African-American music has had such an impact on our society today. African-American music became popular in the 19th century after the civil war as musicians of color were hired to play in saloons and brothels. A couple of forms of popular music are spirituals, gospel, blues, jazz and ragtime. Spiritual and gospel music reflected the poverty and oppression of slaves. As Jazz entered the popular culture it provoked a great deal of criticism. An artist know as, Louis Armstrong, had a huge impact in the way white people became to appreciate African American music. Blues music came on to the scene, in which it reflected the emotions and struggles of the poorer segments of the black community. Blacks as well as whites criticized this music. Later in the 20th Century Rock and Roll came onto the scene and began to break down the color barriers in music. Chuck Berry was one of the 1st African American rock and roll artists to appeal to teenage kids no matter their race. The white industry then tried to find somebody to try to imitate blacks to compete in the music industry. In order for blacks to succeed in the music industry, they had to make a change when contracts became exploited, people were not seeing their money and blacks had to give up publishing.
By the late 50’s Motown Records became the way for blacks to succeed in the industry. They opened the doors of taking African-American talent and creativity and making it work. This was the foundation for many artists such as Dianna Ross and the Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five etc. In the 80’s Record Label Def Jam Records became the foundation for Hip-Hop, Rhythm and Blues, and Rap artists. African American Music has come a long way and has influenced us as being an expression of our culture. The only thing that the slaves were able to bring with them to this country was their culture, and that culture was expressed through their music.