We were inspired. Local DJ, Young Venom, curated a playlist for the Mississippi Museum of Art, and we decided, “Why not curate one for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum’s opening, even though they didn’t ask?!” So we did. We have. And we’re sharing it. Here’s to #blackgirljoy that even 45 can’t dampen.
There’s been so much talk leading up to the grand opening of the museum—go because Agent Orange is there or don’t? support hard work or wait until Monday?—we wanted to do our part. Our part is typically going to dominantly feature girls’ and women’s voices, which we have done here. But you’ll also find these artists are all Mississippians.
There’s a bit of everything on the playlist, as we tried to regard as much of what has come from this state’s rich soil as we could. Mary Wilson (who’s from Greenville, by the way) recording with The Supremes pre-Diana Ross, Big K.R.I.T., Cassandra Wilson, and we just couldn’t leave out the Mississippi Mass Choir. We opened with south Mississippian, Leontyne Price singing, “Métamorphoses: C’est ainsi que tu es” (Metamorphoses: That is how you are). It translates from French to English thusly, “Your flesh, soul mingled / Tangled hair / Your foot running time / Your shadow spreading / And whisper to my temple / That’s your portrait / That’s how you are / And I want to write it to you / For the night to come / You can believe and say / That I knew you well.”
All any of us really want is to be seen, heard and understood.
You’ll also notice, as you listen, tracks that narrate the highs and lows of relationships. Don’t scratch your head from confusion. Consider this. Black folks’—particularly girls’ and women’s, for us—relationship with Mississippi and the “United” States is too often parallel to an abusive one. The comparisons and literary devices (similes and metaphors, for example), are jarring when you let your mind go there. Hear Mama Thornton sing about the hound dog, Jim Crow. “You ain’t never caught a rabbit / and you ain’t no friend of mine. Stretch your imagination with us, and enjoy some of Mississippi’s soul in the form of opera, blues, and all that jazz.