Is it really a novelty for a person of African descent to express his or her ideas in the performing arts genres described by many as “classical”?
Only yesterday, someone sent me YouTube links to recordings of baroque music created and performed by Afro-Brazilians. As one might expect, the music featured rhythms that one could easily dance to. The sounds reminded me of the music of Ignatius Sancho – an artist whose music is not widely known in Britain, even though he was the first Black composer to ever have his music published and was a well known public figure in London of the 18th Century.
Pressing the fast forward button (for those with old school inclinations like me), Samuel Coleridge Taylor made an impact as a composer in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries London. Scott Joplin also emerged in the USA. Is it possible that the arrival of mass media tools such as Cinema and Radio played a role in shaping the notion that folks of African descent were not interested or involved in high brow performing arts?
A film maker friend of mine (who is now of blessed memory) was quick to disparage the preoccupation of gangsta rappers with gratuitous violence. On one occasion, I allowed him to speak his mind on this matter and then I asked about the role of Hollywood movies in desensitising many young minds to the pain and loss of life caused by the use of guns and other weapons.
No one needs to be validated by anyone else, to express ideas in whichever genre one chooses.