I have to agree with John Blake of CNN when he says today’s music is depressing in his article “Where’s The Love In R&B Music?”
I find it pretty difficult to find a good selection of R&B music today without lyrics that degrade women. India Arie, Musiq Soulchild and Mary J. Blige are ever-lasting staples of what good R&B should be. But they seem to have few peers in regards to the intellectual depth of their songwriting.
Though I am only 31-years-old, I was raised by my grandmother who exposed me to the tunes of Minnie Riperton, Otis Redding and Anita Baker.I draw blanks when I mention these iconic names to my peers.
The thesis of Blake’s article is that the love and romance we heard so often from people like Barry White and Marvin Gaye were correlated with stronger black communities and a greater number of nuclear families. The 70s were years of unbridled black pride and self-respect, the article argues.
It was a time when, as a friend of mine said, “Being black was the bidness!” We celebrated our kinky hair and dark skin and greeted each other as “brother” and “sister” without any sense of irony. Everybody seemed to have a copy of Jet or Ebony magazine on their coffee tables; a man would have been slapped if he called a black woman a bitch.
How many hit songs today can you think of (as well as dance to) that have the word ‘bitch’ in them? Do you think that today’s R&B music is so sexually exaggerated that the art of seduction is completely foreign to today’s artists?
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