2. Again without the hypen, and to correct other definitions here, the song "Mr. Bojangles" was written by Jerry Jeff Walker, and covered most successfully by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1971. The song is not in reference to Bill Robinson, nor is it in reference New Orleans blues musician Babe Stovall.
Walker mentions that all the men in the cell had nicknames to prevent easy identification by the police. The dancer's nickname was 'Mr. Bojangles.' In his autobiography 'Gypsy Songman,' Walker makes it clear the man he met was white. Further, in an interview with BBC Radio 4 in August 2008 he pointed out that, at the time, the jail cells in New Orleans were segregated along color lines.
It means no disrespect to the actual Mr. Bojangles, but casts the image of a black man tapdancing to please his white masters in Hollywood.
Eventhough this Spanish American War vet, was celebrated. He was often descriminated against due to the color of his skin. Many artist such as Bob Dylan and Sammy Davis Jr have paid tribute to him through their art.
Bojangles came to represent oppressed or discriminated people who have a special warm and caring relationship with the children of the oppressor.
While derogatory in modern use, the term refers to succesful and groundbreaking 1920's dancer/actor William Robinson, who was nicknamed Bojangles in his vaudeville days. It means no disrespect to the talent and hard work Mr. Robinson put forth to become one of the most important entertainers of all time.
Mr. Bojangles makes for a cute pet name.
Mr. Bojangles... duh.