House Music is Black Music

by Blake O'Connor 11 days ago in dance

Black musical pioneers helped to craft and spread the sound of house music. The communities which helped to build it from the ground up need our support.

House Music is Black Music
From Paradise Garage (Source)

Above is an all vinyl mix that I created to help supplement this story and provide additional context. Still very much in the process of learning how to beat match and such... so a lot of the transitions still make me cringe.

It contains a number of house music classics:

Martha Wash & Jocelyn Brown - Keep on jumpin'

Ultra Nate - Free

Aly-us - Follow Me

Lil' Mo Ying Yang - Reach

Adonis - No Way Back

Rhythm II Rhythm - A Touch of Jazz

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Quarantine. Protests. Riots.

Society is not in within its typical bounds of stasis. And for good reason. In these times, I find that it is most important to be a keen observer of a present and reflect on how the past has shaped the future.

For the purposes of this story, it to two fold. First, it has truly helped me to develop a greater appreciation for the history and legacy of something that I enjoy deeply—house music. While most songs are merely comprised of 4x4 beat, hi-hats, soulful vocals, and a punchy baseline, the components combine to create much more impactful.

While I am enamored enough by the musical composition, the history and origins of his incredible genre illuminate something much more. First and foremost, house music is black music. It was pioneered by a number of trailblazing souls who combined the likes of disco, post-disco, boogie, r&b to create something entirely new.

The likes of Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy out of Chicago, Kerri Chandler Tony Humphries and Larry Levan out of New York and New Jersey developed and spread the early sounds of house to primarily gay people of color. This is merely a cursory glance at the people and history of this movement, I highly suggest to dig much deeper.

Some of the resources I recommend checking out:

I Was There When House Took Over the

• House Music: The Real Story

How White Kids Stole House Music from Black Aunties

If above piqued your interest, you can continue with...

Techno City: What is Detroit Techno?

While these amazing stories and oral histories live in books and various news articles, this is not the popular narrative. There is a common misperception that house music and EDM was brought over by the Europeans. This is demonstrably is false. David Guetta is not the modern day Christopher Columbus recolonizing America with the jubilant sounds of house music.

This brings me to my second point, the pioneers, crowds and clubs that made all of this amazing music and history are under attack and vulnerable. Unfortunately, this is not recent development by any means. But exogenous forces like COVID place further pressure on communities affected by institutionalized racism

A recent Pew research study reporting that an astonishing 69% of Americans have had conversations with family or friends about race, with others posting about it on social media, donating money to relevant organizations, or contacting elected officials.

While this is promising given that a lot of change needs to happen from the bottom up, it feels inadequate for the support that that needs to happen right now.

Check out this document to discover out some of the amazing organizations that are helping directly with the Black Live Matter movement along with general aid to those communities.

dance
Blake O'Connor
Blake O'Connor
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