Black Music

Recently, a Black person told me that there was no Black music. The point that she was trying to make, was that since she knew White people that listened to hip-hop and that she knew Black people that listened to Country and Rock & Roll, therefore music has no color. I disagree.

We, as Black people, need to be proud of all of the accomplishments that we have, and being the creators of Gospel, Jazz, Blues, Soul, Funk, New Jack Swing, Go-Go, Neo-Soul, R&B, Rap, and Hip-Hop is definitely a big achievement for us to be proud of.

Our music is derived from a strong, courageous people that even while being enslaved used their minds, talents, and creativity to use their music to not only entertain themselves, but to help set themselves free. It’s been said, that songs such as “Wade in the Water” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” contain coded messages to aid slaves on their journey to freedom. Black music has definitely evolved from the Spirituals, Field Hollers, and Work Songs of slavery times.

One of the newer forms of Black music is Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop is not just a form of music, it is a way of life that has a culture all its own complete with its own language and clothing. When it first started, Hip-Hop music was not just an outlet for people to express themselves, but it was also a platform for people to bring awareness to many important social issues and it was something creative for people to spend their time on. Hip-Hop is still all of these things, but it now also has many other elements. Hip-Hop, although having originated from Black Americans and Latino Americans in New York in the 1970’s has now transcended being only a voice for those that created it, but it has now become a universal form of expression for young and young at heart people everywhere.

But the fact that our music has crossed over into the mainstream and is being listened to by all races, does not make it any less Black music, although some people would lead you to believe that it does.

Take labels for instance, some people, to refrain from using color labels, label R&B/Rap/Hip-Hop music as Urban music and the radio stations that play it, Urban radio. But, everyone knows that Urban=Black.

Although Black music and White music are all an integral part of American Music and can be enjoyed by people of all races, we as Black people need to recognize what is ours and not forget where we as a people came from and what we have contributed to the American culture.