African Diaspora

By Stephen Marasia

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The African Diaspora is described as the movement of Africans and their descendants to places throughout the world. This migration is seen as predominantly made to the Americas but was also made to Europe, the Middle East and various other parts of the globe. The majority of this movement of people out of their homeland and to the America’s was mainly due to the Atlantic Slave trade. This took place around the 15th century and is said to have forced nearly 12 million natives onto ships and to America for unpaid labor. Recently however, much of the dispersion from Africa is due to gain education, employment, or even a better living. The African Diaspora has had a major impact on many people and cultures, not just including the natives who came to America, but also the people who have come in contact with them and now have a new sense of culture from this interaction.

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Florida has shown major support for the African Diaspora movement and embracing the culture that comes along with it. There are eleven Universities throughout the state of Florida who are “Florida Africana Studies Consortium Partner Institutions”, Florida State being one of the eleven Universities.These programs were set in place in their respected locations in order to study the histories, cultures, and experiences of African people on the actual continent of Africa, as well as around the globe. Here at Florida State, specifically, this program offers an “interdisciplinary approach to the study of ethnicity, identity, human relations and cultural dynamics” http://www.coss.fsu.edu/aas/. These programs provide a place for younger African American students to go and better understand their culture and background, as well as providing a chance for people from many different cultures to experience and understand the African culture.

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Along with the diverse culture that the African Diaspora arrived with in America, the Diaspora also seemingly brought a new way to look at and perform music. Early African descendents were left with very little, if any, instruments to use due to the slave trade so they were forced to express themselves through the use of various song, while working, or hand clapping and stomping. This use of such dialogue and energy in music is said to have been where the hip hop and gospel culture were born.

Traditional African music implements the use of rhythm, that would be played simultaneously on an assortment of instruments such as, bells, horns, drums and rattles just to name a few. Among the many instruments used in African song and dance, the most popular one would have to be the drum. Much of the traditional African music was played in ceremony that focused around a drum, with singing and dancing.

Modern African American music has completely transformed from the singing and dancing of the traditional music to the hip hop and rap that is commonly seen today. African Americans have made their mark in many different roles in music today, the origination of many popular forms of music such as blues, jazz and rumba can be traced back to Africa and then sent to the Americas due to the Diaspora.


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