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The most racist preacher in America?


 
Is Brother Donny Reagan of the Happy Valley Church of Jesus Christ in Johnson City, Tennessee, the “most racist pastor in America”? This is what The American Jesus blog is wondering. Surely he’s one of the dumbest.

Brother Reagan begins his remarks in the video below by informing his congregation that he is probably “going to make some people mad.” He’s apparently not self-aware enough to realize that some other people are going to simply point and laugh at him, but I believe it’s safe to say that self-awareness is not a quality the good Lord bestowed upon Donny boy here in any appreciable amount.

“Today we have so much fussing and stewing about this segregation of white and colored and everything. Why don’t they leave it alone? Let it be the way God made it.”

Wait, what?

“There is a move in the message, of blacks marrying whites, whites marrying blacks. And folks think that is alright, but you know, my God still has nationalities outside the city.’

“Nationalities outside the city”! I LOL’d at that line. Brother Donny’s congregation, clearly consisting of low IQ buffoons like himself, shout “Amen!” as Reagan reads from his prepared remarks. I wonder how these intellectually challenged folks vote, don’t you? [Me, neither, that doesn’t even qualify as a rhetorical question does it?]

“Hybreeding, hybreeding, oh how terrible. They hybreed the people. You know it’s a big molding pot. I’ve got hundreds of precious colored friends that’s borned again Christians. But on this line of segregation, hybreeding the people. What, tell me what fine cultured, fine Christian colored woman would want her baby to be a mulatto by a white man? No sir, it’s not right.”

At 2:19, Brother Donny makes an honest admission:

“Now friends I’m not very smart.”

Um, that’s right you inbred cracker fuck calling for MORE INBREEDING!!!!

DNA doesn’t work that way, Bro.

Dumb Donny goes on to say:

“If God wanted a man brown, black, white, whatever color he wanted him, that God’s creation. That’s the way he wanted it.”

Uh, you heard the man… As the Firesign Theater once said “Good lord, a stiff idiot is the worst kind.”
 

 
Via Christian Nightmares

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Check out The Lumpen, the Black Panther Party’s resident ‘house band’
02.07.2014
06:14 am

Topics:
Class War
Race

Tags:
The Black Panthers

The Lumpen
 
First of all, “The Lumpen” is a fantastically cheeky name for a band of Black Panthers. It’s short for “lumpenproletariat,” Marx’s term for the working class that simply cannot achieve class-consciousness, and may in fact become an obstacle to revolution. (Think very poor, uninsured Tea partiers adamantly against food stamps or universal healthcare.) I’m already sold on the Marxist inside joke.

While The Lumpen were most certainly not the lumpenproletariat, they show that The Black Panther Party made sure to inject a healthy amount of arts and culture into their radical commitments. And though they often had very little time for band practice, (what with Party duties and all), their mission was the capstone to a larger, but usually far less explicit presence of black power politics and rhetoric in soul music—the fascinating book, Party Music: The Inside Story of the Black Panthers’ Band and How Black Power Transformed Soul Music, goes into it more thoroughly. Below, you can hear their one and only single, “Free Bobby Now,” an anthem for Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale, who was serving four years for contempt of court.

Band member Michael Torrance gives his fond recollection of his time spent in The Lumpen, from The Black Panther Party’s Legacy and Alumni:

Throughout history, oppressed people have used music as a means to not only document their struggle, but also to educate, motivate and inspire people to resistance. The Lumpen singing cadre grew out of that tradition. The purpose or mission of the Lumpen was “to educate the People…to use popular forms of music that the community could relate to and politicize it so it would function as another weapon in the struggle for liberation.”

The original members were Bill Calhoun, Clark (Santa Rita) Bailey, James Mott and myself, Michael Torrance. In the beginning we were just comrades who liked to harmonize while working Distribution night in San Francisco to “help the work go easier” (another tradition). We had all sung in groups in the past, Calhoun having performed professionally in Las Vegas, and it just came naturally. I don’t remember just how it came about, but Emory Douglas, Minister of Culture, suggested that this could be formed into a musical cadre. Elaine Brown had already recorded an album of revolutionary songs (Seize the Time) in a folk singing style, and this quartet singing in an R&B or “Soul” form could be a useful political tool. Some folks don’t read, but everybody listens to music.

