A Celebration of the Black Music Tradition


A concert celebrating the tradition of Black music and its many contributors will take place at the Berklee Performance Center on Thursday, March 9 at 8 PM. The Signature Series performance Africana Studies Presents: Black Music Matters will feature an array of guests who have influenced today’s pop, R&B, and soul music.

Morris Hayes, the former music director for Prince, who has also worked with Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, and George Clinton, will be a guest artist for the event. R&B icon Stokley Williams, the lead singer and drummer for the group Mint Condition, is also slated to perform at the concert. Williams and Mint Condition were honored with a Grammy award nomination for Best R&B album this year for their latest release, Healing Season.

Patrice Rushen, a composer, producer, music director, educator, pianist, singer-songwriter, and Ambassador for Artistry in Education, will also join the performance as a featured guest. She received an honorary degree from Berklee in 2005, and most recently spoke at the 2015 Berklee Women’s Empowerment Symposium in Valencia, Spain.

“Given the tremendous loss of major Black artists, like Prince, and many others who defined one of the world’s great arts treasures, we want to examine, share, celebrate, and create in the spirit of Black music traditions,” said Berklee professor of Africana Studies/Music and Society Bill Banfield. “This concert attempts to draw from the rich Black popular music traditions, and artistry examples like Motown, Philly Soul, and the Isley Brothers, as well as the song and style movements from the past—we hope to model those types of music, ideas, and spirits of the culture for our students. Our visiting artists share in this idea of connecting this great music to Berklee students as inspiring models of excellence and cultural significance.”

How to Purchase Tickets:

Online: Link to event

By Phone: 617-747-2261, Monday–Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

In Person: Tickets to events may be purchased in person at the Berklee Box Office, located at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Monday through Saturday, between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Beginning one hour prior to the performance start time, tickets may be purchased in person directly at the venue where the event is taking place. All day-of ticket sales are subject to availability.