In the year 2017 we as people have done a great job of raising awareness about discrimination of all kinds. Of course, discrimination still exists in spades, but at least it is no longer overlooked by the masses. Discrimination based on race, gender, sexual preferences, religion, and all sorts of other things are no longer tolerated by the public, and for good reason. So in this sense, we have made great strides. Is it possible though, that in making those strides, we skipped a crucial step along the way? The step I am talking about of course is discrimination based on musical preference.
I have been told that as a straight, white, male that I do not have the capacity to feel offended because of my overwhelming privilege. But as much as people would like to build up that narrative, it simply is not true. The fact is, I DO feel offended. I DO feel ostracized by friends, family and strangers alike, and let me tell ya, it is not a good feeling. I feel this discrimination every day because I myself am a Creed fan. I can’t really remember when it became “cool” to make fun of Creed, but by the time that day arrived, it was too late. I was already entrenched in my Creed fandom. I’ve been told to “Just change” or to “listen to something else” but the more I tried the more I realized that it wasn’t a choice. I was born this way and I have finally come to grips with the fact that this is who I am. And you know what? I’m ready to say that I’m PROUD of it.
I once had water bottle thrown at my car while listening to “My Sacrifice” with my windows down while they screamed “Creed Sucks loser!” (True story). Another time, somebody told me they wished it was my last breath when I requested “One Last Breath” at the bar. For years I’ve had to lie when asked what song I wanted to hear on road trips. “Put on that new Pitbull song,” I’d say sheepishly, in fear of their reaction if I requested what I really wanted. Living in fear was not the way I was raised. I adapted to this behavior based on my experiences. When I was a young boy my father told me “Never be afraid to express who you really are.” Granted, this was when my favorite TV show was Power Puff Girls and my only CD was *NSYNC, so he may have thought that I had other issues going on, but the point remains the same. 15 years later, I think I’m ready to listen to that advice.
I’ve had friends tell me “I know how you feel man, I jam out to ‘Higher’ once in awhile when I’m at at the gym.” Or “I feel ya, ‘With Arms Wide Open’ really resonated with me when my son was born.” I appreciate this kind of support, but the truth is, they don’t really understand. They don’t know Creed’s catalog like the back of their hand like I do. They don’t know the struggle that comes with that encyclopedic knowledge of the band. They know the classics, they know the hits. For them it’s a sense of nostalgia, for me it’s a lifestyle.
No longer will I hide in fear of what others think. No longer will I let them dictate what is “acceptable” to listen to and what’s not. If they want to discriminate against me, that’s fine. I can live with it. Fact of the matter is that discrimination will never go away. The only thing we can do is to try and live with it and bring awareness to its evils. I am okay with opening up about this issue if it will positively impact someone’s life , this is My Sacrifice, if you will. I hope this story has inspired you—inspired you to no longer live in fear of liking Creed, Nickelback, Kid Rock or any other band that sees such unwavering ridicule. I hope this inspired you to take a look at yourself in the mirror and realize that music discrimination is wrong.
An Unashamed Creed Fan