The Caged Bird Sings

I saw this film many years ago and I found it very interesting in all its details. "Haiti" seems to arise from nowhere in the film- other than as a strong "symbol" for black sovereignty and pride (yet caged). Nothing is ever explained- but it is one of those artistic devices in which it stands in easily for the volumes of history and perceptions that can not be said. Josephine, like Hanna Schygulla in Fassbinder's Mariage of Maria Braun (1979), represents more than a person but stands-in for a large symbol of state and culture.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou) 
The free bird leaps 
on the back of the win 
and floats downstream 
till the current ends 
and dips his wings 
in the orange sun rays 
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks 
down his narrow cage 
can seldom see through 
his bars of rage 
his wings are clipped and 
his feet are tied 
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings 
with fearful trill 
of the things unknown 
but longed for still 
and is tune is heard 
on the distant hillfor the caged bird 
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze 
an the trade winds soft through the sighing trees 
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn 
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams 
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream 
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied 
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings 
with a fearful trill 
of things unknown 
but longed for still 
and his tune is heard 
on the distant hill 
for the caged bird 
sings of freedom.

A notable essay to footnote from The Scholar and Feminist Online /Published by The Barnard Center for Research on Women,by Felicia McCarren "The Use-Value of 'Josephine Baker'"

But where is the "Cage"? one might ask. Why am i bringing these various disparate things together? There are a variety of cages- some golden, others not, from my viewpoint. 

In the Mid 1980s I presented an analysis as part of my Cooper Union Thesis project. At the center of this thesis was (the late) Josephine, not merely her biography, but rather what she seemed to "represent" for large masses (the French, the francophone world (I would find it fascinating to know with some certainty Frantz Fanon's reflections on "la Baker"), Americans, black-americans, The Germans, Europeans over-all and so on) My thesis took as it's secondary focus a work of artistry (and sofistry) by the Austrian architect Adolf Loos (then with a practice in France and a competitor of the Swiss starchitect le Corbusier) a "House for Josephine Baker" (the location of which I only recently discovered during a work grant from the Kulturstiftung des Länder in Berlin). One of the upcoming Goddess Projects will use this Austrian's house as it's point of entry and departure. The cage in the film sequence above and its conflation with Haiti is perhaps understood metaphorically when reads between the lines of what consitutes the construction of a cage in Noam Chomsky's lecture on Haiti:

Josephine Baker sings "Haiti"
Noam Chomsky talks about Haiti