August 16, 2002

DOES MUSIC HAVE A RACE? :

Elvis led way in copying black music (Kevin L. Carter, Aug. 16, 2002, Philadelphia Inquirer)
As we pause from our busy lives to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, it must be noted that as creative and influential as this brilliant-but-tragic man was, he does not deserve to be called, as he is by so many, the King.

Sure, Elvis was a figure of transcendent influence in pop music. He was, at least in his earlier years, an electrifying performer. He is known for the ability he had to combine disparate elements of black and white Southern music (country, blues, rockabilly) into a driving, compelling and, most of all, popular style.

But that, ironically, is one of the problems.

Since the dawning five centuries ago of this multiracial amalgam we call American culture, the same patterns have emerged. All people have created wonderful works of art, but too often in the case of music that comes from mixed African and European roots it has been this way: blacks create, and whites discover, rob, buy or steal, then market and profit from the creations.


You know, he's right. I'd never looked at it that way before. It's ridiculous to call Muhammed Ali the "Greatest" when he was merely an inerloper in a white man's game. And there's no way that Michael Jordan can be the best basketball player ever--that honor is reserved for Bob Cousy or somebody--because he really just made a white sport popular by blackening it. Well....you see where this kind of thinking leads, right?
Posted by Orrin Judd at August 16, 2002 12:54 PM
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