John Capouya

Questions for Lecture -

With 20 chapters, Florida Soul dives deep into a number of artists and locations. What made you stop at 20? Did you find that it was difficult to whittle down or do you feel that you explored every avenue by having so many chapters? 

Which artist(s) impacted you most? Did any of your research surprise or challenge you?

Who is your favorite artist and why?

Class Reflection - 

I really enjoyed hearing from John Capouya during class. My notes during class took a creatively chaotic form as I tried to pack in all of his insights that I found interesting. I found his presentation and discussion style to be very dry and blunt, but it still conveyed a lot of character. First, I loved seeing how he would change when he played clips of music from the artists he mentioned. I think you can tell when someone truly cares about music when you get to see how they listen to it. Sure, his perspective is very colorful in his writing, but the contrast between when he would simply be talking about his book and the conversations he had with artists and when he would play clips for us was very obvious. His passion for the genre and the history behind it helped me stay engaged, even when his comments/answers were blunt or dry. I think his serious demeanor was important in many portions of this because the history behind soul was less than simple or easy. His study was as much about the music and the artists as it was about the African American community's experience with racism, both in the music industry and beyond. I thought his point about the division between north and south was quite interesting. Like most, I think of Chicago and NYC when I think of jazz and soul music. But clearly my understand was very limited before this. Prof. Capouya attributed that common understanding with where the music was allowed to grow during "defect segregation" and the later years of many of these artists careers. In Prof. Capouya's work, Florida is given the credit it truly deserves. As a southern state, Florida is often embroiled in many of the collective assumptions about the South and its long, contentious history with racism. However, I thought a lot about how that assumption detracts from the rich cultural movements that developed in African American communities across South, despite living in constant fear and oppression. It doesn't do these communities or their heroes justice to take their success out of context. Capouya's careful attention to Soul Music's Florida roots adds much-deserved context to the stories of some truly beloved, iconic artists and the communities that they touched from the beginning. I think Capouya summed up the the most important impact of Soul through emphasizing how it "inspired black America with messages of hope, unity and self esteem" and "made white America more familiar with black americans, assisted with intergration and changed hearts and minds." - I was surprised to hear that so many of the artists had nothing good to say about soul music now. There were a couple artists that he mentioned for their social commentary like Chicano Batman, but I meant to ask him more about Leon Bridges and his work. I have attached a clip of Leon Bridges to this post because it truly reminds me of the sounds that came up during his presentation 

Leon Bridges: Coming Home -

Picture of My Notes (Just to illustrate the chaos)