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Skin color in songs & singers' names

Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Brown Skin Girl- folksong from Grenada (73)
Lyr Req: Brown Skin Girl / Brown Skinned Girl (33)


Azizi 17 Apr 06 - 02:38 AM
Azizi 17 Apr 06 - 03:04 AM
Azizi 17 Apr 06 - 03:20 AM
Azizi 17 Apr 06 - 03:24 AM
Azizi 17 Apr 06 - 03:37 AM
Azizi 17 Apr 06 - 03:42 AM
Azizi 17 Apr 06 - 03:50 AM
Azizi 17 Apr 06 - 04:06 AM
alanabit 17 Apr 06 - 04:48 AM
Rusty Dobro 17 Apr 06 - 05:04 AM
Manitas_at_home 17 Apr 06 - 06:42 AM
Azizi 17 Apr 06 - 08:34 AM
artbrooks 17 Apr 06 - 08:47 AM
Big Mick 17 Apr 06 - 09:27 AM
Peace 17 Apr 06 - 10:42 AM
Nigel Parsons 17 Apr 06 - 11:16 AM
Mr Fox 17 Apr 06 - 01:01 PM
melodeonboy 17 Apr 06 - 01:13 PM
Charlie Baum 17 Apr 06 - 01:18 PM
12-stringer 17 Apr 06 - 01:59 PM
Jon W. 17 Apr 06 - 05:50 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Apr 06 - 06:08 PM
SINSULL 17 Apr 06 - 06:10 PM
Kaleea 17 Apr 06 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 17 Apr 06 - 07:26 PM
Bill D 17 Apr 06 - 07:43 PM
GUEST,thurg 17 Apr 06 - 07:57 PM
Azizi 17 Apr 06 - 08:34 PM
Azizi 17 Apr 06 - 08:38 PM
Jeri 17 Apr 06 - 09:05 PM
Alba 17 Apr 06 - 09:32 PM
Azizi 17 Apr 06 - 10:22 PM
Azizi 17 Apr 06 - 10:23 PM
GUEST,Richard 17 Apr 06 - 10:51 PM
katlaughing 17 Apr 06 - 10:58 PM
Azizi 17 Apr 06 - 10:59 PM
wysiwyg 17 Apr 06 - 11:17 PM
GUEST,Sandy Andina 18 Apr 06 - 02:24 AM
GUEST,Ghost 18 Apr 06 - 02:55 AM
Kweku 18 Apr 06 - 04:31 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Apr 06 - 08:05 AM
Azizi 18 Apr 06 - 10:39 AM
Azizi 18 Apr 06 - 10:57 AM
Cool Beans 18 Apr 06 - 11:23 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Apr 06 - 11:32 AM
wysiwyg 18 Apr 06 - 11:39 AM
Peace 18 Apr 06 - 11:45 AM
John MacKenzie 18 Apr 06 - 01:45 PM
Peace 18 Apr 06 - 01:59 PM
wysiwyg 18 Apr 06 - 02:26 PM
Peace 18 Apr 06 - 02:30 PM
LilyFestre 18 Apr 06 - 02:43 PM
Kaleea 18 Apr 06 - 02:46 PM
Peace 18 Apr 06 - 02:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Apr 06 - 07:20 PM
Azizi 18 Apr 06 - 07:50 PM
Azizi 18 Apr 06 - 08:05 PM
Nigel Parsons 19 Apr 06 - 06:05 PM
GUEST,Greyboy 20 Apr 06 - 03:16 AM
Uncle_DaveO 20 Apr 06 - 11:00 AM
Azizi 20 Apr 06 - 11:55 AM
Wolfgang 20 Apr 06 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 20 Apr 06 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 20 Apr 06 - 12:38 PM
Azizi 20 Apr 06 - 12:44 PM
Azizi 20 Apr 06 - 03:33 PM
Jon W. 20 Apr 06 - 06:05 PM
GUEST,mg 20 Apr 06 - 06:15 PM
katlaughing 20 Apr 06 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 20 Apr 06 - 07:55 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Apr 06 - 08:25 PM
GUEST,mg 21 Apr 06 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,thurg 21 Apr 06 - 02:48 PM
Azizi 21 Apr 06 - 03:34 PM
Peace 21 Apr 06 - 03:47 PM
Azizi 21 Apr 06 - 03:51 PM
Peace 21 Apr 06 - 03:52 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Apr 06 - 06:14 PM
Azizi 21 Apr 06 - 06:52 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Apr 06 - 07:56 PM
GUEST,mg 21 Apr 06 - 08:10 PM
katlaughing 21 Apr 06 - 08:56 PM
Azizi 21 Apr 06 - 10:11 PM
Uncle_DaveO 22 Apr 06 - 05:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Apr 06 - 09:20 PM
Pauline L 22 Apr 06 - 11:53 PM
Bert 23 Apr 06 - 12:22 AM
Azizi 23 Apr 06 - 07:36 AM
katlaughing 23 Apr 06 - 11:24 AM
Bat Goddess 23 Apr 06 - 11:55 AM
Azizi 23 Apr 06 - 12:13 PM
Azizi 23 Apr 06 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,thurg 23 Apr 06 - 01:14 PM
Big Mick 23 Apr 06 - 01:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Apr 06 - 01:34 PM
Azizi 24 Apr 06 - 01:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Apr 06 - 02:42 PM
katlaughing 24 Apr 06 - 05:35 PM
Azizi 24 Apr 06 - 07:36 PM
katlaughing 24 Apr 06 - 08:12 PM
Wolfgang 25 Apr 06 - 12:57 PM
Jack Campin 18 Oct 08 - 04:14 PM
mg 18 Oct 08 - 09:53 PM
Azizi 01 Oct 11 - 12:39 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 01 Oct 11 - 10:59 PM
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Subject: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 02:38 AM

This thread provides an opportunity to list, provide information about, and comment on references to skin complection in songs. This thread also provides an opportunity to list, provide information about, and comment on the use of skin color references by vocalists, musicians and possibly others.

I started this thread because I was going to add information that about this subject in a current thread, but that information had absolutely nothing to do with the thread title.

I debated whether I should start this thread but a bout of sleeplessness coupled with an advertising message that came up when I went to another website that said "It's not just black or white" sealed the deal for me.

I'll start off with a list and some information. And, it goes without saying that I encourage others to add to that list and that information. I'm curious if there are such references in songs and singer/musicians other than those from the African American/African Diaspora traditions.

Join in the listing and the discussion please.

Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 03:04 AM

The artist whose name caused me to think of this subject was
"Tampa Red".

Tampa Red was an African American bluesman who got his "stage" name because of his place of birth or his residence and because of the reddish hue of his light brown skin.

See this information about Tampa Red:
"One of the most popular artists of the [19]20s, 30s and 40s, Tampa red was probably the all-time best-selling Georgia bluesman. He may well have been the most influential bottleneck stylist in blues. He perfected the single-string slide attack and smooth bottleneck tones mimicked by a number of Georgians and later post-war artists."

-snip-
http://www.yazoorecords.com/1039.htm includes listing of songs and a few audio links.

Other African American celebrities who nicknames referred to "redbone" skin complections were comedian/actor Red Foxx and activist/religious leader Malcolm X {Detroit Red}.

"King Yellowman" [also known as "Yellow"] is another Black artist who uses a skin color referent as his stage name.

"King" Yellowman as he is known, is one of the most popular reggae artists to have come from Jamaica. Born as Winston Foster in 1959, in Kingston, Jamaica, he was also an alumnus of the Alpha Boy's school where many reggae artists and musicians got their early musical training.

Yellowman, nicknamed for his albino appearance, got his start in the late 1970's as a young DJ (toaster or rapper). He built his early career around the fact that he was an albino, and his audiences accepted him for his self-effacing humor and lyrical cleverness. He won the annual Tastee Talent contest held in Jamaica in 1978, and within a matter of months became a headlining act on Jamaican stage shows. His records were both witty and relevant, and his slack lyrics were as prevalent as the strong social commentary he could record."

http://www.artistsonly.com/yellhm.htm


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 03:20 AM

There are numerous secular slave songs that refer not only to race but to skin complection.

Stephen Foster's "Old Black Joe" and James Brown's "Say it Loud I'm Black And I'm Proud" refer just to race.

But imo, the still widely known saying [in African American communities] "the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice" refers to skin color. This saying is excerpted from the following rhyme that is found in Thomas W. Talley's 1922 collection "Negro Folk Rhymes" [page numbers of all examples cited are from the Kennikat Edition, 1968]. Btw, Talley wrote that most of these rhymes were sung, and not recited as prose.

