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Black Pop Music

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Modern pop stars of all races would not exist in their current forms without black music. In nearly every genre of popular music, black musicians have had a significant impact. Pop stars like Michael Jackson, Prince, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston all represent the most recent infusion of black music into the American mainstream. Jackson’s “Thriller” catapulted black musicians to the forefront of the world, with 29 million albums sold.

This widespread appeal represented the changing views of Americans in regards to race — Jackson’s popularity could overcome the racial prejudice that had characterized America for hundreds of years. Into the 21st century, hip-hop and rap became integral parts of the American pop identity.

Black music adds more nuance to the way that America is perceived globally. Hip-hop music has altered the kind of pop music to which Americans listen, adding significant amounts of drums, bass and sampling. The black influence did not end in America, and has spread around the globe with rap and hip-hop scenes developing all around the world.

“Pretty much every style of music had some sort of mixing and separation. The history of the United States is based off of this process, of bringing together and then separating,” Harbert said.

Although black Americans today still face racial inequalities and prejudice in their lives, in forms both old and new, there remains a unifying thread that can be felt in aspects of music and culture — a determination to be heard.

thehoya.com

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