chapter  9
13 Pages

Minstrelsy’s Legacy

This chapter traces many aspects of minstrelsy's legacy. In its comforts and contrivances, the authors can see minstrelsy as the first manifestation of British pop, for pop has always occupied the middle ground between what was considered hot and what was considered refined. Making black music respectable, and so acceptable to a broad white audience, is one side of minstrelsy's legacy. The other is finding in black musical culture what was denied in white musical culture, especially that associated with the suburban middle-classes. Minstrelsy was the first major projection of externalized racial Otherness in transatlantic popular music. Minstrelsy's codes and values have, in many ways, permeated popular music throughout the past century. Historical cultural analysis of blackface minstrelsy involves trying, conceptually and methodologically, to keep both relativism and anachronism at bay in moving between the consideration of specific cases and an assessment of its more durable consequences.