A Hip Hop Commentary


Davey D

Why do we always have to bring up the color of someone's skin.  Does it really matter.  Does it have to be "white music" and "black music", etc?  First of all, white and black are so general, encompassing so many diffferent nationalities, that it is ridiculous to do so.  Not to mention that labeling only promotes some type of discrimination.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to depict history as it was.  In fact, that is the way it should be.  But, the only way we will get past all of the stereotyping, labeling, and prejudice is when we stop making issues of color.  Who cares? 

Sure, everyone in this country deserves a fair chance to live as a free man or woman.  I do not promote or advocate any oppression.  But, the fact of the matter is that oppression often times lies within the communities that are so fervently trying to stop it.  Why can't we refer to one another as Americans.  Plain and simple.  I agree with you that knowing your history is important, but let us not forget that everyone's personal history is different.  There are many, many nationalities in this wonderful land, so much more than every before.  Whose history is more important?  No one can judge that.

Davey D Responds:

Well within the media, especially radio and the white run, white controlled music industry labeling goes on with no end in sight. In radio, advertisers DEMAND to know the ethnic breakdown of an audience. They claim to use such to do 'targetted' marketing. In actuality they use the information to set ad rates. If you have lots of white listeners you can demand more money. In the overall economic scheme whites are more valued then Blacks and other people of color. They are seen as having more disposable income.

In an ideal world that would be great to be colorblind, but the power structure of a lot of these businesses have not embraced that in the least. They want colorblindness when its convient. When it comes to doing business they have different rates for Black and white audiences. That's the bottom line.

Record companies divide the music up along ethinc lines. They have urban /Black departments, 'pop' departments [pop is code for white] and now they have Latin departments. Again this is all done in the name of doing good business and target marketing. The reality is that there are different budgets set for each department. Pop gets much more then urban. Quite often entire Black departments are erased from record companies. That is never the case with pop. The ultimate goal is for a an artist to be able to 'crossover' into the pop arena. Again this is all set up by the 'supposedly open minded, colorblind music industry.

Now you asked 'Why is there all this media hype about Hip Hop being white..' ? One reason is to break down the stereotypes and perceptions held by advertisers that Hip Hip is thuggish black men from the hood. Hence we start rewriting history and laying claim to falsehoods at Black people's expense. No one balks about burritos being Mexican or Sushi being Japanese or lots of other ethnic things we celebrate.. So why are people objecting to Hip Hop being Black? Is it because historically speaking, Black kids managed to continuously fuel pop culture? I would love to have a colorblind society, but I'm not in control. I don't control the radio programmers who not once played rap, but then made the exception with the Beasty Boys and Eminem. I don't control Spin Magazine who saw fit to pop Em on the cover and never a KRS-One..The list goes on..

Why we're talking about multi-culturalism and how great it is? I clearly see a group of white men who under the cloak of darkness continue to extend white privledges to white kids while yelling multi-culturalism.. Sometimes it's blatant, other times it's subtle. For example, using the Eminem show I recently wrote about. Him performing at the Fillmore in San Francisco was a great celebration of Hip Hop's diversity.. What doesn't get fixed, resolved or spoken about is that Black rappers who live around the corner from that venue can never play there. So when these issues of race and racism get raised within a Hip Hop arena white kids who are down with Hip Hop start yelling foul. They want the worldd to be multi-cultural and nice and yet not take the painful and necessary steps to correct some serious wrongs.

I'm still getting hit on the head and not allowed access. I'm still not being treated as an equal. The only problem is the man doing the discrimination looks like a Hip Hopper.. Hip Hop is taking off..It's multi-cultural but Black folks are still being locked out.. Why? Because sadly enough skin color still matters within the halls of power.

written by
Davey D
c 1999

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