Double Conscience in Blues Music Essay by RightRiters

Double Conscience in Blues Music
A paper which examines the underlying meanings in African-American blues music.
# 23509 | 1,627 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Apr 16, 2003 in African-American Studies (Racism) , Music Studies (Blues, Jazz)

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Blues music has been considered an important and popular music genre in the history of American music. The paper discusses one of the most important and significant characteristics of blues music - the fact that it illustrates double conscience, wherein an underlying meaning can be found explicitly or implicitly in the song's lyrics. Examples of themes are the social and personal experiences of the African-Americans in their lives as slaves of the white American society and as laborers in most Southern cotton plantations. The paper examines how the social and personal relevance of blues music to the black Americans is evident in many works of literature depicting black American slavery such as Frederick Douglass' , "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave." The paper also analyzes three Blues songs to show how the theme of double conscience - "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday, "No Education" by Lightning Hopkins, and "Black, Brown, and White" by Big Bill Broonzy.

From the Paper:

"Meanwhile, "Black, Brown, and White" by Big Bill Broonzy is a song that generally discusses certain issues about discrimination among people who have different physical colors: the Blacks, Whites, and Browns (or the mulattos, as they are commonly called). Broonzy's song utilizes colors as the primary aspect that distinguishes the privileges that an individual should have. All throughout the song, the line, " if you is white/ You's alright/ If you's brown/ Stick around/ But if you's black/ Hmm, hmm, brother/ Get back, get back, get back" is repeated after every stanza, to further reinforce the fact that among the physical differences of people in the world, the Blacks are considered the most unfortunate of all, denied the opportunity to obtain a good job, to receive a high salary, and to enjoy the simple leisure and joys of life. Once again, the song utilizes narrative description as a way to illustrate and extend the message of discrimination to black Americans because of physical appearance and the issue of injustice and unequal treatment among people of their race (African-American)".

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