I don’t even know where to start.
And if I’m being honest, I don’t feel like celebrating much these days. 2020 has been one heartbreak after another. First, we lost NBA legend, Kobe Bryant. Then the Coronavirus came hitting the Black Community the hardest. Then Ahmaud Arbery was killed for running. Then Breonna Taylor was killed while being in her own home. Then Christian Cooper was threatened for asking a woman to follow the rules. Then George Floyd was killed for being Black. I am exhausted.
Being Black in America is hard. 155 years after the abolishment of slavery in the United States, we are still fighting racial inequality and disparities. As the Black community organizes together and its allies educate themselves on how to be equipped to step in and speak up, one thing is true: this is the moment to highlight how important the Black community is to this country. And even though I may not feel like celebrating, it is paramount, given the harsh times, we are living in, to acknowledge the contributions of Black Americans in this country—especially within the music.
Here’s the thing: you love Drake, Vince Staples is your jam, and Beyoncé is your girl. But have you ever taken a second to think about their journey and what their music stands for? While the days of NWA are over, its mission is not. And while you may frequent Hip Hop and Rap stations, the reason you like it is because it’s catchy—but for us, we will never neglect the fact that a lot of our music is born out of years of suffering, pain, and disparity. In fact, Black music is the foundation of American music. It has been shaping art for generations; you don’t get your Elvis Presleys, Hall & Oates, and Ariana Grandes without Jazz from Billie Holiday, gospel from Black Churches (the cornerstone of our community) and Rock & Roll from Little Richard.
Created in 1979 by Grammy Award-winning songwriter and producer Kenny Gamble, Cleveland radio DJ Ed Wright, and journalist, documentarian and community activist Dyana Williams, Black Music Month (aka African American Music Appreciation Month) is an annual celebration of African American music in the United States. Today, this month, and always: we need to celebrate the vast and ongoing contributions of Black artists, engineers, and musicians to the music community.
Furthermore, Black Women are the backbone of our community. We are not only mothers, sisters, aunts, and wives, but also nurses and physicians, engineers and musicians, and trailblazers for young Black Women who will face similar trials in the very near future. Every day, we put on brave faces when our husbands, sons, fathers, brothers, and nephews leave the house to go to work, go for a run or even go to the store for fear that something may happen to them because of the color of their skin.
Kali Nicole Gross, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of History at Rutgers University, said it best when she stated, “Everyday black women, the poor and working-class as well as artists and athletes and black queer women — all have had a profound impact in America, so it’s important to share their stories.” And that is exactly what Pandora Presents Pass The Mic aims to accomplish this month.
As we all observe Black Music Month 2020, approach Juneteenth, and become more aware of the important social movements to combat systemic racism that will undoubtedly shape American history, it is crucial for Pandora to highlight Black women who are making waves in the audio industry and opening up doors for others.
Please explore our Pass The Mic content this month, highlighting Black Women musicians, professors of African American Diaspora and Music Producers and Engineers. If you need more information on how to engage with the most influential audience, please engage with our Pandora for Brands pieces on the Black Audience.
And remember, as advertisers and marketers it’s important for us to continue having conversations with each other in order to make a difference for our consumers. Please visit the educational resources below to learn more about Black Music Month, the contributions Black Women have made to our nation, and gain further understanding of racial disparities.
Pass The Mic Articles
Podcast: “I Can’t Be the Only Female Producer in the World” with Ebonie Smith
Women in Audio Feature: Sapphira Em
Mini Mic Interview: Regina N. Bradley, Ph.D., Professor & Podcaster
Label Boss Feature: Suzi Analogue, Never Normal Records
Artist Feature: Quay Dash
Podcast: Putting the Human Back in Business with Beatrice Dixon
A Look at How Black Music Month Got Started, National Museum of African American Music
A Detailed List of Anti-Racism Resources, Katie Couric
From Civil Rights to Diss Tracks: How Black Women Have Shaped U.S. Culture, Rutgers Today
Study Examines Why Black Americans Remain Scarce in Executive Suites, The New York Times
How Black Women and Non-Black Allies Can Support Women of Color in Marketing, Adweek
Pandora For Brands Informational Pieces
Press Play: Engage Influential Black Audiences Through the Power of Audio
The Impact of Black Influence on Culture and Advertising
Black History Month: The Soundtrack of Today’s Social Movements
Black Americans Respond to Culturally Relevant Ads
For more Pandora Presents Pass the Mic content, click here.
