Truth is always funnier. Truth is always more telling.

Duke Ellington’s feature film debut was in a 1929 film that starred “Amos and Andy,” Charles Correll and Freeman Gosden, two popular white comedians who played black characters on radio and wore blackface in order to play them on screen…In fact, two members of the Ellington band, Juan Tizol and Barney Bigard, had to wear blackface in the film because their skin was so light. It was unacceptable that they should appear in a black band in a film that starred two white men wearing blackface.  You can’t make up things like that, and you don’t have to. Truth is always better. Truth is always funnier. Truth is always more telling.

 

Ethan Iverson interviews Duke biographer Terry Teachout