How White Artists Abuse Urban Culture

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    Justin Christina Timberlake TheLavaLizard
    Justin Bieber, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake.

    Throughout the years, white artists have abused Urban culture for their own personal gain. Seeking to increase their record sales, access broader markets and keep up with industry trends, these individuals conveniently adopt the styles of their peers without a true appreciation of the music.

    However, this exploitation of Urban culture is far from a new phenomenon. White artists have imitated their Hip-Hop, R&B, Soul and Rock & Roll counterparts for decades; blatantly cloning their music, performance styles and even fashion so that they could achieve greater success.

    For instance, Elvis Presley was often accused of imitating Little Richard and James Brown as he established himself as the supposed King of Rock & Roll. In fact, that particular genre of music was developed primarily by African-American artists, such as Ike Turner and Fats Domino, yet quickly became dominated by white acts.

    How did those white acts of the 1950s and 1960s easily rise to the forefront of Rock & Roll? Quite simply, they were white. That obvious fact afforded them the label resources and support to nab media promotion that their black contemporaries did not receive.

    Imagine yourself sitting on your carpeted living room floor while watching your black and white television in the 1950s. Don’t you think that if you constantly saw Presley or another random white artist being introduced with the tagline “the King fo Rock & Roll” on your screen then you would easily believe it? That is the power of media propaganda and at that time, only popular white performers were given that level of promotion.

    Of course, that does not mean that the white artists were the only people who got the opportunity to perform on television. Really, Ike & Tina Turner were incredibly successful in the 1960s and 1970s but their impact was easily dwarfed when compared to that of Presley.

    This Urban culture whitewash persisted throughout the last 60 years and expanded into various other genres of music. I doubt anybody has forgotten Snow’s ridiculous take on Reggae with ‘Informer’ in which he tried his best to imitate a Jamaican accent.

    Additionally, despite her current haughty speech and platinum blonde hair, Christina Aguilera was also an abuser of Urban culture. Flashback to 2002 when she was promoting her ‘Stripped’ album and she cleverly pierced her nose, layered her hair with weave, partied with Lil Kim and suddenly learned how to speak in ebonics. Aguilera even visited BET’s ‘106 & Park’ where she proudly boasted about her Latina roots and her love of Hip-Hop.

    “…being Latina does not equate to being from the hood so why did Christina Aguilera suddenly become a representative of the streets?”

    Yes, Aguilera never denied that her father was born in Ecuador (her mother is white) and she even released a Spanish album, ‘Mi Reflejo’, in 2000, but it seems that she only remembers her heritage when it is convenient. Also, being Latina does not equate to being from the hood so why did Aguilera suddenly become a representative of the streets? It was the ‘in’ thing for her do at that time.

    Now, before you defend Aguilera and write hateful comments about my island being washed away by a tsunami, ask yourselves this: why did she stop speaking in ebonics? That’s right, she moved on to another album campaign and the bad cabaret music of ‘Back to Basics’ didn’t include any references to the bitches and hos from Harlem. So, Aguilera dumped her Urban persona and started speaking similar to Madonna (post-Sean Penn).

    Other artists who regularly imitate Urban culture are Justin Bieber and Justin Timberlake. The latter’s request to work with R. Kelly was publicly rejected because of his clear exploitation of R&B music:

    “I [R. Kelly] refuse to write hits for someone who uses and abuses this thing called R&B music just to gain respect and acceptance from their opposite counterpart. I refuse to write hits for someone with the name of Justin Timberlake .”

    Furthermore, let’s not forget about Beiber’s confirmation that he is only pulling from Hip-Hop so that he could sell records to an older crowd. Meanwhile, people are overlooking these comments and writing heated letters to Mary J. Blige about her Burger King chicken wraps commercial.

    The key point about this incredibly long article is that many white artists simply do not have a real understanding and appreciation of Hip-Hop, R&B or Soul. Instead, unlike Adele, Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone and others who actually study these artforms, they simply emulate their peers when the time is right.

    Yet, that is the nature of popular culture; it is defined by shifting trends and themes. Indeed, many Urban artists are currently prancing on the Dance/Pop bandwagon and utilising Dubstep production styles just to score a hit so who are we to blame the white artists for doing the reverse?

    Watch the latest episode of Trini Trent TV to hear more about this topic:

    Thoughts?

    • Jess

      Great article Trent. This is the 100% truth!

    • Katie

      Amazing article again Trent! Tbh I’ve never really thought about this subject and it’s only after you pointed it out in your video I realised how many artists are doing this. I have so much more respect for artists who aren’t just interested in whatever is hot in the minute. Also can’t wait until this dance trend is over. Some talented artists are just wasting themselves on it.

    • I liked this article, you could have even went further and mentioned people like Pat Boone who merely existed to cover rock and roll songs to take the ‘sex’ out of them for the White audiences back in the Bandstand days. But the kids used to buy the Pat Boone records just to hide the Little Richard version inside of it. Fact is people all over the world appropriate Black Culture-Paul Mooney said ‘The black man is the most imitated man all over the world, everyone wants to be a nigga but nobody wants to be a nigger’.

