I almost fainted when Blue Eyed Soul became a real live music category in award shows. In case you missed it, Blue Eyed Soul is a subcategory of soul/R&B music meant to exclusively recognize white people who can sing black music really well. As if Adele and Robin Thicke weren’t blessed with enough privilege by virtue of being born white, the music industry has literally created an award to recognize them for singing black music really well.
That’s crazy and (dare I say it?!) racist.
Lil Nas X has been fighting to be recognized as a country music artist. Billboard removed him from the country charts because Old Town Road wasn’t considered a country song by those who control what is and what isn’t country music. If you have heard the single (who hasn’t heard this super addictive song by now?) then you recognize the infectious song is clearly a country single. I could draw my own conclusions about why Old Town Road hasn’t been accepted as a country single (*cough* racism) but instead I will highlight that white people own country music the way that I wish black people would own rap, hip-hop and R&B.
It’s no secret that our genre of music is owned mostly by people who do not look like us or have our best interest at heart. Our culture has been a cash cow to build wealth outside of our race so it’s no surprise that Blue Eyed Soul is now “a thing.” As if wypipo needed more reasons to be celebrated for something they don’t own and didn’t create, Blue Eyed Soul is yet another stain on our culture; it’s a blatant disregard for the history of our music and the talent of our people. It’s bad enough others get recognized in categories that were created for us but it’s an even bigger slap in the face when others are especially recognized for their gentrified versions of our sound.
Even Beyoncé couldn’t get her hit single Daddy Lessons to be recognized by Country Music. Simply put, the country music community was adamant that as a black woman, Beyoncé can’t make country music even though she is from Texas and her sound followed a very country melody and instrumental cadence.
I’m not even mad about country music being exclusive regarding who is able to be recognized as a country artist. Integration is cool but not everything is meant to be a melting pot. Sometimes authenticity gets lost in the overzealous effort to integrate everything. Since black people are always willing to share our culture, maybe it’s time to create another category that strictly recognizes black women’s soul music. Yes, black women’s soul.
Mary J. Blige
You know black women soul when you hear it. More importantly than hearing it, you feel it. I may be partial but no other genre of music touches your core the way soul music does. If white people can have their own category in our music, then surely black women can too. Black girl magic has blessed us with gems like The Miseducation of Lauren Hill and Share My World. In 2019, we no longer have to wait to be recognized when we have a whole community of people who look like us that can give us our roses now.
Did you catch Tyler Perry’s acceptance speech at the most recent BET Awards? I gave a thunderous church clap when Tyler Perry said:
“While everybody was fighting for a seat at the table talking about #OscarsSoWhite, #OscarsSoWhite, I said, ‘Y’all go ahead and do that,’” he said. “But while you’re fighting for a seat at the table, I’ll be down in Atlanta building my own. Because what I know for sure is that if I could just build this table, God will prepare it for me in the presence of my enemies.”
Never one to fall short of a powerful moment, Perry once again proved that we are the captains of our culture and it is for us to steer our ship. Black Women Soul should absolutely be “a thing” in the world of music award shows and while we are at it, let’s nix Blue Eyed Soul.
For the culture.