Readers respond to the Ebony magazine article

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Date: Oct 29, 2099
Source: readers
Submitted By:

From: LaShanda L Bell []
Sent: Thursday, October 28, 1999 7:27 PM

I recently purchased November's issue of EBONY magazine, and I was very upset by one of their articles. A portion of it was sent in to the other day and it made me want to go out and buy it so I can read it in it's entirety. I wish I hadn't. This article is called "Are Whites Stealing Rhythm & Blues"? First of all, I am a 19 yr old African-American female who loves the Backstreet Boys, but also listens to r&b music. I am writing to EBONY about this article because I don't like anyone putting racial lines on music. Talented groups such as BSB and 98 Degrees, who are also mentioned are not trying to be r& b groups, they just want to make good music, which they do. It just happens to be that their main musical influences, are r&b artists and I feel nothing wrong with that.

This article also mentions the fact that the people behind BSB, Britney Spears, N'Sync,etc are mainly African American. I think you all need to read this article to really understand why am so pissed off. If you don't want to buy the magazine, and want me to type it in it's entirety, email me. I'll do whatever I have to, or you can read the post from the other day, which contains part of the article. I really need everyone's help. I want EBONY to be flooded with mail supporting BSB. I also feel that we need to let people know that there are more African American BSB fans than they may think. Thank you all! K.T.B.S.P.A!!!!!!!!!!!


You can reply to the article by writing here:

Letters To The Editor
EBONY Magazine
820 Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605

From: Alamie-Jolie Mercereau []
Sent: Thursday, October 28, 1999 2:11 AM

I completely agree with the girl who wrote about the obvious prejedice displayed by ebony magazine. All men ARE created equal, the only thing is us as a society have yet embrace this simple and world changing concept. People typically view racism as whites showing disdain blacks, but it can occur in any race against another or in any form. Simply telling a joke that is deragotory to another cultural group is a form of racism.

It's amazing that forms of media can still exhibit forms of racism so openly, and I find it disheartening and saddening. Let's move into the next millenium gaining tolerance, acceptance, respect and most importantly love for one another despite the colour of their skin. If beauty is only skin deep, than race is too. But why don't people see that? Thank you so much for reading this, Sincerely, Alamie.

Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 1999 12:08 AM

Wow, thank you for bringing that Ebony magazine article to everyone's attention.

I can't even believe they published that article. It's IS one of the most prejudice-promoting, ignorant article regarding race that I've ever read. None of the things that they wrote in the article EVEN MAKE SENSE and they don't have anything substantial to support their arguments. How can they even ask if "whites are stealing Rhythm and Blues?" Does R&B "BELONG" to African-Americans? I'll admit, some rappers who are white are looked down upon just because of their race and because in some places, it's believed that rap "BELONGS" to African-Americans. This, in itself, is wrong ALSO, but that doesn't allow the argument that "whites are stealing R&B" valid.

Who's to say that Whites cannot perform soul music? Just because a White person can sing genuine R&B music doesn't automatically make it derogatorily "looted, whitewashed, watered down."

I think we should write to the editors of Ebony about this.

From: Tamiko []
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 1999 4:28 PM

I am writing to you in response to the article in Ebony magazine. When I read the article and saw the comments by another Backstreet Net reader, many things came to mind. First of all, I totally agree that magazines should promote racial harmony not racial discrimination. The Backstreet Boys have gained major success because they work extremely hard to perfect their music. They deserve every good thing that comes their way. BSB rocks- plain and simple. Recently I went to one of their concerts in Anaheim. At the concert, there were fans of all races and ages. There were girls and guys. Everyone was so friendly. Race,age or gender didn't matter. We were there for one thing- to see the BACKSTREET BOYS perform! And perform they did! Their performance was so great, whether I was rocking to "Larger Than Life" or singing along to "All I Have To Give". You see, Backstreet's music truly touched and moved everyone. Whether you're black or white, or you're 10 or 20,who cares! Just reme! mber Backstreet's Back ALRIGHT! KTBSPA Thanks!

Long Beach California U.S.A

From: Lauren Kinsey []
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 1999 11:15 PM

I read the article that you posted one about Ebony mag. I agree with everything you said. That article is highly ignorant. I am African-American too. And I respect and love the BSB for their talent, voices and hard work. When I first heard QPGWMH on the radio and immedately fell in love with the song. And that what's important, the music. Don't get me wrong... the BSB are Fine! ,but when you take that away and strip it down you will always come back to....Wow those guys can sing and harmonize ,they put on one of the best shows I have seen, and they work their butts off. Nothing can take that away. And another thing. If the bsb were black they would be called a Vocal Group, NOT a boy band!!!

Thanks Lauren K.:0)

(webmaster) of The Sophisticated Fans of the BSB
(My home page)

From: Kimberly []
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 1999 4:29 AM


I just wanted to comment on the young ladies write-up about Ebony Magazine's article. I agree with her comments in many ways, but I also think it's important to look at the flip side of things.

The authors thoughts on this article are very profound, and I understand exactly where she is coming from. However, I don't believe it is racist to label groups like BSB as "blue-eyed soul". R&B was invented in the Black community like so many other kinds of music. And in the past (the 50s and 60s), it was white acts like Elvis that were able to capitalize and become popular singing the songs and the type of music these Black artists created. Do I think Elvis was - but the record companies and management groups knew that white artists would have more "mass appeal" and did everything they could to capitalize on it, much like Lou Pearlman and Johnny Wright are doing now. I think Ebony is just trying to revisit this issue.......

In her comments, the fan says: "If the Backstreet Boys were 5 African American guys, woul d this be such a big deal? No, because they would just be seen as another Boys II Men or New Edition." I LOVE Boyz II Men, I LOVED New Edition and I love the BSB. But to be quite honest, even now, I really don't think a Black group, even one equally talented and good-looking as the BSB, will ever do as well as a group like the BSB - because White artists have more "mass appeal". It's sad. It's deplorable. But it's true. And the truth of the matter is, people like Maurice Starr, Lou Pearlman, and Johnny Wright understand this concept VERY well. Too well. Do I think the BSB or Nsync or 98 degrees, etc, are trying to "steal R&B" from Black - I think they are trying to sing the music they love, enjoy doing it and get respect for their talent. Unfortunately they are caught in something that is way beyond their control. I have often heard Kevin or Howie say that if they were Black, people would respect them.......and to some degree, I agree. But their IS a flip side. If they WERE Black, I seriously doubt they would have sold as many albums world-wide and enjoyed such phenomenal success. Talent isn't enough these days, I wish it were. The BSB have the look. The look that parents is White America are comfortable having their daughters admire. Again - it's sad, it's deplorable, but it's true.

Things will never change if we all deny the problem exists in the first place. The Backstreet Boys are not to blame for having talent and wanting to sing the music they love. Lou Pearlman isn't even to blame for knowing how to give the market what they want. This is a much bigger issue - one that will not fix itself overnight.

From: stephanie francis []
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 1999 2:39 PM

Are Whites Stealing Rhythm and Blues?"

I totally agree with what Dani was saying.I mean come on when are we going to get out of this thing called racism? It's very silly and stupid. I'm also an African-American fan of BSB and I think they are just the best and I think they aswell as other groups who I also enjoy like 5ive and 98 degrees are not out to so call Steal Rhythm and Blues. Their sound is not fully R&B anyways so what is the big deal.Music is a UNIVERSAL language and should be shared with many people of all ages and nationalities.I am really sadened that Ebony would print such an article.



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