Saturday Morning and Spotify Launch ‘Black History Is Happening Now’

By Erik Oster 

Saturday Morning is teaming up with Spotify on a campaign celebrating African Americans contributions to music.

Saturday Morning, as you may recall, is the initiative launched in the summer of 2016 by black creative leaders Keith CartwrightGeoff EdwardsJayanta Jenkins and Jimmy Smith to start a peaceful conversation and “build awareness, promote change and shift the overall perception that black lives are in some way not as important as others.”

The “Black History Is Happening Now” came about when Spotify reached out to Saturday Morning asking for ideas to pay tribute to Black History Month. Instead, Saturday Morning suggested a yearlong campaign celebrating African American contributions to music. The resulting effort includes three parts: a Spotify hub including video, podcast and music curation; Spotify’s Sound Up Bootcamp providing resources to ten aspiring female podcasters of color; and the Black History Is Happening Now Fellowship, “an entry-level position which will give young people who are passionate about black history and culture the opportunity to join the Shows + Editorial team at Spotify.”


“Black History is Happening Now provides a living platform to chronicle, share and learn about the ongoing and ever changing contributions of African Americans to society as seen and experienced through the lens of music,” Jenkins, who is global group creative director at Twitter, explained in a statement. “Spotify is an ideal platform to bring these stories to life.”

The first curator for the Black History Is Happening Now hub is Janelle Monáe, who curated a playlist of artists who influenced her, as well as favorite up-and-coming artists, and a documentary video focused on afrofuturism created in partnership with author/filmmaker Ytasha L. Womack.

“I am thrilled to be teaming up with Spotify to help kick off an important new initiative celebrating black history and culture through Black History is Happening Now.I’ve always been excited and inspired to try to redefine how we’re seen,” Monáe said in a statement. “It’s important to me to celebrate black history year round and with Spotify’s commitment to honoring the black community all year long and showcasing artists and organizations who are dedicated to imparting change. I felt it was the perfect platform to share my story of Afrofuturism and express my vision and creative ideas.”

Applications for Sound Up Bootcamp are open through April 10. The program takes place in New York from June 25-29. Applications are open for the Black History Is Happening Now fellowship are open through April 17.