American jazz composer, lyricist, and pianist Eubie Blake made an early contribution to the genre's etymology
Louis Jordan in New York City, c. undefined July 1946
Albert Gleizes, 1915, Composition for "Jazz" from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
The habanera rhythm shown as tresillo (lower notes) with the backbeat (upper note)
Slaves processing tobacco in 17th-century Virginia, illustration from 1670
Ethel Waters sang "Stormy Weather" at the Cotton Club.
Fats Domino in 1956
The first slave auction at New Amsterdam in 1655, illustration from 1895 by Howard Pyle
Al Jolson in 1929
Piano excerpt from the rumba boogie "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" (1949) by Professor Longhair. 2–3 claves are written above for rhythmic reference.
Reproduction of a handbill advertising a slave auction in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1769
Dance in Congo Square in the late 1700s, artist's conception by E. W. Kemble from a century later
3–2 clave written in two measures in cut-time
Crispus Attucks, the first "martyr" of the American Revolution. He was of Native American and African-American descent.
In the late 18th-century painting The Old Plantation, African-Americans dance to banjo and percussion.
Tresillo answered by the backbeat, the essence of clave in African American music
Frederick Douglass, ca 1850
The blackface Virginia Minstrels in 1843, featuring tambourine, fiddle, banjo and bones
Bo Diddley's "Bo Diddley beat" is a clave-based motif.
Slaves Waiting for Sale: Richmond, Virginia, 1853. Note the new clothes. The domestic slave trade broke up many families, and individuals lost their connection to families and clans.
Scott Joplin in 1903
Ray Charles in 1971
Harriet Tubman, around 1869
W. C. Handy at 19, 1892
Ruth Brown was known as the "Queen of R&B"
A group of White men pose for a 1919 photograph as they stand over the Black victim Will Brown who had been lynched and had his body mutilated and burned during the Omaha race riot of 1919 in Omaha, Nebraska. Postcards and photographs of lynchings were popular souvenirs in the U.S.
The Bolden Band around 1905
Della Reese
Rosa Parks being fingerprinted after being arrested for not giving up her seat on a bus to a White person
Jelly Roll Morton, in Los Angeles, California, c. 1917 or 1918
Sam Cooke
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963, shows civil rights leaders and union leaders
The King & Carter Jazzing Orchestra photographed in Houston, Texas, January 1921
Eric Burdon & the Animals (1964)
Black Lives Matter protest in response to the fatal shooting of Philando Castile in July 2016
Louis Armstrong began his career in New Orleans and became one of jazz's most recognizable performers.
Proportion of African Americans in each U.S. state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico as of the 2020 United States Census
Benny Goodman (1943)
U.S. Census map indicating U.S. counties with fewer than 25 Black or African-American inhabitants
Duke Ellington at the Hurricane Club (1943)
Graph showing the percentage of the African-American population living in the American South, 1790–2010. Note the major declines between 1910 and 1940 and 1940–1970, and the reverse trend post-1970. Nonetheless, the absolute majority of the African-American population has always lived in the American South.
The "classic quintet": Charlie Parker, Tommy Potter, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Max Roach performing at Three Deuces in New York City. Photograph by William P. Gottlieb (August 1947), Library of Congress.
Former slave reading, 1870
Machito (maracas) and his sister Graciella Grillo (claves)
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium
Dizzy Gillespie, 1955
The US homeownership rate according to race
Mongo Santamaria (1969)
This graph shows the real median US household income by race: 1967 to 2011, in 2011 dollars.
Art Blakey (1973)
"Lift Every Voice and Sing" being sung by the family of Barack Obama, Smokey Robinson and others in the White House in 2014
John Coltrane, 1963
Genetic clustering of 128 African Americans, by Zakharaia et al. (2009). Each vertical bar represents an individual. The color scheme of the bar plot matches that in the PCA plot.
Peter Brötzmann is a key figure in European free jazz.
Al Sharpton led the Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks protest on August 28, 2020.
Naná Vasconcelos playing the Afro-Brazilian Berimbau
Although the ban on interracial marriage ended in California in 1948, entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. faced a backlash for his involvement with a White woman in 1957
Randy Weston
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. remains the most prominent political leader in the American civil rights movement and perhaps the most influential African-American political figure in general.
C pentatonic scale beginning on the I (C pentatonic), IV (F pentatonic), and V (G pentatonic) steps of the scale.
BET founder Robert L. Johnson with former U.S. President George W. Bush
V pentatonic scale over II–V–I chord progression
A traditional soul food dinner consisting of fried chicken with macaroni and cheese, collard greens, breaded fried okra and cornbread
Fusion trumpeter Miles Davis in 1989
Mount Zion United Methodist Church is the oldest African-American congregation in Washington, D.C.
Wynton Marsalis
Masjid Malcolm Shabazz in Harlem, New York City
David Sanborn, 2008
This parade float displayed the word "Afro-Americans" in 1911.
John Zorn performing in 2006
Michelle Obama was the First Lady of the United States; she and her husband, President Barack Obama, are the first African Americans to hold these positions.
Steve Coleman in Paris, July 2004
Racially segregated Negro section of keypunch operators at the US Census Bureau

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime.

