By Guest Contributor Rob Fields, cross-posted from Black As Love
It was close to a year ago when I started research that would begin to answer the question, “so, who exactly is the audience for black rock?” Of course, the unspoken part of that question was the assumption that this was and continues to be, something fringe. But we know that’s hardly the case. In fact, the audience for black rock and black alternative music is growing, and that growth is powered by an ongoing cultural shift.
I won’t bore you with the demographic recap of those who took the survey (50/50 male/female split; 76% African American), as you can read it in the executive summary below. What’s most interesting to me is the psychographic—or attitudinal stuff—that the research uncovered. After all, attitudes drive actions.
These attitudes are important to note for another reason: It speaks to the need/opportunity for broader institutional and, yes, corporate, support for black rock and black alternative music. There’s still the belief out there that
- Black folks are monolithic and;
- We can all be reached by using hip hop.
The first supposition has never been true. As for the second, hip hop, particularly in its commercial form, is easily a shadow of what it could have been. Moreover, by virtue of its inclination for entertainment over substance, it has abdicated any right to say that it’s representative of black folks.