Black People, does our fate/success as a people depend on White people’s validation??
In the documentary “Soul Of America” it tells the story of the soul singer Charles Bradley. Bradley who is in his mid 60’s to many in the documentary is considered a late bloomer to success. The same could also be said about A Band Called Death who’s music was “Discovered” by white record collectors amid many other unknown artists/musicians.
I hope they saw that $800 that that the white guy sold their single for on ebay .
There are very scary similarities in both artists, one being that the time in which success and interest in them came later in their lives. The genres in which they are performing were initially created by black people but have since been deemed unpopular among black people by white people. Another being that they would not have been known, documented and celebrated had it not been for white validation. There’s also a special phrase/word many in white media/journalism like to use, ” Coming out of obscurity”. Which to me puts importance on white validation and approval as well as diminishing their history and even existence prior to white acknowledgment. Out of sight, out of mind.
It makes me wonder, where is the black power in black music? Where is black interest in black music in the black community? How come it takes somebody who is white, who has money to give black music a platform?
The only two genres in which everybody knows secures the black demographic are R&B and Hip Hop. Black demographics are important. Almost important that it’s safe to say that we as a whole people have been led an prodded like cattle to these genres in order secure album sells. It is the very reason why appropriation exists, there is money in the black market. If we can convince black people that this white artist or that white artist is hot shit then soon we won’t need black artists at all. Symbolic Annihilation
Ever since the idea was constructed that Black music only = r&b, hiphop and White music = rock, electronic, dance it been working. Look at black peoples interests in music currently…most black people I know can tell me more about Kendrick Lamar’s verse on Control than anything dealing with over all theft of black music. Ironic considering he recently performed on stage at the VMAs with one of the main thieves.
If you think about it does anybody black in the music industry actually give a fuck about black music being appropriated. Does anybody black in the music industry actually give a fuck about the above two artists who have barely escaped black music’s graveyard? Does anybody care about any black artists that has not been in a major blog, magazine, record label etc? What about the countless other black artists who weren’t favored by white media or record execs?
It’s pretty sicking to know that our success as black people depends on white people’s discovery of our forms of expression. Many times in Bradely’s documentary he talks of suicide. I would hate to think that one the few things that would come between him an suicide is the hope of his success at the hands of white hipsters. Honestly, If there wasn’t a financial interest in the appropriation and commodification of Soul, Funk and Afrobeat by white people to sell back to white people and other people who follow white indie media outlets (Vice, Pitchfork, Stereogum, etc) there wouldn’t be an interest in him as an artist. The same could be said for Death.
Currently as black people we struggling with two forms of white domination. The domination and control of black artists and the domination and control of black art forms minus black involvement. Also it should be noted that white people are fully aware these discussion on race and music but for many it is an uncomfortable one they tend to avoid.
"Still, an odor of exploitation hovered in the room… . Perhaps it had to do with the fetishizing of old-style soul, which often carries the false corollary that there is no good new soul and R & B
or the shit black people like is too black for us because black people actually like it.” - http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/sharon-jones-dap-kings-hipsters-soul-music/Content?oid=1849615
Black people need a platform (blogs, black music magazines, black writers and journalists that actually cover black music other than hip hop and r&b, black media outlets, black music labels outside of hip hop and r&b, black record shops that sell black music) by black people for black people. If everything we are/have comes from black spaces it’s success needs to go back to black spaces on order to uplift more. We also need those platforms to be more inclusive in the definition of black art and the black experience. The platforms we currently have today either keep the black monolith myth intact, not enough or only cover content already validated by white people / media. There’s nothing wrong with having any form of success but, current times are crucial and its enough of us that we shouldn’t have to rely on white to get shit done. Shit, look at Nollywood they know Hollywood ain’t interested in them but that’s not going to stop them from making their own movies. That’s Black Power.
So many black artists have yet to express themselves on a world stage but the way things are going if black people don’t hold each other up an create platforms for ourselves there wont be a stage at all. Although, if there is it will be at the gracious mercy of somebody white profiting. Black People have to give a fuck about black people without white people telling them to.