18 // Black Future Month // NGAs in PRS (3/X)
Posted on February 18, 2012
So, I did those two posts on the subject above, back to back.
And then a bunch of folks, in turn, put me on to other iterations of mashups, hostile takeovers and covers.
It’s not like we get tired of hearing the beat or anything, right? It’s not like there could possibly be another way by which we could investigate our own proximity and relationship to The Atlantic Ocean, and what lies on the other side of it, right? We fully understand that the West-Carter iteration of Paris is fantasy, and does not accurately discuss the spoils of international pillaging, colonialism and murder housed in Le Louvre, alone.
It’s a song. The song works. I like it. I’m clearly fascinated by it. And it’s historical and futuristic implications. I also like thinking of what others have thought of Paris, in the past — a place where declarations of honesty could be made. Where a black man could draw attention to himself by reciting something eloquently. Where an emcee of the day could jeopardize his life and livelihood and stand trial in the US as a result.
For your viewing pleasure, some more NGAS in Paris.
Shout out to my naka in Paris, Aja Monet for sending this one:
For your reading enlightenment, an excerpt of Paul Robeson’s testimony before The House Committee on Un-American Affairs, June 1956. Just before they took his passport and revoked his liberty to travel. (Majority) Whip so cold…
Mr. ARENS: Did you make a trip to Europe in 1949 and to the Soviet Union?
Mr. ROBESON: Yes, I made a trip. To England. And I sang.
Mr. ARENS: Where did you go?
Mr. ROBESON: I went first to England, where I was with the Philadelphia Orchestra, one of two American groups which was invited to England. I did a long concert tour in England and Denmark and Sweden, and I also sang for the Soviet people, one of the finest musical audiences in the world. Will you read what the Porgy and Bess people said? They never heard such applause in their lives. One of the most musical peoples in the world, and the great composers and great musicians, very cultured people, and Tolstoy, and—
THE CHAIRMAN: We know all of that.
Mr. ROBESON: They have helped our culture and we can learn a lot.
Mr. ARENS: Did you go to Paris on that trip?
Mr. ROBESON: I went to Paris.
Mr. ARENS: And while you were in Paris, did you tell an audience there that the American Negro would never go to war against the Soviet government?
Mr. ROBESON: May I say that is slightly out of context? May I explain to you what I did say? I remember the speech very well, and the night before, in London, and do not take the newspaper, take me: I made the speech, gentlemen, Mr. So-and-So. It happened that the night before, in London, before I went to Paris . . . and will you please listen?
Mr. ARENS: We are listening.
Mr. ROBESON: Two thousand students from various parts of the colonial world, students who since then have become very important in their governments, in places like Indonesia and India, and in many parts of Africa, two thousand students asked me and Mr. [Dr. Y. M.] Dadoo, a leader of the Indian people in South Africa, when we addressed this conference, and remember I was speaking to a peace conference, they asked me and Mr. Dadoo to say there that they were struggling for peace, that they did not want war against anybody. Two thousand students who came from populations that would range to six or seven hundred million people.
Mr. KEARNEY: Do you know anybody who wants war?
Mr. ROBESON: They asked me to say in their name that they did not want war. That is what I said. No part of my speech made in Paris says fifteen million American Negroes would do anything. I said it was my feeling that the American people would struggle for peace, and that has since been underscored by the President of these United States. Now, in passing, I said—
Mr. KEARNEY: Do you know of any people who want war?
Mr. ROBESON: Listen to me. I said it was unthinkable to me that any people would take up arms, in the name of an Eastland, to go against anybody. Gentlemen, I still say that. This United States Government should go down to Mississippi and protect my people. That is what should happen.