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Listening to the Joy in James Baldwin’s Record Collection | Hyperallergic

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Listening to the Joy in James Baldwin’s Record Collection | Hyperallergic

  • Published By Hyperallergic
James Baldwin, African American Literature, Black Literature, African American Author, Black Author, African American Activist, Black Activist, Black Excellence, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN, KINDR'D Magazine, KINDR'D, Willoughby Avenue, WRIIT, TRYB,

Curator Ikechúkwú Onyewuenyi hopes to rouse a new generation of writers with “Chez Baldwin,” a 32-hour-long Spotify playlist based on Baldwin’s vinyl record collection.

 

—  Valentina Di Liscia, Hyperallergic

In the early 1950s, James Baldwin moved to a Swiss village in the Alps with two Bessie Smith records and a typewriter under his arm. It was there that he finished his first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), which he largely attributes to Smith’s bluesy intonations: “It was Bessie Smith, through her tone and her cadence, who helped me to dig back to the way I myself must have spoken…and to remember the things I had heard and seen and felt. I had buried them very deep,” Baldwin wrote in an essay.

For the eminent American novelist and essayist, music was generative, unearthing inspiration that may otherwise remain concealed. Ikechúkwú Onyewuenyi, a curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, hopes to rouse a new generation of writers with “Chez Baldwin,” a 478-track, 32-hour-long Spotify playlist based on Baldwin’s vinyl record collection.

See Also
Civil Rights Activist, Women of Civil Rights, African American History, Black History, American History, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN, KINDR'D Magazine, KINDR'D, Willoughby Avenue, WRIIT, TRYB,

 

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