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Barrelhouse Bonni: Blog

BRAVO: Blues Racial Awareness and Vision Organizing week

Posted on August 25, 2011

Aug. 25 to Sept. 1:  

  A time at the end of summer to look into the history of the blues, find out how greed and racism are impacting the music, and envision a new future of peace, justice and fun.

 What's wrong with this picture? It's the cover of a 1969 album "Fathers and Sons" produced by Marshall Chess, featuring Muddy Waters with some of his talented young white blues students. ChessFathersSonsalbum.jpg

 Yes, people of all ethnic groups can play and enjoy the blues. I'm blessed to play the piano. But blues is an art form rooted in the black community. Cut off the roots and the tree will die.  And without strong Black kings and queens to lead us into the future, this beloved American  music is in great danger.

 So where are the Black sons and daughters of this blues Father who is  passing on the spark of life?  From the lineups of many so-called blues festivals today, one might think they don't exist. They exist all right, in Chicago and across the country, but only a handful manage to get promoted while the music business continues to churn out phony acts and imitators. 

 Too many dreams have been deferred. Feelings came to a head this past week following racially insensitive remarks by Bruce Iglauer, CEO of  the successful blues and roots label Alligator Records, in the Chicago Reader. Iglauer explains, and many people comment:

 http://www.chicagoreader.com/gyrobase/alligator-records-40th-anniversary/Content?oid=3834565&show=comments

 But one man alone did not build up this complicated System that is keeping good blues artists down. As in the New Jim Crow mass incarceration system, many forces are at work. This week, please look at some of the history in my Facebook Notes, duplicated in my blog at http://bonniblues.blogspot.com

 and in the BLOG section of my website www.barrelhousebonni.com

 Ask yourself these questions:

1. What are the racial and economic dynamics keeping good African American blues men and women from promotion and success?

2. What do we want to see instead? Can we get a critical mass in consensus?

3.  How can blues business people, media, musicians and fans act to change things from the way things are to the way we want them to be?

 Please post your comments (respectful, and focusing on the System rather than personalities) on this BRAVO Week page.  Knowledge is power, and truth speaks louder than all the lies that have built up over the past 50 years.

 I'll report the results in Facebook Notes and blogs. Thank you for taking time to think about this.