WHEN RACE TAKES A BACK SEAT

Hand wave from one of the Queens

Carnival in Baltimore Md. 2018

St. Thomas Beauty.

St. Thomas, the American Virgin Islands Beauty.

From Trinidad and Tobago, the San Fernando areaBikers riding with the Jamaican  flagCarnival in Baltimore Md. Tee Shirt

The  face of Carnival 2018

Cassandra, Guyanese American

Mud Kingdom

Busting out of slavery.

They rub mud on each other, pour any kind of syrup, chocolate, honey, water, drink rum, ginger beer, sour- sop, eat curry, roti, peas and rice, souse, Irish Moss, foo- foo, black pudding, dal, and dance for hours. Why?

These are people from the colonies of the Caribbean and South America, who came North, to North America, and brought their traditions with them.

The European settlers of 1492 brought white misfit prisoners to work the land, the weather virtually destroyed them; this meant labor had to come from another source: Africa, where people could withstand any weather conditions. These were followed by Asians, East Indians, Chinese, all under the oversight of “Massa”.

The poor whites, (petit blanc) Asians, Indians, Africans and the indigenous residents had no choice but to coalesce. They learned to cook each others’ food,  marry, raise families of mixed breed, and celebrate the amalgamated culture, they called CARNIVAL.

While carnivals can be found all over the world, the Caribbean Carnival has a spicier recipe. It gave birth to the calypso, and even reggae, for unless you can figure out the “slang”, ( the ruling class could not), a planned revolution or escape could be kept a secret.

This eating of each others’ food, and partying together, marrying, revolutionized the succeeding generations. They left the Caribbean to be educated in the former (Massa)’s countries, i.e. USA, UK, Canada.

But Carnival is in their blood:”winding” drinking, playing mass, “getting on bad”, now spreads like a Caribbean hurricane. From as far South as Brazil (where the Portuguese held Africans in slavery) to the Caribbean, North America, Canada and the UK.

Black, brown, white and mixed race bodies, show their curves once a year. For some it is a feast for oglers, who salivate, with mobile cameras in hand.

America, (USA) needs a festival like this, where race takes a back seat; Baltimore Maryland is a good place to start.

Two Black Southern Men Meet at the BMA

 

Man number one, was born in Alabama in 1940, and died this year,(2018) in Manhattan New York. He was a sculptor, using wood, marble, copper and bone. He painted as well, in a style he described as “distillation”.

His work is currently at the Baltimore Museum of Art, for your eyes to gaze upon the transformation of Maya Angelou, Mohammed Ali, W.E. B. Dubois, Ornate Coleman, Amiri Baraka, and more. His name is, JACK WHITTEN.

Man number two, was also born in Alabama, in 1914, and died a few months before the summer of 1993. He also engaged in what many would call “distillation”, but his was music. He was a jazz composer, band leader, and thrived in “experimental music” with a cosmic philosophy.  His name was SUN RA.

It is said that WHITTEN loved SUN RA’s music, so it was a masterly thoughtful stroke, when the BMA decided to stage this summer’s sculpture garden of concerts, the “powers that be”, joined these two African American septuagenarians stalwarts.

How though was the BMA going to display SUN RA’s work?. The band still exists, and it was my pleasure to talk to some of the members, and bring you WHITTEN in his own words, courtesy of the BMA.

TARA MIDDLETON

Tara Middleton, female vocalist of the modern Sun Ra, jazz group.

LOVERS

One of many pieces of Jack Whitten’s sculptures, now on display, this summer of 2018, Baltimore Museum of Art.

Carl Grubbs Celebrates his 4th at Germano’s, Baltimore!

 

It is fast becoming Baltimore’s premier cozy enclave for jazz of all types. With the city made up of some many cultures, more than the fingers on two hands, Carl and his group  decided that this Italian American venue, should be the place for his celebration in 2018.

The young man who came from Philadelphia to Baltimore, many moons ago, settled in with his horns, met a woman from the South who believed in him, and as they say, “the rest is history”.

He is celebrating his seventy-fourth (74th) birthday simultaneously with that of America. Here he is accompanied by Eric Byrd (piano); Blake Meister (bass); and the veteran, Eric Kennedy (drums).

Carl at Germano's

Relaxed at age 74; Carl Grubbs talks about his life as an adopted son of Baltimore Md.