Shortly thereafter, Calhoun wrote “No More” in a spiritual/traditional style, and then “Bobby Must Be Set Free”, a more upbeat R&B song. We recorded these two songs and soon we were singing at community centers and rallies. Emory named the group the Lumpen for the “brothers on the block,” the disenfranchised, angry underclass in the ghetto. From then on the Lumpen were a Revolutionary Culture cadre - working out of National Headquarters under the direction of the Ministry of Culture, and June Hilliard who was alternately very supportive and very critical.

It was determined that as representatives of the Black Panther Party and to “capture the imagination” of the people, the Lumpen had to perform at a high level - the “product” had to be good. We recruited progressive musicians from the community and they became the Lumpen’s band - The Freedom Messengers Revolutionary Musicians. Thanks to Calhoun’s expertise, we were able to put together a high-energy hour-long “act” complete with uniforms and choreography.

Soon we were performing at clubs, community centers, rallies and colleges throughout the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area and as word of mouth spread, the Lumpen began to develop a following. By the time the Lumpen were about to go on an East Coast tour, the auditorium at Merritt College was packed for the kick-off concert which was recorded live. The whole audience sang along with “Bobby Must Be Set Free.”

In the winter of 1971, the Lumpen and comrade Emory went on an East Coast tour of colleges and fundraisers in St. Paul/Minneapolis, New York City, Boston, New Haven and the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention in Washington DC. We promoted the Party’s mass line through re-working popular songs by the Impressions (People Get Ready - Revolution’s Come), the Temptations (There’s Bullets in the air for Freedom, Old Pig Nixon) as well as originals such as Revolution is the Only Solution, We Can’t Wait Another Day, Set Sister Erika Free, and Killin’ (If U Gon Be Free).

Upon returning to Oakland, the Lumpen continued to perform throughout California. Attempts to get airplay for the “Lumpen Live” recording were unsuccessful due to the “controversial” lyrics. Eventually, due to departures and shifting priorities, the Lumpen as a group disbanded.

It is important to stress that the Lumpen were Panthers first and foremost. Before, during and after the group, we did all the political and day-to-day work that was required of every rank and file comrade. The music was simply another facet of service to the Party and the Revolution. Furthermore, since we were an educational cadre, rigorous study was necessary to be able to translate the ideology of the BPP into song. At all times, we were representatives of the Black Panther Party.

Being a member of the Lumpen was only one of the various areas of work I was involved in during my years in the Party, but I am proud to have been a part of our struggle’s historic tradition and in the process to have possibly made a little history as well.

 

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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‘Heil Honey, I’m Home!’: You won’t believe these racially insensitive vintage UK sitcoms!*
01.31.2014
12:08 pm

Topics:
Race
Television

Tags:
Nazis
Spike Milligan
sitcoms


 
[*Look, if you’re going to post something like this, WHY NOT give it a jaunty Upworthy-worthy click-bait title?]

It used to be that we Americans only knew British television via Monty Python, Doctor Who and Masterpiece Theatre. UK TV was kinda classy compared to American television. Except when it wasn’t, but we didn’t get those sorts of misfires over here. Here we got Upstairs, Downstairs. Brideshead Revisited. The Six Wives of Henry VIII.

There are a lot of completely demented UK TV shows that most Americans have probably never heard of, but that now can be found on torrent trackers and YouTube.

Take for instance the short-lived Spike Milligan sitcom Curry & Chips from 1969. Milligan—never a man known for his racial sensitivity to begin with—donned blackface to play “Kevin O’Grady” (or as he is also called on the show “Paki Paddy”) a “foreigner” from Pakistan who says that he is Irish.

The producers claimed the show was supposed to combat prejudice—and that it was the English characters who looked the dumbest—but essentially the series relied upon… unvarnished racial abuse for the laughs. “I’m with Enoch!” is but one unfunny punchline the studio audience chortles along to. Milligan’s “Irish” character says he left Pakistan because of “the wogs.” It just gets worse from there.
 

 
Have a look for yourself, this is the full first episode of Curry & Chips:
 

 
Curry & Chips was cancelled after just six episodes, but it still fared far better than Heil Honey, I’m Home! a severely misguided 1990 attempt to get a few laughs out of the notion of Hitler and Eva Braun moving in next door to a Jewish couple, The Goldensteins.

Hilarity ensues!

Or does it?

