“I’m Black and I’m Proud.” On a Half a Century of Black Anthems (and More!)
Randall Kennedy, Author of Say It Out Loud, is on Radio Open Source
Open Source is the world’s longest-running podcast. Christopher Lydon circles the big ideas in culture, the arts and politics with the smartest people in the world. It’s the kind of curious, critical, high-energy conversation we’re all missing nowadays.
Randall Kennedy calls his wide-ranging essay collection Say It Loud. You know the rest: “I’m black and I’m proud,” from James Brown’s giant hit of 50 some years ago. Kennedy’s got a full half century of black anthems in his head, including Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam,” Curtis Mayfield’s “We’re a Winner,” Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.” This hour is about the changes that keep coming.
From the episode:
Randall Kennedy: [In the 1920s], Black people were being terrorized. It was a time of reaction, yet on the cultural front, there was tremendous ferment, tremendous accomplishment, tremendous achievement. I’m feeling that now — again, poetry, drama, film, in so many different dimensions, you see black people coming on, occupying places that they have not occupied before. I think it’s tremendously exciting. But again, I want to be, you know, a bit cautious. This takes place in the shadow of reaction. This takes place in the shadow of an obvious attempt to limit democratic power through voting. Both of these things are going on at the same time.
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