3. (A Part of) - The History of ‘House Music’ 

17 June 2021

Due to the horizontal interpersonal, organisational nature of how subculture phenomenon manifest, the only way to understand how ‘House music’ started is by looking at it from the theoretical perspective put forth by the Chicago school discussed in the previous sections of this paper.  As described earlier, societal conditions are the most significant factors that lead to the emergence and development of subcultures. The main factors that contributed to the development of  ‘House music’ and its improvised dance styles were the emotionally charged, oppressed, terrified and potentially dying of HIV and AIDS demographic, the mafia, new technology, friendships, musical enthusiasts and experimentation and intense dancing for long durations of time in drug-induced states.  

A major influential factor of ‘House music’ started in New York between 1960 - 69. In that time, the oppression and the differentiation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual people (LGBT) with heteronormative society had become so saturated that the LGBT community made a social stance against the interference of the heteronormative hegemonic society. The fight for equal rights and acceptance of all LGBTQ+ still burns on strongly today, 50 years later, which is due to the events that happened early in the morning of June the 28th 1969, when armed with a warrant, police officers entered the Stonewall Inn. This day is widely considered the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ+ rights (Stonewall Riots, 2017). 

The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar run by the Genovese Mafia family controlling most of the Greenwich Village gay bars in New York. The 1960s and the preceding decades were not welcoming times for LGBT people living in the USA. Solicitation of same-sex relations, for example, was illegal at this time in New York City. LGBT individuals gathered in gay bars and clubs. These were places of refuge where they could express themselves openly without worry. However, the New York State Liquor Authority fined and shut down any establishment that served alcohol to known or suspected LGBT individuals because the gathering of "homosexuals" was “disorderly” (Stonewall Riots, 2017). These laws were overturned thanks to activists’ efforts, and in 1966 LGBT patrons could be served alcohol. However, publicly engaging in “gay behaviour”, holding hands, kissing, or dancing with someone of the same sex was still illegal. Even though some laws changed, police harassment of gay people gathering at bars continued. Partially to avoid harassment, many gay bars operated without liquor licenses. Another reason for this is that the mafia owned those bars (Stonewall Riots, 2017).

3.1.1 Stonewall Inn