Blues University Mission:
Blues is a useful tool to help redefine the parameters through which we judge the history of our nation, and provides a reasonably coherent continuum through which to filter 20th Century events. Blues University is an ongoing project to explore the context in which blues has been critically studied, with special emphasis on the social background for this dialectic. A core tenet of its mission is to refocus that dialectic into a more positive frame of reference and replace an often demeaning historical and ideological context with one which recognizes the fierce dignity and courage of the blues singer's message.
As a cultural phenomenon, blues is a powerful symbol of the contradictory and paradoxical status of black entertainers in America. Blues has often been unfairly associated with negative and destructive emotions, even though it provides catharsis and comfort; today it is often dismissed as a dead language like Latin, even though it continues to evolve every night in venues throughout the world, and its influences can be heard in most popular musical forms; the blunt directness of blues is often misinterpreted as simple-minded, rather than efficient, visceral rather than profound. This patronizing paradigm prevents many listeners from fully appreciating the supreme artistry and legacy of the African American folk tradition.
The blues idiom developed, in part, as the result of subjugation of blacks and a need to lament the tragedy of unequal application of justice in America. These themes and idioms, however, have as much in common with lyric poetry as they do with rock 'n roll, and to attribute its power solely to the plight of the authors disrespects their considerable talents. Blues music is popular and influential worldwide, due to the common chord which its themes strike among kindred spirits in many cultures, and Blues U. seeks to help others to discover the broad cultural impact of this music.