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How Many Black Films Feature Rock Soundtracks? (Survey)

medicine for melancholy soundtrack guitar

As Pop Culture would have it, you’d think that black people only listen to Hip-Hop and R&B. Just take a look at any product geared toward African-Americans whether it’s a movie or McDonald’s commercial and the underlying thread is usually the music.

And what about when black characters are introduced in mainstream movies with an accompanying rap soundtrack that announces their “blackness” like it’s on display. Is that necessary? Does that annoy that heck out of you or has it become something that you accept as normal?

Seriously, how often do you see black films spotlighting indie rock or alternative bands?

I wish I had a long list but only a couple films come to mind: Medicine for Melancholy and I’m Through With White Girls. Not only did Barry Jenkins craft a good story, the soundtrack is pretty rad featuring songs from New York synth-pop wonders Au Revoir Simone and music from Tom Waits.

Are black filmmakers not wanting to go an alternative route with soundtracks? Do they face opposition from studios when it comes to soundtrack choices? Are black audiences not ready for rock soundtracks? What’s the deal?

Let’s discuss. Share your thoughts and share some soundtracks.

And here’s a couple defining songs from…

Medicine for Melancholy – “Meet Me By The Water” by Saturday Looks Good.

I’m Through With White Girls – “Control” by MuteMath.

15 comments to How Many Black Films Feature Rock Soundtracks? (Survey)

  • More comments on the S&A Facebook page on this post, in case you didn’t see them…

  • Purple Rain comes to mind.

  • mumbler

    I think that the soundtrack for Medicine For Melancholy was, if not the best thing in the movie,one of them. It felt fresh too me like, these are people who certainly have some appreciation for Hip-Hop but it didn’t seem to be the only way they heard things. I can’t say that i remember the soundtrack for I’m Through With White Girls. The most memorable and best thing in that movie was the female lead who played the role with great Quirk

  • Miles Ellison

    Rock music is also black music, as much as that fact is obscured.

  • writer

    Spike’s Summer Of Sam had a very eclectic soundtrack.

  • Obsidienne

    Great topic :) I have an eclectic taste in music and typically write scripts with some soundtrack cues. Often I’ll derive inspiration from some of my favorite rock tracks, but also classical, electronic, and ambient pop. I would love to see black films with a more expansive mixture of music, and I’m guessing a lot of other people would too.

    • I’m glad you mentioned other genres! It doesn’t have to be limited to rock but I’m ready for black films to go beyond the typical soundtrack picks loaded with “urban music” whatever that means. I’m curious, are your stories/screenplays set in the suburbs, rural country or the city?

      • Obsidienne

        The settings for my stories are generally city and suburb. What are some of your favorite tunes right now? I can’t wait for Blonde Redhead’s next album to drop next week.

        • Nice, I’m getting into Blonde Redhead. My current favs are Explosions in the Sky (post-rock), Lights, Au Revoir Simone, Obi Best, Twilight Sleep, The Undeserving and Paper Route. I could go on and on but those are some good starters.

  • You have to throw Higher Learning soundtrack into the mix as well

  • Tony

    Spike Lee’s CLOCKERS.

    But then again if your black and listen to Rock you get called names by peers, from experience.

    Even talked with a guy on youtube who had to wear a mask to discuss his love of rock music.

  • Stagolee

    “I’m through with white girls” had a generous helping of rock music.

  • Mr. Dawber

    The new movie I WILL FOLLOW has a diverse mix of background music, including mellow alt-rock. Actually, the character Amanda, played by Beverly Todd, is a huge U2 fan, and that band’s catalog is discussed.