NOTE: We have been alerted that Taeyang may have been misquoted as the statement was taken from various interviews, however until we get a full explanation from either YoungBae himself or YGE, this post will still stay up:
Hey guys, so our latest (controversial) episode is out and we talked so much that we forgot about a lot of topics. We checked the inbox after we recorded our latest episode (found here) and this question came up. It was a great submission so we thought it was best to post our answer here:
Girl Davis: Firstly, I don’t agree with what he said, quite frankly it’s some bullshit. But this is a trend amongst so many consumers and voyeurs of Black culture that equate the artistry and final product with our collective struggle. I dislike that school of thought because it removes the art, the craft and the overall work that goes into making a great soul/r&b record.
When contemporary black artists sing, they aren’t going to their ancestors’ unmarked graves looking for some latent inspiration to give them that extra push to make the lyrics more heartfelt or to be able to hit Mariah Carey-esque notes, it’s just life experience and the shared black experience that creates that sound.
If Tayeang wants pain and struggle he doesn’t even have to leave Korea, as there is a lot of fucked up shit Koreans have had to go through in the last 100 years alone. The movie ‘Ode To My Father’ is a good representation of all the hardships Koreans have overcome in order to now be a very recognised developed nation, and even now there’s the looming presence of North Korea, the recent Park Geun Hye scandal and Korea still has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. That’s pain and struggle right there on his doorstep.
Black folk aren’t some magical negros that will give you the Hip-Hop cosign when you need it, or the soul cosign or any other genre to make what you’re doing authentic. Soul Music comes from within. Rhythm & Blues is supposed to evoke a certain emotion; which can make you want to dance, make a baby or start a damn revolution.
But with all that said, even though there’s a collective black experience, we’re still not a monolith. I can empathise with African American struggles but I can never truly understand on the level of an African American simply because I’m not from America and haven’t grown up there. The same case would be for an African American listening to the struggles of a Black British person-similar but different. And it’s our differences that caused us to make very innovative and distinctively unique sounds around the same time period-for example when America was refining New Jack Swing, the UK was coming off Lovers Rock and easing into the sound that would become the movement that was Soul 2 Soul, which had New Jack elements but still had a signature UK sound. These niche sounds eventually became global standards-people still emulate that New Jack Swing sound today (SHINee).
So my point is that we aren’t all the same. There’s no single black struggle one can tap into and this narrative really has to go with the rest of the bullshit from 2016. Blackness does not equate soul nor does it indicate musical talent and/or rhythm. If that was the case we wouldn’t have so many trash ass, a-cup note hitting singers who really think they’re serving us some kind of vocals, or those kool-aid dreadlock rappers who mumble all over the track. As a mumble queen myself, I tell you, it’s not sexy, neither does it bump in the proverbial whip, but the only reason these waifs have been put on is because of their blackness and the fact that (non-black) people assume they must be good because the artist is black.
Newflash: You can still be a black artist, have gone through lots of shit and still put out music without substance. Skin colour is not a one stop shop for Maxwell vocals.
So Taeyang definitely fucked up here. He needs actual black staff in his team, because if I worked there when this interview was recorded I’d have told them to either nix the whole thing or to re-word it.
I understand what he was trying to say. But the idea behind it is still bullshit and very dated.
With such an eloquent response from Girl Davis I don’t know what else to add. I very much agree with being tired of Kpop artists using black culture as a costume and as a cool pass. When is enough enough?
When I first read the above conversation from Taeyang I wasn’t offended because I understood what he was trying convey though not being worded the best. And from what we’ve been alerted the text was taken and glued together from various interviews. So the real question is why does YG ENT continually push a black narrative with Taeyang?
Ever since he first came out with “My Girl” YG has made Taeyang the token “not black black member with swag.” I will say now that Taeyang has gotten older and has earned more clout within YG he’s been able to spearhead his choices in what he produces and even wears. And thankfully when he does say or wear something that’s offensive, fans are quick to call him out on it followed by a swift apology from Young Bae. (Wish I could say that for G-Dragon….)
So lastly to follow up with what Girl Davis stated, Korea has just enough struggle and prosper stories as black people so why not use them? Why think you have borrow someone else’s pain to tell a story? Talk about the Japanese occupation or how only elite could read and write Korean. How about a song about Dokdo titled “One Land” that expresses peace between the two countries with the ending verse exclaiming “But it’s our Island though/oh oh Bang Bang Bang.” Or we can take it even further with Park Geun Hye and Choi Soon Shil or why children have to study all day at Hagwons instead of being with their families??
Whew. A lot of Korean issues he can get the singing about right? Hop to it Bae.