Latasha Harlins, 1975-1992
September 9, 2017 4:05 PM   Subscribe

Empire Liquor Mart (9127 S. Figueroa St.) [9m11s] is a track from Gabriel Kahane's song cycle about Los Angeles, The Ambassador [10 track YT playlist, complete lyrics (pdf link)]. The track blends modern styles with German lieder and other classical music forms to give an imagined first person account of the death of Latasha Harlins.
posted by hippybear (7 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
This song breaks me every time I hear it. "Why should they give a fuck / some angry little black girl took a bullet? ... So I suppose it's no surprise / to find myself about to die." Very rarely has art risen to such levels. It's still shocking to me how little-known it is; it speaks so deeply to our times and to the situation we find ourselves.
posted by koeselitz at 4:40 PM on September 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's a modern masterpiece, and it should be more widely known. I don't say that lightly.
posted by hippybear at 4:43 PM on September 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I feel nauseous. Reading "The jury recommended the maximum sentence for Du. However, the trial judge, Joyce Karlin, didn't accept the jury's sentencing recommendation and instead sentenced Du to five years of probation, 400 hours of community service, and a $500 fine." I feel so sick.

Like a lot of people who have listened to hip hop since its early days, I knew her name. I never knew the whole story and I'm glad I listened to that amazing song first, then read the article. I probably would have collapsed had I done it the other way around.

25 years later and black life is still cheap to the structures that govern us. I am so disgusted.
posted by cashman at 5:04 PM on September 9, 2017 [6 favorites]

Thanks for recommending this. I listened to the album and now I'm listening to his album commentary (which I found on Spotify).
posted by selfnoise at 6:17 PM on September 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Apologies for the self-previously, but here is the post I made about her. She is such a key person in my own relationship with the city and LA history, and she is too often overlooked. You cannot understand the tensions around the riots without knowing her story. She died on my birthday, and every year I say her name.

I just came from a joyous memorial service for a friend that passes away recently, and I feel I need to give this a listen in a day or two when I'm in the right head space, but I'm so glad this exists. Thanks for posting it.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:16 PM on September 9, 2017 [8 favorites]

The Ambassador was actually recommended to me on the green almost two years ago now, and it's been in my regular music rotation since. The whole album is amazing, but Empire Liquor Mart is really the standout track. The LA Times has an interactive map of all of the track locations, which is neat to explore as you listen to the album.
posted by noneuclidean at 1:42 PM on September 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

posted by tyrantkitty at 10:28 PM on September 10, 2017

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