An English phrase indicating “certainty”, in black and white indicates that something, in fact, anything, that is accomplished perfectly is usually followed in prose with the line, “there is no doubt about it, it’s there, in black & white”.These phrases often convey in brief, what any “Writer” or “Author” who is well-known for his or her publications will describe in numerous paragraphs or thousands of well-chosen “words”.

Books of all shapes & sizes, dictionaries in dozens of different languages,.thesaururi or encyclopaedias,Bibles, and the list goes on, all contain millions of words (that take a lot of reading, believe me), but, unless you do read, or, at least, learn to read, life is certainly not worth living.

Nowadays, of course, there is something called “Social Media”. A wonderful two-word “quote” that can unfortunately be used”for better or worse”(yet another phrase), even more unfortunately, books, as we knew and loved them, now seem to be going “out of fashion” but everything readable is now “on-line”. Of course, not everyone can go “on-line” because not everyone has another new contraption called a “Computer”.

They say ” a picture is worth a thousand words”, and primarily because I do not wish to elaborate on my “title” for this article, I now wish to summerize it interestingly for the reader. Because ” there is no business like show-business”, “IN BLACK & WHITE”, I will focus on TWO entertainers, one “Black” and the other, “White”, who, in my own opinion anyway, have been, in my lifetime, the ABSOLUTE ICONS of “Show-biz” in our World.

Before I tell you who they are, let us analyze the two words, BLACK & WHITE. Putting it as simply as I possibly can, THEY ARE JUST COLOURS VISIBLE TO THE HUMAN EYE!. Again, in my own opinion, when it comes to HUMAN BEINGS, it matters not a “jot” what colour you are. Black, White, Brown or “Sepia”, it is NOT your colour that matters, it is YOU, my friend,just you.

The term “being black” has, for a long time now, been used to derogate people with a black skin. I am also disgusted with the words “Servants or Slaves” in conjunction with the human race.HOWEVER,we are all
Servants or Slaves to our passions or emotions, which IS totally different to the way of thinking in, thankfully,
a minority of “White-skinned” IDIOTS. To my own eyes, (here comes another phrase )”BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL”.
IF anything, “being white” has more liabilities than assets because white burns more quickly (in the Sun, I mean), is much more difficult to keep clean,(and look good) but still, in it’s purest form, is indeed, a very pretty colour.In our complex International language of English there is a simple two-word description that tells us, there have always been, there are, today, and there always will be”DOMESTIC AIDS”, does not this word sound much better than a derogatory comment about your “SERVANTS OR SLAVES”, who, in most cases, from time immemorial, came from African or Asian Countries and were BLACK. This actually made it sound as though these unfortunate people were unclean. I do remember that, in Ceylon, BURGHER families, like the KELLY FAMILY of Bambalapitiya, also had several domestic aids from time to time but always treated them with the utmost respect and gave them to understand that THEY were part of the family.

I still remember the woman who helped my Mother with the cooking & cleaning of our home and who lived-in with us for many years. Her name was Lucia. We paid her a monthly salary with which she used to go to her Village to visit her grown family, including a Son by the name of Saradiel who would bring her back to us after her “holiday”. What I remember most about Lucia was that she was an excellent Cook & my Mum did learn “Asian-Style” cooking from this Woman. Both Lucia & Saradiel have now passed away but I will never forget them. Older “Women-Domestics” were generally known as “Ammey”(the Sinhala word for Mother) and the younger female ones were called “Ayahs”. Again, generally, they were either Sinhalese or Tamil Women, not that it mattered. We did know how to treat them and I have taken my chance to write about these “Special Personalities” because I do know for certain that these “darker-skinned ladies” always
PREFERRED to work for the “white-skinned” ones, which only goes to prove my point “in black & white”.

My “BLACK ICON” in Show-Business will always be none other than MICHAEL JACKSON. In an era where we have had (just to name a couple), NAT “KING” COLE AND LOUIS ARMSTRONG, one, a superb vocalist(who also played incredible “Jazz” on piano), and the other, who was a superb trumpeter(who also sang in an incredibly gravelly voice). There were “Others” of course, both male and female “black Artistes”, far too many to mention BUT my favourite “female” was Lady Shirley Bassey.

THEY DO NOT COME BIGGER THAN THAT.She was better-known as “Lady with the chassis” and what a “chassis” it was!!. If this “chassis” was’nt distracting you, here was a Lady who could also sing! Bassey with the Chassis, Horne ( Lena ), who “sang up a Storm”, Ella Fitzgerald, the “Show-business Herald” & dozens of other coloured, totally charismatic “COLOSSAL CELEBRITIES ” taught the World to sing. Other shining examples also, of the phrase “Black is beautiful”!

Michael Jackson was indeed a “SHOW-BIZ ICON”.
There was nothing in the business that he could’nt do. He was a Singer, Dancer, Choreographer, Composer,
Arranger, Actor, you name it, Michael did it. What is more, he did all this much better than those around him because he was a PERFECTIONIST. Soft-spoken, with a voice that sounded almost “girlish”, he could still sing a “love-song” that could make any female in earshot swoon with ecstacy simply because he was singing “to them” and not “at them”.Very recently I had the pleasure of watching the “Jackson 5” in a documentary that was extraordinarily interesting. There was NO mistaking as to who was the “Star” of this family. Right from the very beginning Michael had only to “appear” & his other 4 siblings, although incredibly talented too, paled into insignificance. They were “there” but “not there” at the same time when THIS ICON either began to sing or dance. “On-Stage”, Michael Jackson never seemed to “walk”, every step he took was another dance-step. We do know that there is a natural “gift of rhythm” familiar with most of the black vocalists male & female. It is no different with their dancing. Gene Kelly, magnificent dancer that he is, was filmed praising Michael Jackson to the skies.(Kelly & Fred Astaire were the “top” dancers of their time & praise of this sort was not easy to come by
Michael Jackson was, in my own opinion, absolutely THE BEST BLACK ENTERTAINER WHO EVER LIVED!.
It was also one of the greatest losses of the show-biz World when we heard the news of his “passing”. We will miss you Michael Jackson, but never will forget you.

There will be no prizes for guessing who the ultimate “WHITE-ICON” WAS, again, in my opinion. The ONE & ONLY ELVIS PRESLEY. Elvis also started young.

Just like Michael Jackson, Elvis rose to fame in an era when there were other “household-names” like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and, going even further back, the Man who used to ALWAYS quote “on-stage” “You ain’t heard nothin yet” the immortal Al.Jolson. I grew up listening to these superb entertainers and I will never forget “cutting” afternoon classes at St.Peters College with my good friend Denis Roberts (another fine singer), to attend “the gallery” of the newest movie theatre in Bambalapitiya to pay my 50cents for a seat to see “The Jolson Story” starring Larry Parks. THOSE WERE THE MOVIES & THOSE WERE THE SONGS!!.

Elvis, of course, emerged in the 50s. Together with people like Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, & so many others who frequented ” Sun Records” , hoping to be heard and “discovered”, ELVIS began to “stand out” in many ways. Good-looking, to the point of absurdity, even if he could’nt sing a note, I am certain that every stunner of the female sex in America would have loved to just be seen with him, such was his popularity. He was also blessed with the “charisma” afforded so few, who coild also entertain but that is as far as it went.With Elvis, ONLY, came still another English Phrase,:- ELVIS HAS LEFT THE ROOM, meaning that he did’nt have to be on-stage, performing. His “charisma” was such, it literally oozed out of him, on or off stage..His eye, for picking out the most beautiful girls in his audience OR in any room filled with admiring females, was faultless . He would give them “that look” which quite probably gave some of the hornier ones multiple orgasms without even being touched. What is more, Elvis KNEW he could do it and took full advantage of the situations he sometimes found himself in..It was a crying shame that Elvis Presley “let himself go” while still a young man, put on unnecessary weight, began to actually forget the lyrics of songs that he had sung dozens of times before and lost his life FAR FAR too soon BUT suffice to say that Elvis, like Michael Jackson will live in the memories of thousands of ardent fans for ERAS to come, & so they should because I have now also written it IN BLACK & WHITE.

Desmond Kelly. (As eLanka member fondly say…”The Star of eLanka”! J)

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