Evolution of Black Music

Through the years, music has transformed, creating new sounds and genres. In 1949, the term R&B, or Rhythm and Blues, was used to replace what was formerly called race records. This new sound surfaced during World War II and was inspired by blues and jazz. R&B was used to express the social and economic changes in the United States. During the Great Migration, R&B spread throughout the country and each region put their own spin on the new phenomena. In the 1950s, Rhythm and Blues spread to nonAfrican Americans and became mainstream because radios were able to broadcast it throughout the country. The popularity upset white people and they began to perform similar music under a different name and other genres were bred. R&B spread for the next four decades and changed slightly due to the time and the circumstances.

Following the R&B era, another genre emerged called soul. This new genre was utilized as a form of expression for African Americans during the tension-filled United States because of race and politics. During the Soul era, both the Black Power Movement and the Modern Civil Rights Movement. African Americans used music to have their voice heard by the masses. James Brown was coined the “Godfather of Soul” and was the first and most well-known artists in this genre. Brown changed his sound often and influenced the creation of Funk. He expressed a great deal of social commentary through his music such as his most notable song “Say It Loud.” He expressed black pride in a time that being black was not popular.

During the Civil Rights Movement, America was not the ideal place to be as an African American. All the cards were stacked against them with the constant exclusion of them and their rights. They spent decades creating programs to help fight and protect their rights as African Americans and watching the leaders of these parties be killed and thrown in jail. While anger steadily built within the black community they needed a way to express which led to the creation of funk music. Funk was used to talking about social and political problems; however, not as harsh as Soul music. Funk expressed black pride using fun, light-hearted lyrics.

The combination of R&B and technology created the Disco genre in the 1970s. Although it was successful throughout the United States it still faced problems because it received a negative connotation. Disco began to become associated with the queer community and African Americans which were two widely oppressed groups of people. Eventually, no one used the term disco anymore and it was replaced with the term House Music. Once the use of technology began the techno genre began in Detroit in the 1980s. Techno music was largely made out of electronic instruments.

Music has changed tremendously between 1965 and 1990 but it always had the same purpose: to give a voice to a largely ignored community of people. Throughout each genre, they expressed their different struggles of growing up in the time that they did.


What's your password?

Login to your account

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.