a lesson on music from james baldwin

dear readers,

for all my music heads, check out this one passage from baldwin’s work of art, the novel, “just above my head,”

“music don’t begin like a song, forget all that bullshit you hear. music can get to be a song, but it starts with a cry. that’s all. it might be the cry of a newborn baby, or the sound of a hog being slaughtered, or a man when they put the knife to his balls. and that sound is everywhere. people spend their whole lives trying to drown out that sound.”

and so it is.

a few years ago, i mc’d a show called artists against rape at the brava theater in the mission district of san francisco. mc’s are like grease, we keep the gears of the show flowing, keep everyones hair slicked nice, lubricate the friction of the love that is such a show. i remember i talked about baldiwn and his book, just above my head, which i am re-reading now. it is ramadan after all, till september 10 when eid falls, and one is taught to retreat, fast, turn to the holy books and grow, from the inside out. so i am reading baldiwn, who writes about childhood sexual abuse as though it is a horrifically normal part of life, which it is. james baldwin bears witness so well, and he knew that incest isn’t the be all and end all of a person, of a human life, of a community. no, it is but one part. a tragic part, a flood of a part. but still, just one part. thank goodness.

summer is not over, i repeat, summer is not over.

stay tuned for more,
roopa

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