Williams, Lauren D. (2020, June 03). Your Favorite Music Would Not Exist Without the Black Community . Retrieved from https://www.pandoraforbrands.com/article/your-favorite-music-would-not-exist-without-the-black-community
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As quarantine goes on longer and longer, I’ve been able to settle-in. It’s given me a moment to really explore the artistic layers in my favorite music. This playlist—what I’m listening to right now—has got some new tracks from my favorite artists, as well as some more experimental sounds for my taste. I hope you enjoy!
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We recently lost Bonnie Pointer, a founding member of The Pointer Sisters. The Pointer Sisters' origin story begins in Oakland, California. They grew up in West Oakland, learning to sing gospel as children (their father was a reverend who believed that blues and rock 'n' roll was the music of the devil). But The Pointer Sisters took on a myriad of genres including, R&B, Disco, pop, funk, jazz, disco, electronic music, country, blues, and rock (sorry, dad). One common misconception about the band is that it comprised the same three sisters. But having come from a large family, the group began as a quartet before scaling down to a trio, with members including Ruth Pointer, Issa Pointer, Sadako Pointer, Anita Pointer, Bonnie Pointer, and June Pointer. This playlist boasts their most famous hits as well as some deeper cuts and fan favorites.
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In celebration of Black Music Month & LGBTQ Pride Month, we've compiled a comprehensive list of music-related affiliates & allies that exist within the intersectionality of both communities. These strong voices all speak for themselves across multiple genres like hip-hop, R&B, soul, pop, dance, house, etc. From contemporary to classic, it's all unapologetically BLACK x LGBTQ.
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Popular music in the 1990s saw the continuation of teen pop and dance-pop trends which had emerged in the 1970s and 1980s. Furthermore, hip hop grew and continued to be highly successful in the decade, with the continuation of the genre's golden age. Aside from rap, reggae, contemporary R&B, and urban music, in general, remained extremely popular throughout the decade; urban music in the late-1980s and 1990s often blended with styles such as soul, funk, and jazz, resulting in fusion genres such as new jack swing, neo-soul, hip hop soul and g-funk which were popular.
Similarly to the 1980s, rock music was also very popular in the 1990s, yet, unlike the new wave and the glam metal-dominated scene of the time, grunge, Britpop, industrial rock and other alternative rock music emerged and took over as the most popular of the decade, as well as punk rock, ska-punk, and nu-metal, amongst others, which attained a high level of success at different points throughout the years.
Electronic music, which had risen in popularity in the 1980s, grew highly popular in the 1990s; house and techno from the 1980s rose to international success in this decade, as well as new electronic dance music genres such as Rave, happy hardcore, drum and bass, intelligent dance and trip-hop. In Europe, Techno, Rave, and Reggae music were highly successful, while also finding some international success. The decade also featured the rise of contemporary country music as a major genre, which had started in the 1980s.
The 1990s also saw a resurgence of older styles in new contexts, including third wave ska and swing revival, both of which featured a fusion of horn-based music with rock music elements.
Q: Favorite 90s rock song?
Q: Favorite 90s punk song?
Q: Favorite pop songs of the 90s?
Q: Favorite solo artist song of the 90s?
Q: Favorite band/group song of the 90s?
Q: Favorite R&B song of the 90s?
Q: Favorite hip-hop songs of the 90s?
Q: Favorite country song of the 90s?
Q: Favorite 90s song from a movie soundtrack?
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This playlist celebrates Black voices of classical singing, including Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle, Pretty Yende, Leontyne Price, Marian Anderson, Roland Hayes, Lawrence Brownlee, Audra McDonald and many more.
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Enjoy this collection of classical music composed by black men and women. With compositions dating all the way back to the Classical era through to the 21st century, you'll hear symphonic movements by Chevalier de Saint-Georges, William Grant Still and Florence Price and solo piano pieces by Margaret Bonds and R. Nathaniel Dett, Zenobia Powell Perry, and much more.
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