As Berry Gordy Jr. has said many times, Motown was not making music for white America or Black America, it was making music for young America. Being the savvy businessman that he was, Gordy was also conscious of the prejudice and racism in the music busin

As Berry Gordy Jr. has said many times, Motown was not making music for white America or Black America, it was making music for young America. Being the savvy businessman that he was, Gordy was also conscious of the prejudice and racism in the music business. Some of the criticism from Black activists at the time was that Gordy was “watering down” the music and performers, or they were not “Black enough.” Gordy was also very reluctant (as we have already seen) to have his company become involved in any controversy. As the 1960s progressed, especially with the Civil Rights Movement’s prominence, this became increasingly difficult. As you see in this chart by Dr. Portia Moultsby, the influence of the music of African Americans permeates almost all American musical styles.

What do you think of the criticism that I describe here? Are there any specific musical characteristics in the music we have listened to so far that would make you agree or disagree with this criticism? Can you think of any musical characteristics that support or disprove this criticism? What do you think of the idea of “representation” as it pertains to “race”** or ethnicity or perceived identification of a group (gender, sexuality, etc.)? Have you ever been in a situation when you felt you were in a position of representing a group with which you self-identify, or are perceived to belong to?

Original post (minimum 200 words)

Responses (TWO, minimum 100 words each)

**I put this in quotes because of the problematic nature of the social construct we call race, especially when it is usually the external perception that identifies people in racial categories based on appearance, rather than how people self-identify, especially given that there are not genetic differences.


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