Monthly Archives: July 2012

Black neighborhoods in Elizabethan London

Most of us tend to think that black people came to Britain after the war – Caribbeans on the Empire Windrush in 1948, Bangladeshis after the 1971 war and Ugandan Asians after Idi Amin’s expulsion in 1972. But, back in Shakespeare’s day, you could have met people from west Africa and even Bengal in the same London streets. Of course, there were fewer, and they drew antipathy as well as fascination from the Tudor inhabitants, who had never seen black people before. But we know they lived, worked and intermarried, so it is fair to say that Britain’s first black community starts here.

There had been black people in Britain in Roman times, and they are found as musicians in the early Tudor period in England and Scotland. But the real change came in Elizabeth I’s reign, when, through the records, we can pick up ordinary, working, black people, especially in London. Shakespeare himself, a man fascinated by “the other”, wrote several black parts – indeed, two of his greatest characters are black – and the fact that he put them into mainstream entertainment reflects the fact that they were a significant element in the population of London.

The full article is on the BBC.

“Until now people have assumed that the Elizabethans did not know people of color,” says Shakespeare and English Renaissance scholar Imtiaz Habib, Old Dominion associate professor of English and author of Shakespeare and Race, a book that examines the political, social and cultural impact of Shakespeare’s approach to the racial issues contained within his plays. “We now have documented proof of the residences of black people, which must be reckoned into the colors of Shakespeare’s world, in a very literal sense. Shakespeare knew people of color. He walked through their neighborhoods every day.”

Shakespeare’s Colors: Race and Culture in Elizabethan England.

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

That Republican Look

The casual summer outfit for Republican and oilfield women involves red toenail polish, flip-flops, waxed legs from a tanning salon, shorts, and hair burnished to gold via highlighting. Is this the fashion in your region, or is it just here?

Axé.

9 Comments

Filed under Questions

Vuelta de paseo

Asesinado por el cielo.
Entre las formas que van hacia la sierpe
y las formas que buscan el cristal,
dejaré crecer mis cabellos.

Con el arbol de muñones que no canta
y el niño con el blanco rostro de huevo.

Con los animalitos de cabeza rota
y el agua harapienta de los pies secos.

Con todo lo que tiene cansancio sordomudo
y mariposa ahogada en el tintero.

Tropezando con mi rostro distinto de cada día.
¡Asesinado por el cielo!

–F.G.L.

Axé.

1 Comment

Filed under Poetry

More Marley

When you start looking in a cursory manner for Marley, it is (perhaps not) amazing how many long tracks you can find. Apparently he was different from other musicians because he was from the country. He therefore knew about time and nature, it is said.

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under Songs

Legend

Inolvidable.

Axé.

1 Comment

Filed under Songs

Bob Marley Live in Santa Barbara

While this was happening at home, I was teaching summer school elsewhere, as I have also done this year. See 1:04: “No more internal struggles.”

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under Songs

Harry Belafonte

Voici de la musique, pour le weekend.

We have Harry Belafonte’s accent in Louisiana, among others. All of them never cease to amaze me.

“What you doing hyah gyal? Yo good man he didna change dat erl fo yeh?”

Mais non, cher. Yé pas bonhomme à moin.

Ya vamos para el quinto acento. Notice how the oil change man spoke to me in English Creole and I understood him, and I spoke back to him in French Creole and he understood me.

That is Maringouin, mais yeah.

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Songs