“Are we racist for loving Adele and her beautiful voice?” links

Are we racist for loving Adele? One dude says we probably are. [Evil Beet]
Lea Michele looks SO into Cory Monteith. [LaineyGossip]
The Hunger Games made a crazy amount of money. [Dlisted]
See Jessica Simpson‘s mega-preg bridesmaid‘s dress. [Pop Sugar]
Oh, hello Clive Owen. *licks lips* [Yeeeah]
Angelina Jolie discusses Maleficent. [Celebuzz]
Jimmy Kimmel will host this year‘s Emmys. Good choice, honestly. [Pajiba]
Who is Rita Rusic, and why am I looking at her nip? [The Blemish]
Everybody is making fun of Madonna‘s saggy butt. [A Socialite Life]
Why does Christina Hendricks look like this when she TRIES? [Go Fug Yourself]
I still kind of love Carson Kressley. [ICYDK]
How to avoid being Bone Collector‘d. [Videogum]
James Cameron just got deeper than any other man. Oh, baby! [Gawker]
Tom Hardy being cast as a famous gay Rugby player? [OMG Blog]
Doutzen Kroes‘ baby is so cute. [Moe Jackson]
You have to watch this video of a dog with a screaming-howl. [The Frisky]
Andrea Bocelli welcomes his third child. [Celebrity Baby Scoop]
More photos of Katy Perry & Lana del Rey pretending to like each other. [IDLITW]

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74 Responses to ““Are we racist for loving Adele and her beautiful voice?” links”

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  1. RocketMerry says:

    Yeah, right, racists. *snorts*

    Aw, congratulations to Andrea Bocelli and his wife!

  2. laylajanelovesgossip says:

    I’m black I like Adele..She does not sound like Anita Baker…

    • Naye in VA says:

      Absolutely not! and to imply that she is even close to Anita is offensive. Maybe in a few years when we see what the whole body of her work is like but,,,as far as sound no and never. still love adele though

    • MrsNix says:

      I agree. She doesn’t sound like Anita Baker, and methinks the lad doth protest too much. And what, may I ask, do “American black women” sound like? I’ve heard black Americans sing a lot of different styles of music with a wide variety of tonal and technique differences. I’m not being simply obtuse. We all know that black women are more frequently possessed of that smoky, deep vocal quality associated with “them,” but that one school of vocal expression is not the only trick in the black American talent pool. For this man to try and piss on the unique qualities that have made Adele famous simply betrays his own discomfort with race issues…not American society’s.

  3. lover says:

    adele soul amy whinehouse soul , lol snorts, roll eyes whateva, racist no deluded yes

  4. grabbyhands says:

    Pinhead. I’ve listened to Anita Baker and personally, I think they sound nothing alike.

  5. Alexis says:

    Are we really having this discussion about Adele after the death of Treyvon Martin?

    No, Adele’s success is not indicative of racism. It is posts like that guy’s that convince people who are actually racist that there is no such thing as racism, that efforts to fight racism are all about touchy-feely political correctness to make white people feel uncomfortable. The sad thing is self-satisfied arguments like “you are racist for liking Adele” make a joke out of real instances of racism (and I don’t mean just violence, but socio-economic injustice grounded in racism, too) because it sets itself up as being equally worthy of attention and concern. SMH!

    • Julie says:

      thank you, i totally agree.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      Deflection isn’t going to get us anywhere. Maybe the question is, why are all and sundry running to hold Sandra Fluke’s grown-up white hand after her (undeserved) drubbing, but no one could be bothered to arrest a man who admitted to killing an unarmed black boy? Whoever dumped the flour on Kim’s head was arrested at the scene, but all kinds of incontrovertible evidence of Zimmerman’s crime gets the standard, ‘so the shit what?’ routine from the authorities, the ‘he was asking for it, wearing that hoodie and all’ from that cockroach Geraldo Rivera (God help the woman who wears an above-ankle skirt around his blinkered morality)

    • Pippa says:

      But is that honestly what he was saying? He never said explicitly ‘oh all Adele fans are racist’ which yes would be frankly ludicrous and unhelpful, but was making a wider point on the fact that still similar black singers aren’t recognised equally for their talent in the same way and aren’t given the same opportunities, that white singers are overly praised when they sound like black singers, that Adele wouldn’t be half as popular if she was black, which is all undeniably true. Whether you like to admit it or not our society is unfairly skewed and there still exists a huge amount of racism, and not just overtly. To be honest it’s equally unhelpful to ignore this in favour of the ‘bigger issues’ as you say because what he’s really trying to explain is a much grander societal issue, and overt, horrific displays of racism are never truly going to go away unless we start addressing the implicit racism already prevalent in our culture as well.

