James Brown’s Influence on African American Assimilation Essay

James Brown’s Influence Music throughout history has inspired and influenced culture significantly. It defines who we are, for it is the ultimate form of expression. Over the course of time, music has developed and changed as new artists innovate and provide a new light into their scope of the art, as they inspire the further development of music. Music is the ultimate instrument of togetherness, for it has no color, it has no prejudice, and it carries no bias. Music is notorious for bringing people together in times of cultural foils and tensions.

In the early 1900’s to the mid 1900’s, America struggled through a phase of protection of civil rights, and the segregating nature of the white community and the black community. America needed an entity so powerful that it could bond these two poles and bring solace to the tension between the two conflicted cultures. America needed an artist like James Brown to emerge and help the African-American community prevail and unite the two communities. James Brown inspired the further advance of African-American assimilation into American culture through his innovative methods of writing and performing music.

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America needed a new wave of music that could astound the black community, but all the while be accessible enough to appeal to white community. James Brown introduced a new approach to the way music was written which was revolutionary. For example, the rhythm in music was never paid as much attention to as melody and lyrics were. The most impressionable aspect of music to Brown “ was the rhythm. Rhythm is the primary ingredient of hip-hop and rap. The words come at you in cleverly crafted waves. These waves are punctuated by syncopated spaces of silence played against pulsing accents created by spoken volume or group volume.

This is the same strategy used by the artists of the funk era” (Powell). No one had ever heard music emphasizing rhythm before, and all classes of people, white and black, were stimulated by this new direction. Brown was known for the way he was “influencing just about every strain of pop music that would follow. He influenced musicians like Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Public Enemy, among others” (Rhodes). Brown’s music was incorporating all sorts of different genres in to one new genre, which is why it was found to be so appealing by all crowds.

Different audiences, with fans of ‘black’ music and fans of ‘white’ music, were now coming together and sharing a new style of music. This new genre of music that was emerging would be known as soul. “Brown not only directly helped create the genres of soul, funk, and modern R;B, he indirectly influenced an even wider range of artists, encouraging musicians to follow the rhythm and the groove rather than simply adhering to typical musical conventions and structure” (Rhodes). This new style of music was completely innovative and inventive.

People were excited when they heard this new delivery of music and they all wanted to be apart of it. Moreover, Brown’s new musical explorations and innovations really excited people and brought a new wave of music, accessible to all classes. As segregation and discrimination was still prevalent in American society, the public needed something to tie the bonds between whites and blacks together. Black people and white people did not associate with each other, and there was no sign of any interest to, for that matter.

James Brown made the actual performance of music really exciting and made it attractive for all races to enjoy together. For example, the whole society was “being shaken up and made to shimmy and the struggle of Black people was at the center of it. Now when you went to a James Brown concert… you would see every race of people in attendance” (Veale). White people and black people shared the audience section together for the first time in history. It was unheard of, at the time, to see white people and black people in a public vicinity, enjoying something together

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