Sometimes while discussing Soul/Funk music we tend to forget that the music did not exist in a vacuum. The music was a product of the existing environment of the time in which the musicians who created it lived.. If the period of Soul is roughly defined as 1955 - 1970. It very much parallels the Civil Rights movement. I would maintain that Soul music and the Civil Rights movement had a duel impact on each other. One example that I can think of right off the top of my head is A Change Is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke. Another would be the image of Aretha Frankin singing at the funeral of Dr. King.
When Chuck Berry announces to the world that he is in fact "A Brown Eyed Handsome Man" in 1956, he is telling the listener that he is a Black man, who is here to stay. Just a few short years later Berry Gordy took Chuck's notion and turned it in to a record company that would quietly achieve all of the objectives of the American Civil Rights movement while never uttering a single sentence about it !! Stax records was perhaps the ultimate, as a unique black/white partnership created gut bucket raw soul music for the masses.
I would also maintain that FUNK music and the "Black Pride" movement had a duel impact on each other.
Some example that I can think of right off the top of my head is recalling for the first time seing a Black man (JimiHendrix) wearing an Afro, hearing the inspirational lyrics of Earth Wind and Fire. or listening Say it Loud and turning the volume way up on my transistor radio nearly destroying its tiny speaker.
This was a time when folks were walking around wearing Afros, Dashikis and red black & green buttons on their shirts. The connection between "the music, the people and the one", was never more clear !!
Read on to see the viewpoints of others that we hang out with online
|SOUL/FUNK & CIVIL RIGHTS
WE NEED TO GET BACK TO LIVIN AGAIN........
In the minds of many people both the civil rights movement and soul music have been regarded as sucessful. Integration has been achived (by and large) and soul music artists are regarded as being at the top of the entertainment hierarchy. While on the other hand both funk music and the Black Power movement can be viewed as failures. The Black Power movement fizzled out during the 70's and seems to have been replaced with nothing. Many people think of funk music as being a thing of the past & it's key artists are regarded as freaks, drug abusers, etc.
Why do you suppose that this has happened and what does the fact that the connection between the music and the politics no longer seems to be prominent say for the future ?
1. It briges the gap between Soul & Funk.
2. The first Black....concept album.
3. Highly charged political/social commentary
4. Represents for Marvin a break from the Motown "factory approach".
Just a note to illistrate just how far backwards we have gone: back in 1972 - 1973 WBLS in New York would use the song "What's Going On" as the intro for their news broadcasts.
Today the station barley has any news at all !!
While it may be true that "they" have given us these things, it has been "our" choice to take them !!
Drugs, poverty and crime have always been with us throught history and will continue to be there.
It is up to each one of us as individuals to make these kind of "life impacting decisions" with respect to drugs, poverty and crime.
I seem to remember someone saying something about "content of charecter"
Just wondering if anyone else had had these same questions.
I know that this music is very popular with younger people today but to be quite honest with you. I'm not sure that I would want my child to be listening to it !!
to a 24 hr/day jazz station !!
The music of today? No I am not impressed even though I have had a few surprises. But the music is as sexual and violent as the world that hears it
During the Civil rights era as well as today, the music did not create the mood, the mood created the music.
Now to work on getting back on a more positive groove.
How to change it? Change the environment.
The music certainly is a reflection of the times and today's music is a perfect example.
Collectivly figuring out a way to get back to that "positive groove" is one of the key reasons for the the existance of the Urban Sounds BB. We know that this music has had a positive influence on the society that we live in the past and in order for our society to once again become more positive we know that music will play a role in that change.
This BB gives all who post and read it the oppurtunity for a positive expression with respect to the music that we all know has been a force for change in the way that we all think and live.
In my opinion it is one of the best ways that is available to US in cyberspace to discuss the some of the most criticalissues confronting US from a perspective that will always lead us to a positive resolution, because of the music ...itself. Almost all of the music that is discussed here is emotional in that it has had an impact on our lives, it carries memories both public and private that we can share
if we like.
The discussion of this particular subject has caused me to reflect on the very existance of this Buliten Board, Our Chat area, Web pages, Newsletters, etc.
Before the Civil Rights movement someone such as myself would not have even been permitted to participate in a communications medium such as this one. Today anybody is free to participate in the various activities that we have here in Urban Sounds as we reflect back on what was.....
....both good and bad from a musical perspective and try to develop some ideas for the future.
As we all strive to become more aware of the social and political problems of today.. I wonder..do you feel that music plays an important part in todays society ?? Are the recording artists as motivated by social issues as they oncewhere. Do we still hear the "make u feel good bout yourself" kind of songs we once heard...I wonder sometimes..What kind of message are the youth of today getting from the music..is
there even still a "message in the music " ?????????
Unfortunately that has not proven to be the case as we watch that particular movement fade in to history. Now it seems that if a song doesn't somehow either denigrate Black women or glorify the "thug life" it can't even get played on the radio.
What happened ????
He had called in to the radio station to apologize to the DJ because of an "incident of violence" (re: shooting) that had taken place during a video wrap party that had been held in his honor.
His apology was not for the violence which had occured, but was for the fact that the DJ couldn't get in because the police had blocked off the area...
.....he then proceeded to explain that (in a slured almost uninteligble voice) if he would make it up to her if she would come over to his crib that evening where he had plenty of "chiba, cane & Remy" sitting there waiting just for her.
This "hip hop star" is 19 year old !! ...........The female DJ is in her 30's.
She of course declined his offer and suggested that he might not want to talk about stuff like that on the radio. "Black Pride" seemed to be the furthest thing from this discussion.
Is this what the future of Black music looks like ?