Thursday, March 06, 2008

White America, I could be one of your kids...

Not me (unless you adopted me because no white babies were available :p) That's a line from an Eminem song. Music is the topic of today's post. Have you ever seen a black artist with white backup singers? Sheryl Crow was a backup singer for Micheal Jackson during his Bad tour--but can you think of anyone else? I can't.

How many times do you see white artists with black back up singers? Justin Timberlake, Amy Winehouse, Natasha Bedingfield has a video where she's got a whole black gospel choir backing her up. These are just three I thought of off the top of my head, I'm sure there are more.

What is this about? My first reaction is that white artists use black support staff 1) because they can sing 2) they lend them a certain amount of cred (credibility for you older folks). What originally prompted this post was an irritation that we rarely see the person of color in the spotlight while a white person is in the back ground. This isn't true only in music--it's also in movies, government, etc.

As I was typing, I had a realization. At least part of the reason you don't see white people as backup for artists of color is because those artists are probably very interested in helping out "their own kind" by giving a fellow person of color a job. Also, if black people add to cred then having a white backup would detract from your cred--This is true if you're Justin Timberlake or Usher.

But what about all the white singers with "soul" that aren't attractive enough to be out front on the mic? I guess they're screwed.

I have more to say about Eminem, but I'll save that for a future post. As always, I welcome your comments/questions.

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