The audience sways and dances along with the musicians. Saturday, Feb. 24.
The audience sways and dances along with the musicians. Saturday, Feb. 24.
Mayesivy Carlson

PHOTO GALLERY: Black music celebrated in Boone

Espresso News, which usually holds the sounds of milk being steamed, keyboards clacking and chatter from customers held a different sound Saturday night – one that transcended time through Black music with songs such as “Green Eyes” by Erykah Badu and “Them Changes” by Thundercat.

The Awesome Space, located under 641 RPM on King Street, sponsored the event along with Espresso News to celebrate Black music during Black History Month.

The group that played consisted of Jay Archie on keyboard, Kendrick Davis on drums, Alvin Carlisle on the bass and Taylor Young, Johnee Jones and Zeina Mvemba as vocalists.

Young said Carlisle was instrumental in organizing the group and brought all of the members together. 

“It’s mostly just friends that I knew were talented and I was like, ‘Alright let’s do this,’” Carlisle said.

 

Carlisle is a part of two other bands, Funkelstilskin and Educated Guess, and said this performance was a bit different from his other performances being that it was a celebration of Black music during Black History Month.

“Doing it as a platform for representation does add another layer of pressure onto it, but I think it was a good layer of pressure,” Carlisle said. “On a personal level, I felt pushed a little bit harder than a normal show.”

Young, a senior music therapy major and lead vocalist, said she originally met Carlisle through school as they were both involved in the music program at App State. 

“He asked me to join him on this project – to organize this show –  and I brought my girls along with me, Johnee and Zeina,” Young said.

The set list consisted of a variety of artists from older soul music from older soul musicians like Anita Baker to folk musicians like Tracy Chapman, to newer R&B artists such as Solange Knowles.

All of the vocalists were wearing some variation of the colors black and green as well as hoop earrings. Mvemba says she wears hoops almost every day and pushes back against the stereotype that hoops are unprofessional.  

“It makes me feel like the quintessential Black girl, like, I’ve got my big hoops on and I feel good,” Mvemba said.

Mvemba was happy to be able to perform Black music surrounded by friends and supporters.

“It brings me a lot of joy to have a space for the celebration of this music and to do it in the presence of some of my best friends,” Mvemba said. “I feel like it’s really important to make a space where perhaps a space may not have been given to you.”

 

Young hopes this event will open up doors for more Black music to be performed in venues throughout Boone. 

“It’s beautiful to see Black people there but it’s good to know that the music holds weight and has merit anywhere with anybody,” Young said. “It speaks to the power of music that it transcends cultural boundaries.”.

 

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