YOU LOVE YOUR GIRL
You loves'yo' gal?
Well, I loves mine.
Yo'gal hain't common?
Well,my gal's fine.

I loves my gal,
She hain't no goose-
The blacker 'an blackberries,
Sweeter 'an juice.
-page 95


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 03:24 AM

It is also my belief that the following secular slave song [whose tune is probably lost]refers to a Black woman of very light skin color:

PRETTY LITTLE PINK
My pretty liddle Pink,
I once did think,
Dat we-uns sho' would amrry;
But I'se done give up,
Hain't got no hope,
I hain't got time to tarry.
I'll drink coffee dat flows,
From oaks dat grows,
'Long de river dat flows wid brandy.

-Tally, "Negro Folk Rhymes", page 127


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 03:37 AM

"Yella" /"yeller" [yellow] is a very common referent for light skin in African American secular slave songs.

Most of the references that I have found refer to women and not men. The majority are complimentary.

See this example:

Come down to Tennessee
{Ride er ole grey horse}
Yaller gal's de gal for me
{Ride er ole grey horse}
Kiss her under de mulberry tree
{Ride er ole grey horse}
Oh my, N----g,* don't you see
Better come to Tennessee.

Dorothy Scarborough, "On The Trail Of Negro Folk-Songs",
{FolkLore Associates Edition, 1963, page 183; originally published in 1925}

* I choose not to write this entire word, but that's me and I'm not suggesting everyone do as I do.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 03:42 AM

Here's another example of light skin color preference that is found in this first verse of a secular slave song:

WHEN MY WIFE DIES, excerpt.
We'n {when} my wife dies, gwineter to git me anudder one
A big fat yaller one, jes lak the yudder {other} one.
I'll hate mighty bad w'en she's been gone.
Hain't no better 'oman {woman} never nowahs been bo'n.

Talley, "Negro Folk Rhymes", page 26


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 03:50 AM

I've theorized in other Mudcat threads that the referent "Ginger Blue" refers to the reddish "ginger" coloring of some Black people.

That referent is found in this excerpt of the dance song "Gooseberrt Wine":

Now 'umble Unccle Steben
I wonder whar youse gwine?
Don't never tu'n yo' back, Suh,
On dat good ole gooseberry wine!

Oh walk chalk, Ginger Blue!
Git over double trouble.
You needn' min' de wedder
So's de win' don't blow you double.

-Talley "Negro Folk Rhymes", p. 41

Note: "walk chalk" refers to "walking the chalk line", a dance that became the "cake walk". However, imo, it refers here to walking very carefully, and being alert and ready for defensive action. The line
"get over double trouble" is still found in various genres of African American songs, including children's rhymes.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 04:06 AM

Here's another reference to dark skin color from Talley's 1922 collection:

STEALING A RIDE
Two liddle N----r boys black as tar
Tryin to go to Heaben on a railroad chyar.
Off fall N----r boys on a cross-tie!
Dey's gwineter git to Heaben shore bye-an'-bye.

-Talley,"Negro Folk Rhymes", page 188


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: alanabit
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 04:48 AM

The first one to spring to my mind is Leadbelly's "Black Betty". I think there was also a Charlie Patton song called, "My Black Mama".


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 05:04 AM

When BB King started out, he was nicknamed 'Black Boy', but as he became successful, soon became 'Blues Boy'.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 06:42 AM

Young Barbour he came a-trembling down,
He was clothed all in silk,
With his cherry cheeks like the roses red,
And his skin so white as milk.

Try searching digitrad for skin, there's an awful lot of descriptions of milk-white or lily-white skin there, 'Tam Lin', 'The Flower of Magherally' etc.

A lot of shanties refence skin colour: 'Shallow Brown' refers to his complexion and 'Sally Brown' is a 'bright mulatter'.

Some tune names may refer to hair or skin colour: 'The Nut Brown Maiden', 'The Yellow Tinker'.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 08:34 AM

Thanks Alanabit.

As to your statement GUEST 17 Apr 06 - 04:50 AM, I deny that I have a "fixation" about race. However, I am very much interested about what & how thoughts, attitudes & concerns about race influence or has influenced the thoughts, attitudes, concerns, and behavior of people.

Why I am interested in that general subject is largely beyond the scope of this specific thread.

I would hope that this thread does not drift into a generalized commentary about race relations and issues of race itself in the USA and/or elsewhere.

I intend to limit my comments in this thread to the specific topics of references to skin color as they are found in lyrics or in the names of vocalists/celebrities.

I hope those who wish to discuss the general issue of race and race relations would find other Mudcat threads to do so, or would start a new thread on those topics.

Thank you.

I have deleted the two references above. They were an attempt to hijack the thread and offered nothing to the conversation that the author of the thread intended. Please stick to the topic. Azizi isn't the topic. The thread title says it all.

Mudelf


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: artbrooks
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 08:47 AM

On the other hand, there are references to black or other colored skin that have nothing to do with race. For example:
      No ragman, no hangman, foolish man or whiddy
      But she's now in the arms of a black chimney sweeper.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Big Mick
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 09:27 AM

Agreed Art. For example, the original lyrics of "The Rare Old Times" contains the following"

I lost her to a student chap with skin as black as coal.."

I always assumed the following lyric in "Nightriders Lament" referred to an African descended cowboy:

I read up the last of the letter, tore off the stamp for Black Jim.."

In both cases I have been chastised from time to time for using these lyrics. I usually ignore the criticism as neither is used to profane a people, but rather are just descriptive.

There is also the argument in other songs that we are simply singing the words of songs based on the values of the times. I don't usually buy into that argument, as I can't buy into the thought that slavery and oppression were ever really acceptable. But we could have a very long discussion, and I suspect we will have just that, with regard to this very interesting topic.

Thanks for starting what will be a very interesting thread.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Peace
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 10:42 AM

'"Where Did You Sleep Last Night," also known as "In The Pines" and "Black Girl," is an American folk song which dates back to at least the 1870s, and is believed to be Southern Appalachian in origin. The identity of the song's author is unknown, but it has been performed by a number of artists, including Leadbelly, Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Chet Atkins, The Grateful Dead, Connie Francis, Mark Lanegan, Nirvana, and Dolly Parton.'

From Wikipedia


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 11:16 AM

Whilst probably more a comment on attitude rather than racial traits there's the modern:
"Red Necked Woman" by Gretchen Wilson

Or the rugby song "There was a priest, a dirty beast" which surprisingly I can't find here, but it has the line:

"One night he slept with the Gipsy Queen
Whose face was black as charcoal"


CHEERS
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Mr Fox
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 01:01 PM

"On the other hand, there are references to black or other colored skin that have nothing to do with race. For example:

      No ragman, no hangman, foolish man or whiddy
      But she's now in the arms of a black chimney sweeper."
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Or in the traditional British song 'The Brown Girl' where it's a class thing: anyone with a suntan would spend a lot of time outdoors and would therefore be working class. The gentry (female gentry anyway) were pale.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: melodeonboy
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 01:13 PM

"'cos if you're white, you're all right,
If you're brown, stick around,
But if you're black, oh brother,
Get back, get back, get back"

(Big Bill Broonzy)
--------------------------------------------------------------------

"Manitas at home" refers to the expressions "milk-white" and "lily-white". These terms come up again and again in traditional English songs as an expression of beauty. To the best of my knowledge, this idea of beauty came from a time when poor women would usually be working outdoors on farms and therefore have a ruddy complexion whereas the rich ladies could stay indoors all day and their skin would stay white.

Nowadays (and I'm still referring to England) the opposite is true. A tanned complexion is usually seen as desirable now that it's the rich who can afford to spend time abroad in hot countries and get tanned. I'm aware that with ever cheaper package holidays this holds less true than it did (however, look at the number of tanning parlours there are in England!). I'm also aware that this rationalising of ideas of beauty is: 1. open to question, and 2. based on interpretation of subliminal motives (dodgy ground!).


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 01:18 PM

The "Yellow Rose of Texas" refers to a pale-skinned mulatto ("yellow") woman named Emily West (or Emily Morgan), who allegedly played a critical role in the fight for Texas Independence. Here is a reference to the "The Yellow Rose of Texas" at the Texas State Historical Association.

--Charlie Baum (who owes knowledge of this tidbit of information to the research and introductions of Sparky Rucker).


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: 12-stringer
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 01:59 PM

"I ain't crazy 'bout the yellow, fool about the brown
You can't tell the diff'rence when the sun goes down
Mama let me holler, Daddy let me shave 'em dry"
Papa Charlie Jackson, "Shave 'Em Dry" (Paramount 12664, 1925)

"Just like a beefsteak, beefsteak, ain't got no bone
And if a man don't like a good brownskin woman now'days he ain't got no home"
Papa Charlie Jackson, "I'm Alabama Bound" (Paramount 12289, 1925)


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Jon W.
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 05:50 PM

Many if not most of the blues singers recorded in the 20's and 30's and some even later had verses or lines that spoke of the color of their lover's skin.

For example Blind Willie McTell, Three Women Blues -

One of them Memphis yellow, the other Savannah brown (2x)

But that Statesboro darkskin, really turn your damper down.


From a Son House song:

My black mama, face shine like the sun

Oh lipstick and powder sure can't help her none.


From a John Lee Hooker song:

I've got women black, brown, and yellow

Their ages from nineteen to fifty-two.


These just off the top of my head...


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 06:08 PM

the original lyrics of "The Rare Old Times" contains the following"

"I lost her to a student chap with skin as black as coal.."


Do people sing it some other way? It's a matter of fact statement, about the chap being a black man, probably from America (though "carried her off to Birmingham" could equally mean he's from England). Nothing racist in that - if there's any implied resentment, it's for winning the girl, not for being black.

....................

In lines like "Some say he's black, I say he's bonny" the reference is more likely to be to hair colour rather than skin colour, originally. The same goes for "fair" in other songs.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 06:10 PM

I was always amused at Mitch Miller's "choir" cheerfully bellowing "The Yellow Rose Of Texas". Nothing like a wholesome American tale of rape to fill out the evening.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Kaleea
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 06:13 PM

I recall that Laurel & Hardy sang a song called Honolulu Baby in one of their films-Sons of the Desert, I think. I can still hear Oliver Hardy strumming that uke as they sang:

Honolulu baby, where'd you get those eyes?
And that dark complexion, I just idolize?

In one midwestern city where I lived, there was a gal who taught Polynesian dancing & took her students to performances billed as "The Little Brown Skinned Girls."

When I was a child, I loved Louis Armstrong. Before the days of the term "Black" being commonly used, I heard him singing on TV "Why Must I Be So Black and So Blue" and I did not realize that he was using a double entendre referring to his skin color. I started crying, because I thought someone had beat him up like they did on TV shows.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 07:26 PM

There are many songs in Scottish tradition (both Scots and Gaelic) which describe people as "black" or "red" meaning (usually) the colour of their hair. Burns's "Wantonness for evermair" uses the idea. Just over the border, the tune "Black Mary's Hole" from the Atkinson manuscript is rather unlikely to refer to anybody with African ancestry.

One of the more specific references to skin pigmentation in folk music is in George Skene's fiddle tunebook from the early 18th century - "The Black Part of the C--t" (dashes in the original).


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 07:43 PM

Many sea chanties had racial references...most usually bowdlerized when done publicly these day. One of the most obvious is Hogeye Man, discussed extensively in this thread and at many other places in Mudcat.

"Skin color" is sometimes referred to explicitly, sometimes only racial obliquely.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 07:57 PM

Re: "blacker the berry", etc. W.C. Handy makes the meaning quite explicit in ST. Louis Blues:

You oughta see that stove-pipe brown of mine,
Like she owns the Diamond-Joseph Line;
She'd make a cross-eyed man go stone-blind.

Blacker than midnight, with teeth like flags of truce,
Blackest girl in the whole of St. Louis;
Blacker the berry, sweeter am the juice.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 08:34 PM

Here's three more singer/musicians with 'skin color' stage names or nicknames:

Brownie McGhee (Walter McGhee; November 30, 1915 - February 16, 1996) was a folk-blues singer and guitarist, best known for his collaborations with the harmonica player Sonny Terry.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownie_McGhee

Hip-Hop artist: Redman {Reggie Noble} is a another African American whose "redbone" complexion is referenced by his stage name.
click http://www6.defjam.com/site/artist_home.php?artist_id=192 for a photo

Also, I read a biography of R&B singer/composer Smokey Robinson which said that as a child, his uncle playfully gave him the nickname "Smokey" because he was so light skinned. A Black person whose nickname is "Smokey" usually would be very dark skinned {because he or she was burnt by the sun}. An example of this
non-pejorative custom of conferring opposite nicknames would be calling a really tall person "Tiny".

For a photo and information on Smokey Robinson {Williarn Robinson, b. 19th February 1940} click http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Smokey%20Robinson.html


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 08:38 PM

Needless to say, my comment that a Black person is dark skinned because he or she is burned by the sun was meant to be taken with a grain of salt...or a dab of sun tan lotion.

;o}


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Jeri
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 09:05 PM

Bill, as far as I know, 'Hogeye Man' is bowdlerized regarding racial terms and bawdiness, NOT skin color.

One song I just thought is a play-party song: Brown Girl In the Ring. I heard it from Bessie Jones when she taught it, along with the game, to a bunch of us at the Niskayuna Folk Festival in 1973. I tried to look for it, but it's not in the DT. I did find a couple of 'Brown Girls', including:
She said "I'm brown as brown can be, I have eyes like a sloe,
I'm brisk as a nightingale, wild as any doe",
She sang, lall lall de deedle derro, lall lall de deedle derro,
Sing derro-lie-lee.

She said, "My love wrote a letter, a love letter from town,
He could not love me, for I was so brown.
She sang, lall lall de deedle derro, lall lall de deedle derro,
Sing derro-lie-lee.
She wins in the end though, because he dies.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Alba
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 09:32 PM

Jerri is the "Brown Girl in the Ring" you mention a Jamaican Song?

Brown girl in the ring Tra la la la la There's a brown girl in the ring Tra la la la la la Brown girl in the ring Tra la la la la She looks like a sugar in a plum Plum plum

Show me your motion Tra la la la la Come on show me your motion Tra la la la la la Show me your motion Tra la la la la She looks like a sugar in a plum Plum plum

All had water run dry Got nowhere to wash my cloths All had water run dry Got nowhere to wash my cloths

I remember one Saturday night We had fried fish and Johnny-cakes I remember one Saturday night We had fried fish and Johnny-cakes

Beng-a-deng Beng-a-deng

Brown girl in the ring Tra la la la la There's a brown girl in the ring Tra la la la la la Brown girl in the ring Tra la la la la She looks like a sugar in a plum Plum plum//


These are not all the Lyrics, I have them all and there are moves associated with this particular Song.
Best Wishes
Jude


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 10:22 PM

Somewhat thread drift:

Here's one version of BROWN GIRL IN THE RING as recorded by
Boney M.

Brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la
There's a brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la la
Brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la
She looks like a sugar in a plum
Plum plum

Show me your motion
Tra la la la la
Come on show me your motion
Tra la la la la la
Show me your motion
Tra la la la la
She looks like a sugar in a plum
Plum plum

All had water run dry
Got nowhere to wash my cloths
All had water run dry
Got nowhere to wash my cloths

I remember one saturday night
We had fried fish and johnny-cakes
I remember one saturday night
We had fried fish and johnny-cakes

Beng-a-deng
Beng-a-deng

Brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la
There's a brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la la
Brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la
She looks like a sugar in a plum
Plum plum

Show me your motion
Tra la la la la
Come on show me your motion
Tra la la la la la
Show me your motion
Tra la la la la
She looks like a sugar in a plum
Plum plum

All had water run dry
Got nowhere to wash my cloths
All had water run dry
Got nowhere to wash my cloths

I remember one saturday night
We had fried fish and johnny-cakes
I remember one saturday night
We had fried fish and johnny-cakes

Beng-a-deng
Beng-a-deng

Brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la
See, brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la la
Brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la
She looks like a sugar in a plum
Plum plum

All had water run dry
Got nowhere to wash my cloths
All had water run dry
Got nowhere to wash my cloths

Brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la
Look that brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la la
Brown girl in the ring
Tra la la la la
She looks like a sugar in a plum
Plum plum

Source: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/b/boney-m./22500.html
I've heard this version and thought it really worked well.

The traditional version of "Brown Girl In A Ring" is a children's "show me your motion" circle {ring} game with one child at a time in the center. When picked to go into the center of the circle, each child is supposed to come up with a different motion {movement}.

Here's the words to an Anguilla {West Indies} version of "Brown Girl In The Ring"

There's a brown girl in the ring,
Tra la la
There's a brown girl in the ring,
Tra la la
There's a brown girl in the ring,
Tra la la,
It's sweet like sugar and plum.

Now cross the ocean, etc. *

Now work up your calabash, etc. **

Now make your motion, etc.

Now rest your motion, etc.

Now run and kiss your partner, etc.

-source: Alan Lomax, J.D. Elder, and Bess Lomax Hawes:
"Brown Girl In The Ring-And Anthology of Song Games from the
Eastern Caribbean {New York, Pantheon Books, 1997, pps 6-8

* I've also seen this as "skip across the ocean" meaning skip from one side of the circle to another

** This probably means to "wind" your body {move your hips in time with the music}

Btw: The Lomax et al book comes with a great field recorded CD...

Also, in looking for the Lomax book I found a novel by Nalo Hopkinson that is also entitled "Brown Girl In A Ring". Hopkinson's fiction weaves in all kinds of Caribbean folklore/customs. I'm glad I bought both books!

Btw2: I've adapted this song and used it in my cultural work with children & families. "My" version is very much like the children's game song "There stands a blue bird" in that it focuses on color recognition in the general sense. As a matter of fact, "There stands a blue bird" has the same exact tune as "There's A Brown Girl In The Ring". And as I said I use the same basic verses for both songs-so I don't include both of them in the same program. How it works is that a child wearing a particular color shirt or dress is referred to as that color-so for instance, a boy with a blue shirt would be "There's a blue boy in the ring". It should be noted that the center person does not sing. {I say "person" because I like to include children of all ages-and adults-in my interactive game song sessions}. Our refrain is "Tra La La La". The first verse is as presented above. The 2nd verse is "Show me your motion". The 3rd verse is "We can do your motion {in which everyone forming the ring tries to move the exact same way as the center person}. The 4th and last verse is "Who do you chose?" On that verse the center person closes his or her eyes and covers them with his right hand, while twirling around in the circle and pointing with his or her extended left hand. The people forming the circle hold hands and circle around while they continue singing. Or alternatively, the group forming the circle does a foot stomp motion to the beat while clapping their hands. The individual who the center person is pointing to at the end of the song is the new center person. The former center person rejoins the circle formation and the song begins again without pause.

Or at least it's suppose to...In practice, some children who are picked are reluctant to go into the center of the ring. But there are always some show off kids ;o) who love to take that child's place...the problem is sometimes there are more than one child who wants to be in the center at the same time. One thing we did to work through this is that the group came up with the "rule" that the substitute person who goes into the center when he or she wasn't picked has to come from near the person who was picked and not from the other side of the circle...When I and my daughter who works with me in these projects have the opportunity to meet with the same group of children for some time, it's a pleasure to see some of the shyer children gain self-confidence and enjoy being the center of attention in the ring.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 10:23 PM

Alba-we crossed posted!!

;o)


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: GUEST,Richard
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 10:51 PM

Interesting thread, thanks, Azizi.

Makes me think of Huddie Ledbetter's "On A Monday". I recently re-heard Ry Cooder's version of it. No time at this posting to accurately transcribe the lyrics, which certainly deserve a complete traqnscription from the source version. But the chorus goes,

"Almost done, I'm almost done...
and I ain't gonna ring them yellow womens' doorbell"


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 10:58 PM

An aside: my long-time Mexican American friend was dark-skinned. He had a very difficult time with sunburn. Also, my uncle had such tight, black curls his nickname, which sounds horribly racist now, was "Nig." I've heard it was also because he was a helluva jazz clarinetist.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 10:59 PM

Thanks to all who have posted to this thread thus far.

Keep 'em coming!

Correction to my thread drift:
The refrain that I teach for "Brown Girl In A Ring" is "Tra La La La La".

Btw3, It's not been my experience that this song is known to the majority African American children who I work with in Pittsburgh, Pa [a city with few persons of first or second generation Caribbean descent].


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: wysiwyg
Date: 17 Apr 06 - 11:17 PM

In the current thread about African American sheet music, there is a lot of demeaning minstrel music in the index of what's available. A LOT of the song titles ythere fit your request, Azizi.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: GUEST,Sandy Andina
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 02:24 AM

Then there's Jim Croce's musical adaptation of Kipling's poem "Gunga Din:"
"And for all his dirty hide, he was white, clear white inside."
He caught quite a bit of flak for that song, even though he didn't write the lyric and was quite clearly playing a character. Much like Randy Newman's "Rednecks:" the classic example of the literary device of the "untrustworthy narrator."


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: GUEST,Ghost
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 02:55 AM

I'm not sure we benefit much by looking at traditional songs' references (or possible references) to ethnicity through 2006 spectacles.

However, there wa a blues artist about whom I know little save that he was the subject of a song that Jo-Ann Kelly used to sing called "Speckled Red".

Of course there is the shanty "Yellow Girls" - probably a reference to "hi-yallers", that is to say octoroon or less, regardless of whether the components were African or American or other, referring solely to skin colour not origin.

There was a Temptations song, "Message from a Black Man" of which I think the best version was one in reggae by Derek Harriott.

Brown Girl in the Ring is I think trad. Jamaican but I like the Exuma recording better than the Boney M one.

What is the objective here other than to make a very very disorderly list?


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Kweku
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 04:31 AM

in Ghana, singers make reference to skin clour usually to emphasize beauty.and this mostly depends on the artist understanding of beauty,some singers have been criticised for only praising fair colour,when they themselves are very dark. but there was one artist called the black chinese because he was alwasys dressing like a chinese and looked like a chinese.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 08:05 AM

Perhaps this thread might seem of more substance if there were a thesis or synthesis in view. Is there?


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 10:39 AM

See this corrected information about how African American blues guitarist Tampa Red {Hudson Whittaker;b. 1904 d.1981} got his nickname:

"Tampa Red was born in Georgia. The fact that he had red hair and was raised in Tampa, Florida gave him his nickname".

Source: "The Big Book of Blues" {Robert Santelli;Penquin Books ,1993; page 387}

Also, see this quote about "Speckled Red":
"Speckled Red {born Rufus Perryman, October 23, 1892, Monroe, La; died January 2, 1973 St. Louis, Mo}
Boogie-woogie piano player Speckled Red was a familiar layer on the Memphis and St. Louis blues scene inthe 1930s. A black albino, he was born in Louisiana and later moved to Hampton, Georgia, where he learned the keyboard on a church organ".

Source: "The Big Book of Blues" {Robert Santelli;Penquin Books ,1993; page 378}

Also see this quote about Speckled Red {also known as "Red"} from Paul Oliver: "The Story Of The Blues" {Radnor, PA; Chilton Book Company, 1975; page 80}

"...by 1926 Hastings Street [Detroit, Michigan] was the main artery of the black ghetto and it soon became famous as a resort for the piano players who came from the South. One of the first was Tupelo Slim from Lee County, Mississippi; another was known anonymously only as "Fishtail"; and still another was James Hemingway. They were all playing when Rufus Perryman, an albino Negro from Georgia arrived in the city. Called "Speckled Red' because of his pink and freckled skin, he had been born in Monroe, Louisiana, in October 1891 but was raised in Hampton, Ga."


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 10:57 AM

As to Richard Bridge's comment and question "Perhaps this thread might seem of more substance if there were a thesis or synthesis in view. Is there?"

I'm not sure if anyone has done a thesis on skin color in songs & singers' [and musicians'] names. If so, I'd be interested in reading it [them]. If the question was am I working on a thesis on this subject or other subjects, the answer is "no". I left college on the BA level decades ago, and never had the "pleasure" of writing a thesis.

As to the reason for my starting this thread, contributing information to this thread, and reading other's contributions to this thread, see my initial comment and my 17 Apr 06 - 08:34 AM post.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Cool Beans
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 11:23 AM

Unless I missed it (I tend to read hastily), nobody has mentioned the Leadbelly song "Yellow Gal." As a child, I though it meant a girl in a yellow dress.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 11:32 AM

By "thesis" I meant theory or coherent argument. I don't (yet) see the point of the list being created.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 11:39 AM

I don't (yet) see the point of the list being created.

I re-read the opening post, and the one Azizi referenced just upthread, but I don't either. How does a list say anything about how such language has influenced anyone?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Peace
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 11:45 AM

This is the Mudcat. Why would any thread require a thesis statement? Besides, just having a general interest in things should be good enough.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 01:45 PM

I agree with Richard, the thread appears to have no validity, all it does is attract specious comments with very little background information.
While I don't want to cause any upset, I can't see what if anything it is going to achieve apart from possibly a little consciousness raising.
Sorry


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Peace
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 01:59 PM

As some folks ofetn say--including some folks who've posted here--if ya don't like the topic, don't read it.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 02:26 PM

Well, if the goal is to make a list-- any I could post are not songs I myself know, but songs I could search for to try to fulfill a Mudcatter's music-oriented request. I might start such a search at Mudcat itself, thinking as I often do in the paradigm of indexing what we have stored here. It would do little to relate the songs or singers to my own consciousness, though, and I would not find it accurate for anyone else to make assessments of how I have been influenced simply because I was willing to help by doing a search.