      No truer words have been spoken. Great article and I loved the video when I watched it yday too.

    • This article has some valid points but IMO it relies to much on bashing white artists for doing anything “urban/R&B”…
      Yes it was black people that brought the genre’s into existance but it doesn’t mean that they should be the only ones allowed to work within them.
      You say Xtina only uses her Latina heritage when it suits her? Any time she’s asked she talks about it what is she meant to do walk around with a sign above her head? Also how was “B2B” full of bad cabaret music??? SMH…
      Bieber i can understand, he is a shameless clone but i can’t even blame that on him since he was moulded by Usher (a black man). I don’t see you writing articles on how Beyonce or Kelly Rowland are ripping off white people for doing pop/dance.

    • larry
    • Don’t bring JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE into this! THATS MY BOO!

    • Ci’Yonce

      Yes I agree on everything that has been said. Artists such as Teena Marie and Elton John knew and respected the urban culture in music. Adele is right along with them. Speaking of Adele I’ve been playing her music nonstop and she truly knows her music. The music industry is to blame too for this corny shit where to as black artists are struggling to get their music out there. I don’t know if anyone who has heard of Elle Varner but I hope she becomes another fresh/new talented artist who gets recognition. She’s dope as hell, she should get hers. Trent made valid points that were true because Justin Bieber as an artist is corny. I see what people in general are talking about. But what sickens me is that black people are kissing his ass and turn around an put down on their own artists. The Breakfast Club for instance, those fools are the worst trying to sugar coat the fact that this kid is just doing the urban music just to sell records and not taking the initiative to understand and study the culture of it. But it shows how fucked up the music industry has been through the years. Great article Trent!!=)

    • Steven

      This article alarmed me for several different reasons. Music fans across the world especially via legendary artists such as Michael Jackson, are taught that music transcends borders/divides and knows no bounds, so why in this present day are we still labeling music as “black” and “white”? Has it ever occurred to people that maybe the “white” artists named in this article are fans of the genre and want to release music for the audience whom they feel they gravitate towards? Do you have to be black to appeal to a black audience? No! If we’re going to be 100% factual about this topic then here we go. Pop music is called pop because it is popular. Surely if artists wanted to continue to sell records in volumes they would stick to releasing pop music instead of switching genres? If you look at recent sales with the exception of rap albums, sales of R&B/Urban albums have declined and it’s not because of “white” artists jacking the genre, it’s because of the emergence of dance music, iTunes single sales and the increasing popularity of illegal file sharing. In regards to Elvis Presley – Elvis released his first album in 1956, a good 6 years before Ike Turner released his debut album. How can you possibly say that Elvis abused and popularized an already present “black” rock and roll genre when he released 8-9 compilations before Ike even released his debut? In fact, if you look at the chart positions of Elvis’ releases after 1962 (when Ike Turner launched his career) then you’ll discover that his albums had limited chart success during that period, the complete opposite of what you’ve stated about “white” artists using “black” influences to increase their sales.

    • Bri

      @ThatBoyLuke

      He’s not bashing white artists who take on urban sounds. If that was the case he’d be bashing Adele, Amy Winehouse, and Eminem. But in those cases, it’s obvious that urban music is near and dear to the hearts of those people. They grew up loving it. But in the cases of the people exemplified, they do abuse urban culture. Christina’s entire Stripped look was a total farce. She got a tan, she started using ebonics, she had these weird mechanisms that she would do. And the same goes for Timberlake and Bieber. It comes off as extremely insincere.
      Also, in the case of black artists ripping off white artists by doing pop/dance music, that’s also false. The dance sound was inspired disco and house music which was also a creation of black people.

    • Naudisweet

      I completely agree with this article. Although I love Aguilera, the Stripped persona was dropped as soon as the era ended. Timberlake is the perfect example of someone who only did Urban music because it was the in thing to do. I admit that I was fooled until the whole Nipplegate disaster where he completely abandoned Janet to save his own skin. You gotta respect R Kelly’s stance of not selling out for the mighty dollar.

    • crissle

      @Steven Ike debuted with Tina in the 1960s but he was making records with his band since the 1940s. I think Trent did a Music Minute about that before or something.

      I agree with Trent on this article. I do love me some JT though

    • Malachi

      This has brought light to specific things that I didn’t notice as a teenager. This has got to be one of your ground breaking articles!!

    • Luis

      Won’t be supporting this blog anymore after this story.

    • DOMOdotSCORE

      @ That Boy Luke, Trent is not saying that white artists cannot do anything urban/R&B. He’s saying that artists only do it for one album/era only to make money then going back to their original style during the next era are abusing the culture for monetary gain. For instance, as Trent said, Amy Winehouse’s entire catalouge was soul music. She studied the music thoroughly and sang it wholeheartedly . Justin Bieber is trying to capitalize off of urban culture because urban culture is hot, so to speak, right now, not because he thoroughly enjoys and understands it. That’s the difference. Justin doing pop for his whole career then doing one urban song or album is abuse of the culture. And Trent did briefly mention at the end of the article about R&B artists jumping ship. I’m sure if he is asked, he will write an in-depth article about that also.

