NPT Reports: Whose Music? premieres on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 6:30 p.m. The half-hour current affairs show will be hosted by NPT’s LaTonya Turner and will take a deep dive into issues and topics of importance to our community. Experts, stakeholders and others offer perspective and context on a range of subjects through group conversations, interviews and segments.
In this episode, Turner is joined by MTSU’s Dr. Kristine McCusker, an ethnomusicologist and co-director of the Oral History Association; NPR music critic Ann Powers; arts and cultural educator Cecilia Olusola Tribble, a racial equity coach; and country music singer-songwriter Tiera, a member of the Song Suffragettes writers collective. The group discusses the relevance of genres in the modern, digital age; whether the music industry is responding to consumers’ fluid listening habits; and how race and gender influence how artists are received and marketed.
Interviews with Henry Hicks, president and CEO of the National Museum of African American Music; and Belmont University voice student Leslie Osey are also part the program.
NPT Reports: Whose Music? was partly inspired by recent headlines and controversies about Little Nas X’s “Old Town Road” phenomena, as well as the kind of cultural exploration found in Ken Burns’ Country Music series. The intersection of race and music is also part of the story told in NPT’s DeFord Bailey: A Legend Lost (returning to television Thursday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m., after an absence of more than a decade). But the idea of elastic genres and cultural appropriation, especially in regards to music, is not a new one; indeed the history of rock music is full of borrowing, tweaking and repackaging for different audiences.
“Why now, why is this different? We want to explore what has ramped up the intensity of the debate about crossover music and how it’s related to race and gender,” Turner says of the themes explored in NPT Reports: Whose Music?
After its broadcast premiere, NPT Reports: Whose Music? will be available for streaming and online viewing at wnpt.org/video.