‘Power 101: The Harvard Report, Soul Music and The American Dream’ BLAC Book Review

J.D. Power III begins his book with a brief history of the music business, tracing its roots back to the early days of recording and radio. He then delves into the origins of soul music, exploring the connection between this genre and the African American experience.

"Power 101: The Harvard Report, Soul Music and The American Dream"

The book “Power 101: The Harvard Report, Soul Music and The American Dream” is a fascinating look at the music industry and how it has been influenced by the African American experience. Author J.D. Power III provides an inside look at the music business, from its beginnings in the early 20th century to its current state. He also explores the connection between soul music and the African American experience, and how the two have influenced each other over the years. Power’s insights and observations are sure to interest anyone who is interested in the music industry or in African American history and culture.

Power begins his book with a brief history of the music business, tracing its roots back to the early days of recording and radio. He then delves into the origins of soul music, exploring the connection between this genre and the African American experience. He discusses how soul music emerged from the spirituals and blues of the South, and how it came to be associated with the Civil Rights movement. He also looks at the role of Motown in popularizing soul music, and how the genre has evolved over the years.

Smokey Robinson at the Hitsville NEXT Celebration
Smokey Robinson at the Hitsville NEXT Celebration. Photo Taken by Dedan Blackmon.

Ultimately, Power argues that soul music is more than just a musical style; it is an expression of the African American experience. This book is sure to appeal to anyone with an interest in soul music or African American history.

In 1972, CBS Records commissioned Harvard Business School and CBS Black Music Marketing Director, Logan Westbrooks, to develop a Study of the Soul Music Environment, which was implemented by CBS. It was intended to be a “blueprint” for soul music. As a result, CBS Records received decades of praise for its contributions to an era of strong music. Blacks who were previously denied employment in the music industry were now employed and thriving. The Harvard Report also illuminated astonishing charges of corporate collusion, racism, payoffs and greed at the expense of powerful, Black-owned, self-distributed record labels like Stax and Motown. Power 101 challenges readers to draw their own conclusions about this report now that these former record executives have archived their own experiences.

Dr. Westbrooks and next-generation music exec Schuyler “Sky” Traughber have teamed up to make public their inside view of the Black music industry. Westbrooks was a key figure in the success of Capital, Mercury, RCA, CBS, Atlantic and Source Records, and Traughber formerly worked at Stax, Motown and also CBS Records. Their combined effort covers decades of controversial revelations and casts a new light on the state of Black music today.

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