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Defending 'Babysitting'

July 26, 1987

I was sad and disappointed to read criticism suggesting that the appearance of Albert Collins in "Adventures in Babysitting" somehow perpetrates racial stereotypes.

As Collins' manager, producer and friend for nine years, I assure you that he and I both interpret his role in the film (he plays a blues musician who interacts with four white suburban kids who stumble into an all-black inner city blues bar) as having very positive racial implications.

There are indeed racial stereotypes used in the scene--the children, who are portrayed as very sheltered, are at first scared to see so many black faces, i.e., they respond in a somewhat stereotypical manner. However, as the scene goes on, they find the musicians and the audience to be warm and friendly, and win a round of applause with their comic efforts to sing the blues. Ultimately, it is Collins who protects the children from the crooks (both white and black) who are chasing them.

If "Adventures in Babysitting" has a message, it is that the racial and cultural stereotypes of lower economic-class city dwellers that many suburbanites may hold are false. The meaning of the film and the bar scene was certainly clear to Collins and the other musicians who took part in the film, and should be clear to anyone who has seen it.

Incidentally, the producers and director took the trouble to hire a Grammy-winning blues artist to both record for and perform in the film, and assembled an all-star band of real Chicago blues musicians. They could easily have recorded with studio musicians and portrayed the musicians with actors, but chose to go for the genuine item instead.


President, Alligator Records

& Artist Management, Inc.


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