As a little girl growing up in Nigeria in the late 90s and early 2000s, I had the privilege of having access to Black music. Although I was raised in a fairly strict household, it was not overly puritan despite the apparent backdrop of religion. This meant that I had the freedom to consume all types of music. Here is the impact that Black music had on me.

My Perception of Black Music

The concept of Black American music to me was synonymously fascinating and intriguing, and before long, I found myself vicariously living through the music videos, swagger, and oomph of Black artists. Duos like Kelly and Nelly in “Dilemma” inspired me to believe that Black love would exist somewhere, someplace in my future. Missy Elliot’s music videos made me confident in the fact that there was a world in which Black women could be creatively liberated and poignantly out-of-the-box in a way that defied traditional social constructs of what my African cultural background had conditioned me to think that women should be. In fact, it was because of Missy Elliot that I dared to even think about pursuing a career in the Arts or creating something that I was passionate about.

 

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The Influence of Black Music

As a young African girl, I knew that the Black American artists that I devotedly watched on Channel 0 and MTV Base were different from me, and I knew they lived in another world very far away from mine, but the concept of America and its geographical confinements eluded me. All I could think about and focus on was the fact that these brilliant artists made music that allowed me to remove myself from my immediate surroundings and dream of another state of being and existence. Their lyrics propelled me to think about the world around me and the implications of who I would become on the inside if I did not deliberately fight for and follow my dreams critically.

Black Music as a Propellant

Black music taught me a lot about fashion, style, and the essence of swag. I do not have an affinity for fine clothing pieces and aesthetically pleasing outfits because it is something that I was born with. I have those traits because I watched Black American music videos so intently that I began to imbibe and glean certain elements of Black culture subconsciously.

Although all those years ago, I did not know the nuances of racism and its effects on Black people, certain music videos and lyrics shed ample light on the complications of life as a Black person in America. If I hadn’t grown up listening to the croonings of Ginuwine, watching and trying to emulate Eve’s lip-curling rapping and Destiny’s Child’s sultry sounds, to name a few.
Without a doubt, Black music changed my perception and completely altered the way I approached the world for the better.

 

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