OK I can officially say that African-Americans have truly stormed the global arena. My jaw dropped and I was stunned after first reading about JERO aka Jerome White Jr., then seeing the video of his performance. Jerome's maternal grandmother was Japanese and used to sing and teach traditional enka songs to him while growing up in Pittsburgh, PA. Enka were popular postwar songs of love, loss and hardship. Similar to American blues, enka had lost much of its popularity with the new generation of Japanese. Jerome's love for the music pushed him toward singing contests where he would stun the audience by singing in flawless Japanese dressed in the wardrobe of Hip Hop- baggy clothes, durag and a fitted.
Jero as he is known best to the Japanese audience, was named best new artist last year by Japan Record Awards — the Japanese version of the Grammys. His love for and skill at singing enka has played a large role in renewing interest in the genre. I will admit, I always wanted to be fluent in Japanese but Jerome took it to a "Whole....'Notha....Level!"
Read more about Jero HERE