All the '80s Rock Gods Were People of Color

It's (hopefully?) not controversial in this, the year of our Beyonce 2020, to say that rock and roll was stolen from the black community. From the moment Elvis probably snatched the guitar right out of some dude's hands, it's been thought of as the domain of the blond and mopey, but just because people of color went on to invent countless other genres of music doesn't mean they abandoned rock and roll. You probably don't even realize just how many of them were still around right up to its death knell, A.K.A., the '80s.

For example, if you'd never seen Eddie Van Halen, you could be forgiven for assuming he was some German dude. You could have also looked at his face every single day for several decades and reasonably come to the same conclusion.

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But the man who inspired millions of Beavis and/or Buttheads to take up the guitar was actually Dutch, so get your languages straight. Oh, he was also Indonesian.

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Likewise, if you know who Phil Lynott is (and even if you don't, you have probably made a joke about his boys and their location as it relates to town), you probably just know that he's Irish. To be fair, he makes it very hard not to know, but his father was a Black man from British Guiana. Behold, what could have been the image of rock and roll in a much cooler timeline.

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It's hard to tell because his whole look involves covering his face, but guitarist of many bands Slash is the son of a black costume designer who worked with every major act of the '60s and '70s. Slash caught her naked with David Bowie once. To be clear, the rock god in question here is Slash's mom.

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Freddie Mercury himself, the one person we can surely all agree rocked harder than God, was born Farrokh Bulsara to parents from an ethno-religious community with roots in Persia. The bad news is that Freddie Mercury didn't cure racism, and if anyone could do it, it was him. 

The good news is that Freddie Mercury cured the world's lack of Freddie Mercury.

Top image: Alan Light/Wikimedia Commons

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