We Wanted Chikezie the Immigrant

Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times argues that Americans might not have dinged Idol's one remaining black male singer if he'd shown off his Nigerian roots. Mourning the loss of the rich R&B and soul contributions of African-American male singers, Ms. Powers is troubled by "white America's seeming reluctance to universally embrace a strong black male voice, unless it belongs to a rapper selling blaxploitation fantasies to teens." We're okay with African-American male singers, she says, but only if they're relatively fresh off the boat:
(Chikezie) should have taken a cue from the black male singer to find the greatest recent success -- Akon, who almost beat Daughtry for last year's top spot. Like Chikezie, Akon has African roots, and he's used his immigrant voice to shake up preconceived notions of what a soul singer should sound like. Chikezie kept talking about "Nigerian cultural music" during his interviews; he should have incorporated some into this performances.
I'll admit the temptation to babble my way through airport security, wielding my "American" accent to escape random spot checks. But as I read Powers' article, I realized sadly that there's one demographic in our society who might actually benefit by faking a foreign accent -- young black men.

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