I Am America Music Video

Posted by The Zodiac | Blog | Saturday 16 July 2016 11:44 pm

I put together a visual for the 2011 song, “I Am America” which pits The Zodiac interviewing America in a one-on-one open discussion.  This is from the FREE CD, Zetacide Vol. 3: Speak No Evil which can be downloaded at this link.  Check it out and spread the word.

Captain America – Civil War (2016) Review

Posted by The Zodiac | Blog,Movie Reviews | Sunday 8 May 2016 4:35 am
Captain America Civil War

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

(5 / 5)

Where can I start? @Marvel has a knack for capturing a great story in a comic book movie when even the story itself is weak. How do they do this? Great direction, a lot of awesome action scenes and otherwise characters we wouldn’t care about normally, we grow to not only enjoy them but anticipate their arrival on screen. Take Iron Man in 2008. Did anyone give a damn about him at that point? Guardians of the Galaxy? Captain America? No! We didn’t. We were probably all focused more on Batman and Superman. But since the Marvel Cinematic Universe decided to take more creative control of the characters they DID have, they made great stories and characters out of Iron Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye and more. And now…we have those guys and more battling it out against each other because of what they happened to destroy in Avengers, Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Because of their less-than-suave approach to saving the planet which usually leaves trillions of dollars in repairs, entire cities destroyed, and thousands of people dirt-napping, Cap and his crew have been grounded due to the Sokovia Accord; a 100+ country-approved document that has more control of the Avengers than they do of themselves. Basically, they’re on a leash unless needed.

Captain America doesn’t like being on a leash and Iron Man’s Tony Stark thinks they could use one. He thinks this mostly out of guilt but still, he won’t budge. All the while, after a huge mission in Lagos, Nigeria goes right but with a few more people dead, a new threat is let loose with Secretary of State, General Thunderbolt Ross is breathing down their necks. So, what’s the problem? Well, after a meeting with leaders regarding the Accords ends up in disaster with the brothaman, T’Challa and his father, T’Chaka, the prince and King of Wakanda wind up in less-than-stellar condition, it begins to raise hell in Vienna. Why? Because Bucky, the Winter Soldier is involved and T’Challa isn’t happy about that. Considering his alter-identity as The Black Panther, it adds a LOT of chaos, action, and siding with the rest of the heroes although his mission is more personal. Captain America is Bucky’s oldest friend by about 60 years so his priority is to help his buddy while others try to capture him. This leads to some siding with Cap and others with Iron Man.

Character Line Up:

Captain America, Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Ant-Man and Hawkeye vs.
Iron Man, Vision, Black Widow, War Machine, Spider-Man, and Black Panther

The airport scene includes all of these characters and it’s impossible to digest all of what happens. Someone almost dies, many are injured, suits are destroyed, Brooklyn vs. Queens,..but why all of the fuss? Who is #Zemo? What does “freight car” have to do with the Winter Soldier? Exactly how bulletproof is Black Panther? Captain America carjacks people? House arrest? Arc Reactors? It’s too much…yet, it all works and all of the heroes have an equal amount of screen time. There’s literally nothing I can think of that’s really wrong about this movie that a comic book enthusiast wouldn’t enjoy!

The ending surprise really causes the civil war and we wonder if it can be repaired later in time. Who knows? This could’ve easily been called Iron Man: Civil War or Winter Soldier: Civil War. But after a couple of years, it was time for Cap to shine. And he did…Brightly!

Be sure to stay for the two post scenes for a couple of surprises to come.

Senate Republicans Vow to Work with Democrats Until Election Day, Set to Meet With SCOTUS Nominee

Posted by The Zodiac | Blog | Friday 1 April 2016 12:01 pm
Work with who? Democrats? Do our Jobs?!!

Work with who? Democrats? Do our Jobs?!! Surely, you jest!!

Straight Outta Compton (2015)

Posted by The Zodiac | Blog,Movie Reviews | Thursday 13 August 2015 11:51 pm
Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton (2015)

(4 / 5)

To see this movie for me was important on a few different levels. First off, I got to see on film the story of NWA from their foundation until the rise of Ice Cube and Dr. Dre as well as the death of Eazy-E. Secondly, for hip-hop, it’s especially important because the generation of now, which is focused solely on beats and this weeks dance craze, gets to see why the music genre was so integral to kids on the street. Today, the music is almost meaningless…even from self-confessed 2Pac-influenced signed artists who focus on nonsensical lyrics and how much a woman’s booty shakes. The story of Ice Cube, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, and Eazy-E showed why their voices during the Rodney King assault and LA Riots were the voice of the people. I’d love to see how the story of Drake would do in theaters.

Back to the movie. It begins in the mid 1980’s with Eazy-E nearly escaping a theme in the movie: horrible LAPD police officers. Anyone who had grown up on their music would know NWA was an early adopter of anti-authority with their album, Straight Outta Compton’s second song, “Fuck tha Police”. The build-up of how that came to be was well-scripted and shot because we had five kids from LA who wanted to walk the straight-and-narrow path legitimately but were plagued with rocks aka gangbangers on one hand and a hard place aka crooked cops in the other. Eazy-E was a drug dealer that found his last encounter to be a little too close for comfort and he runs into his buddy Dr. Dre who is DJing with DJ Yella under the World Class Wrecking Crew, a local crew they had in LA. But the manager named Lorenzo was too corny for them and only wanted to have them play R&B. Dre slips in Ice Cube to perform a on-off of “Gangsta Gangsta” which the crowd reacts to immediately. Eazy is a witness to this with his boy, MC Ren and when Dre approaches him with an idea to make his own music label and include all of their talent, he reluctantly agrees.

So, Eazy and the crew are established and Ice Cube’s boys from NYC, HBO are in the booth. The funny thing was how they had them dressed completely NY and the NWA crew as LA. Back in the 80’s and 90’s a whole East Coast vs. West Coast hip-hop feud jumped off and the animosity in this scene showed the different styles of the crews even though Ice Cube was writing their lyrics. After a stand off, they didn’t have talent to record the song Cube had written so Dre suggested Eazy do it. The scene was perfect because it was well-known Eazy was a horrible rapper in the booth and had to be taught to hit his lines on time. They played on this well to where Yella and Cube were cracking jokes. A frustrated Eazy finally hits his notes and Dre responds, “That was dope, E!” The song, “Boyz N Tha Hood” became a huge seller and popular on the streets. This got the attention of notorious Ruthless Records, Jerry Heller; often accused of stealing money from Eazy and the crew all along. The movie didn’t hold back on this fact and built Jerry up as a creeper who knew a good thing when he saw it and took advantage. The only one blinded was Eazy. As the only one blinded, the crew started splintering. The rise and fall was beginning.

1353587061_straight_outta_compton-oo

This movie had everything in it regarding the group that you’d want to see. It highlighted many faults but not the known flaws of Dr. Dre with his handling of women physically. There was plenty of eye-candy at the pool parties and groupie parties and there was a great “Bye Felecia” line they played into it. Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson, Jr. did a great job playing his father. He gave a very human approach to Ice Cube to where you could see he was a good kid that wanted to express himself creatively and simply focus on his talents. His early introduction of being bussed from the hood into the White kid’s school showed his education and influence as well as what he could have (fancy cars, etc.) compared to what he did have (gangbanger jumping on the bus to give a PSA). The police were pivotal to the rise of NWA in their constant abuse and power-trips. The “Fuck Tha Police” entrance was brilliant and O’Shea, Jr. showed his dismay well with the lingering afterwards of abusive cops. His frustration continued with Jerry Heller’s buy out and Priority Records broken promises.

