The highly anticipated National Museum of African American Music is scheduled to open in Downton Nashville in Summer 2020, the National museum of African American music will be a 56,000 square-foot facility that will encourage visitors to discover the many connections and influences that African Americans have made on America’s music. From classical to country, to jazz and hip hop, NMAAM will integrate history and interactive technology to share the untold story of more than 50 music genres and sub-genres of music. it will be an unparalleled institution, not confined by record label, genre or recording artist, but instead will tell a unique narrative through the lens of black music and bring musicians from the past to the present.
“The perception nationally, I think, is that Nashville is just country music. And while we love country music, I think it’s important to touch base on all the other musical genres African Americans have helped to influence,” Tamar Smithers, director of Education and Public Programs, told Black Enterprise.
There have been several efforts made to push projects that celebrate Black music history forward. Last year legendary music mogul Berry Gordy donated $4 million towards the expansion of the Detroit-based Motown Museum. The museum—which is inside of the record label’s first headquarters—captures the history, impact and influence that Motown has had on the music industry and beyond by highlighting the stories of artists like Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye and The Jackson 5.
African American music has a very rich history and originated from slaves during the 1600s who used songs to communicate with each other. In the fields as slaves were working you could hear them singing songs to pass the time. Back in Africa, rhythm was part of daily life and was incorporated into labour, rituals, and celebrations within the community.
Check out the virtual tour below: