Remembering Etta James
Henry Giroux @ Truthout - My encounter with the music of Etta James constituted something of a rite of passage. I was a white, working-class kid who went to Catholic Youth Organization dances on Friday nights with small dreams, hoping to escape the boredom and sometimes explosive violence in my working-class neighborhood and find an outlet for the erupting and confusing desires that dominated the lives of young boys. The music was generally tame, and almost entirely white. Instead of Little Richard we got Pat Boone; instead of Little Anthony and the Imperials, we got the Beach Boys. When things got risky, we might have heard Carl Perkins or Elvis Presley.
Of course, the CYO was in a solidly white, working class neighborhood that listened to white singers who often stole the music of African American performers and stripped it of any passion, desire, sexuality, or integrity. Read more.