Where Is the Love in R&B Music?

Sometimes you still find a gem on CNN. John Blake in this article asks this straight question: ″Where is the love in R&B music?″

A simple answer is nowhere because there is no love or hope in many African American communities, which are more isolated after desegregation. I’m not going to summarize it pretending to be a wise man. I just recommend it.

However, I can’t help but quote the following.

It was a time when, as a friend of mine said, “Being black was the bidness!” We celebrated our kinky hair and dark skin and greeted each other as “brother” and “sister” without any sense of irony. Everybody seemed to have a copy of Jet or Ebony magazine on their coffee tables; a man would have been slapped if he called a black woman a bitch.

Then it all seemed to evaporate. Crack cocaine decimated black communities in the 1980s. The blue-collar jobs that gave many black families a foothold in the middle class began to disappear. Desegregation split the black community. Those with money and education moved to the suburbs. The ones left behind became more isolated.

Today, we have a black first family, but our own families are collapsing. A 2009 study from the Institute for American Values and the National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting at Hampton University in Virginia highlights the erosion.

The study found that while 70.3% of all black adults were married in 1970, that rate dropped to 39.6% by 2008. The study also showed that while 37.6% of black births were to unmarried parents in 1970, that figure soared to 71.6% by 2008.

Our music became as grim as those statistics. Singing about love now seems outdated.

Blake, who is an African American, was enlightened partly by listening to R&B music when it was full of love and hope. Earth Wind & Fire’s songs helped him gain his self-confidence when he almost lost it after his first year of college buying into the idea that being smart is a ″white thing.″ Well, the music only could not save him or anyone. He writes, ″I was proud to belong to a people who could create such exquisite, hopeful and exuberant music. Maybe, I thought, I could create something worthwhile myself one day.″ He graduated with honors.

Love can change a person, people and society positively. He explores the old and current R&B music industry looking for the love.

Where is the love?

If you want to know one answer, read this article.