90’s Girl Groups

History Although most remember the 1990s for gangster rap, many fans remember the soaring girl groups that emerged during the 1990s. The rising interest in contemporary R&B and hip-hop led to this phenomenon. American girl groups like Destinys Child, TLC, SWV, and Xscape rose to fame during this decade. Girl-groups became extremely popular as R&B […]

Funk Throughout The Diaspora

History of Funk Originating in the mid-1960s, funk was a fusion of soul, jazz, R&B, and African grooves. It was a new rhythmic form of music that transcended time and our countries borders. The main instruments in funk were the bass, electric guitar, drums, bass, keyboards, and vocals. Grooves were created by centering basslines played […]

How Mamie Smith transformed the music Industry

All About Mamie Smith Mamie Smith, an influential blues artist, that turned black music into a profitable business. In 1891, Mamie Smith was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She started her music career at ten years old when she began touring with the “Four Dancing Mitchells” and singing in clubs in Harlem. In the 1920s, Smith […]

Winifred Atwell: a women in ragtime

History of Ragtime Ragtime emerged during the mid-1890s in Mississippi. It quickly gained popularity throughout the nation. Ragtime is defined as a genre of musical composition for the piano. It was heavily influenced by African American folk music and minstrel-show songs. As well as, early jazz. Most ragtime compositions follow a fast, buoyant melody. One […]

The Dixie Hummingbirds

History of Jubilee Quartets Jubilee quartets began at Fisk University with a group called the Fisk Jubilee Singers created and organized by George L. White. These quartets featured harmonic arrangements while focusing on channeling a restrained musical tone/expression. From this, minstrel, community-based, and barbershop quartets came to be. Toward the beginning of the 1930s, jubilee […]

African American Culture: Ring Shout

The History The first documented account of the ring shout was recorded in the 1840s. However, it is easy to assume that the ring shout tradition came long before that. The ring shout was used as a unifier between enslaved Africans. These ring shouts were often led by a ring shout leader. Ring shouts contain […]

Harry Belafonte: an actor, singer, and activist

Brief Biography In the early 1950s, Belafonte studied traditional folk songs and began performing at the Village Vanguard and other New York City Clubs. Harry Belafonte’s singing career initially took off after he starred in Carmen Jones, an American musical film released in 1954, where he starred with Dorthy Dandridge. Soon after Belafonte came out […]