Here’s Why It Matters

Prior to studying the roots of African American music and the impact that it has made on American culture, I would just enjoy the way our music made me feel. I found that there is a song for every emotion, from sadness to complete joy, from revolt to unification- we literally have a song for everything. However, I was oblivious to how important our spectrum of music is. Music is our culture. It is who we were, who we are, and who we will be. Our history lies in the stories that we tell through our lyrics and rhythms, much like how our African ancestors passed their history down through the work of griots. When we hear Negro spirituals that include double entendres, or an adaptation of religion through gospel music, or even our pride of blackness in soul genres, we are listening to the excellence that is blackness.

Because of our ability to be easily excellent, we find ourselves inevitable of appropriation by different cultures. The appropriation, honestly, serves as glorification of how we, African Americans, can make something out of nothing, or as my mother would say “make a hundred dollars look like a million”. All of this to say, that it pays to know who we are as creators of a culture that refuses to be broken and continues to evolve.

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