re: carol channing or, more rumors of blackness

One of the most popular posts on this blog is the one that includes direct quotes from Carol Channing “admitting” to her blackness.  Actually, “part negro” is the way they put it back then.  Sign of the times, I’m sure.  What hasn’t changed is that people by and large are ignorant of Channing’s “blackness”.  I think maybe Carol’s a little ignorant about it herself after viewing this Wendy Williams interview in which Channing denies “it”, yet ultimately says she hopes “it’s” true.  Oh, the conflict.  I dug around for a little more info.  I came up with this gem.  Total rumor, but…

Via Some Random Thread

 

Carol Channing and Diana Ross were secretly COUSINS

channing

diana_ross

Carol Channing and Diana Ross were secretly COUSINS

My elderly neighbor, who lived in LA since childhood and spent decades working in entertainment has told me some scrazy stories, but the craziest is that Carol Channing and Diana Ross were actually cousins, and that Carol’s machinations were a big part of Diana’s ascension to lead status in the Supremes.

by: Anonymous reply 3 07/11/2012 @ 05:51PM

Carol Channing had a black grandfather so it could be true.

by: Anonymous reply 4 07/11/2012 @ 05:53PM

Channing’s from San Francisco and San Francisco lead the way with mixed marriages. They were all the same race marriages, just some white people marrying people not so white.

by: Anonymous reply 5 07/11/2012 @ 06:02PM

The legs, the smile…they do look a alike.

by: Anonymous reply 6 07/11/2012 @ 06:11PM

Channing with her parents:

 ChanningFamily

by: Anonymous reply 7 07/11/2012 @ 06:26PM

Channing’s only child, Channing Lowe:

carol and son, channing, 1965 house and garden september issue phot by john rawlings

by: Anonymous reply 9 07/11/2012 @ 08:41PM

They both have the same smile, teeth, and large eyes.

evidence piling up:

Carol Channing Soul Sister

by: Anonymous reply 12 07/11/2012 @ 08:46PM

Carol

Carol+Channing+png
by: Anonymous reply 13 07/11/2012 @ 08:47PM

Diana

diana-ross


by: Anonymous reply 14 07/11/2012 @ 08:48PM

On the “Diana Ross and The Supremes Greatest Hits” album, there is a liner note from Carol Channing commenting on her love for The Supremes.

speaking of the confederate flag

ok, so, i like kid rock a little bit.  for three reasons: 1. he’s from detroit (well, Michigan anyway) 2. i think his song Amen is brilliant and beautiful 3. he has a biracial son (is that, like, racist of me…or some kind of positive prejudice…or just silly?)

anywho, i do not like his use of the confederate flag.  to be fair, i don’t like anyone’s use of it.  especially if the user has a child of some significant color.  i understand that to some people the flag is simply a symbol of “southern pride.”  i really do believe that said people do not view the flag as a pro-slavery emblem… they don’t go around looking at black people wishing they were allowed to own them.  that’s too easy, too “obvious racist bad-guy.”  but, i think it is from a vantage point of either white privilege or ignorance (or both) that one can insistently be so insensitive as to say (or infer) “i know that this flag is hurtful to many, it reminds them of a time when they were considered less than human and were treated no better than cattle, it may make them feel unsafe…they may get the idea that i think back on those days as the good old days and wish we could revert back to them.”  i’m sorry, but the flag is just  not THAT cool, not worth all of that.  nothing is.  i would like to believe that it would be an easy “sacrifice” to put that flag away (as in not on your car, belt buckle, t-shirt…but whatever you want in your own home…) so as not to bring up all of that hateful, hurtful stuff to the people who are still negatively affected by the history of the flag, the implications of it.  how about a little more love, compassion, sensitivity… amen.

i mean, this is really not that much cooler than this….

not enough to warrant offending people to their core… even if it’s only 14 people, even one… especially if the one might be your kid, Kid.

Kid Rock’s NAACP Award Protested Over Use Of Confederate Flag

via HuffPost Entertainment

Some people don’t think Kid Rock is meeting their great expectations.

