Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Conclusion on White Female #2

(Soul Music)

Kofi Fosu Forson

Art defined for me the white female as expressive, caught within margins on canvases by the likes of Matisse and Renoir. Picasso’s Demoiselles D’Avignon prepared for me the dimensions at which one can go in developing a style and language. Cindy Sherman did that for me with the stark management of light and dark in her film stills which challenged the notions of beauty and sex.

Nan Goldin’s Ballad of Sexual Dependency was singularly the most influential book of photography on my life as an artist. Both Sherman and Goldin’s work of art were the first to prove to me that the white female can be an abstraction and not classified as movie star, a la Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor or Lauren Bacall.

Vixens like Rachel Welch or other actresses featured in movies labeled 70’s, Pam Grier, Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda and the Bond Girls presented the female as dominant.

Much can be said about Blaxploitation films. It portrayed its women as having extreme confidence. This was my first impression of the black woman exhibiting total freedom. Almost always, Tina Turner was representative of this.

Soul music was my understanding of the black woman’s sexuality. I got the truest sense of this in black music. Unlike rock and roll, it wasn’t marketed to the young. And so I fulfilled this need for black culture by listening to my father’s records.

Singers like Millie Jackson, Nina Simone and Roberta Flack were much the same as the aunts who took care of me growing up in Ghana. It was almost incestuous listening to Aretha Franklin sing about love, at times voyeuristic.

As a boy, a rendition of "A Rose in Spanish Harlem" brought tears to my eyes.

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