Would you class all music as being honest, sincere and believable. That it is genuine, and thus acceptable? What makes a piece of music authentic can include many different factors, depending on how you feel about it. Who wrote the song and was it written for another artist? Which instruments have been used? Are they just doing it for the money? We today are in a space, in which popular culture has become so huge and so throw away that some people now are struggling to believe how it could be a valid form of music, “the always-blurry line between ‘real’ music and plastic chart-fodder has slowly evaporated. Turns out it’s all just flippin’ entertainment.” (Sharp-Paul, E. 2013.) This could raise questions such as the difference between entertainment and music as art, and in response, at an International Arts Movement lecture were some words spoken by Makoto Fujimura which outline an important contrast: “Entertainment gives you a predictable pleasure. Art… leads to transformation. It awakens you, rather than just satisfying a craving.” (Hsu, C. 2015.)
In these situations it is usually down to personal experience for the listener in what makes a song authentic for them. Which can differ depending on geography, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality or social class. A very good example of this in recent years is the pressing issue of cultural appropriation in music, specifically with Iggy Azalea. Pop artist Halsey revealed in an interview with The Guardian, what she and a lot of other people were thinking after Iggy’s rise and fall, “she had a complete disregard for black culture. Fucking moron. I watched her career dissolve and it fascinated me.” (Robinson, P. 2017.) The main source of the problem came from the fact she was a white woman from Australia, rapping with an altered voice which appropriated the southern black women in North America. Azalea went on to win ‘Top Rap Artist’ at the Billboard music awards. Iggy’s foe Azealia Banks, a female black rapper from New York, “the message I get when I see these awards being given out is just a cultural smudging. All it says to white kids is, ‘oh you’re great, you’re amazing. You can do whatever you put your mind to’, and what it says to black kids is, ‘you don’t have shit, you don’t own shit. Not even the shit you created for yourself.’ ” (Darden, E. and Banks, A. 2014.) These comments will make you realise some things, if you hadn’t already done so before hand.
Appropriation of culture in music has gone on for a long time, including Madonna with her appropriation of the dance ‘Voguing’. It is mostly known for being famous to people now due to Madonna’s song ‘Vogue’, which then it was welcomed by pop culture with open arms. It actually originates from Harlem’s ballroom culture, which is famous for its drag queens. “Voguing gives a voice to the oppressed: the gay, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual, black, latino, female, and otherwise marginalized subcultures of American society.” (Ursprung, S. 2012.) Madonna used the dance to better her own career, without bettering the lives of those who use this dance to escape from their realities.
Darden, Ebro and Banks, Azealia. 2014. Youtube. Azealia Banks Goes Off on TI, Iggy + Black Music Being Smudged Out. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFDS-VEEl6w. [Accessed 28 February 2018].
Hsu, Caleb. 2015. What’s the Difference Between Entertainment and True Art? [ONLINE] Available at: http://blog.sonicbids.com/whats-the-difference-between-entertainment-and-true-art. [Accessed 28 February 2018].
Sharp-Paul, Edward. 2013. Junkee. Have We Finally Gotten Over Authenticity In Music? [ONLINE] Available at: http://junkee.com/have-we-finally-gotten-over-authenticity-in-music/11962. [Accessed 28 February 2018].
Robinson, Peter. 2017. The Guardian. ‘I used to be a social queen – now I’m terrified of people’. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/jun/22/halsey-you-can-be-homeless-and-a-one-direction-fan-at-the-same-time. [Accessed 28 February 2018].
Ursprung, Stephen. 2012. Voguing: Madonna and Cyclical Reappropriation « Interrogating Dance Globalization. [ONLINE] Available at: https://sophia.smith.edu/blog/danceglobalization/2012/05/01/voguing-madonna-and-cyclical-reappropriation/. [Accessed 28 February 2018].