Chrishton King Music Chapel

Sophomore Chrishton King used Wednesday’s chapel to highlight how Black music has influenced most popular tunes filling the radio waves.
“Music is an integral part of not only the Black, but the human experience. And Black music specifically has shaped and continues to influence so many different genres that we listen to today.” 

King showed appreciation for popular artists Baby Keem, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, DJ Kool Herc, and Grandmaster Flash while drawing parallels between different eras and genres of music. Hip-hop, R&B, and even country have roots in Black music, he said, whether it be samples from soul music or the use of the banjo, which originated in Africa, in American Bluegrass music. 

A discussion with Music Director Matt Tutor ’91 hammered home that blues is a base for a great number of current hits. King emphasized that African American artists including Otis Redding, Muddy Waters, and B.B. King paved the way for modern music. 

“If all known [modern] music genres were a tree, the blues are undeniably the roots. Its influence spans styles that are relatively similar in nature – like soul, R&B, and jazz – to genres that, nowadays, we view as totally polarized from it – rock, metal, and even pop. All have substantial blues undertones if you take the time to hear them.”

King urged fellow students to diversify their music tastes so they can learn and appreciate different styles and the history behind them. 

He closed by emphasizing the enormous influence African American music forms have had on the world, saying, “Black music is music.”