The Africana experience refers to the difficulties African American people have encountered throughout history. Racism is displayed through stereotypes, representational systems, music, politics, and several other ways, all shaping African American people. Racism began to rise in the early 1900’s and continues to affect African Americans in society today. Through popular music and popular entertainment, African Americans have continuously been misrepresented and segregated against in America. Although there are many changes in the way African Americans are represented, racism may still be present.
Music was a large part in history of the life of an ancestor of African decent and is now recognized as a time of segregation between whites and blacks of the era. Music in the 1920’s was thriving. Public radio stations began broadcasting across the United States, acoustical recording was replaced by electrical recording, and independent labels began to form. These labels were small operations that capitalized on the big labels lack of interest in “black” music. Independent labels made a tremendously lower profit than the major labels. Record labels lead to competition between artists looking to take risks in order to capture listeners. “Despite the popularity of African-American bands and musicians, record producers felt that white audiences would be more inclined to buy jazz recordings made by white musicians” (Schoenberg 1). When selecting music from records to broadcast on the radio, stations often encompassed any style that was audibly black (Halper 1). Blues was the first popular music that showed segregation. Blues music, beginning in 1910, was stereotypically produced by African Americans. “Songs would often chronicle the sing...
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...ons (Etic Notions 1). These racism misconceptions added to the complications and hardships African Americans were facing in society during the 20th century.
The Africana experience is based off of the history of the way African Americans were viewed and treated through history. One can imagine the struggles they faced daily based on the countless stereotypes, and misrepresentations whites influenced and encouraged through both popular music and popular entertainment. Although a majority of these misconceptions have diminished, stereotypes remain present in some societies, continuing to develop an experience whites will never understand. The ending of slavery is part of the reason this segregation and misrepresentations have lessened. Music genre misconceptions, false stereotypes and exaggerated images, all contributed to racist representations of African Americans.
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