New museum traces Black music across genres

A new music museum is telling an important and often overlooked story about the roots of American popular music across genres. The National Museum of African American Music has opened in Nashville's musical tourism district. (Feb. 5)

Video Transcript


HENRY BEECHER HICKS III: You know, most museums, most music museums deal with a label, a genre, or an artist. But there was really no place in the country that really just tells the story of the trajectory of in the context of American music. And certainly, no place that then puts the African-American contribution to American music in its context.

So I've got Kanye West here. And not only does it pull up Kanye West, but it'll give me some biographical information about Kanye.

We've got a dance interactive where you can go in and a dance instructor in silhouette will teach you dances from various decades. And you can save all of that on your RFID bracelet. We've got a place where you can make a hip hop beat and save it to your RFID bracelet. We've got a place where you can sing with a gospel choir.

CECE WINANS: When we think of the history of African-American music and the important part it has played in our country, you know, it was it was long overdue to honor it in this type of way. We grew up in Detroit, Michigan. And we all sang, my whole family, the Winans. And, you know, you never-- you never start out doing what you're doing to be a part of history or even be a part of a museum. You don't even-- you never think about that. And and so when I saw we were a part of the museum I was just like, wow, we're a part-- they actually counted us in. And I think now, more than ever, even though we've been waiting for the museum to open, I think the timing of it couldn't be better. You know, even after the rough 2020, I think it just inspires us to move forward when you see this African-American music, but definitely when you focus in on the gospel music.