Johnny Otis

Kenny Mostern kennym at uclink2.berkeley.edu
Sun Apr 16 16:24:00 MDT 1995


I just wanted to note, to the person (I apologize for forgetting who)
that wanted to engage me in a dialogue about Johnny Otis, the white blues
singer who indeed is as "Black" as any white person could be--there is an
interview with him in *Z Magazine*'s April issue.  I am quite comfortable
with his comments about race, which distinguish--as I have been
doing--between participation in African-American culture, which white
people (inlcuding himself and myself) do, and growing up
with Black racial identity, which we don't.  And he insists that having the
latter has specific implications regarding the production of the former:
"there are good young white interpreters of [the blues] and they love it
and do a credible job of it.  But they aren't the creators of this form
and with them the music is not really going anywhere . . . . "

Not claiming that Otis is therefore right; just that he's no example of
the counterargument to my claims about the continuing significance of race.

Kenny Mostern
UC-Berkeley Ethnic Studies Graduate Group

Against:  racism, sexism, homophobia, capitalism, militarism
For:  the truth--and the funk!



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