Beautifully Aging AfroBella: Shirley Bassey

So I know my original series was intended as a five person tribute, but I spotted this photo over on DListed (which is like, one of my favorite blogs out there) and had to share.

Lo, the one and only Dame Shirley Bassey at the Casino Royale premiere in London.

Talk about aging like fine wine. Bassey is totally having a resurgence. First The Propellerheads brought her back into the spotlight (yes, I know that was in ’97, but I love that song), then Kanye West put her voice (and an important anti-bling message) on the charts.

In researching more about her, I found a fascinating documentary about Shirley Bassey’s life on my beloved YouTube, in which entertainment producer Wyn Calvin says “Her voice is phenomenal. It is a leather larynx that has lasted.” So true.

Despite her amazing talent, that video clip also saddened me. Shirley Bassey and Nina Simone must have loathed each other, and Shirley might even take umbrage at me calling her an AfroBella.

At the very end of that clip, noted British broadcaster Trevor Phillips discusses her terrible decision to perform at Sun City in South Africa during the height of apartheid, and her former husband Sergio Novak reveals that “she never felt black in her thinking or her talking… she never wanted to be involved in all this… Luther King…she hated that. I am a singer, I am an artist, I don’t care about politics, about race. I don’t think color meant anything to her.”

This earlier segment reveals even more about her apparent identity crisis. I mean, she’s completely cut her own family off… you know what, the whole documentary is fascinating. Click here for the Shirley Bassey documentary parts 1 to 6. She is drama and camp through and through.

Although I definitely identify as a proud, black, Trinidadian woman, if Shirley Bassey, international singing icon, biracial child of a Nigerian father and an English mother, chooses to not contemplate or embrace any racial identity that’s I guess that’s her perogative.

Lord knows she gives less than a damn what I think about her. She’s a living legend. But it does make me sad for her. If you watched that documentary, you’ll see that she also seems to have completely excised her family from her life, and broke men’s hearts like nobody’s business.

That reminds me of a comment that Diamond, a regular reader left about my previous Naomi Campbell post. Allow me to digress a bit. Celebrities are just people who are either blessed with talent or looks. And they often have more issues than you or I do. This goes beyond “mo money, mo problems,” I’m talking about the intoxicating effects of fame. People start believing their own hype, and sometimes that leads to their downfall. If everyone agrees with what you think and jumps to perform your command, I suppose after a while you start believing that your shit smells like fresh baked cookies and that you’re somehow different, more special, and better than everyone else.

It also makes me a bit angry, because I can’t help but think of the good she could have done to the civil rights movement had she chosen to participate. But perhaps race in her part of the world isn’t as divisive and complex an issue as it is here. I don’t know, and I’m trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. UK readers, I would especially love to hear your opinion on this and spark a real discussion on ethnic identity. How important is it to claim a race, or identify with a particular ethnicity? If you’re biracial, what gives one race more weight than the other? What about the “One Drop” theory? Discuss!
I’m sorry that my sincere homage to the beautifully aging Shirley Bassey has taken this debate-heavy turn, but I’m in a contemplative mood, it’s pouring rain and I’m listening to Billie Holiday. Sorry.

In any case, she’s an undeniable talent. She’s a belter to the extreme. Her voice is ginormous and she’s incredibly theatrical. Check her out with the sexy silver dress here, singing “Diamonds Are Forever.”

In terms of delivering a spine-tingling performance she kicks Barbra Streisand’s butt, if you ask me.

Shirley Bassey is a true diva. Her temper is legendary, her intensity is electric, and her performances continue to thrill. According to Wikipedia she’s about to release a new album, and she even pops up in a new Marks & Spencer ad just in time for the holidays, singing of all things, Pink’s “Get This Party Started.”

Perfectly coiffed and made-up, she’s got lots of life in her still. Even though I can’t agree with or understand her ethnic affiliation (or lack thereof), I can’t knock her hustle. She looks absolutely amazing at 69.

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Comments

  1. Bella i love the way you portray our apirations, flaws and all

  2. oops, aspirations

  3. First of all I gotta tell you your site has become one of my favorites. I have bookmarked you and visit daily to see what delights you have conjured up for me. And you are right, Ms. Shirley Bassey has a incredible voice and Babs ain’t got nothing on her. Please continue offering the amazing information you are providing for us women of color, we need more sistas like you.

