When it comes down to it, it is rhytm and blues, Motown, predominately African music. Kids in city schools should be exposed to "old school" black music that is like folk in that the music so tells the story of the artists and times.
have a grown up with Big Band parents. I played trumpet in my high school jazz band. when i heard Stan Getz's bossa nova I found the lyrical genius, and God searching passionate sound of a tenor giant. During the Viet Nam era I was exposed to the whole gamut of what became today's classical rock and rock which of course had its roots in African-American blues. I love what I love: the Dead and the drug influenced idealists, the British Ray Davies and the Stones, Eric Burdon; on to the 80s folks like the respectful Bruce Springsteen, then some of the punk rockers I could appreciate. On to the late discovery of people the the Pretenders. Then the lights went out and the youth searchers went back to roots and wherever modern American pop is at this point. Always it is soulful blues, soulful jazz, populist folk, country and generic rock and roll, then into the postmodernists and however music can be defined in this era of the great American decline