- Jazz

Rhythm and blues, frequently abbreviated as R&B or R'n'B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s.

- Rhythm and blues

The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music ... [with a] heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular.

- Rhythm and blues

The mid-1950s saw the emergence of hard bop, which introduced influences from rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues to small groups and particularly to saxophone and piano.

- Jazz

The African-American contribution to popular music is so profound that virtually all American music, such as jazz, gospel, blues, hip hop, R&B, soul and rock all have their origins at least partially or entirely among African-Americans.

- African Americans
American jazz composer, lyricist, and pianist Eubie Blake made an early contribution to the genre's etymology

5 related topics with Alpha


The Banjo Lesson by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1893

African-American music

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The Banjo Lesson by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1893
Congo Square African Drum 1819 Latrobe
Slave dance to banjo, 1780s
William Sidney Mount painted scenes of black and white American musicians. This 1856 painting depicts an African-American banjo player.
The Slayton Jubilee Singers entertain employees of the Old Trusty Incubator Factory, Clay Center, about 1910
Marilyn Horne and Henry Lewis in 1961, photo by Carl Van Vechten
Sister Rosetta Tharpe performing at Cafe Zanzibar
Lil Wayne is one of the top selling black American musicians in modern history. In 2008, his album sold one million in its first week.
Edward Ray at Capitol Records
50 Cent in 2006. 50 Cent was one of the most popular African-American rappers of the 2000s.

African-American music is an umbrella term covering a diverse range of music and musical genres largely developed by African Americans.

Some of the most popular music types today, such as rock and roll, country, rock, funk, jazz, blues, rhythm, and rhythm and blues were created and influenced by African-American artists.

American blues singer Ma Rainey (1886–1939), the "Mother of the Blues"


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Music genre and musical form which originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from roots in African-American work songs and spirituals.

Music genre and musical form which originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from roots in African-American work songs and spirituals.

American blues singer Ma Rainey (1886–1939), the "Mother of the Blues"
A minor pentatonic scale;
Musicologist John Lomax (left) shaking hands with musician "Uncle" Rich Brown in Sumterville, Alabama
Sheet music from "Saint Louis Blues" (1914)
Bessie Smith, an early blues singer, known for her powerful voice
A typical boogie-woogie bass line
John Lee Hooker
Blues legend B.B. King with his guitar, "Lucille"
Texas blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1983
Italian singer Zucchero is credited as the "Father of Italian Blues", and is among the few European blues artists who still enjoy international success.
Eric Clapton performing at Hyde Park, London, in June 2008
Duke Ellington straddled the big band and bebop genres. Ellington extensively used the blues form.
The music of Taj Mahal for the 1972 movie Sounder marked a revival of interest in acoustic blues.

The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common.

The term race record, initially used by the music industry for African-American music, was replaced by the term rhythm and blues.