I didn't say the thread HAD to have a thesis-- I just agreed that if it has a point, as Azizi seems to suggest, I don't see it and-- therefore-- I can't see how to contribute to that point. It's enough for me to know it's important to a fellow Mudcatter; if I can participate in something I understand I am glad to do so, and if I can't understand then I either post or I don't post, or maybe I just settle in and learn something from others' posts.

It's not about race, BTW, not being able to see a point-- I see someone trying to fan a race fire in a post upthread so let me be clear-- I similarly posted that I could not quite grasp the point of another thread, even though its subject relates to music I am VERY familiar with, and which HAS influenced me. I just think that sometimes people are after something but what they are after doesn't quite come through clearly-- I've certainly had that happen when I've started a thread, too. That doesn't mean that a clarifying question is an attack. Sometimes a question is simply a well-intentioned effort made in good faith to try to respond to what is asked.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Peace
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 02:30 PM

Absolutely, Susan. No question about that.

I took this to be the thesis statement: "This thread provides an opportunity to list, provide information about, and comment on references to skin complection in songs. This thread also provides an opportunity to list, provide information about, and comment on the use of skin color references by vocalists, musicians and possibly others."


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: LilyFestre
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 02:43 PM

Well, it's elementary but a very well known, loved song that involves skin colors...

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in his sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

:) Not what you're looking for? That's ok. It's a great message, anyway! :)


Michelle


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Kaleea
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 02:46 PM

Azizi-I almost forgot:
    When some of the guys I knew came back from "Viet Nam," their skin was repeatedly sunburned in the tropics, because being black, they were less inclined to be issued sunscreen products. I can no longer recall the lyrics, but a pal of mine sang, "I'm Purple Now."
His skin did, indeed, look quite purple when he first got back to Oklahoma from his last tour in "Viet Nam."


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Peace
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 02:54 PM

And lest we forget:

Flying Purple People Eater. However, I don't know if that's Flying Purple=People Eater or Flying Purple People-Eater. What's life without a little confusion, huh?


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 07:20 PM

Dark of skin, and yet I have beauty, daughters of Jerusalem.
Black are the tents they have in Cedar;
black are Solomon's own curtains;
then why not I?


From the Song of Songs in the Knox Translation of the Bible.
...................

A thread bringing together different ways in which songs have touched on and reflected an interesting variation among people, such as skin colour, doesn't seem any reason for anyone to get huffy.

I doubt if that kind of reaction would have been elicited if it had been about, for example, beards.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 07:50 PM

See this excerpt about blues guitarist "The Black Ace":

"In the late '30s, a Texan by the name of Babe Karo Lemon Turner released a single called `Black Ace Blues.' A Fort Worth radio station started to use the cut as a theme song and soon Turner assumed the moniker. Long before Jeff Healy piqued the music world's curiosity by playing guitar on his lap, Black Ace was playing a National steel guitar on his lap with a slide. He was one of only a few bluesmen who used this technique, the others being Kokomo Arnold and Black Ace's mentor, Oscar `Buddy' Woods. After only a few recordings in the '30s he remained dormant until Arhoolie Records' Chris Strachwitz ventured to his Fort Worth home in 1960 and brought the obscure bluesman back to the public's ear. Those recordings were originally issued the following year on Black Ace's only LP. With the fortunate advent of compact discs, we now have the pleasure of hearing the slide guitarist again some 30 years later.

Source: http://www.arhoolie.com/titles/374.shtml

This online source includes 23 audio clips including "I'm the black ace".
-snip-

The name "Black Ace" works on a number of levels. Firstly, it is linked to the playing card, the ace of spades. Secondly, the name plays on the informal {sometimes derogatory}slang referent for Black people "spades". Finally, the name "Black Spade" plays on the slang term "ace" from the card game, meaning "the best of the best". My mother still says "It's ace" when she's referring to something that is very good.

In adopting this name, Babe Turner was engaging in the same self-promoting tradition as Muhammad Ali when he said "I am the greatest!", and as Hip-hop rappers and dancehall reggae djs do when they engage in their own brand of self-boasting.

The cultural traditions of these names and the layers of meanings and the attitudes about race & identity that these names and lyrics evoke are what makes this subject so fascinating to me.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 18 Apr 06 - 08:05 PM

Correction: this sentence in my 18 Apr 06 - 07:50 PM
post should read:

Finally, the name "Black Ace" plays on the slang term "ace" from the card game, meaning "the best of the best".


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Subject: Lyr Add: Brown Skin Girl
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 19 Apr 06 - 06:05 PM

Copied from an earlier thread as the only way I could find it. It doesn't appear to speak very well of Americans, But it is not their sensibilities being protected by not singing it these days.

CHEERS
Nigel

Subject: Lyr Add: BROWN SKIN GIRL (from Harry Belafonte)
From: Jim Dixon - PM
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 09:06 AM

Copied from http://w1.871.telia.com/~u87125666/lyrics/brownskingal.htm
BROWN SKIN GIRL
Words and Music by: Norman Span
Recorded by Harry Belafonte
Recording date: Nov 9, 1955

Ev'rything to keep me from sleepin'
A lot of sailor boys they were leavin'
And everybody there were jumpin'
To hear the sailor boys in our chorus singin'

Brown skin girl stay home and mind baby
Brown skin girl stay home and mind baby
I'm goin' away, in a sailing boat
And if I don't come back
Stay home and mind baby

Now de Americans made an invasion
We thought it was a help to the island
Until they left from here on vacation
They left de native boy home to mind their children

Brown skin girl stay home and mind baby
Brown skin girl stay home and mind baby
I'm goin' away, in a sailing boat
And if I don't come back
Stay home and mind baby

Now I tell you de story 'bout Millie
Well she made a nice blue-eyed baby
And dey say she fancy the mother
But the blue-eyed baby ain't know she father

Brown skin girl stay home and mind baby
Brown skin girl stay home and mind baby
I'm goin' away, in a sailing boat
And if I don't come back
Stay home and mind baby

Now de Americans all have their pleasure
While the music played to their leisure
Everybody there they were jumpin'
To hear the sailor boys in our chorus singin'

Brown skin girl stay home and mind baby
Brown skin girl stay home and mind baby
I'm goin' away, in a sailing boat
And if I don't come back
Stay home and mind baby


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: GUEST,Greyboy
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 03:16 AM

You know, I didn't see anyone grimly leveling the "thesis requirement" b.s. on, say, the "Miskin at Easter" thread (and didn't THAT thread ramble...) or on any of a number of Mudcat threads which start in the interrogative and proceed through opinions toward an indistinct end.

Granted it doesn't seem to be "going" somewhere, if you look at it with some sort of linear expectation. But Azizi's opening was asking for a Mudcat-wide net-cast toward bringing forth some very interesting information.

Blunt demands for some academically oriented standard suggest to me some "unreliable narration" is asserting itself...

Mr Bridge, the concept you may be seeking here is that of "process". Relax and enjoy the ride. It's a thread on the freakin' internet!

Jeez...


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 11:00 AM

It may be here and I missed it, but I don't recall anyone citing "Fair Ellinore and the Brown Girl".

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 11:55 AM

I don't know this song, but when I would see the phrase "fair maiden" I used to think that "fair" meant that the woman was impartial.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Wolfgang
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 12:24 PM

A German singer and songwriter, Knut Kiesewetter, has a whole song about skin colours and prejudices:

Sie sind grün (They are green)

Well, that's the title I recollect though on that site I'm linking to they have another title.

It's a song about green people who don't like the colour of their skin and paint themselves yellow, red, black, and white, respectively to realise in the end that they like the original green best and now are proud about that colour.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 12:36 PM

I was just thinking of that one (Lord Thomas and Lady Ellender). I think "the brown girl" in that one is brown-haired rather than brown-skinned -- in contrast to the "fair" Ellender, but I could be wrong. Much the same sort of description applies to the "dark girl" who is the villain in many versions of "The Two Sisters." Her sister is also clearly a blonde, judging by her golden hair that is used to string the harp.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 12:38 PM

Oh, and don't forget Kermit the Frog's "It's Not Easy Being Green."