      Trent, great article. I feel that this is well said. And of course, as you mentioned, it goes both ways and now black artists are now essentially abusing the dance/pop/dubstep culture.

    • ok

      Firstly Justin Timberlake grew up listening to soul records and was raised in Memphis

      Secondly Justin Bieber does not make decisions himself,he is signed to a black mans label so if anything blame Usher and the people who manage him for supposedly exploiting hip hop culture

      Thirdly the most successful of Bieber’s records was a pop record so what sense would it be him for to draw from hip hop for bigger sales? especially as dance and country sell more than hip hop,wouldn’t it make more sense for him to draw from those genres for increased sales?

      Fourthly R kelly happily wrote records for Celine Dion,Britney spears and Frankie j,two of those can be accused of borrowing from urban culture without having having a proper understanding of it,could it be that R kelly saw Timberlake as a threat to his position on the charts?

      Lastly Pharrell and Timberland are responsible for some of the better r’n’b records of the last twenty years and were happy to work with Timberlake

    • Kenblazed

      The BIGGEST abuser : Kid Rock! hip hopster turned country?

    • O_O

      I have been saying this and refusing to support the offending artists for several years. It does not stop at urban culture its the gay dollar/Pound/Euro/Yen……etc. and Obama is not immune to it. The likes of Aubrey “Auberella” O’Day, Christina, even Adele 1st came out talking bout “she only dated black me” which is bull. Kim Ktrash and many more will attach themselves to all things black because they know how easily impressed we are by anyone who’ll go so far as to learn our “lingo” and be down for the brown. Its so sad that we don’t see through it because the second they make the mainstream the image (and partners) will and must change to appeal to the masses.

      The people who really do embrace the culture are the ones who don’t run around wearing it as a badge. The ones doing work in Haiti, N.O and Africa without making it a publicity stunt.

    • Suchalady

      I agree with you 100% hun but to be fair, the same can be said for black artists who sing rock or country. In addition, there are some Caucasian artists who simply prefer our music and can we really blame them?

    • Girrrl

      Yaaas Trent! I was fanning and yelling like a church mother while reading this article.

      I think some people are misunderstanding the article. There are artists who appreciate and love making R&B music who happen to be white such as Jon B, Robin Thicke, Jojo, etc and then there are others who just sing it for “hood appeal” ie Beiber, Timberlake, etc. It’s such a shame that these artists who “abuse” the culture have so much success while artists such as Robin Thicke, Jon B, Omarion, Lloyd, Melanie Fiona, etc don’t get a sliver of that success.

    • olly_tei

      Its Unique and honest article but I do think it’s critically flawed when looking at more recent examples.

      Firstly, Justin Timberlake should have been left out the list, his entire solo career has been steeped in RnB/Pop/funk and he continued writing and producing music of the genre for Ciara and Rihanna after his last album release. Further more his music nurtured by Pharell and Timbaland, 2 pioneers, who he clearly has a good working relationship with, so I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss his grasp of the genre. A quote from R kelly does not amount to an argument.

      You underestimate the movement of pop culture as a whole, obviously the artist within it are going to steer in the same direction. Fashion trends change throughout era’s and artist are obviously effected by this just as the general public are. Remember how Alicia keys entered the game with corn rolls and that tough demeanor and now she presents herself more maturely, the same arc can be seen in Justin Timberlake and Beyonce. So what is it about JT that equates to an abuse of urban culture? Closing the point, watch almost ant artist on 106 on the park and then on a “white” show and watch their behaviour change. It doesn’t matter if they are black or white, they adapt to their target audience. Its sometimes subtle and unintentional (Emeli Sande).

      “Seeking to increase their record sales, access broader markets and keep up with industry trends” This pretty much sums up the problem with this article. Were you not the same blogger who said RnB artist need to expand the genre, thus accessing broader markets. Every time you review a new single do you not judge its potential for success on radio/charts? All artist strive to remain relevant. Justin Bieber is simply following your philosophy on how an artist should evolve, whilst obviously being careful not to alienate his native fan base. There’s nothing criminal about that, plus I don’t think anyone doubts his admiration for RnB/Hip Hop.

      As many have mentioned, the same “abuse” can be seen with Black artist moving into dance- euro pop, a genre pioneered by “white” DJs/producers in europe. Rihanna, Beyonce, Chris Brown, Usher and many more all “pulled” from this genre and there’s nothing wrong with it.

    • m2derr

      @olly_tei umm, and when did you hear a euro-pop Beyoncé song? *blank stare*

    • BeyBoy

      @olly_tei you completely missed the point of what Trent said.

      Trent, please do a video on this. Some people are clearly too stupid to grasp simple words.

    • …I just don’t want to hear or see Justin Bieber growling the word “swagg” on tv or radio anymore. I don’t care what genre they sing in.

    • angela

      What do you want Aguilera do, salsa dance down the street? My goodness.

      Danielle
      Timberlake is by far the biggest perpetrator regarding this subject matter. He may be your ‘boo’ but he is an opportunist and quite manipulative.