Corey Watson channels Dr. Dre to where at the end, I only saw Dre. His emotion toward family grief and Suge Knight’s intimidation and bullshit proved his determination. Suge thought it was all good when Dre. left to form Aftermath since he had all of Death Row to himself. Dre is now almost a billionaire because of his risk and skill and Suge Knight is blind and in prison….again. Look at that. And Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E showed how naive he was when it came to business yet he just wanted to trust. His NWA family was his real family and in the end, they had all reconciled. Who knows what the world would’ve gotten had NWA made one more record with Cube included?! DJ Yella was hilarious and the whole scene with “No Vaseline” showed how ruthless Ice Cube could be with the verbals. I believe MC Ren was underutilized. Being my favorite NWA lyricist, I wish he had a bigger impact since his songs on Eazy E’s and NWA’s album, especially NIGGAZ4LIFE, were explosive and had the best flow. They also didn’t use The D.O.C. enough since his impact on NWA and Dr. Dre is HUGE!! But it was good to hear his voice played out as well as acted on screen. Many nuances such as the Nation of Islam with Cube, Suge’s intimidation tactics, Cube recording with Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad production team for his first solo album, the effect of The Chronic when Eazy sees what could’ve been… It makes you want to go back to a time when hip-hop was THIS real! This raw! Something you didn’t just nod your head to the beat, but you nodded your head in agreement. It also showed how these were all just good kids and actually friendly guys who had a bigger plan.

In the end, I enjoyed myself as an NWA fan and hiphop buff. RIP Eazy-E and it’s great his widow, Dre and Cube were able to pull this film off and make it a success. Now…PLEASE create a Public Enemy movie!

Fantastic 4 (2015)

Posted by The Zodiac | Blog,Movie Reviews | Sunday 9 August 2015 4:19 am
Fantastic 4

Fantastic 4 (2015)

[rating=3]

So, critics were panning the new Fantastic 4 movie since the casting had begun so I know they were salivating when it was released and giving it negative reviews. A lot of it is true; I can’t lie. But I think they also went over the top a bit in their critique of this film. Ok, sure another origin story about these guys is told but in the way they did it in the first 1/3rd of the film, it made a lot of sense. The young genius, Richard Reed was a little kid building a transporter in his parent’s garage and recruits the help of classmate Ben Grimm, the son of some trashy parents who own a trashy junk yard. So, we have the genius and the hard-edge. Unlikely match but being social outcasts, they become friends and build on this piece of science. Years later, after their first attempt at the transporter shows they’ve transported a toy car but only rocks came back meant they were close. Now, they’re at a science fair where they meet Martin Querns from “OZ” but here, he’s pretending to be Susan Storm’s adopted and Johnny Storm’s father. They’re intrigued by Reed and Ben’s demo and give Reed a full ride to their institution which is government-funded and backed.

While there, Reed gets closer to the team which consists of Susan Storm, Johnny (by way of bribery by his father to get is piece of crap Toyota MR2 back), and the previously ousted Von Doom who is now a social outcast looking like a grunge cover band lead trombonist. Querns visits him and gives him another chance to make their Transporter work. Von Doom is interested in Quern’s daughter instead and that’s what convinces him. Potential to #hulksmash. Back in the lab, Von Doom and the team work to get the transporter finalized and after sending Caesar from Planet of the Apes on a test run into who-knows-where with camera equipment, they’ve determined what looks like Arizona during dusk will be safe for human travel after Caesar comes back safely. That’s when the government comes in patting backs, chewing an endless piece of gum (or a case of serious TMJ), and trying to take over. Not with the program, Reed and the team figure they’ll do it first to get the credit so he calls Ben out of the blue who uses an Uber to get to the institution in record speed.

So, they all go into the pods to enter into the dimension of Arizona and take off. Sue at the helm holds down the fort and when they get there, they discover Arizona has putrid green slime in the ground. Most likely from transported New Jersey waste barrels…maybe even the ones that affected The Toxic Avenger and The Hills Have Eyes characters. Either way, it’s probably best to snap a few pics, grab a sample and leave. But Noooooooo…!!! They figure it’s a good idea to walk a half mile in the goop and figure out what’s the problem. The Black man knew better and stayed behind. The rest? “Let’s see what this new dimension is about!” So, of course, shit goes haywire and that’s where all hell breaks loose. Sure, a few make it back and explode in the lab causing poor Sue to become invisible, Johnny looking like Ghost Rider, Reed stretched out looking like my old Stretch Armstrong action figure and Ben wound up being a really cool Thing. All is lost? Nah…the government has plans for these kids until Reed escapes and promises a return.

