Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Does Liking Rock Music Make You 'Less Black'?

Rock music has always been one of my favourite genres. Particularly in my teens, I used to obsess over My Chemical Romance (do not judge), I loved Green Day and I rocked out to Aerosmith. I simply love rock music.

Whenever I would mention this to other black people, the responses would go either way:

1) 'REALLY?! ME TOO!!! Wow finally another black person who listens to rock music!!!'.
2 ) 'LOL. You're such a white girl/Oreo. Black people don't listen to rock music'.

Not even exaggerating.

There are just two type of black people when it comes to rock music; those who are finally happy to hear another black person openly expressing their love for rock music and those who are definitely not into rock music and feel that only white people can listen to rock music.

So I got into an interesting conversation on Twitter where I literally just expressed other black people's disdain when I told them I listened to rock music. Aaron Lee of Aaron Lee, who I met at the Media Diversity UK launch party, saw the conversation and felt compelled to write this piece; Does liking rock music make you 'less black'?.

Aaron Lee's article summarised for simplicity:

  • Musical prejudice is alive and well here in 2013
  • Jimi Hendrix was considered a freak by his black peers for his love of guitar and rock music
  • The genre we call 'rock music' can be considered of black origin
  • Rock emerged out of blues, jazz and folk; fragmenting its origins as well as claims it was created by one nation or people
  • White people have had a hand in progressing and evolving black music as musicians, composers, DJs, label founders and more
  • Rock music has borrowed from 'black music' many times and vice versa
  • Ultimately, black people who look down on their peers for enjoying rock music or music of any kind that they do not consider 'black enough' are guilty of the same ignorance that certain white people hold about hip hop. 
Everyone responds to music regardless of ethnic, racial and cultural differences. 

Music transcends between genres and transcends between cultures. If it's good, you will respond to it and the language of the lyrics does not even matter.

To summarise, music is for all to enjoy, all to relish, all to dance to, all to sing to, all to tap your feet to... music is not exclusive to a group of people, it can and should be experienced by anyone