university of technology sydney

African American Music Industry


The African American music is diverse. It includes: jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, funk, Hip hop, disco, Negro spirituals, and boogie woogie. Originally, the music was composed and sung to reflect the painful slavery period. From the 19th century, the music was fused with European styles. Hip hop, house and techno were however formed in the 20th century. They were similar to the original music save for a few modifications. All the genres of the music have evolved and have been very influential in the socio-economic aspects in the international community.

The original music had various forms such as work songs, call and response, polyrhythms, field hollers, and vocality. After the slavery period, the music was fused with European musical styles to defined new type of music which was harmonic and rhythmic. Further still, after the conversion of the slaves in the 18th century, folk spirituals emerged. The songs were faster, spirited and involved dancing. They have since been passed down to the African-American people to date. Hymns were also changed to include faster tempos and repetition of choruses.

The in the 19th century, the African American music became mainstream in America. Musial groups were formed and great artists popularized the music further. The 20th century saw the rise and popularity of jazz and blues. Many musicians also stared recording music at that time. They would however be allowed to perform amongst the African American crowds only. It was in the 1970’s that the music started to appeal to the white population. Rap music also became popular and led to the rise of hip hop. The 1980’s brought a big change when musicians such as Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston got into recording, and appealed to both the whites and the African Americans.

The 21st African American music has led to the popularization of R&B and hip hop. Solo musicians have had huge success because their compositions are race- neutral. The musicians have continued to express themselves spiritually, socially, and politically. Dancing has continued to play an important role in music especially during live performances. Michael Jackson and other musicians have incorporated dancing as an integral part of musical careers. Evidently, the industry has grown tremendously to the extent that the music has been recognized in charts and in magazines. The musicians have also made a good living out of the music. Indeed, even after the music has evolved overtime, it has brought attention to the lives and culture of the African American people.