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Engaging African Music and Art in the U.S.

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Taylor Baldwin

Engaging African Music and Art in the U.S.

        I find it extremely important to study and discuss music, culture, and art from every region of the world. Studying African music and art as someone from the West is also very important to me, as I know it is easy as Americans to have false or distorted views on Africa, whether some see it as a nation that is deprived and lacking money, or as a nation filled with safari animals. There is not enough emphasis on the culture and lives of the actual people who live in Africa, and a class such as this can really help us to understand, respect and enjoy such a rich and vibrant culture.

        On the other hand, I also realize that potentially, there are certain drawbacks to studying African culture in this way. After taking a course on the culture of an entire continent, it would be easy for someone to reflect on their study of African culture and remember the assignments they did, the things they wrote, and the articles they read for the class. These things are very critically important for the study and understanding of any culture or history, but at the end of the day, these things are still a normal piece of life for real people, who live each day just as we do. What we see through textbooks, and class discussions will always still lack the organic feeling of meeting African people and seeing their lives in person.

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