If you don’t have a strong stomach for unfettered expressions of Southern racism – with N-words aplenty – you won’t want to listen to the music I’m streaming with this post.
On the other hand, the fact that Obama was elected president might make it easier to handle.
Let’s start in 1990, when I interviewed the essayist Stanley Crouch by phone. The subject was 2 Live Crew, whose foul-mouthed rap songs were cause for much consternation amongst the bourgeoisie (and law enforcement entities).
Stanley Crouch doesn’t like hip-hop. And he hated 2 Live Crew; “they’re just some vulgar, street-corner-type clowns” who shouldn’t be defended by intelligent black folk.
Yet Crouch acknowledged that, in his youth, he found the vulgar, street-corner rhymes of Rudy Ray Moore to be “kind of comical.”
I asked Mr. Crouch whether a record’s “comical” impact, in itself, imbued it with artistic value and social merit.
“No no no no no no no no,” Crouch responded. “If funny is the justification, then any kind of humor has cultural validity.
“I mean, I remember hearing a record a long time ago, put out by, I think, the White Citizens’ Council, which was called ‘For Segregationists Only.’ ... And the target of the humor was the civil-rights activists and shiftless, no-account, welfare [blacks].”
I’d never heard of “For Segregationists Only,” but I was curious. In the Internet Age, of course, every old cultural artifact is new again. You can purchase “For Segregationists Only” from white racist websites.
Or you can go the illegal-download route, which I did.
“For Segregationists Only” was not put out by the White Citizens’ Council but by a bona fide Louisiana record producer named J.D. “Jay” Miller.
Miller, who died in 1996, was a renowned purveyor of Cajun music, swamp pop and blues. He even produced records by black artists such as Slim Harpo, Lightnin’ Slim and Katie Webster. (I wonder what these black musicians thought about Miller’s catalog of white-supremacist tunes such as “Kajun Klu Klux Klan.”)
Today, the J.D Miller Recording Studio Museum is considered a cultural landmark in the city of Crowley, La.
Miller’s most prolific racist artist was known as Johnny Rebel. Click these song titles to hear some of Johnny Rebel’s 1960s output:
1. “Nigger Hatin’ Me”
2. “Some Niggers Never Die”
3. “Nigger Nigger”
4. “Move Them Niggers North”
Who was Johnny Rebel? He was a Cajun musician named C.J. Trahan, a.k.a. Pee Wee Trahan. He is still alive. And he is unrepentant.
“I used to think I was prejudiced. I am not prejudiced,” Trahan told an interviewer a few years ago. “If you are prejudiced, you don’t like all races. Well, I don’t have anything against all races. ...
“They asked me to [make those records], hell, I did it. I would do anything to make a buck. Hell, I made a few bucks off of it.”
Trahan has no particular love for black folks, however. “Blacks develop an attitude towards the whites, and they won’t let it go,” he said. “They won’t let go of what happened.
“Why should we pay reparations for things that happened 200 years ago? I didn’t have a slave. I was run out of my country... my ancestors were run out of Nova Scotia.”
Since becoming an underground celebrity on the Internet, “Johnny Rebel” has put out an album of new material. Click here to hear “Quit Your Bitchin’ Nigger!” from Trahan’s 2003 album “It’s the Attitude, Stupid!”
Other tunes on this album are “Niggers Suck!” and “Send ’Em All Back to Africa.”