I liked the part at the beginning with Will.I.am...
lonelysandwich: Working with music →
Just what the title says. I’m simply training myself to be able to work while music plays, which I’ve never before been able to do. For always, I’ve been one of those fidgety fuckers who requires total silence, even from the dog, in order to concentrate to where I can get any meaningful work…
Studs Terkel and James Baldwin. (1961)
BESSIE SMITH: [singing] Then trouble’s takin’ place in the lowlands at night // I woke up this mornin’, can’t even get out of my door.
STUDS TERKEL: Bessie Smith, of course, the Empress of the Blues, singing of a disaster, of a flood. Sitting with me, hearing Bessie Smith on this recording, is James Baldwin, brilliant young American writer, but perhaps a more specific description of Mr. Baldwin, since he is one of the rare men in the world who seems to know who he is today, James Baldwin, brilliant young Negro American writer. And as you listen to this, Jim, to this record of Bessie Smith, what’s your feeling?
JAMES BALDWIN: It’s very hard to describe that feeling. The first time I ever heard this record was in Europe and under very different circumstances. And I never listened to Bessie in New York. And what struck me was the fact that she was singing, as you say, about a disaster, which had almost killed her, and she had accepted it and was going beyond it. It’s a fantastic kind of understatement in it. It’s a way I want to write. You know, when she says, “My house fell down, and I can’t live there no more,” it’s a great sentence. It’s a great achievement.
STUDS TERKEL: The way you want to write, you say?
JAMES BALDWIN: Yeah.
STUDS TERKEL: I’m looking now at page five of your new book, and it’s a remarkable one, Nobody Knows My Name. It’s a series of essays, articles, opinions of James Baldwin, More Notes of a Native Son, the subtitle. And on page five—the reason I had chosen the Bessie Smith record, because on page five, you write of your being in Europe. You were in Switzerland.
JAMES BALDWIN: Yes.
STUDS TERKEL: And you said you “came armed with two Bessie Smith records and a typewriter. And I began to try to recreate the life that I had first known as a child, from which I had spent so many years in flight, and it was Bessie Smith who, through her tone and her cadence, helped me dig back to the way I myself must have spoke when I was little. And I remember the things I had heard and seen and felt. I buried them deep. I had”—and here’s the part—“I had never listened to Bessie Smith in America, in the same way, for years, I had never touched watermelon. But in Europe, [inaudible] reconcile myself.”
JAMES BALDWIN: Yes. Well, and I put that—that winter in Switzerland, I was working on my first novel, which I thought I would never be able to finish. And I finally realized in Europe that one of the reasons that I couldn’t finish this novel was because I was ashamed of where I had come from and where I had been, and ashamed of life in the church and ashamed of my father, ashamed of the blues and ashamed of jazz, and, of course, ashamed of watermelon, because it was, you know, all these stereotypes that the country inflicts on Negroes, you know, that we all eat watermelon or we all do nothing but sing the blues, and all that. Well, I was afraid of all that, and I ran from it.
And when I say I was trying to dig back to the way I myself must have spoken when I was little, I realized that I had acquired so many affectations, I had told myself so many lies, that I really had buried myself beneath a whole fantastic image of myself, which wasn’t mine, but white people’s image of me. And I realized that I had not always talked—obviously, hadn’t always talked the way I had forced myself to learn how to talk. And I had to find out what I had been like in the beginning. In order, just technically then to recreate Negro speech, I realized there was a cadence, there was a beat, much more than—it was not a question of dropping S’s or N’s or G’s, but a question of the beat, really. And Bessie had the beat, you know? And in that—this icy wilderness, you know, as far removed from Harlem as anything you can imagine, Bessie Smith and me. I began—
STUDS TERKEL: And white snow.
JAMES BALDWIN: And white snow and white mountains and white faces, who really thought I was—I had been sent by the devil. It was a very strange. They had never seen a Negro before.
I miss fam 5!
I want to be as free as the spirits of those who left I’m talking Malcom,...– Common - Be 2 minutes and 28 seconds of inspiration. (via dopenss)
Dear friends, If you value the free, fair, and open Internet, then you need to act now, before two corporate giants deal it away. Several news outlets have just reported that Google and Verizon are about to cut a deal that would allow giant corporations to control which websites load slowly, quickly, or not at all. Google used to oppose this kind of corporate control over the Internet, but now...
One step closer. I have officially begun my Fulbright application. Venezuela October 2011-July 2012, here i come!