  4. oops misspelled my own name

  5. Thanks for this one. Quite interesting. As a Jamaican, I am totally fascinated with the British. My favorite singers are British, some of my favorite tv shows are from the UK. Thanks for the M&S advert…. too funny!!

  6. Hay
    Just to say that this site is one of a kind and please do keep it up. This is my homepage and you’ve helped to keep me on the “straight” path to natural sexy hair so keep it up..Well on the Shirley Bassey thing, well here in the UK i suppose the race thing matters..but it depends on which part you’re from and how you see yourself personally. I’m in my first year at University and there aren’t a lot of black people but we’ve started an African-Caribean society but to make a long story short there are quite a few black/mixed race people around campus who do NOT want to be associated with other black people or anythin black. You get that kind of stuff everywhere though so it’s only normal and most black people are used to it but some of my black friends, having lived in predominatly Black-areas all their lives, find it shocking…so i suppose you get the whole “I’m too confused about my own identity so i try not to care about race” facade going on everywhere..
    And that Marks n Spencer’s advert is actually quite good..makes an interesting change to the ridiculous food ones they usually show lol
    anyways take care and keep up the good work
    xxx

  7. Another well-written, thought-provoking article. Shirley Bassey is class as a singer, no doubt.I can still hear her voice singing ”how glad I am” and countless others. I believe there was a Bond film also.It’s difficult to judge people and the decisioms they have taken with respect to their personal lives. We all have to live with ourselves thereafter and we must not seem too judgemental of others.

  8. I know, Daddy. =(

    I come off a bit judgmental at times, so I try to temper the discussion with compliments and also a balanced perspective. But I know I certainly don’t enjoy being judged. I was just so shocked by some of her views, especially when they asked her about appearing at Sun City.

    I’ve never heard of (or met) a black person who’s so unaware of being black, and it kind of fascinates me. Like, how can you not be aware? It’s who you are! I just wonder what people see when they look in the mirror. I guess she just sees Dame Shirley Bassey, legendary talent.

    And who the hell am I to judge that?

    Love you! Talk to you later. By the way, I love when you leave comments! Tell my brothers to do the same, dammit!

  9. Well I dont live in the UK but I do live in the Netherlands and generally speaking people always ask you what your hertiage is because there are a lot of cultures here. And at my school there are a lot of “white people” who have black blood you would have never guesed it because they have for instants blue eyes and blond here. But they never hide the fact that they have black ancestors there proud of it and always talking about it , then again you always have people who wont claim there identity.But that mostly only happens when one of the parents is black and the other one is white and the child has been raised in a totally white enviroment without his black mother or father. That are mostly the people who get confused about who they are and dont want anything to do with beeing black.

    ( So now that you all no Im not from the USA and englisch is not my first langua I have to excuse my self for my spelling faults :P )

  10. Love the site. Um, I have to call it as I see it. When you see people over in america being sprayed by fire hoses just because they want equal treament and being hanged and burned at the stake and the only cop-out you have is that you don’t care about race, you are a heartless fool if you don’t want to be involved. Even Josephine Baker (who dated nothing but white men) got involved in the civil rights movement when she lived mostly abroad. She’s full of it and a tragic mulato(sp?) who hates that she is mixed with black. I have seen plenty of her kind. They always use the excuse that they don’t want to be seen as any color, yet, if you look at the friends and people they chose as mates, they are almost always white. Franz Fanon did an execellent breakdown of the mullato woman (although a little extrene) Sorry, I am just not buying it. People like that only acknowledge race when they are placed in a bad situation (i.e., OJ, although he’s not mixed). If you don’t like being black then just say it but don’t use the “I want to be colorless” crap as an excuse. Race is always a factor and the majority of people are not colorblind.

  11. First, like many others, I want to thank you Bella for your wonderful site. I have been reading for a couple of months now and your site is a staple in my online routine.

    On to Shirley Bassey… It is one thing to decide you are not going to identify as black. I have my own (negative) opinions on it like many others, but I do not want to focus on that here. Shirley Bassey did not make a benign decision to “just not be black,” instead she chose to perform in South Africa during Apartheid. That decision makes her a tacit (and financial) supporter and benficiary of a government that brutalized the rightful owners of a nation, while degrading and murdering them in horrific ways on a daily basis. All because of the color of their skin and the natural resources of their land. Her act was not just a simple choice of identity.

