James Baldwin

James Baldwin

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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:

True-To-You.net advertised a James Baldwin t-shirt on March 15, 2017 which would be available via North American concerts & Mporium.

The shirt became the subject of controversy and many media outlets highlighted it (examples follow):

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:

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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.


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James Arthur Baldwin (né Jones; August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American writer and civil rights activist who garnered acclaim for his essays, novels, plays, and poems. His 1953 novel Go Tell It on the Mountain has been ranked among the best English-language novels. His 1955 essay collection Notes of a Native Son helped establish his reputation as a voice for human equality. Baldwin was a well-known public figure and orator, especially during the civil rights movement in the United States. Baldwin's fiction posed 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 typically but not exclusively African American, with gay and bisexual men featured prominently in his work. His characters often face internal and external obstacles in their search for self- and social acceptance: dynamics prominent in his 1956 novel Giovanni's Room. Baldwin's work continues to influence artists and writers. His unfinished manuscript Remember This House was expanded and adapted as the 2016 documentary film I Am Not Your Negro, winning the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary. His 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk was adapted into a 2018 film of the same name, which earned widespread praise.

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