Black History Month: k-os
 
It’s Black History Month, and I am going to celebrate with one my favorite musicians.

For those that know me, you know how much I love music. k-os is my favorite rapper. Now I am not one for most rap artists because of how little they put into it. Most rappers take a song that’s an instrumental by some other artist and rap over it, k-os, however, composes the music. He arranged and conducted the string orchestra for “Love Song” featuring Sarah Slean.


When he performed on Craig Ferguson, he brought an acoustic guitar player and a tabla player to back him up.


Lyrically I enjoy his music, too. Though he might not be as political as Jasiri X or Public Enemy, his lyrics are almost like a folk song (His album Atlantis: Hymns for Disco has a track that’s a nod to Bob Dylan called “The Ballad of Noah/Chocolate Chewing Gum”) whether he is dealing with when he tried to be a gangster rapper called “Emcee Murdah” or his introspective look at how his parents affected him, his lyrics have a depth that few rappers achieve. (Not all songs are that deep. “Crabbuckit” is pure fun.)


His perspective on Blackness is important. When he was trying to be Emcee Murdah, he was copying gangster rappers, but he is the son of a Trinidadian minister and grew up in the suburbs of Toronto listening to the Sex Pistols and heavy metal. His lyrics struggle with his identity as a suburban black man who grew up in a white space. (Check out Black Ice (Hymns for Disco), it’s where I got this quote from.)


Blackness is broad. To celebrate blackness this month, we should celebrate all different experiences that make up blackness. It should be the one time in the year we recognize a group of people who are not treated as citizens to be celebrated as Americans. (Or Canadians in the context of k-os.) Black History Month doesn’t begin and end with a march in Selma, it’s about all those who experience life in America differently than those who are typically written about in history books. They have dealt with colonialism, racism (both overt and systematic), slavery, a loss of history. Diaspora and Jim Crow to name some of the issues. That touchstone is the same for Ben Carson as it is for Tamir Rice or Elon James White or OJ Simpson. Blackness is as broad and diverse as the Universe itself.


It’s infinite.


That’s why I celebrate Black History Month.


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