5/8 Hearing Black Film at 30,000 Feet
On another note, the film on the airplane today was Coach Carter. Hence today's title -- 5/8 Watching Black Film at 30,000 Feet (with apologies to Tony Hoagland). I hadn't seen the film so I watched it. Listening from my headphones, for the most part I felt like I was alone, but as it was ending I realized I'd never heard the word nigger so many times in a crowd of white people. For the record, most of the time Coach Carter was teaching his team not to say the word, but as the film was ending, I wondered what the rest of the plane thought about this, since I was one of maybe 4 black people on the plane. And then I thought about how interesting it was that the film for this flight was a black one. In the last few moments of the movie, I felt that the most striking thing was the sound of soul music. Do you remember that part of Amiri Baraka's article "The Changing Same (R&B and The New Black Music)" where he imagines what a different country America would be if they played James Brown in the banks? The first time I read the article I wondered: Would America really be different? Plato seemed to think so. But now I think America's coming to face black music -- even specifically James Brown's music -- in its public spaces doesn't change it, not in the important ways, anyway. Would love to know what others think about this.