Still We Rise: Racial Discriminatory Resilience and Black American Musicians


"What does it mean for descendants of enslaved people to create a music embraced by the world and still be treated as second-class citizens, exploited, dehumanised, and subject to premature death?" thus asked author Robin Kelley. According to Chou et al, Black Americans are exposed to more racial discrimination a any other ethno-racial group (Chou et al., 2012). Although racial discrimination plagues the lives of many Black American in the United States, the experiences of resilient Black Americans, especially in the music industry, are very much understudied (Barbarin, 1993). Primary research has linked music performance with an increase in resilience across many clinical and community settings (Fraser, 2015; Schafer et al., 2013). While historical research has proven music to be a major tool in the liberation of Black America and in building community resilience, examinations of the racial experiences of resilient Black American musicians are sparse. Musicologist Sherrie Tucker of the University of Kansas states, “Moments of justice for Black American musicians and their communities are few and far between.” This study examines the effects of racial discrimination on Black American musicians. This paper begins to fill the gap in research regarding resilient Black American musicians and provides data for future research in similar areas including, but not limited to, higher education, the music industry, and mental health.

Author Information
Clarke Randolph, Howard University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: KAMC2022
Stream: Performing Arts Practices: Theater

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon