Women and the Blues: Freedom of Expression

by: Claire Jackson Blues music presented a way for Black women to express themselves and their independence in a very special way. Lyrics in the blues genre could sometimes be very expressive romantically and sexually, something that wasn’t often heard of in the 1920s and 1930s. Some very prominent singers of the time include Ma […]

Negro Spirituals and Civil Rights

By Claire Jackson Over 400 years ago, in 1619, the first Africans set foot in the Americas after being forced into enslavement. 170 years later, enslaved people made up nearly 33% of the Georgia population alone, and nearly 18% of all the colonies. Because America was so dependent on enslaved labor, the African Americans were […]

Frank Ocean: Boys (Do)n’t Cry

By Claire Jackson The impact Frank Ocean has had on the music industry and how music is streamed and accessed is a large one. While he is a man of little words publicly, his actions and talent speak for themselves and demand attention from all. Through his discography, Frank Ocean deconstructs heteronormativity while crossing musical […]

Funk Music: The Bootsy Collins Effect

by Claire Jackson William “Bootsy” Collins was born on October 26, 1951 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is widely known for being a showman and a flashy dresser, and was a very integral member of the JBs, James Brown’s background group. He stood out from the group due to his bass playing abilities and his massive […]

Soul Music: The Temptations

by Claire Jackson Soul music is arguably the first genre where Black artists were given the recognition and praise they deserved for their contributions and creations. Through Ragtime and the Blues eras, even as early as the inception of Negro Spirituals, Black performers were demeaned and had to play caricatures, something white performers never had […]

Improvisation in Jazz

by Claire Jackson While improvisation exists in almost every genre of music, it is a very strong element of Jazz. To be a Jazz performer is to be able to improvise a solo, and to have a style that is almost like a specialty. While it is often not technically on the spot, it is […]

Gospel Through the Decades

by Claire Jackson 1920s This is Arizona Dranes’ performance of “Lambs Blood Has Washed Me Clean” from 1926. The secular sounds of her music that implemented elements such as ragtime along with music from church made her unique and widened her influence in the music industry. To some, she has been called the “Mother of […]

The Jubilee Quartet: Origins and Legacies

By Claire Jackson Quartets are a capella ensembles made up of four voices that perform spirituals in close harmony. The parts are: a low bass singer, a baritone soloist, a second tenor, and a higher pitched first tenor. The name “Jubilee Quartet” derives from the Fisk Jubilee Singers,  a group from Fisk University. The group […]

Tracy Chapman and Folk Music

By Claire Jackson Early Life Tracy Chapman was born in Cleveland, Ohio on March 30th, 1964. When she was 4, her parents divorced and she was raised by her mother who bought her her first instrument, a ukulele, at a young age. By the time she was 8, Chapman was already writing songs and music.  […]