The U.S. Black community is unique.
First, it is not African in any way. It is a wholely North American construct.
Second, it is the largest and most diverse of the various Afro-sourced North American communities. Sure, there are Blacks in Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti, Cuba, and even Toronto, but the U.S. Black community is the largest, deepest, and most-varied; also the most globalized.
Third, and most importantly, I would argue that the U.S. Black community is the most-suffered community on Earth.
Sure, the Jews had it bad in Russia, Austria, and Germany. Sure, the Armenians and Kurds had it bad in Turkey. The Hutus and the Tutsis have been slaughtering each other like Greeks & Turks, and the Chinese have been killing their own people for centuries, too. They’re all pretty bad.
However, the U.S. Black community has suffered more. The effects of human chattel cannot be washed away. From before the Colony of Virginia (chartered in 1606) to the murder of Tyre Nichols (dead Jan. 10, 2023) there is one long continuing arc; a connected arc. Humans don’t act in a vacuum. We are in an ecosystem, a spider’s web, if you will; animals in an ecosystem; and all such things are connected.
Nonetheless, out of great suffering comes art.
Having endured such pain and suffering, the U.S. Black community has nonetheless produced the most popular form of music among humans today: blues-jazz-rock ‘n’ roll-pop.
The great complex beast that is blues-jazz-rock ‘n’ roll-pop was birthed by the U.S. Black community, and it is their great gift to humanity, for the whole world to enjoy.
There are rock bands today from Adelaide to Zurich, and everywhere in between, singing in every language. You can find rock songs in not only Mandarin and Spanish, English and Hindi, but even in Gujarati, Dari, Bhojpuri and Hausa.
To paraphrase Joan Jett, we all love rock ‘n’ roll.
So this Black History Month, if you, too, enjoy blues-jazz-rock ‘n’ roll-pop, say a big thank you to the U.S. Black community. They have given us much more than just music, sure, but the music is still the best~
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