A heated discussion on 'Race, Gender & the Blues'

Jonny Meister bluesandbeyond@GMAIL.COM
Wed May 23 06:45:02 EDT 2012

To say that it's about the money is to state the obvious but fail to
go beyond that... WHY is the money going to whom it is going? Why
does there seem to be a preference for white blues players?

The racial subject justifiably continues to rattle the blues world. I
am surprised by how few blacks are on the bill at some pretty
high-profile events. Much of it has to do with who is the audience
and what the audience is looking for. Some of the most incisive
analysis of this is in Adam Gussow's "Journeyman's Road" where he
talks about "half-truths" about blues.

As the expression "half-truths" implies, there are no simple
declarative answers to understanding blues history, though at some
bottom line it is hard to deny that its roots are African-American
and that whites have benefited more financially than blacks. His
discussion of the "white autonomous" blues world, white players and
fans who seem to have completely separated blues music from its
African-American source is particularly eye-opening. It's more than a
little depressing too, for I see blues as one of the main factors in
the civil rights movement. The undeniable appeal of blues to whites
forced at least some whites to question their racial attitudes in life.

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