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Black History Month at NPR

Happy Black History Month
Happy Black History Month

February is Black History Month

This month reminds us and allows us to highlight all of the great contributions that Black people have made to our society in the past and present. This year at NPR, we are celebrating with NPR Music, NPR Podcasts, NPR Extra and our Member stations.

Check out NPR's Black History Month 2022 Special Series for stories, musical performances, podcasts and other content which highlight this year's theme, Black Health and Wellness.

NPR Music:

Black History Month Tiny Desk line up
Black History Month Tiny Desk line up

Tiny Desk Concerts:

2/4: El Debarge Tiny Desk

2/10: Tiny Desk Playlist: Alexis Nelson

2/11: Catherine Russell Tiny Desk

2/16: Too $hort Tiny Desk

2/18: Patti Labelle

2/24: Tiny Desk Playlist: Kirk Franklin

2/25: Pastor Shirley Caesar Tiny Desk

"For this year's celebration of Black History Month, we delve deeper into the true history of music and culture. Each of our five Tiny Desk home concerts is by an artist who has helped define Black music as we know it today," said NPR Music's Bobby Carter, who is producing the month of concerts. "We have some unique pairings for our limited video series to discuss pertinent topics in the Black community like food justice and Black hair. Lara Downes, Alexis Nikole Nelson, and our star of last year's celebration, the great Kirk Franklin, will curate special playlists for us. Jazz Night In America has always made it part of its mission to uplift Black music and social justice. In February, they continue that mission, concluding the month with a brand new episode featuring Damien Sneed. Set your reminders for all that we have in store this month!"

See more details here.

From The Top:

From the Top features the amazing performances and captivating personal stories of extraordinary classically-trained young musicians from across the country.

February 21, 2022: A new Highlights Show will celebrate some outstanding performances by young Black musicians selected out of From the Top's archives.

Gospel Roots of Rock & Soul
Gospel Roots of Rock & Soul

Gospel Roots of Rock & Soul:

This radio show from WXPN celebrates Black gospel music's profound and under acknowledged influence on early rock and soul music.

Jazz Night in America
Jazz Night in America

Jazz Night In America:

From NPR and WGBO, Jazz Night In America's radio program is a rich presentation of the uniquely American art form that strives to reinvigorate public media jazz programming for audiences today. Check out some of the upcoming plans the show has throughout the month of February.

Feb 3, 2022: The Movement Revisited [Re-run]

Former All Things Considered host Audie Cornish guest hosts this week's Jazz Night in America episode. The tables turn as JNIA host Christian McBride — Grammy Award winning bassist and composer — talks about and performs his suite, The Movement Revisited, inspired by the words of Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King, Jr. The performance was captured live at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, McBride's hometown.

Feb 10, 2022: Samora Pinderhughes: The Transformations Suite [Re-run]

Samora Pinderhughes says that jazz has the power to reflect "radical imagination." To the Bay Area-native pianist and composer, that means challenging the status quo with his multi-movement "Transformations Suite." The suite combines theater, music and poetry to examine and explore the history of African American protest movements. Jazz Night travels to Berkeley, CA to showcase the "Transformations Suite" and explore Samora's journey into forming his musical life around activism from his parents to his peers, pupils and mentors.

Feb 17, 2022: Jazzmeia Horn [Re-run]

Maybe you became aware of Jazzmeia Horn when she took first prize at the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. Maybe you got hip when her debut album, A Social Call, was released in 2017. Or maybe this is the first you're hearing of Jazzmeia, which means you have something to look forward to. A singer of ironclad capability, creative drive and irrepressible panache, she has emerged as the breakout new talent in a formidable jazz-vocal tradition. This is her moment, and Jazz Night in America has her story.

Feb 24, 2022: Damien Sneed

Jazz Night goes to church. Leading us in services this week is gospel pianist and vocalist Damien Sneed. We hear him live at Dizzy's Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center with his trio plus special guest vocalist Anitra McKinney. We take a tour of the legendary Abyssinian church in Harlem and learn about Sneed's upbringing in Augusta, GA to working with the legendary Aretha Franklin.

Jazz Night Video Series: Concerts - (Jazz Night Video dates are still being nailed down, pending the footage of the concert.) Past video episodes and features for the show can be found here.

