I Am Not My Music

Melvin Twigg Mason

Recently, I was getting dressed after my body-toning workout and the young fella next to me in the locker room was getting dressed while playing a rather vulgar rap tune from his mp3 for all to hear. As it got to a particularly rough stanza, I thought to myself that I wanted to ask him to somehow keep the music to himself. And normally I would have left it AT JUST A THOUGHT, but this day I said something to the effect of “Wow” or ”Man!” in a rather appalled & disapproving tone. Realizing I was bothered by this selection of music, the young man turned to me and said (over the music), “What, you don’t listen to rap” (or he might have said hip-hop)? I said, “No.”

“Well haven’t you talked like that before?”


Then he said something about how he used to be more considerate towards others, especially folks like me of the older generation (ouch!), until it dawned on him that if anyone was offended by his music, then he felt they were ultimately rejecting or offended by him!

He proceeded to reiterate that his music choices express WHO HE IS and those who are offended by them are offended by him just like I would be offended by those who rejected my music. “Wouldn’t you agree?” he asked. But I said, “No, not really, because there’s more dimensions to my life than the music I listen to. My music is not who I am. Sometimes the music I listen to is to make me happy, or to make me think, or to express how I feel in the moment. It may have nothing to do with who I am as a person.” He pushed back a little by sharing an analogy: We may want to think that life is all “peaches,” but the real world ain’t like that, and his music reflects the real world. I calmly agreed with him that yes, life is full of “sour grapes,” which is all the more reason I try to surround myself with music & people that remind me of the “peaches” of life. The World dumps enough sour grapes on us as it is; I don’t need to give it help. He thanked me for my observations, turning down his player as he walked away.

But what do you think? If a friend or family member doesn’t like the music you listen to, do you feel they are also rejecting you?! Is it our job to demand that everyone submit to our [loud] music choices (perhaps as we drive down the road with our windows down)? Are we defined by the music we listen to, the company we keep, or even the clothes we wear?? If so, is it time to consider a change?

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