What is Black Gospel Music?

What Is Black Gospel Music ?
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As per Mahalia Jackson, black gospel music are the song of hope.
The term “gospel” is in use since the late 19th century and it implies revival music and hymns. It became popular when slavery ended and the Black people moved into the north and other big cities of the United States.

The actual roots of African American gospel music lie in South America during the 19th century. Spirituals came into the picture when the slaves participated in informal gatherings and improvised folk songs.

With the teachings of Jesus Christ and the resonance of biblical stories, spirituals communicated the distressing story of American slavery with freeform rhythm.

Songs like “Rock My Soul in the Bossom of Abraham” and “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child ” portrays the story of slave’s struggle, spirituality, identity, heritage and freedom.
If you want to listen to any of them, you can find them here on this website.

Subgenres of Black Gospel Music

This genre of music is African American music, which has dominant vocals and strong harmony. We have mentioned the subgenres below that would help you to understand the music:

Traditional black gospel

The traditional Part of this kind of music is more popular and mostly seen in the Black churches and non-black Pentecostal.
The music is borne from the Negro Spirituals and is found in entertainment spaces of the world.

Before the Great Migration, the majority of the Black Americans lived in the Southeastern United States and therefore it became the origination point of black gospel music. Initially, the music was influenced by the hymnody of Watts and spirituals.

At a later time, it acquired the vision and musical style of Dorsey.  It was not accepted by the Northern churches for a long time because of Dorsey’s music.

As time passed, the Southern migrant’s church became popular and so did the gospel choirs and gospel music. The northern churches now followed the trend of using gospel music in black churches.

Urban contemporary

Urban contemporary black gospel developed out of the combination of traditional black gospel and secular black music, which was popular during the 70s and 80s. Urban contemporary is the most frequent form of black gospel music being recorded in today’s time.

The music is based on heavy instrumentations and rhythms that were popular in the secular music of the contemporary era. They also used electronic beats in the music.


British black gospel music points out African gospel songs in Diaspora.
Often it is referred to as UK gospel, the sound of British black gospel music is significant because it is highly influenced by UK street culture.
The artists belong to the African and Caribbean black churches in the UK.

The 30 years between the 1940s and 1970s is recognized as gospel music’s golden era.
During this period, black gospel music has witnessed a huge success in terms of popularity.

The golden age of music is considered to be the biggest organized struggle for equal rights and movements. It helped in many ways to put an end to the racial separation in America.

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