MUSIC, LEADERSHIP, CULTURE… and humor (sometimes)

Could I Be a Lead Singer in a Rock Band? and how to fight racism. (Music Monday)

**Remember my iTunes giveaway contest ends a week from today!**

Our world has made great strides in regards to race issues but as you may know, we still have a long ways to go.

I saw a funny youtube post in which the guy mentions jokingly that intermarriage is a good way to combat racism since there’s no clear way to be racist toward a person of mixed heritage.  Pretty funny but I also think there’s something there.  Hmmm… intermarriage, huh?  Makes me think of another word along that same vein: Integration.


I believe that one of the most powerful yet untapped race-uniting forces in the world is the medium of music. 

When I look at the musical landscape in a country like the States, I see a vast ocean of talent (and lucky wannabes with the right connections) who are influencing the next generation with their lyrics and style.

Though there have been exceptions over the years, one really important piece is missing: Integration.


When was the last time you saw a rock band comprised of dudes from different ethnic backgrounds?  You usually have a frontman with really cool hair and edgy tattoos, along with a melancholy bassist, an eccentric electric guitarist, and an easily-excitable drummer . . . all of whom are usually white.

If we were still in the 60s, diversity would be a lot to ask for. But were in 2011 now.

Hip hop?  With the exception of Eminem, this is a genre of music that is dominated by our African American brothers.

Again, I know there are more exceptions but I mention those two genres because they are a couple of my favorites and I want to make a point.

We can’t have ethnic enclaves within music.  Not if we want to move forward.

To my Asian folk, I’m seeing that you’re talented.  Really talented.  But set the bar higher and stop just performing for each other.  Maybe you do this because 1) you’re scared that you won’t make it into the mainstream so 2) you settle into what’s comfortable and 3) never explore the greater world outside.  You are committing musical incest.

I’m proud of Far East Movement for proving to the world that a bunch of Asians can bust out into the music scene.  However, I think there’s a lot more work to be done.  I don’t believe it’s enough to say “See!  We’re awesome too!”  The question is, can you work under diversity and produce something great?  I believe this is the goal for any artist seeking to bring about a greater sense of unity across cultures.

If I were to start a band, I would be intentional about working with a variety of people of different backgrounds. This is different from affirmative action.  This is me believing that I would be able to find the best people for my band outside (but not excluding) my own culture.

Imagine what our world would be like if a few bands with a global following similar to the likes of U2 and Coldplay would rise up, comprised of an Asian lead singer (because this is my dream and I would gladly take this role), a Black bassist, a Hispanic drummer, and a White electric guitarist (or any combination)? Our world would be a different place.

As crazy as it sounds, I believe that we could achieve greater inter-racial harmony through musical representation in this manner.  What if the Beatles were a diverse band of brothers?

Check this video out.  I thought it was really well done and illustrates an aspect of what I’m trying to convey.

As with most things I write about, more on this later.

Am I the only one who thinks this is important?  Or that it’s even possible?


5 responses

  1. annyongbunny10

    I also think that it’s important too. It’s an issue that i’ve always thought about too. What would the world really be like if we just put aside differences and just thought of each other as real brothers and sisters? Without looking at a persons race.

    I think it could be kind of possible if we all could just find the courage to step out of our boxes and just forget about what other people think all of the time.

    It’s kind of different at first, but once you do it a whole new world opens up. ^_^

    April 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm

  2. Great clip… “you aint gotta speak the language if you wanna feel the flow”. As a forever foreigner I’ve struggled with the idea of language and flow. I’ve seen some who can make it happen and some who haven’t. But I guess in music there’s a bigger space where it can work.

    April 18, 2011 at 3:03 pm

  3. I’ve never thought about this in terms of a band…I’ve thought about a group of friends…or even a sports team…maybe cuz I grew up looking at benetton ads…would that multicultural band be manufactured or produced? Or would they naturally be a group of talented friends living in some diverse city?

    And on a different note, what about hootie and the blowfish (: I’m sure there’s groups like this already that are tad more diverse…but just doth get known or big. Maybe YouTube is key

    April 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm

  4. Ashley Wo

    There is Journey and Arnel Pineda 🙂 I suppose I dont pay attention to ethnicities and band members really. I am assuming youbare referring to the US as well. I just never paid attention to if a rock band is all white or not…i just care about the music. I also dont listen to rap or rock unless its classic rock as much as i listen to other music. Will have to pay attention on this in the future. 🙂

    April 18, 2011 at 11:46 pm

  5. Ashley Wo

    Oh and if you are talking about mainstream music, its not a selection of the best or most talented and very few songs and groups are played. Im sure there are a lot more diverse groups out there. Who cares if they are mainstream or not? The best music is not! Thats just my two cents…

    April 18, 2011 at 11:52 pm

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