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aaasfinal - In order for blacks to survive adversity, it...

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In order for blacks to survive adversity, it has been necessary for them to form communities. Music has often served as an outlet where “black” communities could be formed. The “Blues” era was the first time that black music provided a place where blacks could combine as a free unit. Its predecessors, Black Rock and Rap, have also established places where blacks could commune and escape an outside world of oppression. Black Rock seems to provide a place of refuge for those who do not fit into the terms of “mainstream blackness,” while Rap seems to be a place where people in general can find refuge. Over the years contemporary artists have reached back and used themes, styles, gestures, and sounds from previous works in order to produce new music, which creates many overlaps in various genres. After slavery, a black public materialized, however “black mobility, expression and commerce were still constrained by the dynamics of legal segregation, white supremacy, and threats of physical violence” (Neal 4). With the suffocating constraints of a prejudiced society, the blacks sought out refuges of black expression. This seeking led to the emergence of “covert, yet public, social spaces” including juke joints which were “institutions of leisure” (Neal 4). Juke joints served as places where blacks could rebel against the authority that oppressed them in most public spaces. As blacks migrated from the dreadfully prejudiced South, jooks, rent parties,
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and after-hours clubs seemed to follow their migration (Neal 15). Rent parties had the dual function of serving as economic and leisure relief, as their name suggests. The voices that led the jooks, rent parties, and after-hours clubs were always the performers who had the most widespread influence, so this encouraged performers to “conflate various regional styles” (Neal 16). Those who had the ability to incorporate southern and northern styles into their performance were received the best. The jooks, rent parties, and after-hours clubs, were some of the only spaces where blacks had complete control. They made up the audiences and the performers, and as Paul Chevigney put it, “performance could create a tremendous sense of common emotional understanding and release” (Neal 22). This created a sense of belonging for all of those who participated in these events, and formed the black public sphere of that time. Black rock helped bring about a since of community for black people who did not find themselves in the “mainstream” black community. The irony in this is that rock ‘n’ roll originated with African-American acts like Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Etta James and many others (Mahon 7). Somewhere along the lines, rock ‘n’ lost its compatibility with blackness in many people’s eyes. Black Rock was often rejected by both black and white listeners, which influenced white record company owners to also reject these orphans of entertainment (Mahon
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This note was uploaded on 05/05/2008 for the course AAAS 106 taught by Professor Markanthonyneal during the Spring '08 term at Duke.

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aaasfinal - In order for blacks to survive adversity, it...

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