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Trying to Find an Identity: Eric Clapton's Changing Conception of “Blackness”

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Abstract:

This essay seeks to connect rock star Eric Clapton's music from the 1960s with the history of Norman Mailer's notion of the “white negro” in a particular British context. In his search for an authenticated identity, Clapton turned to a problematic construction of black masculinity. Clapton employed a more fluid approach to the racialization of musical genres with the group Cream, but eventually returned to essentialist notions of “race” in his music as well as in his endorsement of British politician Enoch Powell's anti-immigration campaign in 1976. You know, I'm not black, but there's a whole lot of times I wish I could say I'm not white. (Zappa)

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03007760802052809

Publication date: 2008-10-01

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