How race and ‘black music’ has benefitted American music

America has been the definition of equality in music. American music can be traced back to both the local black and white community. The main influences in the nation have been European classical/folk music and African-American blues, jazz, soul and R&B (we deliberately avoid hip-hop as we don’t consider it music).

If any criticism can be aimed at western classical music, it is that it was entirely owned by the white community. Other races were not seen fit to perform classical compositions. Its lack of popularity in today’s world is partly a consequence of that. But the beauty of music is that when this blatant unfairness is exposed, a new alternative appears to enrich our lives.


And this began jazz. It can almost be perceived that the unfairness and cruelty exposed on the black community throughout the western world led to the emergence of the soulful jazz. Some people definitely attribute jazz to such cruelty. That’s the funny thing. Even from something as inhuman as slavery and oppression, something magical began. We would like to think that black people hit out at their oppressors through the medium of music.

With all the difficult stories, there are ones illustrating harmony as well. The modern Rock ‘n roll that began in the late ‘50’s with the emergence of the fabulous four from Liverpool took its origins from African-American Blues artists such as Freddie King, BB King and Albert Nelson. While there are still controversies about the so-called plundering of African music, many think of it as the fusion of two great schools of music.

Blues rock has become the most popular form of rock, with artists such as the Beatles, Rolling stones, Led Zeppelin, Deep purple, Guns ‘n Roses etc. skyrocketing the genre to superstardom. It owes its existence to the black community that invented it and the white community that popularized it. It is the very definition of two races working together in harmony.

Another great example is the emergence of funk rock. Funk was a genre founded by the African-American community, which combined with the classic rock genre. Artists, white and, black alike, popularized this genre and produced amazing music. Such artists include the Red hot chili peppers and Leonard ‘Lenny’ Krawitz.

These great examples show the effect of the popular terminology “Black music” that has added significant value to the American music scene. The rest of the world have a thing or two to learn from their counterpart to the west.

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