Diversity & Inclusion
Honoring Black History and Artists Through the Unifying Power of Music
May 7, 2021
Charter was proud to partner once again with Smithsonian Channel on a series of virtual panel discussions, this time featuring elected officials, local arts organizations, and the folk music group Our Native Daughters. The events celebrated the release of Smithsonian Channel’s documentary, Reclaiming History: Our Native Daughters, a film about the folk group’s four musicians, who share important stories about Black history through their music.
The virtual panels discussions, titled “Musical Connections—Building Portals to Our Past and Bridges to One Another,” featured conversations about how teaching through music can provide insight into history and build bridges to the future. The discussions focused on four core components of the creative process employed by Our Native Daughters when developing their music: 1) History, 2) Heritage, 3) Inspiration, and 4) Connection. With snippets of their music and excerpts from Smithsonian Channel’s documentary, the audiences were given a glimpse into the artists’ styles, struggles, and successes.
Five virtual events were held in California, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas, and featured elected officials and representatives from local organizations that support and uplift the Black community through music and the arts in their cities. Charter was proud to announce donations to several of these groups, including:
- Chuck Dickerson, Founder & Executive Director, Inner City Youth Orchestra (Los Angeles, CA)
- Jaree Irvin, Prodigy Cultural Arts Program (Tampa, FL)
- Will Blake, Member, Black Artist Guild (Akron, OH)
During the Ohio virtual event, Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes spoke eloquently about the significance of Black History Month, saying, “The reality is Black history is American history. All of us have been beneficiaries of the work, of the contributions, and the excellence that Black people throughout this country have laid the foundation for several generations.”
“Creating a space for black voices in the arts is hugely important,” said U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey during the Texas event, echoing the Smithsonian Channel documentary’s message about Black representation in the music industry.
A special thank you Leader Sykes and Rep. Veasey, as well as California State Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager, Florida State Representative Fentrice Driskell, and North Carolina State Representative Kelly Alexander for their participation. This series marks Charter’s third collaboration with Smithsonian Channel on inspiring events that foster dialogue and celebrate Black History, with past events including screenings of “The Green Book: Guide to Freedom” and “The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X.”