Raga rock is the term used to describe the subgenre of music that (predominantly) white rock bands of the 1960s and 1970s created that contained some sort of Indian influence (via instrumentation and/or structure). These were predominantly, but not exclusively, English artists and bands, and while the Beatles may be the face of raga rock, acts like the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, and the Kinks are often associated with the subgenre. As for Madonna, the Ray of Light album features Madonna singing a Hindu prayer on “Shanti/Ashtangi.” Moreover, Madonna frequently wore temporary henna tattoos and/or bhindis for most of her promotion for the album, including the “Frozen” music video. Like the Beatles with raga rock, Madonna was not the only artist involved in this kind of mainstream commodification of South Asian culture; other stars like Liv Tyler and Gwen Stefani also donned similar style commodities during this period.
See particularly Jonathan Bellman, “Indian Resonances in the British Invasion, 1965–68,” in The Exotic in Western Music, ed. Jonathan Bellman (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1998), 292–306; Carl Clements, “John Coltrane and the Integration of Indian Concepts in Jazz Improvisation,” Jazz Research Journal 2, no. 2 (2008): 155–75; Carl Clements, “Musical Interchange between Indian Music and Hip Hop,” in Critical Minded: New Approaches to Hip Hop Studies, ed. Ellie M. Hisama and Evan Rapport (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Institute for Studies in American Music, 2005), 125–41; Gerry Farrell, “Reflecting Surfaces: The Use of Elements from Indian Music in Popular Music and Jazz” Popular Music 17, no. 2 (May 1988): 189–205; Brian Ireland and Sharif Gemie, “Raga Rock: Popular Music and the Turn to the East in the 1960s,” Journal of American Studies 10, no. 10 (2017): 1–38; Kevin Miller, “Bolly’hood Re-mix,” Institute for Studies in American Music Newsletter 34, no. 2 (Summer 2004): 6–8; Sarah Hankins, “So Contagious: Hybridity and Subcultural Exchanges in Hip-Hop’s Use of Indian Samples,” Black Music Research Journal 31, no. 2 (2011): 193–208; David B. Reck, “The Neon Electric Saraswati: Being Reflections on the Influence of Indian Music on the Contemporary Music Scene in America,” Contributions to Asian Studies 12 (1978): 3–20; and David B. Reck, “Beatles Orientalis: Influences from Asia in a Popular Song Form,” Asian Music 16, no. 1 (1985): 83–150. I borrow the term “Indo-chic” from Sunaina Maira, “Indo-Chic: Late Capitalist Orientalism and Imperial Culture,” in Alien Encounters: Popular Culture in Asian America, ed. Mimi Thi Nguyen and Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2007), 221–43.
Here, I am in conversation with T. Carlis Roberts’s conception of “sono-racial collaboration.” But I differ from Roberts, as we will see throughout this book, by not necessarily treating these collective acts as “intentional engagements in which artists employ racialized sound to form and perform interracial rapport.” I’m interested in intentional acts as well as collaborative practices that exceed intentionality. For more on sono-racial collaboration, see T. Carlis Roberts, Resounding Afro Asia: Interracial Music and the Politics of Collaboration (London: Oxford University Press, 2016).
Roberts, Resounding Afro Asia, 3.
Michel Foucault, “Society Must Be Defended”: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975–1976, ed. Mauro Bertani and Alessandro Fontana, trans. David Macey (New York: Picador, 2003), 10.
Stuart Hall, “What Is This ‘Black’ in Black Popular Culture?” Social Justice 20, nos. 51–52 (Spring–Summer 1993): 109; Stuart Hall, “Race, Articulation, and Societies Structured in Dominance,” in Sociological Theories: Race and Colonialism (Paris: UNESCO, 1980), 305–45.
Robin D. G. Kelley, Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination (Boston: Beacon Press, 2002).
Kelley, Freedom Dreams, 2.
There was, of course, Afro-Asian work that predated the early 2000s. For exemplary writings, see David Hellwig, “The Afro-American and the Immigrant, 1889–1930: A Study of Black Social Thought” (PhD diss., Syracuse University, 1978); Arnold Shankman “Black on Yellow: Afro-Americans View Chinese Americans, 1850–1935,” Phylon 39, no. 1 (1978): 1–17; and Gary Y. Okihiro, “Is Yellow Black or White?” in Margins and Mainstreams: Asians in American History and Culture, ed. Gary Y. Okihiro (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994), 31–63.
See, for example, Gerald Horne, The End of Empires: African Americans in India (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009); Nico Slate, Colored Cosmopolitanism: The Shared Struggle for Freedom in the United States and India (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2012); Vijay Prashad, Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World (New York: New Press, 2007); Sudarshan Kapur, Raising Up a Prophet: The African-American Encounter with Gandhi (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992); Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism during the Vietnam Era (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2013); Nitasha Tamar Sharma, Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2010); Yuichiro Onishi, Transpacific Antiracism: Afro-Asian Solidarity in 20th Century Black America, Japan, and Okinawa (New York: New York University Press, 2013); Sohail Daulatzai, Black Star, Crescent Moon: The Muslim International and Black Freedom beyond America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012); Laura Pulido, Black, Brown, Yellow, and Left: Radical Activism in Los Angeles (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006); Scott Kurashige, The Shifting Grounds of Race: Black and Japanese Americans in the Making of Multiethnic Los Angeles (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2008); Andrew F. Jones and Nikhil Pal Singh, eds., “The Afro Asian Century,” special issue of Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique 11, no. 1 (March 2003); and Diane Fujino, Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005).
Robin D. G. Kelley, “People in Me,” Colorlines 1, no. 3 (Spring 1999): 5–7; Bill V. Mullen, Afro-Orientalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), xviii; Vijay Prashad, Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity (Boston: Beacon Press, 2001). For other works that resonate with Afro-Asian polyculturalism, see Heike Raphael-Hernandez and Shannon Steen, AfroAsian Encounters: Culture, History, Politics (New York: New York University Press, 2006); Shannon Steen, Racial Geometries of the Black Atlantic, Asian Pacific, and American Theatre (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010); Fred Ho and Bill V. Mullen, Afro Asia: Revolutionary Political and Cultural Connections between African Americans and Asian Americans (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2008); Roberts, Resounding Afro Asia; Vivek Bald, Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2013); Sunaina Marr Maira, Desis in the House: Indian American Youth Culture in New York City (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002); and Crystal S. Anderson, Beyond the Chinese Connection: Contemporary Afro-Asian Cultural Production (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2013).