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 12:44 PM

Warning-another thread drift again-sorta

;0)

ClaireBear, I think you're right. And doesn't the Grimm's fairy tale, Snow-white and Rose-Red refer to hair color and not complexion? Though people with blond hair and people with red hair may have different complexions, is this not so?

Also, the title of another Grimm's fairy tale "Cinderella"
{Cinder-Ella} is a nickname for a girl name Ella who becomes dirty from all the house work she does, including cleaning up the cinders.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 03:33 PM

Not that the fairy tale Cinderella or the name Cinderella has anything to do with skin color in songs and singer's names except that wasn't it traditionally for European Chimney sweeps to sometimes be called black for the same reasons-all those cinders.

[as you can see I have a difficult time staying on-topic but this is kinda on topic as there's alot of songs about chimney sweeps-like um...and um... that Mary Poppins song and...you know.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Jon W.
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 06:05 PM

Here's an Irish song that definitely refers to skin color not hair color: "The Banks of Ponchartrain"

All strangers there, no friends to me

'Til a dark girl towards me came

And I fell in love with a creole girl

On the banks of Ponchartrain.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 06:15 PM

I have only skimmed through the threads..

Did anyone mention Nelly was a lady..by Stephen Foster...a man sing of his dark Virginny bride.

Star of the County Down is a brown colleen

Nut-brown maiden

well..her lips were like the cherries when red and she a winsome one to see

I'll think some more... mg


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 07:11 PM

I never thought of Rose Red having red hair, probably because her sister, Snow White, was portrayed with black hair by Disney.:-) In the original, it does not really say, just that the girls were of different temperments, not that one was better than the other:

THERE was once a poor widow who lived in a lonely cottage. In front of the cottage was a garden wherein stood two rose-trees, one of which bore white and the other red roses. She had two children who were like the two rose-trees, and one was called Snow-white and the other Rose-red. They were as good and happy, as busy and cheerful, as ever two children in the world were, only Snow-white was more quiet and gentle than Rose-red. Rose-red liked better to run about in the meadows and fields seeking flowers and catching butterflies; but Snow-white sat at home with her mother, and helped her with her house-work, or read to her when there was nothing to do.

from HERE

kat


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 07:55 PM

More thread creep...

Kat, you're right about the Snow White and Rose Red fairy tale. Thanks for looking it up; I've beem slammed at work today and haven't had time to go prowling for source.

As I recall, the version of Snow White I read as a child (which I think was a watered-down Perrault) had the child's natural mother pricking her finger on an embroidery needle while working on pure white fabric in an ebony embroidery frame. The sight of her scarlet blood on the snowy cloth in the stark black frame caused her to utter a wish for a child with skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony. The wish was granted, at the cost of her life (she died in childbirth). So the black hair wasn't just Disneyvision, Kat m'dear. Back in the day, Disney actually paid attention to its sources sometimes!


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 08:25 PM

Here's an Irish song that definitely refers to skin color not hair color: "The Banks of Ponchartrain"

"The Banks of Ponchartrain" - or The Lakes of Pontchartrain as it more commonly is called, isn't an Irish song exceopt in the sense that, like a lot of somgs, it has been taken up and naturalised.

In fact there's nothing definite about whether "dark girl" refer to skin colour or hair colour or both - "creole" is a term that leaves it wide open. The crucial element isn't colour but hospitality to a stranger, combined with fidelity to an absent lover.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 01:23 PM

has anyone mentioned Wode? mg


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 02:48 PM

How 'bout the character "Albino Red" from Clint Eastwood's movie about Charlie Parker ("Bird"?) ... Was there such a person, or was this a bit of delightful whimsy made up for the movie?


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 03:34 PM

I don't know, thurg.

From my reading and my experience , "Red" is/was not used as much among African Americans as "Yellow" or White [as in "Whiteboy" or "Whitey" or "Casper"-the name of the cartoon "friendly ghost"] to describe a describe a Black person who is very light skinned or is an albino. However, a Black person [and I guess a person of any race/ethnicity] who is an albino can have red hair, so they might be called "Red" for pejorative, or friendly, descriptive reasons.

Not that I have known very many Black people {or people of any race} who are albinos. But I did know one. A long time ago when I was in elementary school, I ws walking home with my sisters and some older girls and we passed by a house and noticed a Black girl about my age on the porch. The girl's skin was very pale, and her hair was a reddish color. Though the red haired girl was about my age, she didn't go to my neighborhood school. Maybe she was Catholic and went to the city's Catholic school. Anyway, as a bunch of other kids walked past that girl's house, I heard a couple of them shout out "Hey, burnt rice!" The girl quickly put her head down and ran into her house.

I remember asking one of the "older" girls I was walking home with "Why did those kids called that girl "burnt rice"?. She said it was because of the color of that girl's hair. Since we lived in an all Black neighborhood, just about all the kids we knew had black or dark brown hair so a Black girl with red hair was different. I remember asking that older girl "Why is her hair that color?" And that older girl said something like "That was the way she was born".

I seldom saw that girl again, but when I did I made a point of waving and saying "Hi" to her. Years would pass before I figured out that that red haired girl was an albino. I never forgot her, and I never forgot the second hand lesson that words could hurt. In all the years that have come and gone, I still remember that little red haired girl. I wish her well where ever she is.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Peace
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 03:47 PM

"Jazz trumpeter. He was one of the first white musicians to play with Charlie Parker.

When touring with Charlie Parker in the American South he went by the stage name of "Albino Red", because many municipalities had regulations against mixed-race performance ensembles."

The above is in reference to Red Rodney.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 03:51 PM

Thanks for that information, Peace.

Interesting, so "Albino Red" wasn't an albino at all. So, I suppose he had red hair, right?


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Peace
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 03:52 PM

His birth name was Robert Roland Chudnick. It's all I could find for the moment.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 06:14 PM

Of course


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 06:52 PM

Well McGrath of Harlow, "we" might have gotten off course with that Snow-White/Rose-Red & Cinderella posts, but the Albino Red/Red Rodney/Robert Roland Chudnick posts are definitely on topic.

Or did you mean to say something else?

:o)


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 07:56 PM

My full post was actually something like Of course "white" people can be albinos as well. But somewhere along the one my post lost its tail (which has happened on at least one other thread).

In fact albinos are the only genuinely "white" people around.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 08:10 PM

back to hair color..

how about Eric the Red?

The Star of Logy Bay..had the curling of her yellow locks

Rody McCorley had above the hemp rope on his neck the golden ringlets hung

Beautiful brown eyes

Did I say about Annie Laurie..hair like the raven.. mg


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 08:56 PM

Has anyone mentioned Black is the colour of my true love's hair?

McGrath, I thought you meant "of course he passed himself off that way in order to get past the ban against intergrated bands."


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 10:11 PM

Somewhat off-topic but not really, is the use of color names as last namesby non-singers/musicians...

Examples: Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning.

See this excerpt from this May 1995 Ebony Magazine article
"Two of world's greatest lovers - Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning - were descendants of blacks - book sheds new light on couple - includes book excerpt and interview with author
Ebony, May, 1995 by Monique Burns

"How do I love thee?" Elizabeth Barrett wrote to Robert Browning in her immortal Sonnets From the Portuguese, "Let me count the ways ...."

The ways apparently were not affected by the mixed bloodline of either poet. For, in Dared And Done: The Marriage of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, an absorbing 382-page saga recently released by Alfred A. Knopf, the venerable New York publishing house, author Julia Markus offers convincing evidence that the two 19th-century English poets were part-Black descendants of wealthy Jamaican plantation owners.

This evidence comes This evidence comes from contemporary witnesses, frank acknowledgments by Barrett, and photographs that depict both as dark-skinned. In a letter to her beloved sister Arabel in 1860, Barrett enclosed a black-and-white photograph taken in Rome of herself and their 11-year-old son "Pen," which shows a clear contrast between the dark-skinned mother and fair-haired, blue-eyed child.

The evidence of mixed race in two of the greatest poets in the English language has been a cultural bombshell, sending shock waves through literary circles on two continents. Vincent Petronella, president of Boston's Browning Society, one of the country's largest, and an English professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, says: "From this time onward, no biographer can ever reject this scholarship. Something was coming to light in her [Elizabeth Barrett's] father's mind. The issue of mixed blood is as good an explanation as any. Even if you don't accept it as fact, you have to bear it in mind.

