Sunday, February 29, 2004


I saw much of a very interesting show on CMT last night: Waiting in the Wings: African-Americans in Country Music. It looked at the history of blacks in country music, from Charlie Pride to a few up-and-comers struggling to make a name for themselves.

It occurs to me that much of the music world is effectively segregated, perhaps more so than ever. When I look at the Billboard top 100, all the black artists are in the rap/hip-hop genre. When I think back over the past 15 years or so of pop/rock music, I can think of only one major pop/rock group that had a black lead singer, or (as far as I know) any black members at all (Hootie and the Blowfish). There are a couple of rock bands with black lead singers that I like -- Splender, and the Tait Band -- but they aren't all that well-known. My overall impression is that right now, you just can't find any major black artists outside of rap/hip-hop.

Why is that, I wonder? Because of the interests of aspiring musicians? Because of racial categorization by record companies? Because of the tastes of the music-buying (or downloading) public? According to the CMT program, it's probably all of the above. Whatever the reason(s), it's too bad: there are probably a lot of good singers or musicians who don't get a chance to use their abilities to the fullest extent because they are the "wrong" race for the genre.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home