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African American Culture


African American culture, also known as black culture, is not as one-dimensional as it is made out to be. In fact, if you look at it from the perspective of someone who belongs to this culture, they face a dilemma when it comes to deciding which one is the “real” thing. The stereotypes that have been associated with the culture have bled so deeply into it that African Americans themselves cannot distinguish where it begins and where it ends.

African American culture, stereotypes and all, has become a sort of trend instead of an actual identity for its holders. It’s no more theirs; it’s now made up of the assumptions of what other people think it’s about. This fabricated image is then used by fashion brands, music labels, and marketers to make big bucks.

What People Love About Black Culture

“Soul food”, a type of cuisine associated with African Americans living in the south, is one of the aspects of black culture deeply appreciated by some people. “Soul food” includes fried chicken, BBQ, bacon, vegetables such as fried okra (with its edible seedpods), as well as candied yams (a vegetable similar to potatoes), cornbread, and collards. African Americans are definitely passionate about their food.

Black culture also boasts its own musical style based on rhythm and percussion. Percussive instruments include those which can be shaken, struck, or smacked, such as the drums and the cymbal. Whereas Western music focuses on melody and harmony, African American music leans towards strong beats and rhythmic undercurrents. For example, arts forms such as hip-hop and rap have served as a major medium through which people have been able to express themselves and also get closer to their African American neighbors.

Food and music are not the only things black culture excels in. African Americans also know very well how to have fun and be happy. They know how to laugh, at each other as well as themselves. They love to sing in groups and spread the love, in private or even at times in public. It is apparent that this need to laugh and sing comes partly from the time during which the blacks were slaves in America. In those dark times, they probably sought refuge in laughter and music when there was nothing else to distract them from their situations.

Black culture, although rich and unique, needs to make a big comeback so that African Americans can rebuild an identity rooted in exactly what it is, instead of what people expect it to be.

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