From this point, Phase 2 steps in and it’s cool but Phase 3 enters Dr. Doom and it’s soooo rushed!! I mean, Dr. Doom should be as badass as his comic character and although his powers are awesome and violent, his look? Well…they tried too hard to make him look like he fell in epoxy resin. I don’t know…it’s an origin story so maybe the thought is next movie: he’ll have a metal face. There was only one real battle scene and it was pretty quick. So, forget action. Sue’s hair proves how many reshoots there were and everyone seemed disinterested. It wasn’t as bad and it’s worth a watch but not a rewatch. The Thing is really cool but he hardly says anything! He just agrees with shit and keeps a grudge. Johnny is all about those 5 seconds and the Mara chick from House of Cards is great as Sue. In fact, all of the people rock their characters nicely. It’s just not as cohesive as it could be and when the credits come up (FAST!!), you’re left with a face like “…what? It’s over already?” You leave, get your ticket validated and don’t really think about it. I swear there were parts in the trailer that weren’t in the movie…like Thing falling out of the helicopter. But maybe I dozed off. I don’t know. I would’ve rated it 2.5 stars out of 5 but I rounded up.

Ant-Man (2015)

Posted by The Zodiac | Blog,Movie Reviews | Friday 17 July 2015 3:13 am
Ant-Man

Ant-Man (2015)

[rating=4]

Everybody is wondering what in the hell Marvel is thinking by introducing a character named Ant-Man to their cinematic universe? Well, even in the movie, they poke fun at the name and the ability of Scott Lang, the main protagonist of the film. And…it works! Ant-Man is a very exciting film and brings a very well-crafted character into a Marvel world filled with #Avengers and Ultrons and Thanoses and Thors. In fact, there’s a scene where a New Avenger is confronted by Ant-Man and the results are embarrassing enough to look the other way when revealing to Captain America.

The premise of the film is simple: It’s an introduction to the character, a lesser-known, to the world where Batman, Superman and Iron Man reign supreme. But in the same way the Guardians of the Galaxy became a huge hit from virtual unknowns, Disney/Marvel hope the same for Ant-Man (@antman). Hank Pym, the creator of the Ant-Man suit is being challenged by his former apprentice after he recreates his revolutionary formula. The apprentice, Darren Cross, becomes The Yellowjacket and of course, a small fight breaks out between hero and villain. The thing is, this movie works really well and is a LOT of fun!

The special effects in this really work as the visual to reduce Paul Rudd from 6-foot something into a tiny version of himself is smooth. The training session of going from large to small all while fighting was intriguing but even more interesting was when they put it all in play. Everything balanced out very well and Ant-Man will be a great addition to the Marvel Universe.

Don’t forget to view the mid-ending credits to see what’s in store for the future. Evangeline Lilly (@evangelinelilly) looks like #hulksmash material and Michael Douglas does his thing as usual. Comic relief in the form of Michael Pe‚àö¬±a (@realmichaelpena), T.I. (@tip), and David Dastmalchian rounds out the crew. Check it out twice because I think it’s worth it. Yup!

Mad Max – Fury Road (2015)

Posted by The Zodiac | Blog,Movie Reviews,Reviews | Friday 15 May 2015 11:39 pm

Mad Max: Fury Road(2015)

[rating=4]

So, imagine you ran out of the house, jumped in your car and drove clear across town in order to buy something special with a few of your friends. Once you get there, you have to U-Turn and go back because you forgot your wallet. Mad Max: Fury Road is something like that except on horse steroids, in the middle of something that looks like New Mexico, with bad-ass women with scars and missing limbs; plus you’re a former prisoner with a metal mask on your face and chain around your neck. Oh yeah, and there are savages chasing you in both directions and they all want you dead.

