Lenny Kravitz: Choosing Optimism | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Lenny Kravitz: Choosing Optimism

For more than 20 years, Lenny Kravitz has defied the expectations of radio programmers with his mix of psychedelic rock and soul. His newest album, Black and White America, continues in that tradition, hopping between genres and featuring guest spots from Jay-Z, Drake and Trombone Shorty.

In spite of its diverse sonic palette, the album does adhere to a central theme of race in the U.S. Speaking with Weekend Edition Sunday host Audie Cornish, Kravitz says he wrote the title track in response to a TV documentary about negative reactions to President Obama's election.

"It was addressing the fact that these people, these Americans, did not like what America had become — they wanted America to be back the way it was 100 years ago," Kravitz says. "It was quite intense. They even spoke about assassination plots.

"We all know that racism exists, and it's out there, and we're going to bump into it from time to time," he adds. "But to hear people speaking about it with such rage and anger and ignorance ... I was like, 'Really? To that extent?' The song just naturally came out of me."

Taking a socially conscious approach in his lyrics has sometimes gotten Kravitz in trouble with critics who've accused him of putting the message before the music. He says he has never taken that criticism to heart.

"It's funny how, when you put out a positive message, people question it or don't like it, or think that it's old-school," Kravitz says. "I mean, look at the world we're living in — we need all of these things. I choose to be positive and optimistic."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Getting On' Star Niecy Nash: 'I Never Wanted To Be Funny'

Nash says it took her a long time to see her comedic side as a gift, but she finally embraced it. Now her role as Nurse Didi in the HBO comedy series has opened the door to more serious opportunities.
WAMU 88.5

Hops Coming Home: Loudoun County To Add Hop Production Facility

The first commercial-scale hop production and processing facility in the region is being planned out in Loudoun County, further adding to the region's burgeoning beer business.

NPR

Families Feel Sidelined As U.S. Reviews Hostage Policy

The White House is reviewing how it handles hostage crises following the brutal murders of Americans abroad, but families of hostages say they're often left out of the conversation.
NPR

Marine Corps Finds It Tough To Shut Down Sexist Facebook Groups

Female Marines are being humiliated and generally degraded by their peers on Facebook. The groups' pages are frequently shut down, but return within days due to a dedicated following.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.