    • V

      I enjoy Justin Timberlake’s voice and music but i don’t quite think people understand how illegitimate his “urban” appeal is by the number of defenders he has on here. Justin started going urban with NSYNC towards the end of their run. The Girlfriend video is a clear example, especially the remix with Nelly. I remember Nsync was even making appearances on 106 and park and they had neverr tried to make any black connections like that before,they were strictly pop. As JT morphed into a solo artist, he shaved his hair into a real low fade like a black man, made more appearances on BET, went on the Soul Train Awards and what not. He and his team chose to seek out urban producers like the Neptunes and Timbaland for a more hip hop edge so he could be accepted by black folks. But tell me right after he caught all that flack for Nipplegate when he let Janet out there to take the heat alone, black people saw his true ways and he left all that “urban” ishh behind him. After that black ppl felt a certain type of way about him and for his second album he didn’t try to be as urban. He danced less, went for a more scruff look, dropped the tan and wasn’t all up on Vibe magazine, BET or the Soul Train Awards like before.

    • Kevin

      you give yourself too much. This article is long when considering BLOG length articles. if you want to consider yourself a journalist, don’t outright mention that your articles are “incredibly long.”

    • V

      For all those saying black artist venturing into dance music is the same, that’s incorrect. Dance music (starting with disco and the other forms that morphed later) was an “underground” scene that existed

    • V

      Initially in the gay community that was predominately in black and Latino clubs. So no, dance music isn’t being usurped by black artists from white artists, it’s not that simple. Neither was rock, as Trent explained in his video. Sorry about the 2posts, it was an accident.

    • mmmerrr

      I read the article, I read the comments…
      i agree with @Steven who said that music is an art form that brings people together, not a division amongst green, blue, black, white or who knows.
      I want to tell @olly_tei that house / dance music originated from Chicago Illinois again from.. black djs… don’t be fooled. It reached Europe several years later and then they started making the so called euro pop.

      Here is my take:
      bottom line, Trent wouldn’t have to come to these conclusions if the music industry throughout history had shown fairness to black people who are indeed the true originators of most music genres, including rock and dance/ house…. ad fashion to that .
      We start, white people want to participate, we let them, they kick us out… how.. because they control the most powerful medias and the resources, so many times.. if a white artist can do something like a black artist, he is a shooting star straight to fame, but when you are black, you have to do soooo much more. Before civil rights.. white people would just rip off song written by black artist and perform them on tv…
      Black people are music and sun beings so the argument that we bring music to this planet has to stop here…. there is no denying.

      … it’s not that people are racist but really, who ever here is arguing that its only by pure talent that some people are on top.. and not because of color struck, self hating, racists and blind music execs… are hypocrites and liars.
      on another end.. black people are just as responsible because they are so full of shit and self hate that they push things in that direction.

      All jokes aside…I have nothing against any artist doing their thing.

      #noracism #justwhatis.

    • x

      Stripped wasn’t just Hip-Hop, it was a collection of different genres. Also, Aguilera has always stated that she listened to a lot of soul music when she was younger, and most of the artists she lists as inspirations are Black. Were Black people the only ones who pierced their noses and wore weave back then? I’ve never seen an interview where she spoke ebonics either.

      Aguilera has always made Pop music with strong R&B influences since her debut. Even Bionic has that formula in songs like Prima Donna, and Sex For Breakfast.

      And what makes her speech nowadays “haughty”? She never outright claims that she’s better than anyone. You’ve been watching too much G2BR.

    • Michelle

      Like you stated in the article, with the amount of black artists making electro-pop records JUST for the sake of getting a hit (and not because they actually love the genre), I think it would be highly hypocritical to tell white people that they’re “abusing” the Urban culture because they want to branch off and try different things.

      Justin Timberlake, for example, grew up in Memphis, in the Baptist church where his grandfather was over the choir. He listened to Gospel, Folk and Country growing up. If anything, that bubblegum Pop music he made in *NSYNC wasn’t the “real” him. But people automatically assume it is because he’s white. And I do think some of his actions, especially while promoting the “Justified” record, were questionable, it’s not easy getting a new crowd to accept you. And I think he transitioned well. But like others have said, he didn’t try so hard with “FutureSex/LoveSounds,” and he ended up getting his biggest R&B hit from that album, “Until the End of Time.”

    • CWHITE

      Just because R&B & Soul was found by Black people doesnt mean they are the only ones who can make it, Justin Timberlake made better R&B music than genuine R&B artists, theres no need to take things so seriously any artist can draw inspiration from anywhere, its called experimenting with sound. Many Black R&B artists are doing Dance/pop now, why not talk about how they are stealing from white culture without understanding?

    • ML

      True…Elvis, Madonna (who I like), Vanilla Ice/Snow, Britney (who I like), New Kids on the block, Justin timberlake (who I tolerate), Justin Bieber and Xtina during her dirrty days all took from urban culture…some more than others. It’s entertainment so it all is a wash in the end.

    • Sorry but for me music has no race or boundaries no matter who invented any specific genre. I listen to pop, urban, R&B, Hip-Hop, alternative, rock, classical, opera, J-Pop, K-Pop etc and i don’t sit here like some little bitch clutching my pearls any time somebody from a different race gets involves in a different genre.
      Does that mean no black people should be allowed to pick up a violin or play the piano whithout abusing white peoples musical legacy???
      Be real… 99% of ALL singers are in it for the money at some point in their career and like you’ve said on numerous occasions R&B/Urban at this point is not in the big league sales wise so why would anybody involved in those genre’s be doing it to push up sales???
      I’ve never heard Christina talk in ebonics, and she’s been saying since she was a child that her favourite singers were people like Etta James and Mariah Carey so it’s not like she’s been jumping on the bandwagon.
      There are people like Amy, Joss and Adele who have respect for the HISTORY of the genre and have soul and then there are people like Justin Bieber who’ve grown up listening to that genre and just want to imitate it for the fame or adulation but lets not forget the black men like Usher etc who signed and moulded Bieber and are also raking in tons of money from him.

    • olly_tei

      Maybe i came across too negative, I understand exactly what Trent is saying. It’s just his criticism is so damning, yet there are double standards. He ties it so strongly to race, when its simply the way in which the industry operates, for everyone. Look at I Am Sasha Fierce , look at Kings of Leon and their last 2 albums, both a sonic and visual movent towards a more “pop” inspired image. However looking at the antics of Christina during “Stripped” or Justin in “Justified”, he’s correct in pointing out their forced personas.

      @V the dance/house music popularised in europe is not the same as your reference, It may have derived from it but its ultimately a different beast. Europop, borrows from electronica but again its considered its own genre, this is the nature of music, new sounds are always built upon something which came before it. Just as rock is not the same as rock and roll. Also your analysis of justin is confused, the music of N-sync was clearly pushed by the record label, read about his childhood and listen to Future sex love sounds, he draws inspiration from prince/janet and blends it with Timberlands work. during Justified they made a forced effort to penetrate the urban market, but the music was genuine. Its seems everyone took nipple gate far too personally. For his last tour his band were 90% black an this is the era he supposedly turned his back on urban music (until the end of time!).

      @m2derr
      Sweet dreams, Radio

    • Denise

      This is a horrible article! Maybe you should actually research Christina Aguilera a little more. She sure as heck didn’t grow up in white suburbia! She has ALWAYS talked about her latin roots.

    • mmmmerr

      @olly_tei Well everything is derived from .. someone who started it. So don’t go around spreading the idea that euro pop or whatever that is is a genre that was just started out of the blue by some creative minds in Europe when you know where it came from that’s all..no matter how the form evolved today, you should be respectful of that fact. This is exactly why people get pissed off because white people “borrow”a lot then flood the media which gives the impression that they are the only one doing it. #wrong
      I guarantee you that it is possible that 30 years from now, some ignorant kids somewhere might believe that white people started hip hop, thankfully there are not many successful white rapers but if there was…forget it. And if yo want to know good electronic music… and please don’t take Guetta as a reference… again… you are only seeing the popular white face of diluted electronic music and you say “yes//white people created this” #misguided
      Take the music, be inspired but just give credit where credit is due. that’s all.

      PS: There are sooo many other artists out there.. why is everyone stuck in 2004? I don’t know. Peace

    • Xtinafan

      Christina Aguilera always gives credit to all the legends that inspired her and came before her.

      She continues to give credit to Etta James, Whitney Houston, etc all the time, even in her records.

      Christina looked and talked the way she did back in 2002 because she was 21 years old at the time and that’s what she liked to do at the time, that’s how she wanted to express herself.

      People are constantly influenced and inspired by different things all the time and they change with time and they evolve. What is the problem?

      The first person that invented hip hop or soul etc was not a white or asian or etc person. Should anyone that doesn’t have a lot of melanin pigmentation be banned from liking or being influenced by urban culture because of this?

      As for Christina’s Ecuadorian blood… she does NOT ignore it. She keeps singing in Spanish, even in her English albums. Check out her “JUST BE FREE” album full of demos she did when she was only 15 years old. There is a Spanish song in there. Check out “Stripped”, “Bionic”, there is Spanish used in every one of those albums. RECENT albums, not just the old “Mi Reflejo”. Go listen to “La Casa De Mi Padre” a song Christina recorded for the new 2012 movie with the same name.

      Christina is and will always be proud of her heritage. EVERY YEAR, Christina keeps saying she wants to make another Spanish album so it will eventually happen.

      I don’t care about that little newbie Justina Bibirerrettte or those other clowns, they could be abusing cultures or not. I don’t know, it’s none of my business, those untalented trolls will flop at some point anyway, nobody needs to worry about them.

    • stophating

      Speaking of your precious Adele, she herself has been very inspired by Christina’s “Stripped”.

      Do you hate Adele now? Because I mean surely, Adele and Christina don’t really like soul music, they are only pretending of course.

      When Christina says she used to listen to soul music to help her cope with the domestic violence at home, as a little girl, she was lying. How dare Christina sing soul or R&B. Someone should send her to jail.

      Rolling my eyes.

    • Reese

      Does anyone have any thoughts on Pink and her first solo albums and her albums since…?

