Platform developed with SATURDAY MORNING features GRAMMY-nominated singer, songwriter and actress, Janelle Monáe
Spotify will celebrate and amplify the voices of Black creators beyond the month of February with the launch of Black History Is Happening Now.
Through Black History is Happening Now, artists, creatives and organisations that are working to impart change for communities of colour will tell stories and raise topics that are important to them through video, podcasts and music curation. Spotify will be paying tribute to the musicians who have paved the way and the artists who will define what’s next.
The idea for the initiative was developed in partnership with SATURDAY MORNING, a collective formed by leading African American creative directors in advertising and marketing.
Working with Spotify, SATURDAY MORNING suggested an idea that would disrupt the the idea of Black History Month by envisioning a year long program that would accentuate the power of music and the contributions of African American’s to music. SATURDAY MORNING believed that paying tribute to black history needed more than a month (and with February being the shortest month in the year, that it was not a significant time to have impact).
Throughout the Black History is Happening Now campaign, playlists and conversations on the dedicated hub will change as artists contribute to the platform. This month, Janelle Monáe emerges as Spotify’s first Black History Is Happening Now curator and gives fans an inside look at black history and black culture through her eyes. The hub will feature her stance on Black History Is Happening Now including playlists featuring artists who have influenced her music, favourite up-and-coming artists and a documentary film that pays homage to the history and narrative of Afrofuturism in partnership with author/filmmaker Ytasha L. Womack.
“I am thrilled to be teaming up with Spotify to help kick off an important new initiative celebrating black history and culture through Black History is Happening Now,” said Janelle Monáe. “I’ve always been excited and inspired to try to redefine how we’re seen. It’s important to me to celebrate black history year round and with Spotify’s commitment to honoring the black community all year long and showcasing artists and organizations who are dedicated to imparting change. I felt it was the perfect platform to share my story of Afrofuturism and express my vision and creative ideas.”
Fans will also be invited to participate in a slate of programs that support communities of colour in the music industry. Spotify’s Sound Up Bootcamp will provide ten aspiring female podcasters of colour with resources to develop their craft. The program will take place in New York City from June 25-29, 2018 and will be led by radio and podcast veterans Rekha Murthy and Graham Griffith, and focus on storytelling, production, marketing and more. Applicants will have the chance to pitch Spotify and three pilots from the program will receive funding and the chance to have their podcasts appear on Spotify. Applications are open now through 4/10 and can be found here.
Spotify is also launching the Black History Is Happening Now Fellowship, an entry-level position which will give a young person who is passionate about black history and culture the opportunity to join the Shows + Editorial team at Spotify. Applications are open now through 4/17 and can b found here.
Creative collective Saturday Morning, who help to promote peace, generate love, raise awareness of injustice and fights for fairness to create change and understanding between all races, played a major role in co-creating Black History is Happening Now, alongside Spotify’s Employee Resource Group, BLK@ and Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organisation.
As Jayanta Jenkins, SATURDAY MORNING Co-Founder and Global Group Creative Director at Twitter noted, “Black History is Happening Now provides a living platform to chronicle, share and learn about the ongoing and ever changing contributions of African Americans to society as seen and experienced through the lens of music. Spotify is an ideal platform to bring these stories to life.”
At Spotify, we believe that creativity, collaboration, and community will inspire a more empathetic and equitable world. We bring together artists, activists and fans to advance social movements made by music and culture.
SATURDAY MORNING is a movement founded by creative executives in the advertising and marketing industry to create peaceful solutions to the issues and crisis around racial injustice. Participating in the Spotify initiative are SATURDAY MORNING leadership including Keith Cartwright, Executive Creative Director at 72 & Sunny; Geoff Edwards, Executive Creative Director RG/A LA; Jayanta Jenkins, Global Group Creative Director at Twitter, Kwame Taylor-Hayford, Managing Director Chobani; Corey Kelly, Brand Manager at LoudPack, Inc. and Nicole Cramer, Brand Strategist, Creativity Catalyst and Entrepreneur.