Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and the Black Experience

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Lawrence Hill Books, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 157 pages
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Jimi Hendrix's social meaning, his sexual mystery, and his scientific explorations in the field of sound are addressed here from a black perspective. This unique introduction to a man who, despite his popular appeal, has never made it into the pantheon of 20th-century black icons, incorporates extensive interviews with black Americans who shed light on Hendrix’s complicated racial relationships. Midnight Lightning explores how Hendrix exploded the complacently segregated world to emerge as an icon for white boys, why his songs were not heard on black radio, and why black people once viewed him as a hippie Uncle Tom. Also explored are his connection to the Black Power movement, how he electrified soul music and made the electric guitar supplant the human voice, how he revolutionized the use of technology in popular music, and how black his music really was. This biography discusses his sex appeal--especially for black women--how he redefined rock fashion, why nobody was really mad at him for sleeping with white women (at the same time as Sammy Davis, Jr. was being harassed and threatened for kissing a white woman onstage), and how he was marketed as a white performer. Explained are the ways in which Hendrix subverted and destabilized black masculine stereotypes, changing the way black music and black identity are perceived.

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MIDNIGHT LIGHTNING: Jimi Hendrix and the Black Experience

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A jumpy, fast-talking take on Jimi Hendrix—the social meaning, the sexual mystery, and the music of a "musician's musician.""Race, sex, technology, and Jimi Hendrix—these will position the ... Read full review

Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and the Black Experience

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

"This is not Everyman's Guide to Jimi Hendrix," forewarns Tate, a longtime staff writer for the Village Voice; it's a book with a racial agenda: "A Jimi book with plantation baggage, darkskin biases ... Read full review


Talkin About My Racial Agenda 7
Playing the Race Game 17
Invisibility Blues 23

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About the author (2003)

Greg Tate has been a staff writer at The Village Voice since 1986. He has also contributed to The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Washington Post, Premiere, Downbeat, and Artforum. He is the author of Flyboy in the Buttermilk and the forthcoming Everything but the Burden: What Whites Are Taking from Black Culture. A producer, founding member of the Black Rock Coalition, and a working musician, Tate's band Burnt Sugar has been acclaimed by The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and JazzTimes among others. He lives in New York City.

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