Funk is a music genre that originated in African American communities in the mid 1960s. This genre is comprised of a mixture of genres including soul, jazz, and R&B. Funk music is known to have strong bass lines and grooves that makes you want to get up and dance!
Soul music is also a genre of music that originated in the African American community throughout the United States in the 1950s. This genre, however, is a combination of jazz, gospel and R&B. Soul is quite literally music that can be felt within someone’s soul.
Take a look at these two clips. Same song, but sung by different people. The white audience loved Little Richard, but didn’t love his skin color. So, white musicians and artists like Pat Boone, took it upon themselves to cover Little Richard’s song. They knew the white community loved the song so in his head he thought, “Wouldn’t they love if a white man sang the song that they love?”
During the 1950s and 1960s there were many movements that were on the frontlines of society. These movements being the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power Movement. The Black community used these two movements to express their blackness and their culture. The Black community were able to quite literally express that they are “Black and Proud”, and it can clearly be seen through these movements. Being Black and unapologetic about it is something special, and it is not something that everyone is blessed enough to be able to do without backlash from society. Sometimes the Black community is overlooked or underrated just because of the color of our skin, but in this particular time everyone embraced their true selves.
Expanding from my previous statements, Funk and Soul music help African Americans express their culture. Both genres are a gateway to explore emotions and actions through the African Diaspora. Artists such as James Brown, Sly and the Stone Family, Little Richard, Chubbie Checker, and the Jackson Five contributed to building black pride back into the community. Music is known to be a way that a lot of people communicate through each other. Funk and Soul music can definitely be considered the eyes of the African American experience through music.
Thesis Statement: When people think of Funk and Soul, they first think of the Disco era during the 60s and 70s. People seem to forget the origin of the music we all love today and what it truly represents: Black Expression. Funk and Soul go hand in hand with Black culture expanding throughout mainstream society.