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Fire in Little Africa Set for May 28

4/21/2021, noon
Fire in Little Africa – a groundbreaking album of original material, written and recorded by a collective of Oklahoma hip ...
Fire in Little Africa artists pictured in front of the Skyline Mansion, a now Black-owned venue originally built by a KKK leader who helped orchestrate the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. This photo is inspired by a group photo of original Black Wall Street business owners from before 1921. Photo Credit: Ryan Cass
Fire in Little Africa Set for May 28

      Fire in Little Africa – a groundbreaking album of
original material, written and recorded by a collective
of Oklahoma hip hop artists to commemorate the 100th
anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre – will be released
on May 28 by Motown Records/Black Forum in partnership
with Tulsa’s Bob Dylan Center® and Woody Guthrie
Center®.
      The 21-track collection gets to the truth of what happened
on May 31 and June 1, 1921 when a white mob descended
on the streets of Greenwood — then a prosperous
Tulsa neighborhood known as Black Wall Street — and
burned down the business district, destroying roughly
1,500 homes, killing hundreds and leaving thousands of
Black Tulsans homeless. For years, this historic, albeit
dire, chapter was left out of classrooms and textbooks as
the city attempted to erase this part of its past. The artists
heard on Fire in Little Africa get to the truth through urgent
songs, recalling stories told and stories lived in hope
to usher in a new era for Tulsa as they help the community
process this generational trauma through music.
     “Fire in Little Africa is a powerful and timely project that
provides a platform and outlet for the incredibly talented and
thriving music community of Tulsa, Oklahoma,” said Motown
Records chairman & CEO, Ethiopia Habtemariam. “Carrying
the legacy of the Black Wall Street community, Fire in Little Africa is a body of work filled with purpose and prolific storytelling. I am honored and feel privileged to have Motown Records/ Black Forum partner with Dr. View, the Bob Dylan Center and Guthrie Center to release this impactful hip-hop album.”
     Stevie “Dr. View” Johnson, PhD, manager, education &
diversity outreach at the Woody Guthrie Center | Bob Dylan
Center and the album’s executive producer, added, “Fire in
Little Africa has evolved into a communal hip hop movement
and we’re excited that we get to share the flavor, history and
legacy of Black Wall Street with the world, in collaboration
with the amazing leadership of the Motown/Black Forum
family. We’re grateful for Ethiopia’s foresight in providing us
an opportunity to share our important stories with the world.
There are Black Wall Streets across the diaspora and we unequivocally know that Fire in Little Africa will inspire many
people. In the words of Steph Simon, ‘everything is us.’”
     In this feature, Rolling Stone noted, “Fire in Little Africa is
poised to teach the world about that long-suppressed history,
from locals who grew up in a community that still lives with
the aftermath of the massacre. Just as important, the artists
involved in the project also hope it serves as a launching-pad
moment for Tulsa’s hip-hop scene, which has long flown
under the national radar.”
      The album was recorded in Greenwood over a five-day
period in March 2020. Studios were set up at the Greenwood
Cultural Center and other locations, including the
former home of 1921 massacre mastermind/KKK leader
Tate Brady. The house is now owned by former NFL firstround
draft pick and Tulsa native Felix Jones. The Tulsa
World was on hand to speak with the artists involved in
the historic sessions.
     “Fireside with Dr. View” is a weekly podcast featuring
“Dr. View” in conversation with thought leaders in activism,
academia and culture, centered on the movement behind the
Fire in Little Africa music. Listen to “Fireside with Dr. View”
here https://anchor.fm/fire-in-little-africa3. Hosts Ali Shaw
and Doc Free sit down with Fire in Little Africa artists, Tulsa
community leaders and national voices for conversations on
music and culture in the “Fire in Little Africa” podcast, which
can be found here https://anchor.fm/fire-in-little-africa
     Located in the Tulsa Arts District, the Woody Guthrie
Center opened in 2013. The Bob Dylan Center is expected to
open on the same block within the next year.
     Both are projects of the George Kaiser Family Foundation,
the primary funder for Fire in Little Africa. The
album is chronicled in a documentary film, which will be
released later this year.
     Fire in Little Africa marks the first new material released
by Black Forum since the label’s relaunch earlier this year.
Black Forum originally debuted in 1970 with Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr.’s Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam, which won
a GRAMMY® Award for Best Spoken Word Album. The label
reissued Dr. King’s influential speech earlier this year.
     Visit the official Fire in Little Africa website:
https://fireinlittleafrica.com/
Follow Fire in Little Africa on social media:
YouTube | Instagram | Facebook
Follow Black Forum on social media:
Instagram | Facebook | YouTube