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Introduction

Introduction lntrodudion As blues was becoming popular during the early decades of the twen­ tieth century, black churchgoers and preachers denounced it as mu­ sic "taken up from the devil," in part because its lyrics were sexually explicit. But when jazz rose to popularity in the twenties, it was whites who debated whether the music could intoxicate them and seduce them into sexual promiscuity and interracial mixing-a fear reminiscent of the theory of the nineteenth-century French scholar J. A. Gobineau, who claimed that the black "female" races have historically been the seducers and corrupters of the white "male" races. The reaction that rap engenders now in the nineties, however, suggests that there is a terror greater than the threat of racial seduc­ tion: the utter dread that the white "female" races will be raped by the black "male" races. The late African activist and psychoanalyst Frantz Farron claimed that for most white people, the black man represents "sexual instinct in its raw state" and is "the incarnation of a genital potency beyond all moralities and prohibitions." A close examination of the reac­ tions rap causes in certain elements of American society reveals a terror that rap may lead to racial http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Black Sacred Music Duke University Press

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Copyright
Copyright © 1991 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1043-9455
eISSN
2640-9879
DOI
10.1215/10439455-5.1.1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

lntrodudion As blues was becoming popular during the early decades of the twen­ tieth century, black churchgoers and preachers denounced it as mu­ sic "taken up from the devil," in part because its lyrics were sexually explicit. But when jazz rose to popularity in the twenties, it was whites who debated whether the music could intoxicate them and seduce them into sexual promiscuity and interracial mixing-a fear reminiscent of the theory of the nineteenth-century French scholar J. A. Gobineau, who claimed that the black "female" races have historically been the seducers and corrupters of the white "male" races. The reaction that rap engenders now in the nineties, however, suggests that there is a terror greater than the threat of racial seduc­ tion: the utter dread that the white "female" races will be raped by the black "male" races. The late African activist and psychoanalyst Frantz Farron claimed that for most white people, the black man represents "sexual instinct in its raw state" and is "the incarnation of a genital potency beyond all moralities and prohibitions." A close examination of the reac­ tions rap causes in certain elements of American society reveals a terror that rap may lead to racial

Journal

Black Sacred MusicDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 1991

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