Music is known to be part of the popular culture which basically reflects cultural and social changes of the society as well as epoch.
Numerous critics allege that there is actually a close linkage between popular type of music and individual identity. Popular music is normally based on pseudo-individuality and standardization which level the self- expression and identity of listeners. Therefore, popular music is highly influenced by accumulation of culture and new societal values formed during the 21st century. The first popular song I heard and connected to while I was young was titled “White America” and it was sung by Marshall Bruce Mathers III popularly known as Eminem. The song was released in 2002 and it was done in an era when the black Americans were known for their prowess in music and Eminem is greatly respected globally as having strongly contributed to modern popular music.
The first time I heard the song was while I had visited my school friends and they happened to have the Eminem’s album called The Eminem Show and that’s when I listened to his song called “White America”. I was a black kid who had gone visiting a white family and the contents of the song touched me to the extent of even shedding tears. I was filled with compassion and empathy for the black Americans who were still undergoing discrimination simply because of their skin color in the country which Eminem sarcastically termed it as “proud to be citizens of this beautiful country of ours”( White America lyrics (n.d.)) I really reflected on how my grandfather used to narrate to me about the slave trade and slavery, and the abolitionists of which he was one of them though he was young but all in all they managed to win the fight against slavery.
The other kids in the house who were majorly whites actually were moved by my connection to the song even though many of them seemed not to know the meaning or rather the theme behind the song. The song held a strong hip-hop musical rhythm with accompaniment of the guitar which tried to distinguish the song to a more popular scheme. In addition, the timbre of the song was appealing as I was able to make out the song’s wordings as well as the sound of instrument from the sound of the rapper. At that specific time, once after listening to the song I felt strong surge in me with respect to my identity and felt that even though some people used to discriminate the black Americans, there were still white Americans who could acknowledge the achievements or rather the struggle done by the Americans towards the attainment of the human rights and freedoms “The women and men who have broke their neck’s for the freedom of speech the United StatesGovernment has sworn to uphold”. Moreover, the song cemented my sense of identity as a black kid in that it demonstrated how the U.S.
was still racist and how some black people were not even accepted in the society as part of the public identity. Nevertheless, the singer points out that by the fact of being an American citizen, we were automatically entitled to equitable handling as other Americans regardless of our skin color. The “White America” song has actually continued to give me identity in that it actually reminds me about how the older generation struggled tirelessly so that we may gain our freedom and identity as American citizens. There have been inconsistencies in our social structure which disclose a vital flaw in the society but the country ought not to forget the sacrifices which were done by our fore-fathers in fighting for our civic rights and therefore with this in mind everyone has to treat the other person with respect as people covered under one nation, United States of America.