Ospreyshire Origins: Scraping for Blanched Crops

Lyrics:

There was always a lie
That someone of my complexion never invented anything
They surely never met me
I was known only as Ned
I created the cotton scraper
Much like how my master took humans like me, he took my invention
So, Stewart. How did you come up with my scraper again?
Even the patent office rejected you again and again
You’re so typical in your laziness
When I cried, sweated, and bled more than you could imagine


This would certainly count for a good portion of the previous tracks on Dear Innovare, but this is still a good way to honor an unknown inventor to kick off Black History Month!

Even though he would only be known by the name “Ned”, I’m still going to give him credit and recognition when most people won’t. Ned was a slave who invented a cotton scraper. Think about it, cotton was king in the south which made the plantation owners multi-millionaires. Too bad their lazy butts couldn’t innovate let alone work on their own, so guess who had to do everything and not get the credit? His captor Stewart literally stole Ned’s idea and tried to patent it himself. This was during the time where black people couldn’t patent anything legally in America (expect this to be a common motif), but Stewart couldn’t prove that he invented this money-making machine. Shame how much money was denied for Ned who was the REAL inventor of that agricultural device.

Here’s a fun fact about recording: I actually used a fork to scrape against a vent for the acousmatics.

Ospreyshire Origins: About A Benjamin II: Montgomery

benjaminmontgomery01

Lyrics:

Born into chains and auction blocks
I was under the eyes of the Davis family
I vowed not to be chattel and kept myself learned
Those steamboats in the South enraptured me
Yet they could only do so much
One bad turn and a famine or shortage can occur
No need to steer people wrong and I would figure the right angles for this problem

Enter the propeller! (X4)

My design made these steamboats faster, more efficient, and had better navigation
Shame how my patent was denied (X4)

My former captors including the president of the South tried and failed to credit themselves for what I made
I dreamed of more despite my heartbreak

Isaiah, the rest is up to you.


On Wednesday, I gave a crash course on my Art Theft tracks, but today we’re going to focus on my About A Benjamin series on Dear Innovare. Part II involves the inventor Benjamin Montgomery. His biggest claim as an inventor is creating the steam-powered propeller. Sure, we don’t hear about that propeller that much in 2020, but this was an archetype for controlling boats. Back in his day, he was in the South, so you had all these steamboats around, but they didn’t have any control as they do now when it comes to aquatic transportation. These boats would ship medicine, food, clothes, and other important things. One wrong move, and people will lose major business at best…or die from sickness or famine at worst. Montgomery grew up as a slave, but he was able to make this propeller which causes the boats to actually steer and maneuver in different ways. However, when he made the propeller, it was around the time when black people legally couldn’t patent anything and white people would steal the patents and get all the credit.

This is part of American history, warts and all!

Montgomery’s captors and patent thieves were the Davis family which also involved Jefferson Davis. Yes, the same person who was the president of the freaking Confederacy tried to steal his invention! I’m sick of this thievery and this notion that black people can’t invent anything which sadly people still think about that fallacy even today. Show them this fact and call it a day.

The image of Benjamin Montgomery is from Black Inventor Online Museum.

Ospreyshire Origins: Art Theft series (Benin, Nigeria, Senegal)

2000px-Flag_of_Benin.svg

Benin Lyrics:

[Yoruba]

O ti ja aworan wa
Mase paro ki o so pe o se awon ohun-oso wonti
Awon ile iso re je awon ewon
Je ki a je ki eyi se alaye si o

[French]

Rends-nous notre art maintenant!

Image result for nigerian flag

Nigeria Lyrics:

[Igbo]

I bu ihe nleda anya

[Yoruba]

Nitori ti o ji wa aworan

[Hausa]

Bidajen kayan tarihin ku ya sa aka kama su. I ghotara?

You better return what’s ours!

Image result for senegal flag

Senegal Lyrics:

[Wolof]

Luy sa tiis?
Am nga tere xewoonu Afrig?
Yeena ngi saacee yi

[French]

Comprends maintenant?
Vous ne possedez pas notre histoire!


Here’s a triple header for the Art Theft series! These were challenging songs to write lyrics and Art Theft: Benin was actually an Ospreyshire first for me. That was the first poem I wrote that contained absolutely no English words in it! The Senegal one was even tougher because I really had to work on my Wolof since you can’t use Google Translate or any easy online sources for example. Fortunately, I bought a book on a whim that has words and phrases in Senegal’s native language.

These three countries among others in Africa are quite ticked and rightfully so. Their art, crafts, and artifacts have been looted by Europe. They’re held in museums in that continent and these African nations are suing these countries to get their stuff back. To add insult to injury, some of these nations are giving things back…as LOANED items. No, I don’t want to see loans whether temporary or permanent. You stole them, so you give them back to these nations! I really hope these nations get full returns on their art.

