Soul music birthed in the lungs of our ancestors in cotton fields and Southern churches has carried Black Americans as a people through tragedy and triumph.
While our black musical soldiers have used their voices to inspire movements from We Shall Overcome in the 60s to Janelle Monae‘s modern day anthem The Hell You Talmbout, there have also been other cultures who have adapted this sound with heart, or in some cases, for profit.
With the explosion of Adele‘s most recent record topping hit, Hello, we collectively root for her and are drawn to the singer because she reminds us of something raw, familiar, and native within us. Hello made history when it became the first song to reach 1 million digital downloads in one week.
But what about the black voices with the same quality tone who share our roots? Why aren’t they catapulted to worldwide success and notoriety?
Why do black voices remain niche and urban, while Adele, Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, Sam Smith etc hit the global stage with fervor?
While we will never dismiss the talent and ferocity of those voices, their fame begs the question, are black voices in white bodies more profitable?
We know it is silly to say that one race of people owns a particular sound, but we cannot dismiss the black historical origins of R&B, gospel, and hip hop.
At first, we attributed the disparity to charisma and star power. Justin Timberlake’s showmanship was something we had never seen in his vocal black counterparts in the early 2000s, like Tank, deliver.
But with this new wave of soul singers, subdued powerhouse singer Sam Smith and vulnerable Adele give the fans just the voice, and it has never limited their success.
Perhaps the record labels are to blame, or maybe its a lack of power behind their PR teams. Regardless, there seems to be a monopoly on who profits from the soulful sound, and it often cannot be attributed to a black artist.
What do you beauties think? Is the world more apt to accept a particular voice if it’s coming from a certain race?
Sound off below.