I’ve Never Seen Porgy and Bess

Porgy and Bess Poster

I’ve never seen Porgy and Bess. Of course, there is an element of racism that never really made me think that it was possible  to enjoy this opera/play without guilt.  However, curiously I decided to name my blog  based on lyrics from the iconic tune “Summertime.” One thing that I am clear of, having not seen the film, play, or opera however is that there is nothing easy about living in the 1920s, being both poor and black, and being in Charleston, SC. I am from South Carolina and I love my home state. However, I am not immune to the sheer awfulness of it too. How African descended people have always been so much of this place but excluded and punished for their presence at the same time. Charleston is a beautiful city, one of my favorite travel destinations– along with Paris and San Francisco. It is a city that shows that it is equal parts provincial and cosmopolitan–grand enough for a fashion week, but awful enough to still have largely segregated black and white populace, where so many families live in abject poverty blocks from million dollar homes. So this blog is going to be an homage to my home and also a recognition that being black and from South Carolina is not all about singing and dancing. It is not okay if “I’ve got plenty of nothing.” I want to read the novel Porgy and maybe even see the movie, but I just know that when black people who are also Southern are presented in movies, usually it is so problematic that I will end up writing a dissertation-like diatribe only on the problems of black Southerness in film. Beasts of a Southern Wild was so bad that I literally had to consider whether the people who were raving about it saw the same movie.

I want this blog to be about the writing life and the subject matter that I am drawn to write about. For some reason, in the 10 years that I have tried to write about the Gullah/Geeche heritage it has been so hard. In some ways I think that I need to counter all the awfulness that has already been produced. It is difficult. Instead of just trying to write in a vacuum, I will start with what is out there and hope that is enough. So daily blogging is the challenge. We will se what emerges.

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