    • what

      Some people like hip hop some people like country.
      Some people have beige skin others have brown or taupe or purple skin even, depending on the type of dermatological thing they have going on.
      Some people have brown or blue or green eyes or hair.
      Some people like apples while some others prefer broccoli.
      Some people cut their nails every day, other cut them once every 2 months.
      Some people have one ethnicity while others have many mixtures of different things.
      Some people have one accent from a specific place or city while others have a customized accent.
      There are 7 billion people on this planet, we are all extremely unique and different and all have our own epic uniqueness and our own reasons for being or doing what we do.
      Can everybody STFU already now and stop complaining about who should sing what and how and when.

    • I disagree about Christina. Back to basics was her best era. Her urban move.. you’re right. About JT, since he left N’sync he’s being doing r&b consistently. Nelly Furtado is also very urban friendly but I don’t think they fake. MADONNA FAKES when working with Kanye and Pharell and Timbaland. Now, that’s a good example of what you say here. I’d say the need to become Hood-esque is more for pop men to avoid the “cheese gay” label of pop music (Bieber) and for pop women in need of being relevant (Madonna).

    • The racial thing is over. I mean, saying white ppl can’t rap is like saying there can’t be no black players in death metal bands.

    • Ni

      Trent is correct… this is a very touchy article/subject and valid points have been made by numerous individuals. I am glad we are all able to discuss us. I really admire artist like Teena Marie, Annie Lennox and Halls & Oates because they have always embrace, live and breathe R&B/Soul not because it was convenient or hip.

    • Theman

      This article contains some good points, but alot off it is off bases. There are many that would/could argue with your very own comments. But about Christina and Justin, both of them had admitted to being influenced by r&b artist and the genre itself. They both still mention this. I think that Christina’s nose piercing thing was moreor lss about her branching out from her labels image of what she was supposed to be and look like. Since when is getting a piercing mean that you are trying to be black? Thats ignorant trent, you should know better. Furhermore, Justin Bieber has mentioned on numerous ocassions that Mariah & Boys ll Men are acts that have inspired him. Who are you to say what he has/has not studied. You are making alot of baseless statements. It could easily be argued that Justin throwing some hiphop influence into the mix is just another form od him trying to expand his audence. Now, the clothing thing is a little forced. But he probably likes hiphop/r&b as much as he does pop music. He has always noted that Usher is someone that inspired him.

      Music is not a white or black thing. It’s universal. The bigger picture is that more blac artists should get more credit for music that they naturally do, versus caucasions getting so much success off of so called “black music”. I totally get that. But some artists just have a certain style of music that they prefer.

      Moreover, Justin’s music was/is still r&b/hip-hop influenced. Even after the Janet thing r&b stations were playing his songs, and “My Love” with T.i. was of ther&b/hiphop genre in itself. Certain artists just go with the flow. It just all depends. Mixing genre’s is just another form of broadening your audiences. You said that r&b audiences should expand their sund, so why can’t othrs that appreciate a certain genre. When you are new to certain things, you do what you gotta do until you know better. That may perhaps be or have been Bieber’s case.

    • Theman

      Excuse the minor errors.

    • Kim

      I agree 100%! Especially Justin Timberlake! He is a phony! I notice it early on that he was using us black people to get what he wanted. But as soon as that Janet Jackson nipple slip happened he was out! He left her out there by herself to dry! He used to be talking about how he loves black women “Halle Berry” and how sexy they are. Bull****! He back to his white roots now with his white girlfriend, hanging with his white friends.

    • Girrrl

      I was looking at some Xtina videos from the stripped era. That tanned skin/ boriqua look was a bit overkill. However, B2B was amazing (the 1st cd).

    • JULZ

      TRUUUTH!

    • wtf

      Can everyone shut up and listen to the music instead of criticizing. Don’t lazy to reason with people. \

    • Rishard

      U either LOVE and Are Obssesed with Christina Aguilera…… Or u never had the Dream came true of meeting her…. Cause the only thing u do here is talking about her… GOD… Get a life!!!!!

    • Che

      I agree with everything EXCEPT Justin being added. Justin is the reason Nysnc did “Girlfriend” and “Gone” which had a more urban feel.

    • LegallySane

      I agree on some levels..Some people are naturally urban, and some people force themselves to be something they aren’t…Just like people accused Whitney of acting too white when she release IWDWS…This article is a bit ignorant…So everybody who does urban has to be black and ghetto?…Vice versa everybody who does POP has be white and smuck?

      You’re a big Mariah fan…Mariah (as you already know) is multi-racial..She’s black, Irish and Venezuelan..Mariah has done both Pop and R&B, but she’s hardly ever embraced her Latin culture and who says she has to just because she is of Latin descent?…

      And honestly, it’s funny how you talk about “white” (pop) artist trying to convert, but you forget to mention there are plenty of “black” urban artist who converted..

      TLC, Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, MARIAH CAREY, WHITNEY HOUSTON, MICHAEL JACKSON, Beyonce, Kelly Rowland, Usher, Chris Brown, etc…so are they trying to be white bc it’s a fact they want to appeal to a wider audience?

