Thursday, December 21, 2006

Black Faces do not always Minstrels Make

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI consider it to be a good opportunity for folks who may have expressed "concern" or disappointment over the picture I used for my latest podcast of Mondo Diablo: Noel en l'Enfer.

The opportunity is great because for one, we can expand our horizons beyond the VERY young holiday known as the American Christmas, to find out what a great deal of the REST of the world is doing. But even better is a chance to understand a little bit more about "our" own culture, that of early American "Black" music, and the horror and taboo against the Minstrel Show.

"Bamboozled" was an interesting film about racist black Americana, but it failed miserably at educating its viewers about the traditions of vaudeville and Barbershop Harmony that originated with black Americans. Yes, Minstrel Shows were started/imported by people with dark skin. This began a very solid basis for "American" entertainment that gave us today's delights: Trade Show barkers selling Oxy Klean, Stepping/Stomping competions, and Saturday Night Live.

And no, I would not be so bold as to forget the contributions of "Romany" people of all shades and geological locations to "American" entertainment that was so very well co-opted by darker-or-not-so dark-skinned people.

As for the picture on the blog: the podcast itself does a very good job of explaining what those strange blackfaced men are doing. I would have hoped this would have been enough, but I suppose this link might help.

No Races! Just individuals, please!

PS: Let us give credit where credit is due: the group is called The Rainbow Jazz Valentines. Surely most of us are aware of the hugeness of traditional jazz in the Netherlands, right?

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