Feb. 1. Jazz Night "On the List" playlist - the best new jazz released in January.

Feb. 3rd: Immanuel Wilkins Concert. (the following are 60 second mini-docs)

Feb. 9 - Exploring Jazz Nicknames

Feb. 16 Attica Blues Album

Feb. 23 Hazel Scott

Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms & the Music of New Orleans
Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms & the Music of New Orleans

Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms and the Music of New Orleans:

This radio series produced by WXPN explores and investigates the historical and present day ties between the nation of Haiti and the city of New Orleans with a focus on the music that bonds together the places and people.

Mountain Stage, produced by NPR and West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Billy Candela / Billy Candela
Billy Candela
Mountain Stage, produced by NPR and West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Mountain Stage:

From West Virginia Public Radio and NPR, Mountain Stage offers its listeners the best seats in the house for performances captured in front of a live audience by established stars and emerging artists. The show features seasoned legends and emerging stars in genres ranging from folk, blues, and country to indie rock, pop, world music, alternative, and beyond

The show has compiled some digital and video pieces of Black musicians that have been featured:

  • Ruthie Foster
  • Amythyst Kia
  • Sunny War
  • Shemekia Copeland
  • Buckwheat Zydeco
  • "Why Am I Treated So Bad" segment
  • Mavis
  • Corey Harris:
  • Chris Pierce
  • Yasmin Williams:
  • World Cafe WXPN
    Kelly Manno / Kelly Manno
    Kelly Manno
    World Cafe WXPN

    World Cafe:

    Serving up a blend of blues, rock, world, folk, and alternative country, live performances, and intimate interviews, this program from WXPN has several plans set to showcase Black musicians and art throughout the month of February. Check out the schedule here.

    NPR Podcasts:

    It's Been a Minute
    / NPR
    It's Been a Minute

    It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders

    Sam talks with musician and director Questlove about the making of Summer of Soul. They discuss how Black history is remembered– or forgotten– in the archive.

    Faces of NPR: HBCU Edition
    / Sommer Hill
    Sommer Hill
    Faces of NPR: HBCU Edition

    Faces of NPR: HBCU Edition

    Historically Black colleges/universities are essential to the Black community. They provide us a place of education, community and growth in times we were often turned away from these necessities. HBCUs have always bred excellence within their students, for example Oprah, Kamala Harris, Thurgood Marshall, Stokley Carmichael and Martin Luther King. The buck doesn't stop with them. Here are a few HBCU alum at NPR that are contributing their creativity, intelligence and authenticity every day:

    Anais Laurent - Senior Marketing Manager

    Sommer Hill - Social Media Associate

    Taylor Ash - Recruitment/Employment Branding Coordinator

    Kia Miakka Natisse - Host, Invsibilia

    Ayesha Rascoe - White House Correspondent

    Whitney Maddox - Manager, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    Nikki Jones - VP, Change Management & Transformation

    HBCU Member Stations

    Did you know that there are many NPR Member stations who are licensed to HBCUs? You can check out the wide variety of programming they provide, such as jazz and gospel music, news, and how they serve their communities overall:

    WSNC-FM Winston-Salem State University

    WSSB-FM South Carolina State University

    WPRL-FM Alcorn State University

    WCSU-FM Central State University

    WNCU-FM North Carolina Central University

    WEAA-FM Morgan State University

    WVAS-FM Alabama State University

    KPVU-FM Prairie View A&M University

    WJAB-FM Alabama A&M University

    WURC-FM Rust College, Inc.

    WRVS-FM Elizabeth City State University

    WCLK-FM Clark Atlanta University

    WJSU-FM Jackson State University

    WESM-FM University of Maryland- Eastern Shore

    Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Sommer Hill (she/her) is a social media associate for NPR Extra. She started with NPR in May 2021. Her primary responsibilities include managing the social media accounts for NPR Extra as well as creating blog posts for NPR.org. In her time at NPR, Hill has worked on many projects including the Tiny Desk Contest, the How I Built This Summit, creating a resource page for Juneteenth material, participating in the 'What Juneteenth Means To Me' video and contributing to WOC/POC meetings.
    Emily Hamilton
    Yanius Alvarado Matos