From the legendary Ella Fitzgerald to the late Whitney Houston, to the gospel legend Kirk Franklin, the life of Black musicians will be celebrated in the new National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, Tennessee.
The museum opened its doors on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with the goal of “preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans,” according to the museum’s website.
Black musicians have made noteworthy contributions to the art of music in America. Dating back to the 1600s, their art and influence will be shown through seven galleries.
“We’re not focusing on one genre of music or one type of artist, we’re really taking a look at what was the impact on African Americans once they entered the country, and how did that birth what we know now as Black music,” museum spokeswoman Tuwisha Rogers-Simpson told NBC News.
The inspiration for the museum came from two Nashville civic leaders, Francis Guess and T.B. Boyd. In 1998, they both wanted a museum dedicated to the art and culture of Black musicians. Despite some museums in America highlighting Black Americans’ contributions to music, this the first museum to have galleries fully dedicated to Black artists.
“Often the story lines of music and of these songs deal with social justice, the quest for freedom and the social quest for equality, for a better life,” museum President and CEO H. Beecher Hicks III told CNN. “Those kinds of messages are nothing new. And they really are a core element of the story that we tell.”
Each gallery is named after important songs crafted by Black musicians and designed to showcase a particular narrative. The museum currently has over 1,500 artifacts, mementos, and clothing that display more than 50 genres of music.
Visit the website for more information: https://nmaam.org/visit-the-museum/