Sunday 29 December 2013

Ani di Franco's Plantation Fandango

So I've been following the arguments that have broken out online about Ani di Franco's 'Righteous Retreat', which has drawn some criticism from people of colour due to its being held ON A PLANTATION. And what I keep thinking is - did no-one CHECK? Did no-one ASK? Did no-one think 'this may not be the best idea'? I know it can be tricky to find venues. I know there can be trade-offs. But I really don't get how, even given all that, Ani or Buddy Wakefield or any of their people could have thought this was a good choice of venue. You don't have to do much research to see why it's a bad idea. Here's the information about the venue, Nottaway Plantation, on the Righteous Retreat website. Can YOU spot the subtle clues to the location's dodgy past? Climb inside my Mystery Machine and I'll take you through it. First off, it's described as 'the South's largest antebellum mansion'. This suggests, to me, that it was built before the Civil War by a Southern Gentleman who was hella rich. Hmmm. HOW DID THOSE DUDES GET SO RICH AGAIN? It's described as having 'survived the Civil War'. It was owned by a rich Southern dude and it went through the Civil War. Remind me, WHAT WERE RICH SOUTHERN DUDES TRYING TO PRESERVE BY FIGHTING THE CIVIL WAR? And the final clue, Watson, the fact whuch convinced me that this place had a dark past in one of the most shameful periods of US history was, and stay with me here because this is where it gets a bit CSI, the place IS CALLED NOTTAWAY FUCKING PLANTATION. The CLUE is in the NAME. Genuinely, no-one thought this might not be the best idea? I mean, the clues are there if they looked. And even if they were trying to find venues, did none of their research involve having somebody visit the place? Because if this report is anything to go by, as dodgy as the place sounds on paper it is a heckuva lot more horrible up-close, racist gift shop,'whistling corridor' and all.