Lift Every Voice and Sing Hurricane Relief at Lincoln Center

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2005 at 9:21 pm

Last night PBS had a televised telethon for Katrina Relief.  It was a telethon that said only one thing. The real New Orleans is in the house!, early in the evening I know longer had to wonder why the older generation of New Orleans were clinging on to their heritage so tenaciously for after the night was over it was clear that if Black Culture had a capital in the United States it might possibly be New Orleans.  Up to last night I had never thought of a cultural center for Black America.  I had thought of Black Colleges as Institutions that held the fires of Black culture, for who can enter the top floor of the administration building of Fisk University and see the Aaron Douglass Murals  or  while in Atlanta walk on the Campus of Clark Atlanta University on the portion that used to be Atlanta University and not think Dubois, or visit Lincoln University and not think of Thurgood Marshall, and Langston Hughes, and finally who can not meet a Morehouse man “Molding the Man”  and not think of Martin Luther King, the Goliath of Civil Rights.  However last night revealed to me that outside of Harlem, New York, New Orleans may well be the only place in the World where classical black culture, in the least musical, however for me they all come together classical jazz, African American Art Work, and Classical African American authors to call upon the culture of African Americans . I call upon the writers names for they have made me all that I am Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, now who can forget his Harlem Dancer ,and Lorraine Hansberry an The Raison in the Sun.

Last night, I was told, I heard, and saw that New Orleans was the birthplace of  Jazz. As I listened to McCoy Tyner play I paused in appreciation at his skill and put a face to the name that I had heard about for years as a cohort of John Coltrane. Why for years I had been a devoted fan of John Coltrane he was first in my heart but eventually Miles took my heart.  Miles can literally make me scream, My Funny Valentine is simply sumptuous.  In any case the telethon was wonderful and I look forward to its official release to the public.  As for New Orleans, while I knew New Orleans, I never knew New Orleans like this, I knew with my mind but I never comprehended with my spirit until last night.   Finally to echo the griot Harry Belafonte the people must be returned to New Orleans they are what make New Orleans, New Orleans.  They have the culture of classical African America embedded deep within them.  
     Finally the one downer for me of the night was the presence of Bill Cosby.  The hypocrisy that he has displayed in all aspects are just not acceptable for me as I continue to say I hold higher standards for African American men and Mr. Bill does not meet those standards not because of his actions, but primarily for the fact that he would criticize the poor and struggling and then continue on with his shady lifestyle.  Furthermore as a single mother with two children who’s fathers do not participate in their lives.  I am especially sensitive to comments related to anyone’s children’s and mothers. From my position as a single mother my children come home daily with comments about their mother –“me” that they have picked up from their classmates who I have never seen before and don’t know the name of  one parent there and I do attend school meeting.   My children have come up with every stereotype in the book that my son claims the children have said about me.  The comments he brings my way are I’m no good.  I won’t work.  I stink.  I’m lazy. Etc. I’m a whore, and one year there eas even a rumor that I had not purchased my children school supplies and I had, unfortunately I had not labeled my Childs possessions and when I went to change my child to another school and pick uyp his supplies I was handed one box of crayons which was a whole lot less then what I had provided.  My children are both ambitious high achieving individuals and if anything is holding them back know it is the ugly comments of other children towards their mother .  These attitudes are facilitated by adults and if anything and a big if is holdingmy children it would be these ugly attitudes, and ultimately why are these attitudes perpetuated towards the poor among us.  It is because of the deep insecurity of blackx as a collective race.  This is a another essay but I believe that whenever you see a man espousing the frailties of others you see a human being who is deeply insecure and disturbed.  I do not know why Bill Cosby was there last night but he has expressed a deep animus for the poor that I find disturbing and considering the circumstances of Katrina his presence was very inappropriate for I know the consequences of the things he said.  I have begun to live it everyday in the misery if my children and I know the single mothers and the poor families of New Orleans suffered the backlash for his comments.  For his negative words at the celebration marking Brown v Board of Education was highly inappropriate and I’m surprised he did not launch into a treatise of the poor last night.  For the simple fact is that Bill Cosby began his career by pimping the poor and revealing the lifestyle he thought they were about.  In closing let us not forget there are some very famous icons of American culture that died in poverty, two that come to mind are Zora Neale Hurston who was placed in an unmarked grave and her novels make profits every year since Alice Walker brought her novels out of obscurity.   Let us no forget, Paul Robeson who died poor and ignored due to Hoover’s accusations.  I will never ignore the wrongs that have been done to innocents, and Bill Cosby has planted such a seed of negativity that even now it could be questioned if his seeds could have condoned the tragic treatment and inconsideration given out to the citizens without resources in New Orleans.  


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