  6. Minty says:

    That’s ridiculous. Anita Baker and Adele are talented singers who hardly sound similar. Anita has been under the radar for quite some time. Adele is the flavor of the year and thus, getting a lot of attention. Why does this Stephin Merritt need to bring race into it? Is this his lame way of getting publicity? He should focus on his music and get some singing lessons while he’s at it. I clicked on the link and watched the clip of his performance. His voice is mediocre and boring.

    • ol cranky says:

      ITA Adele doesn’t sound like Anita Baker, not the voice nor the songs

      BTW – back in the day Anita Baker got a boatload of airplay on pretty much every kind of radio station except “rock” (as in we don’t play any pop) and country station. Her airplay was not limited to R & B and traditionally “black” radio stations. When a female vocalist has a well controlled, deeper booming voice, people who have no clue what that singer looks like, often assume she’s black and, if they like the song, they buy the music. I was never much of an Anita Baker fan not because I didn’t like her voice but because most of what I heard was adult contemporary in style (people’s parents listened to that stuff) and I had very different taste in music at the time. If I must point it out, women of color who have beautiful voices & get recording contracts tend to be given a lot more respect for their talent (and seem to have a bigger chance at stardom even if they are far from being the “hot chick”) than talented white female performers who, it seems, end up having to try to sell their talent competing with the poptarts who get all the press despite bringing nothing to the recording studio.

      • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

        Well, they almost certainly had to take a whole bunch of crap at every turn. You can be an icon on stage with circumstances that made you a mess everywhere else. Luckily, the skankification and required cosmetic alterations required of all female singers coming up these days has ushered in a new wave of equalizing objectification.

    • Melanie says:

      I didn’t know what Anita Baker sounded like off the top of my head so i dialed her up on youtube. I don’t think she sounds like Adele at all. Also, the instrumental that goes with her singing sounds a lot like elevator music to me. Granted I only listened to a bit of one song but I just don’t think they sound the same.

  7. Jessica says:

    YIKES on Madonna’s bottom!!

  8. maemay says:

    umm no, i’m black and my fave modern singers are Adele and Amy.

    Truth is today’s R&B music SUCKS! I hate autotune robots, i hate Rihanna’s frog voice, the lyrics SUCK and the music is robotic and unemotional crap.

    Any black female artist with true talent like Janelle Monet is ignored by the cristal and stripper mentality of most rap and r&b music. They are NOT supported.

    • hunter says:

      Oh Lord, THANK YOU – I hate R&B too!! I really like hip hop but R&B makes me want to claw my eyes out.

      I’m white for what it’s worth but nice to hear I’m not the only one who can’t stand it. All that slow crooning, yeesh.

      • maemay says:

        Today’s R&B music sucks but in general I love all music especially GOOD R&B music with real singers not autotune singers.

    • womanfromthenorth says:

      I love Janelle, it really is to bad no one knows her. Sincerely Jane is a song every young girl should listen to and Learn!

    • It is ME!! says:

      I was a kid (literally, I was like 6) when I first heard an Anita Baker song on the radio. That woman has a FANTASTIC voice. Now that I am older, I am more appreciative of the subject matter of those songs. I love Adele as well.

      As for Janelle Monae, she is frakin’ awesome and is the edgy Rhianna WISHES she was…..

  9. Turtle Dove says:

    Madonna’s ass looks better than most women’s her age and much better than many women much younger than her.

    Not very down with making fun of a woman who is obviously “changin’”. The body changes chickadees, so we should all get ready for that.

    • Tiffany says:

      But does Madonna HAVE to wear “shorts” with her azz hanging out? There is a way to change and evolve and not embarrass yourself. She is trying too hard, that is why it is embarrassing. It isn’t like there are only two options for her to choose from: a tent or shorts with her butt hanging out. There are MANY options in between.

      • Coucou says:

        For real, that was so not flattering, it looked like she had big flabby boobs hanging on her backside, azz cleavage gone wrong, oh no she didn’t, oh no, this is not an age bashing issue, this is an issue of self respect, her legs look great, BUTT i’m sure she didn’t see it like that in the mirror…

  10. Naye in VA says:

    Adele fits into more of a mainstream sound. Sorry the radios arent blasting 90′s music every hour on the hour thats why it would be a bit difficult for todays “radioheads” to be in a tizzy over Anita Baker.
    i have more Anita in my iTunes than Adele, and thats just because i like the style of music. i totally love Adele too but they have different styles and no i didnt mistake Adele for a black girl before i saw her. She sounds like a soulful white girl (they have those you know)

  11. HadleyB says:

    Oh Tom Hardy.. those juicy lips.

