A Most Stylish Rebellion (Black Music In America)

I believe the quote is “history is written by the victor.” Through the years people have chosen to interpret this quote in different ways. Ultimately, there is one truth that rings out to me in this statement: the plight of the oppressed is often understated when writing history. There is a lot of truth in that but let’s not mince our words here. That is not the whole truth. The oppressed have had and always will have a place in written history. The influence of the lower class is subtle but not lacking in potency.

The influence on pop culture and mainstream society is undeniable. Another undeniable truth is that this influence stems from rebellion. A rebellion rooted in challenging the norms of western society- from beauty standards to what was deemed as acceptable attire. Musically, the blues was
probably single-handedly the most influential music next to hip hop. Stylistically, however, every era has had their effect on the mainstream. From zoot suits to the afro, people of color have
showed a refusal to be limited by what society expected of them.

Every subculture has their way of rebelling and going against the grain. To people of color however, often the rebellion is unintentional but rebellion nontheless. I heard it said once, that to a minority in America, your very existence is a form of rebellion. When Elvis performed jailhouse rock as well as countless other blues songs and did dances that were taboo at the time, blacks in America were already familiar. Throughout history people of color have unknowingly been privy to what would become the future of style and music.

As “history repeats and ciphers become complete“, nothing changes and people of color will always influence the mainstream. We sit with a silent pride and understanding in spite of what society says. Cool is not defined by what the norm is but by what the norm is not.

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