Amplifying Black Voices in Family Music
Sept 19 & 20 • 3-5 pm ET / noon-2 pm PT
Streamed Live via WEE Nation’s YouTube page
Kukuza is Swahili for amplify, and this festival amplified Black Voices with a spectacular lineup of Grammy-winning and Grammy-nominated artists with live performances across a range of genres.
If you missed Kukuza Fest, you missed a history-making event. For the first time ever, there was a virtual two-day festival amplifying Black voices in family music. It was powered by WEE Nation Radio, a Black-owned media company owned by yours truly, Uncle Devin.
Kukuza Fest Videos
It was organized in association with the Family Music Forward Collective and we had over 13 thousand worldwide views in over four countries on all of our social media accounts and growing. Children and family music will never be the same.
The event was hosted by Emmy winners, Pierce Freelon and Markette Sheppard and featured the following artists and special guests:
Shine and the Moonbeams, Monique Martin, Father Goose & Irie Goose, Quynn Johnson, Papa Siama and Auntie Dallas, Uncle Devin, Tequitia Andrews, Renee Georges, Divinity Roxx, Dan + Claudia Zanes, Erika Alexander, SaulPaul, Alphabet Rockers' Tommy Soulati Shepherd and Tommy T3PO Shepherd, Ella Jenkins & Tim Ferrin, Joseck Asikoye of Jabali Afrika, JC Stringz, Rissi Palmer, STEMusic's Roye Moye III, Uncle Jumbo, Reggie Harris, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. and Aaron Nigel Smith.
While there, please like, subscribe and share our channel on YouTube so you don't miss any of our upcoming videos.
Kukuza Fest is powered by WEE Nation Radio in association with the Family Music Forward Collective.
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! Help sponsor our next Kukuza Fest, WEE Nation Radio and Family Music Forward initiatives.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Funds Donated So Far
Fundraising Goal: $60,000
Internationally acclaimed songwriter, storyteller and lecturer Reggie Harris is a master at entertaining, educating and inspiring audiences of all backgrounds. He is a cultural ambassador who seamlessly blends the old with the new in a package that brings an audience alive with joy. His sparkling, effervescent personality and hope filled music has made friends and fans of audiences of all ages at concert halls, festivals, colleges, schools, places of worship and countless other venues in the US, Canada, and Europe.
Combining spirituals, roots and contemporary songs with deeply moving original
songs and stories, Reggie catches the spirit of all that connects us in the human family.
Reggie empowers audiences to feel hopeful in taking on life’s challenges in a way that has led many to call him an “Ambassador of Joy, Hope, and Freedom.”
He is a Kennedy Center teaching artist, a Woodrow Wilson Scholar and the Director of Music for the UU Living Legacy Project. Reggie is a committed student of music and civil rights history and a powerful interpreter of the human experience. In the tradition of Pete Seeger and all who know the value of music as a way to build community and inspire action, Reggie Harris is the real deal.
As a propagator of art, culture and ideas, Monique Martin brings her passion and experience in community building through the arts to elevate and instigate.
As an independent curator, producer and marketing consultant, Ms. 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, NJPAC, Queens Theater in the Park, HBO and numerous Broadway and Off -Broadway productions.
Ms. Martin 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 50+ parks city wide, presenting over 1,200 multi-genre programs reaching audiences 600,000+.
Ms. Martin is currently the Director of Programming for Harlem Stage, a performing arts center that commissions and nurtures artist 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.
Inspirational and genuine, Divinity Roxx has earned the reputation of irrefutable front-woman of her own genre-busting and compelling musical journey.
Her career as a bass-player skyrocketed after attending a bass camp led by the legendary Victor Wooten where she was invited to tour with him three months after the camp.
After touring with Victor for five years, she became the bass player and Assistant Musical Director for Beyoncé. She was given a featured solo by the artist on the ‘Beyoncé Experience’ and ‘I..Am Sasha Fierce’ tours and DVD’s. She also composed original music for the I…AM Sasha Fierce tour and DVD.
In early November 2020, she partnered with Latin Grammy winning duo 123 Andrés to put together a holiday party that was perfect for 2020. Yes, it’s a "Zoom Holiday Party", complete with ugly sweaters, zany family members, and silly snafus. Be sure to check out their accompanying music video as well.
Rissi Palmer's gift lies in reaching across boundaries. One of our most compelling singers, she is at home in R&B but made her mark in country, bringing the entire spectrum of popular music to bear on music she calls “Southern Soul.”
She was offered her first publishing and label deals at 19, and in 2007 released the album Rissi Palmer, charting with the singles, “Country Girl,” “Hold On To Me,” and “No Air.” She followed with a Christmas single, an independently released children’s album, Best Day Ever, and an EP called The Back Porch Sessions.
Rissi has performed at The White House, Lincoln Center, and the Grand Ole Opry. She has shared stages with Taylor Swift, The Eagles, Chris Young, and Charley Crockett.
Color Me Country Radio w/ Rissi Palmer, can be heard EXCLUSIVELY on the Apple Music Country platform on Apple Music on Sundays bi-weekly from 7-9pm EST. The mission is still the same: to amplify the underrepresented voices of artists of color in the Country and Americana genres and will be comprised of interviews and music from individual artists, scholars, and personalities, though this first season will focus specifically on women of color.
Two-time GRAMMY nominees ALPHABET ROCKERS are preeminent leaders in children’s media, creating music and anti-racism curriculum that makes change. Founded by Tommy Soulati Shepherd (He/Him/They) & Kaitlin McGaw (She/Her), they are an intergenerational group inspiring kids and families to stand up to hate and be their brave and beautiful selves.
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.
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