So I was sort of upset to see that the show The Scottsboro Boys was leaving Broadway. There was soo much hype about it and it did sound amazing. I also heard a few of the songs and actually thought they were very well done. The whole show is about telling the story of a group of African Americans who were accused of something back in the days when Black people didn’t have the same rights and freedoms as White people. The show is a satyrical spoof on that to raise awareness of racism and prejudice. Apparently not everyone in America gets that because apparently a lot of people had left the theatre offended and eventually people stopped wanting to go to the show which is why it closed. The thing is that they may not have clearly shown the satirical part or made it clear that it was to bring awareness. Yesterday i head the song Financial Aid from The Scottsboro Boys. It was extremely offensive.
You can help to bring The Scottsboro Boys back for a limited run by clicking here and entering your email address.
Not only is the show about the way that Black people were treated, but this song crosses the line. It is the Black people who were being prosecuted being racist and talking about stealing money from the Jews, then doing away with them. There are two ways to look at the song Financial Aid from The Scottsboro Boys. You can hear it and be offended like I was, or you can hear it, be offended and then think about it trying to make the point that even though the characters were being discriminated against, they were also racist and didn’t even necessarily realize it.
The song brings out a huge realization that even people who are being discriminated against, and hate that they are being treated as second class citizens, can end up being just as racist. It becomes extremely hard for a Jewish person to feel even the slightest sympathy for the characters after hearing them talk about stealing from and then getting rid of the Jews. If I didn’t know the show was supposed to be about the case from a satirical point of view, I would probably not have realized they were making a point to the people sympathizing with the characters that they are just as at fault for discriminating against people by having an entire song about stealing from and doing away with another group of people. (As a quick side note, DRWilliams had filled me in in the comments below about the fact that it is a White Attorney who made the comments and not one of the Scottsboro Boys in the actual case.) Financial Advice from The Scottsboro Boys is probably the most offensive song on Broadway. In Cabaret there was an anti Jew song, but it was clear that it was supposed to make you think. (Certain Jewish groups disagreed when the show launched so it wasn’t so clear back then.). This song however doesn’t really get that message across. Maybe in another few years it will become more obvious, but Financial Aid from the Scottsboro Boys is an extremely racist and offensive song.
Although broadway has produced a million edgy shows like Spring Awakening, Rent or even Showboat, The Scottsboro Boys was just purely offensive. I don’t think it is ahead of its time, I think it ended up crossing the line of what is there to make a point and what is going to far. Unfortunately I did not get to see the show so I don’t know the full context of how they used the song. However the producers of The Scottsboro Boys are willing to do a limited time run of the show if enough people promise to buy a ticket by signing up with their email on their website. I am curious to see the show and see how they tie in the song Financial Aid, but at the same time if you do decide to go, be ready to be offended.
You can sign up to bring The Scottsboro Boys back by clicking here and submitting your email address. If you did get to see the Scottsboro Boys, feel free to leave a comment below. I think I might have to go to NYC to see it if it comes back. I’m going to sign the list to bring the show back because I am curious to see how they tie that song in.