Thursday 8 October 2009

News: Black Music?

From The Root, a discussion about the significance of the term "black music". First up, Greg Tate argues that it's still a valid and necessary term:
While I like parsing race semantics as much as the next philologist (not to be confused with a cat who studies all things outta Philly) at a certain point, one has to just know when you've entered the realm of the naively unscientific, the demonstrably ahistorical and the patently absurd. Dispensing with the rubric, black music is clearly such an endeavor where we'd risk not only losing our soul but our rhetorical edge and swagger and in the name of whut, Negro, whut? Some lame, nebulous and namby-pamby post-racialism, that's what.
And on the flip side, Cord Jefferson makes the case against:
Basketball was invented by a white physical education teacher for his white students. But no one would ever think to call basketball a "white sport;" to speak in those terms about something that's changed so much over the years would be silly. Similarly, Spike Lee has said that he takes directional cues from Italian-American Martin Scorsese, and Akira Kurosawa, the Japanese director of Seven Samurai, but would anyone say Do the Right Thing is a Japanese film? Of course not. Yet music critics, fans and historians don't think twice about calling the music of Aesop Rock, Eminem or the Mountain Brothers, an acclaimed Asian-American hip-hop group from Philadelphia, "black music."
So what do you think? Do you like black music?

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