In anticipation of the excellent upcoming film I Am Not Your Negro, an exploration of the black experience in America through the writing of James Baldwin, we're reading and rereading all the work by the great thinker and writer we can get our hands on. We might even fancy a T-shirt with his face on, but definitely not the one for sale on Morrissey's merch site.
Image via true-to-you.net
In a quite spectacular display of tone-deafness and privilege, Morrissey has been peddling a shirt with James Baldwin's face on it, surrounded by the famous Smiths' lyric, "I wear black on the outside, 'cause black is how I feel on the inside," from Unloveable. Fine as a lyric; deeply problematic when equated visually, by a white artist, with an implied understanding of the black experience. Following a backlash, the T-shirt does appear to have been removed from Morrissey's merch site.
Definitely make sure you see the truly brilliant I Am Not Your Negro when it comes out in the UK on 7 April. Watch the trailer below.
Text Charlotte Gush
Lead image James Baldwin in I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. Photo Credit: © Bob Adelman, all rights reserved