The revolution of Africa American history is a field of study that has attracted the interest of many scholars. During the past decades, the human rights of African Americans were highly ignored. Slavery, racism, and human trafficking have been on the rising since 1776. Although there has been a momentous progression in recent years, we cannot say African Americans have secured their total freedom across the world and hence, there are still more that ought to be done. African American culture universally known as Black American culture can be described as the contribution of the Africans in shaping the U.S. culture as distinct from conventional American culture. Cultural identity is discrete and immensely dominant on American and global wide-reaching cultural view as a whole. Daniels (18) argues that African American culture has got its ancestries in the blend between the cultures of West and Central Africa and the Anglo-Celtic culture imposed a numerous influence in the people's way of life. For this paper, blue music will be used to explore the context of African American culture in the period between 1776 to the present. There is clear evidence that music is directly related to culture. Several scholars have argued that music itself is culture. It can be used as an identity of the individuals' background.
Role of Music in Shaping the African American Culture
Since tradition, specific forms of music are associated with particular behavior of people. It has an effective way of connecting people, and it reaches beyond race and time. We cannot doubt the fact that music plays a critical role in ushering the unforgettable memories of the past. More specifically, the music of the past centuries had deeper meaning reflecting of a given social community. Black music constituted stories of love, society and the African American power (Keyes 112). It provides an excellent tool of delivering an intended message and transmitting cultural practice from one generation of the next. It is because music is one of the most common heritage that can be inherited by future generation. People use their musical experience to influence preferences for music from their own culture. Although modern music has an insignificant effect on culture, traditional music can be considered as a great reflection of culture.
African American music genres arose from the historical condition of slavery which was much popular during the colonial era. It was characterizing the way of life of the Blacks. The 20th century will remain memorable to all Americans since it was the period when the United States became more influential across the globe. This is even much true in the field of music which is ranging from jazz to rock made the market a significant move for the Americans. It also restored the effectiveness of music in defining culture. The blues music also evolved recently, and it is more associated with traditional African slavery. Black music has been the only thing giving African Americans hope and identity. It gives them the voice to fight for their rights and power in the attempts of defining their identity (Daniels 14). In recent years, historians of culture have posited that Afro-American music has been a significant source of narrating black history. Blues are essential elements of defining African society. Blues is a musical genre that originated from South America, and it is rooted in the African traditions.
Blues Music as the Part of Unique African American Identity
The origin of blues music can be traced back to the time of slavery. The Blacks were the primary victims of racial discrimination, slavery, and human trafficking. During that era, music and dancing was used to preserve cultural memories and maintaining the African rituals (Steinfeld, "The Social Significance of Blues Music"). In the 19th century, the Black-American held several events were comprised of traditional music and dances. The music's tempo started with the lowest frequency and increased eventually and included chanting, stomping, and clapping. The music was highly adopted by the African Americans both those that were free and the enslaved. Blues formed one of the well-known identity of this particular group of people and were recognized both locally and across the world. Just like any other form of music, blues tells more about the way of life of the Afro-American as well as their cultural practice.
The issue of music in the African culture can be addressed by laying out the participants and critical analysis of the artists. There is enough evidence that blues music has shaped American culture and creating a better understanding of popular music. Music is believed to specify whether the performers possess the in-depth social background to a specific group of people. The famous B.B. King is known for his contribution in the blues music, and he is one of the legends in this sector. He left a remarkable legacy that will hold up into the future the African American culture. He possessed adequate knowledge and experience of the Afro-American which played a substantial role in shaping his career. B.B. King expressed much concern on the status of the blues music targeting the African American audience (Greene, "B.B. King, the Blues, and African American Identity | Society for US Intellectual History").
The Stance of Music in the African American Culture
The impact of the music on the African American culture started in the 17th century when music was used to send secretive signals to the targeted audiences. Music became the most popular instrument of culture from one group to another (Steinfeld, "The Social Significance of Blues Music"). Specific genres were only understood by those who possess a similar cultural identity with that of the performer. The enslaved individuals also rose and started performing a wide range of songs to express their attitude towards the present situations as well as communicating their intended plans. Music was essential in uniting African Americans and encouraging them to fight for their rights. Even after the Civil War, the spread of Afro-American music continued.
Since 1776 to the present, music has been used as a symbol of unionism. Even the African Americans used it to express their concerns on the ongoing slavery, and racism during their antidiscrimination protests. It gave them more power to fight for their rights. Also, through music, the historical memories of the Afro-American have remained fresh in the modern era despite the significant improvement that has been attained with the help of the adoption of international human rights. Music is used to achieve many goals. However, cultural identity is more significant in this sector. More specifically, Blues are more associated with Blacks' cultural practices, and it originated from South America with the African people. African American music presences insist on the concepts with cultural practices that shape the way of life of people (Keyes 105). The style of the Blacks' music was highly dominated in the blues music industry where traditional practices are highly exhibited. The blues differ from jazz music due to their origin and cultural representation. The genre began in the African-American community found in New Orleans in the United States of America. Both Jazz and the blues have played a vital role in expressing the cultural identity of Blacks living in America.
In conclusion, the above-analysis signifies that music is much essential in expressing the identity of a given group of people. More particularly, the African American culture is highly exhibited in traditional music which contains the element of slavery and racial discrimination. There is enough evidence that African American music has a significant influence on the way of life of the people in the region. It is also revealed that the concept of Afro-American culture is a wide field of study that has attracted many scholars. The history of Blues music is too broad, and it focuses on the Black-Americans culture. It was used by the communities living in South America in fighting for their rights against racial discrimination and slavery. African culture was constructed from popular music signifying the identity. Blues music is among the most common genre used to portray the cultural identity of a specified group of people. Historically, traditional music has been viewed from a cultural perspective, and it is used to divert the attention of the target audience to the identity of a particular social group.
Daniels, Douglas Henry. "The Significance of Blues for American History." The Journal of Negro History, vol 70, no. 1-2, 2013, pp. 14-23. University Of Chicago Press, doi:10.1086/jnhv70n1-2p14.
Greene, Robert. "B.B. King, the Blues, and African American Identity | Society for US Intellectual History." Society for US Intellectual History, 2015, https://s-usih.org/2015/05/b-b-king-the-blues-and-african-american-identity/.
Keyes, Cheryl L. The Aesthetic Significance of African American Sound Culture and Its Impact on American Popular Music Style and Industry. 2003, https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/41699526.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A87157c967dd8f20ccd14172a30863c5b. Accessed 2 May 2019.
Steinfeld, Susanna. "The Social Significance of Blues Music". Tesi.Luiss.It, 2016, https://tesi.luiss.it/17909/1/072752_Steinfeld_Susanna.pdf.
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