February 2, 2022; Washington, D.C. – This February, NPR Music will celebrate Black History Month with five Tiny Desk (home) concerts featuring legends in the world of R&B, jazz, gospel and hip hop. Each artist in this legacy lineup will be performing a Tiny Desk concert for the first time.
The Black History Month celebration will also include a new limited-run video series, ‘Black History is Everywhere,’ that will feature conversations between pop culture icons and cultural experts. Singer/chef Kelis will discuss food and gardening in the Black community with the “Gangsta Gardener,” Ron Finley.
The February celebration continues with new Tiny Desk playlists curated by American forager, cook, and internet socialite Alexis Nikole Nelson, plus a playlist by the star of last year’s Tiny Desk celebration, Kirk Franklin.
Jazz Night in America will be curating episodes that narratively touch on social justice and empowerment, and musically showcase a wide spectrum including big band, spoken word, and gospel. The month will conclude with a new Jazz Night episode profiling the prolific gospel pianist and vocalist Damien Sneed. Frequent NPR Music contributor Lara Downes will also curate a playlist entitled “Black Voices in American Music.”
“For this year’s celebration of Black History Month, we delve deeper into the true history of music and culture. Each of our five Tiny Desk home concerts is by an artist who has helped define Black music as we know it today,” said NPR Music’s Bobby Carter, who is producing the month of concerts. “We have some unique pairings for our limited video series to discuss pertinent topics in the Black community like food justice and Black hair. Lara Downes, Alexis Nikole Nelson, and our star of last year’s celebration, the great Kirk Franklin, will curate special playlists for us. Jazz Night In America has always made it part of its mission to uplift Black music and social justice. In February, they continue that mission, concluding the month with a brand new episode featuring Damien Sneed. Set your reminders for all that we have in store this month!”
Since the launch of the Tiny Desk concert series in 2008, more than 900 performances have been recorded at the Tiny Desk — Bob Boilen’s festive workspace at NPR headquarters — which is adorned with years of music mementos and memorabilia. Tiny Desk concerts attract 16 million viewers per month and unify a passionate community around the love of music discovery. The series has provided a unique stage for artists across the genre spectrum and at every phase of their careers, including performances by Megan Thee Stallion, Taylor Swift, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Freddie Gibbs, Toro y Moi,Weezer ,the characters of Sesame Street and more.
Since 2020, in response to ongoing social-distancing measures, NPR Music has been producing Tiny Desk (home) concerts. This latest iteration of the Tiny Desk curates performances from around the world, with the same spirit — stripped-down sets in an intimate setting — while providing a unique look into the creative spaces of artists including Lenny Kravitz, Roddy Ricch, Dirty Projectors, BEAM, Little Dragon, Soccer Mommy, Lianne La Havas, Baby Rose and more.
We’re proud to announce State Farm® is the exclusive sponsor of NPR Music’s Tiny Desk celebration of Black History Month.
Here’s the full schedule of performances (subject to change):
Friday 2/4: Lara Downes: “Black Voices….” Playlist
Friday 2/4: El Debarge Tiny Desk
Thursday, 2/10: Tiny Desk Playlist by Alexis Nelson
Friday, 2/11: Catherine Russell Tiny Desk
TBD: Kelis x Ron Finley Video
Wednesday, 2/16: Too $hort Tiny Desk
Friday, 2/18: Patti Labelle Tiny Desk
Thursday, 2/24: Tiny Desk Playlist: Kirk Franklin
Friday, 2/25: Pastor Shirley Caesar Tiny Desk
About NPR Music
For more than a decade, NPR Music’s robust music journalism and award-winning original video programming has delighted millions of music fans from all genres. NPR Music collaborates with NPR’s news magazines, public radio Member stations and the passionate listener community to celebrate exceptional music and discover emerging artists. Visit NPRMusic.org to find the complete Tiny Desk concert series, music feature stories, podcasts, extensive archives of performances, interviews and music reviews. Connect with NPR Music on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Yanius Alvarado Matos , NPR Media Relations