The online exhibits of the “The Black Music Project” are now live on blackmusicproject.com. It is a collection of digital and interactive exhibits that tells the story and history of Black music. The project was announced last June as part of the Black Music Appreciation Month celebrations proclaimed by President Biden. “Black music is an undeniable but undervalued force in American society,” Christopher Fuller, the project’s founder, said in a press statement. “With the Black Music Project, our goal is to teach, inform and enlighten as many people as possible and entertain them in the process.”
The exhibits tells the history of musical genres widely acknowledged as cultivated by the Black diaspora — Mahalia Jackson of gospel; Duke Ellington of jazz; Whitney Houston of R&B; the Wu-Tang Clan of rap; Lauryn Hill of reggae; Aretha Franklin of soul; and Jimi Hendrix of rock. You will also find surprising coverage of less mainstream, but nonetheless important, contributions of Black people. Did you know cowboy music has a lot of Black artists and stories deeply rooted in the genre’s history and discography? The project has been recognized by the CSS Design Awards, and the project won “Best UI, UX, and Innovation.” And it has been listed on Communication Arts’ Web Picks list.
The Black Music Project started with simple curiosity: Fuller trying to track the musical genres that were born out of African American creativity and talent. In February 2018, the founder sketched out and drew a mind map, and it become the outline and inspiration for the final website. The website entered public beta in February 2022. At that stage, the volunteers and project’s talents— graphic designers, writers, and musicians — worked with a technical team of web developers to refine the website, and turn it into a marvel of storytelling.