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‘Black to the Future’ highlights Black people’s contributions to art and music

Four musicians play various instruments on a stage with red and blue images projected behind them.
via Dre Smith
Producing A Kind Generation will be one of several acts performing at "Black to the Future"

Artists across mediums and musical genres will show off their skills at “Black to the Future” at The Whirling Tiger Friday.

The artistic showcase is a collaboration between Producing A Kind Generation, a Louisville-based rock band, and Albert Shumake also known as DJ Always.

“It's just an evening that puts emphasis on the creative genius and ingenuity of Black creative culture,” Dre Smith, singer and songwriter for Producing A Kind Generation, said.

Visual artists will be in attendance to show their work, and the musical line-up will include rock, bluegrass, folk, neo-soul and hip-hop performances.

Groups performing include Producing a Kind Generation, DJ Always, The Jesse Lees, Scott T. Smith and 1st Shift X Montreux.

Shumake said the event provides a space to celebrate Black artistry.

“We live in a world, where the importance and significance of Black people’s contributions to culture is not necessarily put on the platform or given the level of promotion [it deserves],” Shumake said. “It’s not talked about enough from our standpoint as Black creatives.”

Organizers want to highlight the long-standing influence Black people have in music when, historically, those contributions have been erased.

“They ignore and pretend like they don't know, they all know very well, where they're pulling from where their inspirations lie,” Smith said.

Smith said to not shine a light on the variety and diversity present in Black music would be to tell a half-truth.

Additionally, Shumake said by including a wide range of music, the event creates an inclusive space for artists.

“We felt it necessary to show how diverse we are even as a marginalized group,” Shumake said. “If we walk confidently in the art that has chosen us and in the creative path that we are embarking on, we feel that it will lead to other people stepping into that same realm.”

Smith and Shumake described the lineup as a family reunion. They said it’s the closeness and connectivity between the acts that aid in creating a loving and supportive atmosphere at Black to the Future.

“There’s no one in particular that stands out, it’s like looking at a dark sky with 1,000 stars in it, it’s all beauty,” Smith said.

By bringing all these creatives together, Smith and Shumake said they establish an uplifting environment where marginalized people can feel celebrated.

“It’s really important to take pride and find joy in what we’re all doing and contributing to this planet,” Smith said. “We need those uplifting moments, we need solidarity between these broken and forgotten communities so that we can bring change.”

“Black to the Future” runs at The Whirling Tiger on February 24 at 7 p.m. The event is 21+ event, and admission is $15.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

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