Jill Scott bewildered by plantations being turned into cozy getaway spots: It's like having a 'bed-and-breakfast at Auschwitz'
Jill Scott at the 51st NAACP Image Awards in February. (Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP)
Jill Scott shares her experience of visiting a former slave plantation - and her unbelief that some of them are now whitewashed and marketed as cozy vacation spots.
In an Instagram video post titled "Pissed," the singer and actress spoke of being taken to a plantation, not sure how she would feel based on the story, and willing to agree to the home visit go and hear about the wonderful lives of people plantation owners - and no mention of the brutal conditions imposed on the enslaved people who were forced to work there.
"I was there and they took us to a plantation," the artist said in the powerful video. "I didn't know how I would feel when I saw it because I had never seen one before. But we stopped, I noticed the beautiful trees and when we got closer I noticed this beautiful white building. Everywhere we went People around, took photos and sat on a rocking chair on the porch and drank lemonade. So nice. "
Scott said she decided, "All right, I'm here - let me do the tour." As they walked through the salon, the guide spoke “about how they would welcome guests” and “serve brandy and tea and have conversations and play music. Everyone goes: Hmm, hmm. "
The tour went to the dining room "and all the mahogany chairs and the chandeliers and things that had to have candles ... the curtains ... the carpets." And then they went upstairs to "see the bedrooms and see how orderly the enslaved should be," including the "slop jars" or chamber pots that needed cleaning after being urinated and emptied.
She said the tour guide pointed to photos on the wall. "And she says," Notice how nobody really smiled back then. "And I looked at those faces. And I decided to get away from this tour and make my own little trip. So I did."
What happened next "I don't know what happened," she continued, "but someone pissed on the carpet in the dining room for a long, long time."
With zero regret, she added, "I bet whoever it is wished they had more piss."
In conclusion, she expressed her unbelief that slave plantations will continue to be marketed as cozy tourist attractions with southern charm if her story is anything but good.
"They make these places bed and breakfasts - people from all over the world come to stay there," Scott said confused. "You offered me the slave quarters. Oh, it was remodeled. It is wonderful. I bet you won't visit a bed and breakfast in Auschwitz, ”says the largest German concentration camp and extermination center, where more than 1.1 million men, women and children were killed.
In the end she said: "Chew on it."
Her experience was well received by commentators. One wrote: "They treat us like ghosts in the room." Another wrote that "the faces in the photos are the same". Another wrote, "So I want to buy one so they don't have the power to erase what happened in those places."
After George Floyd's death and the protests for racial equality, changes are called for and made - Confederate statues are dismantled, the Confederate flag banned at NASCAR events, and there have been name changes by the Lady Antebellum country group, now the state Rhode Island.
While plantations have long sold out (and become popular wedding venues) as a view of chic gardens and pretty china collections, USA Today reports that some have already "reformed to showcase the evils of slavery." The article noted that the McLeod plantation in Charleston, SC, and the Whitney plantation near Wallace, La., Are two that have changed the focus on the lives of enslaved residents and the slave housing as a counterpoint to the homes of the chic owners. "They have practically become museums for the suffering of black people."
Although it was not without resistance. The Washington Post reported in December that plantations had started to "speak more honestly about slavery," but they got a bit of a setback. An example that was mentioned when a tour guide in Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's plantation in Charlottesville, Virginia, pointed visitors to a garden set up by slaves. They wanted to know, "Why are you talking about it? ... you should talk about the plants. "
To borrow Jill Scott's line "Chew on that".
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