by Jason Harper
Evidently, some people had paid cash money to ring in the season with KEM, Tank and THE ONE AND ONLY BOBBY BROWN this Saturday at Starlight Theatre. Well, the concert's been canceled, so these mysterious Bobby Brown/KEM/Tank fans will have to go and get a refund.
My first thought upon reading this news, however, was, The one and only Bobby Brown nearly almost just came to town and I didn't even notice he was coming? Then I thought, Wait, Bobby Brown is still performing? Clearly, I'm not up on my ex-Mr. Houston. Or my KEM or my Tank, either, because I have no idea who those persons/entities are. So, I went to Lexis-Nexis, the reporter's best friend, an online archive of newspaper articles, to check out the latest story on Bobby Brown and the persons/entities known as KEM and Tank...
In the early '90s, it was Bobby Brown's prerogative to have a sloping, asymmetrical hairstyle.
1. The most relevant search result for Bobby Brown bore the following, extremely useful story:
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
September 15, 2006 Friday
Whitney and Bobby: 14 years, so many memorable moments. Looking back, we have to ask ..... Didn't they almost have it all?
BYLINE: SONIA MURRAY; Staff
SECTION: LIVING; Pg. 1F
LENGTH: 210 words
Now that Whitney Houston is seeking a divorce from Bobby Brown, it's time to flip through the hefty scrapbook containing the couple's most outrageous moments. And feel free to hum "It's Not Right But It's Okay" as you reminisce.
Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown were married at her New Jersey estate. Brown was already an Atlanta resident then, having purchased the 14,000-square-foot north Fulton mansion of convicted murderer and pornographer Mike Thevis. July 18, 1992
WHO DAT? HUH?
By now, viewers anticipated Whitney saying weird things like declaring Bobby Brown "the king of R&B." During the 25th anniversary of Arista Records, she and Bobby even started singing the rap single "Who Dat" by JT Money. May 2000
ALL THE MAN SHE NEEDED
Bobby is released from a Florida jail after serving time for a probation violation. A disheveled Whitney runs to him, jumps into his arms and straddles him. Filming it all is comedian-actor Chris Rock, who is leading a mock group of "Free Bobby Brown" protestors for his HBO show. June 12, 2000
SOMETHING IN COMMON
Whitney and Bobby let another set of cameras follow them to Israel. "Dateline NBC" captures them in bright caftans and occasional craziness like Whitney singing and dancing her way to the toilet. May 2003
That's the end of the article. It fails to explain how Bobby Brown is still performing (or would have performed Saturday). Evidently he does perform, because he was interviewed by a "roving reporter" for ...wait for it... Single Parent Magazine after a show in Minneapolis. Believe.
2. KEM. Who's KEM!? This isn't the most relevant result -- that one was from 2005 -- but this is the most recent one that seems to apply to any sort of musician:
Asbury Park Press (New Jersey)
May 11, 2007 Friday
To Mom, With LOVE
BYLINE: CHRIS JORDAN
LENGTH: 482 words
Gannett New Jersey
A lot of holidays are out of control.
Christmas is a commercialized frenzy, Halloween is taken a lot more seriously than the costume-and-candy event it used to be and Memorial Day to many means a day at the beach instead of a salute to our vets.
Mother's Day? That's a different story. Excluding restaurant owners and greeting-card companies, the people who make the decisions to warp holidays have been hands off, for the most part, when it comes to moms.
"That relationship, man, how do you commercialize that relationship you can't," said R&B star Kem, who performs at the State Theatre in New Brunswick on Mother's Day. "Your mother knows you inside out you just can't come to your mom with anything, you know what I mean?
You just can't come to your mom with any old gift. Your gift has to come from the heart."
There's no fooling Mom.
"I think the deal with Mother's Day is a mother's bind with us," Kem said. "A mother is the first person we actually have an emotional connection to, and then from there, everyone wants to take care of their mothers. Our mothers are probably the most important figure in our lives. Both of our parents are, but our mothers are very special to us."
How we deal with others is an outgrowth of our relationship with our moms, Kem said.
"Our relationship to our significant others, our wives and girlfriends, as men, is based on our relationships with our moms, so there is a lot of reverence for mothers," he said.
Mother's Day was founded by American abolitionist and suffragist Julia Ward Howe after the Civil War as a day to inspire peace, according to ww.rediscovermothersday.org. Howe, best known as the author of the lyrics to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," hoped that her "Mother's Day for Peace" would end war forever. Later, President Wilson made Mother's Day an official holiday on the second Sunday of May each year starting in 1914.
Kem comes to Central New Jersey this Mother's Day just as he's about to start recording a new album, tentatively called "Album III." Kem was born Kem Owens in Nashville, Tenn., and raised in Detroit. His major-label debut was 2002's "Kemistry," and "Album II" debuted at No. 5 overall and No. 1 on the R&B chart in Billboard when released in 2005. Kem's silken high tenor is Al Jarreau cool, and his music is alive with a studied and sensual pacing.
He's got a few special treats in store for the moms in the audience on Sunday.
"I'll probably talk about my mom," Kem said. "I'm sure there will be a lot of mothers in the audience, and I'll show the mothers there some love for sure and play all the songs that the mothers in the audience have come to love. As a gift to the mothers, I may even do one of the new songs."
You just can't play Mom any old song.
So, Kem is an R&B singer from Nashville who is an expert on maternal relations, or at least on holidays in celebration thereof. Why else would this brilliant New Jersey reporter have interviewed him? Why not go ahead and say it: Kem is the direct artistic descendant of Julia Ward Howe!!! Boy, did it feel good, for me, as a journalist and critic, to get to say that.
3. Tank. This one's a bit harder. I'm getting 996 entries leading off with stories about various kinds of tanks -- propane, storage tanks,...and hey! this headline: "Caldwell Tanks, Inc. was awarded the 2005 Steel Tank of the Year Award by the Steel Tank Institute." Way to go, guys and girls of Caldwell Tanks, Inc.!
So I turn to Google and enter "tank." The first three entries are (1) a Wikipedia entry on the history of military tanks, (2) "Tank 'SEX, LOVE, & PAIN' In Stores May 15th!" and (3) the homepage of the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky. I think we know which one it is.
From that Web site, here is the first paragraph of Tank's bio:
Dozens of artists claim to be the Messiah of R&B -- the chosen one called to restore the genre to its original glory, manifested through greats like Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Al Green and Donny Hathaway. At the end of the day, that restoration speaks for itself and it's clearly present when one listens to the music of Tank.
The entertainment industry is fucking insane.
Refund your ticket to the Magic 107.3 Summer Kick Off Party at point of purchase.