This movie is a non-stop adrenalin rush from start to finish and has everything you want. Old woman with a tattooed face? Check. Ultimate Guitar Hero fanboy who is dedicated to his job under any circumstance? Check. Big women supplying breast milk for the higher-ups? Check. Dwarf in a wheelchair who looks like he’s sleeping all day? Check! What else do you need? Oh yeah…Charlize Theron! Sure, she only has one arm but she’s still hot with her shaved head and under the name Furiosa. She links up with Max, played by Tom Hardy, after he’s captured and (sort of) escapes from the lair of the overlord, Immortan Joe, who looks like a combination of Ric Flair and American Horror Story crazy clown, Twisty. “Escapes” may be misleading. He was attached to the front of a war vehicle like a hood ornament and taken into battle on the drylands as a Mercedes car symbol. Thanks to some savvy thinking, a haboob, and a car accident, he’s freed from his captor…sort of. “Freed” may be misleading. He was handcuffed to his assumingly dead captor and dragged him and the card door till he ran into Furiosa and four fine ladies with scars bathing in water from their war vehicle in the middle of the desert.

After a vicious fight over weapons and more, they all team up in a way to head toward the “Green Place”. Apparently, this is the only place around where something more than dirt exists. Considering Furiosa’s women are the wives of crazy Joe and one of them is pregnant, this leads Joe’s army after them. Thus, the one way drive begins to safety and through other rebels in the drylands. I won’t even tell you about the U-turn. Just know, more ladies are met, a War Boy is redeemed and a lot of people die! But still…you’ll see how Rock n Roll lives on! #guitarhero

Zoddity is finished! Coming June 13, 2015

Posted by The Zodiac | Blog,Music,Uncategorized | Thursday 23 April 2015 7:26 pm

It’s about time!¬¨‚Ć Since early 2011, after completing the Zetacide Vol 4 CD and resting for a few weeks, I ventured out on creating the next actual album.¬¨‚Ć The first song was “Got My Back” when I purchased the Apogee One to help recording into the computer to rely a little less on the sound board.¬¨‚Ć I remember having a show in Tucson soon after that and allowing local rapper and friend, Ephewe, listen to the song and quality.¬¨‚Ć Since then, I had quietly recorded when the mood would strike and it gapped longer than I was used to.¬¨‚Ć Usually an album takes 2 years to complete but Zoddity was a different monster.¬¨‚Ć This one took 4 complete years to finish.¬¨‚Ć No other album I’ve done even came close to that.¬¨‚Ć Hell, all four Zetacides took one year to do and those were 53 songs!¬¨‚Ć That’s the concentration that it took to create the 17-song release titled Zoddity.

zoddity-2015-500x500

Always one to come up with album titled that are unique to searches, I felt the mix of the songs and the moods I was in and during whichever climate it was, it was an odd mix.¬¨‚Ć A mix only The Zodiac can pull off so “zoddity” was the only title that matched this release.¬¨‚Ć The last song became the first to be heard which is a poem over a chaotic background to set the pace of the album.¬¨‚Ć It’s been a while since Zoetry had been prominently featured on a Zodiac release so I felt it was time.¬¨‚Ć This leads into the semi-political song, “Let Death Be Upon You” which sets targets on The Ku Klux Klan and suicide bombers.

From there, you travel into songs that attack horrible rappers of today who don’t appreciate lyrics, wordplay, and the artistry of what it is to be a rap artist (“Get Off The Mic” and “Got My Back”).¬¨‚Ć That leads into songs of redemption from those feeling their lowest (“Hold It”) and the fight for a message and positivity (“I Don’t Wanna”).¬¨‚Ć Then you have the reactions to police violence and Ferguson on “Do You See The Difference” and praise for those who rise on top in “We Are Survivalists”.¬¨‚Ć Don’t forget personal Zodiac songs that discuss his former group, Black InQ in “No Guts, No Glory” and the split in creativity for a Gemini in “The Writer and The Fighter”.¬¨‚Ć So, I made sure there’s something for everyone in this but it’s not for those looking to just dance in the club.¬¨‚Ć This goes back to feeling words and creating listeners to think.¬¨‚Ć People who need brain dead lyrics should pass this album altogether.

