Sunday, December 20, 2015
Young, gifted, black and inappropriate
Since 2011 two posts about Philippa Schuyler On An Overgrown Path have reached a very wide audience. One is a portrait by me of the controversial child prodigy, pianist and composer and the equally controversial treatment of her by the American establishment. The other post featured an embedded audio file of a performance of Philippa Schuyler's Nine Little Pieces for piano recorded specially for the blog by John McLaughlin Williams, together with a written analysis of the pieces by John. Unfortunately the hosting service used for the audio file has become defunct. So yesterday I uploaded the nineteen minute audio file to YouTube, together with the image seen above, an edited version of the introductory paragraph to my biographical article, and links to the two posts.
Within an hour I received an officious email telling me that the YouTube community had flagged the video as inappropriate, and, after reviewing the content, they had determined that it violated their Community Guidelines, and, as a result, Philippa Schuyler's Nine Little Pieces played by John McLaughlin Williams had been removed from YouTube. (See below.) Traffic blogs for the blog showed that just before the removal of the file, a visitor from Google's IP address had followed the links to my two articles (Google owns YouTube), and a non-Google visitor from the U.S. (one of the community vigilantes?) had followed the link from my biographical article to a graphic showing the cover of the December 1962 edition of 'Jet - the Weekly Negro News Magazine' featuring Philippa. This cover carrys the headline 'What happens to Negro child geniuses?'
No explanation was given as to why content which had been hosted on Google's Blogger platform for four years and read/listened to by more than 50,000 people without any adverse comment, was deemed inappropriate for YouTube. In the absence of any explanation I have to conclude that the totally unacceptable and arbitrary control that Google exercises over our lives (search engine, operating system, email, video sharing, mapping etc) means that a small but, I believe, valuable musical document has been censored.
Update - twelve hours later the video is reinstated.
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