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MOTOWN TALKS TULSA

Fire in Little Africa artists pictured in front of the Skyline Mansion, a now Black-owned venue originally built by a KKK leader who helped orchestrate the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. This photo is inspired by a group photo of original Black Wall Street business owners from before 1921.

A collective of Oklahoma hip-hop artists have recorded 21 songs to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre that Motown Records/Black Forum will release 5/28 in partnership with Tulsa’s Bob Dylan Center and Woody Guthrie Center.

Fire in Little Africa gets to the truth of what happened on 5/31/1921 and 6/1/1921 when a white mob descended on the streets of Greenwood—then a prosperous Tulsa neighborhood known as Black Wall Street—and burned down the business district, destroying roughly 1,500 homes, killing hundreds and leaving thousands of Black Tulsans homeless. 

Fire in Little Africa is a powerful and timely project that provides a platform and outlet for the incredibly talented and thriving music community of Tulsa, Okla.,” said Motown Records Chairman & CEO Ethiopia Habtemariam. “Carrying the legacy of the Black Wall Street community, Fire in Little Africa is a body of work filled with purpose and prolific storytelling. I am honored and feel privileged to have Motown Records/Black Forum partner with Dr. View, the Bob Dylan Center and Guthrie Center to release this impactful hip-hop album.” 

Fire in Little Africa is the first new material released by Black Forum since the label’s relaunch earlier this year. The album was recorded in Greenwood over a five-day period in March 2020. Studios were set up at the Greenwood Cultural Center and other locations, including the former home of 1921 massacre mastermind/KKK leader Tate Brady. The house is now owned by former NFL running back and Tulsa native Felix Jones.

Photo Credit: Ryan Cass

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