See, for example, Vanita Reddy and Anantha Sudhakar, eds., “Feminist and Queer Afro-Asian Formations,” special issue of Scholar & Feminist Online 14, no. 3 (2018), http://sfonline.barnard.edu/feminist-and-queer-afro-asian-formations/; Vanita Reddy, “Afro-Asian Intimacies and the Politics and Aesthetics of Cross-Racial Struggle in Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala,” Journal of Asian American Studies 18, no. 3 (2015): 233–63; and Lisa Lowe, The Intimacies of Four Continents (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2015).
Vanita Reddy and Anantha Sudhakar, “Introduction: Feminist and Queer Afro-Asian Formations,” in “Feminist and Queer Afro-Asian Formations,” special issue of Scholar & Feminist Online 14, no. 3 (2018), http://sfonline.barnard.edu/feminist-and-queer-afro-asian-formations/introduction-feminist-and-queer-afro-asian-formations/.
Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics,” University of Chicago Legal Forum 140 (1989): 139–67; Mari J. Matsuda, “Beside My Sister, Facing the Enemy: Legal Theory out of Coalition,” Stanford Law Review 3, no. 6 (July 1991): 1183–92.
Matsuda, “Beside My Sister, Facing the Enemy,” 1189.
Grace Kyungwon Hong and Roderick A. Ferguson, “Introduction,” in Strange Affinities: The Gender and Sexual Politics of Comparative Racialization, ed. Grace Kyungwon Hong and Roderick A. Ferguson (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2011), 2; Roderick A. Ferguson, Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), 137. See also Aberrations in Black for a more detailed discussion of queer of color critique.
Cathy J. Cohen, “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?” GLQ 3, no. 4 (1997): 438, 441.
Cohen, “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens,” 442.
Hortense Spillers, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book,” Diacritics 17, no 2 (Summer 1987): 64–81; Eric Hayot, The Hypothetical Mandarin: Sympathy, Modernity, and Chinese Pain (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 139; Nayan Shah, Stranger Intimacy: Contesting Race, Sexuality, and the Law in the North American West (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012); Cathy J. Cohen, “The Radical Potential of Queer? Twenty Years Later,” GLQ 25, no. 1 (2019):142; Jasbir K. Puar and Amit Rai, “Monster, Terrorist, Fag: The War on Terrorism and the Production of Docile Patriots,” Social Text 20, no. 3 (Fall 2003): 117–48; Jasbir K. Puar, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2007); Hong and Ferguson, “Introduction,” 18.
@tomorrowmanx, “Listen . . . when all the Black producers started infusing Bollywood samples in everything . . . you wanna talk about a fuggin ERA in hip hop/R&B??” Twitter, October 12, 2019, https://twitter.com/tomorrowmanx/status/1182912204699508736.
There’s a similar slippage that happens with ERA for “era” as well as ERA for the Equal Rights Amendment, which further adds to how I want to think through these kind of Afro–South Asian collaborative sounds as highly gendered and sexualized formations. I want to thank Jennifer Pierce for helping me with this point.
@tomorrowmanx, “Listen . . .”
See for example George Lipsitz, The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998); and Greg Tate, ed., Everything but the Burden: What White People Are Taking from Black Culture (New York: Broadway, 2003). For a more complicated assessment of cultural appropriation in this way, see Lauren Michele Jackson, White Negroes: When Cornrows Were in Vogue . . . and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation (Boston: Beacon Press, 2019).
Sunaina Marr Maira, Desis in the House: Indian American Youth Culture in New York City (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002).
Nitasha Tamar Sharma, Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2010), 237, 245.
Salome Asega, Homi K. Bhabha, Gregg Bordowitz, Joan Kee, Michelle Kuo, Ajay Kurian, and Jacolby Satterwhite, “Cultural Appropriation: A Roundtable,” Artforum, Summer 2017, 270.
Claire Jean Kim, Bitter Fruit: The Politics of Black–Korean Conflict in New York City (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000); Helen Heran Jun, Race for Citizenship: Black Orientalism and Asian Uplift from Pre-Emancipation to Neoliberal America (New York: New York University Press, 2011).
Asega et al., “Cultural Appropriation,” 269.
Deborah Wong, Speak It Louder: Asian Americans Making Music (New York: Routledge, 2004), 190. For more recent works that share and inform my challenge of the “good versus bad” narrative of cultural appropriation, see Lauren Michelle Jackson, White Negroes: When Cornrows. Were in Vogue . . . and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation (Boston: Beacon Press, 2019); and Minh-Ha T. Pham, “Why We Should Stop Talking about ‘Cultural Appropriation,’” The Atlantic, May 15, 2014, https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/05/cultural-appropriation-in-fashion-stop-talking-about-it/370826/.
Stuart Hall, “Notes on Deconstructing ‘The Popular,’” in People’s History and Sociality Theory, ed. Raphael Samuel (London: Keagan Paul-Routledge, 1981), 227–40.
Jack Halberstam, Female Masculinity (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1998), 13; Gayatri Gopinath, Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2005), 22.
1. A Desi Love Supreme
Louise Davis Stone, “The Jazz Bit: John Coltrane,” Baltimore Afro-American, September 1, 1962, 12.
Louise Davis Stone, “The Jazz Bit: Record Ratings Charlie Mingus,” Baltimore Afro-American, February 3, 1962, 15.
Ben Ratliff, Coltrane: The Story of a Sound (New York: Picador, 2007), 57.
John Coltrane, “Interview with Michiel de Ruyter, Part 1,” November 19, 1961, https://www.johncoltrane.com/interviews.
Stone, “Jazz Bit: John Coltrane,” 12.
Within the context of this book, “Sonny’s Blues” is also noteworthy for its allusions to India.
See for example Lindsay Barrett, “The Black Artist in Exile,” Revolution—Africa, Latin America, Asia 11, no. 1 (March 1964): 131–38; LeRoi Jones and Larry Neal, eds., Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing (New York: William Morrow, 1968); Ingrid Monson, Freedom Sounds: Civil Rights Call Out to Jazz and Africa (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007); Eric Nisenson, Ascension: John Coltrane and His Quest (New York: Da Capo Press, 1993); Sonia Sanchez, We a BaddDDD People (Detroit: Broadside Press, 1970); Scott Saul, Freedom Is, Freedom Ain’t: Jazz and the Making of the Sixties (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003).
See Monson, Freedom Sounds.
Erica Edwards, Charisma and the Fictions of Black Leadership (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), xviii–xix.
James Baldwin, “The Dangerous Road before Martin Luther King,” Harper’s Magazine, February 1961, 42.
James Baldwin, Leverne McCummins, and Malcolm X, “Black Muslims vs. the Sit-ins,” April 25, 1961, New York, WBAI radio broadcast.
Here, I’m thinking especially of Another Country.
Erica Edwards, “Baldwin and Black Leadership,” in The Cambridge Companion to James Baldwin, ed. Michele Elam (New York: Cambridge University Press), 150.
