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Why Every Black Person Should Celebrate Black Music Month

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On Sunday June 1st, I discovered that June was Black Music Month when For Harriet,  the blog I’m interning for mentioned on about having t-shirts with the names of female black musicians. Since then, I’ve realized that other black people may not be aware of Black Music month and why it should be celebrated.

According to the website for the National Museum for African American Music, black music month was originally founded in 1979 by Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams in order to celebrate the impact  of black music. However, it wasn’t formerly recognized as a national event until the year 2000.

In 2009, President Barack Obama took it further by calling Black Music Month by a second name, African American Music Appreciation Month.

With all the hip-hop and R n’ B music dominating the charts and radio airwaves, it seems unnecessary to have an entire month dedicated to black music. However, we have done so much more than this.

For instance, any true rock music enthusiast will tell you that rock came from blues, jazz, country, and gospel mixed together. Recently, I did a Buzzfeed listicle featuring some of the black men and women who influenced rock in the past and a little taste of the rock music being done by black musicians today.

Thanks to the multimedia and multi-genre movement  known as Afropunk, black people have a chance to express themselves in ways that aren’t shown in most of the mainstream media. Last month, I did a post on my top ten Afropunk musicians.

We should take this month to celebrate the fact that black people have and will contribute so much amazing music in various genres. They may not sell a million records or win a ton of awards, but that shouldn’t matter. As long as ears are listening, music will always matter.





Written by Serena Zola

June 4, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Some Serious Thoughts On Halloween

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Even though I don’t dress in a costume or go treat-or-treating, Halloween has always been a favorite holiday for me. During this time, I like to watch fun Halloween kid movies and read at least one gothic novel.

The reason I love Halloween so much because it is the one time of year where it doesn’t matter if you’re “scary”.  All through October, you’ve got Tim Burton movies playing on television. Also, there’s the fact that everybody is excited about dressing up in costumes that may or may not be “scary”.

As fun as this stuff is, I wish we could take the entire month of October to learn to celebrate people who are deemed “scary” every day.

Some of those people include disabled people (esp. the mentally ill) and the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual,Transgender, and Queer community.

Every time there is a shooting, the words “mentally ill” come up in every article. All this does is stereotype and perpetuate fear. Next thing you know, we’ll be having witch burnings again.

At the same time, we’ve got everyday people and well-known people, who are disabled and are making a positive impact on people’s lives.

For instance, singer Mary J. Bilge conquered her depression and became one of the best singers ever.  Actor Michael J. Fox has Parkinson’s disease, but he’s still acting today.

An everyday example is a girl I’d run into every week while attending community college. She was in a wheelchair and she seemed to be paralyzed because only her arms could move. I can’t remember name, but I remember her kindness.

Whenever I saw her, she’d wave and sometimes asked how I was doing. Her good mood despite her circumstances made me feel good too.

When it comes to the LGBTQ community, they are also stigmatized and stereotyped. In some cases, they’ve also been murdered or driven to suicide.

Yet, like disabled people, many have impacted society. Some include singer David Bowie, poet Audre Lorde, and model April Ashley.

My personal favorite members of this community so far are singers David Bowie, Debbie Harry (from the band Blondie), and Adam Lambert, poet Walt Whitman, and upcoming rapper Angel Haze.

Maybe it’s because I commute to college, but I haven’t met many LGBTQ members in my everyday life.

The one gay girl I met and became friends with was in high school. We were lab partners and she kept me from puking at the sight of a dissected frog.  Not only was she nice, but she was cool because she was my first goth friend AND my first gay friend.

As long as you are a good person inside, it doesn’t matter how “scary” you seem to be. I wish more people would take this to heart, not  only this month, but everyday.



Written by Serena Zola

October 24, 2013 at 11:21 PM

A Reflection on My Music Taste and Music in General

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Yesterday, I became a fan of Florence and The Machine. This is the first indie rock band I’ve ever liked. It also means that I’ve finally cracked and decided to explore indie music.

I’ve seen “mainstream music sucks” comments online for a while now. I’ve shaken my head because there are a few gems in mainstream music worth listening to.

Yet, eight years ago I thought I was totally awesome because I only listened to alternative rock and a couple of soundtracks.

Now that I’ve entered the world of indie rock, I feel I’ve come full circle with my music taste and become wiser with exploring music.

In fact, I don’t think that I could have become a fan of Florence and The Machine without the eclectic music taste I gained.

As of today, here is what I listen to: pop, rock, blues, jazz, classical, world music, techno, scores, and a little rap, funk, soul, and r &b.

The only reason my taste has developed like this is that I was somewhat forced to do some research in the past and present for a class.  After that, I became naturally curious.

Before I became a FATM fan, I thought I didn’t need to get into indie music. I thought that because I had an eclectic music taste, I’d never be bored with the music I already had.

However, I missed being a fan of a band that was good, fun, different, current, and still active.

After I became a fan of Janelle Monae then Janis Joplin, I realized that there are some musicians who are one-of-a-kind. I found myself wanting to hear music from someone similar to them and realizing that there wasn’t anyone like them.

I also realized that wasn’t a bad thing.

The reason that today’s music isn’t great is because most people sound like someone else. Furthermore, the reason one musician sounds like another is because they embody what sells.

When a  truly talented and passionate musician comes along, they are underrated or tailored to what sells.  It depends on if the musician lets themselves be fitted or not. It also depends on the circumstances the musician is in.

Someone who has an ideal musical and/or personal image is more easily controlled by record companies and understood by the general public.  In contrast, someone who doesn’t have an image is more likely to only appeal to certain people.

When it comes to music that has lyrics, I appreciate the musician more if they don’t have an image. If they are just being themselves, then that makes their music more special to me.

It seems like today’s world is so messed up that some people want something normal to make them feel good.  Things like being sexy, being young, and being American are norms that have been around since I was born.

You’d think most  people would be bored with that.

It shouldn’t matter if  a hundred or a million people like the music you create or listen to. It shouldn’t matter what most people like or what’s normal.

If more people were willing to be an indie person, then the music would be better.

Written by Serena Zola

October 6, 2013 at 3:54 PM

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