When Black Music Ain't Black

The British media snubs black artists: that's the gospel according to singer Estelle, and she's preaching to the converted, as far as I'm concerned. The list is long: Justin Timberlake, Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse, Robin Thicke - artists who are given huge media coverage simply because they're white artists doing soul. Now don't get me wrong - although I don't like white soul artists myself, I don't see why white artists shouldn't rap or sing soul, in principle. It isn't a case of black artists should stick to hip-hop and white artists to heavy metal. But there's a problem when amazing artists are overlooked because Justin Timberfake is stealing the limelight from, say, Nathan. As Estelle says,

"I'm not mad... but I'm wondering - how the hell is there not a single black person in the press singing soul? Adele ain't soul. She sounds like she heard some Aretha records once, and she's got a deeper voice - that don't mean she's soul. That don't mean nothing to me in the grand scheme of my life as a black person. As a songwriter, I get what they do. As a black person, I'm like: you're telling me this is my music? F*** that! They keep trying to tell me in the media what soul music is and I'm like, we know what soul music is, stop f***ing around with us! You're taking the p*** out of every black person in the country! And then they say, 'Oh, don't bring race into it.' We're not stupid, stop it."

There's dozens of talented could-have-beens littering the British music scene: Shaun Escoffery, Lynden David Hall, David McAlmont, Kevin Mark Trail (right), Beverly Knight, Tunde Baiyewu, Ephraim Lewis, Omar, Damage, Nine Yards... and the question remains: why would anyone want to waste a second on Justin Timberfake when you can have the real thing?

3 comments:

Chris said...

WOW... That is the strangest thing... I JUST had a conversation Saturday night when I was drinking with my buddies about that same thing. There was a white guy there and he had a heavy voice and was singing some Barry White song and everyone was riveting over this guy. While he sung OKAY, I said "big deal..." at our table and ppl got upset about my commentary and I went off. Why is it such a big ordeal when NOT JUST WHITE PPL, but ppl of any other race sing like soulful singers, such as Barry White or Anita Baker? The black people who actually are SINGING it don't get that kind of praise, why the hell should you give it to some white guy who has NO knowledge of soul? Being blessed with a great voice is cool and everything, but don't run around singing of soul, rhythm and blues when you know nothing of it...

Rod said...

Wow.



I don't even know what to say..but I'ma think on it and come back to it after I eat dinner.



lol.



Good conversation starter =)

tdot said...

hmm...the uk sleeps on everyone until america takes notice.
estelle had to get signed by john legend to get sales.
The 18th day flopped and although it was different to shine it was still good.

As for the crossing of genre's..i embrace it. Imagine if some white rock artist started saying that Kenna doesn't know anything about rock..he would get slewed no doubt.

im too tired to continue lol

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