Submitted by Nicole Duncan-Smith
On Nov. 3, the Arts & Letters Committees of the Brooklyn Alumnae Chapter hosted its RED Talks: A Conversation with The Force MDs to kick off their celebration of National Hip Hop History Month.
Founded in the early 80s, by a group of brothers, an uncle, and a few neighborhood friends, The Force MDs were the first group to successfully marry rap music and R&B, coining the term Hip Hop Doo Wop.
Originally composed of brothers Stevie D. and Antoine “T.C.D.” Lundy, Rodney “Khalil” Lundy, and their uncle Jessie Lee Daniels, they called the singing part of the crew, “The LDs.” Other members of the group were Trisco Pearson and Charles “Mercury” Nelson. Stevie D and Mercury were in a rap group with Dr. Rock called “The Force MCs.” One day, the legendary radio disc jockey Mr. Magic saw the guys singing on the Staten Island Ferry and brought them to Tommy Boy Records to meet with Tommy Silverman.
Silverman was already impressed with the harmonies of the new generation Doo Wop group, but was floored when he discovered they could rap. He merged the names the LDs and Force MCs into Force MDs, changing the last two letters to mean Musical Diversity.
As recording artists, The Force MDs were known for their iconic ballads including: “Tears;” “Love is a House;” “Here I Go Again;” and “Tender Love.” They also had some upbeat jams including “Forgive Me Girl;” “Itching for a Scratch;” and “Let Me Love You.”
During the two-hour Red Talks, they talked about recording some of their hits and revealed that their song “Tears” was the first commercial hit for Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Now, all but two of the original group are deceased, and to carry the legacy, the two surviving Lundy brothers Stevie D and Khalil invited their nephew Zieme Capers to join the group.
Outside of music, the trio talked about the importance of intergenerational dialogue and an effort to expose culture to the young and how crucial it is for older people to take an interest in technology and what’s important to young people.
Khalil and Stevie shared they have used their artistic platform to engage in social action. As board members of the Hip Hop Alliance, they are working with SAG/AFTRA to develop health insurance for artists, specifically the pioneers in Hip-Hop, who never reaped the fruit of their labor. The Hip Hop Alliance is interested in partnering with community organizations to also elevate service, justice, and economic empowerment for the next generation.
The dialogue was rich as it seemed their focus aligned with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.’s Five Programmatic-Thrusts, and a door was opened for there to be work done in the community outside of the public exchange.
More than 40 people tuned in live to this two-hour private conversation. The program will be released publicly on the Brooklyn Alumnae Chapter’s YouTube page in December.