BHM: Art used for cultural expression

DELMARVA – Music has changed over the centuries with major contributions from African Americans.

Musician Stephen Harvey tells 47ABC that visual arts and musical arts are forms of cultural expression. He explains that it allowed African Americans to share their diverse interest and stories.

“When it comes to musical arts and performing arts in general, I think it helps push forward the narrative of what it means to be black in America,” he adds.

Harvey says this is how our culture evolved over the years. Starting with jazz in the 1920s, rock and roll in the 1950s, and in the 80s and 90s hip hop developed. All of these music genres tell a different story about the African American experience.

“The acknowledgment of the roots of Black Americans in music in our popular music as a whole, not just black music but all popular music in America, they all usually branch off of something invented in the black community…and a lot of artists today are acknowledging that publicly,” Harvey says.

The musician explains that Amanda Gorman is a perfect example. “She spoke at the inauguration that was Black art personified,” he says. The musician also says the art form of poetry comes from preachers. But, what makes Gorman’s piece so special is not that she just shared an idea that was Black, rather it was inherently Black.

Harvey says in the future, he wants Black art to be continually acknowledged and taught. He says that he really appreciates that before his time there was a large umbrella of the Black diaspora of music but people are making more diverse content.

“One of the great parts about improvised music is that you can incorporate any style of music or any aesthetic within the black diaspora of music,” the musician adds.

Stay tuned for the music he has coming in the Spring.

Categories: Black History Month, Local News