African-American Culture


Everyindividual belong to a certain ethnic group. Correspondingly, everyethnic group has its culture and ways of doing things.African-American, also referred as Afro-American or Black-American isan ethnic group of American residing in America. Normally, thesegroups of people have partial or total ancestry from sub-SaharanAfrica. They consist of enslaved African descendant. African-Americaculture is distinct, as well as influential to the entire Americanculture. They have unique music, arts and craft, language, fashionand aesthetics, among others.

Rootedfrom polyrhythmic music, the African-American music comprises ofspiritual, blues, jazz, rock, and rap music. The spiritual songs areoften influenced by African melodies. Additionally, they containstories from the Bible, and their main purpose is to give hope,encourage listeners, and educate people (Morgan56).On the other hand, other songs contain different musical expressions.For instance, the Blue song lyrics are best known for theirreflection of sorrow and loneliness, as well as their humorousreactions. Musicians create their individual styles when they performlive. Further, their music is influenced by African rhythms to createan impulsive song. A musician is not only a performer, but also acomposer hence, every performance is different.

African-Americanculture has a wealthy tradition of art and craft. They express theirartwork in woodcarvings, leather, and brass art. Their art andcraftwork include pottery, sculpture, painting, dressing, ceremonial,and religious headgear. African-American culture puts emphasis onpersonal appearance. For example, up to date, jewelry is still asignificant personal accessory. Further, this culture uses art toemphasis on certain themes such as a woman and a child, a couple, ananimal, a male with a weapon, a stranger, and an outsider. Accordingto Morgan(89) woman and a child reveal the women desire to sire and bring upchildren. A couple may represent community founders, twins, ormarried people. Amazingly, the couple theme does not exhibit intimacyof male and female. The animal and man and a weapon theme signifypower and honor. A stranger or an outsider theme may present peoplefrom other tribe or country.

Moreover,African-American culture has a distinctive language pattern. Theyspeak different African languages. Initially, the oldAfrican-American discouraged use of English as a communicationlanguage. The African-American Vernacular English comprises ofAmerican language especially the dialect, ethnolect, and sociolect(Morgan45).Up to date, most African-American still communicate inAfrican-American Vernacular English, especially those born outsideAmerica. However, some of the dialects are spoken by millions ofAfrican-American while others are spoken by only a few hundredAfrican-American.

Moreover,African-American has a unique fashion and aesthetics. This rangesfrom attire, hair, and body image. Most of African-American clothingis made from kente cloths that are in different western style fashion(Boyd78).They range from formal bow ties to casual T-shirt and cummerbunds.Often, the kente strips are sewn into academic and liturgical robes.In addition, they have some of their clothing are made of wovenpatterns that originated from Ewe and Ashani people of Togo andGhana. Besides, the Africa-American advocate that people should weardecently in places of worship. For instance, women can wear vibrantsuits and dress. African-Americans greatly value hair styling. Theirhair is composed of coiled curls, which may be wavy or tight.However, most women prefer to keep their hair in a natural state toembrace their unique beauty. They style it in a variety of ways suchas twist outs, braid outs, afro, or wash, and go style. However, somewomen prefer to straighten their hair through a chemical process orapplying heat. On the other hand, African-American men prefer to keeptheir hair short. Similarly, African-American men are now stylingtheir hair into dreadlocks, braids, and afro styles.

Overall,African-American culture remains a distinct culture in America.Accordingly, it plays a considerable role in the American culture.The music, music, arts and craft, language, fashion and aestheticsmake African-American culture special.


Boyd,Todd.&nbspAfricanAmericans and Popular Culture.Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2008. Internet resource.

Morgan,Marcyliena H.&nbspLanguage,Discourse and Power in African American Culture.New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.