She talked of the fallacy behind the fact, ”There’s still a lot of resistance in terms of who should be listening to what genre of music based on their gender and their ethnicity,”
Then she goes on to comment:
“In black communities, music is so integral in terms of a storytelling mechanism. Back in the blues era, African-American women were actually able to talk about their hardships and sorrows through music, and be very personal. [The same is true of] hip-hop because it’s also obviously a black-centric music form. When I was in my 20s and hip-hop was coming out, a lot of black people felt that if you listened to hip-hop, that means that you’re really black, that you’re proud of yourself, that you know who you are. So when black people listen to ‘white-centric’ music — which is rock ‘n’ roll, country, heavy metal, punk, hardcore — it’s seen that they are somehow not proud of who they are.”
What strikes me as a white person is that I do not have this problematic expectation. I am not expected to listen to music rooted in white culture and then told that I lack pride in my white culture if I listen to music from other traditions. My listening to the blues does not lead people to say I lack authentic whiteness. My interest in world music aligns me with a certain group of hip NPR listening aficionados, rather than labeling me a traitor to my roots.
Were I a white person who had a clear connection to the European countries of my heritage, I might be expected to appreciate the music of that country’s past. However, if I listened to other music, I do not think I would be thought of lacking pride in that heritage.
A side note, what would the music of white culture be? Country? Classical? Gregorian chants?