Two weeks after closing Woodstock with his reinvention of “The Star Spangled Banner,” Jimi Hendrix decided to offer a free concert for a group he called “my people.”
He held a concert for an African-American audience in Harlem, a place he once called home. Hendrix’s homecoming, though, was almost ruined as soon as he stepped onstage. Someone threw a bottle at him that shattered against a speaker; eggs splattered on the stage. Hendrix gamely played on while much of the crowd melted away.
“They didn’t like him,” says Charles R. Cross, who recounts the episode in his biography of Hendrix, “Room Full of Mirrors.” “He was jeered. People heckled him.”
A new film focusing on a more triumphant period in Hendrix’s life is rekindling interest in the guitar icon. “Jimi: All Is by My Side” shows how Hendrix left New York for London to become a star. Yet no film has explored another twist in Hendrix’s journey: How black and white audiences misunderstood the importance of Hendrix’s race, both to the man and to his music.
Hendrix traveled to Harlem because he was trying to connect with blacks who had dismissed him as a musical Uncle Tom: a black man playing white man’s music. Music critics and biographers say Hendrix also was frustrated by legions of white fans who only saw him as a racial stereotype — a hypersexual black man who was high all the time — instead of a serious musician.
There are signs today that more fans are starting to appreciate how Hendrix’s race shaped his life and sound. Yet he’s still seen by many as a musical genius who just happened to be black instead of a man whose genius was inseparable from his race, says Jeremy Wells, author of “Blackness Scuzed: Jimi Hendrix’s Invisible Legacy in Heavy Metal.”
Wells first noticed this pattern when he examined how white heavy metal musicians and fans described Hendrix. They rarely mentioned his race, or even said that his music transcended race. Wells said he found that odd given Hendrix’s sound was steeped in the blues tradition of black guitarists such as B.B. King and Muddy Waters.
“Nobody would say that race doesn’t matter for Muddy Waters,” says Wells, an English professor at Indiana University Southeast. “But there’s a whole industry devoted to saying it doesn’t matter for Hendrix.”
Race mattered more to Hendrix than most people realize, critics and biographers say: He was hurt by black radio’s refusal to play his music; he experienced stinging racism during his time as an R&B sideman and star; and some of his most famous songs were profoundly shaped by his experiences as a black man in America. [Read More]
Lately, feminists like Annie Lennox, bell hooks and Emma Watson have taken issue with Beyoncé’s sexual openness. While trying to discredit Beyoncé as a feminist, they seem to have forgotten one of the most important parts of Chimamanda’s speech in ***Flawless.
"What does a lady dress like, exactly? And who decided what a lady looks like? What bearing should one’s clothing have on one’s identification as a feminist? This is exactly the kind of misogynist policing we’ve fought tooth and claw against for decades, and to level this line of “reasoning” at Beyoncé is not only antifeminist, it is despicable." (x)
We should also note that Black Women are perceived and fetishized as hyper sexual. Which is why mainstream feminists willingly call Miley Cyrus, Iggy Azalea, and Katy Perry revolutionary and in charge of their bodies meanwhile demonizing Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Beyonce.
"[People Magazine] asked people to recreate scenes from famous movies in a photo. They asked Andy Samberg and I if we wanted to recreate a scene from a movie like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and we said that sounds great, but we’d rather do a scene from E.T. You might be like, “How could you and Andy do that; one of those is a child and one of those is an alien! Well, I feel like we nailed it.” - Seth Meyers
Racism in Italy - Cécile Kyenge, Italy’s first black minister and target of increasing racial slurs, had bananas thrown at her while making a speech .. the lady responded coolly that it was ‘a waste of food’.. (more here)