    Thats all.

  12. sup says:

    ok i’m as anti-racist as a person can possibly get, but that article about adele’s voice, is really reaching. we had other white singers with so-called black voices too, elvis and anastasia come to mind. why hasn’t anybody been accused of being racist for liking them? this isn’t the big band era when black musicians were replaced by whiter or paler ones. people love adele because she sings from the heart. her experiences are her own, and i didn’t even care for the hype but once i listened to a couple of songs from 21, realized that her songs are coming from a very real place. anybody who experienced such heartbreak can relate. art is all about self-expression and doing it in such a way that it will touch others. which is why i like her. she’s not just a pretty voice, but a real artist. there are many beautiful voices out there with singers who are emotionally aloof, you admire what you hear but it doesn’t leave a big impression on you. take jane monheit for example.

    • ViktoryGin says:


      You do realize that Elvis strategically and systematically lifted music from black churches in the south in order to peddle it to the masses. There have been numerous debates in the subsequent years that have addressed this very issue, including black pioneers of Rock N’ Roll (Chuck Berry) and Roackabilly who are completely absconded because of Elvis’ iconic status. He was decent in the terms of the quality of singer he was, but the genesis of Rock N’ Roll doesn’t lie with him as popular history conveniently forgets.

      • sup says:

        ummmmmm what part of my comment seemed like an elvis fandom to you? seriously go read it again. i was saying that people who like elvis and anastasia aren’t being accused of racism, so why should the fans of adele? way to misread and reply on a comment.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      Say what?

      You can love any artist that want, but the history’s there. I really don’t sense that he’s suggesting we hook up Adele and Anita to some wires and let ‘the science’ analyse notes and timbre, he’s just drawing an example. Whether one agrees with it or not, there is still a lot of widespread disgruntlement about the fame and iconic status bestowed upon singers who sounded black (through appropriation) but were definitely lily-white: all the the credit and amenities, none of the unglamourous grunt work of the actual invention.

      Across the board with a lot of different types of popular music, there have been cases of a genre being stuck in the ‘dance music’ ghetto until a more ‘mainstream’ artist makes a breakthrough (some would say–and especially in the case of say, rap and hip-hop–on the backs of black invention) and the gates open up for more diversity.

      If you want to consult a topic that still has bite and raises the ire of some audiences, Elvis will probably be the first name listed by those who would write up a ‘great musical disenfranchisers in history’, and if you listen to Public Enemy’s ‘Fight The Power’, Chuck D. does not mince words.

      Anyone who dared to contest the ‘Oh yeah, and then one day some kid with with middle name spelled incorrectly invented rock and roll all by himself, and you’re welcome’ story would find himself out of a career. Alan Freed lost his job on American Bandstand by acknowledging where some of this new music was getting its inspiration by letting blacks appear on the show and dance together. The only reason Dick Clark got the job as Freed’s replacement was because he promised not to let that happen again. Pat Boone devoted a career to covering and diluting songs by black artists and re-imagining them into more ‘acceptable’ aural confections. And this type of thing went on for decades (ask Rick Astley) or whatever-his-face who did ‘One Night In Bangkok…if you really think that’s important to your day. Those who have a mind to argue it, maintain that it continues today, but in a far less crippling and aggressive way. I do believe that time is healing this wound, since the real crime these days isn’t in promoting innovation or a WASP-y fantasy (though it doesn’t hurt), is being unattractive, these days.

      One may not agree with the Adele case, but as far as the history of this genre goes, he hasn’t done anything more egregious than pay attention. I like her (though I’m kind of burnt out on her right now) and he does too, and it’s clear (to me at least) that this isn’t an attack piece on her. I don’t think swiping at the slowdown of her output is entirely fair, Kate Bush has put two albums in the last 20 years, and while I know he’s pretty esotheric these days, I believe that Elvis and his cronies The Led Beatle Stones are getting some limited attention and they’re even older and less prolific, nowadays.

      At any rate, you need to listen to more Ron Sexsmith. That guy is totally alive and working–today!