According to Markus, a respected Browning scholar and award-winning novelist, there are strong indications that the adamant opposition of Elizabeth's father, Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett, to the marriage of any of his 11 surviving children -- was not merely the dictum of a domestic tyrant but, rather, a deliberate attempt to extinguish the family's mixed bloodline.

The most common reaction to this cultural whodunit, which starts in Colonial Jamaica and segues to England and Italy, has been a kind of shocked silence. Although the book has been hailed by The New York Times and the Boston Globe, other major newspapers and major electronic media have not reviewed it or even mentioned it."

-snip-

For the entire article, click http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1077/is_n7_v50/ai_16878140


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 05:26 PM

GUEST,mg asked, "What about wode?"

I have to assume that you meant "woad", a plant that yields a blue color. Legend has it that the natives of Britain at and before the time of Julius Caesar's invasion would go to war clad only in the skins their mothers gave them, colored blue with woad.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 09:20 PM

"a cultural bombshell" - well, interesting enough, but not really a bombshell, because that would imply both that this was new and that it was shocking. I just picked a book about Browning off the shelf dated 1903 which mentions the possibility and clearly seeing it as nothing new - with a comment "There is nothing valid against any of these theories, just as there is nothing valid in their favour; they may, all or any of them, be true, but they are still irrelevant." (Robert Browning - GK Chesterton)

I suppose firm proof that Browning had some black ancestors would be one in the eye for any white racists who were Browning enthusiasts, but I doubt if there are many of those.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Pauline L
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 11:53 PM

I'm really enjoying this thread.

"Why Am I So Black and Blue" by Louis Armstrong says a lot about racism in the U.S.

My mother used to tell a story that I don't believe, but it's a good story, so I'll repeat it. She grew up in a tenement in Brooklyn during the Depression. (How's that for fashionable roots?) She said that a blue-eyed, African American peddlar used to roam the streets of her neighborhood singing "Am I Blue?"


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Bert
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 12:22 AM

I've been following this thread with a certain amount of sadness. I was raised to love people whoever they were and color of skin didn't enter into it any more than did color of hair.

And I'm old enough to remember when the "N word" (I think that this euphemism is worse than the word itself) was in common use and more often than not carried no ill intent.

So we learned songs like

"I worked just like a nigger though I isn't over strong"

or poems like Kipling's "The Ladies"

"And then we was shifted to Neemuch
or I might a bin keeping her now
and I took with a shiny she devil
the wife of a nigger at Mhow.
She taught me the Gipsy Folks bolee
a kind of volcano she were
and she knifed me one night
'cos I wished she was white
and I learned about women from her"


Also, I posted this song that I learned as a kid
here


Aaaah! I just wish that we could all love people whoever they are.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 07:36 AM

I appreciate the depth of feeling and sincerity that Bert reveals in his last post. Bert wrote "I was raised to love people whoever they were and color of skin didn't enter into it any more than did color of hair."

Paraphasing the lyrics of a calypso song, let me say that "It was curiosity and curiosity alone that caused me to start this thread.
I either wrote the name "Tampa Red" on another Mudcat thread or read the name there. Ironically, that thread was started by 'Catter
"Mr. Red". I have since found out that the "Red" in Tampa Red's name referred to his hair color. But I erroneously assumed that it referred to that African American's skin color. Be that as it may,
I wondered how many skin "color" names I could list from song lyrics and from singers'/musicians' names. I also wondered what names other members and guests could come up with from American and other sources.

It is true that skin color lyrics and skin color names may reveal prejudices against the person named. It's also true that Black people still have alot of work to do to rid ourselves of skin color preferences for light skinned [Black]people over dark skinned [Black people]. However, skin color references have been and still are used as descriptors without any intention whatsoever of insult or prejudice.   

There's no doubt in my mind that Black people are more alert to and use more skin color references than non-Black people. I believe that this is because there are so many gradations of skin color in our race. As the saying goes, Black people range in color from "light, bright and damn near White" to blacker than the darkest night.

We {Black people} regularly refer to the skin color of other Black people when we are describing them to others. Black people are "dark skinned" or "light skinned", or "kinda dark skin" or "real light skinned" or "regular" complexion-meaning a certain kind of brown complexion that most African Americans have. And as I indicated in other posts to this thread, some Black people are called "Red" or "Redbone" because they have a reddish tinge to their light brown complexion. These skin color references are often used as descriptors without any thought of insulting that person. TAnd these color names were used-and continue to be used-in singers' & musicians' names and in song lyrics because they are used in everyday life.

Here is an example: Years ago, I was employed at a local college as a "minority student" counselor. My office was right off of a large room where a number of students congregated to study or relax, and/or eat lunch or snacks. One day this White woman knocked on my door and asked me if I had seen "Stephanie" as she had arranged to meet her there but she [the White student]was late. "Stephanie" used to be a quite common name. I had seen and spoken to three Stephanies that day. I asked her "Which Stephanie?" The student said she didn't know Stephanie's last name. I then asked her "What does Stepahie look like?" The student then described Stephanie by height and by Stephanie's year in school. Since that didn't help me, I said "Is she light skinned or dark skinned". The White woman seemed very embarrassed by that question and mumbled that she didn't know. She then asked me if Stephanie came by looking for her, would I please tell her that she was sorry that she was late. I said I would do so.

What struck me about that incident was how different most Black person would have responded to my question about Stephanie's appearance. They would have gone right to Stephanie's skin color. And they would have described that woman's skin color without embarrassment by comparing skin colors {"She's about my color." or "She's just about your complexion." or "She's light skinned." etc. And Black people may have coupled their skin color description of they person with a decription of how that person wears their hair, or a description of that person's natural hair texture...
I believe that we [Black people] have alot of internal work to with regard to "good hair"/"bad hair" descriptors-since in Black venacular "good hair" means hair like White people. When people use these descriptors they may not even aware that they are knocking themselves. But skin color descriptors may be simply descriptors-nothing more and nothing less.

Though this thread was not meant to discuss race relations, I will take this opportunity to repeat what I have said on other Mudcat threads-I don't want a color blind world. I want a world where there are not positive or negative valuations associated with skin colors-or hair textures.

And I very much agree with Bert's statement that "I just wish that we could all love people whoever they are".


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 11:24 AM

If she was embarrassed to describe Stephanie by colour it was probably because she'd been taught not to offend black people by doing so. Not all white people are that way; many have lived in a very diverse background and commonly refer to colour for description. In all ways, it is best not to generalise about any particular group of people.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 11:55 AM

Only a passing reference from Guest_mg about Stephan Foster's "Nellie Was a Lady" --

"Nellie was a lady,
Last night she died,
Toll the bell for handsome Nell
My dark Virginny bride."

Fresh in my mind, of course, because Jennifer Wood sang it at NEFFA yesterday. Also sung by Helen Schneyer and recorded recently by Sara Grey.

First song expressing the (then) impossible belief that a black African-American could be a lady.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 12:13 PM

In my opinion, the reason why such skin color names were used and continue to be used as stage names for Black people is that such descriptors were and continue to be used in everyday life.

I don't know why that White student mentioned in my last post was embarrassed to describe Stephanie by her skin color. But if it was because she was taught that doing so might "offend" Black people, the point of my post was that-in my experience-making a reference to "dark skin" or "light skin" would not be considered offensive. References to Black people's skin color have in the past and are still are now used as descriptors without any postitive or negative value judgement.

If you already knew this-fine. My post was directed to those who may not have known this.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 12:17 PM

Excuse me, I should have written that "the point of my post was that-in my experience-making a reference to "dark skin" or "light skin" would not necessarily be considered offensive. Of course, time and place and who and how one makes such references is important.

But to assume that such references are always offensive is offensive to me.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 01:14 PM

Azizi - I'm sure there are many of us who find your observations worthwhile: keep'm coming!


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Big Mick
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 01:24 PM

It is refreshing to have this thread. The fact that it is started by a person "of color" makes it more so. There has been some discussion which centered around the question "what's the point?". I will give you my opinion.

Human curiosity being what it is, many times folks are curious about these things but don't ask the questions, out of concern for offending or being chastised. At other times, performers such as myself just want to make sure we have the context right out of respect for those we are singing about.

In other words, this is the thread to just have the discussion, gain understanding, help others understand, without the rancor. The issue isn't what Azizi, you, or I, am. The issue is the use of terms of color in descriptions within songs. It is fascinating stuff and I am enjoying following this thread.

Learn, come to understand, be a better person/performer for it.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 01:34 PM

The other factor might be not knowing how to apply terms like dark and light in that context - as Azizi said there's a very wide range of variation, most people on that range would be lighter than some and darker than others.

