Amplifying Black Voices in Family Music

Kukuza Fest

Sept 19 & 20 • 3-5 pm ET / noon-2 pm PT

Streaming Live via WEE Nation’s Facebook and YouTube pages

Kukuza is Swahili for amplify, and this festival is here to amplify Black voices with a spectacular lineup of Grammy-winning and Grammy-nominated artists with live performances across a range of genres for the entire family, including Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr, Alphabet Rockers, Pierce Freelon, and more.  RSVP and see the full lineup here.

Kukuza Fest is powered by WEE Nation Radio in association with the Family Music Forward Collective.  Save the date and share with friends!

Become a Kukuza Sponsor!

Your sponsorship will support our amazing artists, and provide seed money for more initiatives designed to amplify Black voices and make Family Music more inclusive for all. Your sponsorship will also support the growth of WEE Nation Radio, a free 24/7 online family music radio station featuring Jazz, Hip Hop, World Music and more which typically are not included in mainstream radio and media.

Be part of our effort to make Family Music more inclusive. JOIN US AS A SPONSOR TODAY!

Your sponsorship will help fund

  • programs and strategies to accelerate Black artists at any stage of their careers

  • production grants for Black Family Music creators

  • advocacy efforts to make Family Music more inclusive and diverse

Or make a tax-deductible donation

For more information email

To get email updates about Kukuza Fest, and learn more about Family Music Forward’s efforts to make Family Music more equitable, Join our mailing list or email for questions.

Funds Donated So Far 

Fundraising Goal: $60,000


Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.

Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. have enjoyed tremendous success through the years as recording artists, performers and authors. They have received 7 Grammy Awards and earned 15 gold and 3 platinum records, and enjoyed starring roles on television and stage. They have performed to sold-out concerts around the world. They are currently celebrating 40 years in the entertainment business with a musical tribute to the hits and productions that have made up their multi-faceted careers.

As lead vocalists of one of the top singing groups of the late 60’s and early 70’s, The 5th Dimension, they recorded such classics as UP, UP & AWAY, AQUARIUS/LET THE SUNSHINE IN, WEDDING BELL BLUES, ONE LESS BELL TO ANSWER, and STONED SOUL PICNIC to name a few.

Pierce Freelon

Pierce Freelon is an accomplished Hip Hop/soul/electronic musician and award-winning producer, director and professor from Durham, NC. He is the co-founder of Beat Making Lab, an Emmy Award-winning PBS web-series and has taught in the departments of music and African American Studies at the University of NC at Chapel Hill. Pierce is the writer, composer and co-director of the PBS musical animated series The History of White People in America, which was selected by Whoopi Goldberg to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival twice.

Pierce’s debut Children’s album D.a.D was released in Summer 2020, earning praise from NPR, Parents Magazine, and Fatherly. He is the son of famed Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon, and the late preeminent architect of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Phil Freelon. Pierce lives in Durham with his wife and their two young children.

Uncle Jumbo

Uncle Jumbo, aka James Pendleton hails from Houston Texas. His first album, Garden Grooves, was inspired as he held in daughter while basking in the wonder of nature. One song, “Roly Poly,” arrived when Ani was learning to crawl. While she and her dad rolled around on the ground one day, he started freestyling lyrics for it.

“The whole thing is about kids feeling good and connecting with themselves and with their families and with each other when they come to the shows,” he said. “They’re meeting new friends and breaking out of their shells, kids who are normally shy end up dancing together, and I mean, they go full speed.”

Monique Martin

As an independent curator, producer and marketing consultant, Martin has partnered with and produced for Joe’s Pub, Disney Theatricals, Apollo Theater, New Victory Theater, Southbank Centre/UK, Hip Hop Theater Festival, Harlem Stage and more.

She brought her vision and expertise to City Parks Foundation (CPF) from 2007-2017 as Programming Director for SummerStage where she presented relevant, fresh and thoughtful programming to New York City communities annually in Central Park and other parks citywide. Also, she fostered cross-cultural exchange she has partnered with cultural consulates and embassies from Sweden, France, Spain, Finland and Quebec in presenting dance, circus and music.

Monique is currently the Director of Programming for Harlem Stage, a performing arts center that commissions and nurtures artists of color while celebrating the unique and diverse artistic legacy of Harlem and the indelible impression it has made on American culture and the world.

Shine and The Moonbeams

Shine and the Moonbeams have played their special blend of Soul and Funk music for families all over New York City. Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Summer Stage are just a few of the venues that have welcomed them. They invite kids of all ages to make a joyful noise and participate in an interactive journey that is not only creative but educational and socially relevant. Shine and the Moonbeams The Parents’ Choice award for 2013 and are always meeting families where they are.


For over a decade singer-songwriter, poet, and award-winning musician SaulPaul has earned an international reputation as an artist and activist known for entertaining and inspiring audiences across the world. The seasoned and well-traveled talent has toured all over the US, performing for audiences from The Kennedy Center to Google, not to mention countless public schools across the country.

SaulPaul uses his platform to promote social good and advocate for youth. Ever since merging his interest in freestyling with songwriting, SaulPaul has developed a distinctive sound that has taken him to such places as America’s Got Talent, TEDx, the BET Music Matters Showcase as well as esteemed industry events like Folk Alliance, SXSW & ACL.





Changemakers for Racial Equity

The Family Music Forward Collective brings together a diverse group of individuals who care about Family Music.

We are committed to transforming Family Music by supporting Black artists, children, and communities and by dismantling individual, institutional, and systemic racial bias within the industry.

We envision a time when Black artists will have equitable visibility, opportunity and compensation within the Family Music industry, and when all children and families will have access to performers and music that welcome, reflect and celebrate them. We believe that liberation of Black artists and families is liberation for all.

FMF members and collaborators:

WEE Nation Radio (Devin Walker, Lolita Walker), Shine & the Moonbeams (Shawana Kemp), SaulPaul, Pierce Freelon, Alphabet Rockers (Tommy Shepherd, Kaitlin McGaw), One World Chorus (Aaron Nigel Smith), 123 Andres (Andrés Salguero, Christina Sanabria), Little Miss Ann (Ann Torralba), Karen Kalafatas, Mil’s Trills (Amelia Robinson), Alastair Moock and Brittany Parker


Adventure Theatre & ATMTC Academy

Katherine Dines

Dana Cohenour

123 Andres

Bee Parks and the Hornets

Red Yarn

Stephen Harrington

Black Student Fund

Valerie Smalkin

Elena Moon Park

Alastair Moock

Strand Theatre - Maine

Amelia Robinson

Abir El

Catriona McWilliam

Elizabeth Buchanan

Lucy Kalantari

Homeless Children's Playtime Project

David Kinnoin

Kathy O'Connell

Dan Tappan

Joanie Calem

Okee Dokee Brothers

Treehouse Shakers, Dance-Theater for Young Audiences

Jay Sand

Johnny Bregar

Carrie Schymanski

Fariba Houman