Are white people taking over black music?
Via HuffPo reports:
Justin Timberlake made his triumphant return to the music charts this week as the singer’s latest opus, “The 20/20 Experience” landed at number one selling over 968,000 copies. An accomplishment, which has resulted in the singer’s best sales week ever.
While some may have a distaste for the album’s lead single, “Suit & Tie,” or have made comparisons to his fellow blue-eyed soul mate, Robin Thicke, others are taking note to the increasing trend of white artists becoming the face of black music.
Justin Timberlake did what everyone thought: He rode “The 20/20 Experience” to the top of the Billboard Hot 200 Albums chart.
The Timbaland-produced disc moved 968,000 units to end the week on top. It’s the 19th highest debut in Nielsen SoundScan’s 22-year history.
So why exactly do white soul singers catch fire in ways some black artists don’t? Theories abound, but one major factor may be society’s deeply ingrained beliefs about how white artists should sound.
Via The Grio reports:
“It’s fair to say that blue-eyed soul artists have always flirted close with being novelty acts, not because that’s their intention but because of society’s rigid, racial assumptions…that turns any white person who can credibly sing [into] a black aesthetic,” Oliver Wang, a sociology professor at California State University-Long Beach, told TheGrio.com.
Therefore, blue-eyed soul singers “seem extra special whereas, if a black artist sounded identical, that’s not seen as necessarily remarkable.”In other words, black singers may be victims of their own talents. Audiences are fickle, and will gravitate to the first thing that looks unusual.
“Thanks to shows like American Idol, society is starting to get numb to the black girl who can sing her ass off,” quipped Steve “Funkworm” Butler, a Chicago-based independent music producer and blogger. “Most believe that they can walk into any black church on Sunday morning, close their eyes, reach into the choir stands, and pull out a exceptional singer. And this is partially true.”
For that reason, ambient resentment toward blue-eyed soul artists has festered for years – most notably when George Michael (who has since gone pop) scored a controversial win in the R&B/Soul category of the American Music Awards back in 1989. That led to misguided assertions that white singers might be ‘taking over’ a medium pioneered by blacks for blacks.
Is blue eyed soul taking over R&B? Are white artists more visually appealing to sell music dominated by blacks? Discuss…