Rock, Race and Proliferating Autogeny

(1) From the Amazon blurb for Jack Hamilton’s Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination:  “By the time Jimi Hendrix died in 1970, the idea of a black man playing lead guitar in a rock band seemed exotic. Yet a mere ten years earlier, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley had stood among the most influential rock and roll performers. Why did rock and roll become ‘white’? […] According to the standard storyline, the authentic white musician was guided by an individual creative vision, whereas black musicians were deemed authentic only when they stayed true to black tradition. Serious rock became white because only white musicians could be original without being accused of betraying their race.”

(2) During the height of the British slave trade, “as many as 1 African in 5 was crossing the Atlantic in a ship from Liverpool.”

(3) From Adam Hochschild’s review of WS’s Of Africa:  “Soyinka never says ‘house’ when he can say ‘habitation,’ ‘native’ when he can say ‘autochthon,’ ‘dominant’ when he can say ‘hegemonic.’ […] The book abounds in passages full of 10-dollar words that have to be read two or three times to figure out what they mean. About contentions in Christian theology, for example, he says:

These all-consuming debates and formal encyclicals are constructed on what we may term a proliferating autogeny within a hermetic realm — what is at the core of arguments need not be true; it is sufficient that the layers upon layers of dialectical constructs fit snugly on top of one another.”


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