The True Culture of Rock and Roll Music
A Recognition of Important Cultural Knowledge
What is Rock and Roll music? At least two scholarly publications attempted to answer that question in the 1970s and 1980s. The research, largely underreported in popular media, remains exceptionally important decades later. The findings reveal that Rock Music is actually the African American cultural creation—Rhythm and Blues. The latter discovery has never been factually refuted. Subsequently, Rhythm and Blues University was founded and based upon documented cultural research findings: (1) Rock Is Rhythm and Blues and (2) Rock! It’s Still Rhythm and Blues.
Even the name "rock and roll" was taken from popular reoccurring lyrics found in Rhythm and Blues songs. The “coining” process of the name “Rock and Roll” is “assessed” to have begun in a 1922 “blues and rhythm” song:
My Daddy Rocks Me
By the late 1940s, the term "rock and roll" was well understood, within African American culture, to indicate a 2/4 musical good-time, party and/or sexual experiences; and even providential. Today, “Rock and Roll” is seen widely as a white American cultural creation; with “Rhythm and Blues music” credited as being a mere contributor to its own art form. Correspondingly, the late white American rhythm and blues legend, Elvis Presley, is hailed everlastingly as "The King of Rock and Roll."
The discourse can be traced back to the mid 1950s. Then, after more than a half-century of extreme violence and legal subjugation of African Americans, (Plessey v. Ferguson,1896), racial segregation laws were finally declared unconstitutional (in Brown v. Topeka, 1954).
In that same year (1954), Rhythm and Blues music, a rich portion of African American culture, was psychologically attacked and stolen. The smooth protracted theft commenced by splitting African American popular music into two synonymous parts: Rhythm and Blues and Rock and Roll. The process took three years to finish. On Thanksgiving Day, 1956, the deed of establishing separate identities was completed. The false” division of one African American music, rhythm and blues, took place “at the apex” of untouched customary [de facto] American white supremacy. The successful “division of one culture” was publicly proclaimed in early 1957.
Therein resides the problem! How can Rock and Roll be reunited with Rhythm and Blues after "Rock" was illogically and arbitrarily split apart from Rhythm and Blues?
A possible solution may be: (1) knowing and understanding Rhythm and Blues history; (2) taking the initiative to be recognized and awarded for accepting documented knowledge; and (3) transferring understanding to others when appropriate; especially to the next generation!
Dr. Martin Luther King sugggested that approach in 1967. He acclaimed that Negro popular music [rhythm and blues], played on radio, had surpassed “Alexander the Great and the culture of classical Greece.” In essence, Dr. King proudly celebrated rhythm and blues, and its contributors, in highest regard; and associated the music among the greatest cultural gifts ever given to the world.
[5:29 - 7:46] Dr. MLk - 1967
Even in Dr. King’s youth, rhythm and blues band leader and master showman, Louis Jordan “rocked and rapped” some of his music and lyrics; and pioneered both “Rock and Rap revolutions.”
Louis Jordan - 1949 Rap
Louis Jordan - 1949 Rockin’
Many people are still alive who experienced Rock and Roll as being synonymous with Rhythm and Blues; both in name and music. Others have studied the prideful African American cultural creation. They know that Rock is Rhythm and Blues, and Rhythm and Blues is Rock and Roll. People who arrive at that truth from either experience, practical or intellectual, already have made invaluable international contributions to humanity. Their wisdom is an important part of the solution for human equality. That is why Rhythm and Blues University proudly recognizes and honors people around the world who both “understand and accept” that Rock Music is Rhythm and Blues. Clear evidence of having satisfied those two criteria is at the core of RBU's honorary degree program, Doctor of Rhythm and Blues Knowledge.
Copyright © 2020 by Lawrence N. Redd
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