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253 West 125th Street
New York, 10027

Apollo Live Wire


On the Record: Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement

Tuesday, February 6 at 6:30 pm




Live Wire

On the Record: Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement

Tuesday, February 6 at 6:30 pm

We often hear about the pivotal role that black musicians like Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Odetta, Harry Belafonte, and Nina Simone played in the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s. Less discussed, however, is the role played by black-owned record companies and how savvy black entrepreneurs negotiated the complex relationship between race, politics and commerce. This discussion will consider the contributions of trailblazing black-owned record companies like Motown and Vee Jay, James Brown’s People Records, Clarence Avant’s Sussex, Sam Cooke’s SAR, and Gamble and Huff’s Philadelphia International. We will also take a dive into lesser-known record labels like the Isley Brothers’ T-Neck and Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom. As the story of black music industry entrepreneurship did not begin and end with the civil rights era, the history of labels formed in the early part of the 20th century as well as the rise of companies as far ranging as the Bob Marley's Tuff Gong, Sylvia Robinson’s Sugar Hill, Prince’s Paisley Park, LA Reid and Babyface’s LaFace, Sean Combs’ Bad Boy, Dr. Dre’s Death Row, as well as the ascent of today’s 'hybrid' record companies like Jay Z’s Roc Nation, Beyoncé’s Parkwood, and Anthony Tiffith’s Top Dawg will also be explored.

Moderated by Jason King, journalist, musician, DJ and Associate Professor and the founding faculty member at New York University's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.

Panelists Include:

Carol Cooper: Arts critic, Educator, and Former Record Industry Executive

Michael A. Gonzales: Essayist and Co-author of Bring the Noise: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture

James Mtume: Composer, Producer, Songwriter, and Activist


**Doors open at 6:00 pm. Seating is first come, first seated.  A stand-by line will be available on the day of the event. 

Registration does not guarantee entry. Latecomers are admitted at the discretion of the Management. The Apollo Theater reserves the right to cancel or revoke this registration at any time.**

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