Black Musical Theater: DREAMGIRLS

The iconic broadway musical production of “Dreamgirls” starring Jennifer Holiday, Loretta Divine, and Sheryl Lee Ralph was a phenomenal black musical that embodied the talent, creativity and range of black singers and actresses. The inspiration came from one of Motown record label amazing acts “The Supremes”.  Original Story Behind Dreamgirls The broadway 1981 play tells the […]

FUNK!: The Fun Sound of Culture

Funk music is categorized as the dance music that mixes the elements rhythm and blues with the sound of soul music. Funk music originated around the 1960s but reached its peak during the 1970s. The expressions of funk can be seen through the music, clothing of musicians and hip dances that essentially gave the genre […]

The Evolution of Cool Jazz

Origins of Cool Jazz Cool jazz is a style of jazz that emerged in the United States during the late 1940s. This style of jazz is characterized by relaxed tempos and a lighter tone. This is significantly different to the fast and complex style of bebop or free jazz. The birth of cool jazz was […]

Bessie Smith: Empress of the Blues

Black Women significantly contributed to the sound of the blues once the genre began to take off during the 1920s with the establishment of record companies. As black men posed as a threat to white people, black women were the face of the blues. Female blues singers used their music as an outlet express themselves […]

Coon Songs: The Mockery of African-Americans

History of Ragtime Ragtime is defined by performance and composing through the playing of popular songs, dance and instrumental music. The elements of ragtime can be recognized through the fast paced beats, inclusion of instruments such as the piano and vocal beats.  What are Coon Songs? Coon songs are an aspect of ragtime music that […]

The Birth of Community-Based Jubilee Quartets

The combination of both university and minstrel jubilee quartets had a significant impact on the development of community-based singing groups. These jubilee quartets were comprised of combined practices from both traditions which resulted in a set of aesthetics practices that still apply to quartets who sing today. Jubilee Period (1880-1929) The university singing movement emerged […]

Invisible Churches: The Safe Haven of Religion

The Birth of Negro Spirituals The Great Awakening in the 18th century sparked a period of religious revival that swept through the American colonies. As more generations of enslaved Africans were born in America, pieces of African religion slowly began to fade away. The introduction of Christianity ultimately birthed negro spirituals as slaves were allowed […]

Trailblazers of Culture: Folk Music Edition.

Trailblazers of Culture: Folk Music Edition Folk Music has become the roots of African-American music and culture. When they were torn away from their homes and dispersed across the Western World, being forced into bondage with neighboring tribes cultivated an acculturation giving rise to the dimensional sounds and rhythms of Folk Music. These combined African […]