Lawrie Balfour, “Finding the Words: Baldwin, Race Consciousness, and Democratic Theory,” in James Baldwin Now, ed. Dwight A. McBride (New York: New York University Press, 1999), 83.
Monson, Freedom Sounds; Lewis Porter, John Coltrane: His Life and Music (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000).
James Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1990), 183.
See Gerald Horne, The End of Empires: African Americans in India (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009); Nico Slate, Colored Cosmopolitanism: The Shared Struggle for Freedom in the United States and India (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2012); Prashad, Darker Nations; Sudarshan Kapur, Raising Up a Prophet: The African-American Encounter with Gandhi (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992).
Gerald Early, “Ode to John Coltrane: Jazz Musician’s Influence on African American Culture,” Antioch Review 57 (Summer 1999): 372.
Mark Anthony Neal, Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities (New York: New York University Press, 2013), 4.
John Coltrane, “Interview with August Blume,” June 15, 1958, https://www.johncoltrane.com/interviews.
Peter Lavezzoli, The Dawn of Indian Music in the West (New York: Continuum, 2006), 277.
Francesca T. Royster, Sounding Like a No-No: Queer Sounds and Eccentric Acts in the Post-Soul Era (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 8.
Coltrane, “Interview with August Blume.”
See, for example, Hafez Modirzadeh, “Aural Archetypes and Cyclic Perspectives in the Work of John Coltrane and Ancient Chinese Music Theory,” Black Music Research Journal 21, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 75–106.
Carl Clements, “John Coltrane and the Integration of Indian Concepts in Jazz Improvisation,” Jazz Research Journal 2, no. 2 (2008): 161.
Monson, Freedom Sounds, 298.
Jean Clouzet and Michel Delorme, “Entretien avec John Coltrane,” Les Cahiers du Jazz 8 (1963): 13.
Melani McAlister, Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and U.S. Interests in the Middle East since 1945 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 7.
John Coltrane, A Love Supreme, recorded December 9, 1964, Impulse! Records, B0000A118M, 2003 (1965), compact disc, liner notes.
Don DeMichael, “John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy Answer the Jazz Critics,” Down Beat, April 12, 1962, 22.
Clouzet and Delorme, “Entretien avec John Coltrane,” 14.
Porter, John Coltrane, 237.
Saul, Freedom Is, Freedom Ain’t, 257.
Saul, Freedom Is, Freedom Ain’t, 238. Coltrane sought, and this comes through later in my analysis, to connect all sections of A Love Supreme, and as a result, each song begins where the last track ends.
Ashley Kahn, A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album (New York: Da Capo Press, 2002), 104.
Olly Wilson, “‘It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing’: The Relationship between African and African American Music,” in African Roots / American Cultures: Africa in the Creation of the Americas, ed. Sheila S. Walker (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001), 161.
Olly Wilson, “The Significance of the Relationship between Afro-American Music and West African Music,” Black Perspective in Music 2, no. 1 (Spring 1974): 3–22.
Kahn, Love Supreme, 101.
John Coltrane, “Interview with Michiel de Ruyter, Part 4,” July 27, 1965, https://www.johncoltrane.com/interviews.
Clements, “John Coltrane.”
Moustafa Bayoumi, “‘East of the Sun (West of the Moon)’: Islam, the Ahmadis, and African America,” Journal of Asian American Studies 4 (2001): 261.
Porter, John Coltrane, 242; Saul, Freedom Is, Freedom Ain’t, 258.
It’s worth noting that, given A Love Supreme’s ties to sobriety, there’s a potential overlap between Coltrane’s transposition of the motif in all twelve keys and the Alcoholics Anonymous twelve-step program (the chromatic scale comprises twelve half steps). Thus, with the broad conception of God within AA, we can also read the final part of Coltrane’s solo not only as an allusion to this more expansive perspective, but also as a statement on and embrace of the various ways in which people believe in a Higher Power.
Bayoumi, “East of the Sun,” 257.
For more on Islam in the United States, see Sohail Daulatzai, Black Star, Crescent Moon: The Muslim International and Black Freedom beyond America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012).
Bayoumi, “East of the Sun,” 253.
Tony Whyton, Beyond A Love Supreme: John Coltrane and the Legacy of an Album (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013), 19–20.
Coltrane, Love Supreme, liner notes.
Porter, John Coltrane, 244.
Quoted in Kahn, Love Supreme, 124.
Porter, John Coltrane; Saul, Freedom Is, Freedom Ain’t.
Kahn, Love Supreme; Porter, John Coltrane, 247
I use “known” here to signal the possibilities of other performances that have yet to be analyzed and published as aligning with this style of performance and composition.
The family of the fourth girl, Carole Robertson, decided to hold a separate, private funeral.
Quoted in Kahn, Love Supreme, 79.
Ben Ratliff, “Pieces of Jazz History Head to Auction Block,” New York Times, January 20, 2005, E2; Ratliff also references the auction in his book Coltrane: The Story of a Sound (New York: Picador, 2007).
Whyton, Beyond A Love Supreme, 20.
Nikky Finney, “Playing by Ear, Praying for Rain: The Poetry of James Baldwin,” Poetry 203, no. 6 (March 2014): 582.
Fred Moten, In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003), 186.
José Esteban Muñoz, Disidentification: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999); Ashon T. Crawley, Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility (New York: Fordham University Press, 2016), 2.
Clements, “John Coltrane,” 161.
Kahn, Love Supreme, 123.
George Ruckert, Music in North India: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 22.
Cuthbert Ormond Simpkins, Coltrane: A Biography (New York: Herndon House, 1975), 58. The analysis of this section draws partly on Marc Howard Medwin, “Listening in Double Time: Temporal Disunity and Structural Unity in the Music of John Coltrane, 1965–67” (PhD diss., 2008).
Ingrid Monson, “Oh Freedom: George Russell, John Coltrane, and Modal Jazz,” in In the Course of Performance: Studies in the World of Musical Improvisation, ed. Bruno Nettle and Melinda Russell (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 162.
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (New York: Vintage Books, 2013), 90.
José Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (New York: New York University Press, 2009).
See Franya Berkman, Monument Eternal: The Music of Alice Coltrane (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2010).
2. Corner Politics
John S. Wilson, “Jazz Returning to Village Gate: But Hereafter Bands Will Have to Risk Low Payment,” New York Times, December 12, 1969, 74.
Hollie I. West, “Changing Trends: Nightclubs Fight Inflationary Cycles,” Los Angeles Times, June 14, 1969, A6.
The sitarist was most likely Khalil Balakrishna, who joined Davis’s band in 1972 and befriended Davis only a month prior to the Gate’s reopening.