Here are some videos from Dr. Mumbi about the matter:

Even Dr. Y. had some choice articles about this situation:

Europe’s Largest Museums to “Loan” Looted Benin (Nigerian) Artifacts back to Nigeria

Bronze Cockerel from Benin Kingdom to be returned to Nigeria

France urged to change heritage law and return looted art to Africa

Wouldn’t it also be crazy if this situation was featured in a mainstream movie even though a character is portrayed as the bad guy for wanting the artifacts back? Oh, wait… Side note: Notice how Benin is mentioned in this clip.

Say what you will about Killmonger, but he was absolutely right about his questions involving the curator’s “ancestors” and that’s historical fact even though Wakanda doesn’t exist.

Here’s another random fact: I’m also part Beninese and I have a tiny bit of Senegalese in my DNA from my mom’s side. #ForTheCulture

The Beninese flag is from Wikipedia.

The Nigerian flag image is from Wikipedia.

The Senegalese flag image is from Wikipedia.

All videos from the Dr. Mumbi show are from Dr. Mumbi’s YouTube channel.

The museum scene is from Black Panther and is property of Marvel Studios.

Ospreyshire Origins: A Chastened Futurist from Smiljan

Lyrics:

I alternated from nation to nation like the currents I created
Eventually, I became a Serbian in New York
An infantry of patents would be my brainchildren
Of course, its a shame that Thomas would steal my originator title
He smeared my name when he shocked the elephant
The nerve of his bullying
Electricity still became my forte and I wouldn’t coil under pressure
I wish things would’ve been better than feeding pigeons and being alone
My body would be sent to Belgrade (Beograd) where I would be a hero
Thomas, you may have won the popularity contest, but you’d be nothing without me
Wouldn’t it be funny if someone drove something with my name on it?


Here’s the first example of someone who was ripped off by someone famous. It is none other than the Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla. Some of his works include the Tesla Coil, early X-rays, and he was an innovator in electricity, namely the concept of alternating currents (AC). One Thomas Edison mangled his idea and made direct currents. Tesla was an employee at the time and had his patents stolen and not to mention he was shortchanged in pay by the (not)inventor of the lightbulb. It’s interesting that Tesla has been getting more mainstream attention in history since he was the underdog in that story. I also hope people get the joke in the last line in the poem.

Here’s some interesting facts:

Smiljan is actually in modern-day Croatia.

Also, I didn’t learn about Nikola Tesla in school. The first time I heard about him was by a certain musician named Ronnie Martin, but some of you may know him by his experimental synth pop one man band Joy Electric. When I found out more about Tesla afterwords, I thought “Wow, this song makes so much more sense now!” (side note: Hello Mannequin is my favorite JE album and was one of my favorite albums during my high school years).

The photo of Nikola Tesla is from the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

“Nikola Tesla” is by Joy Electric and is property of Tooth & Nail Records.

Ospreyshire Origins: Sincerest Form of Laziness

Lyrics:

Falling from the empyrean
They managed to ascend on the earth
Their names were in lights with infinitesimal points
The innovators pushed to the side from the emulations with their ways and mores of supine larceny
Denials echo as earworm choruses worldwide with tunes, moving pictures, and museums
The masses become allured now knowing or caring that these were imitations
Originator, suffer not the true catalysts of Innovare
Penniless and undermined
The descendants want to demand restitution
Some emulations were honest, yet it was worse with excuses for the trendiest prints of ignored canvases


Imitation isn’t the sincerest form of flattery. It’s only the sincerest form of laziness.

You want to get on my bad side quickly? Try ripping someone off so shamelessly. I think that explains this track and my real life feelings in a nutshell. Sincerest Form of Laziness is a steel drum interlude of sorts that transitions from one section of Dear Innovare to the next. The first several tracks were about so many pioneers, but from here on out this is going to involve several people who had their works shamelessly copied whether it was attempted or sadly involving cases where the clones become more popular than the originals. Expect several truth bombs in musical and/or poetic form.

This meme is from some e cards.

Ospreyshire Origins: Boyd Bedsteads

Lyrics:

An unmarked grave is where my mortal frame rests, yet my inventions let people sleep in style
Wooden frames and canopies were built for luxury and durability where commoners can sleep like kings and queens even to this day
While Ohio and Kentucky weren’t always kind to me, I knew I had to have a twin set of endurance
My ethic, diligence, and carpentry had to see me through and spring into action
Brothers, sister, your freedom was paid for from my classy beds patent or not
They saw my name on every frame
I wish my company would’ve withstood the flames of envious arsonists
I would free those who were like me
My life has been used for the greater good
Let me rest


Here’s another case of a former slave doing for self. This is Henry Boyd. The Kentucky-born and later Ohio-based man would become a carpenter/furniture maker in his own right. He crafted some of the fanciest beds around that nowadays are worth a pretty penny in antique form. However, he deserved better. His businesses went ablaze by jealous racists. I would bet you those same people would be the ones to tell black people to pick themselves up by their bootstraps (how ironic and fallacious).

