The Pink Bluesman project began when artists Stewart Stewart, Tomata du Plenty, and Dena Stewart gave historic backgrounds to four statues crafted by Stewart Stewart. Starting with a fictitious superstition that playing music with an albino musician brings good luck, this story revolves around Floydd Watkins, a black albino who first heard this superstition from his Grandma as she bandaged his wounds after being bullied in school. Floydd’s Grandma, owned a music club in Harlem, and being musically gifted, Floydd’s dream was to be a real Bluesman. But, to be a real Bluesman, he would have to feel the blues and play it through his music – contrary to his bringing good luck to those he makes music with. When Floydd turned 21, he went out to learn more about the Blues. He travelled through the deep South. He jammed with the best Blues musicians. He formed his own band with Knuckles, a drummer who rarely speaks, Bessie, a little lady with a five-octave voice range, and Ruby, who plays the Saxophone. They had good luck, great luck, until …
More than 45 paintings illustrate the story. Using the paintings and off-camera narration, a video was produced. This year, a groups of students from Miami Beach Senior High School film class critiqued the video as part of a Center for Folk and Community Art anti-bullying art project. CFCA artists then re-edited the video based on some of the suggestions.
Although the story has been updated, and the films edited several times, this will always be a work-in-progress.
The Pink Bluesman is the story of Floydd Watkins, a black albino musician from the wealthy section of Harlem whose dream was to be a Bluesman and play the real Blues. But the Blues is honest. You can’t fake it.
So Floydd began his quest to meet musicians who lived “the blues” and with them, play the sad music of the soul. And, because of an old musician superstition that says, “Playing music with a Black Albino brings good luck”, they all felt “lucky” to play with Floydd.
Along the way, Floydd met Knuckles, a drummer who speaks through the rhythm of his drumbeat, Bessie, a little lady with a big voice, and Ruby, a sax player with six kids. Together they formed Floydd’s Group and were on the threshold of meteoric success.
This story is a celebration of the triumph of the human spirit. The irony is that as a Black Albino who always had good luck, the essence of the Blues eluded Floydd in his music until fate and a cat turned his world upside down.
THE PINK BLUESMAN – DOCUMENTARY
“The Pink Bluesman” – the tale of Floydd Watkins and Floydd’s Group.