Fresh off of his PBS special at the start of the month, Nasir Jones along with Google Arts and Culture teamed up to celebrate Black History Month.
In an open letter entitled, “We Continue to Rise,” the Queensbridge native discusses how musical legends, including his father, Olu Dara, helped shape him. “I was blessed to have love from both of my parents, and it just so happens that my father’s love for music took him around the globe via his own sonic excursions, both live and recorded…We had oodles of instruments at the family crib, many of them with origins in the Motherland. It was through the blues and jazz and folk music that my father played that I learned the importance of our history–our African ancestry, our struggles here as black Americans and ultimately, our great triumphs too.”
There is also an accompanying video, where Nas starts it off by declaring, “I was raised to believe that every month was Black History Month.” He also sees Robert Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughn and Slick Rick as one in the same, for their ability to excel as storytellers, while preserving the culture and pushing it forward.