Hendrix at Home

Discovering Hendrix at Handel & Hendrix in London

Post 55: The question of race

The proposed floor plan for the museum

The proposed floor plan for the museum

We are currently thinking in further detail some of the themes that we want to address. We don’t have much space and won’t be able to cover all we would want to (hopefully changing exhibitions will help a bit with that) but one thing that we think will be important in the permanent exhibition is the issue of race, and as you can imagine this won’t be easy. Not least because some people believe that Hendrix didn’t particularly suffer from racism in London. Now I am not sure that is entirely true surely being billed as the wild man of Borneo is in itself an insult?! However primary sources have told me that it wasn’t an issue in the niche artistic circles in which Hendrix moved, in London and perhaps to an extent this was true. But it certainly wasn’t the case elsewhere.

At one of my regular meetings with our Heritage Lottery Fund monitor (the person from the HLF who keeps in touch with the project and helps and advises us) told me the story of when Hendrix played Nottingham he was booked to stay at “The Black Boy” Hotel – Hendrix refused to stay there. I can’t really imagine that sort of thing was an isolated event. So we are giving this particular subject some serious thought.

Enthusiasm: Energetic thinking
Progress: Challenging times
Quote: “Remember you are only small, you can’t do everything.”


About Sarah Bardwell

Handel & Hendrix in London Trustee and leading the team that is reinstating, in the adjoining building, Jimi Hendrix's London flat to open to the public. Quirky twist of chance meant that baroque legend Handel lived at 25 Brook Street in the 18th century and that rock legend Hendrix lived next door in the 1960s.

3 comments on “Post 55: The question of race

  1. nitrogenfootprint
    21 August 2014

    I wouldn’t waste exhibition space on it. Jimi’s music and the blues it grew from transcends any and all racial divides as does anything that is just ‘genius’. Leave that issue to other museums and their ‘inclusive’ PC agenda. Please just leave us with Jimi – the musician, the legend, the human being.

  2. Robert Padam
    22 August 2014

    It has to be acknowledged without doubt. I think some British people like to believe they took him to their hearts much in the same way the French did Josephine Baker. But the man himself transcended such issues – ‘You got to do what you have to do and I have to do what I have to do’. I have great sympathy with the previous comment. I don’t like to see him associated with a pathetic human insecurity like racism but it was something he was subject to and it must have shaped him to an extent.

  3. Pingback: Post 58: The question of race 2 | Hendrix at Home

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This entry was posted on 21 August 2014 by in Capital project, Flat, Hendrix, History and tagged , , .

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