Data Journalist

35% of black people say the average American isn’t knowledgeable about the influence of African-American culture on modern music

Many American music styles – jazz, rock 'n roll, blues, hip-hop – can trace their roots to African-American communities. According to new data from YouGov Omnibus, black Americans tend to say that African-American culture has influenced nearly every popular genre of modern music. They also tend to favor types of music that are heavily influenced by black culture, and they say they’re more aware than the average citizen of the role African-American history has played in modern music.

The most popular genres among black Americans are R&B (62% selected this as one of their top three favorite genres), hip-hop (39%), and gospel/choir (26%). Other popular genres include rap (21%), soul (19%) and jazz (18%). R&B is the most popular genre across generations, with millennials (60%), Gen X’ers (66%) and baby boomers (62%) all choosing it as a top pick. Gospel music tends to be especially popular amongst baby boomers (47% named it as a top genre while only 11% of millennials agreed), while hip-hop was especially popular with millennials (55% vs only 15% of baby boomers). 

African-American culture has had a significant influence on many different music genres over time. Black Americans say that the genres that have been most influenced by African-American culture are R&B (88% say African-American culture "influenced [this genre] a lot" or "influenced somewhat"), hip-hop (84%), rap (83%), soul (81%) and blues (77%). Genres which people generally say are the least influenced by African-American culture are country (33%) and punk rock (36%).

For many people, music is an important aspect of their lives. More than two-thirds (69%) of black people living in the US say that music helps them feel connected to others. Only 6% of people disagreed. A similar number of people (67%) agreed with the statement “It’s important to me to support African-American musical artists.” Seven in ten (70%) also agreed that “Black music artists deserve more respect than they usually get.”

Most black Americans also tend to say that they’re more knowledgeable than the average person when it comes to the influence of African-American culture on modern music. Almost eight in ten (79%) black Americans say they’re “very” or “somewhat” knowledgeable about the influence of African-American culture on music; only 55% say they think the average American has the same level of knowledge. A mere 15% of black people said they were not very or not at all knowledgeable about the topic, but 35% say the average American isn’t knowledgeable about the topic.

See full results here.

Learn more about YouGov Omnibus.

Image: Getty

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