Christmas is a time where family comes together to share the wonderful tradition of giving gifts to loved ones. Nestled safely under the Christmas Tree, these gifts are packaged in ornate wrapping-paper hiding the contents for all to see, namely the individual who will be the recipient of said gift.
Where does this tradition come from?:
The practice of giving gifts at the beginning of winter traces back to ancient Rome. According to Dennis Green’s article, “The Origins and Practices of Christmas: Christian or Pagan?” written December 8, 2008 and found on the Free Republic website, “Ancient Romans held year end celebrations to honor Saturn, their harvest god; and Mithras, the [sic] god of light…As part of these celebrations, the people prepared special foods, decorated their homes with greenery, and joined in singing and gift giving. These customs gradually became part of gift giving.
The origins of gift-giving date back to the days of Rome and include the Biblical tale of the birth of Jesus and the gifts he received from the three wise men.
Interestingly, but 24-hours before Christmas, a gift bestowed from father to daughter ended up being a weapon utilized in a manner even the Grinch couldn’t comprehend:
“Blackstreet vocalist Teddy Riley is accused of using a Rock Band guitar controller to violently attack his daughters.
18-year old Taja Riley has taken out a temporary restraining order against her dad after an incident where she claims he was “stomping, punching and bashing” she and her older sister at home just before Christmas, which left Taja’s knees, face and head injured. The court documents say Riley at one point brandished the controller and threatened to kill someone with it.
A hearing is set for next month.”
Christmas is a time for families to come together over gifts that benefit the entire family. Board games bring families closer, as generational gaps are closed over games such as Battleship, Twister, Clue and Monopoly over the Christmas weekend. Video games have the same ability to foster an air of conviviality, yet Mr. Riley failed in this:
Teddy’s 18-year-old daughter Taja Riley was granted a temporary restraining order against her dad — claiming 43-year-old Teddy abused her and her older sister by “stomping, punching and bashing them” in his L.A. home on December 23.
In the documents, filed in L.A. County Superior Court, Taja claims at one point Teddy, “lifted a Rock Band guitar and threatened to kill person(s) w/ it.”
Taja claims she suffered several injuries in the alleged altercation — including “bashes to temple, contusion on face” and “pain in knee.”
What exactly is Rock Band, the video game behind the Christmas attack?:
Rock Band is a series of music video games developed by Harmonix Music Systems and MTV Games, and distributed by Electronic Arts for the Nintendo DS, iPhone, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, and Xbox 360 game systems. The series, inspired by Harmonix’s previous efforts on the Guitar Hero series, allows up to four players to simulate the performance of popular rock music songs by playing with controllers modeled after musical instruments. Players can play the lead guitar, bass guitar, and drums parts to songs, as well as sing through a USB microphone. Players are scored on their ability to match scrolling musical “notes” while playing instruments, or by their ability to match the singer’s pitch on vocals. The first game in the series, Rock Band , was released in 2007 shortly after Harmonix was acquired by MTV Games, and its sequel Rock Band 2 was released in 2008. Harmonix has also regularly provided downloadable content, in the form of additional downloadable songs on a weekly basis through the game consoles’ network services. To date, over 1000 songs are available between those on the game discs and through downloadable content. Harmonix has also created standalone Track Packs that either contain a selection of downloadable content, or a selection of band-specific songs.
The company has also designed the Rock Band Network to allow bands and labels to publish their songs as Rock Band tracks that can be purchased by players. To date, over 13 million copies of Rock Band titles have been sold with more than $ 1 billion in total sales, and, with more than 1000 songs in the franchise library, over 60 million songs have been downloaded.
Rock Band gives family and friends the chance to come together and perform famous rock songs as a team, a tandem, with one goal: to sound better than the original band that made the song famous to begin with.
Interestingly, Rock Band has few, if any Black performers to emulate. Perhaps this was why Mr. Riley raged out at his daughter over Christmas:
Why don’t black people listen to or produce Rock music? Apparently, the music died on February 3rd, 1959 when Buddy Holly, Richie Valenz, and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash following a concert. Apparently, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Howlin’ Wolf, and Big Mamma Thornton were also on that plane, if in fact, the music had died. Oh they were not. Then what the Hell was that song about? Oh that song was about the day white music died. Got It.Unfortunately, Muddy, Chuck, Little Richard, Wolf, and Big Mamma did die that day. They were smothered in the ashes of their white successors. With Buddy dead and Elvis shipped off to war, the immediate “channelers” of Black blues and soul were gone. And so gone was the trail that led to the beginnings of Rock & Roll. Black Music soon transitioned into the commercial Motown sound which served to make the distinction between polished R&B soul music and the new guitar driven R&B of white acts like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Who. The distinction grew even further as “Rock” music became more audacious and black music became tamer and tamer. Disco music had transformed black music so much that by the 80’s black music and rock music were as different as days and nights. However, there were grand funk bands in the 70’s like Funkadelic, Earth, Wind, and Fire, and Kool & The Gang. And What about Jimi Hendrix?
Rock Band is an amazingly influential video game, that has the ability to endear new generations of music fans (and consumers) to music that they would never hear on the radio or in their peer groups. Sadly, Black musicians aren’t featured in many of the games various incarnations. Many people have perceived the video game Rock Band as racist, and Mr. Riley was just upset that his band has yet to be featured on the game, thus improving past released record sales and ITunes sales.
Stuff Black People Don’t Like includes Rock Band, for the perfect Christmas gift for families to come together and practice perfect “work flow” is yet another example of Black envy popping up at being left off video games.