by Lavern Merriweather
Lately, white crooner Robin Thicke, son of Alan, has found himself in the midst of controversy over his smash hit “Blurred Lines”, the song he collaborated on with überproducer Pharrell Williams and rapper T.I. Despite the fact that some have accused Mr. Thicke and his collaborators of blatantly stealing a rift from the classic “Got To Give it Up” by the legendary Marvin Gaye, he still pursued a lawsuit against the estate of the late performer. Apart from Mr. Thicke’s disgraceful gall is the fact that he has become yet another privileged white entertainer that rips off black artists while actually believing that he can do it better.
It’s a pattern that has been playing out since the jazz era when that music was considered shameful and demonic. That is, of course, until the white people came along. Then, it became something fantastic. You take any talented black singer and some white person, without even half their talent, will always get more attention or accolades, all while pretending to have such heartfelt respect for the very black people they eagerly stepped on the memory of to get glory.
Recently, I was watching a Christmas special with Rod Stewart where he sang “Merry Christmas Baby” by the great Otis Redding. That really rubbed me the wrong way to the point where I refused to watch anymore of it. I couldn’t change the channel fast enough. Don’t get me wrong. I’m actually a big fan of Rod Stewart’s, and I believe music is such a pure form of expression that I feel it should never be segregated. However, that’s fantasy.
In the real world, everything is separated and labeled by the bigoted mindset of this and other societies. It’s not enough to say that music is universal and so, who cares, because that’s the ultimate cop-out.
White people who say that remind me of the scene in the classic comedy starring Bill Murray from the 80’s “Stripes”. In that movie, Murray plays such an obnoxious screw-up that his CO, played by Warren Oates, has had enough and challenges him physically. Murray tries to hit Oates and misses. Then, Mr. Oates clocks him one in the stomach. While Murray tries to catch his breath, Oates tells him he’s willing to forgive their little altercation.
Well, of course he can forget it and move on. He won! When you are part of the dominant culture, it means nothing to try and justify your steamrolling of much more exceptional people in the most selfish way imaginable!
What really gets me about those people is when they try to be so ‘down’ even while proving without a doubt how utterly phony they are like Justin Timberlake. I don’t give a crap how many rappers he hangs out with. He is soulful in his brain only. And his overly flirting with former “106th and Park” host Free made me want to puke. If you want to kiss her Justin, just ask for a damn kiss. Don’t put on some big ass production about it!
And don’t get me started on the queen of fake ass wannabe white folks Madonna. Sure she used to bang Negro men, but she also said in an interview that she didn’t want her career to end up like the glorious Teena Marie. By that, I can only gather that she meant she didn’t just want to appeal to a crowd of darkies. She has to be the most ridiculously delusional human being still breathing.
I was saddened by the passing of Ms. Marie. She was a favorite of mine and many other African-Americans, mainly because she never took the black folks money and ran. There was a point in her career where she did the hit song “Lovergirl” which had a more rock sound to it. That song was a lot more popular to white people than her other music, and she could have really abandoned the soul sound for greener pastures with a whiter and wider audience.
However, she chose to stay loyal, and so did we. She wasn’t some flash in the pan trying to capitalize on that whole white-girl-sings-black nonsense.
Apparently, any time a white person does music not typical [nee: rock] for them, it becomes a novelty, and they cash in once the novelty wears off by catering specifically to their white brethren. That is exactly what artist Pink did, even though she attempted in a song to place all the blame on former mega producer L.A. Reid, the Svengali behind Janet Jackson’s success. Nice try hoe, but I don’t think so!
She knows damn good and well she wanted to be embraced by a bigger group of people. So, she booked it straight for the rock impresarios to help her get out of the Negro music dungeon.
I’d liked to say that this is all crooner Elvis Presley’s fault, but I know this started well before he became famous, even though he is the main one that white people praise for brining black people’s music to the masses. Bullshit! Presley, like every other white artist, was fully aware of his status on the totem pole, and he took full advantage of it, just like those British singers from the late 60’s who pretended to revere noted blues artist Robert Johnson.
If they think so damn much of him, then why don’t they put more effort into giving him credit rather than just acting like they discovered that beat all on their own while defending an exceedingly racist British politician named Enoch Powell and whining about a so-called black colony, all while doing duets with the king of blues B.B. King claiming to have intense love for blues music, working with celebrated producer Kenny ‘babyface’ Edmonds all at the same time?
I wonder if Eric Clapton were so vocal about his disgust of too many Negroes in his back yard even after accepting a song written by Mr. Edmonds and shooting the video together. I have a serious suspicion that didn’t happen, just like Sting wasn’t aiding the career of Branford Marsalis and other jazz musicians when he asked them to participate on his hit album “Bring on the Night”. Sting just wanted a new sound, and that album didn’t advance anyone’s career but his own, which is probably the whole idea anyway and probably what Paul Simon was thinking when he got South African a cappella sensations Ladysmith Black Mbazamo to join him on his Grammy winning album “Graceland” from 1986.
I think that no matter how appreciative a white person claims to be of black music, the bottom line will forever be only about how they can profit. So, even if Eminem mocks the fact that despite him not being all that great, he will still be lauded more than a black rapper based on skin color alone. He’s not going to protest that ideology or help a struggling young black male that could someday be competition. He also obviously isn’t that torn up about the fact that he faces a shitload less criticism for his offensive lyrics than black males, even though he speaks about raping his own damn momma and slitting her throat. Or saying that he will kill his ex-wife and mother of his child Kim, and then bury her body where it won’t be found! Wow, what a complete charmer line up for that one ladies!
I’m not saying that music should never blend and that everyone should stay in their respective places. Music is beautiful, and it should be shared, but not by a bunch of greedy hucksters preaching unity one minute while arrogantly riding the backs of much more talented black folks the next!