Cultural Expression Of Cultural Culture

1004 Words5 Pages
Cultural expression frequently serves as a way to cope with conditions of a society or culture. Film, literature, and music all serve as cultural time machines. These modes of cultural travel can send us back and help us understand the cultural impact of the past and give us a greater understanding of why the world is what it is today. In the countries of Brazil and Jamaica, with similar histories of oppression, slavery, genocide, crushing poverty and systemic racism, it is not surprising to see similarities within many of their cultural expressions, but especially in their music. Brazil and Jamaica, like the majority of the new world colonies, were established and colonized as financial resources for the Portuguese and the Spanish invaders. The founders of both countries sought to exploit and export the natural resources of the land, such as: sugar cane, tobacco, and ganja, and run massive plantations. In Brazil, The Portuguese essentially monopolized the slave trade, bringing approximately three and a half million African slaves to Brazil. Both the Brazilian and Jamaican colonies developed into commercial territories built on slave labor. The Brazilian slaves were treated slightly more liberally than the Jamaican slaves. While some African slaves in Brazil were treated poorly, almost all African slaves in Jamaica were worked to death in the fields. Some Jamaican slaves even reached a point of utter despair where they resorted to suicide, self-inflicted abortions, and the killing of their own children just to help end the horrible living conditions they were under. Brazilian slaves would try to escape but, Brazil, like Jamaica, represented a geographical challenge. Even to this day, a majority of the country remains untamed and ... ... middle of paper ... ...usic is the only forum that serves to inform and unite the masses. Accordingly, many musicians in Jamaican and Brazilian cultures have accepted the moral mandate, as in Reggae, to use their positions to promote African pride and to draw attention to the appalling conditions their people are subjected to. Music is a powerful medium that transcends many of the barriers of society, including illiteracy and poverty. It gives a voice to people that frequently would go unheard or ignored. It is so powerful that some Jamaican and Brazilian military regimes have worked to suppress it. Musicians have become surrogate political leaders weaving manifestos and history lessons into rhythms and melodies for both enjoyment and education. Reggae and Afro-Brazilian music, drawing from the vast experiences of their collective hardships, have become a voice of resistance in the world.
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