I may prefer the 1980s in entertainments, but I have pointed out here before that every generation of music has included badly done popular music, or music that never should have been recorded.
In the same vein, to be blunt, every generation has produced ideas that are stupefying in their stupidity, mind-numbingly moronic.
And so today let us consider Nebal Maysard:
My fellow musicians of color: it is time to accept that we are in an abusive relationship with classical music.
In my previous articles, I laid out my experiences and reasoning for coming to this conclusion. I started with “Am I Not a Minority?” to explain the everyday racism people of color experience and how it manifests on an institutional level. If you haven’t read it already, I encourage you to explore how institutions uphold their power by choosing which minorities to give access to.
The few scraps given to minorities are overwhelmingly white–occupied by white cisgender women or LGBT+ individuals. The few PoC who are given access to institutional space are most often light skinned and non-Black while also exoticised and tokenised.
And that led me to my second article, “Escaping the Mold of Oriental Fantasy“–a personal history of isolation and colonization, of how Western classical music participates in the act of destroying culture and replaces it with its own white supremacist narrative.
Finally, I shared my attempts at reviving my culture and my tradition, along with the barriers I faced on this journey. My third article, “I’m Learning Middle Eastern Music the Wrong Way,” chronicles the difficulties (and the near impossibility) of engaging with my own cultural musical practices in a proper, authentic way.
From three angles I shared my attempts at being an authentic composer. These articles bring to light the many ways in which the dreams of low-income people of color are obstructed in the Western classical tradition.
It’s not uncommon to love your abuser. I know the experience, and can understand how hard it is to leave. Despite all that classical music has done to me, I still can’t help but marvel at the religious splendor of Bach’s works for organ. Nor can I help but weep at Tchaikovsky’s raw expressive power.
I will forever love my favorite composers. It is possible to be critical about the way classical music is treated and to adore the individual works which inspire you at the same time. I am not making a judgment call on specific works in the canon, but instead their function in modern classical music institutionsIT IS POSSIBLE TO BE CRITICAL ABOUT THE WAY CLASSICAL MUSIC IS TREATED AND TO ADORE THE INDIVIDUAL WORKS WHICH INSPIRE YOU AT THE SAME TIME.
And there is still the question of what to do about the skills these composers taught us.
I would like to return to the analogy of the abusive relationship.
Many of us have learned a lot from our abusers. Some abusers are even our parents. Their abuse can follow you wherever you go, and escaping them entirely may be impossible. Whether we like it or not, we are forever changed by our abuse.
This abuse can appear as a scar. We will need each other to heal from the trauma. But we also need to survive and nurture the spirit which requires us to create.
While most composers of color are responding to a calling, that calling is to create artwork in our own voices not to behold ourselves to the social construct of Western classical music.
We can do that using the tools we learned as classical composers without contributing to our own abuse. As I shared in my previous article, we can get to a better understanding of our own cultural traditions little by little if we just start exploring.
In order to leave our abusive relationship, we need a community.
Western classical music depends on people of color to uphold its facade as a modern, progressive institution so that it can remain powerful. By controlling the ways in which composers are financed, it can feel like our only opportunities for financial success as composers are by playing the game of these institutions.
It’s time for us to recognize that engaging with these institutions, that contributing to the belief that our participation in composer diversity initiatives is doing anything to reshape the institution of classical music, and that classical music is an agent of cultural change instead of a placeholder to prevent composers of color from forming our own cultures, is ultimately furthering colonization and prevents us from creating artwork capable of real, genuine expression.WRITING FOR AN AUDIENCE OF RICH WHITE PEOPLE IS NO LONGER A PRIORITY OF MINE.
Writing for an audience of rich white people is no longer a priority of mine. Instead, I want to create music for my community. Instead of contributing to white culture and helping them erase my own narrative, I want to use my ability to create art to keep my culture alive.
As long as people of color are making art, culture stays alive.
This mission is entirely against the nature of white supremacy, which seeks to replace non-white cultures with their own fantasies. Therefore, I will not find support in this endeavor.
Click on the link if you want to read the rest of that garbage, to which there is this perfect response in the comments …