Yesterday, I heard the Beyonce and Andre 3000 cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” for The Great Gatsby film. I always feel some kind of way when I hear it. Part of me feels that it’s a knock on the late Winehouse and shouldn’t have been touched. Another part of me, having seen the film on numerous occasions including opening night in 2013, feels it’s appropriate. One thing that’s for sure, though, is that it always gets me to thinking about the book. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: The Great Gatsby.
How I first came across this moment? I first came across the novel in the 11th grade. It was assigned reading.
What it meant to me then? As I wrote in Triumphs & Tribulations II, it just “felt like I was literally living in the Roaring 20s” as I read page by page. I kinda felt a connection to Jay Gatsby. At the time, I kinda had my eyes on a certain girl—let’s call her the finest girl in the Huffman High Class of 2003 and she definitely knows who she is—and not being the most sought-after guy in the looks department, I figured I could even the playing field with my other resources in an attempt to win her over: my money and my intellect. In a weird kind of way, my life did imitate the art.
What it means to me now? I last saw the film a couple of years back. It’s in my Blu-ray collection but all of that stuff is somewhat packed up ahead of this move on the horizon. The book, though…I haven’t read it since 2013. My last go-around, I remember asking myself “I wonder what this would’ve looked like if Fitzgerald had a Black man as a supporting character”. I mean, you did have the Christopher Scott Cherot-directed G with Richard T. Jones, Blair Underwood, Chenoa Maxwell, and a young Laz Alonso but that was too much hip-hop. Naw…I mean, I wonder what it would’ve looked like to have Nick Carraway as a Black man.