SAY IT LOUD: THE RISE OF BLACK PRIDE
How did Social Soul reflect a new vision of African-American identity in the late 1960s and early 1970s?
Accompanying the musical and political changes in Soul music that took place as the 1960s moved forward into the 1970s was a profound shift in African-American identity. Whereas Motown artists had been groomed for mass consumption by white audiences in the mid-1960s, Soul artists increasingly embraced a style much more in sync with their African roots (and in many cases reflecting a more militant political view). These developments paralleled musical changes in which melody was to varying degrees made secondary to an emphasis on rhythm and groove, as it often was in traditional African musical forms. Together, these shifts were emblematic of the growing Black Pride movement, with its characteristic slogan, “black is beautiful.” This lesson looks at these social and musical changes, with a focus on James Brown and his seminal proclamation of black pride, "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud."
Video pages: Harry Belafonte - Civil Rights (1967) | James Brown - Role as an Artist, Social Leader, and Businessman (1968) | Smokey Robinson - The Birth of Motown (2006) | Amiri Baraka - The Merv Griffin Show (1965) | James Brown - (Say it Loud) I'm Black and I'm Proud (1971) | James Brown - Man to Man (1968)
Upon completion of this lesson, students will:
2. Ask students to identify specific differences in the appearances of the people in the two pictures (clothing, hair style, demeanor, etc.). Explain to students that these are both musical groups. Ask them to discuss what type of audience they think each group is trying to appeal to.
3. Discuss briefly with students what they can conclude about how the people in each group view themselves.
4. Identify the two images for students.
Show students the same picture of Diana Ross and the Supremes from 1966 as shown in the motivational activity. Then show a picture of Ross from 1968, sporting a large afro. What broad conclusions can they draw from this dramatic change in Ross's look?
What were the major themes of "Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud"? Pick one (or more) of the poems and compare the approaches James Brown and the authors take in addressing those themes. Relate the texts to the history of the Black Pride movement of the 1960s.
College and Career Readiness Reading Anchor Standards for Grades 6-12 for Literature and Informational Text
College and Career Readiness Writing Anchor Standards for Grades 6-12 in English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects
College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening for Grades 6-12
Core Music Standard: Responding
Analyze: Analyze how the structure and context of varied musical works inform the response.
Interpret: Support interpretations of musical works that reflect creators' and/or performers' expressive intent.
Evaluate: Support evaluations of musical works and performances based on analysis, interpretation, and established criteria.
Core Music Standard: Connecting
Connecting 11: Relate musical ideas and works to varied contexts and daily life to deepen understanding.