music to my eyes

[Editor’s Note: You may think to your self, this post is more ‘music’ than ‘movie’. You’re correct. We here at TVDM appreciate the interconnectedness of entertainment and subsequently appreciate this post. We won’t often veer to far away from our TV/movie focus, so when we do make expectations your job is to read and critique, but NOT to judge us….although we understand if you do. And by ‘we’ I just mean me…Will & Marcus promise to be thoroughly pissed at any and all judging. -Nicole ]

I would like to pose a question to you. What ever happened to (memorable) soundtracks accompanying popular Black movies? Do The Right Thing, Boomerang, Deep Cover, Love Jones, Soul Food…all popular Black movies that had critically acclaimed soundtracks. In my opinion, the disappearance of Black movie soundtracks can be credited to:

Lack of quality Black artists that can carry the weight of a critically acclaimed film

+

Rapidly decreasing rate of Black movie releases.

Black movie soundtracks have been around since the 1960s. Legendary soul singers like Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, Willie Hutch and The Staples Singers provided timeless anthems to accompany legendary Blaxploitation films (Superfly, Shaft, Foxy Brown and Let’s Do It Again).  Anytime “Pusherman” or “Let’s Do It Again” is played in a room full of 40+ year old Black people, you can count down the seconds until all hands are in the air, lyrics are belted out in unison and all feet (and usually hips) are moving from side-to-side.

I wasn’t born in the 1970s.  I am an 80’s baby and grew up/adopted the hip-hop culture as my way of life.  Even still, I can tell you where I was when I saw Deep Cover and heard the title theme or how the Crooklyn soundtrack stayed in my cassette player everyday during my walk to school. I miss that. Unfortunately, I believe Black music has come to a point of no return.  During my adolescence, I had the luxury of seeing an ENTERTAINING Black film and have LEGENDARY music from the likes of Public Enemy, OutKast, Dr. Dre, Boyz II Men, Refugee All-Stars, Toni Braxton and countless other artists.

To be fair, Jay-Z released a full-length album in commemoration of “The Frank Lucas Story”, aka “American Gangster”.  However, I still have trouble giving that album full “soundtrack” credit because, as Mr. Watch The Throne stated himself, it’s a concept album.  Nice try, Jay-Hova.

I won’t end on a Tyler Perry bashing note, but I will offer some constructive criticism. Mr. Perry has (unfortunately) had the Black movie game on lock for some years now. Millions of Black Americans rush to the theaters and pay to see his “blockbusters”.  He could use his movies as a platform to bring strong, memorable Black soundtracks to the forefront. Had a “Why Did I Get Married (The Soundtrack)” come to fruition, it could have been one of the best R&B collaborative studio albums of all time. Although a scary thought, the next Perry film could be a catalyst for finally getting Jodeci back in the studio. Imagine the possibilities….

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