By Hayden Wright
In 1986, Morrissey sang “I wear black on the outside/ ‘Cause black is how I feel on the inside,” on the Smiths’ “Unloveable.” From 1947 to 1985, James Baldwin wrote groundbreaking books and essays on race and sexuality in America from the perspective of a gay black man. Those two ideas seem entirely unrelated, but Morrissey has found a way to combine them in a single t-shirt, bearing the lyrics and an image of James Baldwin.
The head-scratching t-shirt has raised some eyebrows for conflating lyrics (generally about depression) with the struggle to claim racial identity Baldwin described in his work. It’s available through the merchandise section of Morrissey’s upcoming North American tour. The English rocker is no stranger to Baldwin, as he’s cited his influence in an autobiography and stage projections in the past. As a tribute, the shirt is an inartful combination of sad ’80s New Wave imagery and Baldwin’s ideas, which are more relevant than ever in 2017.
See the shirt here: