Skip to main content
  • R&B Trivia: Coining the term

    In 1948, Jerry Wexler, a music journalist for Billboard magazine, coined the term "rhythm and blues." It came to replace the term "race music," which was used before World War II to describe music commercially made by and/or marketed to African Americans. Jerry Wexler himself went on to become a music producer and signed and/or produced such huge and influential R&B artists as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and Wilson Pickett. Since the late 1940s, rhythm and blues has become a driving force in American music.

    The Smithsonian will be celebrating rhythm and blues music and sharing some of its rich history during this year’s Folklife Festival from June 30 through July 11. Check out the schedule of performances, and we'll see you on the National Mall!

    Tucker Foltz is a production intern for the Rhythm and Blues Program of the 2011 Folklife Festival. 

  • Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.