Message in the Music: Political Commentary in Black Popular Music from Rhythm and Blues to Early Hip Hop

  title={Message in the Music: Political Commentary in Black Popular Music from Rhythm and Blues to Early Hip Hop},
  author={Jim Stewart},
  journal={The Journal of African American History},
  pages={196 - 225}
  • J. Stewart
  • Published 22 June 2005
  • Political Science
  • The Journal of African American History
This essay examines the content of political commentaries in the lyrics of Rhythm and Blues (R & B) songs. It utilizes a broad definition of R & B that includes sub-genres such as Funk and "Psychedelic Soul." The investigation is intended, in part, to address persisting misinterpretations of the manner in which R & B influenced listeners' political engagement during the Civil Rights Black Power Movement. The content of the messages in R & B lyrics is deconstructed to enable a fuller… 

(A)Political Prince: An Analysis of Prince's Political Consciousness

ABSTRACT:Prince is arguably one of popular music's most prolific songwriters. His music, artistry, and style define the decade of the 1980s, however his lyrics did more than inspire "Dance, Music,

On the Postcolony as a Colony: Meditations on Letta Mbulu's Lyrical Content

ABSTRACT The importance of music as a tool for political communication is widely acknowledged. In many societies and their respective traditions, cultures and customs, music has been central in

Musical Messages: Framing Political Content in Sudanese Popular Songs

This research analyzes the political content in Sudanese music. The aim is to scrutinize and interpret the meaning of such political content and to place it in a historical context of the country’s

Rhythm and Blues protest songs: voices of resistance


The Shape of You: Music's Impact on Identity

Investigating the multiple functions of music, scholars from various fields have expressed that music can regulate moods and emotions while providing listeners a way to navigate their identity.

Selective Tradition and Structure of Feeling in the 2008 Presidential Election: A Genealogy of “Yes We Can Can”

I examine Raymond Williams’s concepts “structure of feeling” and “selective tradition” in an engagement with the novel technical-musical-cultural politics of the 2008 Barack Obama presidential

Goal-Directed Soul? Analyzing Rhythmic Teleology in African American Popular Music

Abstract A theoretical consideration of teleology in African American popular music, focusing on the late-1960s output of Motown Records. The question of goal direction and musical value in popular

Typologies of Black Male Sensitivity in R&B and Hip Hop

R&B and Hip Hop are two music genres that have gained global appeal in recent years. This appeal may be a reflection of a wider audience's ability to identify and relate to the lyrics used by R&B and

Critical literacy, engagement, and agency in popular music consumption by young adults

The education of an individual occurs in a multitude of places, including one’s cultural context. The interactions one has with cultural artifacts, such as music, can impact how individuals interact

Music and American Culture

Scholars in American cultural history, ethnic studies, folklore, and musicology have increasingly placed music in its social and cultural context. This article surveys recent scholarship on popular



Radio and the Struggle for Civil Rights in the South

Radio and the Struggle for Civil Rights in the South. By Brian Ward. (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004. Pp. xiv, 437. Foreword by John David Smith, acknowledgements, abbreviations,

Fighting for US: Maulana Karenga, the US Organization, and Black Cultural Nationalism

Foreword by Clayborne Carson Acknowledgments 1 Introduction 2 From Ron Everett to Maulana Karenga: The Intellectual and Political Bases for the US Organization 3 Memory and Internal Organizational

What's Going On.

Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, a non-Jew, yet a devout “God-fearer” (Greek=phobeo fobevw + theos qeovß) is instructed in a vision by an angel of God to send for Simon Peter (Shim’on Kefa) to come to

The Death of Rhythm and Blues

Bargaining with reading habit is no need. Reading is not kind of something sold that you can take or not. It is a thing that will change your life to life better. It is the thing that will give you

Musical imagery: Sound of silence activates auditory cortex

Functional magnetic resonance imaging is used to identify and characterize the neural substrates that support unprompted auditory imagery and finds that auditory and visual imagery seem to obey similar basic neural principles.

The Future

If progress in the next ten years is anything like that in the last ten years, the authors may look forward to the day when reception from far-off countries is almost as good as from the local station, and a few years after that they may even see the addition of pictures.