The only white people there: Paul McCartney plays Fela Kuti

If you are interested in culture and race then your ears perk up any time anyone says: “we were the only white people there!”

How these kinds of things sound to ANYONE who isn’t WHITE?   It sort of embodies the kind of toxic insider racist/sexist/colonialist commentary of one insider to another.  I imagine one rich white bank guy leaning over to another rich white banker at a swank lunch to mock people starving in Bangladesh.

But to assume that everyone on the other side of the camera . . .or that everyone listening sympathizes with your own privileged skin color is so toxic that it can only be understood through the sad awareness that much of mass mediated story-telling has been narrated through a particularly white and colonial lens.

It is honestly hard to notice colonialism from the location of the privileged.  So I appreciate whenever an artist or politician, or a hip hop pioneer explains that they were the only white person at a key point in history.

Also an important clip because of the explicit conversation about jacking African music and perhaps the single greatest responses to the accusation of colonialism: “hey man, c’mon!  I’m not doing that.”

Thanks to OkayAfrica for the video.

 

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Filed under colonialism, cultural appropriation, music, representation

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