The Grey Area in Jazz Music

Jazz music experienced a great increase in popularity in the 1920’s due mostly to the release of recordings. Many black jazz musicians were exploited by white people in the music industry who took credit for all the hard work and talent provided by the black artists. Black people, innovators and inventors within African American culture and jazz history, were even ripped off financially and did not receive proper compensation. African American music artists today experience similar circumstances as the black jazz artists before them.

Music provided African Americans with an escape and way of expression from the constant discrimination, segregation, and racism inflicted on them especially in the United States. Jazz music did bring about significant social uplift and change but this uplift was not directly felt by African Americans within the jazz field. Black jazz musicians made it priority the state clearly that jazz music was at the epitome of black culture. Duke Ellington, one of the world’s most famous musicians, even began to label his music as “Negro music” in order to stress how paramount jazz music was to black culture. 

Much commercial glory was not given to blacks but instead given to whites who simply replicated the talent that came so easily to black jazz musicians. As long as white Americans longed for the sound of jazz music, black jazz artists were given the opportunity to record songs and make their way onto the radio for all to hear. To give their talents a fair chance, many black artists moved overseas and their performances and recordings were highly appreciated. 

While jazz music did have many negative effects socially speaking, it did bring about new forms of expression and new chances for blacks to showcase their talents and abilities. There are many who argue that jazz was not invented or improved by black people but the truth of the matter is that without blacks, jazz would surely not have risen to be the staple that it is known to be today. 

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