Heil Honey, I’m Home! has but a single decent idea (one used to far better effect in Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place) and this is the conceit that the series was a “long lost” American sitcom from the 1950s. The show begins with a card reading:

To most people the name of TV executive Brandon Thalburg Jnr. merits no more than a three word footnote in the annals of American Situation Comedy.  Yet it was Brandon who, some years ago, sought to break new ground when he commissioned the series Heil Honey I’m Home! under the billing ‘not so much a sit com, more a hit com.’ Unfortunately, neither Brandon nor the series were heard of again. Until now!

A chance discovery in a Burbank backlot has revealed the lost tapes of: Heil Honey I’m Home!. Tapes that we believe will vindicate Brandon’s unsung comic vision.

Hey, not so fast on the posthumous vindication, there. It starts to suck right after the above words leave the screen (yes, I just gave away the best part). Even the title sequence is fucking terrible, they couldn’t even get that right, and the eponymous catch phrase is surely the worst of all time and will never, ever be topped for its abject shitness.

All in all, Heil Honey I’m Home! just stinks! Writing at Splitsider, Matt Schimkowitz said the show was the “Holocaust meets The Honeymooners” and that gets it about right. Imagine the fucking pitch meeting!
 

 
Don’t get me wrong, Nazis can be funny, just ask Mel Brooks (or Mitchell and Webb), but Heil Honey I’m Home! is plain awful. It was killed after only one episode aired, but there were seven more in the can. If The Day The Clown Cried ever gets released after Jerry Lewis dies, Heil Honey I’m Home! would probably make a good opener on a Nazis comedy double feature.

Here’s Heil Honey I’m Home! in all of its… er, glory.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Is the Ku Klux Klan distributing lollipops with its recruiting literature?
01.22.2014
04:47 am

Topics:
Idiocracy
Race
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
Ku Klux Klan

Lollipop
 
The talented Emily V. Gordon, cohost of the delightful gaming podcast The Indoor Kids and recently the manager of the NerdMelt comedy space in Hollywood, yesterday wrote a post on her Gynomite! blog in which she calls attention to a possible disturbing trend in the recruitment practices of the KKK.

It’s barely more than a sentence: “In my own hometown, the KKK is putting lollipops alongside their stupid flyers in people’s driveways. Fucking ridiculous.” Gordon linked to a gallery posted by imgur user crick3t4.

Under the image at the top of this page, crick3t4 wrote, “My daughter found this at the end of our driveway, candy and hmmmm.” The paper inside the bag is pictured below.
 
Klan literature
 
Gordon hails from the Winston-Salem area of North Carolina, and the area code in the leaflet, 336, corresponds to the Winston-Salem area too. So if you live near there, tell your children to beware of intolerant white men bearing candy.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Isaac Hayes’ ‘Black Moses’ - the story of one of the greatest album covers ever
01.10.2014
05:34 am

Topics:
Music
Race

Tags:
Isaac Hayes

Black Moses
 
1969’s brilliant Hot Buttered Soul made Isaac Hayes famous as a soul singer, completing his transition to stardom from his past as a behind-the-scenes songwriter and producer. (Did you know that he co-wrote Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man?” That alone would qualify him for eternal exaltation even if he never did anything else.) 1971’s immortal Shaft soundtrack made him indisputably an icon. How do you follow that up? With shitloads of hubris.

It was Dino Woodward who came up with the “Black Moses” tag. “Dino said, ‘Man, look at these people out there,’” explains Isaac. “Do you know what you’re bringing into their lives? Look at these guys from Vietnam, man, how they’re crying when they see you, how you helped them through when they was out there in the jungle and they stuck to your music. You like a Moses, man. You just like Black Moses, you the modern-day Moses!”

“Somebody got wind of that and when I opened in Philadelphia at the Spectrum, [in front of] eighteen thousand people, Georgie Woods, who was a local radio personality and a promoter, introduced me that night. He said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I bring to you the Black Moses of the music world—Isaac Hayes,” and the whole place stood, people just screaming and it caught on. A writer for Jet magazine named Chester Higgins did an article on me and he used the term Black Moses, and then [Stax Records’ creative director] Larry Shaw had the savvy to capitalize on it and entitle the album Black Moses.

“I had nothing to do with it. I was kicking and screaming all the way. But when I saw the relevance and effect that it had on people, it wasn’t a negative thing. It was a healing thing, it was an inspiring thing. It raised the level of black consciousness in the states. People were proud to be black. Black men could finally stand up and be men because here’s Black Moses, he’s the epitome of black masculinity. Chains that once represented bondage and slavery can now be a sign of power and strength and sexuality and virility.

