Slideshow: Defining Traditions at Black Music Matters Concert
On March 9, the Signature Series at Berklee presented a celebration of black American music featuring Patrice Rushen '05H, the multi-Grammy-nominated musician and composer who serves as ambassador for artistry in education at Berklee; Morris Hayes, former music director for Prince; and Stokley Williams, Grammy-nominated drummer and vocalist for long-running R&B group Mint Condition. The performance was produced by Bill Banfield, director of Africana Studies and a professor in Berklee’s Liberal Arts Department, and featured an array of faculty and student performers who brought the audience in the Berklee Performance Center to its feet.
The concert marked the 10th anniversary of Africana Studies at Berklee. Banfield introduced the show with a short video featuring footage of philosopher, social justice advocate, activist, and author Cornel West, who visited Berklee for the program’s founding a decade ago and said at that time, "We want to talk about the richest traditions in the history of modernity, and that has to do with musical traditions from people of African descent who, out of their doings and sufferings, were able to transcend and transfigure their moans and groans into an art form that all of us now must focus on. Black music matters."