The rocker is set to accept the NAACP’s Detroit chapter’s Great Expectations Award at their annual Freedom Fund dinner in May, and some members of the historic black rights organization are so unhappy about it, they’re boycotting the 10,000 person affair.

It’s the singer’s use of the Confederate flag in his stage shows that has them so upset, according to the Detroit News.

“It’s a slap in the face for anyone who fought for civil rights in this country,” Adolph Mongo, head of Detroiters for Progress and a boycotting NAACP member told the paper last week. “It’s a symbol of hatred and bigotry.”

For his part, Rock defended the use of the flag in a 2008 interview with the Guardian. “Why should someone be able to own any image and say what it is?” he said. “Sure, it’s definitely got some scars, but I’ve never had an issue with it. To me it just represents pride in southern rock’n’roll music, plus it just looks cool.”

He also spoke about touring with a famed rapper and how it impacted his audience.

“I’ve got Rev Run [from Run DMC] on tour with me right now – we have fun trying to count the number of black people every night. We’re like, ‘There’s 14 tonight, yeah!’”

Though he was a staunch defender of President George W. Bush, the singer went to back for Barack Obama after his election, in the process defending America against accusations of racism.

“It’s good the U.S. has proved it’s not as racist as it’s sometimes portrayed,” he told Metro UK (via Spin Magazine).

He also spoke about his own experience growing up with black people in the interview, saying, “Black people were kind to me growing up and taught me hip-hop and the blues.”

For more on the NAACP controversy, click over to the Detroit News.

jazz’s lasses

I’m freaking out about this right now!  How on earth have I never heard of these women!?  I read the first article and thought “Oh, very cool.”  Then I saw the video…moments ago…currently freaking out.  Anybody wanna make a movie about this with me?  It would be like A League of Their Own kinda.  But with people of color actually doing something other than standing around wishing they could be doing something at which they, too, are really good.  That’s one of my favorite movies of all time, by the way.  I digress.  I wonder if it’s the racism or the sexism that’s kept this a “secret.”  Both I’m sure, but when I watch that video I’m mostly struck by the fact that these are women in positions I don’t think I’ve ever seen held by a woman.  Not then, not now.  And they came out of Mississippi!? O. M. G.

First All-Female Interracial Band Celebrated At Smithsonian

Written by News One

The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, the first all-female interracial band in America, faced down both Jim Crow and sexism in the 1930s and 1940s. Then, they faded into obscurity.

This week the Smithsonian Institution celebrates the Sweethearts’ legacy as part of the launch of the museum’s Jazz Appreciation Month.

the international sweethearts of rhythm

The Sweethearts’ exhibit will be on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC from March 25 to May 31. Members of the Sweethearts, which included Black, white, Latino and Asian women, will participate in several events on March 29 and 30 at the museum. Radio One founder Cathy Hughes, whose mother Helen Jones Woods was an original band member, will also be a participant [NewsOne is a division of Radio One]:

…Ms. Hughes will facilitate an brief (10 minute) onstage discussion with six of the original Sweethearts who will participate in programming at the Smithsonian:  They are Helen Jones Woods (trombonist), Ms. Hughes’ mother; Willie Mae Wong Scott (saxophonist), the child of a Chinese father and mixed race Native American mother, she grew up on Mississippi in 1920s; Sadye Pankey Moore (trumpeter), African American; Johnnie Mae Rice Graham (pianist), African American; Lillie Keeler Sims (trombone), African American woman who played with the Sweethearts their first year but later served as an educator and administrator in the NYC school system 40 years;  and Roz Cron, one of the first white woman to join the band. On March 30th, the Sweethearts and Cathy Hughes will participate in a 60 minute discussion on the Sweetheart’s legacy that will be webcast via UStream.

 

First integrated, female big band highlighted at Smithsonian

By Sally Holland, CNN

Washington (CNN) — When Rosalind Cron left home in the 1940s to join a teenage girl jazz band called the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, she had no idea what it would be like, as a white girl, traveling with the predominantly black band.

At the time, Cron said she thought “Jim Crow” was a man they were supposed to meet in the South. “I didn’t realize it was a law, and a very strict law — laws, plural,” she said.

