The NMAAM Journey

The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM), is set to have its ribbon cutting ceremony on Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday January 18, 2021. The new landmark is located right in the heart of the city off Broadway Street and is the FIRST Black owned business on the street HISTORICALLY! ( Standing Ovation!)

The 56,000-square-foot facility located in the heart of downtown Nashville will kick off its opening schedule with the ceremony inviting Weekend members, and the public tours will start on Jan. 23 and Jan. 30, respectively.

Just this week, the museum has started on a high note, as it has already received a million dollar donation from Amazon and a golden brand partnership with Sony Music Group (SMP).

Amazon’s contribution will sponsor several initiatives at the museum, including “A Soundtrack for All: Amazon STEAM Days,” which will sponsor local schools’ field trips to the museum.

Amazon hopes to foster a collaborative musical learning environment through a co-written curriculum and other initiatives that involve the greater community.

“We are excited and grateful that Amazon has embraced the Nashville community and is committed to expanding opportunities and access for our students,” said Dr. Adrienne Battle, director of Metro Nashville Public Schools. “Understanding and experiencing the deep cultural impact of African Americans on all genres of music through NMAAM will be sure to enrich the education and lives of our students.”

“We are especially proud that Amazon’s partnership will mean more young people and students can access the museum and additional educational enrichment,” said David Bozeman, vice president, Amazon Transportation Services. “The intersection of the creative class of musicians with science and technology will continue to give all Nashvillians an amazing opportunity to learn and educate.”

Equally, the museum is proud of the newly announced Sony Music Group (SMG) partnership, that makes them the first music company to support the museum’s mission and values ahead of its opening on Jan. 18. As part of the partnership, developed through Sony Music’s Global Social Justice Fund, a Sony Music Scholars Black Music Certification and Scholarship Program will be created to make an impact on the community through music education.

The scholarship program has been developed to introduce students to the music industry through the lens of African American history and culture. Together, the NMAAM and SMG will partner on a curriculum, course and certification dedicated to Black music culture and business, providing students a window into all facets of the music business and related careers.

“We are thrilled to partner with Sony Music Group to grow the museum and invest in the Nashville community,” said H. Beecher Hicks III, president and CEO of NMAAM. “Sony Music’s partnership helps us tell a unique story of Black music executives and also looks to the future to help create the next generation of leaders in music. We’re excited to finally be able to share the museum with the world later this month.”

Additionally, SMG will underwrite the museum’s “Business Behind the Music” exhibit at launch. The exhibit will feature Black music executives as well as record labels and publishers that have played a significant role throughout American history. Celebrating Black music business pioneers, the exhibit will be one of the most complete and up-to-date collections of its kind.


The vision behind the museum is to be the only museum dedicated solely to educating, preserving and celebrating the influence African Americans have had on music. Based in Nashville, Tenn., as a part of the Fifth + Broadway development, the museum will share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to bring musical heroes of the past into the present. For more information, please visit

Now that we know the vision here is the round up of how the museum is designed:

RIVERS OF RHYTHM The Rivers of Rhythm corridor is the central spine of the museum experience and features touch panel interactives and an animated timeline that links American history and American music history. Museum visitors will experience the early beginnings of American music with Southern religious and blues traditions, to the most contemporary R&B and hip-hop musical forms. The corridor also features periodic immersive-film experiences that place visitors amid iconic music moments.

ROOTS THEATER Museum visitors begin their NMAAM journey in the Roots Theater with an introductory film presentation that gives an overview of west and central African cultures and the institution of slavery. The presentation focuses on the evolution of the African American journey, with specific emphasis on the creation of new music traditions – spirituals, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, and hiphop – that are distinctly African American in nature. The film will also emphasize historical periods, such as Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Great Migration, World Wars I and II, and the Harlem Renaissance, etc., and the impact they had on the development of these musical styles. The theater has seating for approximately 190 and can also be used for film screenings, lectures, music performances and concerts.

WADE IN THE WATER The Wade in the Water gallery documents the history and influence of religious music from indigenous African music that survived during slavery, to the formation of African American spirituals and hymns, to the “Golden Age of Gospel” in the 1940s–1960s and its commercial growth. Exploration includes the influence of gospel vocal groups on secular singing in doo-wop, R&B, and soul music, as well as the impact that religious music had throughout the 20th century and into the new millennium.

CROSSROADS The Crossroads gallery chronicles the history and influence of the blues. This musical style’s humble origins are rooted in the work songs and field hollers sung by sharecroppers and lumber mill workers throughout the post-slavery period in the Deep South and the Mississippi Delta in the 19th century. As African Americans migrated from the rural South to urban cities in the North, they took the blues and other musical and cultural traditions with them. The gallery introduces museum visitors to female blues singers who recorded “race records” in the 1920s, and details how the blues influenced white country music and the rock and roll sound of the 1950s. The narrative ends with a further look into contemporary blues and its modern masters, many of whom were a part of the Great Migration. CROSSROADS 7

A LOVE SUPREME The Love Supreme gallery begins with the survival of African indigenous musical traditions in Congo Square in New Orleans and explores their influence on a new form of music emerging from the city in the 1900s that became known as “jazz.” A hybrid of spirituals, ragtime, blues and minstrelsy, jazz eventually migrates with its musicians to urban centers in the North, and the music becomes a national phenomenon. Museum visitors can explore the transformation of jazz into various musical styles, including Dixieland, swing, bebop, cool and hard bop, fusion, etc., as well as discover those legendary jazz musicians who have contributed to the evolution of jazz’s artistic growth throughout the years and into the modern 21st Century.

ONE NATION UNDER A GROOVE One Nation Under a Groove documents the history and influence of rhythm and blues (R&B) which emerged in the years following the end of World War

Museum visitors will learn the stories behind record labels such as Motown, Stax, and Philadelphia International, among others. The gallery will also showcase the emergence of the music-dance television program ‘Soul Train’ and the 24-hour cable music channel, MTV, which played a role in establishing Black pop music as a dominant commercial genre.

THE MESSAGE The Message gallery explores the origins of both hip-hop and rap in the decay of New York’s South Bronx. Museum visitors will learn about the era’s minority youth culture, which incorporated DJ-driven music, breakdancing, graffiti art and streetwear fashion into the amalgam of hip-hop. Museum visitors will explore the truth to power message and how it resonates with the disenfranchised in both the U.S. and across the globe.

As you can see there is a whole compilation, soundtrack, and vibe when you enter the museum and when you leave your life will be impacted musically in a game changing way. I felt like I went and took a whole course on an interactive ride through music history

Overall, it was a great time and we learned so much on this private tour. Keeley Thomas, 9, shares, “ I learned a whole lot on this tour. Music has always been with us and it always will be.

I highly recommend you make your reservations today to visit this beautiful gem right in Music City. After 20 years of building, working events to raise money for the museum, it made my heart sing with joy to see it come into fruition.

For now take a look at these great sneak peek pics I was able to grab on a private tour of the Museum.

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