July 13, 2011
It’s kind of sick how we view our artists. Sometimes it seems like the more troubled they are the harder we fall in love with them. I’m no exception. There is something inside of me that disallows me to truly feel an artist unless I can hear some pain in his or her voice. This is the same thing that prevents me from appreciating the music of Luther Vandross because every time I hear one of his songs I can visualize him smiling. It’s sad I know but I think it’s the Christianity in me. After all don’t we love Jesus so much because he suffered on the cross for us?
At any rate there is a poet whose literary voice I passionately adore. I have been enraptured by the works of Etheridge Knight for nearly all of my adult life. I would like to think that it has nothing to do with the fact that he served several years in prison or had a very serious heroin addiction but I know it does. Just like when I first found out how many times 50 cent had been shot it made me want to buy his record. It’s a shame that I can get caught up in something so petty, however, I suppose it’s similar to the Blues. I mean don’t you have to have the Blues to be a real Blues singer?
Either way Etheridge Knight was an exceptional poet who wasn’t afraid to cry and bleed in front of his audience. Here is one of his many masterpieces:
By Etheridge Knight1931–1991 Etheridge Knight