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Black music is a term encompassing music produced or inspired by black people, including Sub-Saharan African music traditions and African popular music as well as the music genres of African American music which arose in times of slavery (including black indians) that characterized the lives of black Americans prior to the American Civil War. These genres include Jazz, Blues, Soul, rock and roll, and more recently rap and hip-hop. Music was used a way to express wants and needs that were ignored due to harsh racial and political climates. The term is also sometimes used to encompass any musical genre with a large proportion of black artists, or in a very narrow way to mean urban or "ghetto" music. These uses of the term have been criticised as racist for linking musical genres to skin colour. In recent years, "Black" musical genres have seen a growing number of White artists gaining notoriety.
In the black culture music is extremely important because it has a unifying quality that works in the same way cultural identity does; it crosses all borders. Music unifies people because all backgrounds can both appreciate the same song even if they have nothing else in common. It’s a matter of taste and opinions, not intellectual arguments. Another important fact that ties music to black communities is that it has visible roots in Africa. It was a way that the early slaves could express themselves and communicate when they were being relocated. In a time where their world was being turned upside down, music served as an escape and form of communication/expression for early black communities. The ability of music to act as a binding factor provides the black culture with a strong sense of connectivity.
The beginnings of black music as a separate genre within the United States can be pinpointed to the advent of slave spirituals and gospel music.
- African-American music
- Afro-Caribbean music
- Black British music
- Music of Africa
- Reiland, Rabaka (2013). The Hip Hop Movement: From R&B and the Civil Rights Movement to Rap and the Hip Hop Generation. Lexington Books.
- Spencer, Jon Michael. Black hymnody: a hymnological history of the African-American church (1992)