Celebrating Black Music Month in Tennessee

Celebrating Black Music Month in Tennessee

Wednesday, 05 Jun, 2024 0

Now is the perfect time to discover Tennessee’s Black music heritage for Black Music Month and ahead of Juneteenth celebrations also taking place this month.

Music buffs can explore African Americans’ vast influence in music and culture through the decades at a host of immersive attractions throughout the state.


The National Museum of African American Music in Nashville

Every June, the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) in Nashville puts together a series of events and experiences. It is the only museum dedicated to celebrating the music genres created, inspired or influenced by African Americans.

NMAAM’s Black Music Month showcases and honors African American music history.

Throughout June, special events include:

Black Music Month Mixology Class (June 11): This mixology class includes custom Black Music Month collector’s glasses and a DJ spinning classics.

Bridge To Broadway Block Party (June 16): Returning for its fourth year, this annual block party is set to be the “Blackest Broadway” ever celebrating the sound makers from blues to hip-hop to country and more.

Juneteenth Community Day (June 19): NMAAM offers a free admission day packed with programming that acknowledges and celebrates the 12 freedoms gained after slavery. A third-ticketed mixology class will be offered as a NMAAM day party.


Soul Power: The Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis

From “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” to “Shaft,” Stax Records turned up the volume in the 1960s with raw, soulful music from iconic artists like Otis Redding, Booker T. & the MG’s and Albert King. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis offers a deep dive into the history of soul music, featuring a replica of the studio dedicated to Stax stars. Tour the history of soul music, watch vintage footage and see the collection of vibrant stage costumes and Isaac Hayes’ custom Cadillac.

Drop by the Four Way Grill which has been a Memphis culinary institution since 1946 — and the place where countless soul legends filled up on soul food before and after recording sessions.


The Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll: Sun Studio in Memphis

Sun Records’ Black music roots run deep, with such legends as Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Rufus Thomas and countless others. In fact, it was at Sun that Jackie Brenston laid down “Rocket 88,” the single many scholars claim is the very first rock ‘n’ roll song. Today, you can tour the preserved studio and listen to outtakes from recording sessions.

The City of Memphis will host the annual two-day Memphis Juneteenth Festival with food, fun and festivities, June 14-15, 2024.


The Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove School in Brownsville

Before she was crowned the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner was Anna Mae Bullock, born in Nutbush, Tennessee — a spot she later made famous with her hit song “Nutbush City Limits.” The is celebrated at the Tina Turner Museum at Flagg Grove School in Brownsville, formerly the one-room schoolhouse where she learned her ABCs. Located on the grounds of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center, the museum is home to the largest known collection of Tina memorabilia in the world. It features costumes, gold records and her high school yearbook.

While in Brownsville, pay a visit to the home of one of Tennessee’s musical giants — blues legend Sleepy John Estes, whose career stretched from the 1920s to the 1970s, influencing everyone from Bob Dylan to the Beatles.


The Bessie Smith Cultural Center in Chattanooga

Before Tina, there was Bessie. Still referred to as the Empress of the Blues close to a century after her death, Chattanooga-born vocalist Bessie Smith’s legacy comes to life at Bessie Smith Cultural Center. Smith was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, whose fingerprints can still be found in jazz, blues, rock, hip-hop and beyond. Through detailed exhibits, the Cultural Center tells her story, along with further valuable exhibits that showcase the lives of the Chattanooga musicians who followed in Bessie’s footsteps.

The Bessie Smith Cultural Center commemorates Juneteenth (June 19) every year with the free Celebration of Freedom festival. This year, attendees will enjoy food trucks, live music by DJ Ant, and free admission to the museum. There will be a screening of the Juneteenth: Faith & Freedom documentary.


More ways to celebrate Juneteenth this year in Tennessee:

Juneteenth Celebration – Nashville’s Tennessee State Museum is hosting a celebration June 15 with family friendly crafts, live music and a reading from Tonya Abari, the author of Let’s Celebrate Juneteenth.

Jefferson Street Sound Museum – This Nashville museum preserves the music and entertainment history of Jefferson Street through historic artifacts, sounds and other learning instruments through arts and music programs.

Juneteenth Community Day – The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis will offer free admission on June 19, providing everyone the chance to learn about the contributions of Black Americans and the continued struggle for civil and human rights.

Ruby’s Happy Farm Feel Good Festival – Located in Cross Plains, just 40 minutes from Nashville, Ruby’s Happy Farm will host the Feel Good Festival on June 22, featuring vendors, entertainment and presentations on agriculture, history and wellness.

Chattanooga Festivals of Black Arts & Ideas – An ongoing festival series highlighting and celebrating artists of African descent. The Chattanooga Festival of Black Arts & Ideas’ Juneteenth Commemoration Ceremony on June 19 features the sounds of Inversion Vocal Ensemble, directed by four-time EMMY-nominated composer Dave Ragland.

Beck Cultural Exchange Center – Knoxville’s Beck Cultural Exchange Center, dedicated to preserving the rich legacy of African Americans, hosts an annual Juneteenth Celebration on June 19, with special exhibitions and experiences.

The Hermitage – This National Historic Landmark and 1,120-acre home of President Andrew Jackson in Nashville will host a series of events including a presentation of freedom stories told by historical experts on June 19. Dr. Brandon Byrd will reflect on emancipation in the Volunteer State on June 20.

Also, explore Tennessee’s 15 sites along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail 

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TravelMole Editorial Team

Editor for TravelMole North America and Asia pacific regions. Ray is a highly experienced (15+ years) skilled journalist and editor predominantly in travel, hospitality and lifestyle working with a huge number of major market-leading brands. He has also cover in-depth news, interviews and features in general business, finance, tech and geopolitical issues for a select few major news outlets and publishers.

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