State and local ordinances that mandated separate public facilities for blacks and whites made it illegal for Cron to share facilities with her band members.

Cron felt the discrimination because she lived on their tour bus with the other girls, hiding her race. For three years, she said, they were like her sisters.

She spent several hours in jail in El Paso, Texas, in 1944 when authorities didn’t believe the story she had made up that her father was white and her mother was black.

“They went though my wallet and there was a picture of my mother and dad right in front of the house,” she said. She was sprung a few hours later when the band’s manager brought two black girls to the jail who claimed to be Cron’s cousins.

By that time, according to Cron, the authorities that were holding her were glad to get rid of her.

“They just told us never to return. And as far as I know, we didn’t,” she said.

The risks were worth it to play her saxophone with what became known as the nation’s first integrated, female jazz band.

The International Sweethearts of Rhythm were founded at Piney Woods School in Mississippi in 1937, in part as a way for the students to help pay for their education.

They recruited members of different races to help with the “international” part of their image.

Willie Mae Wong had a Chinese father, a mixed-race mother, and no visible musical skills when she was recruited to the group as a 15-year-old. She was out on the street playing stickball when they picked her up.

“The director of the music was named White,” Wong said. “They called me ‘White’s Rabbit’ because he had to spend more time with me to teach me the beat.”

The name “Rabbit” has stuck to this day.

In 1941, the group separated from the school and went professional. They traveled on a bus to gigs across the United States, including venues like the Apollo Theater in New York and the Howard Theater in Washington.

During World War II, the Sweethearts traveled to France and Germany as part of a USO tour in 1945.

Pictures and mementos from the International Sweethearts of Rhythm are on display at the Smithsonian’s American History museum for their 10th annual Jazz Appreciation Month celebration in April.

Thatmanofmine

Six members of the band were in Washington this week to reminisce.

“It was a privilege to come from Mississippi and go and see the other parts of the world,” said Helen Jones, who played the trombone from the band’s founding until it disbanded.

“All I ever wanted to do was play a trumpet,” Sadye Pankey told a group gathered at the museum. And as for music education today, she feels bad for today’s students.

“Some of our schools in our country now have abolished the music, and it’s not fair,” she said.

Cron told the group that if music is your passion, you need to stick with it.

“Don’t let anyone come between you and your horns, or music,” she added.

pianos among us

I love this!! I saw one last night.  Find out where they are HERE.

Play Me, I’m Yours: Public Pianos

Public art is great, but it’s usually just a sculpture or painting you look at. The artist Luke Jerram wanted to do something more participatory. In 2008, he placed working pianos in public places around the English city of Birmingham. Each was painted with the words “Play me, I’m yours.” The public pianos were a hit, and since then, Jerram has taken “Play Me, I’m Yours” to Bristol, São Paulo, and Sydney.

Photo

This year, from June 22 to July 10, he’s bringing the public pianos to London and New York City simultaneously. They’ll be installed in parks, plazas, and other public places, filling both cities with interesting new sounds. According to Jerram, past installations have “levered many hidden musicians from out of the woodwork” and from the looks of that picture, musicians-in-training like them too.

Photo

speaking of drake…

I’m super-curious about this guy and am itching to know more about the experiential intricacies of his Black/Jewish upbringing, and how he reflects on all of that from where he sits currently as the “New Jew in Hip-Hop.”  I don’t think this is a direct quote from Drake, but it rings true:  “Finally, his outsider background has become an asset.”  That’s exactly how I feel about my own self and I wouldn’t be surprised if a multitude of biracials are emerging into the same space of appreciation for the experience and are cultivating ways to make use of it in a world that was not ready to handle our truth before.  Some still aren’t ready.  Look out, some!

The New Face of Hip-Hop

By JON CARAMANICA

New York Times

For most of his teenage years Drake, tall, broad and handsome, was still known as Aubrey Graham (Drake is his middle name) and played the basketball star Jimmy Brooks on the popular Canadian teenage drama “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” In the last 18 months, though, he’s become the most important and innovative new figure in hip-hop, and an unlikely one at that. Biracial Jewish-Canadian former child actors don’t have a track record of success in the American rap industry.

