The Influence of Music on Racial Attitudes

The Influence of Music on Racial Attitudes

There have been and are still outstanding black musicians in America. Artists such as Louis Armstrong back in the 1930s to Jimi Hendrix in the 1970s to Boyz II Men of the present day. These artists all have one thing in common: they all expressed their beliefs through their music, and they all did it in a positive way, unlike some black musicians of today.

Not all black musicians today express their feelings in an explicit manner, but the majority of the artists that are listened to by young people, both black and white, do. Today these young people are listening to lyrics such as "gonna do a drive-by," and "strip now b----; don't make me break your arm." Twenty or thirty years ago, their parents were listening to lyrics such as "come on baby, let's do the twist," and "hey Joe, where you gonna run to now?"

In every era of music, there are some songs which mention violence, but in today's society the violence is much more explicit: murder, rape, gang association, and much more. But, there are also black musicians today that believe that positive expression is the better way to go. Groups such as Boyz II Men and 4 Positive Music speak out against the music of the so-called "gangster rappers." These groups were also influenced by the black performers of yesteryear like B.B. King and Nat King Cole.

Most of the dominant white society says that the "gangster rap" causes the young people to become violent; most of the time this is far from the truth. Many young people say that they don't take the lyrics seriously; they just listen for the sake of listening. Undoubtedly, young people are extremely impressionable and are influenced by what they see, hear, and watch on television. Unfortunately the artists do not take this fact into consideration when they write their songs.

Toni G.

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