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Protecting My Music

I am incredibly frustrated.

I would appreciate it if people stopped judging and laughing at the music I listen to. As many of the Pinterest-y quotes would say, I should just ignore them, their opinions don’t matter, blah blah blah. In reality, I can’t simply ignore every single thing someone says that puts me in a down mood. With music, I don’t just feel down—I get silently defensive and angry.

I have music notes tattooed on my skin because, not to sound dramatic, music has played a very important part in my existence. The lyrics are always relatable to either what I’m experiencing at the moment or who I want to become. Sometimes I simply like a song because it makes me want to dance, which frees my mind and temporarily relieves my shoulders of some weight.

Yeah, my relationship with music is intense.

Whenever people try to get to know me, the topic of music comes up. As much as I love music and want to live my life with a radio continuously playing in my brain, I dread the conversations about what music I listen to. I never feel comfortable talking about my preferences or history with music, like not knowing anything by Prince except “Purple Rain.” I know an easy way to make friends is to find an artist you both obsess over, but there aren’t many people, if any, who like the artists I like.

For example, I’m going to a half•alive concert next month, and I’m geeked. However, I haven’t told a soul about it verbally (there was a brief Snapchat post) because I know no one who listens to half•alive nor that specific genre of music.

Unfortunately, I let the conversations about music hold a lot of power. The second I feel judged for my interests, I don’t feel comfortable with that person.

People are very quick to say I listen to “white music” because I don’t like Usher or Drake or Chris Brown or Beyonce. They say my music is “white” because I like artists who are white, the same way I like artists who share my Black skin color and artists who don’t have the same native language as me. Instead of listening to the aforementioned artists, I listen to Jaden and Raye and 80purppp and Snoh Aalegra.

This is the kind of conversation I tried to have in my podcast episode titled “music & the racial division,” but I don’t know how well that went.

Since I’m in a new place and the conversation of music of has consistently come up recently, I figured I would semi-try again. Though the music I listen to doesn’t match the stereotype or doesn’t match what other people my age/race/gender listen to, I love it. I care about it. I will protect it.

I cherish the moments where I can talk about an artist or group I like without sounds of disgust being made. As for the moments where the judgement is made obvious, my silence is me holding my tongue to avoid intensely showing negative emotion/defense.

I love what I listen to, and that is what’s most important.

2 Responses

  1. Hey Jamilah, I definitely understand being judged or looked at weirdly for the music I liked. It definitely hurts to hear things like that instead of different music interests being embraced and celebrated.

    I listened to “Still feel” by half•alive and it was pretty fun. The choreography in the music video kind of reminded me of OK Go without the treadmills lol. Going to browse some of their recent songs.

    I hope you have fun at the concert next month. Keep on rocking – Erin ❤😀

    1. This has truly made my day!! It’s always validating knowing you’re not alone, but it’s also unfortunate when differences aren’t celebrated, as you said.

      Now that you’ve mentioned it, half•alive definitely have an OK Go sound. “Still feel” is their most popular song, but the song I’ve currently had on repeat is “High Up.”

      I truly, truly appreciate it. You are a fantastic woman!! 💕

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