In Autobiography, Morrissey observes:
"Nerve deserts me in 1986 as I spot the American writer and social reformer James Baldwin sitting alone in the lobby of a grandiose Barcelona hotel. He is weathered and intense, absorbed in his own thoughts, with a face there could never be enough time to describe. I drink him in, but can do no more. I pin so much prestige to James Baldwin that to risk approach places my life on the line; I’d hang myself at any glimmer of rejection. History books overlook James Baldwin because he presented an unvarnished view of the American essence – as blunt and rousing as print would allow. His public speeches were intoxicating, his motivational palette of words so full of fireworks that you smile as you listen – not because of humor, but because he was so good at voicing the general truth, with which most struggled. His liking for male flesh gave the world a perfect excuse to brush him aside as a social danger, and he was erased away as someone who used his blackness as an excuse for everything. In fact, his purity scared them off, and his honesty ignited irrational fear in an America where men were draped with medals for killing other men yet imprisoned for loving one another. Pitifully, on this Barcelona day, I do not have the steel to approach James Baldwin, because I know very well that I will jabber rubbish, and that his large, soulful eyes will lower at someone ruefully new to the game. Shortly thereafter, he is dead."
Baldwin interviews & clips were often used as part of the pre-show videos prior to concerts. Backdrop circa 2018:
Drum header and photo pass in 2017:
The shirt became the subject of controversy and many media outlets highlighted it (examples follow):
- The Guardian: "Bigmouth strikes again: row over Morrissey’s James Baldwin tour T-shirt"
- The Independent:"Morrissey removes 'problematic' T-shirt featuring image of James Baldwin from online sale"
- Spin: "Morrissey’s New T-Shirt Is A Very Bad Idea"
- Consequence: "Morrissey is selling a James Baldwin “Black Is How I Feel on the Inside” t-shirt"
- Factmag: "Morrissey is selling racist t-shirts because he is a fucking idiot"
The shirt was never offered for sale online or at concerts as a result.
(see forum article for larger media items list).
On the third night of his second Vegas residency (July 6, 2022), Morrissey wore a badge featuring James Baldwin & Nina Simone:
- World Tour 2011 Pre-show Tracks
- World Tour 2012-2013 Pre-show Tracks
- The world won't listen - true-to-you.net (November 18, 2013)
- World Peace Is None Of Your Business Tour 2014-2017 Pre-show Tracks
- New Morrissey T-shirt - release information (March 15, 2017)
- Low In High School Tour 2017-2018 Pre-show Tracks
- The Interview. A LARKS' TONGUE IN APRIL. - Morrissey Central (June 24, 2019)
- Turning The Inside Out. - Morrissey Central (July 5, 2021)
- Live In Concert 2023 Pre-show Tracks
born - August 2, 1924; died - November 30, 1987
Novelist, playwright, poet and essayist. He gained fame with "Go Tell It on the Mountain", his first novel. Much of his work focussed on racial and sexual issues, including the issues related to being homosexual and black, well before both groups could be said to have any sense of equality.
Gay themes in books such as "Giovanni's Room" and "Another Country" brought heavy criticism from the black community. Conversely his essay collections, such as "The Fire Next Time" are considered to have awakened a white audience to a black mans perspective of racism.
James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American writer and civil rights activist. He garnered acclaim for his work across several forms, including essays, novels, plays, and poems. His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain, was published in 1953; decades later, Time magazine included the novel on its list of the 100 best English-language novels released from 1923 to 2005. His first essay collection, Notes of a Native Son, was published in 1955.Baldwin's work fictionalizes fundamental personal questions and dilemmas amid complex social and psychological pressures. Themes of masculinity, sexuality, race, and class intertwine to create intricate narratives that run parallel with some of the major political movements toward social change in mid-twentieth century America, such as the civil rights movement and the gay liberation movement. Baldwin's protagonists are often but not exclusively African American, and gay and bisexual men frequently feature prominently in his literature. These characters often face internal and external obstacles in their search for social and self-acceptance. Such dynamics are prominent in Baldwin's second novel, Giovanni's Room, which was written in 1956, well before the gay liberation movement.His reputation has endured since his death and his work has been adapted for the screen to great acclaim. An unfinished manuscript, Remember This House, was expanded and adapted for cinema as the documentary film I Am Not Your Negro (2016), which was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards. One of his novels, If Beale Street Could Talk, was adapted into the Academy Award– winning film of the same name in 2018, directed and produced by Barry Jenkins.In addition to writing, Baldwin was also a well-known public figure and orator, especially during the civil rights movement in the United States.
Related Forum Threads
- TTY: New Morrissey T-shirt - Morrissey-solo (Mar 15, 2017)
- [Morrissey Central] "#YourLivesMatter" (July 1, 2020) - Morrissey-solo (Jul 02, 2020)