But when “Thank Me Later” (Aspire/Young Money/Cash Money) is released this week, it will cement Drake’s place among hip-hop’s elite. It’s a moody, entrancing and emotionally articulate album that shows off Drake’s depth as a rapper, a singer and a songwriter, without sacrificing accessibility. That he does all those things well marks him as an adept student of the last 15 years: there’s Jay-Z’s attention to detail, Kanye West’s gift for melody, Lil Wayne’s street-wise pop savvy.

In rapid fashion Drake has become part of hip-hop’s DNA, leapfrogging any number of more established rappers. “I’m where I truly deserve to be,” Drake said over quesadillas at the hotel’s lobby bar. “I believe in myself, in my presence, enough that I don’t feel small in Jay’s presence. I don’t feel small in Wayne’s presence.”

But “Thank Me Later” is fluent enough in hip-hop’s traditions deftly to abandon them altogether in places. Finally his outsider background has become an asset. As a rapper, Drake manages to balance vulnerability and arrogance in equal measure, a rare feat. He also sings — not with technological assistance, as other rappers do, but expertly.

Then there’s his subject matter: not violence or drugs or street-corner bravado. Instead emotions are what fuel Drake, 23, who has an almost pathological gift for connection. Great eye contact. Easy smile. Evident intelligence. Quick to ask questions. “He’s a kid that can really work the room, whatever the room,” said his mother, Sandi Graham. “Thank Me Later” has its share of bluster, but is more notable for its regret, its ache.

As for Ms. Berry’s cousin, Drake’s interested, of course, but wary. “I think I have to live this life for a little bit longer before I even know what love is in this atmosphere,” he said. More fame only means less feeling, he knows.

Dodging vulnerability has been a fact of Drake’s life since childhood. His parents split when he was 3. An only child, he lived with his mother, who soon began battling rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that eventually prevented her from working, forcing Drake to become responsible at a young age. “We would have this little drill where, Lord forbid something happened, if there was a fire or an emergency, he would have to run outside and get a neighbor and call 911,” Ms. Graham said. His father, Dennis, who is black, was an intermittent presence — sometimes struggling with drugs, sometimes in jail.

“One thing I wasn’t was sheltered from the pains of adulthood,” Drake said. When something upset him as a teenager, he often told himself: “That’s just the right now. I can change that. I can change anything. The hand that was dealt doesn’t exist to me.’ ”

From an early age he’d been interested in performing, whether rewriting the lyrics to “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or spending time as a child model. By then, he and his mother were living in Forest Hill, a well-to-do, heavily Jewish neighborhood on the north side of Toronto, where he attended local schools, often the only black student in sight. His mother is white and Jewish, and Drake had a bar mitzvah. At school he struggled academically and socially. “Character-building moments, but not great memories,” he recalled. In eighth grade he got an agent and was soon sent off to audition for “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” an updated version of the popular 1980s Canadian drama.

He auditioned after school, on the same day, he said, that he first smoked pot from a bong. Nevertheless he landed the role of the wealthy, well-liked basketball star Jimmy Brooks, who was originally conceived as a white football player.

“Part of his journey is trying to figure where he does fit in in the world, having a white Jewish mom and a black, often absentee father,” said Linda Schuyler, a creator of the show. “It’s almost a comfort factor with Jimmy Brooks. That was the antithesis of his life at the time. It was probably reassuring and a bit escapist for him to play that role.”

Sometimes he was hiding even when the cameras were off, sleeping on the show’s set. “When I woke up in the morning, I was still the guy that could act and laugh,” he said. “It’s just that home was overwhelming.” Along with “Degrassi” came a new, more diverse school closer to the set, where he first tried rapping in public. As he got older, he also tried out his verses on one of his father’s jailhouse friends, who listened over the phone…

READ MORE

chastity brown

Never heard of her, but my interest has been piqued.  Cool name.  Cool hair.  The hair story she relays at the end calls to mind the biracial girl who was removed from her classroom.  You can read the interview in it’s entirety HERE and/or check out her website HERE.

