The Vernacular Traditions of African American Literature: Hip Hop and Soul
The Vernacular Traditions of African American literature shows validity in emotion. When reading the Vernacular Tradition, one is almost transported back in time. Emotions of sorrow, strength and joy grab hold of the reader almost instantly. Each reading, whether it be a sermon hitting your soul, a jazz song beating on your heart or a hip hop tune sticking to the mind, holds true to its purpose. The purpose of making a point and breaking away from ones struggles and opening the doors and allowing a bit of fantasy or indulgence in. The Vernacular refers to blues, church songs, sermons, stories and hip hop songs that are told by black expression. It started out in the late eighteenth century and seemed to flourish more in the nineteenth and is even present in this current century.
Before one can understand the Traditions of the Vernacular in regards to African American Literature, one has to read it and feel it with an open heart; free of any bias opinions. One also has to be prepared for what is to be said and understand that while at times the songs and sermons may sound happy, behind those voices, are actual tears of suffering. The term vernacular in depth would mean a developed language that is spoken by and used by people of a certain place, region or country; in example, indigenous. Thomas Jefferson while observing music from the slaves stated they “are more generally gifted than the whites with accurate ears for tune and time”(4) Perhaps it was because during that era, slaves understood the meaning of soul singing better than the whites because at times, that’s all the slaves had in order to get through a day. Nearly half a century later, Frederick Douglass would point out that those who hear the music as evidence that the slaves are happy with their station in life miss the slave songs’ deeper, troubled moanings and meanings.(4)
As I said in the...