At the #YPOCMusicSeminar we discussed the influence of POC across many genres and challenged one another’s perceptions of who creates what kind of music.
At the beginning of the discussion I asked the students, ‘what do people who make country music look like?’ The resounding response was that they are White. The same was said for Rock & Roll with the exception of one student, and then another changed their answer.
In an effort to shed some light on the pioneers of genres other than hip hop which Black people have popularized and expose them to some contemporary artists shattering stereotypes, I played ‘Tutti Frutti’ by #LittleRichard & ‘Workin Woman Blues’ by #ValerieJune.
The kids were surprised to find that Little Richard, a Black man, was a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and were absolutely shocked when I told them the country song they had just listened to was not only by a Black woman, but by a Black woman who wears her hair in thick free form locs.
We often shed light on the inadequacies within the education system and how history is changed and omitted to minimize the accomplishments of people of color.
What we sometimes forget to do is pick up the slack. It’s also important to keep in mind that our accomplishments in film, writing, art, music and other creative spheres are just as important as the strides we’ve made in mathematics, language and agriculture.
As some of the very first rock and folk artists I find it troubling that so many of our kids view these genres as ‘White people music.’
We are everywhere and thus, have a hand in influencing everything, regardless of the faces connected to it in contemporary society.
We have to make sure our kids know that.