What Difference Does It Make?

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Everyone has the ability to be talented regardless of race and in particular, musical ability is not restricted to one race. It is no secret that music artists of all races sample from other genres, perform songs for other artists and ultimately, make it into their own. However, when it comes to non-black people “experimenting” with genres dominated by Black artists or attempting to cover their songs, does it matter if they perform? Should it matter? In my opinion, it shouldn’t but at the end of the day, the music is just not that enjoyable. A few months ago, I watched a video of a white woman sampling and putting her own style on Rihanna’s Work, a dancehall themed record infused with West Indian and Creole language. Before I watched the video, I asked myself how a white woman could take that song that is full of caribbean style and try to mimic or remix it? After I watched it, my statement was the still the same. She did not sound horrible but I did not feel the same when I heard Rihanna’s version. It’s almost as if non-black people take a song or genre that is full of the magic that Black people possess and they purposely decide to mess it up. Some things should just be left alone and not be subject to “reconstruction”. On the other hand, what does it mean when Black people perform or sample songs that are not in genre? Well, we rock it. We add a side of flavor, a hint of soul, and cup of energy to any song that wouldn’t be regularly sung by us. Let’s examine Whitney Houston singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl in 1991. There were no flaws in her performance while she sung in the heat of the night. There’s nothing wrong with non-black artists crossing over into other genres but the real reason our music is so enjoyable is due to our stage presence and never ending energy.

Kori Barnes

Kori Barnes

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