“Everyone deserves music”. – Michael Franti
True, everyone does deserve music. I believe that music could be considered part of “the commons”, as in it is something that cannot be owned by anyone, it’s produced and there for the enjoyment of everyone equally; unfortunately that is not the case. Racism in the music industry is obvious and affecting a lot of colored artists still to this day. It amazes me that although we supposedly live in a more progressive time period and racism isn’t as prevalent as it was forty years ago, it is still alive and well in the music industry.
Let’s talk about the root causes of racism in the music industry for a second. I think it’s safe to assume that “racism” still exists today in all aspects of society; therefore it’s safe to assume that racism in society can be the standard root cause of racism in the music industry. I want to add that gender can also play a large role in racism in the music industry. A female colored artist will get little respect from her white male artist competitors and therefore has a greater struggle making it.
Let’s not forget when Nicki Minaj took to Twitter after the nominations for the 2015 MTV music video awards were announced. She claimed that because she was a colored, female artist that her video was not given the attention that it deserved. She even called out Taylor Swift saying Taylor was getting more attention because of the “type of artist she is” (aka white).
These tweets caused a lot of controversy and uproar in the music industry; but honestly good for Nicki for saying something if she believes she’s being treated unfairly. You can’t make a change unless you say something and bring attention to it.
Here’s a great pod cast by YouTuber “KNOWLEDGESPEAKSTRUTH” talking about some specific times he’s seen racism in the music industry.
He talks in the beginning on where racism stems from in our society. He also talks about meetings he’s been in where they’re trying to decide how to market some artists, and as he’s trying to stand up and defend a particular black artist when a white female co worker who’s been challenging him calls him the “outspoken black man in here”. So the racism isn’t just on how black artists are marketing but the comments made in the meeting rooms by other coworkers as well!
So, Michael Franti is music really “for everyone”? I can say that it’s definitely not “made equally by everyone” or marketed “equally for everyone”. I’d like to still think that music is part of the commons but I guess since we’ve identified some of the root problems we can move on a look towards some root solutions for the future.