Quinsy Gario, Netherlands
“Zwart Licht featuring Ray Fuego” : Black Dutchmen
Quinsy Gario had a hard time choosing his song. With „Zwarte Licht" he decided on a strong song, which highlights the expectations of black men.
This was a hard question. I ran through a number of songs and it took me a while to settle on one. I initially was thinking about 'Stress' from Justice. It reminded me of Femke Kaulingfreks research on the political significance of the youth uprising against police brutality in France, Britain and the Netherlands this century. Before the stated acknowledged reemergence of fascism these political actors were already showing anxiety experienced when you're among the ones that the fascists posing as centrists want to deport from Europe. Not to mention the fact that we've been here and trying to thrive despite local displacement, gentrification and disenfranchisement through xenophobic citizenship laws.
The accommodation of genocidal thoughts through freedom of speech arguments fills me with a sense of betrayal. Josephine Livingstone's recent article on the rules of engagement made me think of 'Borders' from MIA. For years here in the Netherlands the renowned cultural center De Balie has been platforming racists and hate mongers under the auspices of a balanced debate. All the while the director of the center has denied the existence of islamophobia and has been publicly bankrolling a racist publishing platform. Recently the Egyptian American feminist Mona Eltahawy followed the lead of local voices that called for the boycott of the institution after it hosted a debate on how to deport muslims from the Netherlands and shrugged at the outrage.
When people have these conversations the civilized tone masks the violence that they want to enact on others, on us. There's a distancing that happens that for instance in the video for the DJ Shadow's and Run The Jewel's 'Nobody Speaks' completely breaks down. Imagine if in the European Union when technocratic conversations, about defacto concentration camps for migrants and refusing to save the lives of those crossing the Mediterranean sea, engendered a full out brawl to underscore the severity and inhumanity of the proposals. Thinking about those lives lost Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar's 'Never Catch me' and Seinabo Sey's 'I Owe You Nothing' come to mind. Both songs and video's centralizing living in the face of the historic and contemporary violence done to black bodies.
And so I settled on the track Zwarte Hollanders, Black Dutchmen, from Zwartlicht featuring Ray Fuego for the playlist. The clip recently won an Edison Award for best videoclip, the Dutch version of the Grammy's, and the track localizes, highlights and plays with the expectations of black men in arena's that heretofore were closed off to us.