Richard Pryor, Pryor Convictions and Other Life Sentences (New York: Pantheon Books, 1995), 98.
Pryor, Pryor Convictions, 100. Pryor recounts the performance as occurring in 1968, but the historical advertisements do not support this, instead indicating 1969 as the year. This information then suggests that Pryor’s infamous trip to Berkeley and involvement with the Black Panthers took place in 1970, not 1969. Pryor’s story about Davis kissing Gillespie contributed to the long-standing rumors that Davis was queer. Indeed, Wynton Marsalis once described Davis as having “bisexuality in his sound” and compared Davis to Lester Young, another jazz musician rumored to be queer. For more on queerness and Miles Davis, see Elliott H. Powell, “Queering Miles: Black Masculinity and the Disidentification Praxis of Miles Davis,” in Rethinking Miles Davis, ed. Nicolas Pillai (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2021).
Jeremy Smith, “‘Sell It Black’: Race and Marketing in Miles Davis’s Early Fusion Jazz,” Jazz Perspectives 4 (2010): 10.
Stephen Davis, “My Ego Only Needs a Good Rhythm Section,” in Miles on Miles: Interviews and Encounters with Miles Davis, ed. Paul Maher Jr. and Michal K. Dor (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2009), 145.
Davis, “My Ego Only Needs a Good Rhythm Section,” 136; Miles Davis, Miles: The Autobiography (New York: Smith and Schuster, 1990), 328.
Cathy J. Cohen, “Deviance as Resistance: A New Research Agenda for the Study of Black Politics,” Du Bois Review 1, no. 2 (2004): 29.
See Phillip Brian Harper, “Are We Not Men?” Masculine Anxiety and the Problem of African-American Identity (London: Oxford Press, 1996); Tracye Matthews, “‘No One Ever Asks What a Man’s Role in the Revolution Is’: Gender and the Politics of the Black Panther Party, 1966–1971,” in The Black Panther Party Reconsidered, ed. Charles E. Jones (Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1998), 167–304.
For discussions of the Afro-Asian coalitional politics of the Panthers, see Robin D. G. Kelley and Betsy Esch, “Black Like Mao: Red China and Black Revolution,” Souls 4, no. 1 (1999): 6–41; Diane C. Fujino, Samurai among Panthers: Richard Aoki on Race, Resistance, and a Paradoxical Life (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012). For texts on South Asian (Americans) and the Asian American power movement and pan-ethnic identity, see Lavina Dhingra Shankar and Rajini Srikanth, A Part, Yet Apart: South Asian in Asian America (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998); Yen Le Espiritu, Asian American Panethnicity: Bridging Institutions and Identities (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992); and Nazli Kibria, “Not Asian, Black, or White? Reflections on South Asian American Racial Identity,” Amerasia Journal 22 (1996): 77–86.
bell hooks, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (Boston: South End Press, 1984).
Nikhil Pal Singh, Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004), 193.
Marlon B. Bailey and Rashad Shabazz, “Gender and Sexual Geographies of Blackness: Anti-Black Heterotopias (Part 1),” Gender, Place, & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography 21, no. 3 (2014): 316–21.
Michel Foucault and Jay Miskowiec, “Of Other Spaces,” Diacritics 16, no. 1 (Spring 1986): 22–27; Katherine McKittrick and Clyde Woods, Black Geographies (Boston: South End Press, 2007); Bailey and Shabazz, “Gender and Sexual Geographies,” 318.
See, for example, Davis, Miles; Pearl Cleage, Mad at Miles: A Black Woman’s Guide to Truth (Southfield, Mich.: Cleage Group, 1990); Hazel Carby, Race Men (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000); Farah Jasmine Griffin and Salim Washington, Clawing at the Limits of Cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the Greatest Jazz Collaboration Ever (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008); and Farah Jasmine Griffin, “Ladies Sing Miles,” in Miles Davis and American Culture, ed. Gerald Early (St. Louis: University of Missouri Press, 2001), 180–87.
Cohen, “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens,” 480. Cohen’s concept of “principled coalition work” is in conversation with how Bernice Johnson Reagon frames coalitions. For more information, see Bernice Johnson Reagon, “Coalition Politics: Turning the Century,” in Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology, ed. Barbara Smith (New York: Kitchen Table Press, 1983), 356–68.
Examples include Sly and the Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On, the Impressions’ “This Is My Country,” Curtis Mayfield’s “The Other Side of Town,” Aretha Franklin’s “Think,” Vicki Anderson’s “Message from the Soul Sisters,” and James Brown’s “Say It Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud.”
Davis, Miles, 298.
Kevin Fellezs, Birds of Fire: Jazz, Rock, Funk, and the Creation of Fusion (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2011), 7–9.
Fellezs, Birds of Fire, 55.
Tanisha C. Ford, Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015).
To help provide some contextualization to the making of the album, I initially contacted a few musicians who were listed in the liner notes of the most recent reissue of On the Corner. Each artist eventually declined my requests for an interview because, contrary to what was written in the record’s liner notes, it turned out that they were not involved in the recording sessions.
By “various accounts,” I’m referring to my use of Davis’s autobiography, secondary works on Davis, published interviews with Davis and musicians in Davis’s band at the time, and my own interviews with those involved in the recording of On the Corner. And I pinpointed shared information among these sources that were related to On the Corner’s personnel.
Jesse L. MacBurnie Stewart, “Call and Recall: Hybridity, Mobility, and Dialogue between Jazz and Hip Hop Culture” (PhD diss., University of Guelph, 2008).
For examples of the various critiques of On the Corner, see Paul Tingen, Miles Beyond: Electric Explorations of Miles Davis, 1967–1991 (New York: Billboard Books, 2001).
Tingen, Miles Beyond.
Davis, Miles, 322.
Davis, Miles, 329.
We might interpret Davis’s decision to remove the names of the musicians who worked on the album as an insistence on this kind of collectivity.
Wilson, “Significance of the Relationship.”
Badal Roy and Geeta Roy Chowdhury, interview by the author, July 26, 2016. Chowdhury played with Roy on albums featuring Dave Liebman and Lonnie Liston Smith.
Other examples include Stevie Wonder’s “I Was Made to Love Her,” the Spinners’ “It’s a Shame,” the Stylistics’ “You Are Everything” and “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” and Freda Payne’s “Band of Gold.”
Tingen, Miles Beyond, 130.
Roy and Chowdhury interview.
Matt Rahaim, “Badal Roy,” in The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, ed. Charles H. Garett (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 250.
Roy and Chowdhury interview.
Vijay Prashad, The Karma of Brown Folk (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000), 179.
Susan Koshy, “Morphing Race into Ethnicity: Asian Americans and Critical Transformations of Whiteness,” Boundary 2 28, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 153–94.