Four years!¬¨‚Ć And finally, the copyright is finished, the submission to all large digital outlets, and the release date of June 13th, 2015 is set for Zoddity to finally be released!¬¨‚Ć Exciting times and I’m happy to have completed this project.¬¨‚Ć Completely produced by The Zodiac except for the banger, “Never That No” which was produced by the very creative Doc Cause, Zoddity is a very special and personal release.¬¨‚Ć Be a part of a project which had taken 16 seasons to complete!

William Grant Still

Posted by The Zodiac | Black History | Friday 14 February 2014 9:00 am

william_grant_stillWilliam Grant Still,(born May 11, 1895, Woodville, Miss., U.S.‚died Dec. 3, 1978, Los Angeles), American composer and conductor, and the first black to conduct a professional symphony orchestra in the United States. Though a prolific composer of operas, ballets, symphonies, and other works, he was best known for his Afro-American Symphony (1931).

Still was brought up by his mother and grandmother in Little Rock, Ark., and studied medicine at Wilberforce University, Ohio, before turning to music. He first studied composition at Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio, then under the conservative George W. Chadwick at the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, and later under Edgard Var‚ during the latter‚ most radical avant-garde period. The diversity of Still‚ musical education was extended when, in the 1920s, he worked as an arranger for the dance-band leader Paul Whiteman and for the blues composer W.C. Handy. In 1939 he married and settled in Los Angeles. Early orchestral works include Darker America (1924) and From the Black Belt (1926) for chamber orchestra.

Still‚ concern with the position of the blacks in U.S. society is reflected in many of his works, notably the Afro-American Symphony; the ballets Sahdji (1930), set in Africa and composed after extensive study of African music, and Lenox Avenue (1937); and the operas The Troubled Island (1938; produced 1949), with a libretto by Langston Hughes, and Highway No. 1, U.S.A. (produced 1963 and 1977).

Still‚ compositions from the mid-1930s show the jazz band as a major influence on his eclectic musical style. He made considerable use of material in the African American style‚ though rarely borrowing actual melodies‚ and preferred simple, commercial harmonies and orchestration, the use of which, however, was characterized by the highest professionalism and seriousness of purpose.

Source: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/566295/William-Grant-Still

Muhammad Ali

Posted by The Zodiac | Black History | Wednesday 12 February 2014 9:00 am

muhammad_aliMuhammad Ali’s Early Years and Amateur Career

Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., the elder son of Cassius Marcellus Clay Sr. (1912-1990) and Odessa Grady Clay (1917-1994), was born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky. It was a red-and-white Schwinn that steered the future heavyweight champion to the sport of boxing. When his beloved bicycle was stolen, a tearful 12-year-old Clay reported the theft to Louisville police officer Joe Martin (1916-1996) and vowed to pummel the culprit. Martin, who was also a boxing trainer, suggested that the upset youngster first learn how to fight, and he took Clay under his wing. Six weeks later, Clay won his first bout in a split decision.

By age 18 Clay had captured two national Golden Gloves titles, two Amateur Athletic Union national titles and 100 victories against eight losses. After graduating high school, he traveled to Rome and won the light heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics.

Clay won his professional boxing debut on October 29, 1960, in a six-round decision. From the start of his pro career, the 6-foot-3-inch heavyweight overwhelmed his opponents with a combination of quick, powerful jabs and foot speed, and his constant braggadocio and self-promotion earned him the nickname ‚ Louisville Lip.

Muhammad Ali: Heavyweight Champion of the World

After winning his first 19 fights, including 15 knockouts, Clay received his first title shot on February 25, 1964, against reigning heavyweight champion Sonny Liston (1932-1970). Although he arrived in Miami Beach, Florida, a 7-1 underdog, the 22-year-old Clay relentlessly taunted Liston before the fight, promising to float like a butterfly, sting like a bee and predicting a knockout. When Liston failed to answer the bell at the start of the seventh round, Clay was indeed crowned heavyweight champion of the world. In the ring after the fight, the new champ roared, “I am the greatest!”

At a press conference the next morning, Clay, who had been seen around Miami with controversial Nation of Islam member Malcolm X (1925-1965), confirmed the rumors of his conversion to Islam. On March 6, 1964, Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad (1897-1975) bestowed on Clay the name of Muhammad Ali.

