Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Disturbing pre-Rose Bowl historical fact

In 1903, when "The Eyes of Texas" was first performed in front of an audience, it was sung by a white man in "black face."


Mouth of the Yellow River said...

Banjo, I usually enjoy your treatises, but this one with the comment “disturbing” in the otherwise interesting title blows me away and seems to align you with the large number of self-flagellating reverse racists that interpret every little tidbit they can come across in history as “black and white” and a clash of skin color.

At least go read the Wikipedia entry on the subject.

I’m not clear on exactly what is “disturbing.”

Is it “disturbing” that an innovative genre of the day was used to parody and lighten up the otherwise somber passing of a University President?

Or is it “disturbing” that

“despite its racist portrayals, blackface minstrelsy was the conduit through which African-American and African-American-influenced music, comedy, and dance first reached the American mainstream.”

That the form was the earliest

“form of racial collaboration, illustrating the axiom that defines—and continues to define—American music as it developed over the next century and a half: African-American innovations metamorphose into American popular culture when white performers learn to mimic black ones.”
“Virtually every new genre in popular music in the United States from the twilight of the 19th century to the dawn of the 21st century—from ragtime to blues, to jazz and swing, to rhythm and blues and rock and roll, to funk and classic rock, to hip hop and neo soul— is due to African-American innovations. Indeed, the broad spectrum of popular music as it exists today would be unrecognizable absent the influence of African-American culture.”

“Country music and humor like "Turkey in the Straw" and Old Dan Tucker came from minstrelsy as did much of the format and content of the Grand Ole Opry show.” From blackface minstrelsy came the banjo which is African-American.

Only through white minstrelsy could our culture be seeded (you white guys were in charge) that grew to where it is today.

Come on, Banjo, get over it, and give us our rightful place and credit in today’s world without freaking out over how we got there (slavery, white minstrelsy, etc.).

Banjo Jones said...

it's the "racist portrayal" part that was disturbing to me, i think. i don't understand exactly why the first public singing of "the eyes of texas" was done in that manner. but i'm not a self-hating whitey. i love all the people.