Macklemore has found a place in my heart.
WABC on the AM dial was my childhood radio station. 92.3 FM serves the same role for my children—we aren’t in the car for a minute before the voices from the backseat demand “92.3” and “louder” pretty much in unison. Rock and Roll is my preferred choice of music but catchy hooks will grab anyone eventually so I now sing along to Pink and Selena Gomez (god help me). But over time I have come to see Macklemore in a different light.
Macklemore aka Ben Haggerty and Ryan Lewis have made one of the more successful records of the year, The Heist. Thrift Shop was the first ridiculously fun and irresistible single. I love the message of the song but I especially love these quotes that have been making the rounds about how the song would have been received if he were black.
“You have to acknowledge where the art came from, where it is today, how you’re benefiting from it,” he explained. “At the very least, just bringing up those points and acknowledging that, yes, I understand my privilege, I understand how it works for me in society, and how it works for me in 2013 with the success that (our album) The Heist has had.”
Of course the goal is to make “great albums,” but Macklemore feels fame isn’t as sporadic as it seems. “I do think a song like ‘Thrift Shop’ was safe enough for the kids,” he continued. “It was like, ‘This is music that my mom likes and that I can like as a teenager,’ and even though I’m cussing my a– off in the song, the fact that I’m a white guy, parents feel safe. They let their six-year-olds listen to it. I mean it’s just…it’s different. And would that success have been the same if I would have been a black dude? I think the answer is no.”
I can’t speak to the truth of what he is saying but I appreciate that he is saying it.
The video I am putting up today is for the new single Same Love a pop song about being gay that inspires a dialogue with my young children every time we hear it. My kids seem opposite sex crazy already at five and seven years old but it is never too soon to talk about respect, and individual choice, and love, and I am thankful for a top forty song that can stimulate an understanding of the world around us. I can’t say that for the content of most of the songs we hear on the radio.