- Racism/race relation. Overcoming racism and equality.
- Racism between black and white races.
- Racism faced by Afro-Americans in the American society.
- Racial discrimination and vulnerable experiences faced by black people in America.
- Origin of jazz music in the African-American society.
- The role of jazz music in American society.
- Racism in the genre of jazz music as reflection by black people.
- Jazz music as the reflection of equality struggle of black people.
- Identity struggle of Black people through jazz music.
- Black people using jazz music to reflect their struggles.
- Accomplishment of identity struggle by black people through jazz music.
- Jazz was not only a musical form but was the voice of Black America.
- Counter argument of white people enjoying, understanding, and accepting the black people by accepting jazz music.
Jazz music: Reflection of Black Miseries and Accomplishments
Thesis: The genre of Jazz music does not only help break down the identity struggle, marginalization, and social/ racial barriers but facilitated the Black Americans to gain racial equality, identity, justice, and recognition against the marginalization and injustice inflicted by white people.
- Jazz is a unique music genre which was instigated by the African community belonging to New Orleans in the United States through the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
- Jazz was the dominant form of popular dance music in the United States. Louis Armstrong, the trumpet player is considered to be one of the most prominent artists of Jazz music. Jazz encompasses number of musical structures such as tango, blues, African, and Indian music.
- The origin of Jazz is deeply rooted in the black experiences in America. However, in the contemporary era, there are contributions of other cultures in the foundation of Jazz music
- Jazz gained its prominence and found its way in literature after World War II, when the music became extra self-conscious “artistic” form which enhanced its purpose from mere entertainment to the struggling plea of black Africans living in America.
- Some of the influencing artists of Jazz music is Romare Bearden and Jackson Pollock.
- Number of famous film producers of the United States and Europe used jazz in their movies.
- Jazz gained popularity during the time period of “Harlem Renaissance” (Cooke et.al. pg. 74)). Harlem Renaissance is a self-conscious attempt by renowned black artists like W. E. B. Du Bois, James Weldon Johnson, Toni Morrison, and Charles S. Johnson.
- Jazz music in the Afro-American culture has its deep roots in black racial experiences which reflects the black expressions, identity struggles, and accomplishments of black Africans in American society.
- Black people in America have always been marginalized and demoted from the quality standards of American life. Decades of disregarding and enslavement barred them from their native language, norms, values, identity, and whatnot. They struggled for their identity, culture, and language.
- Jazz music is one of the main fruitful outcomes of their struggles. Black slaves would sing their heart out, while doing labor to bring peace to their miserable minds and to communicate with their fellow black people. The act of singing persisted into their spiritual and religious lives, where they had their extraordinary style of love, worship and music.
- The famous black tradition which is known as “Gospel music” (Cooke et.al. pg.125) set the grounds of musical forms that not only recognized Black culture but their religious, musical and artistic world also. The rich traditions of the Black gospel spread out into secular music. The musicians used their religious music and expressed their white predominance in their music. They invented and improvised music as they played. The improvisational styling of those musicians became the foundation and perfect platform of jazz.
- Jazz music reflects the identity struggle of black people of American society and their accomplishment to achieve equality and sovereignty from the clutches of the white society.
- Racism has been a prevalent social issue in all paradigms of the American social system. Racial discrimination, subordination, and the struggle for identity are the key components of racism faced by black people in America. In the modern era, jazz music is considered to be one of the benchmarks of the successful accomplishment of identity struggle by the black people in America.
- The genre of Jazz music in the Afro-American culture reflects the identity struggles and accomplishments of black Africans in the American society.
- Jazz music is a powerful vehicle for human expression. No doubt it proved to be the powerful tool of human expressions of Afro-American people. Jazz music expresses emotions, struggles, feelings, and suppressed creativity.
- The jazz music reflects the black miseries and desolations during the Holocaust. Jazz is the emblematic record of the evolution of the black people that crystallizes their improvement from subjugation to opportunity in America.
III. When we focus on Jazz music, it is like we are focusing on racial injustice inflicted by white people on black Africans living in America.
- The jazz music provided a broad platform for artists to express the black American experience. The black experiences envisage their sorrows, agony, desire, joys, hopes, aspirations, and rage. Jazz music is more than mere entertainment.
- Dissatisfaction with the social and economic conditions is one of the causes of the development of Jazz music. Jazz is considered to be a cultural movement for black people in the suppression of white people.
- It is a backlash to the bourgeois society of that time. The anti-bourgeois attitude embodied in Jazz music is one of the influencing aspects of modernism.
- Racial tension between black and white people was also built on the origin of Jazz music. Both blacks and whites performed jazz and the audience was diverse.
- Historically, jazz was largely the creation of black Americans as they were the major innovators of this art of musical expression. This has created friction within jazz contributors. White people thought that they were not given enough credit.
- White people had great difficulty sharing the acknowledgment with enslaved Afro-Americans. Jazz music opened doors to American society that had been shut for blacks.
- Jazz music highlighted the problems of black people in the American system and broke down the social barriers. Jazz music has provided fertile ground for black people to diminish the racial boundaries created by white people.
- Given the argument above, it is evident that jazz music is a plea for equality by black miseries due to racial discrimination and disparity. However, the audience for jazz music was not constrained to blacks Afro-Americans.
- The white people of America are also enjoying and participating in the unique form of art to help black people to gain their actual place in society.
- Jazz musicians and composers belong to the black and white race. The audience of jazz music is also diverse. Jazz music is loved and accepted by everyone in American society.
- After listening to jazz music, many whites soon began to understand the miseries of black people. Jazz not only gained acceptance in America but the entire world.
In a nutshell, Jazz music not only helps break down the social and racial barriers but helped black Americans to gain racial equality, sovereignty and recognition.
Cooke, Mervyn, David Horn, and Jonathan Cross, eds. The Cambridge companion to jazz. Cambridge University Press, 2002.