Throwback: Black History Month: Mos Def/Yasiin Bey

Today is the third day of Black History Month. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few days of this month, you’d see that I’ve been featuring Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles that I think can guide you towards understanding the Black experience.

Through the month — and throughout the year, I hope that you’ll come to understand and appreciate the following:

  • Black culture is American culture
  • Black music is American music. 
  • Black history is American history.  
  • America’s greatest and beloved contributions to the world are Black music styles — the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop. 
  • Black art matters. 
  • You can’t love black art and black artists without loving black people.
  • Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time. 

Mos Def (now known as Yasiin Bey) recorded one of the most important and relevant albums of my life, an album I turn to whenever racism and its ugly head rears its head in my life — Black on Both Sides. If you’ve had the chance to get to know me in real life, it wouldn’t be surprising that for the first JOVM DJ set, I ended the set with “Umi Says,” one of my favorite songs off that album. Also, the man in my opinion is one of the greatest living emcees, ever.