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African American Music Influence African American Studies African American Music Influence

2719 words - 11 pages

African American Musical Influence
Music can free the human soul and every single person can listen to it. African American music became quickly part of American culture and even if its themes vary, from a pop singer to a rapper, discrimination will always be a theme in African American music; and among this, it had a big influence upon all peoples, including whites in the U.S.A., who started listening to it, loving it and even making it. Music gives you a certain perspective, a way of seeing and feeling things. That was contagious too. By music, you can express whatever you want, whatever you feel. Before I begin I would like to state that African American’s have been pushing the progression of Music throughout the decades and creating a sense of culture for their people to listen to, as well as forcing people of other ethnic backgrounds to hear their story and come to together united as one people. This document will begin with tracing African American music beginning in the 1900s continually making it’s a way to the modern era of Black music in America. Of course African American’s have had a hand in nearly every genre of music out there. For this report, I will be taking an in-depth look into the popular music of African Americans and the cultural impact it had in the United States helping frame the society we know today, and their impact on modern culture. I will briefly take time to talk about significant Black artists of the time that shaped the music as well.
The early part of the twentieth century saw a constant rise in popularity of African American blues and jazz. As well as the developments in the fields of visual arts, the Harlem Renaissance of the early twentieth century lead to developments in music. White and Latino performers of both genres existed, and there had always been cross-cultural communication between the United States' races. African American music was often simplified for white audiences, who would not have as readily accepted black performers, leading to genres like swing music, a pop-based outgrowth of jazz. In 1901, the first known recorded of black musicians was that of Bert Williams and George Walker; this set featured music from Broadway musicals. This was a huge step for African’s to step out into the limelight and show their gifted abilities that were shunned by white people for the duration of their time in America. African American’s would continue to seize the opportunity with black musicals broadway occurring in 1921 with “Sissle and Blake's Shuffle Along.” In 1927, a concert survey of black music was performed at Carnegie Hall including jazz, spirituals and the symphonic music of W.C. Handy's Orchestra and Jubilee Singers.
By the 1940s, cover versions of African American songs were commonplace, and frequently topped the charts, while the original musicians found little success. These Black covers of White people’s music became increasingly popular by the 1950’s African American artists had grimy lyrics...

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