*Tank is a multi-Grammy-nominated R&B singer, songwriter and producer who recently released his eighth studio album, SAVAGE. Recently he added another new experience to his resume as co-host, along with Wendy Raquel Robinson, of the 27th annual Bounce Trumpet Awards.
The event is an all-star celebration of African American leaders who have achieved greatness and inspired it in others. EURweb’s Jill Munroe spoke to Tank about the show, plus, he shares his thoughts on Jennifer Lopez’s Motown Grammys tribute performance and what’s missing in music today.
Jill Munroe: How exciting for you was it hosting this award show? Is this your first time hosting an award show?
Tank: Yeah, the first time. It was something me and my team had always talked about and were trying to get into. Just being able to move into a different space, career wise, hosting, speaking and other things.
Blessed that I got paired up with Wendy (Raquel Robinson.) She’s just awesome at everything and so it made it that much easier.
Jill: Did you get to flex your comedic chops? Wendy is great and she’s extremely funny with great timing.
Tank: Yeah, we got to have fun. You know what I mean? And that was really the key for me. I just wanted to be able to have fun with it. And once they told me who I’d be paired up with, I knew it was going to be a blast.
We had fun from the photo shoot all the way to the show. Like we had a really good time.
Jill: It’s black history month and the Trumpet Award obviously honors African American leaders who have achieved greatness and are an inspiration. Are there any people in your personal life that you think might have been overlooked or should be honored as far as achievement for black history month?
Tank: I don’t want to say “overlooked” because this is not the last Trumpet Award show. We got plenty more years to go, I’m hoping we have enough time to get everybody in. There are a lot of people were doing so, so many great things. You got Jamie Foxx, he is someone on a whole other level.
We honored T.I. which I thought was really cool, everything he’s doing in the community. Killer Mike, is moving things too, which is really, really dope. I mean, the list goes on and on. We could go on for days. And I think that the Trumpet Awards is a very great place for all these things to happen, for people who are being impactful for our culture and our community. So we’ve got plenty more to go and plenty more names to the call.
Jill: So, switching gears a little bit. You have longevity in this music industry, which is something that not a lot of people can claim, what do you think music is missing right now?
Tank: Well, I can’t say if it’s missing anything right now. Music has always been a thing where there’ve been imbalances where people want this music to shine over this music, or this music is dominating at the time so this music has to take a back seat.
What’s happening right now is that R&B music is making its comeback. The emotional side of R&B music, which is what we’re missing. So you see HER and you see Daniel Caesar, or you have these moments when it’s like — that’s R&B, that’s what it should feel like, and those are the people who should be up for awards.
So to me, there’s nothing missing. It’s just all in who’s having the bigger moment in terms of the mainstream push, which has never really mattered to me. I’ve always wanted it to be a little bit more fair, but the business is what it is in terms of people doing it. People are doing all styles of music every day, putting out music every day. And if people want a certain type of style or want a certain type of feeling, they’re going to go out there and search for it. I mean, it’s there. Dope artists are doing dope music everyday, dropping dope music. So it’s just about discovery at this point.
Jill: The Grammy’s were last weekend. There was a Motown tribute and there was some controversy over Jennifer Lopez’s performance. Do you think that in effort to become “extremely woke” that there is an over-correction to some of our wrongs? That we sometimes have become too sensitive to things?
Tank: We’re in a very sensitive place in humanity, period. Nobody wants their toes stepped on, and any slight bit of overstepping in someone’s eyes just becomes a way bigger issue from people who sometimes don’t just step away from anger and view it from a patient place, a place of love.
I mean, we’re talking about Jennifer Lopez. Jennifer Lopez can have a lot of other things to do. You’re talking about an international superstar. She could have said — you know what, I’m cool on doing a tribute to Motown. I’m good. You guys can get somebody else. I’m busy — like, she could have easily done that.
But the fact that this was music that inspired her, and this was music that she was raised on, this was music that’s the foundation of her own career. Her saying yes, and doing it on the level she did it on is just to be respected. And when Smokey Robinson put out his statement, I was so glad that he did, because everybody’s so angry right now, but they’re missing the bigger picture. Like — OK, this woman was paying tribute to something that meant something to her.
Is she not allowed to love Motown? Is she not allowed to love R&B music? Is she not allowed? Was that music not meant for the world? Was it just meant for our neighborhood? Was it just meant for people of color? Is that what we’re saying?
So we’re dancing backwards on this one. This music was meant to inspire the world. It’s supposed to bring the world together. And that’s what Jennifer Lopez represents. She represents an international superstar who was inspired by this movement, by this music that continues to inspire my four year old son. You know what I mean? He’s watching a Motown cartoon, and wakes up every morning at 6:30 singing all of the songs. He doesn’t know… He doesn’t know that for all intents and purposes that
J-Lo isn’t black. He just knows that she’s singing some really cool songs that he loves. And she’s performing, and she’s dancing and she’s giving it everything that she has, and enjoys it.
The 2019 Bounce Trumpet Awards, hosted by NAACP Image® Award-winning actress Wendy Raquel Robinson and Tank, airs Sunday, February 17 and features Performances by Ashanti, India.Arie, rappers Da Brat, Lil’ Mama, and Yo Yo and R&B singer Keyshia Cole. Honorees are Tip “T.I.” Harris, Robert Townsend, MC Lyte, Rodney Jerkins, JD McCrary, Dapper Dan and Tim King.