On SZA, Ferguson, and the New Black

Categories: Essay

sza_tumblr.jpg
Screenshot of SZA's Tumblr comment

In her final comment, a Tumblr post, she backtracked, but stumbled, conceding that the situation in Ferguson was "absolutely" racial but asking her critics to stop seeing race: "Stop trying to make us different for the sake of frustration. I mentioned earlier that I've been saddened by ALL spectrums of hate and death be it black on black or white on black my mother raised me to believe ALL lives are valuable... I'm aware some of you will find a way to turn this into something negative as well. So be it."

See also: Exclusive Premiere: Stream and Download SZA's New EP S

Elsewhere in social media land, artists Jhene Aiko and Childish Gambino were also getting branded as New Blacks for their opinions on Ferguson. Aiko urged protesters to "pray for your enemy" while Gambino wrote a strange Twitter poem dismissing hashtag activism. Of course, The situation in Ferguson has, for the better, prompted many black artists to speak out - John Legend has been especially outspoken via his own Twitter while rapper J. Cole recently traveled down to Ferguson to join in the protests.

What's most interesting about these artist-fan exchanges is how passionately and vehemently fans react to artists who apparently fall in line with a kind of "we-all-bleed-red" or "I-don't-see-color" post-racial ideology that derails conversations about racism rather than contributing to them.

In a way, it's as if they feel lied to when an artist is conceived of as one "kind of black" -- conscious, deep, political -- and disappoints by seeming to be the opposite. In most of these cases, though, it's the myth of authenticity, the very myth that there can be any kind of right "blackness," that causes the confusion. Should SZA have anticipated the backlash and online hate she received for sharing her feelings on the tragedy? Probably. But the question also remains: should the fans have been all that surprised?

Sorry, But Kanye Is the GOAT
The 50 Most NYC Albums Ever
NYC's Top 10 Rising Female-Fronted Bands




Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
20 comments
Josie Smith
Josie Smith

class welfare? more like class freeloaders. get a damn job...geez.

Danixa Carr
Danixa Carr

She and those who disagree with her are right. Yes, color played a HUGE part but here is the kicker: once they feel like they are finished with Black people, everyone else is fair game. The elites have for so long, successfully divided America based on a fictional concept called race. It distracts us from the large issue called class warfare. Ultimately, she is entitled to her opinion.

wheniwashome
wheniwashome

@zblay disappointment. Not everyone should speak on everything. As they say, shutting up and staying in your lane is absolutely free.

wheniwashome
wheniwashome

@zblay Hopefully this will be a wake up call for people to stop asking their faves to speak on nuanced issues. Or at least be prepared for +

wheniwashome
wheniwashome

@zblay I maintain the person shouldn't have called the girl a bitch but "sing-sighing on the track ass bitch" is a hilarious diss.

Cynthia Lee
Cynthia Lee

"Don't Shoot Me Down" by Chayah Shawab This song was inspired by the recent and consistent acts of injustice and police brutality towards our people. May the brothers and sisters of Ferguson keep their heads up, stay in prayer, and operate wisely in these times. Rest in peace to all the lives lost as victims to police brutality. Mike Brown, Eric Gardner, Sean Bell and the list goes on...#WeNeedASaviour May this song be a blessing to those who listen... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzIMFuzdLL0

Now Trending

New York Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...