What Happened to Music?

By Roy Douglas Malonson

“That’s because we did not set out to make Black music. We set out to make quality music that everyone could enjoy and listen to.” – Smokey Robinson

People can talk about Black folks all day long. But, one thing that can’t be denied is the fact that we have always produced and made good music. Many people don’t realize a lot of the old hymns that present-day gospel artists have made tons of money singing off of, were invented by slaves and folks who couldn’t even read or write. When our ancestors were out in the fields working, they were singing. As times went on, music was always a part of the Black culture and it had the power to influence us and our decisions.

We MUST Understand the things we listen to and allow into our minds has the ability to control our actions. Therefore, we should be careful of the kind of music we make and the kinds of music we listen to. The power of music is strong and can be used as an asset or it can serve as a debilitating pitfall for some of us.

But, as I sit and think I can’t help but notice the messages within the present-day music versus the music back in the day has gone through a dramatic change. Of course, nothing stays the same as the world evolves. However, many of the changes, we as a people have underwent, should not have changed the values and morals we once had to the point where it negatively affects US.

Back when I was coming up, we had quality music and quality artists who were concerned about the type of messages they promoted in their art. We had artists like Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Curtis Mayfield and the list goes on and on. They understood that their creativity carried weight to the people listening to it. Black music use to empower Blacks folks in the community to go out and want to better themselves. Even the love music we had back then had a more in depth meaning to it.

Ohhhhh, but when you turn on the radio today, some of the music playing you can barely understand. And a lot of what you can understand is degrading the Black culture rather than uplifting US. Modern-day rappers and singers are so busy promoting a lifestyle they won’t even allow their own children to live, but will expose OUR children to it. I just will never understand how we have gone from making good positive uplifting music to what we hear today.

Photo credit: peconicpublicbroadcasting.com