Afrika Bambaataa with DJ Yutaka of Universal Zulu Nation in 2004

Hip hop music

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Afrika Bambaataa with DJ Yutaka of Universal Zulu Nation in 2004
DJ Kool Herc, a Jamaican DJ, is recognized as one of the earliest hip hop DJs and artists. Some credit him with officially originating hip hop music through his 1973 "Back to School Jam".
1520 Sedgwick Avenue, the Bronx, a venue used by Kool Herc that is often considered the birthplace of hip hop on August 11, 1973.
Two hip hop DJs creating new music by mixing tracks from multiple record players. Pictured are DJ Hypnotize (left) and Baby Cee (right).
The Sugarhill Gang used disco band Chic's "Good Times" as the source of beats for their 1979 hip hop hit "Rapper's Delight". Pictured is the Sugarhill Gang at a 2016 concert.
DJ Jazzy Jeff, who is also a record producer, manipulating a record turntable in England in 2005.
The Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer, a staple sound of hip hop
DJ Marley Marl.
Grandmaster Flash performing in 1999.
Run-DMC, from left to right: Joseph "Run" Simmons, Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell, and Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels.
KRS-One and his Boogie Down Productions were key performers in golden age hip hop.
Flavor Flav of Public Enemy performing in 1991.
Wu-Tang Clan at the Virgin Festival in 2007.
Dr. Dre performing with Snoop Dogg, 2012
Rapper Scarface from the southern U.S. group Geto Boys.
Birdman performing in 2010
Eminem performing in Munich, Germany in 1999.
50 Cent performing in 2012.
The Glitch Mob performing in the Netherlands in 2010
Producer Lil Jon is one of crunk's most prominent figures
Soulja Boy in an interview with Bandai Namco Entertainment at E3 2018.
While hip hop music sales dropped a great deal in the mid-late 2000s, rappers like Flo Rida were successful online and with singles, despite low album sales.
Kanye West performing in 2008
In 2009, Time magazine placed M.I.A. in the Time 100 list of "World's Most Influential People"
Migos performing in August 2017
Lil Nas X was one of the rappers to emerge in the 2010s. He garnered mainstream success in 2019. He is also the first successful openly gay rapper.
Doja Cat was the most streamed rapper of 2021 on Spotify.
The most streamed hip hop album of all time on Spotify is XXXTentacion's second album, ? (2018).
Pete Rock performing at Razel and Friends – Brooklyn Bowl, 2016
De La Soul at the Gorillaz tour, Demon Days Live in 2005
The annual Blockfest in Tampere, Finland is the largest hip hop music event in the Nordic countries and also one of the best-selling festivals in advance. Picture of Blockfest in 2017.
The German rapper Fler caused significant controversy with his music.
Cupcakke in 2018

Hip hop music or hip-hop music, also known as rap music, is a genre of popular music developed in the United States by inner-city African Americans, Caribbean Americans and Latino Americans in the Bronx borough of New York City in the 1970s.

Musical elements anticipating hip hop music have been identified in blues, jazz and rhythm and blues recordings from the 1950s and earlier, including several records by Bo Diddley.

Sign commemorating the role of Alan Freed and Cleveland, Ohio, in the origins of rock and roll

Rock and roll

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Genre of popular music that evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Genre of popular music that evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Sign commemorating the role of Alan Freed and Cleveland, Ohio, in the origins of rock and roll
Chuck Berry in 1957
Bill Haley and his Comets performing in the 1954 Universal International film Round Up of Rhythm
Elvis Presley in a promotion shot for Jailhouse Rock in 1957
Little Richard in 1957
Buddy Holly and his band, the Crickets.
Tommy Steele, one of the first British rock and rollers, performing in Stockholm in 1957
"There's No Romance in Rock and Roll" made the cover of True Life Romance in 1956

It originated from African-American music such as jazz, rhythm and blues, boogie woogie, gospel, as well as country music.

Rock and roll is believed by some to have had a positive influence on the civil rights movement, because both Black American and White American teenagers enjoyed the music.

James Brown, a pioneer of funk, in 1973


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James Brown, a pioneer of funk, in 1973
The rhythm section of a funk band—the electric bass, drums, electric guitar and keyboards--is the heartbeat of the funk sound. Pictured here is the Meters.
Simple kick and snare funk motif. The kick first sounds two onbeats, which are then answered by two offbeats. The snare sounds the backbeat.
A thirteenth chord (E 13, which also contains a flat 7th and a 9th)
Bootsy Collins performing in 1996 with a star-shaped bass
The drum groove from "Cissy Strut"
Guitarist Nile Rodgers is best known for his performances with Chic.
Isaac Hayes playing keyboards in 1973
Singer Charlie Wilson
Funk horn sections typically include saxophones and trumpets. Larger horn sections often add a second instrument for one of the saxes or trumpets, and a trombone or bari sax may also be used. Pictured is the Earth, Wind and Fire horn section.
James Brown, a progenitor of funk music
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic in 2006
The Original Family Stone live, 2006. Jerry Martini, Rose Stone, and Cynthia Robinson
Prince was an influential multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, singer and songwriter.
Me'shell Ndegeocello playing electric bass
Talking Heads combined funk with elements of art rock.
Dr. Dre (pictured in 2011) was one of the influential creators of G-funk.
Chaka Khan (born 1953) has been called the "Queen of Funk".
Janelle Monáe (born 1985) is part of a new wave of female funk artists.

Funk is a music genre that originated in African American communities in the mid-1960s when musicians created a rhythmic, danceable new form of music through a mixture of soul, jazz and rhythm and blues (R&B).