Recommended Listening: James Baldwin, The Fire This Time

Photo: James BaldwinThe Sunday Edition is a long-running CBC Radio program. This morning, host Michael Enright interviewed famed American dancer and coreographer, now the executive artistic director of New York Live Arts, Bill T. Jones. The group staged a performance this year called James Baldwin, This Time! based on the writer and critic’s work.

Enright and Jones had a wide-ranging conversation, talking about Baldwin’s life and career, blackness in America and Europe, and the intersection of racial and sexual identity.

In 1963, James Baldwin wrote, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”

It’s a measure of the enduring relevance of the great African-American novelist, playwright and essayist that those words seem as pertinent this week, in the aftermath of the Ferguson verdict and riots, as they did half a century ago.

Baldwin was a fierce, but fair-minded and rigorous social critic. His opinions were neither sugar-coated, nor always welcome. But if they made people uncomfortable, it was because of the truths with which he pricked the conscience.

Listen to the interview here.

Megan Purdy

Megan Purdy

Publisher of all this. Megan was born in Toronto. She's still there. Philosopher, space vampire, heart of a killer.