Stuff That Black People Who Know White People Like

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So, continuing my journeys through the canon of White Music, I've gotten into Pat Benatar, another one of those artists I missed due to my obsession Rakim, Just-Ice, Mantronix, and The Jungle Brothers. Seriously, I can remember watching Friday Night Videos yawning through shit like this hoping they'd somehow make it to Run-DMC.

I was telling my wife the other day that what really gets me going for the morning run is hearing Pat Benatar yell, "We are young!!" My wife, who, though very black, grew up in considerably different climes, looked at me as though I'd just said, "Hey, I heard this Pat Benatar chick today. She's alright. You ever heard of her?"

Anyway, "Love Is a Battlefield" sort of amazes me for its optimism, its commitment to what David Edelstein calls the Go For It formula. The underlying theme being that anyone can do anything as long as they are American. (Top Gun and Flash Dance are Go For It movies. I guess "I Believe I Can Fly" is quintessential Go For It song.) The thing that amazes me is that song like that could come in the '80s, when everyone who I lived around was convinced that crack, guns, and teen pregnancy were about to drive black people into the sea.

Either way. It's a great song.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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