Music Making History: Africa Meets Europe in the United States of the Blues

LEADING ISSUES IN AFRO-AMERICAN STUDIES, Nikongo Ba'Nikongo, ed., Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press, pp. 189-233, 1997

37 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2010

Date Written: 1997

Abstract

European-American racism has used African America as a screen on which to project repressed emotion, particularly sex and aggression. One aspect of this projection is that whites are attracted to black music as a means of expressing aspects of themselves they cannot adequately express through music from European roots. Thus twentieth century expressive culture in the United States has been dominated by an evolving socio-cultural system in which blacks create musical forms and whites imitate them. It happened first with jazz, and then with rock and roll. The sexual revolution and the recent florescence of blacks in television and movies suggests that white America has had some success in using black American expressive forms to cure its affective ills. The emergence of rap, from African America, and minimalism, from European America, indicates that this system is at a point where it is ready to leave Western expressive culture behind as history moves to the next millennium.

Keywords: music, American, Europe, Africa, African-America, blues, jazz, rock, hiphop, cultural evolution, history

Suggested Citation

Benzon, William L., Music Making History: Africa Meets Europe in the United States of the Blues (1997). LEADING ISSUES IN AFRO-AMERICAN STUDIES, Nikongo Ba'Nikongo, ed., Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press, pp. 189-233, 1997. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1678064

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