Blues People By Leroi Jones

1773 Words8 Pages
In his seminal book, Blues People, Leroi Jones (AKA Amiri Baraka) indicated that at any given time in history you can tell exactly what’s going on in the African American community by listening to their music. This observation was written back 1963 when Black music was still subject to the musicians who drew their much of their inspiration from their life experiences, creating soul-stirring music that connected their listeners on various levels. On a visceral level, music served as a form of primal therapy that allowed the African American community (particularly the poor and working class element of the community) a much needed chance to relieve the stress of living in a world hostile to their existence. On a cerebral level, Black music was a form of communication connecting various groups of people to one another and re-affirming their life-experiences by telling their story through notes, vocal intonations that produce a catharsis. In a sense, the music becomes the audience’s ultimate witness I and lyrics that bared witness to our plight in the emotional court of human drama.

As the music industry began to see huge profits in the 1970s, it changed the way the music business operated by taking on a corporate outlook. In the early days, a good number of record execs and A & R reps had a genuine passion for music despite the fact that they were exploiting the musician and by extension the African American community as a whole. Not anymore. As the music industry became
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