Long Island, NY (January 29, 2009) — Music icon and political activist Chuck D will make a number of appearances at colleges throughout the country during Black History Month holding lectures on the subjects of racism, culture, and the power of knowledge. He also is featured in a new box set, Let Freedom Sing: Music of the Civil Rights Movement (for which he wrote a special introduction) and in a companion documentary that will air on TVOne on February 15th.
Let Freedom Sing: The Music of the Civil Rights Movement (Time Life) is a critically acclaimed cross-section of the music that inspired the movement. Released on January 27th, the Los Angeles Times noted that “This collection would be a remarkable document anytime, but it is especially powerful when heard in the light of the inauguration of Barack Obama.” The 58-song set includes artists as renowned as James Brown, Billie Holiday and The Impressions alongside iconic songs “When Do I Get to Be Called a Man” by Big Bill Broonzy, “Cryin’ in the Streets” by George Perkins and a previously unreleased song by Nat King Cole called “We Are Americans Too.” But, as the Los Angeles Times also observed, the set also includes rare items, many of them unheard since the earliest days of the movement.
A companion documentary, Let Freedom Sing, traces the interaction among the music, the movement and the people involved. It begins in the era between the wars when segregation was often brutally enforced in Southern states, and when jazz and blues evolved from songs sung by African-Americans in church and in the fields. The documentary features never-before-seen footage from the 1960’s, while tracing the influence of Civil Rights-inspired music around the world and revealing the enduring impact it retains on today’s popular music. The film includes interviews with musicians, civil rights activists, music industry executives, historians and others involved in the movement, including Chuck D, former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, Quincy Jones, actress Ruby Dee, influential musicians Pete Seeger, Gladys Knight, Jimmy Carter and the Blind Boys of Alabama, Ruth Brown, Jerry Butler, Isaac Hayes and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) co-founder Dr. Bernard Lafayette.
TV One will premiere the documentary during Black History Month on Sunday, February 15 from 8-10 PM ET (repeating at midnight), and Time Life will subsequently release the film on DVD later this year. Selected portions of Chuck D’s interview for the documentary can be found on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=BD89E5C21556F5F9 or at http://www.imeem.com/letfreedomsing.
As leader and co-founder of legendary rap group Public Enemy, Chuck D redefined rap music and hip hop culture. His lyrics addressed weighty issues about race, rage and inequality with a jolting combination of intelligence and eloquence never seen before. He has hosted his own segment on the Fox News Channel, published a best-selling autobiography, “Fight The Power,” is a highly-sought after speaker on the college lecture circuit (lecturing at the universities ranging from Harvard to Howard), has been a prominent member of music industry non-profit organizations MusicCares and Rock The Vote (which honored him with the Patrick Lippert Award in 1996 for his contributions to community service), served as national spokesperson for Rock The Vote, the National Urban League and the National Alliance of African American Athletes, and appeared in public service announcements for HBO’s campaign for national peace and Partnership for a Drug Free America. In 2004, Chuck signed on to co-host a show on the ambitious Air America radio network, where he continues to host a weekly program. 2006 found him at the helm of two television specials, one on Muhammad Ali for ESPN (with Chuck hosting the show as well as writing and performing an original song) which was nominated for a sports Emmy, and another on the Sundance Channel, where Chuck interviewed Quincy Jones for Chuck D’s Musicians Studio.
Chuck D Lecture Tour:
February 2 Columbia, SC University of South Carolina
February 4 Tacoma, WA University of Puget Sound
February 10 Tuscaloosa, AL University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa
February 11 Birmingham, AL Miles College
February 17 Chicago, IL Columbia College
February 18 Gary, IN Indiana University-Northwest (tent)
February 19 Richmond, KY Eastern Kentucky University