Blackout: My 40 Years In The Music Business by Paul Porter



Since 1976, when the busing riots in Boston sent me scrambling into the radio station at WRBB at Northeastern University, the music industry has been my life. During my very first stint in radio, I was Paul “Pure Love” Porter from midnight to 3 a.m., and I fell in love with the medium of radio and the impact I had on my community. Radio introduced me to women. Radio introduced me to cocaine. Radio introduced me to some of my best friends. And radio killed some of them too. Blackout is a ride through my whirlwind of media jobs, working for and with some of the music industry’s most colorful, well-known and scandalous players. Blackout is an explosive look at the corruption that is running rampant in the industry. And Blackout is an inside account of how corporations erased Black identity from Black radio and mainstream music — and why I chose to fight back.


“Through commercial rap, young boys were learning to view females as sex objects, while young girls were led to believe that to “get the guy” they had to dress like strippers and embrace titles such as “bitch” or “hoe.” Relationships, at least as they were modeled through mainstream rap, did not include romance, love, or courting. But it seemed as no one saw this as a problem.”

I was riding in the car from from dinner the other night when the song Ain’t No Fun by Snoop Dogg came on the radio, I was in a zone and rapping right along, and then I stopped because the above passage from Blackout crossed my mind. It would have been easy to remember the juicy parts of the book as far as who was and probably still is shady in the radio and music television business as Paul chronicled his career in the industry, but thinking about the impact and impression that modern music leaves on kids stuck with me the most. The above-referenced Snoop song was released when I was in high school and honestly, there was no reason why I should have known all of the lyrics. Music, just like books, tv and movies, can play a major role in how young people think they should behave, especially if parents are not explaining the lyrics to them.

“But after all the conscious talk, what’s the final message to listeners when black radio constantly plays music filled with negative messages and stereotypes?”

This quote is an important question raised by Porter. What message are we sending to our young people and to society in general when the songs played on the radio by black artists primarily talk about drugs and sex. After reading this book, it is evident that Paul Porter has earned the right to question what we promote because of his many years in the industry and it is my belief that others should follow his lead. Blackout is an insightful firsthand account about how black music has changed over the years and is a book that should be read by anyone that is interested in what goes on behind the scenes.



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