Lunchtime Talks: ‘Black Music: 40s, 80s, 00s, Now’ with Derek James

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Join us for our May Lunchtime Talk to delve into the last 80 years of music history with guest-speaker Derek James. Derek will take us through four key decades in the development of music by Black artists, with a particular focus on American Black music and how it impacted UK youth culture.

Across the four decades, we’ll be looking at how American Black artistry made it to UK shores: how a market for cover songs by white artists pushed Black artistry into the limelight; how Black artists spearheaded genre movements and changed perceptions of Black music; and how the changing ecosystems of music consumption, from record shops to mass consumption in the streaming era, have impacted Black artists and how their music is consumed.

Finally, we’ll look to the future, and what new technologies could mean for Black artists and the music industry as a whole.

Interrogating the cultural barriers and industry mechanisms that have impacted Black success in music, Derek will guide us through the music industry’s evolving landscape, showing how Black artists navigated this space and revealing the groundbreaking influence that American Black music exerted on UK youth culture. From Muddy Waters to the Rolling Stones, American Black Gospel to Lulu and Amy Winehouse: Black artists have been pioneers of genre and sound throughout the last 80 years. Join us for what promises to be a lively talk celebrating Black music history, with discussion throughout.

Complimentary tea and coffee will be available to enjoy during the talk. We recommend arriving before the start of the talk if you would like to grab a refreshment.

Tickets are available for £5 online or at the Museum Shop (booking fee applies online). We strongly advise booking tickets in advance as we cannot guarantee that tickets will be available on the day.

Sales from tickets help support our work to deliver fun and accessible family activities, community engagement projects, schools workshops, exhibitions and special events for Oxford’s people in our Museum spaces.

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