Under 2) Week 9/9 You will see Project 1: Dear Art Sato
Listen to Voices and Music of Resistance and Revolution
James Baldwin in “The Uses of the Blues” lets us know that the blues is an experience of life, a form or shape or mood, a way of being in the world, that lets us hold contradictory feelings at the same time, in the same person. “Tonight at Noon,” in that sense, is a blues construction. Anger and joy (“joy is a true state, it is a reality”), we know, can coexist in us. Whereas happiness, says Baldwin, “is not a real state and does not really exist.”
From blues singer Bessie Smith he gets this: “Good mornin’, blues / Blues, how do you do? / I’m doin’ all right / Good mornin’ / How are you?” And from there we can jump to Kendrick Lamar, remembering people chanting “we gon’ be alright” in protest in the streets: “I’m fucked up / Homie, you fucked up / But if God got us then we gon’ be alright.” Which we feel as an expression of outrage, of anger AND joy, a big collective yes to who joins in that song.
On June 6 this year, days after George Floyd’s police murder in Minneapolis, Art Sato (born 1944 in US concentration Camp Amache, in Colorado, his family incarcerated as Japanese Americans) pulled together this ‘mixtape’ for his weekly radio program “In Your Ear.” Art’s son Ilyich Sato, aka rapper Equipto, leaves a mark on his dad’s playlist. (See short video here from May 2016, day 13 of Ilyich’s hunger strike against police violence.)
Write a letter to Art Sato, at least two pages, while listening to his radio program – Begin your letter, “Dear Art Sato” and direct what you write to him. And sign it, as you would a letter.