Spotify has launched an exclusive line of merchandise honouring African American musical talent called ‘Wear Black History Collection’.
As part of their ‘Black History is Happening Now initiative’, the streaming service giant partnered with two Black visual artists – Joy Miessi and Brandan “B Mike” Odums – to transform key cultural moments and figures in Black History “into wearable art”.
“The collection specifically celebrates the way Black creators have shifted the culture and shaped the music we know and love,” the press release states.
This six-piece collection includes artwork centred around the Harlem Cultural Festival, the historic Chitlin Circuit that depicts stops where black musicians could play during the Jim Crow era, modern Afro-Latinx rap and hip-hop and specific artists such as disco icon Sylvester and rock’n’roll pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
When it came to selecting these historic figures and moments to represent a vast spectrum of black creativity, Spotify collaborated with Black music historian and researcher Naima Cochrane and the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture’s Curator of Music and Performing Arts, Dr. Dwandalyn R. Reece.
“We really wanted to tap into the way that we, as Black people, show Black pride,” says Kenia Perez, Associate Creative Director at Spotify. “And one of those ways – throughout history and now in our lives today – is through clothing. When people wear the merch, we’re taking this conversation out into the world and continuing the dialogue.”
Each piece in the collection also comes with Spotify-curated playlist that explores the music associated with each moment and artist. The digital microsite was developed in partnership with the creative collective Saturday Morning, and “celebrates and amplifies the voices of Black artists, creators, and organizations year-round”.
On 23 February, Spotify officially unveiled the collection at an exhibit in New York City. You can also enter a giveaway on their Black History is Happening Now hub on Spotify now through February 28 for a chance to win these exclusive pieces.