    In that moment she decided that she was anti-people of color and a supporter of Apartheid and everything that meant. She did not remove herself from the race debate, she firmly placed herself of the side of racists and murderers for dollars and the “compliment” that she was white enough, ie good enough to perform in Sun City. I think there is more than enough evidence here to justify a negative opinion of this Afro Bella, who I am sure would take offense if she knew she was being identified with the race and people she has written off as only worthy of shanty towns and oppression.

  12. jerseybred says:

    While I agree with everything being said about Shirley Bassey in reference to her racial identity issues, we must remember she is from a different era than most on Afrobella. We will NEVER understand what she has had to endure being a biracial child who grew up in the 40′s and 50′s. I have only heard stories and there not pleasant.
    P.S. There’s no denying that voice.
    “Diamonds are Forever….”

  13. First of all, I have been checking out this site for about 2 weeks when I was searching for information on natural hairstyles ( I am playing around with the idea–I am now rocking a very cute straw set). I am a beauty junkie myself and I love coming here to be beautified, uplifted, and enlighted. Go’on Bella!
    When I was little, I remember my parents had a poster of Shirley Bassey in an ad for Courvesier (sp?)on the wall near the bar in our basement. Since then I was always curious about this beautiful and talented woman (my mom’s name is Shirley too). Wow. Shirley was and still is a trip. While I agree with a previous poster who mentioned that Shirley was of a different generation and I am totally for people defining themselves as they wish, I don’t excuse her playing Sun City and acting like she was ‘above’ the civil rights fray. You mentioned that even Josephine Baker (one of my idols of fabulousness) got involved even when she didn’t have to be. Ther’s no denying that voice though-WHOA.

  14. Oh, you guys… I have so many conflicting feelings about that Shirley Bassey documentary.

    1. She is beyond fabulous, and phenomenally talented. No doubt. You can’t take that away from her.

    2. Yes, she is of a different generation. And if you saw the interview, apparently the place she is from, Tiger Bay, is known for being racially confused and conflicted.

    3. That’s no excuse for essentially supporting apartheid and citing a biracial background as an excuse! Many of the people leading the charge against Sun City were white, so the fact that she cited a mixed race background really makes her seem callous.

    4. Injustice is injustice. I don’t get famous people who just reap the rewards of fame without using it for something positive. Fame can’t cure cancer, but it can attract attention and help to raise funds towards important charities. I would love to know more about Shirley Bassey, what charities she gives to, and what she DOES care about. I’m sure she’s been generous, but what issues push her buttons if racism doesn’t?

    5. Like you read in my earlier comment, my dad called me out on being too judgmental. I am trying NOT to be. But it’s hard not to judge after seeing what she said, as well as her ex husband and so many knowledgable journalists.

    OK, back to work now.

  15. Bella you scare me because I was going to do a Shirley Bassey post myself…stay out of my head chica! hahaha! I’ve did research on her and I read all about the Sun City debacle. But her voice…it just commands attention. I certainly have a love/hate relationship with her. But she certainly was a cool 60′s chick.

  16. i have a family member who is going through this. he is mixed with German. my aunt has such low self worth that i can see now that she passed it on to him. he denies his African side all the time. but the one thing he can’t run away from are those naps.

  17. Afrobella, race relations here in the UK are a complicated thing. In general people ten dto deal with it by pretending race doesn’t exist. For example, if they are speaking about someone and that person is the only black, Asian, Indian person in the office, they will describe that person to you ANY OTHER WAY than say, the black, Asian, Indian guy. I remember telling my coworker that I bought something in a Pakistani shop once and he responded in horror. Also, the image of the black woman is rarely seen as a sex symbol. Buxom, skinny and blonde is the ideal. You see a lot of mixed children but most times its black men and white women. I had a very interesting post on this a while back.

    http://modest-goddess.blogspot.com/2006/10/just-plain-hot.html

  18. Well as a Londoner myself who lived for 3 years in Atlanta/ Iowa, the way race is dealt with here is so different from the way it is in the States. I felt race was practically unignorable (if that’s a word) there. Although race is a bit of a factor here, I think people are chill for the most part. You see a LOT of mixed couples in London and there are a ton of bi-racial people here. Of course there’s the usual itra-racial beef. Africans vs. the Caribbeans but it’s nothing major and it’s usually playful. There’s usually tensions with Asians here (Indians. Pakistanis, Bangladeshis etc.) if any at all.

