Perhaps it’s a small thing to write about, to draw your attention to, but I find this just another indication of pervasive ignorance. I was on eBay and saw an autograph of Rex Stewart for sale — which cheered me:
But the heading which the seller created did not: VINTAGE AUTOGRAPH OF BLACK ENTERTAINER & COMEDIAN REX STEWART!
The exclamation point is the seller’s, not mine.
I’ve seen Rex in HELLZAPOPPIN’ and listened to hundreds of his recordings, and always found him entertaining . . . and it’s true he plays a comic, somewhat demeaning role in the film, what audiences of the time might have called “a colored cook.” But he was always a proud man, and I suspect he would have bristled at being characterized in this way.
Why not MUSICIAN? Why not ARTIST?
And if you want to discuss how cultural expectations have shifted over the past half-century, that is of course true — but, by the same token, the seller exists in 2015, not 1941.
I don’t know if it’s a subtle racial slur, or just evidence of someone who has not bothered to do three minutes of research, but it is irksome. Rex, I apologize to you for people like this.
May your happiness increase!