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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectRE: Why not?
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=21727&mesg_id=21823
21823, RE: Why not?
Posted by murph25, Wed Aug-30-00 05:16 PM
Let me start by responding to the last point made:

>Does it worry folks when white
>folks control black/brown folks art?

Yes. Very much so. Especially an artform as dear to my heart as hip hop. White-owned corporations are not the curators I want in charge of such a valuable cultural treasure.

>>I was wondering why you don't
>>want white people to buy
>>hip hop music
>I don't think that is the
>real issue.

Agreed. I didn't ask the right question. What I'm really getting at is: HOW is the integrity and future of hip hop challenged by the participation of white folks. I don't ask because I doubt the validity of the claim, but because I want to understand the underlying argument.

>White businessmen ultimately see more money
>in the hands of white
>kids and their parents than
>they with black kids and
>black parents. Regardless of
>the fact that the black
>community is the core audience
>of all black music.

This is a good argument, and well put. I agree that the record companies are selling out the black community by targeting white audiences. As you acknowledge elsewhere, the actual core audience of an artist like Common or Mos Def seems to be significantly white (if you look at record sales and who goes to the concerts). Is this because they have not successfully addressed the black community in their music, or is it instead that the record companies are not trying to sell them to that market?

>The white individual is apart of
>a larger white aggregate, the
>ideal target market. So
>it is very concievable that
>white record companies will cater
>to these listeners. I'm
>sure other folks in the
>industry can comment on how
>white folks dictate what music
>will be released and pushed
>on mass media outlets.

Here's where I disagree somewhat. I don't think the consumers directly determine what the record labels (or the media) choose to market. To a large extent, we buy what we're told to buy. That's why Suburban White Kid owns the new Eminem and Jay-Z. That's also why I own Common and Mos Def. As target markets (or as individuals), we do not choose what music the corporations market toward us.

I see the music industry and their perpetuation of racism as the problem. I think the consumers, to an extent, are victims of a system that divides musical genres along racial lines and actively promotes some of the most negative racial stereotypes that exist in this country. That, to me, is the real problem challenging hip hop's integrity, and the future of the artform.

>We also can't forget that the
>soundscan stats that run the
>industry are largely from suburban
>malls that cater to who,
>you guessed it, white folks.

I can see where "white folks", collectively, exert undue influence over the music industry, and thus over hip hop. In fact, I tend to agree that racism on the part of white consumers contributes to the lowest-common-denominator approach that record companies seem to take when selling hip hop. It is seriously effed up that a strong, intelligent, politically conscious black man like Common can't be accepted by some white people. THAT is a problem.

And as for your point about the historical self-reliance of black musicians, I think that's awesome. But, as long as Sony, MCA and Columbia are writing all the paychecks, there's a problem in hip hop much bigger than the white consumer, and that's what I think should be the priority.