As many of you know, June somehow became designated as "Black music month". We can get into THAT discussion at another point. However, one thing I’m pleased to see is that venerable Ebony magazine waded into the shifting cultural currents with their June 2008 issue. This is a good conversation starter for the African American audience that may not have easy access to the progressive sounds we are regularly exposed to here in NYC.
There are some good and useful quotes here:
Gnarls Barkley’s Cee-Lo: "Black music should not be so synonymous with urban and urban be so easily synonymous with street and street so easily synonymous with ignorant," he says.
Ask your average Top 40 radiohead about this and you’re likely to hear that our music is only hip-hop, R&B or jazz. That same person might also complain that radio stations play the same song over and over and over again. Knowing this, why does it seem that so many of us are reluctant to change the station?
"I listen to everything," says rapper Lupe Fiasco, who downloads British group Unkle, jazzist Robert Glasper, and rapper Young Jeezy. "To keep myself sane and very real about what’s going on, I list to everything."
Lupe, then, represents that underserved population of Black folk who have no problem switching up their playlist. In fact, every artist interviewed for this music section said they listed to everything. And, they say, ain’t nothing wrong with that.
So, my hat’s off to Ebony for throwing some light on a sliver of the diversity of Black musical interests. They profile 15 artists who defy labels. In addition to Gnarls Barkley and Lupe Fiasco, some of the artists profiled include Canadian opera star Measha Brueggergosman, country singer Miko Marks, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Ben Harper, and classical ensemble The Ritz Chamber Players.
Yeah, 15 artists here and thousands more coming behind them.
Now, if we could only link to that article online. . .