“You got some n**** ears,” Nikki, (Kerry Washington) teases as she thumbs through her friend, Richard’s iPod. Confused, Richard (Chris Rock) replies, “N**** what?”
“Some old a** n**** ears . . .” Nikki continues, “You know, white people make music, too.”
This is one of my favorite scenes from I Think I Love my Wife. It is funny and the dialogue is very witty, but it stands out among other scenes to me because it makes me question how diverse my music interests are. At some point in most Black/African Americans’ lives, there has or will come a time when someone accuses them of only listening to Black artists and/or they confront someone else of doing it. I once went to a frat party with friends. When “Gives you Hell” by the All-American Rejects played over the speaker, one of my friends exclaimed, “I want to hear some Black music, not this White stuff.” Then, we left instead of waiting for the next song. I understand that there is a lot of genres of music and most people do not listen to all of them. There is a difference between not listening to a certain genre because it is not appealing and not listening to certain artist because friends and family have ridiculed me for liking white artists. Even a stranger once gave me the side eye for singing along to “Love Story” by Taylor Swift in public.
Others would make me feel as if something was wrong with me for wanting to listen to artists who were not black. I thought that it made me less of an African American, as if I were betraying my culture. It took years for me to realize that everyone did not feel the way that my family and friends did. The mentality that they displayed through their judgment was a commonality in my hometown, a very small town in the southwest of Mississippi where the majority of the population is black and old ideas are still taught. There is not much room for expansion of ideas and new perspectives, so people are not very accepting or open-minded.
Being at Emory University and meeting people from many different cultures, I know that there is nothing wrong with having diverse interests in music. I encourage everyone, myself included, to shuffle up his or her playlist choice, and listen to stations on Pandora that they would normally avoid. For example, sometimes, instead of listening to my Beyoncé station, I will pick a random artist that I have never heard of and listen to his or her station. I think music is an important part of culture and to try and understand another culture, you have to make an attempt to learn about every aspect of the lifestyle. After understanding this, I am able to listen to artists from all backgrounds without being insecure about my identity as an African American.
Markeisha Pollard, Staff Writer