Rarely did I see a Black face — on campus, that is.
Due to my meager financial status, I lived in the 19th Ward, the part of the city with the lowest rent, which meant living alongside Rochester’s mostly Black population.
But those were two isolated occurrences in nearly seven years of living in predominantly Black neighborhoods.
Mostly I saw people living their lives: going to restaurants, frequenting bars, hanging out on porches with their families and friends, and saying Hello to each other on the streets.
Ultimately, the Black music I’ve chosen resonates with me. That is not to say that Black music is uplifting, or insistent, or angry, or driving. But the reason I listen to the artists and genres I do is because of the sound, the message, and these four traits, each of which speaks to me on a personal, if not Black, level.
Thankfully, I grew and matured when I went to college — more specifically, when I moved to Rochester, N. I went to the University of Rochester, an expensive “new Ivy” league school mainly populated by rich kids.
I began to realize that white culture wasn’t the At the same time, my musical tastes began to evolve and grow.
Instead of the steady diet of pop that I was raised on, and the alt-rock that I began to imbibe as a teen, I delved into indie, Americana, singer/songwriters, and, of course, hip-hop and rap.
Whenever I get excited about an album, it’s because it falls within one of these genres, because some of my artists of choice have made something new, or because my friends on Twitter are exclaiming about a song or mixtape. Although, I think Eminem’s work is tremendous, and I appreciate Macklemore’s intentions, if not necessarily his talent.
Lily Allen’s work is fun and feminist, but ultimately not my taste, and I’m strictly against Iggy Azalea because I find her music boring and her insistence on appropriating Black culture to be repugnant (don’t worry — I’ll get to appropriation later). I love the uplift and insistence and anger and drive.