Music Is Black History.
Music Is Black History.
Every February in the US and October in the UK marks the beginning of Black History Month. This is not only an opportunity to put the spotlight on some of KU’s community of talented Black artists but an important time to recognize that Black History is Music history. It is the ground-breaking contributions from many black artists, singers, musicians, and producers that have shaped the music sphere since its inception.
Jazz does not evolve the way it did without the innovative mind and approach of Miles Davis. Davis’s no rules attitude towards the genre bent the concept of what Jazz could be, or what the genre meant. His trumpet playing transcends space and time, he conversed with his instrument in a way that didn’t just change Jazz but shifted the boundaries of music altogether. It is the boundless attitude that would inspire the future innovators and icons of generations to come. Madlib is not the hero or inspiration he is today, without hearing Davis at a young age and resonating with weird and experimental sounds of ‘Bitches Brew’.
The impact of Black Music goes far beyond just the way it has paved new paths for artists to think about how they create or perform their music. It taps into the human experience and their presentation of conceptual records are often a lense into their humanity and snapshots of their life. Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’ set a new precedent for conceptual albums in the 1970s and is constantly in the conversation of greatest concept albums of all-time. Its themes are timeless and remain true to modern-day society and politics. The impact of that type of story-telling can still be seen 40 years later in records like ‘Good Kid Mad City’, the Kendrick Lamar masterpiece, documenting the life of a young man in the Ghetto.
Nothing is more synonymous with smooth than the ascetic and style that Black culture has added to music and art as a whole. Just as A Tribe Called Quests, Q-Tip said “It’s like butter, it’s like butter baby. Not no Parkay. Not no margarine. Strictly butter. Strictly butter, baby!”
Black people should be celebrated.
It is without question that the contributions of Black musicians and artists that the music we know today would be far more bland and safe to say that the KU collective would most likely not exist. We honour and celebrate KU’s community of talented Black artists, as well as all of the other Black artists that continue to pass the torch of creativity and inspire the generations to come. We thank you for the decades of music that’s changed the world. Your contributions to all genres and styles of music around the world are recognized and appreciated.