Sunday, April 24, 2011

I think of the late David Mills whenever I hear "Wikka Wrap"

From left to right: At a panel for his 2003 NBC creation Kingpin, David Mills was joined by his Kingpin actors Angela Alvarado Rosa, Brian "Most Likely Flashing Back to a Black-and-White Clip of Beaver Cleaver Sleeping in Class" Benben and Shay Roundtree.

Tonight is the second-season premiere of HBO's Treme, the last TV show that journalist-turned-scriptwriter David Mills wrote for before his untimely death last year. I was a fan of Mills' TV writing since his Homicide: Life on the Street period, and in the pre-Twitter days before showrunners like Community's Dan Harmon and Leverage's John Rogers have embraced the Internet and frequently tweet back their shows' vocal fans, Mills was one of the few writers from TV who didn't treat the online community like a bug stuck to his shoe and interacted with viewers of his TV work on Usenet and his blog Undercover Black Man. As one could see from Mills' blogroll, he voraciously read other blogs, including my own. Because of the lack of responses to most of my blog posts, I've sometimes considered abandoning this blog or shutting it down, but then I'd remember that Mills used to read my blog, and that would make me reconsider.

A few days before Treme's Easter night season premiere, I was searching through my closet full of stacks of backup audio and data CDs to recover iTunes song downloads I lost when my PC went kaput in 2009, and I unearthed the 1981 British single "Wikka Wrap" by The Evasions. I downloaded "Wikka Wrap" on iTunes right after Mills wrote a brief post about the chune for Undercover Black Man. I always liked that Tom Browne and Chic-referencing song (which I was first exposed to via Coolio's "1, 2, 3, 4"), but I had a difficult time trying to locate it online because I never knew what the artist name and song title were--until those two items were ID'd by Mills, who loved music (particularly P-Funk) as much as the massive amounts of TV he grew up ingesting. I thanked Mills in the comments section. It was the only time we ever spoke to each other.

It's funny how I used to imagine the lead "vocalist" during "Wikka Wrap" to be a Tony Sinclair-esque black guy (but as Mills pointed out, the "Wikka" chap was actually composer Graham de Wilde doing a parody of a not-exactly-black British TV personality named Alan Whicker) because it ties into mistaken racial identity, a subject the African American blogger observed with humor, whether in his "Misidentified Black Person of the Week" posts or his blog's name, an in-joke about how because of his light skin (and maybe also because of his sometimes--*bleh*--right-leaning posts), he would often be perceived as white or Mexican.

So after the passing of this brilliant Wire and Treme writer who departed too soon, whenever I hear "Wikka Wrap," I always think of Mills and that little comments section exchange we had over this British R&B track we both dug.

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