Nina Simone used music to challenge, provoke, incite, and inform the masses during the period that we know as the Civil Rights Era. In the songs” Four Women”, “Young Gifted and Black”, and Mississippi God Damn”, Nina Simone musically maps a personal "intersectionality" as it relates to being a black American female artist. Kimberly Crenshaw defines "intersectionality" as an inability for black women to separate race, class and gender. Nina Simone’s music directly addresses this paradigm. While she is celebrated as a prolific artist her political and social activism is understated despite her front- line presence in the movement.
The purpose of this report was for me to research and explore the connection between African American women and music. Since prior to the slave decades, music has been an integral part of African American society, and served as a form of social, economic, and emotional support in African American communities in the past and present. This paper will cover three different types of secular music that emerged during the slave days, through the civil war, reconstruction, and depression periods. They are blues, jazz, and gospel music. Each of these forms of music are still in existence today.
(Kahn, 2008). Stax was renowned for its output of African American music like jazz, gospel, funk, and blues. The most frequently used connotation of the term rhythm ... ... middle of paper ... ...e and in their own words. More than just the music of many generations, it was the music that influenced a generation, uplifted them in struggle, and helped ease their pain. I believe that one of the most remarkable and unique characteristics that makes the African American culture one of a kind is the music it has produced.
Bessie Smith Known as the “Empress Of Blues”, Bessie Smith was said to have revolutionized the vocal end of Blues Music. She showed a lot of pride as an independent African-American woman. Her style in performance and lyrics often reflected her lifestyle. Bessie Smith was one of the first female jazz artists, and she paved the way for many musicians who followed. Bessie was born April 15, 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee to a part time Baptist preacher, William Smith, and his wife Laura.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, This is what Elizabeth Douglas and Aretha Franklin both sought out for with regards to African American women in the 1960s. Both of these inspirational women had an extensive role in the Civil Rights Movement. Elizabeth Douglas, more commonly known as Memphis Minnie, used her guitar to change the lives of a bountiful number of people in America. Meanwhile, Aretha Franklin used her recognizable voice to help embolden equal opportunities for African American women and men. Even though Elizabeth and Aretha had unique styles of music, both of these women had common interests when it came to the equality for African American men and woman.
Melodies were passed down from parent to child and through connotations they mirrored the changing times. Many African immigrants came to the United States from West Africa, they arrived by force and were seldom permitted freedom of expression, and as a result, songs were used to voice their subjugation and desire for autonomy. As stated in class, in 1619 the first African immigrants arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, the expansion of the plantation system in the southern colonies required cheap labor, but the work was taxing. Countless slave owner’s repressed African culture (this included foreign language and dancing), they wanted to foster a docile attitude and thwart potential revolts. African slaves had a natural affinity for musical expression, the traditional and cultural roots of West Africa were assimilated into the musical styles of African immigrants in America, the music of West Africa provided social solidity and many songs were sung with merriment and unified daily life.
The Blues originated as an artistic expression of African Americans in the south. This style of music reflected the attitudes and emotions of southern African Americans dating back to the early 1900’s. The blues is the basis for jazz, rhythm and blues, rock, and country. As blues legend Willie Dixon famously said, "The blues is the roots- the rest is the fruits". The blues is also the story of African Americans and their struggles that came with the end of slavery, Jim Crowe laws, segregation and the ensuing Civil Rights Movement.
They give the people new courage and a sense of unity. I think they keep alive a faith, a radiant hope, in the future, particularly in our most trying hours.” It is difficult to imagine American culture without the influence of blues. Thousands of hit songs, hundreds of movie sound tracks, and countless performances of all types have been enriched by the music of poor black farmers struggling to survive in the Mississippi Delta. This unique cultural legacy, spawned in the poorest and most segregated corner of America, has shaped the world’s perception of our country. In the blues we can still hear the tragedy of poverty, the work songs of slaves, the rhythms of the Mississippi, and the struggle for survival that formed the culture of the Delta – and that in turn helped form the identity we know as American.¬¬
Ntozake Shange does fit into five of the seven intelligences in Howard Gardner's model. As a performance artist, poet, musician, writer, and politician, Shange's intelligences span the interpersonal, spatial, kinesthetic, musical, and verbal talents. She blends music, drama, and poetry to characterize the Black experience in America, particularly the Black female experience. Her works empower women to take responsibility for their lives by learning to love themselves and challenge their oppressors. Shange's life and works give clarification and direction to the current feminist movement (Black Women in America).
Spirituals were quite popular among the slave community and eventually gave birth to the next musical stepping stone to jazz, blues. Blues is often thought of as plantation and country songs taken to the streets of the city. The most defining trait, how it sounds, perfectly resembles the troubling experiences in the wo... ... middle of paper ... ...the form of Black music. One of the most important phases of jazz for the African Americans was its acceptance. Elitist White musical circles considered some form Black artistry acceptable for the first time.