—From Soulsville, U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records by Rob Bowman, 1997

Though that’s a LOT for an artist to carry on his shoulders, Hayes did it. And not only was Black Moses successful at cementing Hayes’ status as a symbol, it was an artistic and marketplace success as well. Moses was Hayes’ second double-LP of 1971, his second consecutive release to spend several weeks at #1 on Billboard‘s R&B album chart, AND his second consecutive Grammy winner. Who else has released two double-albums in one year that both went on to become classics? I can’t think of anyone. (Also, Hayes pulled that feat decades before he adopted the tenets of Scientology. Suck on THOSE chocolate salty balls, L. Ron.)

But if you’re going to assume the mantle of Black Moses, not only does your album have to be excellent, the cover needs to be at least memorable if not iconic. But Stax’ covers of that period were not so hot.

Ever since he had come to Stax, Larry Shaw felt that the company had severely lagged behind in its cover art department. The nadir for Shaw was David Porter’s Gritty, Groovy And Gettin’ It LP, released in February 1970, where a naked Porter was pictured with an equally naked female partner from the armpits up.

“To me,” confesses Shaw, “it was just a nasty presentation of an artist humping some chick. The disrespect that the designers of it had for the artist and the music was not necessary. It was their translation of guts. It was not appropriate.

Stax artwork had improved tremendously since Shaw, with help from former Bar-Kay Ron Gordon, took over its direction. With Black Moses he outdid himself, designing what has to be the most elaborate album package for a black artist up to that point. The two records were encased in a regular cover that portrayed Hayes from the neck up, shrouded in a caftan against a backdrop of endless sky. The cover clearly signified the notion of Hayes as Moses in the Middle East. Enveloping the regular cover was a multi-panel graphic that unfolded into a cross shape four feet high and three feet wide. Here was the same image of Hayes as Moses, but now it was a full body shot with the artist at the edge of a large body of water.

—Bowman
 
Black Moses unfolded
 
A four foot cruciform Isaac Hayes! I wonder, in how many homes did that hang along with an actual crucifix? In how many instead of an actual crucifix? The 2009 CD reissue, charmingly, reproduces the foldout—underwhelmingly but understandably at CD size. That’s certainly better than the first CD version from 1990, which made no attempt whatsoever to address the fact that the album sported one of the single most badass covers of all time.

Enjoy this Isaac Hayes bio/tribute video, produced for the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis, TN.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘Eefing’: Can YOU handle hillbilly beatboxing?
11.20.2013
06:41 am

Topics:
Music
Race

Tags:
Hee Haw
eefing
Jimmy Riddle
Joe Perkins

Hee Haw cast
Cast photo of Hee Haw, with Jimmy Riddle up front in overalls

Eefing is one of those things I encountered a few times in my childhood and immediately buried in my subconscious, knowing there was no way I could explain it to anyone without older Appalachian-raised family members. If I had to give a brief description, I’d probably go with “a hundred-year-old Appalachian vocal music technique of percussive gasping, hiccuping, and fart noises.” Praise Jesus, we now have YouTube, and you can just press play and hear for yourself!

Below is a supercut of the absolute f’ing master of eefing, Jimmy Riddle, spliced and remixed, creating a sort of surreal intensity. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
 

A longer version of Jimmy’s description of eefing can be found here.

Jimmy enthusiastically eefed it up on many an episode of the redneck-themed variety show, Hee Haw, the only secular television my evangelical grandparents watched when I was growing up, besides sports and daytime soap operas. (Hee Haw was, ironically, primarily created by two Canadians and a New York Jew.) Jimmy’s accompaniment (and indeed the only accompaniment I’ve ever really seen with eefing), is usually the manual percussive slaps we call “hambone.”

In 1963, in one of the weirder moments American ethnomusicology, a black singer named Joe Perkins apparently became enamored of hillbilly eefing, and released a novelty single featuring Jimmy’s talents. “Little Eeefin’ Annie,” with its “Uncle Eeef” flipside, was actually a minor hit. (Alvin and the Chipmunks released “Eefin’ Alvin” that same year.)

