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Nashville TN: Black and Proud
Mixed media on paper
26 x 40 inches
© Denise Weaver Ross, 2020
This ideas for this “postcard’ were sparked when Shawn Whitelow, an African American man from Tennessee, who had been following this series on Instagram contacted me and sent me a red-lined map of Nashville. He is also the man in the military uniform in the center. Even though you can no longer see the details from the map it does form the underlying texture and you can see part of the Cumberland River which goes through the city. When I thought of Nashville, I thought about music and how the roots of American music (Americana, Country, Rock and Roll, Jazz, Blues, Soul, you name) was influenced by the music enslaved people brought with them from Africa. So I wanted to celebrate the African Americans who spent at least some of the musical life in Nashville including Ray Charles, Little Richard and even Jimi Hendrix who in 1962)along with his army friend Billy Cox formed the band The King Kasuals which served as the house band at the Club Del Morocco on Nashville’s Jefferson Street. I also included the Jubilee Singers, students from Fisk University, who date back to 1871 and were instrumental in preserving this unique American musical tradition known today as Negro spirituals. They broke racial barriers in the US and abroad in the late 19th century and entertained Kings and Queens in Europe. Surrounding them all the flames of slavery, civil war and racism out which our American music has risen and still arises.