Contrary to white-washed belief, black folks have had a profound impact on the evolution of the entire musical landscape. From country crooner DeFord Bailey injecting the Grand Ole Opry with a taste of the blues as one of its very first stars in the 1920s, to funk metal gods Bad Brains revolutionizing contemporary punk, our contributions to music go well beyond merely rap and R&B.
And to commemorate our innate ability to influence and redefine the world through sound, Spotify has unveiled its Phenomenal Black Music campaign during Black History Month in order to honor both the artists and songs that we hold dear.
In 2018, Spotify launched Black History Is Now to recognize and celebrate Black creators and culture all year long—not just in February. Over the past two years, the program has seen collaborations with artists Janelle Monáe and Pharrell Williams, as well as distinguished designers Joy Miessi and Brandan “BMike” Odums. In 2020, we’re elevating and evolving Spotify’s mission to focus on the cultural impact that people of color have always played—all through the lens of music.
In its efforts to “inspire people to discover and celebrate black music and artists who have defined and continue to define global culture,” Spotify will produce a series of activations and experiences that champion our contributions through two distinct perspectives: songs that define culture and black women who’ve shaped the music we all know and love.
If you open Spotify, under the Black History is Now hub you’ll find an assortment of Phenomenal Black Music playlists such as Black History Salute, Black Girl Magic, The Cookout and Black Lives Matter—which sets shit off proper with Kendrick Lamar’s anthemic “Alright.”
The Phenomenal Black campaign will also feature a fashion component, as prominent designers Joe Freshgoods and Jamilla Okubo will join forces with legendary denim brand Levi’s to create personalized trucker jackets that will feature exclusive patches. These will be available at Spotify’s upcoming two-day pop-up in New York City that begins on Feb. 29, and which you can learn all about here.
Shoutout to Spotify for supplying the soundtrack to your next house party or game night, and I’m looking forward to seeing how their efforts to celebrate our contributions continue to evolve and expand.