the lead singer for bloc party is black.

well, i was going to post a really angry rant again, since i received another rejection letter in the mail. i don't know why california state library, the sacramento county of education, and all these other stupid places have to send mail out. i have a perfectly good email account, and an active cell phone. a simple "you didn't get the job" on the phone or by email would make me feel a lot better, as opposed to wasted paper informing me of my inadequacy. fucking wankers.

yeah, i was going to title today's entry "i'm so depressed i could go for a big mac," but i knew there had to be something good today. and there was. my education award finally went through, and so now my grand total for student loans is: $6,939.59. i plan to repay it over the course of the next 30 years of my life.

last night, rich and i talked about how all the artists in our cd collections, with the exclusion of rap, are predominantly whiteys. the only exceptions were boris and mono (both are japanese). i've thought about this before, and how it makes it really difficult to set any creative goals when there are so few filipino (or any other "minority") trendsetters. my first insight into this came when peter bacho, along with some other asian american writers, talked at the richard hugo house. "when i was in school," he said, "and this is still going on - who did we study? wordsworth, shakespeare, eliot, etc. all white folks."

actually, my realization came earlier than that. in african american lit, dr. smith once asked, "how many african american writers can you name?" one of the few african american students raised his hand. "richard wright, james baldwin, olaudah equiano, toni cade bambara..." dr. smith cut him off. "okay, okay. but you're the exception." she then addressed the rest of us: "how many of you can name more, or have heard of any of the writers he's just mentioned?" none of us raised our hands. she gave her usual smirk, the one that says, no comment.

i googled filipino indie rock and almost, for a split second, almost-but-not-quite, second-guessed myself about a racist music industry, just because the samples i played were so terrible. see for yourself:

indie flip

but i know there's still truth to it. it's just your typical craigslist post. music industry seeks hottest, youngest new indie rock band. you - preferably in your 20's, caucasian, no drugs, no drama. you have to be really, really fucking good if you're anything but.

1 comment:

la lintik said...

from ss's blog:
"Another thing you notice with pre-pop rock & roll is that it has an ethnic tinge. You can hear Blackness in the music. You also can hear hillbilly. And in some songs you can hear both. Under the radar, early rock & roll was a moment that White meet Black, unsupervised and without mediation. No need to break this meeting down, as it, too, is part of pop culture history, most recently retold in the musical Hairspray. Still I must note that the reason for this covert race mixing was because people thought that rock & roll was so insignificant that it wasn't worth paying attention to. When rock & roll proved to be a commercial success, a sustainable cash cow, then significant economic players became involved and set out to strip rock & roll of all that made it attractive.

The first things the majors did was do away with Blackness. The first strike was eliminating the Black face. Look at rock & roll albums made in the late Fifties by Blacks and you will find very, very few pictures of the people who made the records. You won't even find pictures of Black people - no Black couple holding hands, no Black girl and boy dancing, no Black teen looking at a record jacket. Instead there is record jacket apartheid. (Two exceptions are Bo Diddley, who fought to have his image on his record covers, though with the assent of the Chess brothers, and Miles Davis, though not rock & roll was the first major Black music artist to insist that his record cover models be Black.)

After the Black face was disappeared, then came the Black voice. Early Black rock & rollers like Gary Bonds and Bo Diddley found their songs off pop charts and on the "race" charts (later named R&B or Urban, all euphemisms for Black). Jim Crow now had its way with the music that was rock & roll. By 1960, the music was White - Black rock & roll was a novelty. Sure there were a few tokens - Fats Domino & Chubby Checker - but if you were Black and you wanted to keep making a living playing rock & roll, you called it Rhythm & Blues.

So come 1963, rock & roll is White and safe. Not only is Blackness gone, but so is the hillbilly influence. R&B no longer doubles as Black rock & roll. It is now pretty much a Black form of music, rooted in the Blues, influenced by Black gospel, and with little or no tinge of hillbilly, or White working class, sound in it. Then came the Rolling Stones and others to remind Americans that rock & roll has something to do with Black people and the sound changed a bit, though the ethnic make up pretty much remained White, something which has changed little to this day."