Headlines read that several Asian-American women are murdered in cold blood in Atlanta. Several years ago, we read about a black congregation in Charleston, South Carolina is attacked and numerous people lose their lives. Systemic racism. Do you take this for granted and think that you are not affected, so what the hell? Are you white and think, “who cares?” Are you white and think you don’t believe this to be a serious matter, so just leave me alone. I don’t want contention.
Recently, a movie came out about the story of the despicable way black singer named Billy Holiday was treated by an FBI with a lunatic gay-bashing latent homosexual who dressed in drag, J. Edgar Hoover, emboldened his agents to attack black folks in false and foul ways. The movie is titled, The United States vs. Billy Holiday. It stars a performance befitting a person deserving an Oscar, Andra Day.
Brilliant performance, in the eyes of retired Professor Cornwell. Cornwell has always enjoyed the singing of Billy Holiday and Andra Day was able to imitate Holiday’s sound in a great way. A sound based on sensitivity as she sings, even if her style is different from what the high brow elitists might enjoy hearing. Professor Cornwell loves the sensitivity of the sounds of Renee Fleming’s voice within the genre she sings, but also finds a very sensitive voice in Billy Holiday, in the genre in which she sings. Professor Cornwell also recalls the sensitivity in the voice of Janis Joplin and in another different way.
Cornwell wonders, though. If the commentary to berate the voice of Billie Holiday due to being in the closet regarding racism and covering over such feelings of racism by casting aspersions on Holiday’s voice? Is it mirroring and loving the actions of Harry Anslinger (actor Garrett Hedlund) who was doing the duty assigned to him to take down Billie Holiday, due to her song, “Strange Fruit,” while hiding the actions behind a veneer of law and order against drugs? In this way, do you take it for granted that there is nothing serious about what Billie Holiday was trying to speak out with regard to the Dixie lynchings?
In that case, then you must think the truth hurts and this is the manner to which you are accustomed and hope to continue the status quo, ignoring the truth. The truth will set all of us free, even if it hurts, even when you do not lose a life, as was the case of those lynched in the South or in the case of the Asian-Americans who were recently viciously shot in Atlanta when they did not deserve such a fate. No one who has faced such things has deserved such a bloody ordeal.
Benjamin Franklin: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are affected.”