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BHM Playlist

Black music, what do you hear when you think of black music? Hip-hop? R&B? Grime? Trap? Drill? I hear it too, and I too celebrate it with you. However, I also hear the polyrhythmic structures of dance and folk that originated from western and sub-Saharan Africa, soon to evolve into Jazz, just as the enslaved Africans touched American soil. Pioneers at the time, Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington, paved the way for legends such as Miles Davis, John Coltrain and Dizzy Gillespie, to name but a few.

I also hear and celebrate Rock music. The origins of Rock n' Roll may come as a surprise to most, because overtime this guitar or piano-led genre has become synonymous with "White' music, but this could not be further from the truth. Again, pioneers Louis Jordan, Wynonie Harris paved the way for Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, some of the few black performers of the time to achieve commercial success.

I could go on and on citing how many black people have cultivated and innovated music, but the reason why I specifically mention these crucial genres and the legends above is to celebrate black music's origins and innovations. It is so important that young people are not defined by their immediate moment in time or by their immediate environment. Learn black history, be enamoured by black history, and celebrate black music!

Leon Jean-Maris

Composer, Sound designer, Audio Editor


BHM Playlist
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