Why do black people hate white music?
First of all, the title of this post is a misnomer. As I mentioned on this site a few weeks ago, black people like plenty of white music – just not very good white music. For example, if it wasn’t for black people’s inexplicable fascination with Spandau Ballet’s “True” going on 25 years after the fact, R&B singer Lloyd would almost certainly be working at a UPS or something.
But it’s true in general that black people are much less into white music than white people are into black music. For example, while it’s not uncommon to find black people who listen to nothing but black music, the idea of a cracka-ass cracka who listens to nothing but cracka-ass cracka music is essentally unheard of at this point. Even crackety-cracks who live out in the sticks and like country music have been known to blast Fiddy Cent from their pickup trucks.
In fact, there was a minor kerfuffle last year when a white musician had the sheer balls to admit that he’s not particularly fond of black music. Actually, I think it began when Stephin Merritt of the ’90s-era synth pop group The Magnetic Fields gave a presentation at the Experience Music Project’s annual Pop Conference extolling the virtues of “Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah,” from the controversial Disney musical Song of the South. Then someone uncovered a list he had written of the 100 greatest songs of the 20th century, which had hardly any black artists on it.
Meanwhile, it would be hard imagine such a controversy if, say, R. Kelly put together a similar list and didn’t include very many artists, despite there being something like 15 Keith Sweat records on iy. As much of a crime against music as that would be, it would still be much more socially acceptable. I wonder why that is.
Thoughts on this matter:
a) Obviously there’s more pressure on the black community from within to toe the party line when it comes to matters like taste in music, and, god forbid, taste in women – lest one run the risk of being viewed as a self-hater. It used to be that way with white people as well, but it seems like they’ve done a much better job of getting over it.
b) It is true that so much of what’s referred to as “white music” is essentially black forms of music being performed by white artists. In that sense, maybe it’s not so much that black people hate white music (because, as John Mayer would say, there’s no such thing), but that black people hate white people; and hence, black people (and obviously I’m generalizing) hate white music – that is, primarily black forms music performed by white artists.
c) It seems like this is one of those issues where things are actually getting worse rather than better as time goes by. For example, it seems like the generation who grew up with BET is a lot more close-minded when it comes to music outside of the R. Kelly-Jay-Z axis than the generation immediately prior to this one. Similarly, it seems like commercial radio is one of the last institutions in this country where segregation is so widely accepted.
And, of course, maybe black people don’t like white music because they just plain don’t like it. What do you ‘bags think?
 In researching this post, I consulted the world’s most accurate encyclopedia to do a little research on “True,” since I knew it had been sampled more artists than just Lloyd and P.M. Dawn, but I’m not into bad music enough to know them all off the top of my head.
As it turns out, the list of people who have sampled and/or covered “True” is a veritable who’s who of artists who never should have happened to hip-hop, including the likes of the aforementioned Lloyd and P.M. Dawn, as well as Silkk the Shocker, Nelly, Queen Pen and will.i.am. That guy Z-Ro, who Noz was trying to hype up last year, also sampled it, on his most recent album. That’s gotta mean something, right?