Historically within black communities and families, music and the arts have served to be the most powerful forms for communication, morale boosters, and influencers of hope during the most difficult circumstances. Its liberating power has pushed the boundaries of language and imagination, connected cultures, tapped into our intellectualism and has penetrated our emotional core, the heart.
From Negro spirituals that provided salvation during slavery times, and the intricate sounds of jazz by Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington during the Great Depression, to Alex Haley's "Autobiography of Malcolm X" and "Roots", to the gospel hymns of Mahalia Jackson during the early civil rights movement and a new generation of voices that demand respect, freedom and equality in songs like Kendrick Lamar's "Alright", Rapsody's "Lalia's Wisdom", John Legend's "Glory", and Beyonce's “Formation" – the music of these griots and endless others helped us through the toughest of times.
With the impact of technology, politics, radio syndication, consumerism, and social media shifting our ways of engagement with music and art, to societal issues of racism, mass incarceration, sexism, pay inequality and gentrification that affect how people collaborate with each other, it begs the questions: "Where is black music and black arts headed?" Can our black creative economy continue to ignite a modern-day renaissance and initiate global transformation, or will it fade into a memory?
Join us for a two part conversation: a one-on-one conversation with Co-Founder of Black Music Month, Dyana Williams, as well as lively panel discussion with music historians, arts educators and practicing artists of color who discuss the current condition and future of Black music and the arts at a local and national level.