Below you can hear and see Joe Perkins perform “Little Eeefin’ Annie” on a local Nashville R&B show called Night Train, which aired from 1964 to 1967. The program was made by black producers for black audiences, and videos like this one capture how receptive black audiences actually were to hillbilly music, a fact that often goes overlooked in our popular narratives of music history. The second song Perkins performs is also weird as hell. It’s called “Runaway Slave,” and it’s a love song that uses chattel slavery as a romantic metaphor (Nobody could ever accuse the guy of playing it safe!)
 

 
Lest you get impression that eefing is a noble art form, denigrated by the rednecksploitational Hee Haw money men, but held in solemn reverence by Appalachian people, let me reassure you, I spent a large portion of my childhood with my Appalachian grandparents, and on the rare occasion we encountered eefing, it was intended to evoke laughter.

What I’m saying is, eefing is… an acquired taste, and no one will think you a classist cultural chauvinist if you can’t make it all the way through the supercut. And no one will be offended if you laugh at it, either.

Hambone, however, that shit is deadly serious!

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Hilarious mockumentary ‘Darkest Austria’ goes where ‘no black man has set foot before’
10.29.2013
05:37 pm

Topics:
Race
Television

Tags:
Darkest Austria


“Anthropologist Kayonga Kagame of Kinshasa University” (Actor Frank Oladeinde)

Purporting to be an episode of “Other Countries, Other Customs: Kayonga Kagame Shows Us The World,” a production of the fictitious All African Television network, Darkest Austria (“Dunkles, Rätselhaftes Österreich) is a pitch-perfect 1994 mockumentary produced for Austrian TV. It’s an audacious comic gem, in the same league as Look Around You and one of the funniest, most original things I’ve ever seen. Really clever, a minor masterpiece even. Certainly you will have never seen anything quite like it.

Darkest Austria is simultaneously a satire of National Geographic documentaries—they get the reverse condescending colonial tone down perfectly—as much as it is a send-up of Austrian culture, which is pretty… uniformly white. Monolithically so. The idea—brilliantly realized by writer/director Walter Wippersberg, a celebrated author of children’s books—was to get his countrymen to see themselves, their rituals and local customs as outsiders would see them. I’m guessing this is viewed as some kind of TV classic in Austria. It must be. It would hardly be possible to make something like this anywhere else!

As the on-camera host, ethnologist Kayonga Kagame explains, doing cultural research on Anglo-Europeans for the first time has many pitfalls, notably the delusional way the white man regards himself:

“The white man’s tendency to indulge in narcissistic self-analysis makes ethnographic research in Europe very difficult.

There is not one psychological or social phenomenon that has not been examined in scores of books.

As soon as the Europeans have written up their theories they start to believe in them. If you read these works of egocentric self-justification, you risk being taken in by the elaborate style in which they’re written and by their seemingly logical arguments. It is easy to end up thinking like the white natives that a curved line is straight, nonsense makes sense and the weird is normal.

If you want to keep a clear head avoid all white self-interpretation and rely on your own common sense.”

When the All African Television documentary team wanders into the darkest regions of the Eastern Alps, they are perplexed by such “patently useless activities” as bike riding for pleasure or mountain climbing, which is viewed as complete lunacy until they conclude that it’s a cult. Oktoberfest’s gluttonous goings-on are seen as Christian rituals, with beer steins and heaping plates of chicken replacing the wine and communion wafers. Money is termed “magic paper” and bemuses the visiting ethnologists. The activity called “skiing” where the local people line up to be chair-lifted to the top of a mountain only to slide down it and then repeat this over and over again all day long is seen as a symptom of an epidemic regression to infantile behavior.

When I first saw Darkest Austria I liked how it referred to an earlier program and assumed this was just a trope that allowed for the African documentarians to be “returning” to the Alps and to make it seem more real, but in fact, the film is not a one-off, there actually was an earlier film, Das Fest des Huhnes (“Festival of the chicken”) but sadly, I wasn’t able to turn up one dubbed into English on YouTube.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Watch a radiant Hattie McDaniel accept her Oscar at a segregated Academy Awards ceremony
10.24.2013
11:01 am

Topics:
Movies
Race

Tags:
Oscars
Hattie McDaniel
Gone with the Wind

Hattie McDaniel and Fay Bainter
Hattie McDaniel and Fay Bainter
 
Ah, award shows! Those infamously schlocky and monumentally affected parades of self-congratulation! Often we’re left wondering how such talented actors can come across so plastic on stage, but Hattie McDaniel’s acceptance speech for her 1939 role of “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind is truly moving.

