Ain't That Good News
1964 | Soul
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“There have been times that I thought I couldn't last for long, but now I think I'm able to carry on. -- It's been a long, a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will."
- The song was inspired by various personal events in Cooke's life, most prominently an event in which he and his entourage were turned away from a whites-only motel in Louisiana.
- Sam contributed to the rise of Aretha Franklin, Bobby Womack, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Billy Preston, and popularized the likes of Otis Redding and James Brown.
- On December 11, 1964, at the age of 33, Cooke was shot and killed by Bertha Franklin, the manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California.
THE HOT TAKES
I feel like it's partially my responsibility to give the "video game angle" here on the list. You want to know a franchise that handles the quesiton of racism extremely well? The Witcher. Set in a grim fantasy world rife with monsters and magic, in all the games (and in the original novels by Andrzej Sapowski that the games are based on) racism is a core part of the world. I'll give an example from the most recent game, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. In the so-called "Free City of Novigrad," the new ruler imposes a strict religion upon the population: The Eternal Fire. Magic is to be despised, so sorceresses are hunted, tortured, and burned at the stake by a newly-established cadre of Witch Hunters. All of society's ills are blamed on this class of people. Few in number, the sorceress population dwindles quickly. And since a government tool never gets retired, the witch hunters are not disbanded. Instead, they are repurposed to the persecution of nonhumans. Drawves, Elves, Halflings. These all start to be turned in by their neighbors. Imprisoned, tortured, hung. It makes for some good storytelling, and it certainly goes to show how the state is the greatest tool of the wicked.
When Sam Cooke sings, it’s like intense love and heartbreak all rolled into one. What an incredible talent he was. This song reminds me of the idea of contrast, that Mr. Cooke was so good at. There is so much silence in this song that punctuates the heaviness of the suffering and uncertainty of life, while the words give hope that change will come. We all know that in life, change is the only real constant. We’re in the fight to make it a change for the better.
One of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists. This is also another one specifically written from a racial position. The song is facing forward to a day when all people are afforded the respect to live as they see fit. I can't tell a man extricate hate from his heart. Sadly that's their prerogative. However when their hate starts spilling over into legislation, that's another thing. I think the history of this song is complicated from a libertarian perspective because while I feel as though a business owner should be able to discriminate at will, I also think it's a terrible practice. Sadly one backed up by Jim Crowe laws. There is also the fact that Sam was well aware of his exceptionalism and in his own way paraded around his celebrity. I think the race issue is always hard because truthfully its not a political issue. Government needs to stay the hell out of the way. Meddling only suffices to exasperate the problem through history. We can't grow past hatred any faster than people can move beyond it personally.