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Somewhere and racism issue


Lately, i often listened to this classic opera song. It's such a beautiful song with beautiful lyric. I firstly listened to the cover version of the song by IL Divo. Then i found that this song is covered by many artists raging from the legendary ones such as Barbara Streisand till the new comers such as Jennifer Hudson. For those who like classic/opera music this song is a masterpiece.
Here is the lyric:

Someday, somewhere
We'll find a new way of living
We’ll find a way of forgiving
Somewhere...

There's a place for us
Somewhere a place for us
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us
Somewhere

There's a time for us
Someday there'll be a time for us
Time together with time to spare
Time to learn, time to care

Someday, somewhere
We'll find a new way of living
We’ll find there's a way of forgiving
Somewhere... Somewhere... Somewhere...

There's a place for us
A time and a place for us
Hold my hand and we're half way there
hold my hand and I'll take you there

Somehow...
Someday, somewhere...
(taken from bestlyric.com)

The song is a part of musical drama "West Side Story", a famous Broadway musical produced in 1950s. The story is about the first generation of Americans from Puerto Rico. The Romeo and Juliette-like story: rivalry of two families (Puerto Rico Americans - Working Class White Americans), the man from one family fell in love with the girl from the other family (taken from wikipedia.org). Frankly, i haven't watched the drama yet. So i can't say much about the story. But clearly, racial issue is the key point.

However, i can say that the drama is the representation of 1950s condition of Americans from Puerto Rico. And based on the lyrics of "somewhere", it can be concluded that the live for them is not easy. They longed for peaceful and serene lives and the most important is, an equal life. The song may best represent the life at that time.

The cover version by Barbara Streisand brings the racism issue even clearer. The cover version was done in 1985. There are scenes exposing Asian Americans (in medium shot, with a shallow focus on them), a little black American girl dissolving with the frame of swimming freely in the lake (with a close up shot on her). There are also scenes of mixed audience, from white, young, to old. They are contrasted and dissolved with the image of Barbara Streisand herself, a white woman. These kinds of scenes and editing imply that Barbara tried to convey the message to them. While the close up to Asians and African American imply that racism problem is real and it needs to stop.





And finally, the crucified shadow of Barbara adds the holiness of the song. The lyric "There's a place for us .... Somewhere a place for us ... Peace and quiet and open air ... Wait for us ... Somewhere" shows that that place could be in heaven, the promised land. a land where all man will be treated the same.




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