Online Extra Letters Feb. 2

Editor’s note: In our Jan. 29 issue, Eugene Weekly suggested rather than have a white woman perform the repertoire of Billie Holiday, a Black artist, The Shedd instead could use the opportunity to uplift Black voices. We pointed out some of the criticisms that were posted online about The Shedd’s show. Many of those criticisms were deleted when The Shedd deleted its posts about the show. 


Your Jan. 26 Slant comments and criticisms of The Shedd and Siri Vik’s tribute to Billie Holiday were extremely racist. Is Ray Charles recording “Imagine” by John Lennon, the new Bruce Springsteen cover album of R&B hits (Supremes, etc.), Otis Redding recording “Satisfaction” by Jagger/Richards cultural appropriation? Or is it rather music artists showing respect and paying tribute to great music and artists they admire?

Music is the one area that all races and cultures have in common. Your comments reinforce the racist notion that skin color is how we are to judge someone.

Don French



I can understand the criticism and condemnation if Siri Vik really did, to use EW’s word, “portray” Billie Holiday in a program of her songs at The Shedd (EW, 1/26). But is the EW implying that no white musician should ever perform any of the thousands of works by the hundreds of Black musical geniuses in our history? That would seem to me to be the kind of reflexive cultural “wokeness” that provides all-too-easy fodder for the Sean Hannitys and Marjorie Taylor Greenes of the world.

And given the kind of culture we live in today, I expect to be called a white supremacist for saying this.

Tim Baxter



Your lead item in the Jan. 26 Slant scolds the “tone-deaf” Shedd Institute for white vocalist Siri Vik’s tribute to Billie Holiday, the late and marvelous vocalist. And continues “…it’s problematic for her (Vik) to portray an African American singer.”


It’s unclear where Eugene Weekly has been hiding its head, but Billie Holiday sang white music and African American music, with white and African American musicians, to white and African American and Latino and Asian and American Indian and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, et al., ticket holders.

Is it possible Billie Holiday appreciated all ticket holders regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion, politics and hue?

Thank you Shedd Institute, Siri Vik and Billie Holiday.

Don McLean