    Outside of London, that’s a different matter. I went to a boarding school in a small town in Sussex for several years and race was obviously more of a factor for me there because I was one of the very few non-white people there. I mean I was the only black girl in my class and there were like two black families in the town. This was only an hour out of London. I actually didn’t ever experience overt racism there and the only thing that bothered me was being “exoticised” at first. But onnce people got over the the whole “you’re different from me” thing it was really cool and race was never really a divisive issue. We tended to celebrate our differences. Other places in the UK though are notoriously tough for non-whites and sometimes places where the majority was Asian like Bradford and Leicester were the worst for racism. Asians vs. the rest.

    Sorry for the esssay but this is just how I see it.

    P.S. I get so excited when you update. I can’t believe it took me so long to find this. I’m patiently waiting for the book. Stay blessed.

  19. Her voice is still in perfect condition, too.

  20. I’m only a 17, but i don’t see why it’s so hard for mixed ppl 2 identify. It seems pretty simple to me. But i’m not mixed (my dad’s from Ghana).Yes, I’m White. Yes, I’m Black. In most cases my white “friends” see me as Black (even if I might have blond hair blue eyes) and my Black Friends see me as Black (wit a lil sumthin extra). If I was Back in the 1950-60 era, I would still get shot for having black in me. My mom’s European Culture is cool. My Black Culture(s) is cool too. I embrace them both, even though i know that a lot of Euro ppl history involves making the lives of other races pure hell (Blacks, Natives,indians,asians,hispanics,) but I guess that is just one of those internal issues that i can’t figure out. oh well. Even though I should’nt over weigh one over the other, I realize that W/ a lot of white ppl I’ll never be seen as one of them but the blacks will always accept me and see me as one of them ( also acknowledging — not ignoring the fact that I have white in me as well, but never a hater about it)Yes, i’m White. Yes, I’m Black. I love my parents equally. But in Today’s (and in past) society, I’m still Black.
    Wow that is a hard one. Hmm.. someone help me out w/ this one.

  21. Hi all, first of all i just wanna say i love this site for the thoughtful and engaging posts. Secondly i love Shirley Bassey’s music. A friend and former colleague of mine who is mixed race (Scottish mom and West Indian dad) told us this story in the office that she went into a newsagent to buy a newspaper and when she chose a right-wing conservative paper the Asian shopkeeper commented that she shouldn’t be buying it and she should be reading ‘The Voice’ (a black newspaper)instead. She took offence at this remark and expected everyone to take her side but I didn’t really understand why such a flippant remark should upset her so much. Over time my friend would make comments about ‘foreigners flooding the UK’ and complain how you ‘hardly see any white faces around this area anymore’. I was becoming upset and couldn’t understand how she could spew such xenophobic comments with her father being an immigrant and her being so close to him. She would always make a distinction between the black girls in the office like myself and herself and would be visibly thrown when she was counted as a black person. Anyway to cut a long story short I eventually learned not to be so judgemental and to be more understanding of her background. I realised there are issues of self-hate and denial in the mix which made me view her position more sympathetically. To this day comments about her being grateful that her nieces were born with ultra-straight hair still get on my nerves but I understand that movements like ‘I’m black and beautiful/ proud’ weren’t as strong in the UK as they were in the US at that time and there was and still is a lot of ignorance and self-hatred about these issues within the black community. I have learned to appreciate my friend for all her other positive qualities which for me outweigh the negatives. Besides she really does care for me even though she probably thanks God every night that she wasn’t born as dark-skinned and nappy haired as I am. I thank God every night that I grew up totally unaware of and unexposed to inequality, racism and colourism. I am sorry that Shirley Bassey feels the way she does because I’m sure she missed out on an awful lot of opportunities as a result.

  22. I never heard much about her personal life, however once I did see a recorded stage performance and she talked about being traumatized as a child for being black. Just recently I found out she lives in Monaco so I doubt that gives her much opportunity to interact with the troublesome black folks she doesn’t identify with. Just the way she likes it, I’m sure. Long way to go to make a point Shirley.

  23. I think you chose a really interesting woman to write about this time. Shirley Bassey’s voice is fabulous and all, but her views really disturb me. My father is African American and my mother is Swedish, but I have blond hair and blue eyes and extremely fair skin. In a nutshell I look like a white woman, and if I wanted to, I could pass as one, but the whole idea of denying any part of my heritage makes me sick. Black people have overcome so much and we have a history to be proud of. Her views and opinions kind make me wonder how much she should be admired though…just my opinion.