      • sup says:

        People… what wrong chord have I struck with you by mentioning Elvis? Do I even sound like an Elvis fan? I’m neutral toward him, and I’m not even American. That alone is probably why I can’t wrap my mind around why you are all reacting so much to the little examples I’ve given. All I said was “Elvis and Anastasia fans aren’t accused of being racist, so why should the fans of Adele be deemed as such?” Keep in mind that Adele is also British, and like the late Amy Winehouse, admired the soul-bluesy culture from afar. Just like there are acclaimed Jazz musicians in Poland, even though Jazz didn’t originate from there. We really cannot blame Adele or Amy and say they are racist, and we can’t accuse the fans as such. I haven’t listened to many of the names you mentioned, I have heard of Anita Baker but I have yet to listen to her, even though I’m probably well-listened, I’m fom a European country. And I’m not the biggest fan of the music, but I like Adele for recording her history so deeply and genuinely. That was the only point I was trying to make. I don’t even care for Elvis, for the little amount of knowledge I have of him, he owes part of his fame to his era, and a producer who dreamt of “A white kid with a black voice” but that is all. To call all Elvis fans racist because of this, would be a little far-fetched in my humble opinion. Then again I don’t live in your country so maybe it isn’t, what do I know.

    • It is ME!! says:

      Black voice, white person= Dusty Springfield.

      One may also argue that this applies to Tom Jones as well.

    • sup says:

      I regret having replied to this thread at all. I only meant to say that you can’t accuse Adele fans of being racist and that her voice wasn’t the only reason why she’s liked imho. People really put words in my mouth and all I said was severely misunderstood for reasons that remain mysterious to me. I am not racist at all, in fact I am not a northern european or even american. I’m guessing this is a sensitive issue over there because people reacted to my comment with a bunch of names I have never heard of in my life (and I used to consider myself well-rounded in regards to music). And could you please kindly direct me to where in my post I claimed that Elvis was the “king of rock n’ roll?” I don’t care for the hype and I wasn’t even defending Elvis, considering I was never his greatest fan. Oh well. With that I will take my leave because I fear I have been mistaken for some person of an extremely different point of view than I really am.

    • ViktoryGin says:

      No accusations were intentionally issued.

      I’ll concede that I jumped on you rather quickly.

      Because you aren’t American, you may be a bit removed from the repeated tendency of appropriation of black music in America. You know, we want people who sound like you, but not look like you (i.e. Black).

      What I said in a post down-thread was that this is not an issued of “racism” per se; and that I think that the man was gunning toward the right idea, but missed the point. And calling it racist was reductive.


      He bespeaks a reality that has persisted for a very long time in the States that has its foundations in racial preferences, a debate tangental to racism but not racist in and of itself.

      People don’t call Elvis and Anastasia fans racist, but those that are aware speak about this issue when talking about Elvis, at least. (Anastasia has never been successful enough stateside to enter into the debate.)

  13. the original bellaluna says:

    Hello, Clive, INDEED. *slobberslobberdrool*

    And I will be honest: the first time hubs saw Adele sing he exclaimed “She’s WHITE?!?” (he’d heard but not seen her) and I calmly replied “Yes, she is, and doesn’t she have a beautiful voice?” And that was the end of it.

    Adele sounds like Adele. She doesn’t sound like Aretha or anyone else. (Must be my musically-trained ear.)

  14. wunder says:

    No! Music is very electic nowadays and there is variety.

    It’s stupid to ‘racialize’ music. Either someone likes the sound of some types of music or they dont! It’s really simple.

    I am ‘white’ and I HATE HATE HATE country music. Just can’t stand the sound of it for some unknown reason. . . Does THAT make me a ‘music racist’??????

    OR does it mean that I have more ‘urban musical tastes’ perhaps?

  15. dappadaph says:

    Love Adele and by the way Rihanna is not R&B and they put her there to get sales, she’s POP. R&B singers are like Jill Scott, Ledisi, Chrisette Michelle, and Marcia Ambrosius. These ladies can really sing but you won’t hear them on the Ryan Seacrest Top 20.

  16. TheOriginalVictoria says:

    I love me some country music! OMG, I have such fine memories of being in Clarion, PA at the Loomis, the only black chick among a sea of whites leading the crowd in a rowdy and drunken rendition of “I Love This Bar” and really, you had no choice but to love it. It was the only bar in town.

    I don’t think it’s the consumers that are being racist. What I think is that record labels know that people like Amy, Adele,and Christina (in her day) are speical. They have mass appeal because they are white with “black voices” and they know putting some blue eyes on top of soul sells. This is a formula that is proven time again. Blacks will buy it, whites will buy it, Sri Lankans will buy it lol and it’s ridiculous not to think this does not still go on. It’s the music business and it’s never just about the music. An India.Arie, Anita or Whitney is expected out of black culture, it’s one of our “things”. Who was really expecting something like that from Adele?

    This type of thing was done in the 50s and 60s and sometimes even today (Elvis, Pat Boone, The Osmonds) but I think consumers are much more open now and when they are listening to music it’s not like that for them. Us young generations have a lot more music mobility than some of the previous.

