Today is the fifth day of Black History Month. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few days of this month, you’d see that I’ve been featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles that I think can guide you towards understanding the Black experience.
Through the month — and throughout the year, I hope that you’ll come to understand and appreciate the following:
- Black culture is American culture
- Black music is American music.
- Black history is American history.
- America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop.
- Black art matters.
- You can’t love black art and black artists without loving black people.
- Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.
When Living Colour exploded into the scene with “Cult of Personality,” it was a mind-blowing revelation. I loved Metallica, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Tears for Fears and stuff like that as much as I loved Kid ‘N’ Play, Heavy D, Michael Jackson, Motown and everything else. As a boy, I knew I couldn’t be Metallica, Tears for Fears or any other white act — for obvious reasons. But with Living Colour’s original lineup, which featured brothers, who grew up and lived in the area, induing a guy from my dad’s old neighborhood — Hollis! — I could see myself in them. I could be those brothers, playing like that, if I wanted to. Much like Run DMC and LL Cool J, the members of Living Colour were gods in my eyes. (My first band shirt was a Living Colour t-shirt that I religiously wore until I grew out of it.)
In my book, Living Colour has long been criminally underrated. Corey Glover has one of the greatest voices in rock. Vernon Reid is a fucking beast. And no sounded like them. They should have been like Soundgarden. But such is life.
True story, I briefly met Vernon Reid and Corey Glover after a show at Brooklyn Bowl. They were kind, generous and hilarious. But I never got to thank them for what they meant for me. So thank you, brothers. Thank you.