The Music And The Civil Rights Movement Essay

The Music And The Civil Rights Movement Essay

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“We stuck to who we were at Motown, and the world came around…” Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown records relayed at the Occidental College’s 125th commencement ceremony in 2007. Motown was “the new voice of America” due to its great impact and influence on the music industry and society. Numerous events were happening in America at that time and Berry Gordy identified several of these factors to target the music of Motown and its artists to young audiences in specific ways. There were various social, musical and cultural factors that were critically important and of these factors, Gordy identified the segregation and the civil rights movement, the music and cultural aspects of the black community at that time. These factors had huge impacts on his success due to the music of Motown playing a significant role in the racial integration of American society.

Segregation and discrimination in America was a serious social issue that affected the lifestyle of African-Americans in the 1960’s and the civil rights movement was a social movement that had an aim of ending racial inequalities. As a result of the segregation between these two cultures, there was a lot of rising racial tension which consequently led to the culmination of race riots. The social issues at that time played a significant part in Gordy’s success in the production of Motown as he wanted to produce the “sound of young America” regardless of one’s colour or race and to take this sound to wider audiences including Baby Boomers. “Motown was about music for all people- white and black, blue and green, cops and the robbers…I was reluctant to have our music alienate anyone…” (Gordy, 2011). According to Boyce (2008), the image and sound of Motown was all about the prom...


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...hey could relate to each other. According to Boyce (2008), many historians examined analysed Gordy’s methods where the Motown sound was targeted to various audiences, establishing cross over music- targeting not only blacks but the mainstream audience which comprised of northern, middle and/or upper class and whites. Boyce (2008) extends the idea that Gordy strategically hindered the fact that black artists’ voices were recorded in Motown songs so that by visually hiding the fact that the artists were indeed black, it resulted in more white people willing to buy records. For example, the photos taken of The Temptations were very dark and against a dark background, it was described that the men were in silhouettes. Consequently, cultural factors in the black communities in the 1960s had a considerable impact on Gordy reaching out to young and multicultural audiences.

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The Music And The Civil Rights Movement Essay

- “We stuck to who we were at Motown, and the world came around…” Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown records relayed at the Occidental College’s 125th commencement ceremony in 2007. Motown was “the new voice of America” due to its great impact and influence on the music industry and society. Numerous events were happening in America at that time and Berry Gordy identified several of these factors to target the music of Motown and its artists to young audiences in specific ways. There were various social, musical and cultural factors that were critically important and of these factors, Gordy identified the segregation and the civil rights movement, the music and cultural aspects of the black c...   [tags: Black people, White people, African American]

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