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odilio gonzalez

odilio gonzalez

Here is a track by Odilio Gonzalez, El Jibarito de Lares. He is one of my favorites. I can listen to this all day and all night, though I tend to listen to boleros and “jibaro” music more during the winter. I curl up on the couch under my chenille throw and stare balefully at the walls and sulk. Odilio along with Ramito, Chuito and Los Condes helps me make it until the sun comes back again in March.

Its cool, he’s been around forever, yet I saw him in Puerto Rico playing at a MALL.

Note the bachata feel of the song.

Celos Sin Motivo

Odilio was a favorite of many Dominican musicians who were instrumental (no pun intended) in the development of the bolero campesino aka bachata music aka bachata. They learned from him and copied his style. It certainly explains part of the Puerto Rican fondness for Dominican bachata, no?

I wont get into all that right now, go rent Santo Domingo Blues or find a copy of Bachata A Social History of a Dominican Popular Music. Sad black men sure can play the HELL out of a guitar,no?

Back to Odilio. I shouldn’t even be wasting my time here with you. I need to go sit barefoot on my porch, listen to Odilio and the crickets and consume sugar cane based intoxicants. I hope you enjoy it. I think its just beautiful and find it comforting.

Odilio Gonzalez- Celos Sin Motivo

Juan, this is for you. La Loma de Tamarindo. No, its not EGC, don’t whine. A commenter on You Tube says its a canto hondo de vieques. When I think canto hondo I think flamenco. It’s all cool. huh? From Andalusia to Santo Domingo with some stops in between. I wonder if this was the day I was at the mall??!

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leg

I am watching Maldeamores again in order to review it. One of the first things that strikes me is the difference in appearance between Luis Guzman and the actor who plays his son. I immediately want to say, “Yeah, right. Come on, couldn’t they pick a child who looks like he could be Luis Guzman’s son?”.

It took me about an hour or so to stop myself and say, “Look at YOUR little one and her father.” They don’t share the same “racial phenotype”. It took me another day to say,”Nor do your older daughter and her father”, and yet another day to say, “Come to think of it, you don’t quite match your mother.AND now that you mention it, remember how upset you were when people told each of your husbands that those couldn’t be their kids because they were white? Hoe very offended. How hurt you were when one’s FAMILY refused to believe she was his child. And look at you doing the same thing!!!!!”

I asked a friend last night to name someone famous who appeared to him to have a similar complexion to me. I told him I was serious. I see myself every day, mostly my hands. (I wonder what humans thought of themselves before mirrors, how long does it take people to realize that they look as others do. Really, my view of myself is of my nose, my hands and my legs. Do dogs know what their own faces look like? ANYWAY….)

It interests me because my self perception and my idea of what I look like to other people seems to be quite different from how I appear to them. I once saw a friends wife and her mother and wondered what it was like for the daughter, who appeared nearly “white” to have a “black” mother. I supposed that it must feel exactly like it feels for my sister, like nothing. And perhaps like it feels to me, my mother is my mother. I see nothing at all odd about our appearances, I don’t think it is unusual or startling. When I was younger I always wanted to look like her, neither my sister nor I have gotten past our melanin envy. Yet, I see other families who look like mine and it simply doesnt register. It does not occur to me that we look to others as they look to me.

I grew up with a mother of Halle Berry’s complexion and a sister of Angelina Jolie’s complexion. In my mind I am in between, so therefore Medium. My mother is DARK and my sister is LIGHT. People dont understand that I truly see Beyonce and Halle Berry as “brown” and not “light” and I see myself as rather tawny and average.And no, I never thought it was weird or unusual for my mothers daughters to look as they did. My sister to me is my sister, I have never once looked at her and my mother together and thought anything but “there are my mother and my sister”. Luis Guzman and that kid? Yeah, I wondered. My mom and her blonde baby? No.

My 5 year old is in bed with one of her baby dolls, an irritating one that mewls and cries. It is a rather pink/peach colored doll. Her father continues to buy them and I have, after 17 years of parenthood, decided I have other things to worry about. That pink doll is NOT a major concern.

One would think that I would be the one pushing for the pale doll and her father for the brown ones. But as I tell people- look at whom each of us chose to parent their child. He picked me, and I him. Perhaps it seems counterintuitive, but it makes sense to me that he would prefer pale dolls and I dark ones. It is a reflection of our what we would like our children to look like.

I gave up the fight years ago. I even have bought some “white dolls”, I just try to always buy ones with brown hair and eyes. It was HARD for me to do and I still do so while looking over my shoulder for the Race Police. One part of me wants to fight the whole lighter is better ideology.It just makes children of color feel bad, children should have dolls that represent them and look like them. They should have dolls that resemble them that they can aspire to look like. In my case that means picking the lighter doll over the darker one and that bothers me.

I suppose it is because I have to clarify in my own mind what the goal is. Is it to fight the whole idea of pale skinned light haired beauty or is it to make sure my children dolls that look like them? In this case, the personal has won out over the political. I looked over my shoulder a few times, paced around in the toy store and snatched up a pale fat little doll that looked JUST like my 13 year old did when she was an infant. I ignored the little white girl on the box and declared that the baby wasnt white, it was light skinned. Fortunately nobody has commented on the dolls and my daughters have never said anything. And why would they? If I have to sneak and buy a doll that matches my daughter, if I feel shame about it, what message am I sending them about my feelings toward them?

My younger child was watching the beginning of Maldeamores, she simply commented on Luis Guzman and asked about her father. She also thinks all brunettes are me, regardless of “race”. If a woman has long dark hair, beige skin and brown eyes its me. So she saw the movie and didnt blink- its Luis Guzman his wife and kid, whats the big deal. Childhood is bliss.

My daughters and I match, that doesnt happen much in my family. So it will be interesting to me to see how their perceptions of themselves form. Will they have a more accurate view of themselves because they see me every day, as opposed to me who still imagines herself to look like her mother.

In seeing me with other people and how I fit in or stand out, will they grow up with a better perspective and ability to see how others perceive them? And can I also step outside and see myself as I see others and realize that even I, someone who should know better, can gawk and point and secretly wonder, “Is that REALLY his kid?” and scoff. If I do it, if even I find it surprising sometimes, how can I be angry at people to whom this is a strange new phenomenon when they do it to me?

(photo is of me in my old man black socks, with my hand on my leg.even though my arms are the same color as the 2 white chicks i work with and i can tell you this, i still BELIEVE myself to appear significantly darker than them.I believe myself to be the same complexion as Dwayne The Rock Johnson.Realistically? Persia White)

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