Published on September 22nd, 20120
Why Do Black People Reject Conservatism & Rock & Roll?
Why don’t black people for the most part listen to or produce Rock music?
Apparently, the music died on February 3rd, 1959 when Buddy Holly, Richie Valenz, and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash following a concert. Apparently, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Howlin’ Wolf, and Big Mamma Thornton were also on that plane, if in fact, the music had died. Oh they were not. Then what the Hell was that song about? Oh that song was about the day white music died. Got It.
Unfortunately, Muddy, Chuck, Little Richard, Wolf, and Big Mamma did die that day. They were smothered in the ashes of their white successors. With Buddy dead and Elvis shipped off to war, the immediate “channelers” of Black blues and soul were gone. And so gone was the trail that led to the beginnings of Rock & Roll.
Black Music soon transitioned into the commercial Motown sound which served to make the distinction between polished R&B soul music and the new guitar driven R&B of white acts like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Who. The distinction grew even further as “Rock” music became more audacious and black music became tamer and tamer. Disco music had transformed black music so much that by the 80’s black music and rock music were as different as days and nights. However, there were great funk bands in the 70’s like Funkadelic, Earth, Wind, & Fire, and Kool & The Gang. And What about Jimi Hendrix?
But people soon forgot about that…
With the advent of Hip Hop, which has all but banished instrumentation from black music so that the distinction has become so great that a black band of musicians like The Roots are seen as a novelty. But even the roots only play instrumental versions of Hip Hop style. What if they did make Rock music? If black people don’t listen to Rock music, who do you sell it to? White people? We know where that leads to? It all happened in the sixties. What else happened in the sixties?
People don’t wonder as much…
Why have African-Americans, on the whole, rejected conservatism?
Not only had a Republican president freed the slaves, but the original Republican party was populated by radical proponents of freedmens’ rights. Even the first black congressmen were Republicans. So why are blacks predominately Democrats? Well, there are many reasons, but here are four very good ones.
1) The Republican party sold black people down the river in the Compromise of 1877, in which blacks lost their equal protection under the law, by relinquishing Southern martial law back in the hands of vengeful Democrats.
2) African-Americans gained a lot economically overall, during the terms of the very popular Democratic president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Also, the charismatic Democrat, John F. Kennedy captured the hearts and minds of many African Americans.
3) After the Democratic President, Lyndon Johnson, signed landmark civil rights legislation, Republican candidate, Richard Nixon used pro-segregation sentiments to turn the once Democratic solid-South into a Republican stronghold.
4) While white people tend to see the government as their enemy as per the Constitution, black people tend to see unregulated capitalism as an exploitative menace that means to subjugate them, and see a progressive government as the only thing that can protect them.
Short answer, The Republican Party abandoned black people, therefore black people abandoned it. I don’t blame the black people for making that decision either. The Democratic Party offered enfranchisement in return for loyalty. I’d say that is good deal. But while the Democratic Party has not abandoned us like the Republicans, they have also never given us anything we really needed. What black people really needed was education reform, but all we got were food stamps and blocked cheese.
In short, Black people don’t subscribe to conservatism or listen to rock music because they gave it away. Many of their reasons were valid but for the most part they are outdated. As long as we as a people limit our political perspective and our artistic tastes we’ll lock ourselves out of the mainstream and all the opportunities therein.
About the Author: Vincent Jackson is a Senior English/Film major at the University of Delaware. He is a lifetime resident of Wilmington, Delaware, where he is a filmmaker, screenwriter, and music critic.
Big Mama Thornton