Black History Month: Music

February 2024 is a pivotal Black History Month. . . Why? Because we live in a country that right here, right now, is trying to revise Black History — make it pretty, make it on the job training, make it a blessing to be grateful for, or make it non-existent. Music, as usual, is resistance. In the lyrics, melodies and soul of American music we hear Black History, even though it requires archeology and discernment to hear the voices of the African Americans on whose backs the popular music magnates built their fortunes.

Just a couple of examples: The Beatles and Elvis. . . . .Sixty years ago, the Beatles came to the US for their first American Tour — it was Feb.7, 1964. During the 1960s, Beatlemania existed concurrently with the rise of the Motown Sound. The inner cities of the U.S. were grooving to the sounds of the Supremes, the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder.

The Beatles made this Stevie Wonder song famous

Chuck Berry, Beatle John Lennon said, “is the greatest influence on Earth. So is Bo Diddley and so is Little Richard. There isn’t one white on Earth that hasn’t got their music in them – and that’s all I ever listened to,” he added.

Elvis Presley’s hit “Hound Dog” one of his biggest was originally recorded by rhythm and blues legend Big Mama Thornton. The song was specifically written for her, and it sold almost two million copies in 1953.  It was a success in the R&B world, but Thornton could never reach Presley’s level of mainstream fame.

There is nothing new about this story. We’ve heard consistent reports of minority artists being exploited — not receiving the profits white artists are receiving; not being managed in a way which guarantees tight contracts for the protection of original work.

We’re reminded in this year especially, with a focus on the arts in the history of African Americans, that erasing or whitewashing history can occur from books or tech — but the art of music is part of our collective spirit ——-Try getting that erased from our hearts, minds and souls. ( Big Brother, I dare you 🤩)


The Spinners, RIP Founding Member Henry Fambrough

07 Feb 2024] Henry Fambrough (American singer for The Spinners), 85 The Spinners’ Henry Fambrough, whose rich baritone and charismatic stage presence helped lead the Detroit group to musical heights, died Wednesday of natural causes. He was 85. … via freep
06 Feb 2024] Donald Kinsey (American guitarist and singer of The Kinsey Report), 70. Blues fans in Chicago are mourning the death of a local and international legend. Guitarist Donald Kinsey has died. … via cbsnews

03 Feb 2024] Family Man (aka Aston Barrett) (Jamaican musician for Bob Marley and the Wailers), 77Aston Francis Barrett, commonly known as “Family Man” or “Fams,” has died at age 77 at the University of Miami Hospital in Florida in the United States on Saturday February 3, 2024. … via worldmusicviews

[02 Feb 2024] Gina Brown (American musician)Beloved New Orleans musician Gina Brown dead … Gina Brown was a major fixture at festival stages, Mardi Gras balls, and community events. … via wdsu
Black History Month 2024 has begun. Here's this year's theme and other things to know
Large crowds gather at the Washington Monument and around the reflecting pool to demonstrate for civil rights on Aug. 28, 1963, in Washington, D.C.l

Black History Month 2024 has begun. Here’s this year’s theme and other things to know

The annual celebration started out in 1926 as Negro History Week and expanded to Black History Month in the 1970s. This year celebrates “African Americans and the Arts.”

In 1926, Carter G. Woodson, the scholar often referred to as the “father of Black history,” established Negro History Week to focus attention on Black contributions to civilization. (NPR)

Woodson chose a week in February because of Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday was Feb. 12, and Frederick Douglass, who was born enslaved and did not know his actual birth date, but chose to celebrate it on Feb. 14.