Music Brings People Together Regardless of Social Injustice

After watching King Vidor’s film Hallelujah, it is clear that music was the main way that the creators were able to accurately represent what African American culture was like in the early twentieth century. This movie recreated my view of black culture, as the film went into great detail showing the daily lives and life activities of these individuals. The main character, commonly referred to as Zeke, was featured commonly in the movie going through stressful situations. One instance was at a social gathering where he was pressured to gamble his money and was wrongfully scammed by both Chick and Hotshot. Although this was only one small part of the film, this instance highlights the large forms of inequality that African Americans experience on a daily basis. With all the tragedy that this movie highlighted, music was constantly used as a way of bring people back together.

The image above highlights a group of people gathered around Zeke’s speeches.

Evident from reading J.H. Howard’s article “Hallelujah!: Transformation in Film”, she also firmly agreed that the various use of music is what allowed the film to accurately portray African American ethnic groups. One quote from the reading I found particularly interesting is when Howard claims that “Within the film, this dynamic operates at the level of narrative, musical number, and music, resolving the contradictions identified by Dyer” (441). This quote highlights just how revolutionary this film was, mainly because of the different types of music that are conveyed. The contrast between religion, folk music, as well as instruments is what allow the movie creators to portray the film in an accurate light. As a result, Hallelujah served as an accurate representation of African American culture and was able to cast light on social issues that are still being discussed to this day.

2 thoughts on “Music Brings People Together Regardless of Social Injustice

  1. Hi Mason, I liked that you wrote about how different types of music are used to bring people together and show emotions. When I was preparing for my blog post, I read that music is relevant in black culture because it was a way of secretly communicating. I was wondering if there are other reasons you believe why the use of music is used to represent the African American culture.

  2. Hey Mason, great post! I liked how you picked up on how the music in the film represented the emotion the characters felt at the time. In the film, a lot of the songs spoke of religion. Do you think African American belief in God might’ve exacerbate inequality, or do you think it helped them survive in those harsh conditions?

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