The 20th century was known as "America's century," a very influential point in time. Jazz and rock were two types of prosperous music to the world. With new technology and ways of communication, influences quickly spread. Music can be considered one of the most important influences that African Americans created in the musical culture that they brought along to this country. Jazz early developed in the African American society which reflected their culture from West Africa to the West Indies. These sounds quickly permeated across the country and globe. Elvis Presely and Chuck Berry both used blues and jazz to create their rock and roll. Rolling Stones and the Beatles were inspired by American music such as blues. Hip hop and R & B are what transitioned music to the next two decades. Now, rap music is another evolution in the blues music which was created by the African American commmunity. The African musical culture which quickly spread across the country and globe had a significant impact on stars who used their culture to recreate their own music which reveals how much impact and contribution blacks had in the 20th century, and even now.
Interest in black culture helped sculpt the American culture through the Harlem Renaissance era and the popularity of jazz which sparked interest in whites in northern urban places such as Chicago and New York City during and after World War I. The popularity of jazz among whites helped begin a “Negro Vogue” in cities such as New York and Paris around the 1920s. James Weldon Johnson credits the American traditions that developed in the United States to the African Americans. Their struggle for freedom represented democracy. Their music frequently reflected the black working class. Jazz was a high form of art.
African Americans have highly influenced the pop culture, a very popular type of music which originated from blacks. This type of music greatly revolves around the American culture and is greatly heard. Music is a prime example of how the American culture revolves around African American culture. People claim that new trends which arise from African Americans are not apropriately acknowledged for their success. For example, Sam Phillips loved the sound of black music, but new it would not sell to the white audience so he found Elvis Presely, who sounded black. Also, in the 2014 Grammy Awards, Macklemore, a white rapper, won over Kendrick Lamar, a black rapper. Dance is also influenced by African American culture as exemplified by Miley's dance craze during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. Her dance was not new, and other singers such as Beyonce and Rihanna performed the dance before, but since Miley is white, she made it an acceptable thing to do and caught the attention of the majority of white Americans. This information reveals that although many Americans are in denial that African American culture has influenced, it can been seen through many perspectives.
Though many are oblvious, the powerful contributions of African American culture can be seen integrated throughout the American culture. From indigenous songs and dances, nursery rhymes, and food, African roots are deeply integrated in many forms. Popular nursery rhymes used for the learning of children in the American culture, one being chicken little, have been derived from Africa. A popular dish in South Carolina is called "turn meal and flower" which is closely related to the traditional African meal called millet bread and fufu. A couple of forms of recognizable types of music created by the African Americans are spiritual and blues which are still seen today. These are only a few of the many other ways that African culture can be seen embedded into the American ways of life.
The Harlem Renaissance was a thriving era for black culture in which they progressed from their old culture, onto new ideals that represented them. From their past oppression and obstacles they faced day to day with jim crow laws, and racial tensions mostly in the south, led them to free their minds from trouble. Many made their journey from the rural south to the urban north seeking better opportunities. This movement to Harlem New York made many feel free and inspired to pursue dreams they could not before. Singing, art, and jazz, were all ways in which blacks gave themselves a voice and contribution to the development of their culture which we continue to see today. Like today, back then many were encouraged to go beyond their limits by having role models to look up to. The Harlem Renaissance reveals the strong power blacks had that was held within and was finally coming to light. In many ways, African American culture continues to be represented and seen throughout the USA from music to dance, and art.