“CAUTION,” warns the back cover of George Clinton’s 1986 album R&B Skeletons in the Closet, “Segments of This Album May Contain JUNGLE MUSIC!” This tongue-in cheek warning is one of many drawings on the cover by Clinton’s go-to artist, Pedro Bell, responding to a growing trend in the 1980s: black artists who were crossing over to white audiences. For musicians aspiring to crossover success, there’s even a handy list of “What To DROP To Go POP.” Captain Crossover, a robot composed equally of black and white parts, details how black artists can change their lyrics, hair, clothes, and behavior to “almost [guarantee their] stardom.” Last on the list is a demand: “FORGET WHERE YOU CAME FROM because airbody knows that anybody who lives in the projects more than 2 years, is never going to make it.” If this list isn’t clarifying enough, the record jacket farther down advertises longer how-to-cross-over...
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Article Commentary| March 01 2018
Commentary: Crossing Over: Musical Perceptions Within Black Adolescent Culture
Response to Venise T. Berry, “
Crossing Over: Musical Perceptions Within Black Adolescent Culture,”
Journal of Popular Music Studies (2018) 30 (1-2): 57–60.
Amy Coddington; Commentary: Crossing Over: Musical Perceptions Within Black Adolescent Culture. Journal of Popular Music Studies 1 March 2018; 30 (1-2): 57–60. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jpms.2018.000004
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