  24. LBellatrix says:

    Truly fascinating documentary! I just sat here and watched the whole thing even though I have a million other things to do. (Damn Internet.) I used to have her performance of “Light My Fire” on a cassette but it went the way of all my cassettes unfortunately.

    Re people’s identities: I have seen the whole gamut of behavior amongst biracials, from completely denying any part of their black to completely denying any part of their non-black. :) Ultimately whatever people choose to identify as is their business and no skin off my (dark chocolate, on the small and slightly pointy side of full) nose.

    But I WILL behave appropriately – ie. I will ignore you if you’re lucky – if I sense that you somehow think that your blackness is a detriment, because if you feel that way, then most likely you can’t see me — someone who is unquestionably black 24-7 — as an equal either. I have been truly appalled at the way SOME biracials/multiracials will grab on and cling to white privilege by any means necessary even if it means shoving their darker relatives under the bus. Remember what Sarah Jane said about her mama in “Imitation of Life”? “She can’t help her color…but I can…and I will.” Passing for white nowadays is just sad to me.

    Having said all that, I genuinely admire Shirley Bassey. Kind of in the same way I admire Condoleezza Rice. (Okay, maybe I’m a little more charitable towards Bassey.)

  25. @LBellatrix, do you watch TCM (Turner Classic Movies), i just saw that movie last month. when you watch movies from that era and see the way that brown (Black, Spanish and Asian)people were treated it puts you in shock. my German uncle would make my aunt and her kids ride in the back of the car. she never sat in the front passenger seat.

  26. I just found your website and I love it. I will be around alot. I am a huge fan of Shirley Bassey and I think she is a peerless performer. I appreciate the thoughtful comments about the documentary about her. It’s true that Bassey has endeavored to lead a somewhat “colorless” existence, but the documentary posted at YouTube is very lopsided and filled with half-truths and falsehoods.

    First, the gentleman in the documentary who makes the comments about Shirley’s disdain for “civil rights” and her unwillingness to be black, is her ex-husband and former manager. Their marriage and business relationship ended badly around 1980 and he has never had a nice thing to say about her since. So we should take any opinion of his with a grain of salt. His comments are calculated to degrade her. Every other indication in Bassey’s history shows that she openly identified as mixed-race or black, depending on the circumstances, and that was the terminology she used to refer to herself. She came along in a time and in a profession where being “black” wasn’t a professional asset; so she had no inclination to play it up. Neither did her contemporaries Nancy Wilson, Diahann Carroll, Diana Ross, Leslie Uggams or Barbara McNair. They were black because they were black and the audiences at the Persian Room or the Cocoanut Grove or the Copacabana wanted them to be as “non-black” as possible — and they all obliged.

    Regarding the Sun City thing, Bassey has publicly and profusely apologized for that. Many black entertainers (American and otherwise) performed in Sun City even after the international community declared an anti-apartheid cultural boycott, including Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Johnny Mathis, George Benson and Curtis Mayfield, among others. As you know, audiences in Sun City were integrated and the district didn’t adhere to all of the rigid racial segregation rules of the rest of the country. Many entertainers — of all colors — were just ignorant to the political implications of patronizing the economy of a country that legalized racial terrorism and bigotry. Sun City was a seeming oasis of racial harmony within a larger country of racial hostility and some may have naively believed that one had nothing to do with the other. As well, Sun City payed HUGE amounts of money and while one could argue you cannot place financial gain above morality, principle or integrity, the reality is we all have to eat and pay the rent. Bassey made a dubious choice but it is not necessarily an indication of how she felt about herself or other blacks.

    Also, you make a comment that Bassey and Nina Simone must dislike each other. On Bassey’s side that is not true. In the mid-60s Bassey recorded a live album at the Pigalle in London. In a spoken intro to her performance of “The Other Woman” she praises Nina Simone and says that she is a fan of Nina’s. As with all things, when it comes to Bassey things are never just black or white (no pun intended).

  27. @ Scott, wow thanks for the other view, we all do things that can be misconstrued or just flat out things we regret, and i’m sure for Miss Bassey to have her entire life for the world to consume is more pressure than any of us can imagine. by the way i agree that, any “insights” from an ex(lover,partner or friend)should be not be taken on face value.

