Black Music Month
Louis York and the Shindellas at WMA; NMAAM State of Black Music

Louis York and The Shindellas play the historic War Memorial Auditorium June 22.

It is Black Music Month and there is a show coming to the War Memorial Auditorium that is not to be missed. Co-sponsored by the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM), Louis York and the Shindellas will put on a great show at Nashville’s historic War Memorial Auditorium on Saturday, June 22 at 8:00 p.m. NMAAM will also host its annual Gala on Thursday, June 27; look for a preview of the Gala in next week’s edition of the PRIDE.

The Shindellas are a female band formed under the belief that when women come together, powerful things can happen. The Shindellas are comprised of three brilliantly talented women, Kasi Jones (Singer), Stacy Johnson (Singer/Guitarist) and Tamara Chauniece (Singer). Each member was introduced by multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated, songwriting and production duo, Chuck Harmony and Claude Kelly, also known as the progressive band Louis York. The Shindellas explore Jazz, Soul and true R&B to create a unique genre of music for their audience. They are proponents of self-love, empowerment, and elegance, which are tenets they work hard to spread through their music.

“These days the phrases self-love or self-care have become trendy,” said group member Kasi Jones, “But self-love shouldn’t be approached as a trend, it should be something we are intentional about because it truly is the foundation of all of our life experiences.”

The Shindellas explore Jazz, Soul, and true R & B to create a unique genre of music for their audience. Their harmonies, style, and elegance brings forth feelings of nostalgia while their energy and message remind you that they are indeed modern women. The Shindellas are able to connect with women on a deeply personal level and encourage them to reclaim their power, all the while maintaining an atmosphere of fun and funk that envelopes listeners in the music and the message, leaving you feeling better and stronger than before.

Chuck Harmony and Claude Kelly, who started the company Weirdo Workshop to foster great music and art. The two are also known as the progressive band Louis York, who often perform with The Shindellas. Weirdo Workshop is a creative studio, label, and artist collective based in Nashville, Tennessee centered in developing top shelf musical content and artistic experiences. The mission of Weirdo Workshop is to encourage others to accept and embrace everything that makes them who they are and do the work necessary to become who they are destined to be. Weirdo Workshop spreads love through their portfolio of brands and creative works. The goal is to inspire the message that virtuosity and authenticity are essential for an enriched human experience.

In celebration of Black Music Month, NMAAM has released its annual State of Black Music as an online video available on the NMAAM You Tube page. NMAAM created this informative three-minute video regarding the State of Black Music from June 2018 through May 2019, which can be viewed online below. 

Read the text of their video below:

State of Black Music 2019 Script

As we celebrate Black Music Month, NMAAM is reflecting on the past year in music.

The state of black music remains robust and continues to grow stronger.

Its reach is larger than ever, spanning platforms, countries and genres. After overtaking rock as the most-played music last year, hip hop’s dominance has only gotten larger, with hip hop and R&B accounting for 30% of the more than 900 billion streams in 2018 (source RIAA). Eight of the 10 most-streamed artists last year were rappers.

Drake ended 2018 as the most-streamed artist on the planet, an honor now held by R&B star Khalid. It’s a sign of slightly different sounds’ emerging.

Black artists were leaders in mixing genres and defying category. Lil Nas X became the most-streamed artist in a single week after a collaboration with Billy Ray Cyrus, and Cardi B’s “I Like It” topped the charts and was nominated for Record of the Year.

Rihannon Giddens, Jimmie Allen, Johnathan McReynolds and Wayne Shorter – himself a pioneer in challenging category – each brought new sounds and ideas into Americana, country, gospel and jazz this year.

Forms have also changed this year. The performative powers of Quincy Jones, Beyoncé and Aretha Franklin were brought to new audiences through long-awaited documentaries this year.

Kanye West’s Sunday Service at Coachella was part concert, part church. Solange accompanied her album with a performance at the Guggenheim.

The past year has also been tough for those we’ve lost – Aretha, Nancy Wilson, James Ingram, Roy Hargrove, Nipsey Hussle, among others.

Artists whose legacies touch the last 60 years of popular music and will continue to reverberate.

For some like Aretha, we had nearly all of those glorious years to share her talents. Others like Nipsey, we lost too soon – but the dedication to his community is still being felt today. Their music and messages are reaching new ears and will continue to inspire generations.

Black music has never been more influential.

Take Missy Elliott – inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and recently awarded an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music.

Or Childish Gambino – whose song “This Is America” became the first rap song to win Record of the Year.

It was a year for pushing boundaries, finding new audiences and innovation. The next year will likely bring something unexpected – a collaboration, a song, a performance, a loss – but black music’s popularity and impact will continue to grow and shift.