Ali solidified his hold on the heavyweight championship by knocking out Liston in the first round of their rematch on May 25, 1965, and he defended his title eight more times. Then, with the Vietnam War raging, Ali showed up for his scheduled induction into the U.S. Armed Forces on April 28, 1967. Citing his religious beliefs, he refused to serve. Ali was arrested, and the New York State Athletic Commission immediately suspended his boxing license and revoked his heavyweight belt.

Convicted of draft evasion, Ali was sentenced to the maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, but he remained free while the conviction was appealed. Many saw Ali as a draft dodger, and his popularity plummeted. Banned from boxing for three years, Ali spoke out against the Vietnam War on college campuses. As public attitudes turned against the war, support for Ali grew. In 1970 the New York State Supreme Court ordered his boxing license reinstated, and the following year the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction in a unanimous decision.

Muhammad Ali’s Return to the Ring

After 43 months in exile, Ali returned to the ring on October 26, 1970, and knocked out Jerry Quarry (1945-1999) in the third round. On March 8, 1971, Ali got his chance to regain his heavyweight crown against reigning champ Joe Frazier (1944-2011) in what was billed as the “Fight of the Century.” The undefeated Frazier floored Ali with a hard left hook in the final round. Ali got up but lost in a unanimous decision, experiencing his first defeat as a pro.

Ali won his next 10 bouts before being defeated by Ken Norton (1943-). He won the rematch six months later in a split decision and gained further revenge in a unanimous decision over Frazier in a non-title rematch. The victory gave the 32-year-old Ali a title shot against 25-year-old champion George Foreman (1949-). The October 30, 1974, fight in Kinshasa, Zaire, was dubbed the “Rumble in the Jungle.” Ali, the decided underdog, employed his”rope-a-dope‚” strategy, leaning on the ring ropes and absorbing a barrage of blows from Foreman while waiting for his opponent to tire. The strategy worked, and Ali won in an eighth-round knockout to regain the title stripped from him seven years prior.

Ali successfully defended his title in 10 fights, including the memorable “Thrilla in Manila‚” on October 1, 1975, in which his bitter rival Frazier, his eyes swollen shut, was unable to answer the bell for the final round. Ali also defeated Norton in their third meeting in a unanimous 15-round decision.

On February 15, 1978, an aging Ali lost his title to Leon Spinks (1953-) in a 15-round split decision. Seven months later, Ali defeated Spinks in a unanimous 15-round decision to reclaim the heavyweight crown and become the first fighter to win the world heavyweight boxing title three times. After announcing his retirement in 1979, Ali launched a brief, unsuccessful comeback. However, he was overwhelmed in a technical knockout loss to Larry Holmes (1949-) in 1980, and he dropped a unanimous 10-round decision to Trevor Berbick (1954-2006) on December 11, 1981. After the fight, the 39-year-old Ali retired for good with a career record of 56 wins, five losses and 37 knockouts.

Muhammad Ali’s Later Years and Legacy

In 1984 Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson syndrome, possibly connected to the severe head trauma suffered during his boxing career. The former champion motor skills have slowly declined, and his movement and speech are limited. In spite of the Parkinson, Ali remains in the public spotlight, traveling the world to make humanitarian, goodwill and charitable appearances. He met with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (1937-2006) in 1990 to negotiate the release of American hostages, and in 2002 he traveled to Afghanistan as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

Ali had the honor of lighting the cauldron during the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. In 1999 Ali was voted the BBC‚ “Sporting Personality of the Century,” and Sports Illustrated named him “Sportsman of the Century.” Ali was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a 2005 White House ceremony, and in the same year the $60 million Muhammad Ali Center, a nonprofit museum and cultural center focusing on peace and social responsibility, opened in Louisville.

Ring Magazine named Ali “Fighter of the Year‚” five times, more than any other boxer, and he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. Ali has been married four times and has seven daughters and two sons. He married his fourth wife, Yolanda, in 1986.

Source: http://www.history.com/topics/muhammad-ali

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