Mae M. Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2004); Ian Haney-López, White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race (New York: New York University Press, 1997).
For an incisive critique of state-sanctioned pathologizing of Black households as nonnormative, see Roderick Ferguson, Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004).
The pimp / sex worker analysis is informed by Stewart, “Call and Recall.”
See for example Arnold Hirsch, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 1940–1960 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1983); Thomas Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis, Race, and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996); Robert O. Self, American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2003); and Howard Gillette Jr., Camden after the Fall: Decline and Renewal in a Post-Industrial City (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005).
Singh, Black Is a Country; Robert O. Self, “The Black Panther Party and the Long Civil Rights Era,” in In Search of the Black Panther Party: New Perspectives on a Revolutionary Movement (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2006), 15–58; Frantz Fanon, Les Damnés de la Terre (Paris: François Maspero, 1961), first published in English as The Wretched of the Earth (New York: Grove Press, 1963), 135. Citations are to the Grove Press edition.
Ford, Liberated Threads.
Davis, Miles, 322.
L. H. Stallings, Funk the Erotic: Transaesthetics and Black Sexual Cultures (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2015), 69.
Sandra McCoy, interview with the author, February 24, 2017.
Muñoz, Cruising Utopia, 65
Corky McCoy, interview with the author, September 26, 2016.
During my interviews with both Sandra and Corky McCoy, they alleged that Miles Davis frequently assisted James Baldwin with his mortgage payments for his Saint-Paul-de-Vence home in France. With respect to Vernon Davis, Hazel Carby argues that Davis’s embrace of violence against women as a signifier for masculinity was, in part, a way for him to distance himself from Vernon and queerness in general. The On the Corner cover’s nod to Vernon (and Baldwin) bring some nuance to this argument.
Corky McCoy interview.
Here I am inspired by Roderick Ferguson’s contention about Black queer subjects: “It is not enough to merely recognize their existence. In this moment of transgressions and regulations, we must approach these subjects as sites of knowledge.” See Roderick A. Ferguson, Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), 148
Cohen, “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens,” 438.
Albertson, “The Unmasking of Miles Davis,” Saturday Review, November 27, 1971, 68.
Blair Sobol, “Rock Threads,” Show Magazine, March 1970, 31–34.
I want to thank George Chauncey for his assistance with this.
Davis, Miles, 310.
Davis, Miles, 310.
Roy and Chowdhury interview.
3. Punks, Freaks, OutKasts, and ATLiens
Rick James, Glow: The Autobiography of Rick James (New York: Atria Books, 2015), 276.
Rick James, The Flag, recorded 1985–86, Gordy Records /Motown Records, GCD06185GD, 1986, compact disc, liner notes.
OutKast’s venture into Afro-futurism and the evil entity Nosamulli is reminiscent of the Afro-futurist funk band Parliament and the frequent villain in their songs, Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk.
OutKast, ATLiens, OutKast, recorded 1995–96, LaFace Records, 73008-26029-2, 1996, compact disc, liner notes by Ruben “Big Rube” Bailey.
Following the release of ATLiens, André 3000 became heavily interested in the work of John Coltrane. For the OutKast double album Speakerboxxx / The Love Below, André sampled and covered Coltrane’s rendition of “My Favorite Things” (whose version was purportedly based on an Indian cover of the Rodgers and Hammerstein standard), he has spoken in interviews about his frequent listening of A Love Supreme, and he even sports a Coltrane poster in one of his musical workspaces.
I borrow “outsider racialization” from Angelo Ancheta, Race, Rights, and the Asian American Experience (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1998).
Sources differ on whether he was Shankar’s cousin or another relative. For more information see James, Glow; Rick James, The Confessions of Rick James: Memoirs of a Super Freak (Phoenix: Colossus Books, 2007); and Peter Benjaminson, Super Freak: The Life of Rick James (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2017).
James, Glow, 151.
LeRoi Johnson, interview with the author, October 20, 2017.
Johnny Lee, interview with the author, December 1, 2017.
Alexandra T. Vazquez, “Salon Philosophers: Ivy Queen and Surprise Guests Take Reggaetón Aside,” in Reggaetón, ed. Raquel Z. Rivera, Wayne Marshall, and Deborah Pacini Hernandez (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2009), 301.
Vazquez, “Salon Philosophers,” 301; Barbara Johnson, A World of Difference (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989).
Young, Palmer, St. Nicholas, and McJohn would have significant careers in their own right. Young, most prominently, as a solo artist as well as for his work in Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young; Palmer became a member of Buffalo Springfield as well; and St. Nicholas and McJohn were members of Steppenwolf.
For a classic work that unsettles the association of Canada and whiteness, and focuses on Blackness instead, see Rinaldo Walcott, Black Like Who? Writing Black Canada (Toronto: Insomniac Press, 1997).
See for example Sanjay Sharma, John Hutnyk, and Ashwani Sharma, Dis-Orienting Rhythms: The Politics of the New Asian Dance Music (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Zed Books, 1997); Jacqueline Warwick, “‘Make Way for the Indian’: Bhangra Music and South Asian Presence in Toronto,” Popular Music & Society 24, no. 2 (2000): 25–44; Jerome Teelucksingh, “A Global Diaspora: The Indo-Trinidadian Diaspora in Canada, the United States, and England, 1967–2007,” Diaspora Studies 4, no. 2 (2011): 139–54; Nabeel Zuberi, Sounds English: Transnational Popular Music (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001); and Nabeel Zuberi and Jon Stratton, eds., Black Popular Music in Britain since 1945 (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2014).
James, Glow, 195. James uses the term “rebellious” in Confessions of a Superfreak.
Jayna Brown, Patrick Deer, and Tavia Nyong’o, “Punk and Its Afterlives,” Social Text 31, no. 3 (2013): 5.
See for example Tavia Nyong’o, “Punk’d Theory,” Social Text 23, nos. 3–4 (2005): 19–34; Tavia Nyong’o, “Brown Punk: Kalup Linzy’s Musical Anticipations,” TDR: The Drama Review 54, no. 3 (2010): 71–86; and Brown, Deer, and Nyong’o, “Punk and Its Afterlives.”
Jennifer C. Nash, The Black Body in Ecstasy: Reading, Race, and Pornography (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2014), 439.
Cohen, “‘Deviance as Resistance,” 29.
Cohen, “‘Deviance as Resistance,” 29–30.
L. H. Stallings, Funk the Erotic: Transaesthetics and Black Sexual Cultures (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2015), 90. It is also worth noting that, as Peter Benjaminson suggests in his biography of Rick James, James’s solo career began in gay bathhouses in the U.S. South. His first single, “You and I,” from his 1978 debut album Come Get It!, stalled on radio, and so James soon suggested to a gay friend DJ to play it in an Atlanta bathhouse. The single quickly gained momentum first in bathhouses and then reached dance floors and radio stations.
