The voice of an artist

Musicians often hold the responsibility of representing minorities

By Ken Narita, Arts & Entertainment Editor

filmblog

Music and artists have a duty to represent more minorities with their work. Music is a great way to reach all people, no matter their differences. (Image from I.CBC.CA) 

In 2017 superhero movies are unavoidable. It almost seems as though there is a new movie or TV show of some superhero coming out each month. This year alone there are eight movies DC and Marvel will be releasing collectively. Out of all those movies all but one casts a white male as the main protagonist; the outlier being Wonder Woman. Only in a few of the movies is there even a single hero that is an ethnic minority.

Representation of ethnic minorities has been a cause for concern in the United States since the Declaration of Independence. Till this day the number of minorities in US politics is still fewer when comparing minorities in the general population. According to the Pew Research Center, “Non-whites make up 17 percent of the new Congress, but that is below these groups’ 38 percent share of the nation’s population.”

When it comes to the world of entertainment, representation is much more complicated then numbers alone. It can be argued that the entertainment industry allows all races to be represented. However in reality it is still an area that many minorities are continually battling to gain proper representation. Often a minority group gets misrepresented because of stereotypes attributed shown in films and shown as supporting characters or less important than the white main protagonist.

Many of those who read this may not quite understand what it feels like to questions ones worth due to skin color. Those that have not felt this way are truly privileged. Unfortunately many people grow up wondering why they don’t see anyone that looks like them on television or in movies. Worse yet, they might see a stereotypical representation of their race or gender.

Politics and some forms of entertainment fall behind when properly representing minorities. However, music has been an area where many have found leaders for their people. Musicians today hold so much power. The voices of those that feel unheard artists become their voice.

Artists in the rap community have held the role of community leaders more often than other genres. The politically driven music of “A Tribe Called Quest” relays the message of black oppression. “Killer Mike” has been the voice for his Atlanta community for years. More recently he was a strong endorser of Bernie Sanders and was invited to Sanders rallies to speak on occasion. Even Hillary Clinton realized how much influence these artists hold and got endorsed by “Waka Flocka” during the last election.

Inequality and the lack of representation will be a problem for a long time in the United States. Music will be the voice for those who seek to be heard. Music holds the power to represent minorities that have been marginalized in the past. Though it may seem many people of color are being pushed out of US politics, artist will continue to hold the burden of representing their people on a national level.

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