Black Music City announces 46 grants for local artists
Black Music City is back for a second year, and this year the collaboration between WXPN, WRTI and REC Philly is doubling its impact. Today, we’re excited to announce that the program has selected 46 local Black musicians, artists, writers and scholars to receive grants to produce artworks inspired by the city’s rich Black music history.
The project, a partnership between WXPN, WRTI and REC Philly, will award $90,000 to the recipients, who were chosen by a committee of local Black professionals in the arts, media and business — including &More’s Chill Moody and Donn T, Jazz Philadelphia president Gerald Veasley, and and veteran broadcaster Dyana Williams. Each artist will receive between $1,000 and $3,500 in funding to produce their work.
Through music, visual and digital art, poetry and multimedia, many of the artists will honor influential figures in Black Philly music including neo-soul icon Jill Scott — who is the subject of no fewer than five projects — as well as jazz pianist and composer McCoy Tyner, bandleader Sun Ra and more. Others look more broadly at Philly soul, Afrofuturim, the impact of the Saxophone and more.
Many of the recipients are contemporary Philadelphia artists paying homage to their hometown inspirations.
Jazz scene singer-songwriter Laurin Telese will tease out connections between Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Brazil in the project Stan Getz: Bossa & Brotherly Love.
Singer-songwriter Zeek Burse will use songs and visual art to unpack a key theme in Philadelphia soul via his project La La La The Evolution of Love.
Composer and keyboardist Micah Graves will develop a musical piece in celebration of his kindred spirit McCoy Tyner.
Writer, poet and MC Dwight Dunston — better known in some circles as Sterling Duns from Hardwork Movement — is developing a poetry, music, and art piece called Philadelphia’s Francis Johnson after the 19th century composer who was the first black musician and perhaps the first American musician to tour Europe with a band.
Singer-songwriter Namarah McCall will develop a new musical piece in tribute to a jazz icon in her project For Billie Holiday.
For the complete list of Black Music City 2022 winners, head to the project’s website. Throughout the spring, Philly rapper and educator The Bul Bey will use a video series to track the development of select projects, and we’ll run spotlight on several recipients here on the XPN Website. Projects will be completed by the end of May and exhibited during African American Music Appreciation Month in June, with a closing ceremony on Juneteenth hosted by The Bul Bey showcasing this year’s winners.