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Black History Month: Beyond the lyrics

The influence of Black artists and musicians is present throughout all aspects of American Culture especially in music from Muscle Shoals
The influence of Black artists and musicians is present throughout all aspects of American Culture, especially in music from Muscle Shoals.
Published: Feb. 28, 2022 at 9:20 AM CST
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FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - No matter what genre of music you’re listening to, it’s been influenced in some way by Black artists and musicians.

The influence of Black artists and musicians is present throughout all aspects of American Culture, especially in music from Muscle Shoals.

Whether it’s Percy Sledge pouring his heart out or Aretha Franklin demanding respect, the lyrics in the songs from black artists who left a lasting legacy on the shoals are important.

“It’s just the way you’re brought up. You learn to love music and music is just everywhere. It’s everywhere and it’s in everything,” said Alternative R&B and Neo-Soul musician, Thad Saajid.

That love for music turned into a career for Florence artist, Thad Saajid.

Saajid said lyrics are more than just words.

“I just wanted to show the humanity of conversations that people tend to have,” said Saajid.

You can’t enjoy the Rhythm and ignore the lyrics of The Blues.

Slang, Ebonics, and colloquialisms play a huge role in storytelling.

Black studies professor at The University of North Alabama, Dr. Karla Zelaya, said we learned how to adapt our own language to all the languages we were exposed to as early as colonial times, and this reflects in our culture and music still to this day.

“I use the same words. Times haven’t really changed as far as the way we communicate with each other,” said Saajid.

Saajid said these words evoke emotion.

" Expressing the humanity in the way we converse with each other on a daily basis. It’s just ordinary speech, especially you know within our community,” said Saajid.

So whether it’s Millie Jackson saying “Get it outchea system,” or Thad Saajid using slang words and phrases in his lyrics, Dr. Karla Zelaya said Ebonics and colloquialisms in music are English.. just shapeshifted by tonal variety and emotions.

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