Today is the first day of Black History Month. And throughout this month I’ll feature Black artists across a wide and eclectic array of genres and styles that I think can guide you towards understanding the Black experience. Throughout the month I hope that you’ll appreciate these facts:
- Black culture is American culture — and Black music is American music.
- 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.
- Black lives matter — all of them, all of the time.
The first person that came to mind was the amazing Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Tharpe was the first major gospel star, who wound up presaging the rise of the electric blues. She saw crossover success with blues, R&B and rock audiences throughout her life and that shouldn’t be surprising, She’s also been considered the godmother of rock ‘n’ roll — with her work influencing the likes of Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and others. She’s that important and yet, she doesn’t always get her fair share of credit. Check out some oof the live footage I’ve come across. You’ll be convinced.