retro girl problems

Aw, man. Richie Havens passed away today.

I never got as deep into his music as I wanted to and should have, but in light of his passing I totally intend to. He means a lot to me. Watching the epic Woodstock documentary and seeing a black folk singer open this legendary music festival more or less by himself was absolutely soul-stirring.

There tends to be very little representation of people of color in what “retro fans” enjoy most about the 60s and the subcultures of the decade, which is  terribly sad because we were very much a part of it all. Hippies and 60s radicals weren’t all middle class white kids. There were the Black and Brown Panthers, Bobby Seale was part of the Chicago 8, Ravi Shankar made a huge impact on popular music…the list honestly goes on further than I know.

And look at Woodstock. So many of the most memorable performers were people of color. Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Sly and the Family Stone, Fito from Canned Heat, Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, Carlos Santana and Jimi fucking Hendrix.

It’s just so weird, because when people think of 60s’ pop culture and hippies and so on, they tend to think of long blonde hair and blue eyes, Twiggy, Pattie Boyd, Edie Sedgwick, The Beatles and Audrey Hepburn. It’s not fair to people like Marsha Hunt, Tina Turner, Sidney Poitier, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and of course Richie Havens, all of whom also made a huge impact on 1960s youth culture.

So, yeah. Richie Havens is very important to me, because he’s a symbol of  p.o.c’s presence in 1960s counterculture, and the seeming historical erasure thereof.

Rest in peace, Richie. Thank you for existing.

do you ever just get really delighted when people you don’t know very well show some sort of appreciation/knowledge of things from your favorite decade(s) and they just kind of stare at you and you almost have to apologize like, I’m sorry, I’m just a fucking martian, don’t mind me.

In my defense I didn’t actually squeal that loudly over Audrey Hepburn; the building’s acoustics in that particular place are just more prone to echoes