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New Museum to Celebrate African-American Music

On Martin Luther King Jr., Day (Jan. 18) The National Museum of African-American Music will conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the “Songwriting Capital of the World” Nashville, Tennessee.

The museum which is set to open to the public Jan 30., will display an array of unique catalog artifacts. More specifically, 1,500 items collected by Dr. Reed-Wright will tell a story of the evolution of African-American music, Black culture, and identity. The museum will also highlight the integral role Black music has played in American culture.

“I don’t think the significance or importance of this type of museum can be overstated,” said Shana Redmond who is a scholar of music, race, and politics at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. “It’s actually really urgent to establish a location and a concerted effort by experts to explore and document these histories for the public. Black music is really a locus of incredible creation, incredible thought.”

The museum boasts seven galleries, all sharing a profound story.

Seven galleries situated throughout the museum will emphasize multiple aspects of African-American music history. Displays even date back to the Indigenous African period when spirituals and hymns spoke the story of a rich history.

The gallery will also share a story of racial divide during the peak of jazz and blues. Primarily during those times, Black music wasn’t always respected or acknowledged. Talented artists like Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, and Count Basie helped spark a beginning to the movement of blurring racial divides in America.

Influential time periods like The Harlem Renaissance and the rise of rock and roll are weaved through a vast and fervent record of Black music. Contemporary music from iconic artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Michael Jackson, Jay-Z and Whitney Houston are all incorporated in the exhibit, providing a significant timeline of the transition of African-American music.

The gallery sits opposite to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and spans across 56,000 square feet with a 200-seat theater. Fifty genres and subgenres like jazz, gospel, blues R&B, soul, and hip-hop are all represented. Ticket prices will range from approximately $14-$25 per person contingent upon age.

Expect a fun and interactive music experience.

The National Museum of African-American music will additionally provide an interactive experience for visitors. Guests will be able to click on the names of various artists to learn more information such as their influences and impact on Black music culture.

The interactive stations also generate playlists to listen to later. Not to mention, fun and intriguing facts at the stations can be shared with others after leaving the museum. There’s also an exhibit called “The Message” where visitors can participate in rap battles.

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