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Two polar opposite stories by one writer

Writer paints the seriousness of America I Am with the same rich brush strokes she uses to get across Blowfly's profane humor

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What would you get if you took a masked Mexican wrestler and put him in the ring with multi-colored funk godfather George Clinton, X-rated Miami rap legend Luther Campbell, intergalactic jazz man Sun Ra and outer-space dub-meister Lee "Scratch" Perry? For one thing, you'd get a psychedelic mess of modern R&B-based bodily fluids all over the mat. But more importantly, that mess of DNA would spontaneously generate one Blowfly.

Don't know who Blowfly is? We got you covered. Blowfly, born Clarence Reid 73 years ago in a tiny, blink-and-you'll-miss-it town in the middle of Georgia, started out writing fairly normal R&B songs for artists like Sam & Dave and Betty Wright. That was before Reid discovered the power of the profane and transmogrified into Blowfly. If I told you anything more about this sex-crazed septuagenarian singer, I'd spoil the fun for you. You'll just have to flip over to page 28 and read what he tells CL writer Emiene Wright. It will be well worth any paper cuts you might get turning the pages.

Speaking of Emiene: When we brought her into the Creative Loafing fold in June, we already knew we were getting an excellent copy editor — a rare and valuable commodity in these lean times for newspapers. Before moving to Charlotte, Emiene copy-edited and wrote headlines for the Detroit Free Press and later Miami Herald. After arriving here, she quickly became secretary of the Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists. And she came to her first CL editorial meeting brimming with ideas.

What we didn't know — and what you will soon find out — is that Emiene also is an excellent writer with wide-ranging knowledge of art, music and culture. Not only did she conduct that crazy-funny interview with Blowfly for the music section, but she also writes this issue's cover story on the very serious Tavis Smiley exhibition America I Am: The African American Imprint, now at the Harvey Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. Smiley has brought together a panoply of artifacts, from the twisted, rusted metal that shackled noble West Africans brought here on slave ships to one of Prince's purple, glyph-shaped guitars. In her piece on the exhibit, Emiene paints the seriousness of this issue with the same rich brush strokes she uses to get across Blowfly's profane humor, which actually may be more profound than you expect.

We're happy to welcome Emiene to Creative Loafing. You'll be glad she's here, too.


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