Gina McCauley printed a letter from Keke Palmer, who played Akeelah in “Akeelah and the Bee”.  In the letter, Ms. Palmer, age 14, recounts how Atlantic Records basically let her album die because she and her family refused to record raunchy songs that were more “urban”.  Read the letter and you’ll find this situation sad, particularly since she had some success in Hollywood with “Akeelah” and another Disney Channel Movie, Jump In, which yielded a top 5  soundtrack album.  Additionally, she sang over the end titles of “Night at the Museum,” which pulled in $270 million.  All this is to say that she’s got her foot in the door in front of family audiences.

Here’s what else caught my attention:

. . .I am an African American young lady from the south side of Chicago . I grew up listening to Brandy, Aaliyah and TLC, so it was not like I was recording rock music! I was recording good music, with great beats, with good positive lyrics, my music is what all kids want to hear no matter where they live.

We have so much work to do, y’all.  Let’s keep this Black rock/afropunk thing moving forward so that young Black teenagers on the South Side of Chicago—and everywhere, for that matter—know that rock is Black music, too.

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  • …An interesting and unfortunate story, but one many African-American artists and intellectuals will be able to identify with…It’s past time to wonder why there aren’t more important black record companies–and art organizations–that can support black artists and thinkers…