Why are these stories more valid than Lamar's? Why are these atrocities seen as "shocking" and move our hearts while Lamar's offend?
Why are photographers praised for their voice and style and Lamar criticized and considered a tainting of tradition?
Because he curses? What?
Mr. Daily actually beat me to these questions when he wrote, "It was only a matter of time before someone rhetorically asked, “Hey, wait a minute, if the Pulitzer is for ‘distinguished musical composition by an American,’ why shouldn’t hip-hop be considered?” And it is his answer that I find most troubling. He writes, "the Pulitzer Prize for Music must now be shared among (presumably) all genres of American-made music. And the small and marginalized contemporary classical music world just got a little smaller and more marginal."
Damn. Presumably? Marginalized?
Kendrick Lamar is unfit for this award because allowing more non-traditional music into the discussion will leave classical musicians feeling marginalized? What about musicians of the past hundred years who were never recognized because they didn't follow "tradition"? Where is their contribution to music and society and mankind's story?
Because right now, as Mr. Lamar is being celebrated as the first rapper to win the Pulitzer, CEO Kevin Johnson's is trying to salvage the Starbucks image by closing 8,000 stores in May for "racial-bias education day" after two black men were arrested for not buying anything.
Do you know how many times I have sat in Starbucks and not bought a damn thing but just sat and read or wrote or waited for a friend? Not only that, do you know how many of those times I've asked for a free glass of ice water AND used the bathroom? Countless. And never was I questioned, denied, or even remotely suspected of anything other than sitting and doing nothing.
This is exactly why it is so important that Mr. Kenrick Lamar won the Pulitzer Price for music, because now traditional America has to take him and rap and all those stories of how the other half live seriously. Because now traditional America can no longer use the argument, "That ain't music" or categorize it as, "black people music" and turn the station and their attention to something more agreeable to their ears. Because now (as it already has been for many years) it is truly part of America's music and a crucial component to America's story.
Damn. by Kendrick Lamar isn't a gesture of tokenism or a kick in the teeth to tradition and for sure it isn't a cultural erosion. It's progression in American storytelling, in American poetry, and in American voice. It's a piece of distinguished musical composition written by an American and recognized as "a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life" (via). And Kendrick Lamar deserves an applause, not a patronizing pat on the back.
"Pulitzer was the most skillful of newspaper publishers, a passionate crusader against dishonest government, a fierce, hawk-like competitor who did not shrink from sensationalism in circulation struggles, and a visionary who richly endowed his profession." And whether Mr. Daily or traditional America likes it or not, so is Kendrick Lamar.
You can listen to the full album on Spotify.
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