I’ve Got An Issue #15: Black & White Music?

Welcome to I’ve Got An Issue!

Today is about music! My sweet love, music. I don’t have an issue with music, but I have an issue when I hear a certain phrase said about music. A phrase that tries to divide music and segregate it into groups only for certain people. The phrase “Rap music is only for black people” or “Rock music is only for white people” or any variant of that with different types of music whether it is rock, techno, J-pop, Alternative, etc. Don’t you just hate that?! Granted some genres of music do feature more black or white musicians in them. It doesn’t mean that it is exclusively for them. You probably are confused like I am whenever you hear it. Then again you can be apart of the group of people who  go with public opinion and agree that certain music is only for certain races or ethnicities. If you think that is the case, I’m sorry buddy we cannot be friends. I don’t think I want you to even read the blog because of that thought. You and I know deep down this is not how music works.

Music is universal. 

I’ve always had a unique music taste that ranged from Pop to Hip-Hop to Rock to Electronica. You name it I probably listen to it. I’m still trying to get into country (sorry I’m not a fan of the “let’s drink beer and drive our trucks in the mud” narrative), but besides that I can listen to just about anything. Of course I’m picky about my music, I just don’t listen to something because everyone says it is hot or popular. I have guidelines too (great production, meaningful/clever lyrics, storytelling if possible, and that mysterious factor)! The point I’m making is I have a plethora of music spanning various genres that I listen to. I will never understand why people will label genres of music with race or demonize it doesn’t fit with their comfort zone. I will never get it. Why should a person be prosecuted for what they listen to and why should someone be surprised you know a song they listen to because you are a different race than them? It shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is always a shock every single time.

Let me tell you a short story. This was about nine years ago, a string broke on my guitar and I didn’t know how to fix the strings myself at the time. So I got my dad to bring me to Guitar Center to get it fixed. I signed in and brought my guitar to the guys behind the counter. These fellas were Caucasian if you are wondering. I was greeted and I patiently waited for my Guitar to get repaired. The guys were talking about something I can’t recall at the moment, but “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet (or The Sweet) came on. I knew it was that song the minute I heard the first note. I watched these two guys struggle about what was the name of the band and song. I interjected and told those two dudes who it was. I’ll never forget the look on their faces. It was a cross between “A black guy knows who Sweet is?” and “Holy crap that’s the song”. It was confusion recall. After this we talked briefly about our favorite bands (mine at the time were the Foo Fighters & Rush), got my guitar back & I went home. I never really thought about it much then, but now it hit me like “wtf why are you surprised or confused?”.

I know I shouldn’t be surprised because it is the nature of people to make fun of or ridicule things they do not understand. When some white guy says “Rap is crap” or when a black guy says Rock music is “white people devil shit”, all I can do is laugh or grit my teeth at how wrong they are. People who say this don’t understand certain genres of music and feel better about themselves by insulting or demonizing it. Once you do that you never have to listen to it right? Why is it that some people can only do one style of music, but if anyone outside that race does that style they are looked at as some rarity, treasure, or appropriater? When did music become exclusive to our skin color? For example, why can’t it be Eminem is a very talented wordsmith? Why does it have to be Eminem is the best white rapper? Why isn’t Living Colour or TV On The Radio considered a great Rock band instead of a Black Rock band? I will never understand that. Good music is Good music.

My message to you if you don’t have a broad taste in music, GO OUT AND EXPLORE DIFFERENT GENRES. Get out of your comfort zone. Open up your mind. Don’t be that narrow minded loser that listens to one or two genres of music. You are missing out what the world of music has to offer. Trust me on this one you won’t regret it. STOP LABELING GENRES OF MUSIC WITH COLOR OR RACE TOO. Please stop doing that. I repeat just because a genre of music is dominated by one race doesn’t mean that the genre of music is just for that race. Stop being lazy making fun of art you don’t understand. Language barriers can’t stop music from reaching people m.o.v.e. taught me that because they reached me. Look at PSY. Most Americans don’t have a clue with Gangnam Style is about, but that song is extremely fun to dance to. Music is a beautiful, vast sea that is waiting for you to dive in it. I along millions of other people swim in that wondrous sea everyday. Music is an universal, powerful gift for everyone in this world.  So don’t be one of those idiotic people who don’t understand music because…..

“Good music is good no matter what kind of music it is.” – Miles Davis.

Till next time!


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