Nikita Ramkissoon
Nikita Ramkissoon

Yes, I’m brown and I listen to rock music

I am a rock music writer and photographer and while in the photography pit recently, I was asked “what does an Indian chick know about rock?”

Aside from being called “an Indian chick”, which is an argument for another day, I was taken aback that in this day and age, someone could seriously still racially profile based on music taste.

We can’t ignore that there is a real racial divide in music — not just in the industry itself, but in the fans. You’d be an idiot not to recognise that rap, hip hop and R&B are black-dominated while rock, metal and indie are white-dominated. But those are not rules set in stone.

There are white rappers. There are black rock bands. It’s not rocket science. These musicians once considered anomalies are commonplace now. Look at Eminem, Bloc Party and Skunk Anansie. However divided the majority is, you cannot judge music taste based on the colour of someone’s skin.

Francois Van Coke of the seminal Afrikaans band Fokofpolisiekar once told me he hopes that the music transcends the language barrier, and that includes speaking to people of any colour. And that’s exactly what music does — it speaks to the soul. And the soul has no colour.

When one listens to music, it does something that other art forms don’t quite achieve. It’s something about the strings of notes that come together to tug at your heart and pull you in. For the moment, all that exists is you and the music. And when that happens — regardless of what genre you listen to — you have magic.

That feeling knows no race. That feeling knows know gender. It’s a feeling that connects you to the music and nothing else matters.

So don’t ask me what an Indian chick knows about rock. It’s about feeling the music. And if you can’t do that, then it doesn’t matter what colour you are — you just don’t connect.

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