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Black Man (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Black Man" is a track on the 1976 Stevie Wonder album Songs in the Key of Life. The song was written by Wonder and Gary Byrd.[1]

The song was written about Wonder's desire for worldwide interracial harmony,[2] and criticism of racism,[3] as evidenced in earlier works such as "Living for the City". The lyrics referred prominently to Crispus Attucks, widely considered the first martyr of the American Revolution. Wonder deliberately chose this theme as the United States Bicentennial was underway at the time of recording.[4]

The song uses color-based terminology; (i.e. black, red, yellow, white, brown) to describe different racial groups and although this language has become less acceptable culturally, these terms are mentioned below, as in the original form of the song, along with the activity for which the song holds each historical figure to be famous.

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This song is dedicated to a certain kind of people.... Which just so happens to be my favorite kind of people. You know… the ones that… you know, when you’re standing next to them, and all of a sudden it gets dark… I mean, your best friend is… you know what I’m saying, right? Yeah. Black people I'ma steal your shoes You better hide your wallet Cuz I'ma take that too Black people Hey Black people One big family, With a really big bucket of KFC Black people (Seriously, like all of us are related) I ran into an old amigo named Juan Luis The Mexican called me Apple cause we both hang from trees Now I, I kinda took that in a joking way But was he talking bout monkeys or the KKK? We don't get sunburnt, just ashy knees And we don't chew tobacco But we will smoke weed Puff, puff, pass like the train that could, And we can’t spell neighbor, so we call it the hood And most of us will die with our finger on the trigger I guess that's why they say I'm just a filthy little spear-chucking, chicken-eating, melon sucking, lone fetus, weed-smoking, long penis.... well, you get the picture. They tried to keep us out the White House again But just like all white houses, one of us broke in. And welfare and diapers is all we got If you don't wear my favorite color then you might get shot… (My favorite color is purple, by the way…..) A black woman came to me to bash my song I told her, “All Blacks are Democrat, now prove me wrong." Black people I'ma steal your shoes You better hide your wallet Cuz I'ma take that too Black people Hey Black People One big family, With a really big bucket of KFC Black people (And it doesn’t have to be KFC, we like Popeye’s biscuits too) Hey, Hey. (What’s a black song without any rap in it, right?) Yo, Check It, Unh, Yo, Yo, Yo (it always starts off that way, right?) Yo Now, there’s a line between discriminating and not in different places You are if you use the N-word, but if you're black then you’re not racist, I mean, well, I guess you can, just not around your black friends, You’ll get jumped by every cousin, including the one behind that trash can, Now, let me tell you a story, back before America was stolen, There were two tribes of black people, the Indians and the Po Ones, The Indians were like caramel, the Po One’s were like sharpies, I guess that’s why they call them Pilgrims, and why they call us Darkies. The Indians had all the horses, land, turkeys, the geniuses The Po One’s killed their horses, took their hair and their penises, But uh..there’s not really a moral to this story though, Except that we will steal your goodies, and that is how the story goes. Black people I'ma steal your shoes You better hide your wallet Cuz I'ma take that too Black people Hey Black People One big family, With a really big bucket of KFC Black people Black People Since ’72, Going broke making cheap cars taller than you Black people Ok, you gotta admit, we do have some nice rims though, right? Black people Front Porch monkey With a blunt and a banana, “Ooo Aaa, Eee-eee!" Black people Hey, hey! (This is probably the most racist song I’ve ever written….but if you laughed, you’re racist too. So I don’t feel so bad. Besides, it’s not racist if I’m black.)


The opening verses refer to 12 people, or groups of people.[1]

  1. a black man - first man to die for the American flag (Crispus Attucks)
  2. the redman - first people on American ground (Native American people)
  3. a brown man - guide on the first Columbus trip (Pedro Alonso Niño)
  4. the yellow man - laid tracks for railroads (Chinese workers)
  5. a black man - first heart surgeon (Dr. Daniel Hale Williams)
  6. a redman - helped pilgrims to survive at Plymouth (Squanto)
  7. a brown man - leader for farm workers' rights (Cesar Chavez)
  8. a white man - inventor of incandescent light bulb (Thomas Edison)
  9. a black man - created first clock to be made in America (Benjamin Banneker)
  10. a red woman - scout who helped lead Lewis and Clark expedition (Sacagawea)
  11. a yellow man - pioneer of martial arts in America (Bruce Lee)
  12. a white man - Emancipation Proclamation (Abraham Lincoln)

The second section is a call-and-response format, calling out 17 people.[1]

  1. Matthew Henson - a black man - first man to set foot on the north pole
  2. Squanto - a redman - first American to show the pilgrims at Plymouth the secrets of survival in the New World
  3. Sing Kee[5] – a yellow man - soldier of Company G who won high honors for extraordinary heroism in World War I
  4. Cesar Chavez - a brown man - leader of United Farm Workers who helped farm workers maintain dignity and respect
  5. Dr. Charles Drew - a black man - founder of blood plasma and the director of the Red Cross blood bank
  6. Sacagawea - a red woman - great American heroine who aided the Lewis and Clark Expedition
  7. Hayakawa - a yellow man - famous educator and semanticist who made outstanding contributions to education in America
  8. Garrett Morgan - a black man - invented the world's first stop light and the gas mask
  9. Harvey William Cushing - a white man - American surgeon who was one of the founders of neurosurgery
  10. Benjamin Banneker - a black man - man who helped design the nation's capitol, made the first clock to give time in America and wrote the first almanac
  11. Hiawatha - a red man - legendary hero who helped establish the league of Iroquois
  12. Michio Kushi - a yellow man - leader of the first macrobiotic center in America
  13. Jean Baptiste - a black man - founder of the city of Chicago in 1772
  14. Dennis Banks - a red man - one of the organizers of the American Indian movement
  15. Luis de Santángel - a white man - Jewish financier who raised funds to sponsor Christopher Columbus' voyage to America
  16. Harriet Tubman - a black woman - woman who led countless slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad
  17. T. J. Marshall[6] – a black man - inventor of the fire extinguisher (barely heard during fadeout)


  1. ^ a b c Wonder, Stevie; Byrd, Gary. "Black Man Lyrics". MetroLyrics. Archived from the original on 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2016-03-28.
  2. ^ Werner, Craig Hansen (2006). A Change is Gonna Come: Music, Race & the Soul of America. University of Michigan Press. p. 187. ISBN 9780472031474.
  3. ^ Gulla, Bob (2008). Icons of R&B and Soul: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles ; The Temptations ; The Supremes ; Stevie Wonder. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 322. ISBN 9780313340468.
  4. ^ Wilson, Ivy G (2011). Specters of Democracy:Blackness and the Aesthetics of Politics in the Antebellum U.S. Oxford University Press. p. 169. ISBN 9780199843725.
  5. ^ "Sing Lee". Hall of Valor. Military Times. Archived from the original on 2016-03-29. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  6. ^ "Black or Afro-American Inventors: Patent and Invention Index" (PDF). Turlock, California: California State University, Stanislaus. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-29. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
This page was last edited on 7 December 2018, at 22:06
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