Dear friends,

Black lives matter. There is an ongoing history of racism and cultural appropriation in our dance, music, and song traditions. Each and every one of us has a responsibility to educate (and re-educate) ourselves and our communities about these past and present issues, in order to work together toward more just and equitable spaces in our living traditions for everyone.

We want to use our social media platforms to amplify the voices and work of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. Today, we’re starting by sharing some articles about recognizing folk songs that have been appropriated from Black culture and ideas for re-teaching them using their full histories.
“Reclaiming Kumbaya!” by Pamela Bailey ; shares the history of “Kumbaya” and explores how we can respect the true meanings of songs like it.

“A Conversation with Rhiannon Giddens,” by Brandi Waller-Pace ; discusses connections between common American kids songs and blackface minstrelsy.

We are grateful to Decolonizing the Music Room for creating these resources. You can find loads more in their songs and stories archive!