Here’s a fact about the acousmatics of this piece. I used a pair of drumsticks to hit different parts of my own bed and mattress to create the percussive soundscapes before multitracking them.

The photo of Henry Boyd is from the Northern Kentucky Tribune.

Ospreyshire Origins: T. Jennings: Cleaning Up the Patent Competition

Lyrics:

America, you needed to be cleaned up in so many ways
I was only one man, but I had to make things right on a twofold account
I started with your laundry
There would be a new kind of care for your clothes and I did it in a dry fashion like you’ve never seen before
Millions of businesses would be created because of me

Next came real freedom fighters
The bread I got from my invention
Went towards those who wanted every man, woman, and child
To be free and equal
Its more than what a piece of paper could say
I hope they keep on fighting

How does it feel seeing a man like me being the first of his community to own a patent?


Dry cleaning isn’t the most exciting thing to talk about which we can all agree on. What did get fascinating was who invented that form of laundry maintenance and how the funds were used afterwards. This is Thomas Jennings. He was a freeman who mainly worked as a tailor. He created a method called dry scouring which is the archetype for dry cleaning. He actually used the money to buy the freedom of other slaves in America which I massively respect on so many levels. Imagine how many businesses were and still are created today. Also, Thomas Jennings is the first African-American to receive a patent which is even more important in hindsight because he did this before it became illegal for black people to get patents (we’ll talk about that in other posts) before it was reinstated that anyone can make a patent regardless of ethnic stock.

Think about these things the next time you have to get your fancy suits or dresses to the dry cleaning shop.

The image of Thomas Jennings is from Post News Group.

Ospreyshire Origins: Keep On Building, Otis!

Lyrics:

His mom’s heart stopped beating
Those tears were enabling
To ensure every heart can keep
Beating at healthy paces
Keep on building

So many robberies and extortion
Plagued many businesses
The front end would take the
Brunt of it until he improved
On those registers
Keep on building

Monitors, keyboards, and programming
Would craft into a high-tech archetype
For an eventual household and office item
Games, research, and work can be done
Nothing personal, just a computer
Keep on building


This edition of Ospreyshire Origins involves the inventor Otis Boykin. He’s got a bunch of patents under his belt. These verses deal with some of his major works such as the pacemaker in verse 1, cash registers in verse 2, and IBM computers in the final verse. It’s only the tip of the iceberg as he also created electric resisters and other innovations. This song was also an Ospreyshire first as it incorporated a lap dulcimer as a main instrument for an acoustic vibe.

This photo of Otis Boykin is from the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Ospreyshire Origins: Restoring Sight While Laser Focused

Lyrics:

No one ever believed the blind could be restored to see
Those were saved for fairy tales
Science had to be called into change reality and several lives
It took a woman’s touch to make it happen
There would be an innovative way to wash the blindness away
Under medical watch and an array of lasers
This medical maven would shape reality
First was oblivion
Then came walking trees
Next was technicolor sight
No spit was involved
But technology and pure scientific grit

The eyes have it now (X3)


Much like the previous track, this is a one-two punch of female innovators. This track is about the ophthalmologist Dr. Patricia Bath. She invented the Laserphaco probe. That’s a device that was able to remove cataracts via laser technology and it has proven to restore sight with new lenses. This invention also makes Dr. Bath the first African-American woman to have a medical patent to her name which is another plus. Imagine how many people would be permanently blind without her creation? From a musical standpoint, I wanted to have more of a peaceful and ambient feel while I picture someone getting their sight regained. It was soothing doing the programming for that recording.

The picture of Dr. Patricia Bath is from The Scientist Magazine.

Ospreyshire Origins: Closed Circuits, Open Mind

Lyrics:

More watchful eyes had to be manufactured
Whether hidden or overt, security had to be in order
All it took was the technological genius
Cameras became placed
Ruffians would think twice before invading
Under those watchful cybernetic eyes
The Originator blessed this woman to utilize these cameras
Protecting others
Those eyes will live on
Closed circuits, open mind


This is the first song/poem I wrote involving a female inventor. This one is about Marie Van Brittan Brown. She is the inventor of security cameras and CCTV. She invented it back in 1966 which made her WAY ahead of her time with that invention. It’s a shame how people have abused and misused it, Brown was able to create this system for home surveillance to protect people. Such a concept was certainly unheard of and I’m sure lives were saved using that device. Never underestimate a woman when she’s inventing something!

The picture of Marie Van Brittan Brown is from Timeline.