BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
I'd like to introduce you to a young man known to those of us who know, love, and support his tremendous talent, as simply, Caesar.
Happy Holidays, from Caesar
I rarely use this site to discuss anything other than politics, but in a sense, bringing Caesar to your attention is a political issue, because his life represents the very epitome of self-sacrifice in pursuit of integrity.
As you've just seen, Caesar could very easily take his rightful place among the very top world class entertainers. But unfortunately (from my point of view) he's chosen to reject the many opportunities that come his way in order to protect a musical tradition. So he actively resists efforts by the music industry to, in his words, "exploit the arts for a fast buck."
We've had many arguments over this issue. I took the position that he's denying the world a great talent. I argued that it would be better for everyone involved if he'd simply play along until he gained the clout and exposure to go his own way. But he demolished my argument with one very simple question: "Isn't that exactly what you condemn our politicians for doing?"
It was no surprise that Caesar was able to handle my argument with such aplomb, because there's much more to him than just his voice . He's a very intelligent and multifaceted individual as well.
Born Irvin R. Caesar in Chicago, Il in 1965. He attended Percy L. Julian High School, where he played guitar in the jazz band, and at the same time, he played football, basketball, and baseball. The football team won three Chicago city championships, and he was captain of the team in his senior year. After graduating from high school, he went on to play Outside Linebacker for Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., where he also received a degree in Business Management.
Inheriting a sense of purpose from his father, also name Irvin Caesar--who was a political activist during the sixties, and worked very closely with Vice President Hubert H. Humphry--after obtaining his degree, young Caesar went on to work first, as a Procurement Officer and then Operations Manager for American Manufactures in Houston, Texas. The company provided humanitarian assistance to over 40 countries around the world. Then he went to Islamabad, Pakistan as a contractor for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He worked to provided humanitarian assistance to Afghan rebels, who were then at war with the Soviet Union.
To our benefit, this young man's intelligence, background, and depth of experience didn't go to waste. You can hear every bit of his intellect, compassion, and commitment to humanity literally dripping from every note he sings. You don't simply hear this young man, you experience him.
And ironically, Caesar was born the very same year that Nat King Cole died. So while I've never been one to wax metaphysically, when I listen to this young man's velvet tones, I can't help but wonder if perhaps, Nat decided that he wasn't quite done yet.
Eric L. Wattree
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.