"We should seek not a world where the black race and the white race live in harmony, but a world in which the terms black and white have no real political meaning." - Ta-Nehisi Coates
When I approached the idea of honoring Black History Month, I thought that the concept of using KXSC’s voice was long overdue. It was only about two years ago that KXSC even started an R&B genre department, yet so much of our programming has always been dominated and led by African American artists. Whether it be heavy metal, hip-hop or even techno, the presence of African Americans in music is deeply rooted. I feel a responsibility to acknowledge this and spread awareness. In the midst of such a turbulent time in our country’s history, we continue to see artists speak up for injustice. The controversial jailing of Meek Mill has spurred a national conversation on black incarceration. Rappers have aligned with Colin Kaepernick to protest our country’s racial narrative on police brutality. Women of color take their place in the feminist and #MeToo movements. None of this is new, but it is finally being broadly recognized on a national level.
While KXSC is NOT the Black Student Assembly, we are an organization that serves the greater community. We influence others, voice opinions, and encourage thought whether we intend to or not. Music is so much more than a vehicle for enjoyment; it is a teaching tool. From NWA’s “Fuck Tha Police” to Jimi Hendrix’ anti-war rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner at Woodstock, there is an underlying message that music provides. It is a narrative to our lives and so often, black artists have spearheaded these movements, often taking risks that could continue to jeopardize their safety, careers, or place in society. Too often, this story remains untold.
This ends now.
I want to make it clear: this is not an attempt to say what KXSC is doing or not doing. However, when I look at our station and what we have done for our DJS and staff of color, there is a clear separation and work that is still to be done. I hope all will see addressing this as a very positive action. KXSC is the one place on campus that I know regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, or socioeconomic background, I can be myself and feel welcome. I know this to also be true for others. However, it is also a place where I notice that on staff, there are only three people of African American descent. The number of black DJs is comparatively limited as well. Are we the most diverse? In some ways, yes, but in other ways, no, and we know this. We are not claiming anything, because we know that we have work to do, and we are eager to do it because we WANT to be a place of diversity.
As we go through Black History Month, KXSC will feature playlists and blog posts in addition to contributions by current and past DJs and staff members. I encourage everyone to listen thoughtfully and facilitate valuable Black History discussions throughout the month. We will continue to highlight music and acknowledge the profound impact African American people have had and continue to have in music, on culture, and in our world.
The world comes together through music.
Lani Renaldo, R&B Genre Director