I know this looks like a ridiculous generalisation. And I only use the term 'black people' to provide a distinction with the music of 'white people'.
I mean the whities have Monteverdi, Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. And the rest.
What do black people have?
Well they have also have music which goes back thousands of years, in Papua New Guinea no less than elsewhere.
As Mana taught me with her Kuman singing (God nina unagle dingra wo wei. Naya sugl mola wo wei).
Then there is American Gospel.
Now if you want to trace the roots of American black music you have to go back to Africa.
And the subsequent history of slavery, religious belief and blues and the amazing influence this has had on the music we listen to today.
What led to this = well, I’ve just discovered a treasure.
I inherited over 100 CDs from my father (who was a Pastor, composer and choir conductor), and who is now in a nursing home.
Among them I found an amazing couple of CDs of African-American Community gospel music from the Smithsonian Folkways Collection. A classic which is not freely available.
Do you know how many popular singers owe their musical education to American gospel? The divine Arethra Franklin, Whitney Housten, James Brown, the Jacksons, Beatles, Rolling Stones and many more. See here and here.
It's fair to say that modern American and black music would not exist without the influence of Gospel. Not to say I don't recognise the emotional blackmail and influence of church music on pulling heartstrings to the denial of reason.
But music is greater than this. It is the power to express emotional in the face of oppression, discrimination and violence.
The truth is clear. Despite today’s rash of rap and hip-hop and pseudo-black music, the roots of much of what we listen to and enjoy lie in Gospel church choirs.
And it’s capable of giving us much more in the future.