Alive or dead, in your face or behind your back there is no escape from the profitable white appropriation of Black folk?
Earlier this year Timothy B. Tyson authored a book titled, The Blood of Emmett Till. The title is spread over the entire cover and is clearly meant as an emotional appeal to a particular audience. A reader is faced with the name and, if one knows American history, the barbaric heartbreak of Till’s Southern suffering. What is hidden behind the sensational title is Tyson’s interview with a woman who is the cause of Till’s tortured demise, but for some reason that isn’t featured in the title.
Published in 2017, prosecution of the elderly white female liar seems unlikely; nevertheless, Tyson is still able to capitalize on Till’s black, tortured body—demonstrated by his name emblazoned across the full cover of this book with no mention of the lethal liar. The woman’s confession, given 10 years or so ago, is not a prospective reader’s initial greeting. “Emmett Till’s liar” seems a more appropriate title; however, his memory takes a beating as yet another white male profit’s for Till’s sake.
The title and book seem to be another violation against Emmett Till’s memory and an appropriation of a Black body to yield profits for whites. Who is left to protect Till’s memory?
Within the last two weeks, another blatant egregious appropriation/violation of Black intellect occurred with
the annexation of James Baldwin’s, 1963 book of essays, The Fire Next Time. Baldwin’s image and work are currently enjoying a surge in popularity, including Raoul Peck’s documentary, “I’m Not Your Negro.”
The new version of The Fire Next Time’s official publication date is, April 28, 2017, with the added name, Steve Schapiro. Schapiro, a photographer, has put photos in Baldwin’s book– that most readers have understood for 54 years. Perhaps, like Christopher Columbus, he discovered The Fire Next Time and thought his pictures an acceptable way to appropriate Baldwin’s book to make profits.
It’s one thing to share similar thoughts; it’s something else to convert a book.
RV Jones, 2017