Monday, March 23, 2009

Black folks I first knew

Over at BitchPhD my compadre Taddyporter has a post up about guitars with some awesome Beatles clips at the end.

Anyway - I note he opens with black folks and then links to whitey, so since this post made me think about race, I'll give him some grief about that, and then link you to Berry.

Here's a killer performance of Johnny B Goode by Chuck Berry. Sadly, there's commentary in the middle, so to listen to it straight try this one. (and the youtube caveat - some prick with a lawyer might cause these to be dumped.)

Interesting that the first great clip has a bunch of white rockers in the middle. Anyway - Chuck Berry and Chubby Checker were two of my first ever 'black people I knew something about' as well as Uhura. I've been thinking about my experiences growing up in very white small-ish town Winona in the 70s with a lot of white faces.

First probably was Sesame Street, although living in Minneapolis until I was 1.5 years old I suppose I saw black folks up there. Ali in my grade school was from Egypt, the son of a professor. Not a black person in my grade school. I think the staff was all white.

Chuck and Chubby we had albums of. I remember doing the twist a lot...

We were Oz fans, and got dropped off to a showing of The Wiz in a hugely black audience when we were young. It was showing in the Cities, and I would have been 12 and my siblings 10 and 8. I remember we sat front and center, and that it was a marvelous movie. I was scared to be in such a different and black group. Everything went fine, and after the movie we were relaxed.

We used nigger as a swearword. Smear the queer, nigger in the tree, brazil nuts were niggertoes. I got in BIG trouble for that word, using it in front of my high-society grandmother when I was 8 or so. So I learned to avoid that.

It was the 60s filtering into smalltown, so feminism and racial equality were accepted as the norms. We hung with an academic crowd, though when Dad lost his job and the drink ramped up it was less folks around. I came out of high school a prochoice Republican, who knew racism and sexism were bad. But so were the Commies...

First college roommate was black. I was freaked, he was into heavy partying, we didn't get along. Probably all sorts of racial crap I did, not that I recall. By this time I was heading to the left, doing Renaissance Festival. I had a huge crush on one of the few black kids working at Festival, but there was definitely a weird 'taboo' aspect to it. One of her brothers caught me calling him 'boy' and he roundly yelled at me for that. I should thank him for that!

Anyway, this memory-lane trip is brought to you by a sore throat and a rainy day indoors.


taddyporter said...

You do live the life, nihilix.

Feel better you commie!

nihilix said...

The life of the slightly-off kilter...


Thanks for the read!

Joy said...

nihilix, followed you here from bitchphd and just flipping through old posts. you're from winona! i grew up across the river between fountain city and arcadia. i don't know why, but i find it most soothing and happifying to have boys from kinda-around-home like you and taddy show up on bitchphd, which is awfully far (mostly in a good way) from kinda-around-home.

that's all.