Delving into the history of pop culture means entering a politically and racially-charged arena, ibut f the result is a blend of cultures and genres owned by no one and respected by everyone, let's have it.
Teena Marie was a renowned vocalists. one of the first white performers signed to Motown Records. Her triumphs weren’t just musical. As I noted in my column, concerns about the white singer’s acceptance by a mostly-black soul music audience dissipated underneath her enormous talent.
History will distinguish Teena Marie but from say, Elvis, who is beloved as well but also remembered as a singer who routinely appropriated black music and rarely credited the source. No one owns art forms but to not credit the source of ideas and genres is to plagarize them. Moreover, suspicions and fears that black musical forms would be essentially stolen were underscored by the transmission of the blues across the pond during the British soul invasion, but Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and other bands tended to credit for music’s soul origins to those who created it.
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