1st Edition

Black Power Music! Protest Songs, Message Music, and the Black Power Movement

By Reiland Rabaka Copyright 2022
    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    Black Power Music! Protest Songs, Message Music, and the Black Power Movement critically explores the soundtracks of the Black Power Movement as forms of "movement music." That is to say, much of classic Motown, soul, and funk music often mirrored and served as mouthpieces for the views and values, as well as the aspirations and frustrations, of the Black Power Movement. Black Power Music! is also about the intense interconnections between Black popular culture and Black political culture, both before and after the Black Power Movement, and the ways in which the Black Power Movement in many senses symbolizes the culmination of centuries of African American politics creatively combined with, and ingeniously conveyed through, African American music. Consequently, the term "Black Power music" can be seen as a code word for African American protest songs and message music between 1965 and 1975. "Black Power music" is a new concept that captures and conveys the fact that the majority of the messages in Black popular music between 1965 and 1975 seem to have been missed by most people who were not actively involved in, or in some significant way associated with, the Black Power Movement.

    Introduction Protest Songs, Message Music, and the Black Power Movement

    1 The Black Power Movement, the Black Arts Movement, and the Black Aesthetic

    2 Motown and the Emergence of Message Music

    3 Soul Men, Musical Machismo, and the Black Power Movement

    4 Soul Sisters, Musical Feminism, and the Black Women’s Liberation Movement

    5 Funk, Musical Militancy, and the Black Power Movement

    Conclusion Blackness. Power. Music.—Ad Infinitum


    Reiland Rabaka is Professor of African, African American, and Caribbean Studies in the Department of Ethnic Studies and the Founder and Director of the Center for African & African American Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is also a Research Fellow in the College of Human Sciences at the University of South Africa (UNISA). Rabaka has published 17 books and more than 85 scholarly articles, book chapters, and essays. His books include Civil Rights Music, Hip Hop’s Inheritance, Hip Hop’s Amnesia, The Hip Hop Movement, Africana Critical Theory, Against Epistemic Apartheid: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Disciplinary Decadence of Sociology, Forms of Fanonism: Frantz Fanon’s Critical Theory and the Dialectics of Decolonization, Concepts of Cabralism: Amilcar Cabral and Africana Critical Theory, The Negritude Movement, The Routledge Handbook of Pan-Africanism, and Du Bois: A Critical Introduction. His cultural criticism, social commentary, and political analysis have been featured in print, radio, television, and online media venues such as NPR, PBS, BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, MTV, BET, VH1, The Guardian, and USA Today, among others.

    "Black Power Music! is a boldly conceived, brilliantly executed, and surpassingly timely volume that eloquently explains how Black Power Music was able to reconstitute African American culture in the decade 1965–1975. Professor Rabaka’s originality in using ideas from disciplines traditionally kept apart enables him to find the consilience that binds these disciplines together vis-à-vis black power music, to succeed where others have not. The volume’s ambitious thesis is as compelling as it is clear, and the discussion of the cultural and intellectual politics of sex and gender in Chapters 4 and 5 ought to be required reading in many disciplines."

    John Michael Cooper, Southwestern University, USA

    "Black Power Music! is a cogent study of the connections between the Black Power Movement and Black popular music of the 1960s and 1970s. Taking a cue from Black Power and Black Arts participants themselves, it successfully argues that much of that music was an integral part of Black Power. While that argument has been made previously, never before have the material links between Black Power and Black popular music been studied in such detail."

    James Smethurst, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA