British Rapper Dave’s single ‘Black’ has received backlash for its open celebrations of ‘Blackness’.
David Santan was otherwise known as “Dave”, recently released his album ‘Psychodrama’, a brutal telling of a young black man going through psychotherapy. Challenging topical issues such as: racism, colonialism, domestic abuse, black culture and representations of Blackness in the media.
The single ‘Black’ caught a lot of attention after it was played on Radio 1 by BBC DJ Annie Mac and was criticized as being racially tense.
‘Black’ is a honest and gripping song about what it means to be black in its complexities. It can easily be applied to those of the Black Caribbean and African diasporas in Britain. Its a song about the reality of the social dynamics of black life.
“Look, black is beautiful, black is excellent
Black is pain, Black is joy, black is evident”
“The blacker the killer,
the sweeter the news,
and if he’s white, you will give him a chance
he is ill and confused”
These lines speak of the Police’s response to black bodies in America where Black people are more likely to die at the hands of a police officer.
These lyrics, taken from the song ‘Black’, illustrate the realities of the Black experience characterised in a vivid music video, showcasing the diversity of Blackness.
There were some that saw the pro-Black nature of the song and saw it as racist. They took pro-Black to mean anti-white. Dave is not anti-white, he is merely encouraging a positive narrative surrounding the commonly negative, simplistic representation of Blackness. I feel certain individuals complaining about the song fear a fictional upheaval of anti-whiteness where Dave’s song will bring about the new Black world order. Black Panther maybe springs to mind. Or is it white guilt?
Lets take start with the basics: racism is defined as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. Dave has done nothing to be fitting of the title ‘racist’.
The underlying fears lying at the bedrock of a White European society that sees black men, as Hilary Clinton coined it, “super-predators”. It seems for a black man to vocally be proud of his blackness is a threat to the white discourse that keeps the power dynamics in the hands of certain individuals.
White fragility is a term used to describe the discomfort or awkwardness some white people feel when speaking about race – many aren’t sure how to discuss a historically sensitive topic.
Not talking about it, continues to subdue and repress black expression of self-worth. Dave’s song is simply black self-affirmation and I am all for it. The responses against Dave and his single could be seen as white fragility rearing its ugly head and calling it ‘reverse racism’.
History has shown us that systematically, in various forms, the white population has taken their nationalism to the extent of horrid events. The KKK, in America EDL, Britain First in Britain highlight white nationalists.
What is a key distinction between Daves proclamation of ‘blackness’ he does not denigrate any other race at the expense of the black upliftment.
In many white nationalist movements, we have seen the rise of racial slurs that serve to render the ethnic minority as invalid, stupid and simply biologically inferior compared to their own (white) selves. Some will rightly ask what white nationalist movements have to be proud of when their own history is deeply tied in with their ancestor’s actions when they have subjected ‘the darker lands’ of Africa to the depressing, debilitating white hand of oppression.
This refers to the colonial project, ‘to civilize the savages’, the savages were those who lived in a lifestyle differing to that of the European. Colonial subjects were black, brown, cinnamon, chocolate – all types of brown and black. They were viewed as inferior with meant they were the victims of structural systems of racism which trickled down into every sinew of society. I hope then whiteness can be detached from another history that creates a heaven for some, but a literal nightmare for many others.
Young Black Men
Young black men in contemporary society are under attack more than ever. Black masculinity has become something negative. Dave brings something new to the forefront, a blackness that can be celebrated, one that champions black excellence. When will we live in a world that looks like the dream of the honourable Martin Luther King.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day
live in a nation. Where they will not be judged by the colour
of their skin but by the content of their character”
For anyone who finds Dave’s song racist, they need to ask themselves as to why a song promoting black excellence, with no mention of whiteness could be racist.