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On Saturday morning on the MSNBC Nerdland program (9-11 am central), they had a panel discussion about why a white rapper won the recent grammy award for best rap album. Someone named Macklemore and Ryan won, over such rap luminaries as Kanye West, Jay-Z, Drake, and the pre-award favorite, Kendrick Lamar. Macklemore and Ryan are, evidently white.
The argument here is that "everyone" knew that Kendrick Lamar should have won, and the M&R win exemplifies "cultural appropriation" of a "black" art form by whites, and thus also demonstrates "white privilege".
It was also mentioned on this program that the appropriation , or as some say , stealing, of "black" music by whites goes back to the early days of rock and roll when whites such as Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, and even Pat Boone took songs that had been previously recorded by blacks and had hit records with them, where the blacks had been unable to do so due to racism.
I'm not sure how Macklemore and Ryan take away from the popularity of Jay Z or West, and doubt if anyone can explain it.
Anyway, what about whites "stealing" black music? This "theft" is also sometimes mentioned in terms of jazz and blues, as if whites cannot justifiably perform in these genres. Most notably in jazz , perhaps, was the PBS series "Jazz" in which it was alleged that white players, particularly so-called "west coast" jazz, was given short shrift in the 10 hour series because the black creative consultant for the series, Wynton Marsalis, kept the stories of white jazz musicians out of the spotlight in that film.
I have a few observations that I have developed after following this sort of thing for a long time.
Music is music. There are a limited number of notes to be arranged, and over time genres will overlap. Elvis Presley , alleged to have "stolen" black music during the racist 50's, actually developed his own style that was based on black rhythm and blues, but was also based on…Continue
A Malaysian Muslim woman offers a special prayer for passengers aboard a missing plane, at a mosque in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Sunday, March 9, 2014. Military radar indicates that the missing Boeing 777 jet may have turned back before vanishing, Malaysia's air force chief said Sunday as authorities were investigating up to four passengers with suspicious identifications. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)