Posted: March 11th, 2023




Before writing the journal, make sure you have completed the following:



Black is Beautiful Links to an external site.



History of Hip Hop in the Bronx Links to an external site.


James Brown Say it Loud- I’m Black and Proud Links to an external site.


Donna Summer-Last Dance Video Links to an external site.


Donna Summer. Last Dance lyrics Links to an external site.


Prince-Purple Rain Video Links to an external site.



Prince. Purples Rain. lyrics Links to an external site.


Public Enemy-Fight the Power Links to an external site.


Queen Latifa-Ladies First Links to an external site.


Lauryn Hill-Feeling Good Video Links to an external site.


Lauryn Hill- Feeling Good lyrics Links to an external site.



“Some people say we got a lot of malice

Some say it’s a lotta nerve

But I say we won’t quit movin’

Until we get what we deserve …

Say it loud – I’m black and I’m proud!”

-James Brown

According to historian Leon Litwack,

To appreciate the diversity of ideas and experiences that have shaped our history, we need to be sensitive to the complexities and varieties of cultural documentation, to the enormous possibilities these documents afford us to get at the interior of American lives, to get at peoples long excluded from the American experience, …who – individually or collectively – tried to flesh out and give meaning to abstract notions of liberty, equality, and freedom.

The late 1960s assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. abruptly ushered in waves of protest, race riots, arrests, and adaptations in political protest and activism. Thus, the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s brought new challenges such as drug epidemics, social unrest, economic hardship, family strains, limited opportunities for women, and mass incarceration. Yet, Black power, Black pride, and Black consciousness, in addition to feminism and the globalization of civil rights ushered in a new wave of strength and optimism. The post-Civil Rights era was formative and on the verge. 

As historians, we are inspired to think about how Black Americans expressed themselves and in doing so developed self-image, and shaped mainstream American culture and social dynamics. Music is an important cultural artifact and historical element. As an essential part of the human experience, our creative expression through music is a vehicle through which people assert and preserve our histories in the face of changing social conditions. 
From spiritual hymns sung by African Americans who were enslaved to jazz enjoyed by those at clubs in Harlem, rock and roll rhythms, protest songs sung by 1960s youth, blues, hip-hop, R&B, and rap music, it is evident that musical performance was often a place Black and White Americans could come together and transcend the social limits imposed by segregation. Music can be enjoyed and understood by anyone, anytime. This was especially true in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Music is an important form of individual, political, social, and cultural expression. In this reflection, you will consider how music was an essential element of cultural expression during the latter half of the 20th century. Consider, what music moves you? What are your favorite genres? Musicians? Songs? How does music provide comfort? Energy? Belonging? 

In this reflective journal, consider the following musical genres of the 1970s-2000s. These include: 

· R&B

· Funk

· Disco

· Soul

· Hip-Hop

· Rap

· “Gangsta” rap

· Contemporary Black protest music 

The post-Civil Rights era was a momentous time for American music, coming from the brilliance of Black American artists. By the 1970s, as Black consciousness and feminist movements shaped a new America, soul albums became popular in American households. Musicians such as Smokey Robinson popularized a radio format of smooth R&B as funk evolved. Eventually, the sound of disco evolved from Black musicians creating soul music with an up-tempo melody. Disco was iconic with the 1970s dance music, fashion, and subculture that emerged in the 1970s from the urban nightlife scene. Popular musicians included Isaac Hayes, Barry White, Donna Summer, the Village People, and Aretha Franklin. 

Donna Summer-Last Dance

Links to an external site.

In the 1980s, as the Cold War was relaxing, Michael Jackson had record-breaking success with his albums
Off the Wall,
Bad, and
Thriller – the latter remaining the best-selling album of all time – transforming popular music and uniting races, ages, and genders, and would eventually lead to successful crossover Black solo artists, including Prince, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, and Janet Jackson. Hip-hop spread across the country to become mainstream and diversified. Since it emerged in the Bronx in the 70s and 80s, hip-hop has become globally influential.  It is important to understand how hip-hop and rap came about within the historical context of the African American experience. It is also evident that music evolved as a reaction to socio-economic and political conditions in Black and Brown neighborhoods. “Hip-hop” became culture, with beatboxing, dancing, clothing styles, and hairstyles. 

Prince-Purple Rain

Links to an external site.


Rap had begun as a musical genre at block parties in New York City in the early 1970s, when DJs began isolating the percussion breaks of funk, soul, and disco songs and extending them.   By 1986, it took off with the popularity of groups and individual artists such as Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy, and Queen Latifa. Eventually, by the 1990s,  “gangsta” rap came to represent the sounds, social awareness, and often violent struggles faced by Black Americans living in urban areas, including loss of life. Unfortunately, the “thug” and “gangsta” lifestyle portrayals, and even misogynistic lyrics, were heightened in order to sell more records. Problematically, these were often taken as literal representations of Black life, and Black people often too got seen as synonymous with hip-hop. Artists such as Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Warren G., and Ice Cube would battle against Notorious B.I.G and Tupac Shakur. 

Public Enemy-Fight the Power

Links to an external site.

Moreover, Black American female artists such as MC Lyte and Queen Latifah exploded onto the stage with empowering, assertive tracks like Ladies First and U.N.I.T.Y. More recently, socially conscious artists like Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu have been hugely acclaimed and work to celebrate Black womanhood, and even the “female gangsta rappers” like Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown arguably created some transgressive space for Black female performers in hip-hop. Overall, several scholars have argued for an articulation of women’s role in early hip-hop and for highlighting the oppositional and empowering stance many of them hold.

Queen Latifa-Ladies First

Links to an external site.

Lauryn Hill-Feeling Good

Links to an external site.


For this reflective journal activity, students will choose a song from the years between the late 1960s through the 2000s. Listen to the lyrics and view a performance if you can find it on the web. Consider the following as

questions for your reflection. 

· How and why is music central to African American culture, community, and history?

· How has music influenced history?

· How has history influenced music?

· What historical context is central to this artist, song, and genre?

· What emotions or ideas are expressed in this song?

· Have you heard this kind of music before?

· What context can you add to the song based on your existing understanding of African American history?

· How does this song “speak” to you?

Journal entries should be approximately
250 words (1-2 paragraphs). Embed
at least 3 photos, images, links to stories, music, videos, or articles in addition to a brief 1–2 paragraph reflective summary.

Submit the journal using

Links to an external site.

Refer to this

Wakelet Instruction Guide

Download Wakelet Instruction Guide

for creating and submitting the reflective journal. Submit your Wakelet as both a link to the Wakelet and a downloaded PDF.

Be sure to submit the interview transcript, audio/video, or oral history summary.

Journal entries must be written entirely in your own words. If any sources are used, make sure to cite them in
APA format.

Links to an external site.


This assignment is due at the end of the module. All Reflection Journals combined are worth 10% of the course grade. This journal entry must be completed in Wakelet. Refer to the Wakelet Instruction Guide above to submit your Wakelet as a downloaded file AND include a link to your Wakelet page.


Expert paper writers are just a few clicks away

Place an order in 3 easy steps. Takes less than 5 mins.

Calculate the price of your order

You will get a personal manager and a discount.
We'll send you the first draft for approval by at
Total price: