April 3, 2008 — Vol. 43, No. 34
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Weepin’ Willie: Requiem for a bluesman

Margarita Persico

The squalling snowfall on a Sunday night didn’t deter the New England blues community from paying tribute to one of its own. Musicians, friends and fans gathered at Club 58 in Quincy in February for a “memorial jam” in honor of Weepin’ Willie Robinson, one of the local scene’s most revered figures.

He was also one of its most complicated. A steady stream of colleagues and friends, both at the memorial concert and in separate interviews, describe Robinson as a gentle, kind and beloved charmer. At the same time, other tales paint him as the proverbial “rolling stone,” a man who left his wife to raise their eight kids alone while he set out for a music career in the blues bars of Boston.

Where fact and fiction separate in Robinson’s life story is difficult to say. One thing that’s certain: Weepin’ Willie’s life paralleled the lyrics of the songs he sang. Full story

Vogue cover starring LeBron James called racially insensitive

Megan K. Scott

NEW YORK — When Vogue announced its April cover starring LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen, the magazine noted with some fanfare that James was the first black man to grace its cover.

But the image is stirring up controversy, with some commentators decrying the photo as perpetuating racial stereotypes. James strikes what some see as a gorilla-like pose, baring his teeth, with one hand dribbling a ball and the other around Bundchen’s tiny waist.

It’s an image some have likened to “King Kong” and Fay Wray.

“It conjures up this idea of a dangerous black man,” said Tamara Walker, 29, of Philadelphia.

Photographer Annie Leibovitz shot the 6-foot-9 NBA star and the 5-foot-11 Brazilian model for the cover and an inside spread. Vogue spokesman Patrick O’Connell said the magazine “sought to celebrate two superstars at the top of their game” for the magazine’s annual issue devoted to size and shape. Full story

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