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The New Beginning for Black Male Artists

Essay by   •  April 11, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,584 Words (7 Pages)  •  2,042 Views

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Since the 1980's young African American males in the music industry have been portrayed horribly. Groups like N.W.A (Niggas With Attitude), 2 Live Crew and Public Enemy have given Blacks the prolong negative image they still possess today. These groups' lyrics emphasized sex, violence, drugs and anger. They were known for using profanity, possessing illegal substances and placing half nude women in their music videos. Rap artists were projecting volatile messages via mass cultural products (Bracket, 471). Most of these group artists had criminal affiliation and produced music that not only slandered females but themselves as well. They provided valid reasons for the legal system to target youth and a particular race. The rap industry is not all to blame, with an artist like Prince, R&B emphasized sexuality and sex as well. Slavery can also be blamed for the lack of respect the Blacks have for themselves. Slavery has still impacted Blacks till this day, one artist states:

To make a long story short, white people have to understand that black people have already have respect for [them], because we've been trained to do so. We just don't have respect for ourselves. When a level of self-respect comes, then you'll see that it gets better. But self-respect has never been taught, so right now, black people are still slaves to that (475).

That time has finally come. One is starting to see the numerous black males that are showcasing respect for themselves and the female gender. They are resisting the stereotypes of black males in the music industry and in society. Black males are now more involved in their community, portray family importance and conduct themselves in a respectable manner. Male artists like the Harrell brothers, Ne-Yo and John Legend are prime examples of this new revelation. Even though these R&B artists produce music outside the rap genre, they can still relate to the rap performers of the present and past generations. These days negative rap and R&B music consists of lyrics that emphasize drugs, sex or violence. Artists like Lloyd, Dream, Prince, Lil Wayne, and 50 Cent contribute to the on-going dilemma that African Americans face today.

The Harrell Brothers, also known as Brutha, is a male group that contrast this negative image of black males with their lyric and actions. When one thinks of a group with five black males, one of which has been in jail, all five brothers with tattoos and a member with a child as an adolescent, you expect nothing but mainstream music. Mainstream music would be music that would downgrade women and emphasize male dominance. Yet they are different; they are a unique R&B group that produce music that expresses love, pain and frustration. They refuse to assimilate negative concepts in their music. They are a group that is a five-part harmony with high-energy dance moves and a genuine exuberance for their craft. Brutha is the real deal: bringing back the magical group dynamic sorely missing in today's music. They are mostly compared to the legendary male groups such as Boys II Men, the Jackson 5 and New Edition.

The group features five young males, Grady, Anthony, Cheyenne, Jared and Jacob. Grady is the oldest at 24 with a 5-year old daughter, Anthony is 22, Papa is 21, Jared is 20 and has been to jail, and the youngest is Jacob at 19. The one thing that separates this group from the typical young artists is their involvement in their community. On numerous occasions they have visited local jail cells and community centres, sharing their story of perseverance to people who lacked faith. Like most Black youth, the brothers grew up without a father figure in the home, growing up in the community they did was very difficult. This is why they can relate to some black male rappers. The main reason they decide to give back to the community is because they realize how hard it was for them growing up, which is a concept that some artist ignore. The key point is that these artists put themselves in a position where they can help out their community, it is impossible for someone to try to give advice and guidance when they themselves need advice and guidance. This is why they continuously steer away from drugs and other negative influences that most Black youth face with today. They understand the difficulty of being a minority and continuously targeted by legal system. The brothers know how it feels to be ridiculed and told that they would never amount to anything.

Brutha also understands the importance of family. Only two of the five brothers have the same mother and father, the rest have different mothers, but the same father. They all come from various areas and have different mindsets, but they all love music. "He's



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