    • jane

      This is an excellent post! Black or Urban acts are responsbile for 99% of the musical genres that exist. Rock n’ Roll was started by Chuck Berry. He was moving his hips long before Elvis but white folks were not going to allow their daughters to witness a black man performing in such a manner so they invented Elvis! Black folks orginated Azz which later became known as Jazz! Same goes for Blues and so on.

      The media propaganda that forces Justin Bieber down our throats is simply sickening! I have no problem with him just being an music act, but to have him forced up on us as the NEW KING of POP and the hire to Michael Jackson’s throne is ridiculous. It also pains me to watch the lengths they go to, to abuse Black artists (see Chris Brown) to make sure they will never know their full potential in the music industry. They did something I had never seen before and that was to remove Chris Brown’s music for radio play and videos from video rotation all because of a teenage altercation. Adult men in film, music, TV, and the theater have been beating down women for years and I have never seen such treatment of them, EVER!

      They said Justin Bieber will be the NEW KING of POP & he may also be declared the NEW KING of R&B/HIP HOP if Black folks dont put a stop to it. As much as I like Adele, she is in no way shape or form the new voice of Soul Music as she has been declared by the media! The raping and robbing of the Urban Culture to sell music has been around for a long time. The real problem is that this time Black folks should know better and not be affraid to address thie issue via media, as this is nothing new!

    • charmedbionic

      Racist. Whites and Blacks are both racists. Whatever. Just let them do their thing.

    • Tara

      Woo I did NOT know you were so threatend by Christina so much. You neglect to mention why Mariah put on a “hip hop” chick for specific eras and not “all the time” I guess you can say it’s convenient for her too. Get over yourself, Back To Basics is better than any Mariah album in the last 10 years.

    • Ni

      Wow @Jane…. your post was probably one of the best and realest ever. You’ve hit it on the nail. It’s so sad that people don’t see how mainstream is trying to slowly but surely dictate who and what we listen to.

    • Nica

      yeah, they are as black as billionare rappers.

    • marcelo.

      The color of your skin should not determine what kind of music you can sing. Sing whatever you want as long as you feel comfortable. And I will appreciate it if you’ll do a good job. And at least to me, Christina Aguilera did. “Can’t hold us down” is a really nice song.

    • Trent, this article is why I f’s with you. I’ve been saying this for years and I love the fact that you are from the Caribbean and know so much about American music and culture in true detail. Justin T. is incredibly talented, but after I saw how he dipped into urban culture and how that thing played out with Janet… Then a minute later, he’s trying to speak all proper and be the great American boy next door… Hold on, son.. Weren’t you just rocking cornrows and trying to speak ebonics. And it goes even deeper than that. Great article.

    • Man fuck all yall’s shit! You guys fuckin dumb… Yeah Bieber, ain’t that great, but FUCK R.KELLY! He sucks soo much. Last time he had a hit was “I Believe I can fly”. That song sucks so much… When I pretent to be a faggot that’s the song I sing… Justin Timberlake is a SMART artist. He’s always loved Urban. In fact, the dude ain’t even urban. He’s pop. He has an urban producer, difference. What about Eminem? Nobody complains about him. Bieber is the only one who is doing for attention, but who cares, he wants sales. People like this give up their lives, they are satisfying the audience. Don’t make up shit like this. All yall can fuck yourselves. Tell me the next time you go platinum. R. Kelly don’t got any good music. At least these white artist don’t piss on girls… Color don’t matter, its what they like! Dumb fucks… burn in hell.

    • P.S. Go fuck yourself Trent.

    • olly_tei

      @jane

      What about Nicki Minaj being forced down your throat, what about Rihanna being forced down your throat? Its simple marketing, justin bieber is marketable as is the above.

      Your Chris Brown analogy is just ridiculous, you call it a “teenage altercation”, I call it abuse. But his talent is undeniable and people are willing to forgive, hence why he is back in the charts.

      In earlier era’s they were adamant to purge black people of all talent and credit, but this was before equal rights, this was before they joined the rank of “consumer”. Now everyone is faire game, its about whether your marketable and who you are marketable to. Naturally black/white acts are going to be an easier sell to their respective demographics.

    • Jasmine

      How the fuck we get from the topic of the article to Chris Brown and Rihanna? What do they have to do with anything…anyways I agree to a certain extent with this article. You forgot to mention Chuck Berry when talking about Elvis. Chuck Berry is considered by most (ie: John Lennon, Keith Richards, Allman Brothers, etc) as the founding father of rock n roll music. Elvis came along and imitated such men as Chuck, James Brown, and Little Richard was made out to be this rock god. As far as Justin Timberlake, I don’t think he was abusing urban culture for his own good. Justified was a good mix of pop and r&b. FSLS was a bit more on the urban side but I don’t believe that he was doing it to gain success. After all he was the lead in a very successful

