What Difference Does It Make?

“Nothing crosses racial barriers more easily than music” a phrase that is accurate on the most superficial level of the musical experience. Attending a Hip Hop or Rap concert now a day has become a more culturally inclusive experience than ever before; people of all races, ages, and ethnicities all in one space just enjoying the sounds of their favorite artist. However, when taking a closer look into this, it is often noted that other races constantly invade the sanctity of African American music and it usually is not reciprocated. Although other races enjoying traditionally ‘African American” musical genres is widely accepted, it in turn becomes taboo for any other races to enjoy the likes of country music (although its origin came from the African diaspora). Music is typically a reflection of the time period, a group of people, or the artist. So enjoying the beats and the catchy lyrics to a song is only enjoying the music superficially. However, understanding the origin of Black music and being able to particularly identify with that is where the line between race and music is drawn. From the syncopation and polyrhythms to purposefully evoking emotion in music allowed black artists to express themselves in the purest form and being able to enjoy it fully is apart of the African American experience. No matter how much rap, trap, or hip hop other races listen to, they will not be able to understand this experience and the deep connections we have to our music. African Americans (and Africans) have brought so much life into music from the early work songs, to the jubilee, to modern gospel, it is something that can not be taken away from us. Music is an entity that ties us together; yet, separates us from others.

Katelyn Williams

Katelyn Williams

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