The stories that we tell.

[I try not to cross post, but I’m going to break my rule twice with this. It was originally written for my linkedin account about a post I wrote on my music research blog. The embedded post has the story of Toni Darnay. The post has a fun Halloween music mix I did. After writing it though I realized that while Darnay’s life was interesting, very interesting, researching it taught me some more important. Enjoy.]

Next time you wonder why you don’t hear good stories in the press, why you don’t see more diversity in the media, it isn’t because the people are not there and are not creating their stories, it’s because they are not being told.

Sometimes growth comes from experience, other times from learning. In my technical life, we used to joke that the best way to learn something is to teach it. I did plenty of that. Of course I always tried to experience it before teaching it.

Since switching to music research, it’s not clear how to experience it, except by doing it. Following up on last years Halloween post about #creedtaylor SHOCK album, I thought it would be fun to look into the life of the woman featured on the cover of the 1958 album. It was, it truly was, one of the most interesting life stories and research projects I’ve ever done. Ever heard of Toni Darnay? I didn’t think so.

Among many things, she once owned the Albright “Betsy Ross” house; her son was an attorney for the subway vigilante, Bernard Goetz, who was married to the Mayfair Madam, and divorced on the grounds of his body odor…

Hopefully you can find time to read it. It contains many, many exclusives, including a frame from the film of the Exorcist, a complete episode of a 1950’s CBS radio soap and more, so much more.

It also includes a great 33-minute Halloween music mix I put together on youtube.

Having done paid and unpaid research on more than fifty people, what I learned most from this project was how little of the black American experience was truly covered in news. I’ve done lots of in depth background pieces on famous black musicians who were almost completely undocumented on their journey to fame.

This woman from notionally an average background had her entire life documented. Sadly, when she died, it didn’t end well. She is mostly remembered in her obituary’s for her performance in the Exorcist, which was completely miss-able.

#research #diversity #growth #music #tonidarnay #ctirecords #abcparamount #jazz #nowplaying

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