Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Classroom Music Videos that Highlight Black Artists

What started out as me putting together a "quick" video playlist for my classroom has turned into a favorite project to share with you, too! You'll want to know about this...

February is Black History Month and, now, more than ever, I want my kiddos to see the many ways Black talent, inspiration, and leadership have influenced our American history. I consciously aim to represent diversity throughout my teaching, EVERYday, but February gives me a push to do more in new ways. I, like many teachers, bring in diversity through books, images and materials, but I pushed myself to think of more ways... hey! How about the music we play everyday! So I put together a video playlist of all sorts of music, collaborations, and dance featuring Black artists to use for our classroom dance party brain breaks, or just for listening to. I wanted a wide array of Black talent– here's a sample of who's on the list!

I found over 15 videos so far that I think kids will enjoy watching and moving to. I'll update this list as I find new ones. Although Black History Month motivated me to put the list together, I plan on stopping back here myself for dance parties for years to come... I told you this project started out just for me. grin.

Please note these videos were not specifically "made for children" like many video playlists shared on teacher blogs. I reviewed my selections for acceptable language, and with a teacher's eye, hoping the visuals added value for kids. I chose "clean" videos, finding a couple that even included kids, and if I couldn't find an acceptable version, it didn't make the list. Please watch them yourself before choosing the ones to use with your students. I added the length of each video to help you pick a couple on any given day. You might want to give a little background at times and maximize the learning as some of these videos are pretty old– black and white technology was as modern as it got for many years. I want the kiddos to see and hear the wide variety of music and dance that make up our American history and culture, as no matter how old, the music is still great in our ears today. My kiddos were as fascinated by the bit of scat singing and "flash dance" tap dancing in the Cab Calloway video with the Nicholas brothers as they were drawn in to trying the hiphop moves in Watch Me.

Hope this gives you some good choices for this month and WAY beyond. As for me? You know I'm teaching my kiddos the hustle! This summer I went to a high school reunion and still proved myself the Hustle Queen. snort. You'll find lots of variety in the list– jazz, soul, hiphop, R&B, rock n' roll, worldbeat, disco.... Here we go!

 5:34 min




 4:49 min

2:55 min

 6:19 min

 2:21 min

 3:12 min

 4:18 min

 3:00 min

 4:17 min

 4:00 min


 5:15 min

And I end on perhaps an unlikely note. This is the "Trading Taps" segment of Riverdance... you know I like to put a wee bit of Irish in there when I can. wink. We saw Riverdance in Dublin last summer and this number was fun and powerful. I'll use it (and the Hiplet Ballerinas up above) to discuss how many different cultures from all over the world influence music and dance worldwide. It will be fun to contrast the heel kicks and straight arms of the Irish dancers with the looser, more fluid movement of the hip American tap dancers. There is notable difference in music styles in this friendly competition, as well.

 8:11 min

Hope you enjoy this compilation of videos highlighting musical contributions of Black performers over the decades. Let me know in comments if you think I found good variety or if I've missed some great video that would be particularly good for the kiddos. And I hope you and your students can get down and boogie around the room. Whoot Whoot!

And as always, please PIN the post! See you around!

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