"She's darker than you" or "she's lighter than you" would be one way to solve that one, but I think some people might take that as over personal.

And I know I'm useless at matching shades of colours when I'm out with my wife shopping, and I doubt I'd be much better when it came to finer shades of skin differences.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 01:32 PM

As background to this thread, see this article:

Shades of Black Personal Stories of Colorism and Privilege By Kaomi Goetz

That article was prepared by students in a university Race & Ethnicity class. Here are some excerpts:

"Corey Dawkins, 31, an office manager at a brokerage firm on Wall Street, has light skin, a hint of his white maternal grandmother. Despite his light skin, he was considered black at his private, nearly all-white elementary school on the Upper West Side. He later transferred to a black Catholic school in Harlem, where he encountered problems because his skin was lighter than most of the other students'.

"I was called high-yellow, redbone, pale," Dawkins said. "I got into a lot of fights because I was looked at as a white kid." Dawkins said he had been singled out because he "didn't talk like other blacks" and was not interested in rap, basketball, slang and fashion. Instead, Dawkins was into tennis and skateboarding...

"My mother's family was from Alabama and Kentucky," Darden said, seated at a table in her restaurant, Spoonbread Too. "My father was from North Carolina. My mother's family did not accept my father at first because he was dark-skinned. But they finally agreed since he was a doctor, and because he made more money than all of them."

-snip-


I would like to emphasize that this article is presented as background to this discussion because it provides examples of what the article calles "colorism"- Black prejudice towards other Black people because of their and other's Black people's skin color. I want to be clear that I do not agree with all points made by those interviewed in this article- for example the comment by the man who said he only liked light skinned women, and the comment about the light skinned man tranferring from an all White school to an all Black schooland not being accepted by those students because all they were interested in was "rap, slang, fashion, and basketball".

I consider this to be a very simplistic statement. And I strongly reject it as being an inaccurate and patronizing and prejudiced reflection of all Black students in my [pre-rap but R&B might be a fitting substitute] generation and my children's [rap] generation.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 02:42 PM

That bit about being singled about for talking differently, and for having different interests from those that predominated in the new school doesn't really sound so much like stereotyping, but more like the kind of thing that happens when a kid transfers from one school to another which is very different.

But in the USA it gets seen as a primarily a matter of colour. In England it would be more likely to be seen primarily as a matter of class. Both explanations would be part of the truth - but the same processes go on even when class and colour aren't involved, for example in a transfer from a rural to an urban school, or a day school to a boardsing school, or mixed sex to single sex.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 05:35 PM

It happens in other ethnic groups, too. Our best friends and neighbours back East were Puerto Rican. The lightest-skinned daughter was looked upon, by the entire extended family, as having more abilities, etc. than he darker sisters. All of the elders considered her light colour to be more desirable. I wonder did that hold true before slavery or is it a prejudice only learned from white masters?

kat


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 07:36 PM

Frank Snowden Jr's: "Before Color Prejudice-The Ancient View Of Blacks" {Harvard University Press, 1983} and "Blacks in Antiquity : Ethiopians in the Greco-Roman Experience (Belknap Press) are two excellent resources about those subjects.

Here is an online synopsis of "Before Color Prejudice":
In this richly illustrated account of black-white contacts from the Pharaohs to the Caesars, Frank Snowden demonstrates that the ancients did not discriminate against blacks because of their color. For three thousand years Mediterranean whites intermittently came in contact with African blacks in commerce and war, and left a record of these encounters in art and in written documents. The blacks--most commonly known as Kushites, Ethiopians, or Nubians--were redoubtable warriors and commanded the respect of their white adversaries. The overall view of blacks was highly favorable. In science, philosophy, and religion color was not the basis of theories concerning inferior peoples. And early Christianity saw in the black man a dramatic symbol of its catholic mission.
This book sheds light on the reasons for the absence in antiquity of virulent color prejudice and for the difference in attitudes of whites toward blacks in ancient and modern societies."

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/SNOBEF.html


-snip-

Frank Snowden, is a listed on that website as a Professor of Classics at Howard University. For those who may be interested, Snowden's photo on that website shows that he is a rather light skinned man, and Howard University is known {among African Americans anyway} as a university that was founded by wealthy White Southerners for their mixed race children who they claimed.

In 1967 when I went to that university for its homecoming, I saw students who had White [people's] features and red hair, or brown hair, or blond hair, or black hair. I also saw light skinned brown skin, redbone, brown skin, dark brown skin, dark skin, very dark skin people-and just about all of them were Black-at least that's what my Howard Universtity girlfriend told me when I whispered to her and asked why all those White people were at that football game.
And I remember that she told me that it's a good thing that I whispered that question, 'cause if some of those people knew that I had questioned their race, they'd be hard on my case.

I would also like to say that in my work in the "human services" field, I have seen how internal and external color prejudice negatively impacts families and children. Image how horrible it would be if the dark skinned father Dr. Huxtable {from that Bill Cosby Show} favored his two light skinned daughters and constantly put down his brown skinned son & daughters or the light skinned mother favored one or the other sets of children because of their skin complexion. Unfortunately, this happens in real life...And the fault for this can not fully be placed on history and on present day institutional racism. Those Black {and Latinos, and other people of color who favor a person because of his or her skin color} have to recognize the harm that they are doing,accept their own fault, and get their head and heart and soul together.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 08:12 PM

Yes, they do need to do that, Azizi. It was very hard on our friend's daughters, all three of them. Fortunately the girls "rose above it" and are still best friends and loyal sisters.

I've been to powwows and met Native Americans with skin lighter than my own and redder hair. There was an interesting series on PBS in January, I believe it was, in which they tested the DNA of various people, including Oprah Winfrey, a woman professor to see just how much of whatever race they really were. One fellow's DNA was almost all northern european yet he had always identified as a Black person.

Here it is: CLICK and the intro:

AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES, an unprecedented four-part PBS series, takes Alex Haley's Roots saga to a whole new level through moving stories of personal discovery. Using genealogy, oral history, family stories and DNA analysis to trace lineage through American history and back to Africa, the series provides a life-changing journey for a diverse group of highly accomplished African Americans: a neurosurgeon, a TV host, an astronaut, a music entrepreneur, a sociologist, a movie star, a minister and a comedian. Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois professor of the Humanities and chair of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, hosts the series. Participants include Dr. Ben Carson, Whoopi Goldberg, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Dr. Mae Jemison, Quincy Jones, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Chris Tucker and Oprah Winfrey.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Wolfgang
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 12:57 PM

Skin colour in singers' names: A fairly well known (to those liking carnival songs) German singer had the name Ernst Neger (Ernest Negro).

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 04:14 PM

There is an Argentinian tango from the 1920s, "El Tatuaje" (The Tattooed Man) which is sung from the viewpoint of a (presumably coffee-coloured) woman who is erotically fascinated by the tattooed white skin of her lover, a Northern European sailor (German? Norwegian?). It turns the usual Anglo-American stereotypes of interracial sex upside down.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: mg
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 09:53 PM

Did we say Old Black Joe?
Burns song about returning soldier...as pale as any lily..art thou my ain dear Willie..
My mental scanner is not doing too well..I shall have to think some more...

Any Metis songs relating to skin color? mg


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Azizi
Date: 01 Oct 11 - 12:39 PM

I just added a post to my pancocojams blog that expands on several of my comments on this thread. That blog post also features a video (with photo) of Tampa Red, and two videos by Nina Simone which were posted for their message & aesthetic pleasure and otherwise have nothing to do with skin color in songs and singers names. In addition, a comment to that blog post featured an excerpt of an online article by a geneticist who explains that the occurance of red hair among Black people is often the result of albinism.

That blog post, entitled Black On Black Taunting - "Burnt Rice" , can be visited by clicking: http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2011/10/black-on-black-taunting-burnt-rice.html

Thanks!

Azizi Powell


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 01 Oct 11 - 10:59 PM

Azizi, I read your blog post and it reminded of the fact that Quasimodo, the titular "Hunchback of Notre Dame" has red hair and pale skin. Although he is a Romany, is it possible that his red hair was because of albinism?


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 01:16 AM

Refresh.


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: Acme
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 11:26 AM

It's my understanding that albinos always have white hair, absent all pigment.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Skin color in songs & singers' names
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 05:55 PM

Yes but Azizi's blog post includes an article from a geneticist which states that albinism in people of Black African descent can cause red hair, and thst there is a form of albinism called rufous albinism which causes red hair.


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