vendredi, août 17, 2007

One Drop

Funniest part of the hilarious, dubious science-laden African American Lives series on how not Black Black people are (with the exception of Oprah who is 100% negroid not that we didn't already know that)--did I detect giddiness on Skip's face when he found out he was "bi-racial?"--was when Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot was told she was no or miniscule parts (I can't remember which) Native American. I mean I think she may have had a feather in her hair when she found out. She wasn't so much crushed as disbelieving: to paraphrase my old pastor, "we know what we know what we know," and Kanye West "you can't tell folk nothing." To her defense, the suspect ethnicity/race test is only as good as the data bank used, which was admittedly incomplete so she could be what she says she is. But still, although our diverse ethnic makeups are not to be subsumed by Africanity, our obsessive touting of how not 'Black' we are is but another marker of internalized oppression. This brings me to Martha Redbone whom I heard last night after encountering her a few years ago at the BAM Metrotech R&B festival. I remember her then identifying as a Native American and shouting out the other BK Natives in the area and being taken aback on account of what my less PC friends would say was her "n*gger nose" and and what Martin would call her "beady bees." I mean she's light and all but nasal passages and naps don't lie. Now, I'm not saying she ain't Native; I ain't seen her papers and don't need or want to as that ain't no concern of mine. And I know there are Black Native Americans but still I was, as my Auntie Barbara would say, "cornfused" but not so much that I didn't lay out some cash for her CD.

So having a little free time before the Dwele/Emily King show last night, I ventured to the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian last night to catch a bit of her show. Just heard three songs but they were killer and she had the mixed audience behind her. Took a a pic and figured I should post it somewhere:
Martha Redbone

I could say more about authorship and narrative but I won't. I am curious about what people think about what we say we are vs. what we are and if there is in fact any difference?