  28. Great website! Shirley Bassey on occassion openly refers to herself as “black” during interviews. In earlier years she didn’t seem very conscious of her color, however experience and age should be considered. In one account from a magazine, Bassey tells the story of being the brunt of a racist taunt in New York City. She was in an elevator when a man referred to her as a “nigger”.

    She also acknowledges and speaks highly of other talented black artists such as Ella, Billy Eckstine, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston to name a few. Tina Turner and Shirley Bassey are also close friends.

  29. First of all, I’d just like to say that I know this comment is remarkably tardy and most likely no one will read it, but I’d like to clarify a few things about the whole “biracial” debate. I personally don’t think it’s fair for anyone to place judgement on a biracial or multiracial individual simply because they believe they deserve the right. People who identify with one race have no idea what it’s like to grow up consisting of two racial backgrounds and no, biracial people do not want your pity or sympathy. Secondly, for so many people to pull the “tragic mulatto” bit and not only apply it to the singer of discussion but ALL mulattos is ridiculous. Also, as a biracial individual, I must point out that African-Americans or blacks in general are not the most accepting when it comes to mulattos; no more or less than Caucasians. I’ve been discriminated against more so by black people than white people, and why? Because I speak proper English, I’m not immersed in hip hop culture, or I’d rather listen to Maria Callas than 50 Cent, or my skin isn’t dark enough, my hair is too fine or curly, or whatever else asinine reason they could concoct by means of justifying treating me differently or calling me “uppity,” and “white boy.” I’m not saying ALL black people have been this way, or categorizing them in any way shape or form, a style that several individuals on this site have used when describing biracial people. I’m often mistaken for a Latino and have spent my entire 20 years on earth answering “What are you?” when I say I am not, and not once have I denied my African-American blood; but I’m looking at the topic in all fairness. It’s not fair to place the blame on all white people, as one individual did, when black people are equally as prejudice. Lastly, I don’t feel we should have to choose or identify as one or the other. Why, you ask? Because we’re both. Now, there are some biracial people that do, and that’s fine, but ultimately it’s their choice to make, not society’s. There are just certain examples in this blog, like the woman being upset because the store clerk said she should buy the “black” magazine. ANY “full-blooded” African-American who considered his or herself a conservative or republican would’ve been equally upset. Any human being for that matter is upset when things are assumed about them, so why is it such a big deal for a multiracial person to feel the same? Should we just accept the preconceived notions and pretend we’re not equal because we have to check more than one box on a forms and applications? No, I think not. So before you go calling us confused, or try to paint us in the color of sorrow and tragedy, and shower us in your sympathetic “poor half breed” stares, take a second and think about what we have to go through. And as afore mentioned, keep your commiseration and false understanding to yourself. Maybe then you won’t be so unsure why we adapt to situations or act the way we do; you know, like normal people trying to come full circle in a racist, prejudice, accepting, terribly wonderful world.

  30. i can appreciate your opinion. look the lady is half black and she is not political. don’t read into it so personally. you are proud of being black, thats fine. i am proud to be a filipino too. who cares if a person is famous or not. i don’t. just because shirley bassey is famous, you think she can do so much for the blacks, whites or who ever. except that not everyone is the same. some people get involved and some don’t. if you do that fine. don’t get upset because everyone thinks like you. carry on and don’t worry about things you can not control. shirley bassey is just fine. leave her alone. her music is her contribution to mankind. not standing on a soap box and brag about how proud she is to be black. monterey ray, a proud filipino.

  31. readb4uspeak says:

    not sure what filipino pride had to do with anything but im pretty sure you completely missed jaysons point. he wasnt asking for bassey to get on a soapbox and preach. he was pointing out how close minded people place stigmas on others and how his blackness doesn’t outweigh is whiteness or vice versa. you clearly missed that as you only pointed out his black side as if he disregarded his white but maybe you didn’t grasp the concept. point blank period hes saying that biracial people don’t want to be pigeonholed as one ethnicity by some random stranger or society. but i guess you missed that too. i also dont see how him stating his opinion is “taking it personally” if thats the case then everyone in this blog is taking things too personally.

  32. Ugonna Wosu says:

    I don’t think its fair to assume Shirley doesn’t like blacks or whatever. I do find it sad that she doesn’t seem to feel any kinship to blacks, and has basically completely whitewashed her family, but I think she identifies more with white people. She was raised by her white mother, and has been hustled and bustled around by white, male managers since she was discovered as a teen. Please consider these things before demonizing her.

