Black American Music Summit: What’s Next

Black American Music Summit: What's Next | February 1-4, 2023 at the Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, USA

FAI is honored to hold space for the Black American Music Summit: What’s Next, a multi-day gathering for Black delegates at FAI.  Attendees will learn from key speakers about navigating the folk music world, and all of its potential offshoots, from both creative and business perspectives.

The goal of the summit is to foster a sense of community and belonging amongst Black artists to broaden their presence in the folk music ecology. Representation matters, as does a safe space for folks to gather and collectively identify pathways to success and candidly discuss faced obstacles.

This convening will make space for Black artists and industry alike to offer each other guidance, tools, and empowerment, where the guiding question will be “how do we lift our gaze, make our presence stronger in the folk music industry, and empower our careers and our community?”

To register for this event, please complete the Expression of Interest form. Form completion is required in order to attend the summit.  If you have any questions, or require assistance in completing this form, please contact

You must be a registrant of the 2023 Folk Alliance International Conference to attend the summit.

Summit Leadership: Paula Boggs, Lilli Lewis, Caroline Randall Williams, Brandi Waller-Pace


What are Global Summits?

FAI’s Global Summits are extended sessions at the annual conference designed to convene peers to discuss in-depth the evolving processes, practices, and policies related to the rich ecology of folk music.

Past summits have been held for funders, archivists, ethnomusicologists, cultural equity advocates, disability culture activists, Indigenous community members, and more.



Wednesday, February 1: Setting the Tone

4-5 pm

This session will be an opportunity for participants to meet and greet each other to encourage a welcoming sense of safety and community among Black artists and industry alike. With full spectrum empowerment serving as the central focus for this inaugural summit, this session acknowledges that the spectrum of Black folk traditions carries its own history, defined and expanded upon by its creators. No matter where a participant currently lies on the spectrum of experience, practice, goals, or point of view, the intention of this gathering is to embrace every lens for the sake of collective strength and wisdom.


Thursday, February 2: Day 1 – It Takes a Village

11:30 am-1:30 pm

No person is an island.  Depending on where you are on your journey, you’re going to need folks around you to support and uplift you as you pursue what matters to you.  This day’s discussions will center on the recognition that even IF people can do it all themselves, that may not be the best use of time, inspiration or creative energy.  Learn how leaning on others can help grow your business, be that as an artist, a community leader or a creative entrepreneur.


Friday, February 3: Day 2 – Money Matters

12-2 pm

This is a show me the money session – where is the revenue, and where is the money missing?  If touring basically covers the cost of touring, it may not have the impact on your financial security that you imagine.  There are many sources of revenue that an artist should be not only aware of, but actively planning for.  This session will share resource lists, best practices, and identify strategies and approaches that will be useful to artists and industry alike.


Saturday, February 4: Day 3 – Lifting the Gaze

12-2 pm

In this two-hour culminating African Diaspora Affinity Group session, participants will be invited to explore what we have gained and what we can harness from the newly evolving landscape for Black artists and industry in folk adjacent genres. Topics may include visions of safety under the white gaze and amongst ourselves; broadening the scope of our audiences; bringing folk music by Black musicians back to the Black community; building bridges between myriad demographics, creating and protecting spaces where Black art is centered; and potential aspirations for the next step towards equity and visibility in the folk music ecosystem.