Janet M. Davis, “Spectacles of South Asia at the American Circus, 1890–1940,” Visual Anthropology 6, no. 2 (1993): 121–38; Shah, Stranger Intimacy; Puar, Terrorist Assemblages; Susan Koshy, Sexual Naturalization: Asian Americans and Miscegenation (Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2005).
James’s sitar performance can be heard on “You Are My Heaven” and “Lonely.”
Examples of the Mary Jane Girls’ erotic songs include “All Night Long,” “In My House,” “Wild and Crazy Love,” and “Leather Queen.” For more information on the history of the PMRC, see Claude Chastagner, “The Parents’ Music Resource Center: From Information to Censorship,” Popular Music 18, no. 2 (May 1999): 179–92.
Robert Hilburn, “Flamboyant Rick James Earns a Split Decision: Rick James,” Los Angeles Times, August 22, 1983, G1.
An alternate version of this back cover exists with James wearing a long jewelry-studded black coat, his hand still on his popped-out hip, he’s still carrying the freak flag, and he is wearing thigh-high red leather heels that are similar to those seen on the back cover of Street Songs. This cover further evidences what I’m reading as the Black queer aesthetics of James on Street Songs and The Flag.
James, The Flag, liner notes.
I interviewed Chris Callis, who photographed The Flag, and asked him about the photo shoot. While the interview discussed everything from who Rick James was as a celebrity to his rivalry with Prince, Callis repeatedly informed me that he could not “remember much” about the photo shoot other than that “it was different” from previous album photo shoots that Callis had with James. Despite not recalling details of the session, Callis’s memory of difference underscores my argument that James saw The Flag as a site for new creative expression. Chris Callis, interview with the author, November 20, 2017.
Albums on vinyl and CD refer to the track as “Om Raga,” but streaming platforms like Spotify and Tidal call it “Rick’s Raga.”
Anne Danielsen, Presence and Pleasure: The Grooves of James Brown and Parliament (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2006), 73.
This use of “shame and pity” is reminiscent of James’s 1981 song “Mr. Policeman” from Street Songs. It’s on “Mr. Policeman” that James refers to racist and anti–sex work police surveillance and violence as a “shame and disgrace.” In connecting the two, we might read “Funk in America / Silly Little Man” as a transnational iteration of “Mr. Policeman,” putting the military–industrial complex and prison–industrial complex in conversation.
Stallings, Funk the Erotic, xii.
Shana L. Redmond, Anthem: Social Movements and the Sounds of Solidarity in the African Diaspora (New York: New York University Press, 2014), 2.
Here, I’m especially considering the resonances between James’s The Flag and Marlon Riggs’s 1991 film Anthem.
Prince is actually an interesting bridge between Rick James and André 3000. Prince was James’s contemporary, but also someone who opened for James and, according to James, stole much of James’s act. Most interesting, however, is that there is, or perhaps was, a South Asianness to Prince that connects all three artists. Following James’s release of The Flag, Prince released his own political album, Sign o’ the Times. The record initially featured the Revolution member Wendy Melvoin playing the electric sitar. But after Prince fired the band, he removed and/or lowered the levels of Melvoin’s sitar. Faint remnants of her playing can be heard on the tracks “Strange Relationship,” “The Cross,” and “Adore.”
Imani Perry, Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2004), 103.
Perry, Prophets of the Hood, 107.
Perry, Prophets of the Hood, 103.
Samuel A. Floyd, The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).
Regina N. Bradley, “ATLiens Turns 20: OutKast’s Past–Future Visions of the Hip-Hop South,” Black Perspectives, September 7, 2016.
Vince Robinson, interview with the author, December 8, 2017.
Robinson interview, December 8, 2017.
C. Riley Snorton, Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014), 122.
Driven, season 3, episode 23, “OutKast,” aired April 25, 2004, on VH1.
For more on this kind of historical racialized violence, see Joan M. Jensen, Passage from India: Asian Indian Immigrants in North American (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1988).
Vince Robinson, interview with the author, December 5, 2017.
Vivek Bald, Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2013), 50.
Bald, Bengali Harlem, 50.
Quoted in Meenasarani Murugan, “Exotic Television: Technology, Empire, and Entertaining Globalism” (PhD diss., 2015), 81; quoted in Bald, Bengali Harlem, 50. Original citations are as follows: “How to Solve the Race Problem,” Ebony 13, no. 3 (January 1958): 80; and “How Dark Negroes ‘Pass’ Down South,” Jet Magazine, September 8, 1955, 10–12.
Bald, Bengali Harlem, 50.
Paul A. Kramer, “The Importance of Being Turbaned,” Antioch Review 69, no. 2 (Spring 2011): 208–11.
Further examples of turbaned African American male musicians include Chuck Willis, the Turbans, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Lonnie Smith, and Rudy Ray Moore.
Puar, Terrorist Assemblages, 169.
Bradley, “ATLiens Turns 20.”
OutKast, ATLiens, liner notes.
Kelley, Freedom Dreams, 2.
Sohail Daulatzai, Black Star, Crescent Moon: The Muslim International and Black Freedom beyond America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 109.
Royster, Sounding Like a No-No, 170. Royster also discusses Sun Ra’s other queer gestures like his rumored dissident sexual practices and nonnormative musical and visual aesthetics.
Alondra Nelson, “Afrofuturism: Past–Future Visions,” Color Lines, Spring 2000, 34–37; Ramzi Fawaz, The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics (New York: New York University Press, 2016), 147.
Khyati Y. Joshi and Jigna Desai, “Discrepancies in Dixie: Asian Americans and the South,” in Asian Americans in Dixie: Race and Migration in the South, ed. Khyati Y. Joshi and Jigna Desai (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013), 1.
Fawaz, New Mutants, 28.
Quoted in Sarah Hankins, “So Contagious: Hybridity and Subcultural Exchange in Hip-Hop’s Use of Indian Samples,” Black Music Research Journal 31, no. 2 (Fall 2011): 201.
Uri McMillan, Embodied Avatars: Genealogies of Black Feminist Art and Performance (New York: New York University Press, 2016), 39. For examples of studies on Baartman, Chang and Eng, and Sewally/Jones, see Patricia Hill Collins, Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism (New York: Routledge, 2004); Cynthia Wu, Chang and Eng Reconnected: The Original Siamese Twins in American Culture (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2012); and Tavia Nyong’o, The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), respectively.
Lowe, Intimacies of Four Continents, 19.
Stallings, Funk the Erotic, 2.
Stallings, Funk the Erotic, 183.
