So today’s post will be a bit different from other Tuneage Tuesday posts. I was given the opportunity to attend a screening for ‘Green Book’ last night and that film changed my life. I laughed, cried, cursed and even applauded like I was actually attending some of the concerts Dr. Shirley performed.
For those of you who don’t know, the movie was centered around the friendship that Dr. Don Shirley and Tony Lip developed while Tony chauffeured Dr. Shirley on his first Southern tour in the 1960’s. Dr. Shirley was a world renowned Jamaican jazz pianist and composer. He was that dude up north, he even lived above Carnegie Hall in New York, but all of that talent and education meant nothing to the folks down south. In fact, there was a line that Mahershala said that stuck out to me after he finished a performance. I’m paraphrasing here because I didn’t have my phone out to take it down verbatim, but essentially he said that they love him while he’s onstage, but when he steps off he’s just another negro.
That rocked me to my core.
There was of course blatant racism and then the subtle microaggressions that angered me more and more because I could relate to those. White promoters and hosts would parade Dr. Shirley around and say that he was a guest of honor, but he wasn’t even allowed to eat with his concert attendees at a restaurant or use the same bathroom facilities as them. Even the few small victories that Dr. Shirley were a tainted. His relationship with affluent allies got him out of unnecessary racist situations, but he felt that calling in those chits made him look bad. They didn’t.
Another thing that I really loved was the fact that it showed how untrue “separate, but equal” was. Viggo’s character expressed many times how bad the accommodations were for Dr. Shirley compared to the accommodations for him and the other bandmates. Tony’s eyes were opened to a lot of things over the course of that movie; he learned that the same microaggressions he expressed earlier in the film were actually a form of racism and he even learned that Black people aren’t a monolith.
THAT WHOLE CAR SCENE WAS A MESSAGE!!
I’m actually going to stop before I give away the entire move because I think that you should go see it yourselves. There’s a bit of harsh language in the film, mostly racial slurs and a few heavier curse words, so I would recommend taking older kids and leaving the young nuggets at home but go see this movie. I’m sharing a playlist that I found on Spotify that has a lot of the songs that were in the film with y’all today. Some of these songs were on the actual soundtrack, but for the most part these songs were sprinkled throughout the film or were hits during that time period. Take a listen below and go see this film!