Ukulele Ike Cliff Edward's controversial uke

Yeah… pretty offensive but. Disney posts a disclaimer before a lot of their older movies these days with racist stereotypes (there’s a lot of these) saying:

“These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.”

I think there is nothing wrong with having something like this uke, along with it’s racist imagery, if we can use it as a learning tool, acknowledging the racist past that we have had as a society and growing from it.
 
Here is an interesting article about this fellow:


Apparently Mr. Edwards was the voice of “Jim Crow” in Dumbo!! How is that for some racism?? I am thankful for this uke existing in this moment in time because I wouldn’t have done this interesting research into our societal past without it!
 
I assume yours looks something like this one?

Yes. Sorry, it took so long to respond. Here are some photos (attached.)
 

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Here is an interesting article about this fellow:


Apparently Mr. Edwards was the voice of “Jim Crow” in Dumbo!! How is that for some racism?? I am thankful for this uke existing in this moment in time because I wouldn’t have done this interesting research into our societal past without it!
That's true. He was Jiminy Cricket (When You Wish Upon A Star" and he did the voice of the crow because he was so good at that style of voice characterization, sincehe had done the "Blackface" act so much on stage. He got hugely popular as a young man but his love of fine cars, booze, drugs and women did him in. Disney was kind tomhim and continued to use him for various roles but he died broke. Disney paid for his grave stone.
Any word from Jim Crow museum? I have no idea, but my guess is they’d take it.

Thank you for the info. I will contact them.
 
It's a history lesson and a musical instrument, rolled into one. I think it's a Regal-made concert, and probably a fine sounding instrument at that. No-one in their right mind would see it as a modern day political statement. Just be sure to tell the story every time this ukulele raises eyebrows.
 
The placement of the offending illustration (there were also figurines of Cliff in blackface, not to mention the cover of his comic song book) makes me think that you could easily craft a small band to wrap around and obscure it, without causing damage. Wide elastic and a strip of velcro would do it. That way you could play and enjoy the instrument for what it is, not what the decoration represents.
 
What something represents to one person can be very different to what it represents to another. I can imagine that people of colour might well be offended by anything that triggers memories of racism yet, at the same time, many of us grew up seeing black face minstrels on the television and didn’t really associate them with anything in particular. Way back then we didn’t see the mistrals in any negative way and just accepted them as entertainers - which is what they were meant to be.

The instrument involved probably isn’t particularly rare or valuable. If no museum wants it then either sell it on say eBay or use it. If you use it then, out of respect for the sensitivities of others, either discretely cover the offending markings or remove them. If I understand correctly the instrument was originally owned by a white person and the minstrel was a selling feature, people admired the minstrel and wanted to be able to play and sing like him … the connotations then were actually positive.

When I first saw this thread I thought that it might prove contentious and too near to politics. UU is about instruments and it would be good if we could keep it that way.
 
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What something represents to one person can be very different to what it represents to another. I can imagine that people of colour might well be offended by anything that triggers memories of racism yet, at the same time, many of us grew up seeing black face minstrels on the television and didn’t really associate them with anything in particular. Way back then we didn’t see the mistrals in any negative way and just accepted them as entertainers - which is what they were meant to be.

The instrument involved probably isn’t particularly rare or valuable. If no museum wants it then either sell it on say eBay or use it. If you use it then, out of respect for the sensitivities of others, either discretely cover the offending markings or remove them. If I understand correctly the instrument was originally owned by a white person and the minstrel was a selling feature, people admired the minstrel and wanted to be able to play and sing like him … the connotations then were actually positive.

When I first saw this thread I thought that it might prove contentious and too near to politics. UU is about instruments and it would be good if we could keep it that way.
UU is demonstrably about much more than instruments, Glenn, and it’s better for it. This is exactly the kind of discussion you can’t find maybe anywhere else. I see your point, but having civil conversation about this kind of issue is how we can honor and respect those who have been dishonored and disrespected in the past— and who, in many cases, continue to be.
 
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