'The State of Black Music Today'

Source: iOne Digital / iOne Digital

Black lives don’t just matter, they create, inspire and guide the masses—and that’s why it’s crucial that African Americans aren’t just creatives but also gatekeepers in the music industry.

On June 24th iOne Digital and the National Museum of African American Music hosted a dynamic discussion on “The State of Black Music Today: A Timely Conversation Between Voices of the Music Industry”. The talk was led by Janee Bolden, senior content director at iOne Digital and the heavy hitting panel included veteran professionals from across the industry, including  LeToya Luckett  Walker (Grammy winning singer); P. Frank Williams (Emmy winning TV/Film producer); Henry Beecher Hicks, III, President and CEO of NMAAM; Eric Roberson (Grammy nominated singer and producer) and Samantha Selolwane (SVP, Urban Promotions, RCA Records).

“Looking at our history, music has always played a role in lifting Black people up and seeing us through challenges like what we’re living through today,” says Henry Beecher Hicks, III. “As a national museum, it’s important for us to be seen as a convener that can provide a historical context, and bring together experts to have conversations just like this one.”

The primary message was clear: Black creativity thrives when Black-led, and owned.

“I love how us creatives know how to be creative and make a way out of no way,” said LeToya Luckett, who opined about the challenges of isolation during the onset of the COVID-19. Luckett, who’s currently expecting her second child, also shared her perspective on the role creatives have played in speaking out against social injustice.  “It’s beautiful to see other artists, other actors, out in the streets fighting for what is right, fighting for justice, using their platforms to express how they feel and to hopefully influence people to do the right thing and fight along with this.”

Every topic was touched. Mental health. Social justice. Financial inequities. Self-preservation. Thriving. Panelists courageously addressed topics ranging from the increased accountability for artists— sans professional grooming —due to “cancel culture” and lack of diversity in executive spaces to “movement music” and how the arts/artists provide an invaluable resource to the masses.

“Music is our healer,” said P. Frank Williams. “It’s good to see a new generation embracing that.”

Check out the discussion on FaceBook and share your comments.

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