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2 Responses to “BETTER BOY’S FOUNDATION / “Hey Black Child””

Kiini Ibura Says:
February 9th, 2009 at 11:38 am

Hey Baba,

Last year Tuta was talking to Mama or Jenga or somebody was asking something about the music we used to listen to when we were children and Tuta got the vinyl from Mama. He recorded Black Fairy, Honey I Love by Eloise Greenfield, and First Steps (do you have the history on that? If so, please share with me and/or with the BOL readers [if relevant] another week.)

I love the music from “The Black Fairy” musical, specifically “Hey Black Child” and “The Streets of Harlem.” At night, Ua gets her choice of music to listen to as she falls asleep and “The Black Fairy” is among her choices. She most often chooses “Honey, I Love,” but she has her phases where it’s all about “The Black Fairy.”

I cringed when I first heard it again after all those years. The depth of Johnny’s self-hatred hurt me and I worried about introducing Ua to that emotion as I don’t think she has it on her own (except about hair… which is a deep can of worms that I meditate on, often grossly fascinated by the extent to which there is a universal worldwide agreement that black hair is bad hair).

I would watch Ua and listen carefully for whether or not she agreed with Johnny’s intense and vehement arguments that white people have everything good… and also mystified by the choice of the play to uphold the view that white fairies *do* have magic, instead of revealing the lie behind it all. Somehow the play upholds Johnny’s vision of black people lacking in some magical way and instead argues that we don’t have any use for magic, our fairies and our people need something real. Doing nothing to redress the concept of us (black people) lacking in some way white people are magically endowed/abundant confuses me.

I started trying to skip past the intro so that Ua wouldn’t hear it, but she’d say, “No mommy, put it back to the beginning.” So I just listened with her and asked her if she thought Johnny is right. She seemed clear in her knowledge that he’s wrong, but it still hurts me to expose her to that. It hurts me to hear it. I worry about the musical’s depiction of Africa as having nothing bad–no war, no fighting, no hunger.

But the music healing. The music and its “meta-message” is so steeped in multi-layered blackness, a fierce reclamation of black children’s spirits, a beautiful sound that both Ua and I need in ways that circumvent my analysis of the lyrics, so it plays on… and lives on in the third generation of Salaams.

Pemon Rami Says:
July 18th, 2009 at 9:01 am

Pemon Rami, was the original producer and director of the play “The Black Fairy” as well as the album. Please visit for information on how to obtain a copy of the CD

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