BRUITS: “We are Blocked”

Imani Winds’ Statement of Justice & Equity

“There are all sorts of emotions that can be encapsulated by art,” Imani Winds’ oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz said in a recent interview. On February 5 2021, the Imani Winds released BRUITS, a recording project that indeed captured the emotions of Black and Brown people while emphasizing a needed change to an underlying American history. It features three world premieres by composers Vijay Iyer, Reena Esmail, and Frederic Rzewski.

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If it Smells like Funk

Silk Sonic’s Debut Performance at the 2021 Grammy Awards Show

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
(L-R) Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars of music group Silk Sonic perform onstage during the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards broadcast on March 14, 2021.

Artists Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak have combined their musical talents to form the duo Silk Sonic. This collaboration has led to their debut single Leave the Door Open, a track that reminds many listeners of the soulful R&B of the 70s. With matching copper suits and a vibe reminiscent of the syndicated television program Soul Train, Silk Sonic delivered their debut TV performance at the 2021 Grammy Awards show on March 14th after successfully petitioning the Recording Academy through the power of Social Media.

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A Complex Yet Authentic Truth

Jazmine Sullivan’s Heaux Tales

by Isaiah Shaw

Jazmine Sullivan
Myesha Evon Gardner/RCA Records

Despite the instability of the world, artists continue to create — expressing their experiences and declaring the meaning of life in unique ways. Grammy-nominated R&B singer-songwriter Jazmine Sullivan released a versatile album on January 8 2021. Heaux Tales follows the untold stories of empowerment among Black women while laying waste to the patriarchal definitions of female sexuality.1   

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A Requiem for Katrina: How Music Saved the City of New Orleans

Max Becherer/AP

Early on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States. When the storm made landfall, it was recorded as a category three hurricane. The storm itself did a great deal of damage, particularly in the city of New Orleans, but the real catastrophe lay in its aftermath. Levee breaches and the failure of the city’s floodwalls led to massive inundation of over eighty percent of New Orleans’ neighborhoods.

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Healing Arts with Rae Khalil

by Isaiah Shaw

After the societal tumults of 2020, performing arts organizations are taking Black History Month to another level this year. In February 2021, National Public Radio’s (NPR) Tiny Desk Concert series featured Black artistry from emerging voices to established artists across various genres and generations. On February 18, NPR released a recording of Rae Khalil’s performance from her home in South Los Angeles. Appearing with her band, The Ill, the singer-songwriter and rapper shared a dynamic performance that healed and uplifted those affected by racism in America.

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