February is Black History Month in the United States. The event started off as a Black history week in 1926, and officially expanded to a full month in 1976. President Ford issued the first proclamation for the event in 1976, urging Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
In honor of Black history month, let’s check out all the exciting music happenings!
NPR’s Tiny Desk
Throughout the month of February, NPR’s Tiny Desk series will feature performances from Black artists. Each week features a different genre of music: Week 1 is Jazz, Week 2 is R&B, Week 3 is Hip Hop, and Week 4 is Wildcard Week. Due to COVID, the artists will be performing from home rather than in the Tiny Desk studio. The full schedule and lineup is available on NPR’s website, and the performances (past and present) are available for viewing on NPR’s YouTube channel.
Chicago Children’s Choir Black History Month Concert
On February 25, the Chicago Children’s Choir will livestream their annual Black History Month performance on their website, YouTube, and Facebook. The CCC, who have been featured on both NBC’s NYE program and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, will be joined by Grammy Award-winning artists Lisa Fischer and Ranky Tanky. Black History Month Virtual Concert: Preserving and Persevering kicks off at 7 pm CT (8 pm ET), with a pre-show beginning at 6:45.
AXS TV’s “Celebrating Black History Month”
Each Saturday in February, AXS TV will spotlight Black artists. The event kicks off tomorrow with specials on Lenny Kravitz, Stevie Wonder, B.B. King, and many others! The 13th will feature specials on “Hip-hop Legends,” the 20th will be “Female Legends,” and the 27th’s theme is “Let’s Dance.” For those without access to AXS, a few specials are available for free on their site under their Black History Month collection.
Events and exhibits at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
This month, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame brings Black artists to the forefront with their virtual events. Events include performances/interviews with Jackie Venson (2/11) and Robert Randolph (2/26), a screening and panel discussion of documentary Mr. Soul (2/18), and interview members of Sly & The Family Stone (2/20), a discussion on Black women in rock and pop with authors Daphne Brooks and Maureen Mahon (2/22). Many of the events are free. More details about the events are available on the Rock Hall’s event calendar.
You can also virtually visit the exhibit “It’s Been Said All Along: Voices of Rage, Hope & Empowerment.” The exhibit features artifacts from artists such as Public Enemy, N.W.A., Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and more.
To celebrate Black History Month, Rhino Records will be releasing vinyl and digital content from influential Black artists. Rhino will be releasing limited edition colored vinyl each Friday. Artists include Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway, and more. Planned digital releases include content from Tevin Campbell, Adina Howard, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Nina Simone, and others. Check out the latest releases at Rhino.com, and be sure to check back each Friday for additional releases.
Nova Twins Presents Voices For The Unheard
Rock duo Nova Twins have teamed up with Blood Records and Dr. Martens to release this exclusive charity compilation record. 100% of the money from sales goes directly to The Black Curriculum – a new organization dedicated to increasing the amount of Black British history in the UK curriculum. The 12-track compilation includes tracks from the Nova Twins, LustSickPuppy, Oxymorrons, Zhariah, and many more. More info and pre-orders can be found on the Blood Records website.
What we will you be learning about, listening to, or amplifying for Black History Month? Let us know in the comments or via email at [email protected]