The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) announced its first-ever Rivers of Rhythm Digital Exhibition (RofR) and significant financial support from Belmont University on Thursday, June 16. June has been declared African American Music Appreciation Month (formerly known as Black Music Month) by President Barack Obama. NMAAM was pleased to announce this key milestone to occur during this important, month-long observance.
A first-of-its-kind digital exhibition, museum officials and award-winning Gospel artist CeCe Winans (who was recently announced as one of NMAAM’s National Chairs) revealed the digital exhibition and a $250,000 donation from Belmont University.
“With over 50 genres identified as created or influenced by African Americans, RofR is an interactive tool that depicts the ebb and flow of music and genres using a web-based platform to tell the Museum’s story even before our doors open,” said H. Beecher Hicks, III, NMAAM’s president and CEO. “Music is more connected than we realize and the influence of genres and music is a true outline of the history and impact that American artists have around the world.”
Ms. Winans joined to help Belmont University’s president, Dr. Bob Fisher and H. Beecher Hicks, III, NMAAM’s president & CEO, unveil the digital exhibition and donation. As a National Chair, Ms. Winans will focus her work with NMAAM specifically around the Gospel genre and serve as an active ambassador. She will provide support and access to her professional network for the organization. She, along with Darius Rucker, Keb’ Mo’ and India.Arie were announced earlier this year and are all actively engaged in the project. They are also prominently featured in the Rivers of Rhythm Digital Exhibition (RofR).
“This digital exhibition reflects another step in Belmont’s efforts to become increasingly more diverse and broadly reflective of our local and global communities,” said Dr. Fisher. “Having Henry and Cece Winans here to launch this new music resource is an honor and demonstrates our commitment to NMAAM’s success. Belmont has an outstanding reputation for fostering and nurturing top musical talent so supporting this project is a perfect fit for our campus.”
“This June and every June, we celebrate Black Music as a vital part of our Nation’s proud heritage. African-American music exemplifies the creative spirit at the heart of American identity and is among the most innovative and powerful art the world has ever known,” said President Obama in presenting this year’s federal proclamation.
As the only museum dedicated to all dimensions of African American music, The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) will showcase over 50 music genres created or impacted by African Americans, honor the legacy and legends of this diverse music and detail the impact music has on musicians and consumers around the world. NMAAM will draw upon a range of music and history enthusiasts to explore and celebrate American music and will tell a story never before told, until now.
For more information, visit NMAAM.org