DO YOU KNOW WHO THE SUPREMES ARE?
This was a question asked to me by a white DU instructor in a class filled with white students. Me, who is over 40; Me, who lived in Detroit for 22 years, whose son went to the top black high school in Detroit, Cass Tech where Dianna Ross was a former student; me who routinely passed “Hitsville” after dropping my son off to high school; Me, who is buddy’s with the son of Dezie McCullers Senior, another original FUNK Brother, whose brother Jazz trumpeter and drummer Frank worked with Don Was; me, the girl with the big brother who was close, close friends with one of the greatest music industry arrangers, composers, the recently deceased Sir Dean Gant who has composed, arranged and played for GRAMMY winning or nominated, or chart topping artists (Anita Baker, Regina Belle, TLC, Bill Withers, Monica, even Madonna), you name it, he was in that thang). Me, who grew up in the south side of Chi-town. Yvette Griffin, Kimberley Williamson, Sheila McFarland, Tamika Wilson I was asked by a white music instructor “Do I Know who the Supremes are? My online resume shows I was the asst MD over the wildly popular hit stage musical “Where were you in ‘65?” (That featured the music of Mowtown) And pit orchestra (piano) on the hit play “Fo Women” at the Wortham. (Again more Motown music).
Me, whose elementary student Ariel Jones was the niece of Funk Brothers, drummer Uriel Jones. Me, who made sure ALL of my students in Mt. Clemens, black, white, Asian, Latina, non POC, view and discuss “Standing in the Shadows of Mowtown.”! Do I know who the Supremes are? Now I’m sure there’s some reasonable explanation, maybe since I dress so nice, maybe I’m too boogie for Mowtown. IDK? Again implicit bias on what you think I know, where I’m from, what I listen to or wear. Blacks code switch all the time. We’ve got to be bilingual. We speak the Queens English, and we can chop it up ebonically at the local barber shop. That question is like asking “can I touch your hair,” Or saying “you’re articulate for a black person, or you don’t act like the rest of “them.” It was stunning in its obtuseness. It was stunning how an instructor can think white people know more about my culture than I, cuz I don’t have what a grille on my teeth, sagging pants and whatever. Lina Ramos it might have had something to do with how our voice texture is viewed. I was stunned. This instructor really felt they understood black culture. Newsflash, you may study my culture, but I live it. All of it. Periodt (I meant to put that T at the end of the word. Yeah, I code switch all the time, speak the English, Ebonics, street, took Spanish for 6 years.) I know black don’t crack, I got carded forever, and perhaps some think they can out black the black folks, so if you learn our music you’re an expert, right. No you’re not.
Had that instructor taken one minute to try to know me, they would not ask me something so ridiculous. I bit my tongue and said...
Yes, I KNOW WHO THE SUPREMES ARE....
#culturalappropriation, #removesystemicracism. #lamontschoolofmusic #universityofdenver #sayhername #timesout, #kneeonmyneck
, #icantbreathe #foundationsinamericaneducation