Once again, good people, we face the scourge of that damn nigger music. Among the millions of hate letters - from barely legible postcards to boxes filled with voodoo trinkets - I've received over the years, the one I remember most was a racist diatribe delivered to the Miami News years ago. Though I don't recall what the thing said, I'll never forget the debate it sparked between my boss (a dark-skinned woman) and myself (mostly "white," according to grandma's genealogy studies). I argued that there are times and places for the ugly word with the two g's in the middle. The Lenny Bruce theory adopted by some blacks - that repetition diminishes a word's power - could, in fact, take some of the hurtfulness out of those six letters; and when a bigot uses that word, he accomplishes nothing but the demonstration of his own ignorance. My ex-boss (whom, I should note, I still admire and thank for much) said there is never any reason to use n----r. The point of all this is that I do not invoke the word lightly.
But what else can you say? We watch it pass by as if it were a movie: the 2 Live Crew is too nasty, NWA is too dangerous, the Geto Boys are too nasty and too dangerous. So America censors them in any number of ways, including the claim the music is intended to draw controversy in order to sell. Publicity seeking or no, this all echoes the early days of rock and roll, when law enforcement and government officials actually used the word "nigger" to describe why they found certain music unacceptable.
The latest episode in this ongoing nightmare, as related by Compton's Most Wanted's publicist: The hip-hoppers, on tour with Geto Boys, were set to play the Cumberland County Arena in North Carolina. At soundcheck, 40 cops appeared and announced, "We know all about you Compton people." A strange way to say "nigger," but a way to say it nonetheless. The musicians were then told that if anything in their performance was found to be "objectionable" (out of tune, perhaps?), they would be arrested. The cops elaborated: "Shit" and "damn" would be okay, but any of that "fuck" or "pussy" stuff - you can't do that in Fayetteville. (Are You Being Served? with Mrs. Slocome's pussy must not air on teevy there.) The groups decided to take their show to a club outside the city. A spokeswoman for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department, under whose aegis the Arena falls, says she doesn't know a thing about any of this. The publicist swears it's true. You can see and hear Compton's Most Wanted in the movie Boyz N the Hood. It's about niggers.
The Prayer Club is looking for musicians who would like to perform Robert Wright's (the Perfect Murder) new material. Dial 270-1208.
There's a big welcome-back party for the Roach Thompson Blues Band this Friday at Tobacco Road. You can also hear the B.B. King-Lucille Award winners on Saturday at the Clevelander.
"Think you've got boat tickets for the Bonnie Raitt concert Sept. 20 at the Miami Marine Stadium? Think again." The Miami Herald claimed last week that no boat tickets were being sold, that those with tickets should return them. Not true, says the promoter, Fantasma. Although no more boat tickets are being sold, those who already bought them can cruise the waves and dock stageside. Boat slots are, in fact, limited because of an obstructing stage configuration used by Raitt, Fantasma says. So, waterlubbers, hold onto those ducats. And do everyone a favor: Be careful in the water.
Note to you anonymous John Prine caller: I didn't mean to be snide, and it wasn't in boldface because he's an opening act. Enjoy the show.
Washington Square has a heck of a concert this Sunday, with 7 Seconds and the Doughboys on the bill. Earlier that day, at 5:00 p.m., you can meet members of these two very excellent bands at Yesterday & Today on Bird Road. Call 665-3305.
Play it, say it homes. The major labels that so long ignored Miami's roiling rock scene are crawling on their knees to get a slice of the Magic City pie now. We told you a while back about MCA's eagerness to discover SoFlo talent, and now Capitol is entreating y'all to show 'em your stuff. The invite is open to anyone and everyone who makes music. Post to Tim Hinz, Capitol Records A&R, 1280 S. Alhambra Circle, Suite 2309, Coral Gables, 33146, or call him up at 666-1756.
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New music from Satellite Beach's Screaming Iguanas of Love. Wild, Wild, Wild should now be available at better record stores everywhere. Check it out.
Bob Wlos is still looking to put together a compilation of area bands, acoustic to rock to country to anything in the world. You can play synth if you want, but please no sequenced stuff. Call him at 427-1836.
Butthorn of the week: The management at Scandinavian health spas. The circulation department at New Times says much effort and time went into getting copies of the papers distributed at the Scandies, including custom-painting stands to match the health clubs' oh-so decor. A new boss came in and said no go. Some of the spa's customers have written and called the circulation folks to say they want to be able to read New Times while they sweat out the toxins at Scandinavian. There is something to be said for keeping the customer satisfied. Easy solution: join another health club, one where you can get your NT.
The media circus: According to the Journalism Education and Research Committee (JERC), the top news stories of 1991: (5) nuclear-arms limits agreed to; (4) BCCI scandal; (3) Gorbachev ousted in Soviet coup; (2) Gorbachev reclaims power and Soviet Union/communism collapse; and (1) the biggest story in the world, the news that has rocked the planet and altered the way we live and think: some whore and her cop husband got busted in Broward County. As the great Little Richard puts it, Shut up!