Gospel Music Influence On African American Culture

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During the early and mid-19th century, it was a dark time in American history. There was economic hardships throughout America thanks to the great depression, and many people were feeling lower than ever before. African Americans were particularly hurt by the depression, and seeing as they were still viewed as second class citizens, possessing fewer opportunities. However, not all hope was lost and people were able to find comfort in religion. Although it was not easy to lift people's hopes, Gospel music came at the perfect time to reach people when nothing else worked (Heilbut). The great giants of gospel music such as Thomas Dorsey, Mahalia Jackson, Bessie Smith and Sam Cooke were all huge contributors to the evolution and expansion of gospel music. For many of the people inspired by these great artist, their music was an escape from the sad world…show more content…
(Helibut). While the mixing of blues influences was a contributing factor to the excitement of gospel music, there was another aspect that also helped. By its very nature, many gospel singers were sexualized. Their distinctive sounds such as moaning, and the thrilling physical movements at times displayed sexual undertones. The free willed movement of gospel singers mirror the energetic jumping moves that African Americans expressed in other popular dances and sports. The world was changing and the technology and faster paced life made everything, even gospel moved faster (Caponi-Tabery). Still, while employing face sexual movements in gospel could be seen as highly sexual, it was never the intent of gospel singers. However simply because it was not Intended did not mean that it was not a contributing factor for people being so interested in gospel. Ultimately human nature drives desires into people, and gospel music was desired by many people during this time
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