4. Recovering Addict(ive)
Dedra S. Davis, “Press Release: $500 Million SHOULD Hurt!” September 13, 2002, http://02aa2b1.netsolhost.com/events.html; Jon Caramanica, “Indi Irate,” Entertainment Weekly, August 16, 2002, https://ew.com/article/2002/08/16/india-irate/.
Joe D’Angelo, “Dr. Dre, Interscope Stung with $500 Million Lawsuit over ‘Addictive,’” MTV News Online, September 19, 2002, http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1457672/dr-dre-sued-over-addictive.jhtml.
D’Angelo, “Dr. Dre.”
While in no way exhaustive, a list of South Asian–inspired songs that were released after “Addictive” and were arguably recorded to cash in on its popularity include “Toxic,” “(I Got That) Boom Boom,” “Me against the World (Rishi Rich’s Desi Kulcha Remix),” and “My Prerogative” by Britney Spears; “React” by Erick Sermon and Redman; “Get in Touch with Us” and “Shake Ya Bum Bum” by Lil’ Kim; “What’s Happenin’” by Method Man; “Rebel Music” by Wyclef Jean; and “Don’t Phunk with My Heart” and “My Humps” by the Black Eyed Peas.
Joanna Demers, Steal This Music: How Intellectual Property Law Affects Musical Creativity (Athens: University of Georgia Press: 2006), 101–2.
Wayne Marshall and Jayson Beaster-Jones, “It Takes a Little Lawsuit: The Flowering Garden of Bollywood Exoticism in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility,” South Asian Popular Culture 10, no. 3 (2012): 2.
Sharma, Hip Hop Desis, 225.
Roberts, Resounding Afro Asia, 168.
Roberts, Resounding Afro Asia, 157.
Roberts, Resounding Afro Asia, 157.
Jigna Desai, Beyond Bollywood: The Cultural Politics of South Asian Diasporic Film (New York: Routledge, 2004).
For more on the politics of respectability and the politics of silence, see Evelynn M. Hammonds, “Toward a Genealogy of Black Female Sexuality: The Problematic of Silence,” in Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures, ed. M. Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Talpade Mohanty (New York: Routledge, 1997), 170–82; Evelynn M. Hammonds, “Black (W)holes and the Geometry of Black Female Sexuality,” Differences 6, nos. 2–3 (1994): 126–45; Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880–1990 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993); Darlene Clark Hine, “Rape and the Inner Lives of Black Women in the Middle West: Preliminary Thoughts on the Culture of Dissemblance,” Signs 14, no. 4 (Summer 1989): 912–20; Brittney Cooper, Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2017); Treva B. Lindsey, Colored No More: Reinventing Black Womanhood in Washington, D.C. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2017); and Joan Morgan, “Why We Got Off: Moving Towards a Black Feminist Politics of Pleasure,” The Black Scholar 45, no. 4 (2015): 36–46.
Roberts, Resounding Afro Asia, 165.
D’Angelo, “Dr. Dre.”
Marshall and Beaster-Jones, “It Takes a Little Lawsuit,” 2.
Marshall and Beaster-Jones, “It Takes a Little Lawsuit,” 2.
Regula Qureshi, “How Does Music Mean? Embodied Memories and the Politics of Affect in the Indian ‘Sarangi,’” American Ethnologist 27 (2000): 813.
Marshall and Beaster-Jones, “It Takes a Little Lawsuit,” 3.
Truth Hurts, interview with the author, September 24, 2013.
Bryan Brock, e-mail interview with the author, June 5, 2013.
Moya Bailey and Trudy, “On Misogynoir: Citation, Erasure, and Plagiarism,” Feminist Media Studies 18, no. 4 (2018): 1–7.
Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (New York: Routledge, 1991).
Richard Zumkhawala-Cook, “Bollywood Gets Funky: American Hip-Hop, Basement Bhangra, and the Racial Politics of Music,” in Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance, edited by Sangita Gopal and Sujata Moorti (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), 315–16.
Roberts, Resounding Afro Asia, 159.
See Lisa Duggan, Nan D. Hunter, and Carole S. Vance, “False Promises: Feminist Antipornography Legislation,” in Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture (1985; repr., New York: Routledge, 2006), 43–64; Pat Califia, “Anti-Anti-Porn,” Off Our Backs, October 1980, 25; and Amber Hollibaugh and Cherrie Moraga, “What We’re Rollin’ around in Bed With: Sexual Silences in Feminism,” Heresies 12 (1981): 58–62.
Amber Jamilla Musser, Sensational Flesh: Race, Power, and Masochism (New York: New York University Press, 2014), 34.
Ariane Cruz, The Color of Kink: Black Women, BDSM, and Pornography (New York: New York University Press, 2016), 11; Joan Morgan “Why We Get Off: Moving towards a Black Feminist Politics of Pleasure,” The Black Scholar 45, no. 4 (2015): 40.
Vijay Mishra, Bollywood Cinema: Temples of Desire (New York: Routledge, 2002), 104; Sanjay Srivastava, “Voice, Gender, and Space in Time of Five-Year Plans: The Idea of Lata Mangeshkar,” Economic and Political Weekly, May 14, 2004, 2022.
Pavitra Sundar, “Meri Awaaz Suno: Women, Vocality, and Nation in Hindi Cinema,” Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism 8 (2007): 149.
And, in the spirit of the Mary Jane Girls’ song “In My House,” Truth Hurts’s reference to a male partner taking care of “home” might also refer to a vagina.
Nabeel Zuberi, “Sampling South Asian Music,” in South Asian Technospaces, ed. Radhika Gajjala and Venkataramana Gajjala (New York: Peter Lang, 2008), 59.
For more on the analysis on the blending temporalities and bodies that occur in sampling, see Elliott H. Powell, “The Ghosts Got You: Hip-Hop, Sampling, and the Future of Intellectual Property,” in The Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Music, ed. Justin D. Burton and Jason Lee Oakes (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2018), https://www.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190281090.013.29.
Roberts, Resounding Afro Asia, 166.
Juana María Rodriguez, “Queer Sociality and Other Sexual Fantasies,” GLQ 17, nos. 2–3 (2011): 331–48.
Gayatri Gopinath, “Bollywood Spectacles: Queer Diasporic Critique in the Aftermath of 9/11,” Social Text 23, nos. 3–4 (Fall–Winter 2005): 157.
Corey Takahashi, “Musical Masala,” Vibe, February 2003, 96.
See the Black Eyed Peas, Monkey Business, recorded 2004, Interscope Records, B00096S3RC, 2005, compact disc.
5. Do(ing) Something Different
It should be noted that Timbaland also produced a song for her debut as well.
Bill Pettaway, telephone interview with the author, March 18, 2008.
