I remember how us black folks used to say “(s)he sound black!” when we were introduced to a Caucasian singer with a soulful voice. We never realized how absolutely ignorant that was to say but in some of our defense, it was only natural for us to react in such a way because we were pleasantly surprised that a non-black person could belt notes so soulful and with so much feeling.
According to Wikipedia, Rhythm & Blues (R&B) is a genre of popular African-American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African-Americans, at a time when “urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat” was becoming more popular.

 

 

 

Today, R&B’s popularity has reached its’ highest peak with the help by some of today’s biggest entertainers, and guess what….NONE of them are black. I think it’s safe to say that R&B is no longer a “black thing”. In fact, our talented white entertainers are proving that soul has no color.

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I  want to dedicate this post to the late great Teena Marie. I was a kid when I discovered that she was white when my mother brought home her classic album Robbery. I was truly amazed because her music exudes a passionate soul that I thought only a black woman could vocalize. Her singing skills were impeccable, to say the least. I loved how her African-American fans embraced her & “adopted” her as their blue-eyed sister of soul. Since my discovery of Teena, I hold on to that memory when I’m introduced to a Caucasian R&B singer. At this day in age, when urban culture is becoming widely popular & accepted, the development of R&B singers goes far & beyond the kid from the projects now. The love of urban culture & the birth of R&B singers are also developed in predominantly white neighborhoods.

 

 

How do you feel about white artists labeled as R&B singers?

Author, radio host, social activist, and Georgetown University professor, Michael Eric Dyson, visited ‘The Breakfast Club‘ and as always, broke it down about today’s societal issues. From Bill Cosby to Stacey Dash, Dyson spoke his mind, as well as discuss his new book, ‘The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America’.

Press play to check what he had to say about it all!