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Impact of Rhythm and Blues on African-American Culture

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Rhythm and blues, also known today as “R & B”, has been one of the most influential genres of music within the African American Culture, and has evolved over many decades in style and sound. Emerging in the late 1940's rhythm and blues, sometimes called jump blues, became dominant black popular music during and after WWII. Rhythm and blues artists often sung about love, relationships, life troubles, and sometimes focused on segregation and race struggles. Rhythm and blues helped embody what was unique about black American culture and validate it as something distinctive and valuable.
The term “rhythm and blues” was coined in 1947 by a white man named Jerry Wexler who was a reporter, editor, and writer for Billboard Magazine. The record companies that were distributing black trendy music were labeling the chart names: Harlem Hit Parade, Sepia, and Race Music. Wexler acknowledged these names to be demeaning to the black community so he then changed the name to a more tasteful and acceptable rhythm and blues. Wexler also signed and produced many of the most popular black singers of the last fifty years, including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, LaVern Baker, and Ruth Brown. Wexler was much more than a top executive — he was a national tastemaker and a prophet of roots and rhythm. The impact of his deeds matched his larger-than-life personality. Because of him, we use the term "rhythm and blues" and we hail Ray Charles as "Genius" and Aretha Franklin as "Queen." We came to know of a record label called Stax and a small town called Muscle Shoals, Alabama. (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 ...

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...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. Even though African American music has evolved through diverse eras and styles, the influential melodic lines and the rhythm remained prominent and powerful. Rhythm and blues is ever-changing and will continue to have a substantial impact on African American culture.

Works Cited

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Rhythm_and_blue

http://muzicmaker1.blogspot.com/2013_01_01_archive.html

http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/w/ward-soul.html

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/jerry-wexler-the-man-who-invented-rhythm-blues-20080815
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