It’s also possible that Saregama’s lawsuit against “Addictive” played a part in motivating Timbaland to “do something different.” Timbaland was already involved in a lawsuit concerning Jay-Z’s hit “Big Pimpin’,” which Timbaland produced and which sampled an Egyptian recording. And so Timbaland might have been concerned that, in light of the “Addictive” and “Big Pimpin’” lawsuits, his continued use of South Asian and Middle Eastern songs would open himself up to further copyright infringement litigation.
Sasha Frere-Jones, “Hip-Hop Is a Guest at the Indian Wedding,” New York Times, August 3, 2003, 2.23.
Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume One, trans. Ben Fowkes (London: Penguin Books, 1990); Fred Moten, In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003).
Chronologically, Shwari’s first appearance on a song tied to Timbaland was Slum Village’s “Disco” remix, which features Timbaland and Shwari in the music video. However, Timbaland’s associate Brian Kidd actually produced the song, and Timbaland was not involved in its creation.
The Blueprint is one of Jay-Z’s most critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums. It is notable for its theme of introspection as well as the music’s production, which focuses on samples of soul music that are often sped up and pitched; this style, much like South Asian samples, soon led to a number of rappers releasing music with a similar aesthetic.
Jay-Z references Osama Bin Laden because The Blueprint was released on September 11, 2001; despite the attacks, the album sold extremely well during its first week. “Hov” is one of Jay-Z’s nicknames.
Monika Mehta, “What’s behind Film Censorship: The Khalnayak Debates,” Jouvert 5 (2001), https://legacy.chass.ncsu.edu/jouvert/v5i3/mehta.htm.
Gopinath, Impossible Desires, 111.
Jason King, “Any Love: Silence, Theft, and Rumor in the Work of Luther Vandross,” Callaloo 23, no. 1 (Winter 2000): 426.
Jason Stanyek and Benjamin Piekut, “Deadness: Technologies of the Intermundane,” TDR: The Drama Review 54, no. 1 (201): 14.
Stanyek and Piekut, “Deadness,” 20.
Carolyn Dinshaw, Lee Edelman, Roderick A. Ferguson, Carla Freccero, Elizabeth Freeman, Judith Halberstam, Annamarie Jagose, Christopher Nealon, and Nguyen Tan Hoang, “Theorizing Queer Temporalities: A Roundtable Discussion,” GLQ 13 (2007): 159.
Joseph G. Schloss, Making Beats: The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2004), 1. For more information on “schizophonia,” see Steven Feld, “From Schizophonia to Schismogenesis: On the Discourses and Commodification Practices of World Music,” in Music Grooves: Essays and Dialogues, ed. Charles Keil and Steven Feld (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), 257–90. Stanyek and Piekut are notably cautious of the schizophonia, which they find to be “itself a problematic, tautological term that seems to describe an exception (sound severed from source) to some impossible, full presence (sound as identical with its source . . .). Indeed, schizophonia describes sound itself. All sounds are severed from their sources—that’s what makes sound sound. Rhizophonia is our term for taking account both of sound’s extensity and the impossibility of a perfect identity between sound and source.” Stanyek and Piekut, “Deadness,” 19.
Molly McGarry. Ghosts of Futures Past: Spiritualism and the Cultural Politics of Nineteenth-Century America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008), 2.
For a deeper history into the ways fashion and gender intersect within Black male masculinity, see Monica Miller, Slaves to Fashion: Black Dandyism and the Styling of Black Diasporic Identity (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2009). Moreover, this queer way of reading/listening to “The Bounce” is particularly apt for the ways in which male rappers routinely utilize queer and transphobic language toward other male rappers (mostly using the language of “lifting/pulling up/down skirts”) to shore up masculinity and patriarchal norms. See, for example, Audio Two’s classic 1987 hip-hop record “Top Billin’,” which Kanye West interpolates on “The Bounce.”
Elizabeth Wood, “Sapphonics,” in Queering the Pitch: The New Gay and Lesbian Musicology, ed. Philip Brett, Elizabeth Wood, and Gary C. Thomas (New York: Routledge, 1994), 27.
Wood, “Sapphonics,” 32.
Wood, “Sapphonics,” 33.
Quoted in Indus at University of California Berkeley, Andaaz 1 (August 2003): 15.
Zuberi, “Sampling South Asian Music,” 64.
Hannon Lane, interview with the author, May 16, 2013.
Jimmy Douglass, interview with the author, July 2, 2019.
Frere-Jones, “Hip-Hop Is a Guest,” 2.23.
Sharma, Hip Hop Desis, 262.
Zuberi, “Sampling South Asian Music,” 64.
Reddy and Sudhakar, “Introduction.” Reddy and Suhakar also extend this analysis to include Afro-Asian “bromances” (e.g. Du Bois and Lala Lajpat Rai).
Stuart Hall, “Race, Articulation, and Societies Structured in Dominance,” in Sociological Theories: Race and Colonialism (Paris: UNESCO, 1980), 305–45.
While it might look the same, this is notably different from the “Addictive” video because, as Beaster-Jones and Marshall explain, “Addictive” highlighted the use of North African dance traditions, like belly dancing, in certain Bollywood cinema.
See Murray Forman, The ’Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip-Hop (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2002).
Rebecca Kumar, “‘Let Yo Booty Do That Yoga’: Black Goddess Politics,” Scholar & Feminist Online 14, no. 3 (2018), http://sfonline.barnard.edu/feminist-and-queer-afro-asian-formations/let-yo-booty-do-that-yoga-black-goddess-politics/.
Kumar, “Let Yo Booty.”
See, for example, Carolyn Cooper, Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender, and the “Vulgar” Body in Jamaican Popular Culture (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1995).
Daphne A. Brooks, “‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’: Black Female Soul Singing and the Politics of Surrogation in the Age of Catastrophe,” Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism 8, no. 1 (2008): 180–204.
Bald, Bengali Harlem.
Kumar, “Let Yo Booty.”
Adrija Bose, “Coldplay Takes Its Love for India All the Way to Their Super Bowl Performance,” Huffington Post India, February 8, 2016, https://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/02/08/coldplay-superbowl_n_9184596.html.
Mars’s set paid homage to Oakland native MC Hammer.
For more on the Black queer thematics in “Formation” (including Black queer and trans people critiquing and filing a lawsuit against Beyoncé for copyright infringement), see Marquis Bey, “Beyoncé’s Black (Ab)Normal: Baaad Insurgency and the Queerness of Slaying,” Black Camera 9, no. 1 (2017): 164–78; and Lauron Kehrer, “Who Slays? Queer Resonances in Beyoncé’s Lemonade,” Popular Music and Society 42, no. 1 (2019): 82–98.