  33. For someone talking about identity I’d have thought you’d bother to check your facts Shirley Bassey is WELSH, NOT ENGLISH, you want people to appreciate your culture but you don’t bother doing your own research. British does not equal English.
    I am mixed race and call myself mixed race, I’ve never met anyone who has referred to me as black because I’m British Mixed. If a person is raised in an all-black community, their parents are seperated and they live with a black parent they will feel more black than white. If a person has bee raised in a predominantly white community such as most of Wales is they will probably connect with that side of their heritage more. Why is that taboo?

  34. Also black people are a smaller minority in the UK, it is 91% white over here, followed by asians folled by blacks, so people see you as what you are. If you’re from England, you’re English then mixed race, if you’re Northern Irish you are Irish then black etc. I’ve heard Americans talking about in the olden days there was a ‘one drop’ rule. there was never anything like that in this country so you are what you are, nobody over here calls a mixed race person black unless they are very dark-skinned and appear to be. Go into the streets of Cardiff and ask what colour Barack Obama is and 99% will say ‘mixed race’

  35. Did you ever consider that just maybe Bassey was ahead of her (and our) time when it comes to race. It shouldn’t matter and obviously she is a good example that it doesn’t have to.

  36. Georgia says:

    Nanz, like many Londoners you seem to be ignorant about life outside your own city. How dare you make out the rest of the UK is racist. I’m mixed race in Manchester and I have never suffered racist abuse or felt badly treated because of my race. All you see up here are black and white people together and according to Wikipedia Manchester and Nottingham have a higher percentage of mixed race people than London which equates to more people of different races in relationships.

  37. Shemp howard says:

    Where I cme from a lot of mixed raced people and Creole people hate their blackness. I also had a brief chat with Iman also. She very much hates her blackness as well as Black males. This seems to be very common among these types of people. I am saddened that such people are held in high regard becausse they can ‘sing’ or dance or have a certain type of look. Personally I do not worship these people. Nor do I respect them as somehow being ‘better’ than the rest of us. Their deep rooted hatred of all things African/black expresses to me that they are unworthy of the attention that they receive. But in the end all things come into balance. Dr. Gates received his wakeup call. Perhaps one day Ms Bassy shall as well. And I certainly hope Iman gets hers. She it total trash as a human being. Very ugly on the inside.

  38. fabfashionista says:

    I was googling Shirley Bassey and I came across your site! I do agree that she could’ve leant her voice and talent to the civil rights movement; however race seems to be “less complex” in Europe. The thing that I don’t understand is that a lot of the black in Europe, especially in Britain identify themselves as being European / English before acknowledging the fact that they are Afro-European or black. They fail to see their color which is disturbing because their Anglo European counterparts have no problem seeing this disparity. Sometimes I believe Europe is more racist than the U.S. Its very sad.

  39. there are a numerous blog accessible on that theme however your greatest so far…that’s why I am commenting right here

  40. I am mixed race and do not agree with the demonisation of Shirley Bassey. Overall I think monoracial people simple do not understand that as a mixed race person the whole idea of racial disharmony and identification is absolutely ridiculous! I wish many people could see this. I love beng mixed race I am balanced and fair in my views I love my african heritage as well as my jewish german, hispanic and jamaican heritage. I have zero setimentality about race only about unfairness and injustice/right from wrong. I could not care less whether am called black white mixed race or purple it is absolute nonsense. I am a human being and belong to the human race and will endeavour to identify with all mankind and do good for all martin luther king preached this story amongst other freedom fighters. alot of people need to get over themslves and deal with it. Shirley bassey has never said she isnt black and she has never even altered her appearance to appear less so in stark contrast to so called black performers like beyonce and tina turner that rock their silly long blond weaves and what not. most mixed race people rock their own curly hair do not try to alter their appearance despite easily being able to do so. My black african father never stipulated race to me but affectionately told me no one can make you feel inferior if you dont want them to!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] The “One Drop” theory still rules regardless of shade, and that’s part of why I was so surprised to find that someone the skin color of Shirley Bassey could possibly not identify as black. Honestly, the thought never crossed my mind that some black people didn’t think of themselves as anything but what they are. Or that some black people seek long and hard to be something they are not. I read Nella Larsen’s Passing in college, but I really believed those days had ended with the Harlem Renaissance. [...]

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