Monday, April 14, 2014

kufiyaspotting: Fred Ho (RIP)

The New York Times published an obituary for the respected, left-wing US jazz artist Fred Ho on April 12, the day he died, by Ben Ratliff. Ratliff did a fine job of recounting Ho's artistic achievements and ambitions as well as his complicated radical politics (he described himself as a “revolutionary matriarchal socialist and aspiring Luddite”).

Fred Ho, 2013. Photo: Fred Bright, for the New York Times

But Ratliff did not mention an aspect of Ho's politics that was apparent from the way he was dressed in the two photos that appeared on the page (one of them from the video on Ho, which is a must watch), which of course struck me. Ho was shown in both wearing a red (red salute!) kufiya scarf. I do not know whether Ho was ever active in, or ever made any statements in support of, Palestinian solidarity activism (he did however make a statement in criticism of John Zorn's "Zionism"). But it seems pretty clear that Ho did have a sentiment of solidarity; it's hardly likely that he wore the scarf simply because it was stylish.

 Screen save from vid (photo, Fred Bright)

"My hope is that my music would inspire revolution." (quote from the video)

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