By: Asia Robinson
At the end of the 19th century black southerns, specifically from the Mississippi Delta, developed a new way to depict the hardships of the lives of black folk.
The blues is recognized by the simplistic sound of the harmonica, guitar, and the banjo. Like previous and future genres the blues told stories of the day-to-day struggle of being black in America. Charlie Patton was an iconic blues artists who is famous for his creative use of the guitar. He was the first to beat down on the bass strings which gave the affect of drumming and playing the guitar at the same time. In addition to Patton, other blues artists such as Ma Rainey, BB King, Blind Blake and more, produced original sounds that changed the history of American music. The blues is a direct influence of rock ‘n’ roll, hip hop, funk, soul and many more music genres.
Although the blues officially arose after slavery black folks were still fighting for basic human rights. Black folks were “hired” to work on the plantations but were not receiving adequate pay. They were considered lucky if they left with some type of profit while most found themselves in debt. The lyrics in the songs reflected this harsh reality for so many people, which explains why people found comfort listening to this music. It gave a sense of connectedness, the feeling of having someone to relate to.
Even though the blues changed the game the world wasn’t aware of this genius until European bands begin doing covers of songs by black artists. Many of these bands went on tour performing the non-original songs and went on to make a bunch of money. Unfortunately this has been a trend throughout history, white folks using the amazing and talented minds and bodies of black people for their own greedy and selfish gain. When will history stop repeating itself? The time is now! Black folks in every industry must become aware of the value that we were forced to believe we didn’t have. We must find the courage to demand that we are recognized and rewarded for our own talents.