Chastity Brown releases High Noon Teeth

Soul singer straddles multiple genres

By Rob van Alstyne

CP: Your prior album, Sankofa, was almost entirely made up of personal confessionals, whileHigh Noon Teeth incorporates more narrative storytelling and poetic metaphor. Why the shift in tone?

Brown: Some of the songs on Sankofa I hope to never sing again because they’re just so personal. That whole album was a reckoning of sorts that I felt like I had to go through to get to where I am now with my music. I was definitely writing much more imaginative songs this time around, rather than just about my personal experiences, and that was new for me. I talked about metaphors in songwriting a lot with Alexei [Casselle of Roma di Luna] and Joe [Horton, a.k.a. Eric Blair of No Bird Sing] while I was writing the album because that was all new terrain for me, and they both write songs just swarming with beautiful images. I don’t feel the need to be as blatant as I used to. This record was really all about pushing outside of my normal comfort zone and trying to take things to the next level creatively. Hopefully fans that have followed me for a while will appreciate that things are changing.

CP: One holdover from Sankofa is the presence of a song about your childhood, growing up biracial in small-town Tennessee (on Sankofa it was called “Bluegrassy Tune”; it’s present onHigh Noon Teeth in a new arrangement titled “Bound to Happen”). It’s an unflinchingly intense narrative (“Well my daddy was a black man and my mom blond hair, blue eyed/You know people would stare at us children/Like we were some suspicious kind”). What led you to feature it again this time around?

Brown: I decided to record that song the very last day I was in the studio for Sankofa when it was still super new. As I was playing it with the band, it rearranged itself and fine-tuned itself so I wanted to present it again. It’s an important song to me. At least once a week probably I still encounter some stupid racial situation. People ask me all the time if my hair is real, and I was at a show where a woman actually grabbed my hair and jerked it out of nowhere. It caught me so off guard and I remember going home and crying and being so angry. I felt conflicted, part of me wanted to educate her and part of me wanted to smack her and say, “How dare you touch me!” So the song is sort of my way of reaching out and taking the educational route and saying this is who I am and what my experiences have been. Depictions of mixed-race people are very popular in the media now and it’s a little strange for me because I’ve always looked this way. Growing up I was constantly made fun of for my hair; apparently now it’s a cool look.

re: previous posts

I’ve been meaning to post these things that have some correlation to a few of the week’s previous posts.  So now I’m doing it.

  • I think Philippa Schuyler and George Bridgetower help to disprove the theory that they were trying to disprove in this ad:

  • When I read about Stacey Bush,the white girl who (along with her biracial sister) was adopted by a black woman and is now on a multicultural scholarship, I thought of the mistake that Crayola made when naming this pack of crayons.  Maybe Stacey could explain to Crayola the difference between race and culture.  Throw in ethnicity and nationality too because a lot of people don’t seem to understand that those words are not synonyms:

  • This one goes along with the whole darn blog and it made me smile, so:

black polish virtuoso

Rita Dove has done us a great service by painstakingly digging up this forgotten history.  Like most people, I had never heard of Bridgetower before Sonata Mulattica popped up in a random google search.  What a fascinating story!  I imagine it was not only challenging, but exciting to imaginatively fill in the blanks of this discarded musicians unique experience.  I would like to know more about his parents.  How they met, how an interracial relationship was received in Poland circa 1780, if he considered himself a mulatto or if there was a one-drop kind of mentality.  I guess I’ll have to read the book to find out what insight Dove’s years of research led her to deduce about those race issues.

More than her standing as former US Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Possibility Poet it is Dove’s own family that (in my opinion) makes her a perfect and trustworthy candidate to bring us this story:

Rita Dove and her husband Fred Viebahn, with their newborn daughter, Aviva, in Tempe, Arizona, January, 1983.

Rita Dove and her husband Fred Viebahn, with their newborn daughter, Aviva, in Tempe, Arizona, January, 1983.(© Fred Viebahn)

Rita Dove’s gorgeously engaging ‘Sonata Mulattica’ weaves the narrative of a black virtuoso all but erased from musical history.

By: Teresa Wiltz

Via: The Root

Way, way back in the day, there was an Afro-Polish violinist, a biracial child prodigy of such virtuosity that even Beethoven felt compelled to dedicate a sonata to him. There were honors and accolades and patronage from a prince.

