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December 14, 2005

You don't have to be "down"

I've got a cheap Chardonnay hangover, so I'm a little touchy today.

Last night, at the 3rd of 50 or so holiday parties I'm attending in the next week, I got really annoyed. What is it with this town and holiday parties? I don't think this is normal.

Anyway. Towards the end of the evening, after the extremely earnest folk duo (crunchy guy and super crunchy pregnant gal - natch) stopped butchering classic songs, someone plugged in their iPod for the drunk dancing part of the evening. Everyone knows I can't avoid shaking what my momma gave me to silly pop hits of the 80's and 90's.

But somehow, in the middle of this, I get into the "I'm down" conversation with one of the partygoers. I believe the song playing was Jay Z something. I'm pretty sure I heard a "jigga" in the lyrics. This very nice gal leans over to me and says "I love hip-hop. It really speaks to me. So honest and raw." Now, I didn't know her, and I certainly didn't ask how she felt about hip-hop. So I have to imagine that she mentioned this because I was the only black person left in the room.

I had so many things I wanted to ask her. Like, is it liberal guilt that makes you think you need my approval to like hip-hop? Or do you think it's a shorthand for letting me know you like black people?

The fact that people so far removed from the roots of a music enjoy it, and are touched by it are the point of music, right? A song can speak to you in a way that a conversation never can. So why so uptight?




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