So we’ve lost another towering, irreplaceable entertainer, as the news media has been telling us for the past two or three days.
Who was it? Why, Little Richard, of course!
Many younger people will be saying, “Who?” He hadn’t exactly been active for many years, having been 87 when he kicked off.
Yes, for those of you who recognize the name, he was an early rhythm ‘n’ blues, or maybe nowadays we should say, “rock ‘n’ roll,” performer who a number of White rock stars have raised to deity status as the “founder of modern rock.”
SURE, ROCK STARS. Every kind of American music was created by super talented black people, then stolen from them by no-talent White guys. And if you believe that, I’ve got a huge, beautiful lake in the Arizona desert I’d like to sell you.
Richard Pennyman — his real name — was as impressed by his own “talents” as the White entertainers were who followed him. Probably one of the most outrageous things he ever said, in an interview, was, “If I’d been White, there never would have been any Elvis Presley!” Oh, sure, Mister Black Genius. Go pick some watermelons.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Yes, Little Richard was one of the earliest “rock stars.” Yes, he wrote and recorded hits like “Tutti Fruti” and “Long Tall Sally,” and others , which were later covered by White rock stars. But, so what? You could say the same thing, concerning a somewhat different kind of music, about Willie Nelson and his multitude of hits, that were later covered by many other singers.
The difference is, the mainstream news media always acts as if a black entertainer, or a black athlete, who dies or is killed, “hung the moon,” that they taught all these “clueless White guys” how it should be done, that they were geniuses of one kind or another, and far superior in so many ways to their White counterparts.
Want a couple of examples? OK. Two years ago, one of the most unique American entertainers of the 20th Century, Tony Joe White, the “swamp fox,” died at age 75 at his home in Tennessee. His multitude of songs, and his recordings of them, were a unique combination of rhythm ‘n’ blues, Cajun, country, and what is called in his native Louisiana, “swamp music.” His style, his sound, are hard to describe. You just have to listen to a few of his records. His best-known songs, “Polk Salad Annie,” and “Rainy Night in Georgia,” were covered by such big stars as Elvis Presley, Brook Benton, and others.
I had followed Tony Joe’s career, and been a big fan, since the late 1960s. So, when I saw a news story about his death in the Madison Courier, my hometown newspaper, I assumed there would be stories on the evening news, the internet, and so forth. Nope. Not a single mention I could find anywhere. And you know why I think that was? Tony Joe WAS White — that is, Caucasian. Had he been black, there would have been memorial stories about him scattered from here to Jericho.
BUT WHEN THAT black, retired NBA star, Kobe Bryant, and his daughter were killed in an air crash two or three months ago, the news stories about his career, his life, interviews with his wife, etc., ran on and on and on …
Meanwhile, at almost the same time, one of the greatest and most unique American actors of the 20th Century, Kirk Douglas, died at the age of 103. Did he get much publicity for his sterling, unique career, the son of a poverty-stricken immigrant Jewish family who pulled himself up by his own boot straps, achieving stardom despite many obstacles? Nope. Oh, I did see a few casual mentions of the fact that he had died, but that was about it. Guess they figured he was just another “no-talent old White guy.”
And here’s another example of the gross unfairness the media extends toward crimes which kill black people, as opposed to those that result in the deaths of White people. The headline, “Unarmed black man killed by White police” is probably what we in the newspaper business used to call a “standing head” at many newspapers and news websites. It’s trotted out every time that sad incident happens, anywhere in the U.S. Followed quickly by interviews with the corpse’s “grieving momma,” who tells us how he was “trying to turn his life around” and “about to enroll in college.” And coverage of the angry protests always staged by other blacks, with shouts of “Black lives matter!” and other drivel. Anything to keep the story going as long as possible.
AND HERE’S the latest example of that. This young man in Georgia, who was supposedly “just jogging” in a rural area, was confronted by a White father and son, and shot to death, back in February. They said they thought he was some kind of a criminal. Of course, that doesn’t justify what they did. Anyway, when the story leaked out recently, the usual media stampede went galloping over the air waves, and is far from stopping as of this writing.
But let me tell you of something else that happened Sunday, Mother’s Day, in a U.S. veterans’ memorial cemetery in Delaware. An elderly White couple, he 86 years old, she 85, were in the cemetery, possibly visiting the grave of a son who had died in one of our wars. But they did not know, until it was too late, that there was a young black man with a gun, lurking nearby. He shot and killed both of the old people — possibly just because they were White. Then he fled from the open area of the cemetery, but apparently hid in the woods nearby. Police who arrived at the scene a bit later fired at him, but he escaped from them. Hours later, they found him dead of a gunshot wound, in the forest. It wasn’t clear whether an officer’s bullet had hit him, or he had taken his own life.
I can’t recall now where I read a fairly brief story about the double, race-related murder, yesterday, but I did. Details were rather sparse, as I’ll bet they WOULD NOT have been if an elderly black couple had been killed by an armed young White guy. Under those circumstances it would have been an “obvious hate crime”, and the press coverage would have been constant for days — maybe weeks.
Today, I paused while writing this column to check the on-line websites of Fox News, CNN, NBC News, and CBS News. I did find a short, matter of fact article about it, on the Fox News website — buried “way down on the bottom,” where most readers wouldn’t even have come across it.
THE OTHER, liberal, news websites did not have one word — not a mention — about the double murder. Not that I could find, anyway. Two old “honkeys” shot dead? Who cares? Or at least, that’s the way the mainstream media would look at it.
It’s a sad, sad state that our national press has descended to, which makes me sorry, in a way, that I was a reporter for 40 years. BUT! I don’t recall ANY instance where I was told to play down the murder of a White person, and turn the murder of a black person into a world-wide “hate crime” scandal. The American news media didn’t do things like that in those days.
And when a prominent entertainer, or athlete, or whatever, passed from the world, we gave that person all the recognition, all the “column inches,” that most people would have considered they deserved. And their race, didn’t matter.