Children’s music is one of the fastest growing music genres in the United States and is defined as music composed and performed for children.  An artist can use any type of music genre to make children’s music, with the only criteria being that the music must be for children. This means that with hundreds of music genres in the world, children’s music can come in all styles.

However, today’s children’s music scene in the United States is dominated by children’s artists who play rock[1], pop, country[2] and folk music.  These genres, while open to anyone, generally caters to the majority white community.  This includes the majority of children’s music radio stations, as well.  But, by doing so, they do not speak to many of the children in the black or urban communities because children in these communities typically listen to other genres of music.

The top five music genres in the black community are R&B, gospel, hip-hop, rap and smooth jazz[3].  While there are some children’s artists who fall in one or more of these categories, there are far too few artists making children’s music that cater to the black community.  Additionally, those who do cater to this community do not receive the same exposure via radio and/or television as their counterparts who play rock, pop or country music for children.

Netfa Freeman, a radio host and producer for Voices With Vision on WPFW 89.3 FM radio in Washington, DC, wrote a 2015 article entitled, “Where, Oh Where Has Black Children’s Music Gone?”  He stated,

“A troubling reality is that not only are there no national children’s (music) programs that cater specifically to the Black community, but additionally it seems many people don’t know of any nationally-known Black children’s music artists.[4]

Children generally prefer music that they hear in their home or communities and, therefore, are more attracted to these genres.  In an October 2014 article by Brandon Gaille, he states that,

“When you grow up in a certain environment, you tend to prefer certain types of music. If your parents grew up playing Oldies like Gary Lewis and the Playboys, then their songs are going to be on your playlists more often than not. You’ll sing their songs when you hear them played. The environment also includes your local community, so certain styles of music are going to be played more often and songs within those genres that are preferred will become part of the fabric of who you are as a person.[5]

The question then is, “What music are Black children listening to?”  In many cases, the answer is “Whatever music the parents are listening to,” which generally is not children appropriate and may not aid toward the child's social and academic development. 

Therefore, WEE Nation is dedicated to changing this dynamic by helping parents/guardians and other adult caregivers take control of their children's music listening experience by providing them with child-appropriate and self-affirming music that will enhance their child's social and cultural development – a necessary alternative to inappropriate adult music. 

[1] “Rock, pop, white power: How music influences support for ethnic groups,” https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-03/osu-rpw030512.php

[2] “46 Curious Country Music Demographics,” http://brandongaille.com/46-curious-country-music-demographics/

[3] “Listen Up: African-American Consumers and Music,”  http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/reports/2014/listen-up-african-american-consumers-and-music.html

[4] “Where, Oh Where Has Black Children’s Music Gone?” by Netfa Freeman  http://www.theuncledevinshow.com/single-post/2016/02/15/Where-Oh-Where-Has-Black-Children%E2%80%99s-Music-Gone

[5] “49 Great Music Genre Demographics,” http://brandongaille.com/49-great-music-genre-demographics/