Cornel West Talking About Sly Stone's "Everyday People" Is A Hearty Truthbomb That Will Last All Day
While it's true that Cornel West has seen easier days — it sounds weird to even say it, given his stock in trade as lifelong resistor to the status quo — those on either side of the current dialogue around him might be given pause by the above. It's a clip from On The Sly: In Search Of The Family Stone, a new documentary by native Philadelphians Michael Rubenstone and Todd Shotz about the iconic and often baffling Sly Stone. It makes its East Coast premiere this weekend as part of the closing night of the ongoing Cinedelphia Festival, which has been underway for the last two weeks (and which, frankly, is giving more established film fests in this town a serious run for their money). In the clip, West interprets "Everyday People" as something more than a pop song — which it was, and then much more. Instead, he flies right over all of that, and internalizes it as a kind of gospel, or at any rate a spiritual/near-mystical text. For West, the song both elevates its subject matter and gets right out in the open air key questions about "Everyday" people: "How are they treated indecently and yet teach America the meaning of decency?" And instead of an exact answer — which would do no real good anyway other than just being another opinion — West suggests that Sly Stone did something immeasurably better. "He created a place where we could go to have a foretaste of that freedom," he says. We're going there still.