Elton John, who is profiled in the biopic “Rocketman,” was the first white superstar to appear on “Soul Train”

Elton John, who is profiled in the biopic “Rocketman,” which opened Friday in movie theaters, is the first white superstar to appear as a guest on the iconic show “Soul Train.” Don Cornelius, “Soul Train”’ host and founder, said, “Welcome, soul brother,” to John when he strutted onto the set for the show broadcast May 17, 1975. I watched Soul[Read More…]


George Theophilus Walker, the first black man to win the Pulitzer Prize for music

George Theophilus Walker has died not having the achieved the success he hoped for by being the first African-American composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. “I probably got more publicity nationwide than perhaps any other Pulitzer Prize winner,” he told the Washington Post in 2015. “But not a single orchestra approached me about doing the piece or any[Read More…]

Afrika Bambaata pushed out of Universal Zulu Nation amid growing allegations of child molestation

Afrika Bambaata has been fired by the Universal Zulu Nation, an international self-help, Hip Hop-awareness group he founded in the 1970’s and led, as charges continue to mount that he sexually molested young boys. Bambaata’s removal was announced Friday during an organizational shakeup as more men have come forward, alleging Bambaata molested them when they were pre-teens or teenagers. The[Read More…]

Sony agrees to buy Michael Jackson’s music estate for $750 million

By Frederick H. Lowe Sony Corporation of America has signed a binding memorandum of understanding with the estate of Michael Jackson to pay $750 million to buy the remaining 50 percent of Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, an international music publishing powerhouse, Sony doesn’t own. $733 million lump sum payment The memorandum of understanding, disclosed Monday by the company’s investor relations,[Read More…]

Phonograph sermons once outsold jazz

  by Julie Kennedy, Washington University in St. Louis A recently published book chronicles a time when sermons by African-American clergy outsold recordings by popular performers like Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey. In the 1920s and ’30s, these African-American preachers spread the word to a mass audience one phonograph record at a time, according to Lerone Martin, assistant professor of[Read More…]


  Delta Blues Museum receives $100,000 grant Museums of America on Monday awarded a $100,000 grant to the Delta Blues Museum that will allow the museum to complete the final design for its new permanent exhibits. The permanent exhibit will enable visitors to the Clarksdale, Mississippi, museum to explore issues of race, class and place through the blues and its[Read More…]

George Shirley’s Encore

  George Shirley, the first African-American tenor and the second black man to sing a leading role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, will be awarded the 2014 National Medal of the Arts and the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama on Thursday during a White House ceremony. Shirley, who was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 18,[Read More…]