Gossip columnist Louella Parsons wrote:

“Hattie McDaniel earned that gold Oscar by her fine performance of ‘Mammy’ in Gone with the Wind. If you had seen her face when she walked up to the platform and took the gold trophy, you would have had the choke in your voice that all of us had when Hattie, hair trimmed with gardenias, face alight, and dress up to the queen’s taste, accepted the honor in one of the finest speeches ever given on the Academy floor.

McDaniel, of course, won for playing a maid—one of the only roles a black woman could get at the time. And while her most famous scene may be cinching up Scarlett O’Hara’s bodice, the night promised a moment of recognition for her amazing performance. The heartfelt words of a groundbreaking actress are only half the story, though.

When Gone with the Wind premiered in Atlanta in 1939, all of the black actors were barred from attending. Producer David O. Selznick asked that an exception be made for Hattie McDaniel, but MGM advised him not to because of Georgia’s segregation laws. Clark Gable threatened to boycott the Atlanta premiere unless McDaniel was permitted to attend, but McDaniel herself convinced him to go.
 

 
There is a cut between Fay Bainter’s presentation of the award and McDaniel’s acceptance; this was the part where she had to walk up to the podium from her segregated table in the back: Even in Los Angeles, McDaniel and her date were required to sit at a segregated table for two, apart from her Gone with the Wind colleagues. Regardless, she delivers one of the most poignant speeches in Oscar history. In 2006, she was depicted on a United States postage stamp, wearing the dress and gardenias from that historic night.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Awesome Native American grandmothers capture and burn white supremacist’s Nazi flag
09.25.2013
10:08 am

Topics:
Heroes
Race

Tags:
Nazis
Native Americans

grandmothers
 
You may have recently heard of Leith, North Dakota, the town of only 24 people currently at risk of Nazi takeover, because apparently the middle of the goddamn country now contains a rip in space-time, leading directly to Poland in 1939. An opportunistic white supremacist has been buying up land in Leith with the express intent of organizing a “white nationalist intentional community.” (I’d argue a lot of those already exist more discreetly in the gated communities of America, but I digress.)

Obviously, there has been some push-back from Leith citizens, including Bobby Harper, the one black guy in town, who’s clearly the most patient and laid-back man alive. But a town of 24 people isn’t the most intimidating mob, so friends and allies from nearby towns have shown up in support, most notably the above crew of Lakota and Dakota grandmothers, who stole and burned a swastika flag in protest. You have to admit, there is some serious irony in attempting to create a Nazi town in a state that shares a name with the indigenous people who lived there prior to the arrival of Europeans.

Check out the video below for Bobby Harper and his wife, who now live right behind white supremacists.
 

 
Via Last Real Indians

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Nina Simone breaks down in tears during interview: ‘I’m not very happy’
09.25.2013
07:59 am

Topics:
Music
Race

Tags:
Nina Simone

Nina Simone
Nina Simone and her daughter, who recently caused a stir by criticizing the casting of Zoe Saldana as Simone in a bio-pic. Noting that a large part of her mother’s impact stemmed from her dark skin, wide nose, and full lips, Simone’s daughter asserted that casting another fine-featured, light-skinned woman simply reinforced the anti-black beauty standards Nina stood in defiance of.
 
A few seconds into this interview, I heard Nina Simone defend conservative Republican pervert and all-around dirtbag Clarence Thomas. Honestly, after that, I didn’t think there was anything else she could say that would shock me. But I was quickly taken aback by her response to the final question. The interviewer asks Simone (in French) if she sometimes has regrets of not pursuing a career in classical piano. Nina, who attended Juilliard, and was normally so confident and poised, breaks down. Her voice cracking, she admits quite frankly that she wishes she had become the first black classic pianist, and that she believes her unhappiness stems from the lack of that achievement.

It’s an incredibly vulnerable moment. Simone openly longs for a life that, in all honesty, would have reached far fewer people than the one she actually lived. She was notoriously dismissive of pop music, and openly maintained that classical music was a higher art form- a claim that ironically lead many to accuse her of adopting white artistic standards. It’s both heartbreaking and unfathomable to think that one of the most dynamic voices of black liberation, the woman who wrote “Mississippi Goddam” and “Young, Gifted and Black,” could yearn for any other legacy.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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