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Killing Me Softly: The Roberta Flack Story

PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:50 pm
by Adam Blake
Very watchable documentary that puts Roberta Flack's story in the context of the African-American class system under Jim Crow and documents her contribution to the Civil Rights struggles of the late 60s, her feminism in the 70s, sublime irrelevance in the 80s before eventually Lauren Hill and The Fugees brought her back round again in the 90s.

Like Charles Mingus and Nina Simone, racism prevented her from pursuing a career in Classical music. Unlike them, she doesn't seem to have let it make her bitter. She is all music, all through.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... lack-story

Re: Killing Me Softly: The Roberta Flack Story

PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:59 pm
by AndyM
Yes, it's very good, and that angle it followed on black middle-class culture culture/identity was fresh & revealing. Good to see the wonderful John Akomfrah helping to disentangle the simplistic expectations that well-meaning white folks (hello!) often have about black 'authenticity' in the context of understanding Flack.

Re: Killing Me Softly: The Roberta Flack Story

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:08 am
by Adam Blake
AndyM wrote:well-meaning white folks (hello!) often have about black 'authenticity' in the context of understanding Flack.


Absolutely gobsmacked me that critics of the time (doubtless all white) complained that Flack sounded "too white" compared to the likes of Aretha. I mean, just staggering racism from people who would have probably never, ever have considered themselves racist. Hey-ho...

Re: Killing Me Softly: The Roberta Flack Story

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:41 am
by AndyM
Well, there is a certain white mindset that equates black music with 'raw' & 'sweaty' (the word Akomfrah uses in the doc) styles, as if the only way to be black is to emulate James Brown. Tell that to Billy Strayhorn, Sarah Vaughan, Luther Vandross and Roberta herself.

Re: Killing Me Softly: The Roberta Flack Story

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:45 pm
by Adam Blake
Um, Duke Ellington?

I think what amazes me still is what Charles Shaar Murray once described as white folks regarding themselves as having an inalienable right to set the black folks cultural agenda. (Remember when you used to learn things like this from reading the NME?)

Re: Killing Me Softly: The Roberta Flack Story

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:34 pm
by AndyM
The definition of being powerful is that in any core/periphery relationship, you never see yourself as anywhere other than at the core.