    • Jasmine

      How the fuck we get from the topic of the article to Chris Brown and Rihanna? What do they have to do with anything…anyways I agree to a certain extent with this article. You forgot to mention Chuck Berry when talking about Elvis. Chuck Berry is considered by most (ie: John Lennon, Keith Richards, Allman Brothers, etc) as the founding father of rock n roll music. Elvis came along and imitated such men as Chuck, James Brown, and Little Richard was made out to be this rock god. As far as Justin Timberlake, I don’t think he was abusing urban culture for his own good. Justified was a good mix of pop and r&b. FSLS was a bit more on the urban side but I don’t believe that he was doing it to gain success. As for aguilera and biebs, I do believe they did it to gain a bigger audience which only worked for five seconds. CA went back to her pop while biebs turned from this cookie cutter teeny bopper to urban culture that he looks ridiculous and uncomfortable doing. Think about it: Jawan Harris should be more successful. He can sing, dance. But because JB is white he will appeal more to a larger audience and getting him to immulate urban culture while keeping his already 12 year old fan base will be “good marketing”

    • Chesré

      @Jasmine: By saying that Christina “went back to pop” I’m assuming that you didn’t actually LISTEN to her follow-up albums (and collaborations with Nelly, Missy, Diddy, Herbie Hancock, T.I. and Cee Lo) – Stripped was only the beginning, Christina has ALWAYS stated in interviews that Etta James was her all-time favorite singer and that she grew up listening to old-school urban music. She didn’t even listen as much to Whitney because Whitney mostly did pop (ballads). The entire disc 2 of Back to Basics is R&B, soul, gospel, jazz and funk. Bionic (although supposedly futuristic) has a handful of hip hop and REAL R&B tracks amongst many other genres. She’s done every genre you can imagine and never claimed to prefer one in particular. Why do you think she was asked to do a tribute to Whitney at the 1st BET Awards, and a tribute to James Brown, Arethra Franklin and Nina Simone at the Grammys, not to mention being asked to sing at Etta James funeral (why not Beyoncé, who played her in a movie?), it’s not JUST because of her voice, it’s because those are the people and music that inspired her. Upon meeting her, Etta James called her ‘an old sold’, saying it’s like she was born during a different era…

    • Chesré

      This article is SO ignorant and biased, ANYONE agreeing with it does not know the background! I have no qualms with someone disliking an artist because of a specific reason, but to throw around labels and bogus accusations without substantiating is really ridiculous! I never discuss football, for example, with someone because I don’t know how the game works. I don’t talk about anything (especially so boldly), or agree with a statement unless I did my research.

      Christina Aguilera’s done urban music since her first album, right up until her most recent project! I don’t know why she spoke in Ebonics during the Stripped era, I’m assuming it’s because she was young and yes, it WAS cool at the time I suppose, but that has nothing to do with her music. As far as music is concerned she never did the in-thing (intentionally).

      All Justin Timberlake’s solo albums are mostly urban…must be a LONG phase then, because since his departure from his band he’s basically done nothing else.

      Justin Bieber cited Boyz II Men as major influences growing up, as well as a list of hardcore hip hop rappers. All his albums have mostly R&B (and lately hip hop) tracks. And if he’s trying to “emulate his peers” for popularity then why isn’t he jumping on the dance-pop band wagon NOW. That’s what most ‘artists’ are doing…

      What about Nelly Furtado and Gwen Stefani, who started out doing Folk and Rock respectively? Or moving over to the other side: Usher’s ‘calling’ seemed to be R&B…until Euro-dance/Electro-pop sky-rocketed that is. Chris Brown used to be urban, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj etc. Even rappers are crossing over smh. None of the above-mentioned artists, who you label ‘pop’, have even collaborated with David Guetta, but Usher, Chris Brown, Kelly Rowland and Lil Wayne have, but there’s nothing wrong with that right, despite his popularity at the moment.

      At the end of the day I ain’t even mad, in fact It’s good to know that there are artists who’re keeping the genre alive, regardless of their skin color (Beyoncé, Trey Songz, Miguel, Drake, JoJo and yes, Christina and JB), whilst those to whom it rightfully ‘belongs’, are deserting it for (temporary) greener pastures…and that right there, is the irony of this article.

    • PJ

      Again, more bullshit on this site… I see the intention with this article and the intention to educate is on point but your delivery is all wrong. Go research Christina Aguilera and stop with the hate that you have for her because what you do is far beyond criticizing. Timberlake basically talks about how he was raised on black artists so I’d expect him to have a sound like those he’s listened to. Same for Aguilera and do you remember when Madonna had her whole Evita look going for her and she only dated Spanish men and was obessesed with latin culture in her videos and even in some of her music? Christina did the same thing but oh hey, she’s half latina! The black-cent was laid on thick during Stripped era and I said it then and I stand by it now but if you ever hear her actually talk in interviews, it slips in there and it was in there back when she was still promoting her FIRST album. Oh…and where’s Mariah on your list? Again, Christina is only partially white but lands on this list…well Mariah aint all black and she’s definitely played up and down urban culture. And you know, it’s not just Christina that you talk about like a disgruntled fan. If you were to read over all your articles you can clearly see artists who you just cant stand and artists you give a pass just because you like them. STOP turning into Perez Hilton jr because it’s not a good look for you and it just destroys your credibility…that is unless you’re just Trent stan which pretty much makes you no better than all the other insane stans out there.

    • Megan

      Madona is a phony for sure. Remember she did rap when rap was popular? Then she spoke in fake English accent when she was married to an English director, now her American accent is back after she got divorced.

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