    Anita is not the right comparison. Jasmine Sullivan is a better equal to Adele in terms of vocal ability and lyrical content and Jasmine IMO opinion should be slaying everyone but she is not getting the shine she deserves.

    • scotchy says:

      i absolutely agree with this, and to be honest, i don’t think he meant that people that like adele are racist, i really think he was speaking just about the formula that the record business has been working with is well stereotypical.
      i also agree that its a damn shame no one is going crazy over Jasmine Sullivan. She is really fantastic.

    • MaiGirl says:

      Absolutely THIS. I think people get so squicked out when the “r” word is used that they don’t quite listen to the argument being made, which is a pretty good one. “Blue eyed soul” is a thing because black soul music was historically covered by white artists when race music was a thing. While the concept of race music is over, the preference for white singers with voices suited to R&B is not. I love Adele because she is great, as was Amy W, but some white singers in R&B get faaaar too much credit (although I do agree with someone upthread who talked about how much most modern R&B sucks, because it does). For example, Justin Timberlake is SO overrated. If you take away his production team and the many thousands of hours spent grooming him, he wouldn’t be in any way noteworthy.

    • ViktoryGin says:

      I’m so glad that you understand this.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      Oh, thank God! I thought I was going to be the one voice raging against the pounding surf.

      Sports, ‘urban’ genres of music and comedy. These are black ‘domains’ and part of their ‘cultural arsenal’, so while applauded, the expectation of profiency in those area aren’t considered as out of the ordinary, but business as usual.

      You have to look at it through a different lens, and not think ‘All of these observations are blocking up our togetherness, music transcends race, so lets hold hands.’ I’ll hold your hand, but music trancends race like coffee transcends beans. No one is saying who you’re allowed to like, it’s a meditation and not an inaccurate one. If you get a ‘black’ sound from a ‘white’ face, not only is profit made from the surprise, but it doesn’t seem as aggressive and since everybody just *knows* that white women (or white-adjacent?) are ‘le hottest’ (go consult science, it’ll tell you), that’s more ka-ching in the spank bank. Everybody (else) wins.

      It’s nothing like it used to be, but to flat-out deny that there’s any legitimacy to what he’s saying–even if it runs counters to your personal musical tastes–it’s naive to dismiss them.

  17. emu says:

    I agree it’s not racist to like Adele and gush over white soul singers more than some black, because there aren’t a lot of black soul singers these days that have more a pop-soul feel. If Jennifer Hudson sang Rolling in the Deep, people would be going crazy over her, but she does more R&Bstyle than popsoul. If that makes sense.

  18. renee says:


    • kim says:

      yes. Elvis who appropriated his sound, style, and look from Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and countless other black singers and songwriters most of whom had their music stolen and whitewashed. While I think the comparison to anita baker is a bit off, I think it’s worth pondering, why is it that most white people will dislike a rap song by the original artist, and then when of the white kids on glee do the same song leaving the lyrical and musical content unchanged. Then suddenly it’s like, the best thing ever.

  19. lease says:

    @katy perry and lana del whoever link

    fuck why does katy perry insist on making herself look ugly. Why is hideous the new cool?? Why can’t we try the natural look as a fad? I’d like that. Everyone just be who you are, not some try-hard, fug hair, sequined, neon mess of shit. It looks like cher’s dog vomited all over you.

    • the original bellaluna says:

      You know, my honest-to-God first thought was “Is she auditioning for the Effie Trinket role” in “The Hunger Games?”

      Because that would explain so very much…

  20. dragonlady sakura says:

    Geez. This is literally the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I’m black and I love Adele and play 21 to death on my Ipod. I guess I didn’t know her music was for “certain people” only. Lol.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      Obviously the man’s not talking to you, specifically. One opinion doesn’t make or break his point. But if it’s the stupidest thing you’ve heard, you’ve got more hearing to do.

  21. Lisa says:

    lol, Adele’s sausage fingers with those fake claws on the end. They look funny in the first pic.

  22. skuddles says:

    Oh dear Madonna, there’s just no class in that ass – please put it away.

  23. PyCaramel says:

    Adele’s voice–AVERAGE!!! I seriously don’t understand the hype. Matter of fact, the hype is very annoying for this reason. I know plenty of average everyday ladies (both black AND white) whose voices blow her out the river. S/N I notice this site posts all the crazy, cooky stuff regarding Sinead O’Connor but if you all haven’t read her open letter about Trayvon Martin it’s definitely worth a glace…I realize it may be too controversial to post on this site b/c it’s not fluffy celebrity fodder about who is sleeping with whom, but those interested might like what she had to say.

    • Lisa says:

      Adele’s voice could be great, if she knew how to use it properly. I hope she wised up and got training and therapy after her surgery. She’ll destroy it again if she doesn’t.

    • ViktoryGin says:

      I have to agree, though I am fond of her.

  24. Breanna says:

    Wow, Madonna. There’s something to be said for aging gracefully. She should really give it a try, and put away those cringe inducing outfits — specifically the ones where you can see her 53 behind out the bottom.

  25. ViktoryGin says:

    I’m glad that someone with a sufficiently high profile finally decided to issue a critical statement about this particular phenomenon.

    It’s easy to dismiss his comments as yet another glib exploitation of racism, and it’s not racist in a sense of ostracization and control, but it does have undertones of racism with the way that record label -, industry -, and consumer support of “blue-eyed soul” singers has had an ironic effect of marginizalizing fantastic, and in some cases better singers who happen to be black.

    This probably wouldn’t be an issue if there weren’t precedence. Mainstream (read: White) appropriation of Black music has been a pernicious problem since the advent of ragtime. It has become an uncomfortable but repetitive trend that has those of us in know very paranoidly aware of this tendency to “steal” black music.

    I do not blame the artists at all, because they are just musicians attempting to express themselves, partaking of the genres and styles of music that speak to them and that they happen to have a flair for no matter the color of their skin.

    The record exectives and market firms are the nuts and bolts that control dissemination and distribution. They know that someone who looks like Adele is going to be able to tap more markets than someone who looks like Janelle Monae. This is the unfortunate reality. This only exists because of consumer predispositions and social psychology that continues to dictate (or at least influence) standards of physical appearance. This is not racist in and of itself, but it has its roots in white ethnocentric-standards and preferences.

    It’s more than unfortunate. For those of us who have a respect for history, this is dangerous. This is how history gets re-written in front of our eyes.

    Recall that the MAJORITY of white singers didn’t sound like they do now. Black, basically. 25 years ago there was like one, Tina Marie; and her success was firmly entrenched in the black community. There aren’t too many whites who know her music. Fast forward to the present day, and they’re all over the place. The next generation will probably think that this is how whites have historically sounded because those are the types of faces that they will be accustomed to seeing as purveyors of this type of music. Then in 50 years we will hear about Amy Winehouse and Adele, but I wonder if we’ll hear about Jill Scott or Erykah Badu or Ledisi.

    The marginalization of blacks from black music is real, people.

    Food for Thought.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      A very nourishing and depressing meal. Danged when the truth gets caught in your throat.

    • lrm says:

      Well, yes,, there’s marginalization in terms of marketing and exposure, but that does not mean ‘white’ singers’ never did anything similar to blues, and that black singers are the only people on the planet who have musical talent. If you go back thousands of years, you will hear similarities between tribal cultures, and we can try to trace that to africa, or india, or wherever, but the bottom line is that, contrary to stereotypes [that whites usually cannot sing as well, or play drums as well, that all blacks are musical, etc], you will find that there were talented musical forces in every clan, tribe, society, etc. Some more so than others….

      Also, i dont think adele sounds anything like anita baker, and i saw anita live-she was one of my faves in the late 80′s….

      I personally find Adele a combo of stevie nicks and janis joplin. I also think Adele oversings and is overrated, BUT, she writes her own lyrics which have some depth, AND she can actually sing, which makes her an anomoly among today’s pop stars, incuding rhianna, perry, beyonce, kesha, etc.

      Adele is the only true talent right now in terms of vocals, among female pop singers, even though i hardly enjoy listening to her-she gives me a headache with that tone and her over singing. Even ten years ago, we had some mediocre singers,, but many more actual talents, and yes,, some of them were-gasp-white.

      Sarah Mclachlan can sing; jewel can sing. Sarah’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but her celtic/gaelic influence is undeniable.

      And also, ‘dancing without using arms’ was what the celts did to avoid being seen dancing by the anglo brittish forces-when passing by, the feet could not be seen, so traditiona dances could be maintained.

      That sounds like other colonial stories, doesn’t it?

      Lastly, while you could say stevie nicks had a style like certain black singers, it does not negate that she has her own individual sound, that she has created. I’m just saying there are examples all over of people sampling sound and style, and not just whites appropriating black music. But there are also folks creating their own individual sound regardless of skin color!!!!

      Just b/c a white singer is talented, does not mean they appropriated their sound from black music.

      We are all products of history.

      And yes, in terms of ‘commerical success’ and historical record, there is absolute bias.

