It is jarring and most distressing to walk into a room one has considered private and find it ringed with cameras, spotlights, and insistent strangers claiming long acquaintance and making plans to move in and redecorate without being invited. Black music and with it the private black self were suddenly grossly public—tossed onstage, dressed in clown white, and bandied aboIt is jarring and most distressing to walk into a room one has considered private and find it ringed with cameras, spotlights, and insistent strangers claiming long acquaintance and making plans to move in and redecorate without being invited. Black music and with it the private black self were suddenly grossly public—tossed onstage, dressed in clown white, and bandied about with a gleeful arrogance that just yesterday had chosen to ignore and condescend.Blacks, it seemed, had lost the battle for mythological ownership of rock, as future events would prove.Written more than 40 years ago with astonishing prescience, celebrated critic and memoirist Margo Jefferson’s Ripping Off Black Music—her first published essay—is at once unflinchingly honest and dead-on in its critique of appropriation in popular music, from Chuck Berry to Elvis, Jimi Hendrix to the Beatles. Features an introduction by the author.Ripping Off Black Music was originally published in Harper’s, January 1973. Cover design by Adil Dara....
|Title||:||ripping off black music singles classic|
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||15 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
ripping off black music singles classic Reviews
"Has a young admirer ever attached himself to you? He dogged your footsteps, dressed as nearly like you as possible, acquired your mannerisms and expressions, and told everyone how wonderful you were. At first you may have been amused, even flattered. But you became uneasy, then annoyed. You were being caricatured, your individuality undermined and cheapened. You felt used, fed off of, and your admirer took on the lewdness of the voyeur. You were being appropriated for his needs, used as raw material in his efforts to divert or remodel himself. Finally, you despised him. Imitation is a form of cannibalism. And the imitator is never content merely to nibble; oh no, every so often, when life becomes dull or frustrating, he becomes greedy. Nothing will satisfy him but the whole, body and blood." Jefferson writes with a straightforward approach and lack of apology I find missing in many who discuss things such as this. More worried about offending the fragile white ego than putting forth the truth, she is not.
A great piece of writing, with a solid point.
VentriloquismJefferson makes the argument historically, viscerally, and convincingly as she traces the history of whites appropriating the experience, style and music of blacks from the time of black face minstrels, to the Rolling Stones. History can be seen as repeating itself even now as white artists like Eminem appropriate rap and hip hop, affecting for themselves not only the genre, but the lifestyle and trappings of "thug life" and winning the awards, recording contracts and audience's money and allegiance. From a black perspective, she writes that is like someone coming into your living room, spotlighting it and the parodying yourself to the world and gaining acclaim for the caricature...for a cultural and soul ripping ventriloquism.
Interesting article. I especially appreciated the author's contemporary reflection in the forward which provided another layer to the issue.