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Troy's Rants

Can Black People Go 5 Minutes Without Music?

…or rather why do we have to blast the music during every gathering?

Having been back in Harlem now for about 4 years — after being away for over 20. There are plenty of improvements but one thing about this community that gets on my nerves is some folks apparent belief that we all want to hear their music or that it is fine to just blast you music out of your car, open window, or mobile boom box.

I know I live a a big city, and I don’t expect silence. However why do men, and it is usually men, have to blast music all the time.

It seems if there is more than two of us together someone is blasting music. When did it become a requirement for every picnic to have ultra loud music. Lately the music is not just loud but obscene…

My next door neighbor was blasting music out of his window one afternoon while my daughters and I were hanging out in the backyard. The lyrics went something like this;

I was getting some head
gettin gettin some head
I was getting some head
gettin gettin some head infinitum (or so it seemed)

I yelled, “A brother can’t even go OUTSIDE without subjecting his daughters to obscenities!” The song was stopped midstream. My daughters thought the situation was hilarious. They seem to take pleasure at their old man’s irritation with the words in some of the rap music. Now when we hear the song in the street, the oldest will say, “there goes Dad’s favorite song”

Sure there are times for loud music; like at a dance party, or a concert, but the concept of background music, or God forbid silence, seems alien in my community.

IPODs — same thing. Many people walk around all day with music blasting from those little white earbuds. Are people ever interested in being alone with their own thoughts? Has loud music replaced conversation?


Troy D. Johnson is the President, founder and webmaster of, LLC (The African American Literature Book Club). Launched in March of 1998, has grown to become the largest and most frequently visited website dedicated to books and films by and about people of African descent.