July 23, 2007

Manic Monday: Wind

The Manic Monday word this week is WIND. I considered going musical with Earth Wind and Fire. Some of my best slow-dance memories are a direct result of EWF magic. I also enjoy all renditions of 'The Wind Beneath My Wings'. I thought about going oceanic to discuss wind-blown sailboats. However, at the end of the day, most of you come to the Electronic Village Manic Monday meme in search of a unique aspect of African American history.

I'll try not to disappoint.

Did you know that the top movie quote of all time comes from the movie, Gone With The Wind? Many of you are saying the quote before you read this sentence --> "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

But, how many of you know that a parody of Gone With The Wind was written a few years ago called, The Wind Done Gone? The book was written by Alice Randall. Randall was born in Detroit and graduated from Harvard in 1981. She was awarded the Free Spirit Award in 2001 and the Literature Award of Excellence by the Memphis Black Writers Conference in 2002, and she was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award in 2002. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Alice Randall catapulted into the spotlight for her parody of "Gone With The Wind," a project she contemplated after learning that Malcolm X once said the movie ruined a whole summer of his.
"As a Black person in America, I always knew that a lot of Black people hated ‘Gone With The Wind,’ and as a Black child, I myself felt injured by the narrative," Randall said. "My book was the equivalent of Prissy slapping Scarlett."

Writing the parody was a way for her—and for her readers—to cope with the trauma of reading Margaret Mitchell’s book and watching the movie it spawned. Randall explores the abandonment a Black girl feels when her biological mother takes care of a white girl. "Mammy was my Mama. Even though she let me go, I miss her," Randall writes in the novel. "Sometimes I comb through my long springy curls and pretend that the hand holding the comb is hers. But I don’t know what that looks like."

But the hands holding the copyright to "Gone With the Wind"—Mitchell’s heirs—thought Randall’s parody looked too much like the original. The Mitchell estate sued to block its publication. In April 2001, U.S. District Judge Charles Pannell blocked the publication of the novel, writing that it "constitutes unabated piracy of ‘Gone With the Wind.’"

But "The Wind Done Gone" wasn’t gone for long.

Just one month later, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction, saying the order "amounts to an unlawful prior restraint in violation of the First Amendment." That year, Randall’s book hit The New York Times’ bestseller list. But the legal fight had left Randall shaken.

"The attempt by the Mitchell estate to use the copyright laws to effect censorship was shocking and chilling, but I did not allow that to stop me," she says.

In fact, Alice Randall is the only African American woman ever to write a number-one country song. She recorded more than twenty songs. She has been nominated for a Grammy Award. Her work includes the only known recorded country songs to explore the subject of lynching (Mark O'Connor's "The Ballad of Sally Anne" ), mention Aretha Franklin in the same line as Patsy Cline (Trisha Yearwood's "Xxx's and Ooo's (An American Girl)" ), and give tribute to both the slave dead and the Confederate dead ("I'll Cry for Yours, Will You Cry for Mine?").

She’s now writing what she calls a "guide to country music in cyberspace."

Well villagers ... I hope you enjoyed our afrocentric twist on the Manic Monday meme!

21 comments:

tegdirb92 said...

hat a great wind post--I learned a few things too. Love the Gone With The Wind reference!! Have a great Monday.

Comedy + said...

I knew about the Gone With the Wind quote, but it stopped there. Always a wonderful history lesson here. Have a great MM. :)

Linda said...

What a great bunch of knowledge you shared here. I'm so glad that I stopped in as I never knew that about the parody of "Gone With the Wind" or a song that I've heard done by Trisha Yearwood many, many times.

Have a great Monday!

Martin Lindsey. said...

Thru devotion...uhn...uhn...uhn,
Blessed are the children,
And deliver us,
From the fruits of e-val!...

I'm going with the Elements of the Universe myself. I think of Earth, Wind and Fire first and foremost. They were one of my favorite groups when I was a kid.

It's late enough though that I'm blanking on some of their other classics that I flat out love and still jam today.

The Wind Done Gone angle was enlightening though.

Have a good week.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

this was a lovely educational well written post, thank you...

smiles, bee

Gattina said...

Loved reading your post, very interesting ! I wished I could read this book, I never heard of it ! Of course as everybody I have read "Gone with the wind" too and was very much impressed. I didn't like the second book written from another author and playing in Ireland, it wasn't the same at all. But the book you mention here must be very interesting. I wonder if it has been sold in other countries.

Janna said...

Interesting and educational! :)

Villager said...

Tegdirb92, Comedy+, Linda, Bee, Janna - Asante sana for your encouragement and kind words.

Gattina - I found the book on Amazon. In fact, today you can find it in the Village Book area over on the right hand navigation bar!

Martin - Visit the official Earth Wind & Fire website to see list of all of their songs!

peace, Villager

Meloncutter said...

Sadly, I have read neither book. Nor have I seen the movie. They just don't fall into my general genre of interest. But I did learn quite a bit. Interesting stuff.

Later Y'all

mousey said...

love the wind beneath my wings too!

interesting post!

Nancy Lindquist-Liedel said...

Butterfly McQueen was a great actress and deserved better parts than the times would allow.

Natalie said...

It is funny how many parodies are made of things and which ones people take offense to. I didn't see the Baum estate going crazy over Wicked!

Villager said...

Natalie - Money makes people do strange things. Have you considered becoming part of the MANIC MONDAY meme on your blog?

Meloncutter, Nancy & Mousey - Asante sana for your visit and your voices!

peace, Villager

Eddie G. Griffin said...

I never will forget Hattie McDaniel's acceptance speech, being the first African-American female to win an Oscar for her role as Mammy in Gone With The Wind... She said, in a most humble way, that she just wanted to be "a credit to her race"... Didn't we all? McDaniel was so convincing as a southern "house negress" that it made Malcolm X sick. In retrospect, it was a great part of acting on her part.

Villager said...

Eddie - I haven't seen her acceptance speech, however, I have read about her thoughts on the role. I respect her for her acting skills. I am hopeful that we will no longer have to live in those types of roles in the movies moving forward.

Congrats on your efforts with HGM protest! DL Hughley is next!

peace, Villager

Travis said...

Once again you educate me. Thank you.

And EW&F - yup!! I have some very nice memories of dancing to them.

Happy MM!

Mert said...

Very cool post, I would be interested in reading her book- I always love a fresh perspective. Happy MM!

Kristi K. said...

Informative, eye opening and well said as always. Thank you.

Villager said...

Travis, Mert & Kristi - Thank you very much for visiting this week's MM post.

peace, Villager

Etienne A. Gibbs said...

I may be behind the times, but I just found this site while pinning on my Black History board on Pinterest.

Glad to learn about the book, The Wind Done Gone, written by Alice Randall.

Wayne Hicks said...

Etienne - Wow! Over 1350 photos on your Black History board on Pinterest. Very cool. I'm glad that I'm following that board and I look forward to learn more.