Listening to black music today is depressing. Songs on today's urban radio playlists are drained of romance, tenderness and seduction. And it's not just about the rise of hardcore hip-hop or rappers who denigrate women.
Black people gave the world Motown, Barry White and "Let's Get It On." But we don't make love songs anymore.
I asked some of the stars who created the popular R&B classics of the late 1960s, '70s and early '80s. Their answer: The music changed because blacks lost something essential -- something that all Americans, regardless of race, should regret.
"We had so much harmony"
Some of what we lost, they say, was an appreciation of love itself.
Earth Wind & Fire keyboardist and founding member Larry Dunn says a new generation of black R&B artists is more cynical because more come from broken homes and broken communities.
I don't listen to black radio stations because I don't like rap, but I've recently listened with some fascination to the big pop station in L.A., KIIS, the one with Ryan Seacrest as DJ.