Introduction: Blutopia
It's the remembering song. There's so much to remember. There's so much
wanting, and there's so much sorrow, and there's so much waiting for
the sorrow to end. My people, all they want is a place where they can be
people, a place where they can stand up and be part of that place, just
being natural to the place without worrying someone may be coming
along to take that place away from them.
There's pride in it, too. The man singing it, the man playing it, he makes
a place. For as long as the song is played, that's the place he's been look-
ing for.
- Sidney Bechet
1
[Black American] music is produced by, and bears witness to, one of the
most obscene adventures in the history of mankind.
It
is a music which
creates, as what we call History cannot sum up the courage to do, the
response to that absolutely universal question:
Who
am
I?
What
am I doing
here? ...
So much for that European vanity: which imagines that with the Single
word, history,
it
controls the past, defines the present: and, therefore, cannot
but suppose that the future will prove
to
be as willing to be brought into
captivity as the slaves they imagine themselves to have discovered, as the
nigger they had no choice but
to
invent.
-James
Baldwin
2
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