Blue Eyed Soul?
I am a lover of music. All music, I can name country songs that do something to my soul. I can name rock songs that I used to bump on my disc man before a baseball game to “turn up.” I am what my father called “eclectic.” Not the simple definition of eclectic, the not following any one system, as of philosophy, medicine, art, music, etc., but selecting and using what are considered the best elements of all systems. I’m like Gandhi, who famously said, “I’m a Muslim, a Jew, Hindu, Christian, and Buddhist.” While I can NEVER claim to be as passive and loving as Gandhi, I can compare his compassion for mankind to my passion for music, worldwide. At age 14, I learned what ethnocentric meant, and I have spent the rest of my life NOT being ethnocentric.
What I am about to say is NOT out of malice, I will use uncontroverted facts. I NEVER engage in discussions where I am not proficient in the subject matter and while I admit there isn’t much that I know absolutely nothing about, some things are foreign to me, when I find them I try to stamp them out. During the Renaissance, the world (Europe) returned to Greco-Roman idealization. That lead to exploration and eventually exploitation. Simply put, wherever the Caucasian race went it raped, pillaged, and sucked every natural resource out of wherever they went. There are no Mayans because the Europeans and their germs wiped them off the face of the earth. Africa, is in the state it is now because of slavery. The Europeans took the strong, young, and healthy men, women, and children off the continent and left Africa, with the weak, old, and sickly. Reparations that Blacks in America think are due to them need to look further than your selfish selves and look at Africa.
What does this have to do with music? I’m glad you asked. My current obsession is “All About That Bass,” by MeghanTrainor. Not only because I love the song, I happen to be in a cover band and when the ladies want something performed I have to butch it up for me to be involved. So when it first dropped and my band had a show, I had to learn “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Nicki Minaj, and Ariana Grande. I looked up Trainor as she was the only person I had never heard of. I expected to find her under the genre of “pop music.” There is a misconception that pop music is “white” whilst blacks are R&B. Pop is short for popular, R&B is Rhythm and Blues. There really isn’t a true R&B artist out today, we don’t really sing about love. Take the two aforementioned songs, one is a veiled song about having a big booty and the other is about putting that booty to work.
What shocked me was the other genre that Trainor was listed under, “Blue Eyed Soul.” Just seeing it took me back to an interview Marsha Ambrosius did where she was asked, “Why aren’t you as big as Adele?” Marsha, who always gives it straight, didn’t directly use “blue eyed soul,” but when the interviewer took it there, Marsha agreed. You see, you are reading this, and like most of the free world, you’re an Adele fan. 21 was a great album, so was 19 and I’ve was board then. At 19 years of age this young woman WROTE her entire album. You see in the UK you have to have talent, unfortunately in America, you just need a look, they’ll fix your voice: AUTO TUNE. This is nothing new, nothing on this earth is.
Little Richard said, “Rhythm and Blues had a baby and somebody (Elvis Presley) named it rock n roll.” Elvis Presley, who was racist (and surely died if he faked his death like so many claimed, when his daughter married Michael Jackson) had no problem stealing our music and dance moves. No they put up Mr. Lily White and touted him the King. I personally never cared for Presley as an artist and only liked 2 of his entire musical catalog. Eminem, who is actually one of the greatest lyricists of all time, was only a commodity because he wasn’t whack. They tried to give you Vanilla Ice, and then 3rd Base, neither were the Beastie Boys, and well Mike D along with Chuck D weren’t moving units anymore. Stealing is bad, you’re taught that from an early age.
I have no quarrel with Adele, nor did I with Amy Winehouse. When asked who influenced them: Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, Mahalia Jackson (google her) and Ella Fitzgerald (best pure singing voice ever) I realized that they were mimicking their idols. It’s not the singer, it’s the label. No one is sure when Adele is coming back, she has stated, “I don’t know when I will return. I’m writing and being the best mum I can be to Angelo.” When you’re already worth £45 million which is $56,176,620 (US) and 26 years of age you needn’t rush to do anything. She’s the wealthiest British singer (under 30). If you look at Trainor, she’s meant to fill the void left by Adele. While Trainor has the pipes and writing ability she’s not Adele, even though “All About That Bass,” just was the number one single in the UK for it’s 4th straight week. Adele’s song writing is crazy and Trainor’s follow up, “Lips Are Movin” is okay. She’s getting air play because we’re still All About That Bass.
What saddens me is that there is no young black artist trying to channel their inner Ella or Etta James. These artist today are being chewed up and spit out. This is a business and acts are easily replaced. Fantasia and JHud have no power, I don’t care how talented you are, no power, you’re out. It’s why I don’t worry about Marsha Ambrosius, who has business acumen, and wants to be the female Quincy Jones. You see, your voice is a part of your body, and with age we all lose something. Michael Jordan had to retire, Kobe Bryant knows his days are numbered, and someone needs to tell Steve Nash, his time has BEEN up. Marsha just turned 37, she doesn’t look it, but she knows this business, and knows the instrument won’t be there forever. Unlike Mariah, she won’t lip sync, she’ll never use auto tune, and she’ll never be out of work. As long as artist continue to be lazy and complacent or people WANT to collaborate with her, she will write good songs. She’s a producer as well, she’ll never be out of work, she never has been. Ms. Ambrosius (the future ex Mrs. Hodge) is currently on a HEADLINING tour, go to her website for dates.
What happened in the past we cannot change, therefore we cannot punish those who did nothing wrong. If this doesn’t bother you then let it go. As a person of color, who is only now realizing who I am (turns out my Hodge used to be Haj) I am going to have to teach my son, like my father before me, about good original music.
Sadly, it appears that I’ll be steering him away from his culture and to the British acts who have quite unassumingly taken over our genre. We preach black pride, but allow someone else to define what OUR race is. I’m not African anything, and neither are you. Once you leave the United States, what is your race then? Will you be African Canadian? Perhaps, African Mexican suits you better? In the United Kingdom you’d be black. I’d rather be classified as black than lumped together by what some 60+ year old white man came up with 20 years ago to assuage the black angst.
“Have you forgotten that once we were brought here, we were robbed of our name, robbed of our language. We lost our religion, our culture, our God…and many of us, by the way we act, we even lost our minds.”- Khalid Abdul Muhammad.
Meghan Trainor-EP Artwork
Amy Winehouse-The Guardian
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TK’s Bio: Terrence Kyrell Hodge I was born 9/13/79, in what was then W. Berlin Germany, to Qualise and Lieutenant Tyrone Hodge of the United States Marine Corps. He lived in London England and graduated from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in 2000 with BA in English and Political Science. Terrence writes about any and everything. Terrence is planning a series of novels that are works of “faction” part factual (nonfiction) and partly fictional. He plans to bring a dual vision of American and European observation and opinions to PMA. He will bring blunt honesty with a sense of comedy. He says “I will write wherever I’m needed as I am NOT a one trick pony.