Necessary doses of pan-Africanism: Esperanza Spalding’s “Black Gold”

It’s not too late to take your vitamins. And this. Jazz bass player and bandleader Esperanza Spalding, who defeated Bieber nation last year, takes on school curriculum and Black History Month with the song “Black Gold,” the single from her album “Radio Music Society.” She gets some help from vocalist Algebra Blessett. We’ll forgive the little boy for going on about Africa has “86 countries.” A more pressing issue: Where can I get that book the dad is flipping through? And that’s your #MusicBreak.

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3 thoughts on “Necessary doses of pan-Africanism: Esperanza Spalding’s “Black Gold”

  1. Love the song and the idea of “black gold”. The story of the little boys learning an alternative view of Africa is feel-good and inspirational.

    I felt uncomfortable from the idea that the “black gold” was specifically men. The lyrics were directed at a “little man” who needs to realise, in the face of hardship and discrimination, that he is actually “black gold”. I like the motivational message here but I am dissappointed that it bought into the sexist belief that “men” are the builders of nations and leaders of tomorrow (the young boys) while women are there offering support, wisdom and encouragement (the singers).

    This is the old story of men symbolizing “everybody”, and the lyrics “Ancient man, powerful man, builders of civilization” blatantly buy into this cliched stereotype of the “men” representing a whole race and continent of people. Even the book the dad shows the little boys and the t-shirts feature one inspirational African woman (Miriam Makeba) to five men (Sundiata Keita, Salif Keita, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Fela Kuti).

    That is all 🙂

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