White Appropriation of Black Music

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Roberto Colon

White appropriation of Black Music

When thinking about the beginnings of rock and roll, you have to keep in mind that when this happened there was still a great amount of racism in the United States. People often forget how white artists such as Elvis Presley stole music from black artists and made big profits from them.

Blues has to be considered as one of the most influential genres in rock and roll. Blues was a way for the black community to vent and express their feelings towards the white community. It was a way for them to put in words the struggles they were going through as black individuals in a racist United States and for white people to simply take advantage of this situation and make the music their own is simply wrong. You don’t have to go as far back as the 1950’s to see this phenomenon. More recently in the 1980’s with the rise of hip-hop music you can see how white artists such as Eminem took hold of this genre and basically stole it and brought it into a white audience.

With all of this being said I cannot take away anything from the success of Elvis Presley and Eminem’s careers. They certainly earned their respect by doing what they did and they brought great music into everyone’s ears. But, in the great scheme of things you have to realize that these artists were not original and didn’t bring anything new to the table. This is just an example of how music producers have become puppet masters and effectively discovered and robbed from black artists in order to make a profit. Instead, they should inspire originality and bring about new types of music for people to listen to.

Elvis really made himself famous by covering songs originally performed by black artists. Songs such as Hound Dog by Big Mama Thornton and All Shook Up composed by Otis Blackwell. These and many other songs show how black music was stolen and used to propel the success of Elvis Presley at the expense of the recognition of the black artists who...
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