Nile Rodgers recalls race discussion with David Bowie

12 July 2020, 16:00 | Updated: 12 July 2020, 21:41

Nile Rodgers and David Bowie in 1983
Nile Rodgers has recalled a conversation he had about race and music with David Bowie. Picture: Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images

The Chic legend has revealed he envied the late rocker's musical freedom and the fact he wasn't worried about being pigeon-holed or being forced into "one lane".

Nile Rodgers has recalled a discussion he had with David Bowie about race and revealed why he was envious of the late icon's freedom.

The Chic star teamed up with the Ziggy Stardust rocker to produce his iconic 1983 album Let's Dance, and talked about his frustrations about being pigeon-holed as a black artist at the time.

Speaking to the Metro.co.uk, he said: "A lot of artists have become wealthier and more famous quicker, but still black artists are basically ... basically you have to drive in one lane and that is something I have always tried to fight.

"But it's very difficult because if you're pigeon-holed and you have to respond a certain way to be part of the current zeitgeist - that's very difficult.

He added: "When I worked with artists like David Bowie, he told me he never thinks about that.

"He said, 'I just think about what I'm feeling and what I'm seeing. I never worry about which audience is going to like it', and I remember saying, 'Jesus, it must be amazing to be white.'"

However the Le Freak star revealed that Bowie understood and sympathised with his position and wasn't turned off by his bold statement.

He added: "He got it, he wasn't offended at all. He understood it completely."

READ MORE: How David Bowie’s Let’s Dance album nearly caused a rift with Tony Visconti

Bowie's famous MTV interview from 1983 - the same year Let's Dance was released - indeed demonstrates that he not only understood the plight of Rodgers, but he agreed with him as well.

The video clip, which often goes viral, sees the Heroes singer turn the tables on his interviewer Mark Goodman, when he says: "'m just floored by the fact that there are so few black artists on it [MTV]. Why is that?"

Watch it below:

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