades.

The whole piece. Ursula Rucker, joint latest hits on YouTube. But number three is, is this out of here? I don't speak Spanish. Can you break down the title for me?

Cee Knowledge
Yes, actually, Portuguese and roughly translates into Rock On.

Do you mind if I play it right now?

Cee Knowledge
I love you to play it right now. Yes. This is one of the songs on my new album called The Calidelphian. It's entitled Seguir en Frente. I collaborated with my brother Dr. Drummer. We did the song together.

Thanks for stopping in, Parker Edison Project has produced and hosted by yours truly Parker Edison and the Good People at Platform Collection. Be sure to subscribe and catch the next episode on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts if you have any comments or questions. Visit the Parker Edison Project Dotcom or hit us on Instagram at the project. My guy Kurt Koenen is audio production manager. Kinsee Morlan is my favorite podcast coordinator. Lisa Jane Morrissette is operations manager and John Decker is Associate General Manager for Content. This programing is made possible in part by the KPBS's Explore Content Fun Love saying that because it reminds me of Sesame Street, you'll stay safe out there.

This episode is dedicated to Earl Simmons, a.k.a. DMX Salute.

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The Parker Edison Project

What comes to mind when you think of American culture? The Parker Edison Project works to expand the cliché answer to that question. It's a podcast that zooms way in on what really makes a culture — food, music, style, sex, fashion and more. Join host and co-creator Parker Edison for insightful conversations about creativity and community, all through the lens of Black America. This is the Parker Edison Project, a sonic exploration of what's considered American, where each episode starts with a thought-provoking talk and ends with a musical bang.