CONTEMPORARY BLACK MUSIC CULTURE

Curation

EVENTS

 

Union Black for V&A Connects
From the Decks to the Runway & Just an Illusion (Friday Late)
Victoria & Albert Museum, London | 2013

Union Black were commissioned by V&A Connects - the Victoria & Albert Museum's creative industries outreach programme (aimed at people currently employed in, or interested in entering, the creative industries) - to deliver two events in conjunction with its Club to Catwalk exhibition.

'From the Decks to the Runway' explored the migratory influence music played in '80s London club-land on the fashion choices of the subcultures that formed. How sound assisted in directing and reflecting sartorial identity; how the styles worn by people dancing in clubs specialising in house, soul, rap and reggae found their way unto the fashion runways was explored in an In Conversation evening led by Jacqueline with esteemed DJ, record label and pirate radio co-founder Norman Jay MBE, stylist and art director Karen Binns and academic, author and curator Carol Tulloch.

Union Black also contributed to the V&A's October Friday Late menu of events by showing how separate artistic components (music, visual identity and performance) contributed so vitally to the '80s club-land subcultural experience. This was achieved by the resumption of Union Black's collaborative relationship with the performance troupeThe Immaculate Extremists and London College of Fashion's BA (Hons) Hair, Make Up and Prosthetics for Performance students for 'Just an Illusion'. LCFs students revived several bold looks displayed in the Club to Catwalk exhibition for the Immaculates who performed among the V&A audience on the night.

Links: The Immaculate Extremists for Union Black at the V&A's Friday Late

Norman, Binns, Tulloch on music, identity and fashion.


Black Women of Soul, Rock and Pop
Victoria & Albert Museum, London | 2013

Jointly organised with Contemporary Black Music Culture and staged in conjunction with the V&A's Club to Catwalk exhibition, Black Women of Soul, Rock and Pop will explored - with discursive contributions from Madeline Bell, Linda Lewis and Janet Kay - the influence of the innate, voluntary and enforced sartorial choices put upon black female singers in the 1960s and 1970s.


People Get Ready: The Protest Years 1970-2000
Black music, protest & style
Victoria & Albert Museum, London | 2011

Jacqueline led a guest talk with Mykaell Riley (Steel Pulse, Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra), Don Letts (the Roxy; Big Audio Dynamite) and David McAlmont (McAlmont,; McAlmont & Butler; McAlmont & Nyman) as part of the V&A's Postmodernism season.

 In Focus
Victoria & Albert Museum, London | 2011

 As part of their Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography exhibition, Jacqueline hosted an In Conversation evening with British photographer/presenter Normski, exploring the impact music and external cultures has on identity and photographic representation.

'Sound, Style & Sexuality' ruminated the roles identity and conscience play in the cultivation of music and sartorial expression and how their expression can be seen as a mode of protest. How Riley, Letts & McAlmont harnessed these ideological tools, wove them into their rock, indie and soul music material and performances was discussed from a number of personal junctures.  

Hendrix at 70
Victoria & Albert Museum
London | 2012
Endorsed by ‘Experience Hendrix.’

Had he lived, Jimi Hendrix would have celebrated his 70th birthday on November 27th 2012. To mark it, the V&A, in conjunction with Contemporary Black Music Culture, celebrated, explored and discussed the cultural contribution of the musician widely acknowledged as ‘…the world's greatest rock guitarist.' These events sought to delve into Hendrix's sartorial and visual image as well as his musical, racial and cultural legacy.

Fashioning Hendrix examined the popularity of army surplus wear with the fashion-forward members of Britain's post-war generation - the subversion of which presented another avenue of generational division.

Hendrix's favour of the Hussar jacket was discussed in an illustrated interview with military fashion historian Erica Arnold. The recreational deportment of this item by the young in the 1960s repositioned the long-established classed and militarised messages contained in the garments design and embellishments, exacerbating debate about respect for class standing and conflict sacrifice at a time of acute anti-war sentiment and the end of National Service in Britain.

Hendrix Through the Lens - celebrated photographer Gered Mankowitz recalled his artistic relationship with Hendrix, the iconic photographs produced, the social period of the time and the subsequent legacy of rock portraiture. This was followed by an interview with music producer Joe Boyd, co-director of the 1973 posthumous documentary 'Jimi Hendrix,' where his work, in the moving image, juxtaposed that of Gered's, allowing patrons to consider how a subject's value is constantly reappraised through the way they are visually framed.


Designing Divas: Images of Women in Popular Music
The Victoria & Albert Museum, London | 2008

Held in conjunction with the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Story of the Supremes (from the Mary Wilson Collection) exhibition, Jacqueline explored the changing aesthetic of women in the music industry.

This bespoke illustrated lecture featured edited music videos from a variety of female performers from a range of musical genres who fully reflected the creative, cultural and gender-related morays they were forced to adopt, reject or adapt to, in order to remain in popular commercial contention.


Union Black
London College of Fashion, London | 2009

Contemporary Black Music Culture, in association with the London College of Fashion', delivered three campus-based bespoke illustrated lectures exploring modern black music's relationship with fashion under the Union Black' imprint,

This unique academic collaboration dissected the aesthetics adopted by music-makers in order to identify what their choices communicated about personal, racial, gendered, social and sub-cultural identities and how impactful those choices were in establishing a ‘look' for the burgeoning or established musical genres they represented.

Goldie, Don Letts, Pauline Black, Jazzie B and anglophile PP Arnold participated in intimate ‘Talking Heads' discussion sessions where art and style and the role British society and politics played in the establishment of their personal style and ‘musical uniforms' were revealed.

 



Tupac Reinterpreted
British Film Institute, London | 2006 
Media partners
: BBC 1xtraMTV Base and MySpace UK 

Contemporary Black Music Culture, in association with the National Film Theatre & British Film Institute, marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Tupac Shakur with a 13 day season of debates, lectures and movie screenings in September 2006.

The artistic work of the leading rapper/actor was explored cinematically, musically, lyrically and culturally. The impact of Shakur’s work on the global rap scene since his death was assessed in a variety of educational and entertainment events. 

Shakur’s first manager, Leila Steinberg, flew to the UK for an onstage Q&A where she explained the emcee’s love of literature and how this impacted on his lyricism.

Shakur’s posthumous influence on a generation he will never meet was examined (he remains in the annual album ‘best-seller list’ of deceased stars - alongside Presley, Marley and Sinatra).

How did Tupac's political inheritance inform on his material? How did he conflict with authority? Was ‘Thug Life’ outlook misunderstood?

In keeping with the National Film Theatre and British Film Institute's commitment to the moving image, ‘Tupac Reinterpreted’ was the first of its kind at the NFT & BFI to concentrate on the artistic and cultural contribution of a rapper.