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Reading for Black Music Month

Somebody ain’t getting their learnin’….

Today’s music industry is evidence of that.  As 2010’s Black Music Month rolls along, I deem it imperative to drop off a list of reads on the subject of Black music.  After all, I believe one of the hardest things to do in this distracting society of ours is to pick up a book and read.  Now, this list is not exhaustive, however, I think it’s a pretty good starter list for many who are interested in the history, critique, and analysis of Black music. Let me warn many of you in cyberspace beforehand, this is not tabloid lore; instead, it’s good old fashioned, research-based, fact-finding, nonfiction mixed with some brilliant social commentary and philosophical ponderings.  So, if you’re one who thinks that watching a bunch of documentary clips on Youtube qualifies as valid research for drawing intelligent opinions, then this probably won’t work for you.

I have many of these titles myself, however, I have a slew of them on my Amazon Wish List just in case some of you want to buy a few of them for my upcoming July birthday (hint, hint).    I bring you…..


The Music of Black Americans: A History by Eileen Southern

Black Music by Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka

Blues People: Negro Music in White America by Amiri Baraka

Race Music: Black Cultures from Be-bop to Hip Hop by Guthrie P. Ramsey

Blues, Funk, Rhythm and Blues, Soul, Hip Hop, and Rap:  A Research and Information Guide by Eddie S. Meadows

Souled America:  How Black Music Transformed White Culture by Kevin Phinney

People Get Ready:  A New History of Black Gospel Music by Bob Darden

R&B: (Rhythm and Business):  The Political Economy of Black Music by Norman Kelley

Just My Soul Responding: Rhythm and Blues, Black Consciousness, and Race Relations by Brian Ward

Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic by Mark Anthony Neal

The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States by Samuel A. Floyd, Jr.

The Death of Rhythm and Blues by Nelson George

About Chandra Kamaria

Chandra Kamaria is a playwright, essayist, culture maven, educator, entrepreneur, and activist. To learn more, visit


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