The other day at work, I was working the fitting room, and something hilarious happened.
Two young Black men were in the fitting room trying on tank tops. One of the tank tops has Jim Morrison, front man of the Doors, screen printed on the front; he is shirtless.
One of the young men says, “Nah, man. I can’t fuck with that shirt — it has a naked dude on it!”, to which the other guy says, “But, don’t you know who this is? This is Jimi Hendrix!”
And, I burst out laughing. I said, “Not to be in your conversation, but uh, that isn’t Jimi Hendrix. First off, Jimi Hendrix was Black, and had an afro. Secondly, that’s Jim Morrison from the Doors. Same time period, but, two completely different guys”. He said he was embarrassed and my only thought was that if you know the name, you should know the face, right? Plus, I mean, Jimi is one of our few known contributors we get to Black faces of rock n’ roll.
Anyway, days later, I told my co-worker, Michael. A know it all typical White Dude TM. This is the same guy that said, “I mean, it’s pretty much reverse racism — actually, it’s just plain old racism (towards white people)”, so I was a little apprehensive.
This fool says, in the middle of me telling the story, “Wait — were they two ghetto dudes?” Sidenote: all the fucking white people at my store use “ghetto” for Black and I am fucking SICK of it. I said they were two young Black guys, not “ghetto” guys.
He said that he was asking because this would determine their ‘cultural aptitude’. I scoffed. I let him know that not everyone’s culture is the same and you don’t have to know the Doors or any old rock n’ roll to be considered cultured.
He argued that you do. He said you CANNOT be cultured and NOT know who the Doors are. Uh? We’re in our 20’s. Jim Morrison DIED in the 70’s. THE 70’S, AS IN 20 YEARS BEFORE WE WERE BORN! Why would your average Black male in their teens be up the ass of the Doors? Seriously?
White people don’t know shit about our music unless it’s to be ironic. They don’t know any of our legends. Not from R&B, Jazz, Hip Hop or anything else, unless it’s on the radio or being played at one of their racist ass parties. But Black people are uncultured if we don’t worship washed up rock musicians? Not to mention that is a genre of music they took from us anyway?!
It just reminded me of that quote going around — a thing we’ve known for years — that Black people must know and learn and absorb everything of the bland, white culture… but they must know nothing of ours unless to humor us.
Fuck elitist ass white people who make it seem like their arts are the only ones that give you culture, when all they are is an amalgamation of our art.
Next time tell him he ain’t cultured unless he knows about the king, the one, the only Little Richard. Im sure he wouldn’t know shit
My vocal coach had no idea of the existence of any of the following people:
- Stephanie Mills
- Cissy Houston
- BeBe and CeCe Winans
- Melba Moore
- Heather Headley
- Jennifer Holliday(!!!)
- Stacy Lattisaw(!)
And had never even heard of “Strange Fruit” until a month ago.
But she is in a pop group that has been locally successful, and has several songs (and at least one video) on iTunes.
I love her to death, she’s a really good singer, and she’s helped me focus a lot more than I had been, and she’s not trying to get me to sing Streisand or anything. And she knows a lot of what are considered the classics (eg., Ain’t No Way by …well, you know who it’s by). But really? Really though? She is my age, she is teaching other people the R&B method of singing (which she’s decent at, btw), but doesn’t know any of these incredible voices? How did you listen to R&B in the 90s and not know 702? I had to remind her that Faith Evans even existed.
But we gotta know everybody. We gotta know all our favorites and then theirs, too. If we don’t love us some Rolling Stones, we must be uneducated rubes. If we ain’t on that Beatles bandwagon, we musta missed the boat.
Nah, man. We ain’t miss no boat. We was on the bridge.
“You don’t know the Eagles?”
Fuck no I don’t know the eagles