ASCAP honors Black History Month with songwriter, artist campaign

Count Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Quincy Jones and Grandmaster Flash among the Black icons to be paid tribute.

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The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, officially referred to as ASCAP, will pay homage to a wide array of Black artists, songwriters, composers and their invaluable contributions to music and culture with their month-long Black History Month campaign.

Every week, the professional recording rights organization will highlight a different group of Black changemakers with social media posts and a specially-curated playlist.

ASCAP will pay homage to a wide array of Black artists, songwriters and composers during Black History Month, a list that includes (from left) singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, producer Quincy Jones and hip-hop groundbreaker Grandmaster Flash. (Photos by Amy Sussman/Getty Images and Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

“ASCAP is passionate about recognizing the contributions of Black songwriters and composers who have created music that has made an impact on our culture and the world,” said Nicole George-Middleton, ASCAP senior vice president of membership. “During this month especially, it is our mission to shine the spotlight on ASCAP member pioneers, innovators and icons who have changed history, shaped music as we know it and given us the songs we love so much.”

The first week of February will celebrate Black pioneers in music, including veteran producer Quincy Jones, country groundbreaker Charley Pride, hip-hop trailblazers Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, jazz icons Duke Ellington, Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, gospel-rock legend Sister Rosetta Tharpe and classical composer Florence Price.

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Week Two will celebrate moments in Black music history in tribute to writer-activist-attorney James Weldon Johnson, who wrote the lyrics for “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Black National Anthem. Johnson was one of the co-founders of ASCAP when it was created on Feb. 13, 1914 to “assure that music creators are fairly compensated for the public performance of their works and that their rights are properly protected.”

The observation’s third week will recognize iconic members of the organization, a list that includes late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and late reggae mainstay Bob Marley.

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Finally, ASCAP will pay homage to some of its current members. innovators who are making and changing music in the present-day.

Fans can follow the celebration on social media via @ASCAPUrban on Instagram and @ASCAP on Facebook.

With more than 790,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers. It’s the only American performing rights organization owned and governed by its writer and publisher members.

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