But fortunes changed, as poet laureate Rita Dove describes in her novel-sized book of poems, Sonata Mulattica: A Life in Five Movements and a Short Play. The violinist, George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower, and his composer, Ludwig van Beethoven,  performed the sonata together to thunderous acclaim.

The goodwill between them evaporated as the two quarreled over a woman. Beethoven furiously erased Bridgetower’s name and scribbled the name of another violinist when he dedicated the sonata.

That is how the “Sonata Mulattica” became the “Kreutzer Sonata,” one of Beethoven’s most famous works. Through that one fit of jealous retribution, Beethoven wrote Bridgetower out of history.

The Polish black virtuoso, once famous, now forgotten.

This bright-skinned papa’s boy

could have sailed his 15-minute fame

straight into the record books.

Dove first heard about Bridgetower years ago, when she was a musician studying the cello, and later, opera. It wasn’t until she saw Immortal Beloved, a film about Beethoven, that it triggered her memory. Fascinated with the thought of a mixed- race musician in 19th century Europe—“I thought there was more to it than this exotic creature who played the violin”—Dove set out to find out more about him. For five years, she researched and wrote, digging up little nuggets along the way, tucked in letters and diaries, like that of court lady Charlotte Papendiek, and in what little historical accounts she could find.

“It was like tracking the coordinates of some meteor,” Dove says. “ ‘Oh, he went there; he appeared here,’ mapping the trajectory of his life. Other than that, he was a blank slate.”

A blank slate onto which she poured all her imagination and musings about race and class and sexual competition. Bridgetower, the son of a self-proclaimed “African prince” and a Polish-German woman, was born in Poland in 1780. As it happened, his father, who was a bit of an operator, was working in the castle of the Hungarian Prince Esterházy, where Joseph Haydn worked as a musical director.

Even as a very young child, Bridgetower dazzled on the violin; Haydn took him under his wing. Later, Bridgetower traveled from Vienna to London, where he attracted the attention of the Prince of Wales, who would later become Kind George IV.  His was a life of comfort, adulation and high achievement. (He eventually received a degree from Cambridge University.)

Bridgetower, George Augustus Polgreen, 1780-1860.  His passport, obtained in Dresden, 27 July 1803, portrayed him as being of average height, beardless with dark brown hair and eyes, with a broad nose and swarthy complexion. Friends added that he was melancholic and discontent.

At the time, there were a good number of free blacks living in London, says Dove, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1987. Some were Africans who’d never been enslaved; some were slaves who’d been freed. Class, rather than race, circumscribed one’s lot. So for a black boy with a knack for playing the violin, a child prodigy with a powerful patron, life was considerably sweeter than that of, say, Black Pearl, the young black servant in Dove’s book.

Pathological hit of the day: n****r on a golden chain.

Metaphorically, that is. The African

valet, the maidservant black

as aces in a hole….

Sonata Mulattica is a gorgeously engaging read, utilizing a mix of poetic styles, from nursery rhymes to free verse, until the narrative arc sweeps into the big confrontation between Bridgetower and Beethoven. At that point, the action shifts from poem to play, a play with a distinctly vaudevillian sensibility, complete with baudy references to Othello. Bridgetower becomes a rapping, preening braggadocio:

But I’m a natural man, born under a magical caul,

I’m that last plump raisin in the cereal bowl;

I’m the gravy you lick from your mashed potatoes,

I’m creamier than chocolate, juicier than ripe tomatoes!

But Beethoven soon brings him down to size:

Now you will taste the high price

Of my affection—“Mulatto Sonata,” indeed!

I would sooner dedicate my music

To a barnyard mule

If the two men had not quarreled, two egos run amok, would musical history have been different? Would, we find, as Dove writes, “rafts of black kids scratching out scales on their matchbox violins so that some day/they might play the impossible:/ Beethoven’s Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47/Also known as The Bridgetower”?

We will, of course, never know.  Still, it’s nice to imagine the possibilities of what could have and should have been.

Teresa Wiltz is The Root’s senior culture writer.