Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The History of Black New Wave and Industrial Music

By Der Kosmonaut
  I've been a fan of New Wave and Industrial music since I was 5 years old. I first heard "Trans-Europe Express" by Kraftwerk on Halloween 1977 at a party at the Jackson Avenue Projects in The South Bronx. Grandmaster Flash was the DJ that night. Growing up Black in New York from the late 70s through the 80s, most of the music that I heard was considered to be Disco. By 1980 Disco simply connoted "Black" music. However there were many white groups that were considered "Disco" or at the very least were played on the Disco music stations. It would't be until the end of the 80s that I discovered many groups that were popular on the Black radio stations were white including Kraftwerk, Blondie, Queen and Tom Tom Club just to name a few.
  When I got seriously into New Wave music in 1987 many people thought it was strange. As a Black person I should've only have liked Rap/Hip Hop, Soul and RnB. This continued in the 90s when I got into Goth and Industrial music. People took me to task for rejecting "Black music" in favor of white music. When I started my DJ career in the 90s I used to mix New Wave, Industrial, Techno, Jungle music. One white person sharply questioned me. "Why play Industrial? Why would you want to play before an audience of suburban white kids?"
  It annoyed me beyond endurance that my skin color limited my choice of music. Of course there were hypocritical double standards. It was ok for whites to listen to Soul/RnB and Hip Hop but it was a cardinal sin for Blacks to like rock. Even when I was a member of the International Socialist Organization, the whites continuously criticized me for rejecting "my people's music and culture." As a Black person I should only like Jazz, Hip Hop and Soul/RNB. When I went to London for the first time, the white Marxists of the Socialist Workers Party found it odd that I preferred Goth/Industrial music. Most of the Marxist whites in London listened to "Black music". I was taken to task for liking Morrissey. At the time there was a national scandal in the British media accusing Morrissey of being racist and a Nazi sympathizer. This was because of his single "The National Front Disco" in which the protagonist out of social and political alienation is attracted to the British National Front.
  Where and how did this nonsense originate in the first place? Most of it came from the record industry itself which racially divided and segregated music. The most important charts were for Pop and Rock which mostly featured white artists. Then there was a separate music chart called Soul/RnB, which later became known as "Urban Music". Hence the record industry automatically classified white musicians as Rock and Black musicians as Soul.
  As I've noted many times, Rock had become a racist reactionary social and political movement by the end of the 70s. Nearly all white Americans only liked Rock and vehemently hated "Disco". In other words, any music composed or written by Blacks or even whites that added elements of Soul and Funk was disparaged. It cannot be overstated that Ronald Reagan's election as president in 1980 was in large part due to the racist backlash against Disco music. American culture had become too Black and the biggest manifestation of this was the popularity of Disco music.
  Over the past 4 years I've rediscovered many so-called Disco, Hip Hop and Soul/RnB records and realized that not only were they New Wave and Industrial music but they greatly influenced the development of New Wave and Industrial music. In other words, just as Rock music was invented by Blacks, so too was New Wave and Industrial. Perhaps that's too extreme so I will put it this way. New Wave and Industrial music wasn't exclusively invented and composed by whites. By the same token, Hip-Hop wasn't exclusively made by Blacks.
  This is the thing.....Black Americans live in the most technologically advanced civilization in history. Black Americans are front and center of the development of the United States as the premier industrial country in the world. New York is the most advanced industrialized city in the world. Until a decade ago had the third largest Black population in the world. Hip-Hop music was the result of industrialization. The New York City subway is the greatest industrial machine invention in human history. The only reason why Hip Hop developed and could've only developed in New York is the result of the subway. The Bronx River projects where Hip-Hop originated from stands between three major railway lines. Right in front of Bronx River to the West of the projects lies the Amtrak line that serves the route between New York and Boston. Less than a kilometer away also to the West and North lies the IRT White Plains Road elevated subway line. Barely a kilometer to the South lies the IRT Pelham elevated line. In essence the Hip Hop beat was the interpretation of the rail and subway lines. Hence the reason why "Trans-Europe Express" by Kraftwerk is not only the most popular song in The Bronx but also the reason why Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash played and sampled it.
  This will be a survey showing how the various so-called "Black" genres of music are landmarks of New Wave, Industrial and Techno. It's time for Blacks to reclaim our cultural heritage and also to stop reinforcing false consciousness. Many Blacks that like the music on this survey will vehemently deny that they like New Wave and Industrial music but in fact they do. I will list Disco, Soul/RNB, Hip Hop/Rap songs that are unmistakably New Wave and Industrial and most importantly shaped the latter.

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