The Black American Music Summit
Grounded and Growing: Deepening Roots and Reaching Higher, sponsored by BlaqOut
The Black American Music Summit (BAMS) is the second annual gathering of Black artists in the music industry, especially in folk, Americana, blues, bluegrass, roots, and rap/hip-hop (though all genres are welcome)! The summit takes place February 21 – 24 at the 2024 Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
This year’s theme, Grounded and Growing: Deepening Roots and Reaching Higher, will guide conversations around challenging narratives, emphasizing inclusion, breaking out of narrow definitions, and sharing best practices for growth and success. Each day will focus on a different topic, starting with an expert-led panel, followed by a community discussion.
Conceived by Lilli Lewis, a dedicated folk artist, BAMS emerged from a passion for inclusivity, empowerment, and transformative dialogue. With a mission to amplify Black voices, challenge industry norms, and prioritize the well-being of Black artists, it stands as a testament to the resilience, creativity, uniqueness, and cultural richness of Black artists in the global music landscape.
To attend the Black American Music Summit, please fill out the interest form below. This event, similar to Folk Alliance International Affinity Groups, is a gathering exclusively for those who identify as Black, African American, a part of the African Diaspora, or of African ancestry.
Registration for the 2024 Folk Alliance International Conference is required to attend the Black American Music Summit. The 2024 Folk Alliance International Conference is February 21 – 25 (an additional day longer).
Day 1 – Beyond the Construct: Belonging While Black
4 – 5 pm CT on Wednesday, Feb 21
This panel and community discussion will delve into the multifaceted intersection of belongingness, identity, and music within the folk genre. As musicians of African heritage navigating the landscape of folk, we’ll explore the significance of belonging, the complexities of identity, and the challenges and opportunities that come with interpreting folk music through a distinctly Black lens.
Day 2 – Empowering Independent Artists in the Creative Economy
11:30 – 1:30 pm CT on Thursday, Feb 22
The pathways to monetizing music have transformed, offering artists new opportunities and additional challenges in generating income. Join us for a panel discussion and community dialogue on ways we can, as empowered, independent artists, maximize earnings and navigate the dynamic landscape of the creative economy.
Day 3 – Black Songwriters Workshop
12 – 2 pm CT on Friday, Feb 23
Bring your in-progress ideas, lyrics, and music for a workshop led by veteran songwriters to support the development of your next piece! All participants will have the opportunity to perform their song at the FAI virtual conference, as well as additional opportunities for ongoing support and engagement with the Black American Music Summit.
Day 4 – Appropriation and Black Music Legacies
12 – 2 pm CT on Saturday, Feb 24
Centering the recent Tracy Chapman “Fast Car” controversy and other stories, this session unravels the complexities of cultural appropriation within the music industry, focusing on the appreciation of Black music while confronting the erasure of Black artists in the folk genre. We’ll explore the paradox of a genre that adores the artistry of Black musicians while often sidelining or overlooking their contributions.
Perform at The Black American Music Summit Private Showcase
The Folk Alliance International Conferences are unique in that nights are filled with community-hosted performances called Private Showcases. These intimate concerts feature performers from around the world and anyone attending FAI 2024 can perform up to six (6) Private Showcases. The BAMS Private Showcase room is looking for performers! Use the link below to fill out the form and apply.