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The First White...??

Updated: Jun 14, 2020

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen that I shared a page from my upcoming book called 'Why Is My Piano Black and White?'.

Yes, John Legend is the first black man to win the coveted EGOT. The first man to win the EGOT was Richard Charles Rodgers. He was an American composer who wrote songs which featured in musicals such as The Sound Of Music and Oklahoma!

We see this phenomenon all the time. George Washington wasn't the first white President of the United States; he's just the first President. Yuri Gagarin wasn't the first white astronaut in space - he was the first astronaut in space. Rodgers wasn't the first white man to win an EGOT - he was simply the first man to win those particular awards.

When being white is the norm, there is no need to address the fact that you are white.

When being white is the norm, there is no need to address the fact that you are white. If you have grown up in a white (or predominantly white) area, been taught by white (or predominantly white) teachers, and analysed music made by white (or predominantly white) people, there's no need to question much of anything. The black or brown faces stand out, as it's they who are entering your world, not the other way around. There's no real need to question the terms 'world music' or ''African'' drumming' because these terms don't affect who you are, or how you see yourself. They don't place you in a geographical location, or fix you to a particular instrument, or style of music. Even though we could call Beethoven, Mozart, Bach et al. 'The Great White Composers', there isn't (or at least there hasn't been) a need to do so.

Maybe that should change...

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