African American music is the root of many musical genres. Many of these genres embody the struggle, empowerment, human rights and perseverance of the African American community. Although, many White artists have gotten the credit for our unique sounds it is important to understand the foundations of genres such as gospel, rock and roll, soul, jazz and even folk music. The interesting thing about studying the evolution of African American music is its ties to our history. Every era brought on a different type of sound based on the reality of that time and that is what allows me to appreciate African American music even more. It is evident that it is very important to understand African American music to help understand other types of music.