The Unbearable Whiteness of Singing

When Kanye mounted the stage and took the mic from a shell-shocked Taylor Swift, a nation wept for her embarrassment and heartbreak.

Revenge, best served cold, is Taylor’s.

Five years after Kanye questioned her winning over Queen B, Swift has solidified her name as Pop music’s Queen Dujour, ruling in the kingdom of pop with her princes from One Direction.  No bows down to Beyonce, no calls of hip hop hooray.  Even Pharrell’s ubiquitous “Happy” lost out to Katy Perry.

sad pharrell

Given the list of the AMA’s winners yesterday, I wonder if pop music will continue its trend of decreasing diversity.  Last years biggest records sported a roster of mostly white performers.  Makes sense in a country that is majority white, right?  Well , given the history of music and the massive popularity of hip Hop and rap, the last decade  provided a more diverse cast of artists than recent years.  America itself is increasingly diverse, with nearly 30% of Americans belonging to a minority group.  When it comes to the young ‘uns–kids under 1–over half of them are minorities.  So the future of music looks diverse but…..


If this year’s AMA’s are any indication, this years top selling songsters this year may again check the same box off on the census.  Is the audience shifting, are results skewed by sophomore social media voters, or are the times a-changing? Weigh in below!

Author: Susan X Jane

Susan X Jane is a diversity educator, speaker, and trainer and coach. A former professor and media literacy activist, she now consults with organizations looking to make sense of our current cultural shift. She thinks a lot about media and race…a lot...and writes and speaks about media…and race... and encourages everyone she meets to think about the way our identity shapes our experiences, ideas, and beliefs about the world. If you're reading this, she wants you to think about it too. Want to talk about it? Let's go.

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