      But that is not why musicians create, right? True musicians create to express and share, and it does not matter how many people know their music or how much money they make or how far down the road ppl know of them. Fame is not the same as success,a nd external definitions of success are the major flaw in the human ego. [just my opinion, of course]. Far too complicated to discuss on a blog, this whole topic, that is.

      Anyway, I love erykah badu, have seen her live more than once, and I personally will remember her in years to come. And, I had never heard a Winehouse song until she died, when I decided to google one b/c of all the coverage. So, I’m not sure she will be known in 50 yrs, nor will Adele,IMHO. [and sorry, but jill scott? great singers are not always recognized; it's a fact of ife. Not everyone is 'super famous',famous people are not all talented, and not all talented people are famous.

      But, most people will know beyonce or rhianna, even more than katy perry and possibly more than madonna [people have short memories], though all people will remember m ichael jackson. So how does this fit into your ‘racial theory’ of historical rememberance?

      People remember charisma combined with good marketing, and with today’s media, that’s constant
      ps-I am white, and I have regularly thought to myself, that Adele would not be getting this much coverage if she were black, so I agree with the general premise, for sure. For me, Adele did not appropriate like Elvis; she is from a different time and place/generation; she grew up hearing influences-again, is say stevie nicks and janis joplin. But every singer of every color has influences that can be heard; most are just poor copies b/c there are so few talents.

      Van Morrison acknowledges that he grew up listening to american blues, but you can certainly hear his celtic background, and his talent is his own-few are the muisicans/artists who can be influience but create from their own personal vision and inspiriation, their own voice.

      Also, when I lived in africa, i found even public transit drivers wanting copies of kenny rogers/american country music-they loved it! Even though south africa is where you find the birth of country sound as we know it [it's uncanny], people don’t care-they just enjoy listening to the music, in the moment! They could care less if it’s some white middle aged dude in texas, or wherever. It’s so interesting!

      • TheOriginalVictoria says:

        If we’re going to have a serious discussion about the music and race then we need to be honest about some things.

        Because life originated in Africa, it makes sense that there are tribes through out the world hat have sounds that sound similar and yet distinct, so no one is discounting the fact that whites aren’t clueless about music but we are specifically speaking about black American music and its roots and how that HAS been misappropriated and basically swaggerjacked without getting the MAJOR credit it deserves which is what Jo and Vicktory are speaking about and I assume this Stephen fellow in a very basic way.

        It’s very interesting you mentioned Stevie and Janis in comparison to Adele when they themselves have admitted to being influenced, especially Janis, by black music. When I think about Bette Midler’s Rose which was Joplinesque I hear the voices of jazz and blues singers of the past. It’s there in Stevie’s voice too. That sound was not going to come from straight up Celtic southern influence. It just wasn’t and I’m saying this as someone who also has Celtic roots.

        And even in Celtic music who shares a pretty special relationship with the Moors who were the original North Africans you can hear the similarities of them their drumming, dancing, and music. I’m just saying. It is what it is.

        I don’t think we’re saying music isn’t a shared thing that is built upon as time goes by from musicians of every color, creed, and culture, but specifically that some Euro cultures, which pretty much swaggerjacked everything from everyone else to begin with, and in particular Ango-American people of power DON’T give proper credit. Marian Annderson didn’t try to act like black folk invented opera. She liked that genre and that’s what she did beautifully but she wasn’t claiming it has the original idea of blacks. We have contributed so much not just musically, but in all areas of interest in this world, let alone country, but we have to fight to be recognized for those contributions or it’s downplayed.

        Just look at VV Brown a beautiful and way better singer than Adele. Yeah, true musicians aren’t in it for the fame but there but I think there is something seriously wrong when VV or Jasmine get no love or push from the industry. Musicians want to share their music with as many people as possible and the industry purposefully highlights some over other whether deserving or not.

      • ViktoryGin says:

        Duly noted, but it is not the substance of musical talent that is up for debate here.

        What I am specifically referring to are the musical sonorites and rhythmic patterning that are indigenously African-American. Talent supercedes these things, but cultural upbringing and exposure does not. Yes there are various tribes around the world that have their own unique way of conceptualizing music and have contributed to the music-making practice; but black music, arguably the central driving force in commercial American music in the 20th century, has its origins in the American south. Theoretically speaking. Black American music is a blend of Western European harmony and West African syncopated rhythm and polyrhythms. To use an example that you cited, have you ever asked yourself why it’s assumed and often lampooned that whites “don’t have ‘rhythm’”? They do, it’s just a rhythm whose musical has historically placed emphasis the downbeat. West African music does the opposite, which is why until about a couple of decades average whites who were not muscians often had issue with this type of rhythmic patterning. The point of this long-winded history lesson is to illustrate the specific sonoric features that give black American music its characteristic sound, rather than proceeding with consensual assumptions. You mentioned India. Their traditional and popular musics are known for their lively rhythmic textures, as well; but how many of them were present in the American South circa 1850 to have had an integral impact on the development of music in America? I’ll hazard to say few to none. Yes, there are just as many different musical styles as cultures, but it was really only a handful that ultimately contributed to the musical foundations that have led to jazz, rock n’ roll, etc….

