Welcome to The 116 Life, family. This episode is all about the significance of Black Music Month, the contributions of black musicians and artists, and the importance of celebrating black music. Reach Records SVP of A&R Ace Harris and his co-host Meah Evans are exploring the profound impact of black music on our culture and lives.
The Unique Flavor of Black Music

One of the key points Ace and Meah discussed was the unique flavor that black musicians bring to the table. They referenced the song “All My Life,” originally written by Jen Johnson and recently performed by CeCe Winans. Their producer, Matt, shared that the song was written seven or eight years ago, and while it was already a beautiful piece, CeCe’s rendition added a new dimension to it. There’s something special about the way a black artist can enhance a song, adding a different perspective and flavor that resonates deeply with listeners.
CeCe WinansThe Historical Context

They delved into the historical context of black music, emphasizing how marginalized voices have often been kept in silos or exploited for entertainment purposes. This historical backdrop is crucial in understanding why black music has such a distinct and powerful flavor. It’s about the perspective and experiences of black musicians, many of whom grew up in soulful environments, bringing a soulful feel to their music. This perspective is not just about the technical aspects of music but also about the emotional and cultural depth that black artists infuse into their work.
Why Black Music Month Matters

Ace and Meah explored why it is necessary to celebrate Black Music Month. Historically, not every voice had the privilege of being heard in America. Black music, much like soul food, often comes from a place of being underserved and making the best out of limited resources. This resilience and creativity are what make black music so unique and powerful. Celebrating Black Music Month is about giving a voice to those who have been historically marginalized and ensuring that their contributions are recognized and appreciated.
The Role of Pioneers

They also highlighted some of the pioneers in black music who have shaped the sound and paved the way for future generations. Kirk Franklin, for instance, has been a monumental figure in gospel music. Despite facing resistance from traditional churches, he introduced a modern sound fusing hip hop and gospel that revolutionized the genre. His influence has allowed artists like Pastor Mike Jr. to thrive and innovate within the gospel music space.
Kirk FranklinOvercoming Discrimination: The Challenges and Triumphs of Black Music

Their conversation touched on the challenges faced by black musicians, particularly in genres like Christian hip hop. There’s often discrimination against certain sonic elements, and black artists have had to fight for recognition and acceptance within the industry. However, these challenges have also led to a rich and diverse musical landscape, where black artists continue to push boundaries and innovate.
Celebrating Diversity

They emphasized the importance of celebrating diversity while maintaining a focus on the kingdom over culture. It’s about recognizing and appreciating the unique contributions of marginalized communities without tipping the scales in favor of one culture over another. This approach ensures that diversity is celebrated with a kingdom agenda, fostering unity and understanding.
Embracing Authenticity

One of the most profound insights from their discussion was the idea that music transcends differences and brings people together. They stressed the importance of individuals being their authentic selves and embracing each other’s uniqueness without feeling the need to conform. This authenticity leads to growth, understanding, and a sense of unity in the kingdom.
The Impact of Black Music

They concluded by expressing their excitement to continue celebrating black music and the impact it has on our lives. Black music has a way of bringing people together, creating a shared experience that transcends cultural and racial boundaries. It’s a testament to the power of music to unite and inspire.
The 116 Life: Final Thoughts

From the unique flavor that black musicians bring to the historical context and the importance of celebrating diversity, they covered a lot of ground. As the celebration of black music continues, let’s remember to embrace authenticity, recognize the contributions of marginalized communities, and foster unity through the power of music.
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TIMECODE REFERENCES:

The importance of rest (00:00:30) Discussion about the significance of rest and its impact on health and well-being.
Celebrating Black Music Month (00:03:01) Exploration of the significance of Black Music Month and the celebration of black musicians and their contributions to the music industry.
Historical context of black music (00:05:43) Insight into the historical influence of black musicians on American music, including rock and roll, country, and jazz.
Black musicians and artists (00:04:47) Recognition of influential black musicians and artists such as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and their impact on music.
Black music in the kingdom (00:06:32) Discussion of the contributions of black musicians in the Christian music industry, including artists like Kirk Franklin and Fred Hammond.
Diversity in contemporary Christian music (00:08:18) Exploration of the increasing diversity and representation of black people in contemporary Christian music, with a focus on Maverick City’s impact.
Challenges and growth in black music (00:09:49) Acknowledgment of the progress and challenges faced by black artists in the music industry, including the need for continued growth and representation.
Influence of black artists in music (00:10:11) Recognition of influential black artists in the music industry, including Kirk Franklin, CeCe Winans, and their impact on gospel music.
Flavor of black music (00:16:27) Discussion on the unique perspective and flavor that black musicians bring to music, emphasizing the importance of celebrating this diversity.
Historical context of black music (00:18:57) Insight into the historical significance of black music and the need for distinction to give a voice to marginalized communities.
Tiredness of Black History Month conversation (00:19:48) Addressing potential fatigue or resistance towards the need for spaces to be celebrated, highlighting the ongoing importance of these discussions.
Black Music Contributions (00:19:51) Discussion on the influence of black musicians across genres and the need for recognition and celebration.
Historical Context of Hip Hop (00:21:48) Exploration of the origins of hip hop, its initial reception, and the innovative techniques used in its creation.
Challenges in Christian Hip Hop (00:24:06) Addressing the lack of recognition and respect for hip hop production and songwriting within Christian music culture.
Representation of Black Music in Christian Hip Hop (00:26:34) Examining the role of Christian hip hop in representing and celebrating black music, and the need for inclusivity and respect.
Cultural Differences in Music Expression (00:29:36) Observations on the differences in music expression between black and white cultures, particularly in rhythmic styles and audience engagement.
Historical Exploitation of Black Music (00:34:14) Discussion on the historical exploitation and appropriation of black music by white artists, and the need for proper credit and homage.
Balancing Kingdom and Culture (00:37:44) Exploration of the importance of celebrating diversity while prioritizing kingdom values over cultural biases and agendas.
Celebrating Black Music (00:41:13) Discussion on the significance of celebrating black music and its unifying nature.
Embracing Differences in Kingdom (00:41:49) Encouragement to embrace individuality and differences within the kingdom, leading to growth and understanding.
Impact of Celebrating Everybody (00:42:19) Highlighting the impact of bringing one’s true self and celebrating diversity in the kingdom.
Expressing Appreciation for Music (00:42:47) Expressing excitement to listen to music and acknowledging the diverse perspectives shared in the conversation.


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