CELEBRATE THE MUSICIAL CONTRIBUTIONS OF AFRICAN AMERICANS THROUGHOUT HISTORY

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The Soon-To-Open National Museum of African American Music Will Educate the World on African Americans’ Role in Creating the American Soundtrack

Black history never sounded so good.  Thanks to the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM), set to soon open in Nashville in Summer 2020, music lovers everywhere will be able to trace the history of African-Americans contributions to musical genres spanning generations. Everything from spirituals/gospel, blues and jazz–to R&B and hip-hop.

This year, viewers and listeners will have the chance to celebrate Black History Month through the lens of NMAAM, the only museum dedicated to educating, preserving and showcasing more than 50 music genres and styles created or inspired by African Americans.

Interviews with NMAAM executives:

H. Beecher Hicks III,  President & CEO: Henry is now the president and CEO of the National Museum of African American Music, or NMAAM (www.nmaam.org). His relationship with the project began in 2010 when he began serving on NMAAM’s board before becoming CEO in 2013. From traditional African drumbeats to modern hip-hop, the 56,000-square-foot experiential museum will highlight the many contributions African Americans have made to American music and culture.

As a former investment banker and current private equity investor, Henry is first and foremost a deal-maker. His prior banking experience includes roles as an investment banker at Bank of America in Charlotte, N.C.,where he closed more than $1 billion in middle market transactions, as an operating principal with Onyx Capital Ventures, achieving more than 25 percent top-line growth for his portfolio companies. He currently serves as a partner with private equity group Red Clay Capital Holdings. Henry draws on his business experience to lead NMAAM’s fundraising efforts and provide the museum with a sturdy fiscal foundation.

Dr. Dina Bennett, Senior Curator:  Dr. Dina M. Bennett is the Senior Curator for the National Museum of African American Music, and an ethnomusicologist who specializes in African American music and culture. Dr. Bennett has previously served as the Associate Director of the Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas; Director of Education at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, Mississippi; and as the Manager of Collections and Exhibitions at the American Jazz Museum (AJM) in Kansas City, Missouri.

During her AJM tenure, she oversaw the museum’s temporary and permanent collection exhibitions, and also served as the co-curator and consulting ethnomusicologist for the museum’s John H. Baker Jazz Film Collection Exhibition (2009), the first addition to the jazz museum’s permanent exhibition since its opening in September 1997. Originally from Topeka, Kansas, Dr. Bennett earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from Washburn University, a master’s degree in College Student Personnel from Kansas State University, and a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology with a minor in African American & African Diaspora Studies from Indiana University.

Both Hicks and Bennett talk about the following:

  • Why Black History Month is the perfect time to celebrate black history through music.
  • Untold stories of African American trailblazers in music from the 1600s through present.
  • Why build the National Museum of African American Music?  Why Nashville?
  • The Museum’s vision and how it is unique.
  • A sneak preview of the museum’s experience (including 1,500 artifacts and 25 interactive displays)
  • Learn more about the Museum at www.nmaam.org.

This interview is provided by the National Museum of African American Music

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