        I agree with you in that the measure of musician isn’t fame and exposure, but assuredly record execs and other expoloiters for gain profits don’t concern themselves with such ideals when there is money to be made. Their chief value is money, not artistic integrity. What I’m attempting to illuminate are the machinations, whether strategic or not, that are at work in manipulating perceptions; because truth means very little if you can perpetuate something that people passively accept as reality.

  26. Bopa says:

    That’s a loaded question. To answer it one has to assume that all Adele fans think the same way and have the same view points. I didn’t read the blog link but I’ll assume he’s speaking on an Elvis effect. Do I think it’s easier for people in general to accept someone that is familiar to them I’d say yes. Can I say that every white Adele fan avoids black singers and gravitates to Adele and other white singers…no.

  27. ZenB!tch says:

    I don’t like either Adele or Anita Baker’s music (to mellow for me) but I think both are lovely attractive women.

  28. KLO says:

    I very much disagree with this very negative thought pattern. For example, when I was a kid (a white, european kid), I used to be a huge Mariah Carey fan. She’s part black, yes, but she looks white. And her singing is what brought me closer to black music and made me love it and introduced me to styles of music I never would have been introduced to otherwise. So it’s a two way deal in my opinion.

  29. It is ME!! says:

    “Whether one agrees with it or not, there is still a lot of widespread disgruntlement about the fame and iconic status bestowed upon singers who sounded black (through appropriation) but were definitely lily-white: all the the credit and amenities, none of the unglamourous grunt work of the actual invention.”

    I understand (and agree) that credit was not given where credit was due in terms of the invention of rock and roll (i.e. taking what was a black art form and co-opting it for white audiences, therefore making it more acceptable). But we can take what you said and apply it (somewhat) to classical music, can’t we? Are we to begrudge Jessye Norman and Marian Anderson fans because they are listening to black women sing what some people call “white” music, invented (?) by white people (I am thinking of their opera performances, specifically. I am sure both of those women have performed spirituals of African-American origin at some point in their careers)? Or can we just accept that music, regardless of origin, made by talented people, regardless of race, crosses all racial and social barriers. Give credit where it is due, acknowledge that the creators of certain art forms are often hidden in the background because of societal racism, but to call fans of an artist racist because the artist is not the “norm” of who usually performs that type of music is just stupid.

    P.S. Who knows? Maybe all those “racist” Adele fans will look to see who Adele got her inspiration from and become new fans of old school R&B acts like Anita Baker. They could just be using their love of Adele to open the door to other, less mainstream acts.

    Sorry for the novel.

  30. Lucy says:

    I don’t think his arguement is that Adele fans are racist at all in anyway for liking her music. Maybe just being a little oblivious to the fact that it is STYLIZED to sound a certain way.

    It’s about the genre itself not the artist or the fans in any disrepectful way. If we want to live in a post racial society (as we claim to do; including when Pres. Obama was elected) than we can’t dismiss these points and should be brave about exploring them.


    Some posters have made great points.

  31. Coucou says:

    This is so freaking ridiculous. There are crimes being perpetrated on humanity by people of all color…the media uses some to stir us up yet keep us separated…all murders are injust and painful…but i refuse to be manipulated by the freaking media into thinking that it’s a racial problem, rather than a problem with humanity. The older i get, the less hope i have in humanity. If only the jagoff journalists would report more love and positivity…but that’s too boring…and i guess it’s not what the public is clamoring for…i like Anita, and i like Adele, but i don’t own either of their albums. Why do i have to own Adele’s album when i hear it nearly everywhere i go. Curious to see what her next one will sound like.

  32. Ash says:

    This is so true. If a black woman released music similar to hers, but they would be labeled as “boring” or their music just won’t sell. People get OVERLY excited when a white person sings black-influenced music. If Adele was black, she wouldn’t be as successful. It’s a shame!

  33. Madpoe says:

    Hmm… Maybe Madge shorts are too tight and they’re having that I’ll effect on her bum? But then my eyes saw her knees * sigh* love how they erased other peeps mgs so so M could write on that F B wall too.

    I love Anita and Adele, I liked Lisa Stansfield bk in the day too. Why do things have to continue with color and less on talent and moving songwriting?