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American Popular Music
For centuries, black music, forged in bondage, has been the sound of complete artistic freedom. No wonder everybody is always stealing it.
The 1619 Project argues that American popular music has historically been a whitewashed version of black music.
Flawed points:
Musical influences go one way
Black music is rougher while white music is “composed”
Largely focused on Thomas Dartmouth Rice (creator of Jim Crow and the minstrel show)
Compared Kanye West and Flavor Flav to Minstrel shows (likely because they didn’t denounce Trump)
Claimed country music and its fans were racists for not playing Lil Nas X
Reality:
Classical music has inspired others
Chuck Berry – King of Rock and Roll, mixed country music with blues
There were whites who were gritty and blacks who composed (Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Quincy Jones). They also charted with their own bands so discrimination didn’t stop them
It is true that white musicians were influenced by black artists. The rolling stones, Led Zeppelin, and others credit Muddy Waters and other blues artists as influences. However, every RnB artists from Michael Jackson to Aretha Franklin has remade a Beatles song. The Isley Brothers make a career on making soulful versions of “Yacht Rock” artists, like Seals and Crofts, James Taylor, and Todd Rundgren.
Country music fans didn’t reject Lil Nas X, the charts did. In any event, they ignored that Darius Rucker, Kane Brown, and Jimmie Allen all scored top ten country hits (two of them had number one songs in the same month) in the same year!
Blacks have dominated music for decades and in the last year have been atop every genre except heavy metal. To place ones focus on the minstrel shows of the nineteenth century or days before Motown seems counterproductive, but there was much to celebrate even then.