[Dixielandjazz] 'Shine' the slang meaning

Robert Thompson tashmoorlt at earthlink.net
Wed Nov 3 14:37:54 PST 2004

----- Original Message ----- 
From: David Richoux <tubaman at batnet.com>
To: DJML Jazz <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, November 02, 2004 8:12 PM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] 'Shine' the slang meaning

After I posted that last message I thought to look up the author - he  
has written a book called: "Resistance, Parody, and Double  
Consciousness in African-American Theatre" and there is a very  
interesting review at:

here is a snip:
Swirling beneath the seemingly simple storylines of the black musicals  
Krasner discusses are complex countercurrents of resistance. How could  
blacks actively participate in productions entitled Two Real Coons, Jes  
Lak White F'lks, The Cannibal King, and Bandanna Land? According to  
Krasner, African Americans were not compliant purveyors of images that  
derided their own culture. Entwined with the song, dance, and comedic  
routines was a subtext. In efforts to resist racism, many black  
performers "employed a twofold strategy in countering white claims of  
black authenticity: reinscription and reversal." Reinscription, Krasner  
notes, was the "manner in which black performers entered into black  
face caricature and refashioned it." The musicals he explores became "a  
form of resistance to the dominant discourse by signifying on the  
subject of racism." That is, if a black person derides black culture in  
song lyrics and stage routines, white efforts to do so are undermined  
and deflated because "racism has been stolen from the mouths of  

anyway - might be interesting reading! The subject of "The Cakewalk" is  
also explored.

Dave Richoux
On Nov 2, 2004, at 5:01 PM, David Richoux wrote:

> From  
> http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2838/is_n2_v29/ai_17534807/ 
> pg_2
>    Parody and double consciousness in the language of early Black  
> musical theatre
>    African American Review, Summer, 1995 by David Krasner
>  The lyrics of "Shine" draw our attention to the double consciousness  
> of racial identity, and parody racism through inverting the position  
> of the signifier. The signifier (Walker) inverts the signified (racial  
> identification; i.e., names), subverting racist signification.  
> "Shine," Richard Newman writes, "is almost a song of social protest in  
> its antiracism" (479):
> When I was born they christened me plain Samuel Johnson Brown, I  
> hadn't grown so very big 'fore some folks in the town Had changed it  
> 'round to Sambo, I was Rastus to a few Then Choc'late drop was added  
> by some others that I knew
> So when these clever people call me shine, or coon, or smoke, I simply  
> smile, then smile some more, and vote them all a joke, I'm thinking  
> just the same, what is there in a name.
> On Nov 2, 2004, at 4:51 PM, David Richoux wrote:
>> Don, and all,
>> I was on a remote computer when I sent my last message - I was going  
>> to go a bit further on the "actual lyric" question but I did not have  
>> access to all of the messages and I had to get to a meeting.
>>> When someone shouted, "Fellas, hey! Come on and pipe the shine!"
>>> But I don't care a bit. Here's how I figure it:
>> does not seem like the protagonist is scared that someone is going to  
>> beat him with a pipe - the rest of the song seems to me as  more  
>> about accepting conditions of being called "Sambo,"  "Rastus," or  
>> "Chocolate Drop" - that was the nature of the times, a bit like  
>> "Mick," "Wop," or "Yid" but not like an extreme life threatening  
>> situation.
>> Do we know who Dabney/Mack/Brown were? In some ways it seems like an  
>> early "Black Pride" song! Call me names but I will still be here!
>> anyway, I am sure that doctoral papers in Afro-American Studies have  
>> been written about this song - we just can't find them.
>> Dave Richoux
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