Essay on African American Vernacular

1823 Words Jan 3rd, 2011 8 Pages
Essential Works of the African American Vernacular Culture
When thinking of musical genres such as jazz, blues, and hip-hop, most Americans do not realize that they are the essential components to the evolution of African American Vernacular Literature. In fact, it is the key factor that brought African American culture into the limelight in America. Since the first black peoples in America were slaves, and were not allowed to read or write, the African American Vernacular Traditions began as completely oral communications in the form of church songs, blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, and hip hop. The African American Vernacular began as Spiritual and Secular works, which portrayed the struggles of the slaves and black population over the
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Jazz was created to encompass the many aspects of urban America, specifically the train. The locomotive represented moving away from old slave territories, images of trains from old spirituals, and the Underground Railroad (Gates, McKay, 65). It is also described as “jam-session-like talk” that drove people to get up and dance (Gates, McKay, 65). Like the blues, jazz uses call and response and call and recall between the singer and instruments to create a conversation-like sound. It also uses improvisation, which is characteristic of African American vernacular. Jazz artists understand and base their works off the fact that things just might not turn out how they want them to, yet they still celebrate life and possibilities (Gates, McKay, 65).
Rhythm and Blues came onto the scene thanks to the marketplace rather than musicians. After World War II, black dance music became popular and began to appear all over the world in dance halls and even variety shows. By the 1950’s, records were being produced and even worked up for “cross-over marketing to white audiences” (Gates, McKay, 69). R&B music combined blues, jazz, Latin and gospel, and was influenced by blue-mood crooners, gospel and blues stompers, and a cappella singers who created a style called doo-wop (Gates, McKay, 69). The Motown label developed a…