James Brown, Rhythm, and Black Power

Munro Martin

in Different Drummers

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780520262829
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947405 | DOI:
James Brown, Rhythm, and Black Power

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This chapter develops an understanding of the links between the conceptions of race and culture, colonial history of rhythm and its suppression, the literature and the persistence of rhythm in the literary and intellectual discourse of the French Caribbean islands, and the role played by rhythm in perpetuating them by shifting the focus from the Caribbean to the United States. Reflecting primarily on James Brown's development of a distinctively rhythmic musical style, it demonstrates how black radicals interpreted these rhythms as manifestations of living African aesthetics and also how recent critics such as Fred Moten have rejected these interpretations. It concludes with the fact that there is a sense of the ongoing, though often obscured and seldom acknowledged, connections between African American and Caribbean cultural politics and the ways in which the rhythm has been at the heart of conceptions of race, culture, and subjectivity.

Keywords: colonial history; French Caribbean islands; United States; James Brown; African aesthetics; Fred Moten

Chapter.  15300 words. 

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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