Friday, September 02, 2011

My points of reference: 1. Rosewood

I anticipate this entry to be the first of a thread that I'm calling "My points of reference". It was inspired by largely by my father. When I was a kid my father, bless his soul (makes him sound like he's passed, but no: bless his soul is cos he's crazy), would make reference to some character called Hess. He'd say things to me and siblings like, "You Hess's child!" and cackle with glee at his witticism. We had absolutely no fucking idea was he was on about, though we gathered it was not a rather good thing to be related to this Hess chap. Finally I asked my amah (cos you can get no coherent chat from me da - fact) who Hess was. "Oh," my mother said, with an indifference off-handedness that can only be obtained by being married to the same nutjob for an extended amount of time, "Just some guy he went to high school with."

This "My points of reference" thread has also been inspired by what happened today, and it serves as the basis for my first point of reference, of which I shall explain to you now. So I was happily tweeting my dear high school BF ATW when we happened upon talking about music. I explained that I was trying to take in more rap and expressed my love for the new Bad Meets Evil album (can I just put out there how much I love Eminem right now? Like he gets me going big time. Which is weird cos I never thought he was attractive before. Anyway, let me get back to the point, cos I'm getting hot to trot). ATW returned that she didn't like the "overuse of the n-word". In response, I called her cliched.

Now, let me back up just one minute here and give even more background. For some reason, I have been on the Guardian website recently, making comments on stories about rap and hip-hop music. I am by no means an expert or full-on connoisseur (yet), but, as was the case from lots of other comment-makers, I can't stand when people slag off rap so vehemently (glorifies criminality and sexism) and I feel I have to defend it. OK, you don't get rap - fine. So don't listen to it, simple as. I don't listen to country much for exactly the same reason. It's violent and denigrates women, but it gets a lot more cultural respect from people. Why? Well, I'll let you figure that out on your own, my little lambs.

Anyway, when I get round people having a go at hip-hop and rap, I just kinda lose it a bit, which I was reminded of when tweeting ATW. I always refer to me losing it when it comes to thinking about race issues as having a "Rosewood moment". Rosewood is the name of a John Singleton-directed film starring Ving Rhames, described in IMDb as a "dramatization of a 1923 horrific racist lynch mob attack on an African American community". Essentially, this white community goes all klan on a black community.

When my mother went to see this film, she said she left the cinema so angry that she just wanted to bust on any white person she encountered. Which is hilarious. Don't get me wrong: violence is not funny. But my ma contemplating violence is. This is a women who would never whack me or my siblings with her hands, because "hands are for loving". Which made for interesting times when my mother did want to pop us one, for she would rush off looking for something to do it with. Her hands loved us, but that spatula certainly didn't! Still can't look a most kitchen utensils without hysteria rising within me.

So basically when I talk about having a Rosewood moment, I'm referring to my amah's very funny response. It's my way of not letting it get to me, I guess. The citing of a "Rosewood moment" labels the issue for what it is, but it also helps to de-escalate and diffuse things by reminding me of how absurd a really angry response, which I am prone to have, would be.

Maybe I should actually get round to seeing this film that serves as such a significant point of reference.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

my dear, i believe i know your exact body langu and expression when you're having said rosewood moment. don't ask me to describe it but i know it. i like the amah story for sure. again, i do not know how you have the mental/emotional energy to argue with racafools. i mean, i look at about 2.4 comments and i want to kill people. and then i live where i live. you can't be a minority and not have to deal with some current of anger at all times that wearies you w/ the constant need to decide whether to unleash, engage, or keep your mouth shut.

so anyway, like, way to NOT LISTEN TO THE TWT. i was saying that at the end of the day the scuzzy crunky southern party rap muzk sounds better than the muzk that goes w/ the 'smart polisci' stuff that white muzk mags like to include token reviews of. you know which ones the hipsters all claim to like to prove they're cool white ppl. like, yay for artistic lyrics but who wants to dance to that? so i just wish the good rap muzk from around here didn't mostly have yawn-worthy lyrics. and i had to dutifully say i get sick of hearing n-this n-that with no . but since i'm not white can be cliche and not cliche at the same time so there. and where i prob depart from your guardian frenemies is that i'm not in the russell simmons camp. you know, at some point you're allowed to reappropriate words and use them however you want. the words mean different things coming from different ppl's mouths and there is no changing that. but i'm allowed to get weary hearing it. and overuse means your rhymes are lame. and actually there is so much more to say but eh, my brain is frying to a crisp agayn. i should have been asleep about 3 hrs ago but nooooo. i just can't resist you

Saturday, 3 September 2011 at 09:24:00 BST  
Blogger Autumn said...

I love you, my dearest.

I completely get what you are saying about the new rap divide. I heart southern rap, which is just party music. I want to heart the deeper stuff, but I just don't as much. I JUST WANNA DANCE!

I think your years in Hotlanta have had an interesting effect on you. You were defo not this person that listened to rap, even for dancing to. Somehow the southern beat has gotten into your soul, me thinks.

Saturday, 3 September 2011 at 10:53:00 BST  
Blogger Merillo said...

You had me interested until you revealed the fact that you haven't actually seen the film that acts as the anchor for your point of reference. While you're not using the film (or even historic event) as the reference itself, you are using your mother's reaction to the film, you still need to know what the film is about and why it might have elicit such a response from your mother. See the film.

Saturday, 3 September 2011 at 11:44:00 BST  
Blogger Autumn said...

I obviously understated the role my mother played in this point of refence. This is obviously cos I'm a shit writer. However, I don't reckon I'll ever see the film. If it can make my amah, a god-fearing, peace-loving woman so enraged, I don't hold out hope for white people if I (Angry Young(ish) Black Woman) go to see it.

Saturday, 3 September 2011 at 13:55:00 BST  
Blogger Yukiko said...

You are so opinionated and full of yourself. I live vicariously through you. Love ya, girl!

Sunday, 4 September 2011 at 00:14:00 BST  
Blogger Autumn said...

It's merely a persona. I'm the same scared girl you encountered all those years ago!

Sunday, 4 September 2011 at 19:43:00 BST  

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