The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Celebrating Black History Month in Music City

Explore the rich history of African American culture this Black History Month as Nashville sets the perfect scene with immersive experiences for all types of people.
Sofia El-Shammaa
Graphic depicting four silhouettes in the colors of Black History Month: yellow, green, black and red. (Hustler Multimedia/Sofia El-Shammaa)

Nashville celebrates Black History Month throughout February with a variety of events and celebrations honoring the legacies — both past and present — that have shaped African American culture in the city. Nashville has something for everyone, so I’ve compiled a list of events and places to visit in the next couple of weeks fit for whatever mood you’re in! 

Black History Month Expo

From Feb. 11-12, The Nashville Black Market at The Fairgrounds Nashville is hosting their fourth annual Black History Month Expo. The two-day event offers all the opportunity to empower Black businesses and organizations through supporting local entrepreneurs, networking, live music, dancing and food all at no entrance cost. With over fifty Black-owned businesses in attendance, Black entrepreneurs are waiting for you, the college-aged frivolous consumer, to ditch TikTok shop and get in your “supporting small businesses” era! 

Jefferson Street Sound Museum (JSSM)

In celebration of Black History Month, the Jefferson Street Sound Museum presents “Black History in Music: Work, Worship, and Celebration.” This exclusive art exhibit seeks to revive the memory of the thriving times that made historic Jefferson Street a musical haven in Nashville. Located just ten minutes away from campus, the JSSM welcomes all visitors to join them on a journey to honor and renew the legacy of a street that was once the heart and soul of Nashville’s Black community. This exhibit will be open every Saturday in February from 1 to 4 p.m. CT. 

National Museum of African American Music

Take a quick walk or catch a short Uber to Fifth & Broadway to immerse yourself in the lively energy of the National Museum of African American Music. Although open year-round, the NMAAM is hosting a plethora of events throughout February to celebrate the legacies of many musical legends. In its efforts to preserve and celebrate the many music genres created, influenced and inspired by African Americans, the museum has a variety of curated collections and exhibits to share a number of stories highlighting the American soundtrack. The Love Supreme gallery is my personal favorite as it details the survival of African indigenous music traditions in New Orleans and how it influenced the creation of what we know today as jazz music.  Join the museum every Sunday in February for Soul Food Sundays or visit on any Wednesday to take the Black History Rivers of Rhythm Tour. Moreover,  admission is free every Wednesday.  Whatever piques your interest, the NMAAM has it all.

Pattie Labelle at the Nashville Symphony

R&B legend Pattie LaBelle, known as the “Godmother of Soul,” will join the Nashville Symphony at the Schermerhorn Center to perform some of her greatest hits. She will take the stage with the Nashville Symphony on Feb. 8-10 under the conduction of Enrico Lopes-Yañez, bringing to life her vibrant sounds paired with her soulful voice. From soul to pop to hard-hitting disco, LaBelle has done it all, expanding her music to many different audiences. Gather your friend group, no matter their tastes in music, and fully indulge in this unique experience to celebrate Black History Month with one of the legends of African American music. Ticket prices start as low as $50.

United Street Tours

If you find yourself between due dates and don’t mind spending a little time outside, United Street Tours hosts more than just a Nashville tour. Ranked as Nashville’s #1 history and culture walking tour, participants can take a walk along the Nashville civil rights trail where significant events occurred to provide awareness and education of the past. Exploring diverse stories, remarkable legends and fascinating communities, the United Street Tour sheds light on the experiences of historically Black populations to better understand their struggles and achievements. The experience is offered any day of the week, year-round. If you don’t make it this month, no worries!

This Black History Month, join the Nashville community in celebrating and honoring the Black culture that planted its roots in the city by attending any or all of these events.

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About the Contributor
Sofia El-Shammaa
Sofia El-Shammaa, Staff Writer and Photographer, Data and Graphics Staffer
Sofia El-Shammaa (‘27) is majoring in political science and communication studies in the College of Arts and Science. When they’re not writing or making graphics, you can find them with their cat, Mochi, watching bad movies or reading good books. You can reach them at [email protected].

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