How a playlist curated by Radio 4’s Jeffrey Boakye sheds light on the black British experience during Black History Month

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How Radio 4’s Jeffrey Boakye’s playlist illuminates the black British experience during Black History Month

For Black History Month, the author, broadcaster, and teacher has chosen five powerful songs about celebration, resistance, and opression.

Music was always going to be a big part of my story as a UK-born, London-raised black-British son of Ghanaian immigrants.

It’s been a way for me to make sense of the world, connect with people who came before me, and learn about cultures I wouldn’t otherwise have had access to.

Making musical playlists is an ancient art form that I adore.

As far as sentences go, “Add to playlist” is a good one.

Three simple words, strung together with just enough economy to keep things simple but enough enigma to keep you guessing.

It’s also three distinct things.

To begin with, Add To Playlist is the name of a new arts show on BBC Radio 4.

It’s where two enthusiastic music fans, Cerys Matthews and Jeffrey Boakye (me), get to put together a weekly playlist that explores all sorts of links and connections between songs that are otherwise unrelated.

I’ll be joined by a variety of musicians and musical experts to explain the theory and technicalities behind the musical magic and to illuminate the finer details and help explore the hard wiring.

It’s a show that assembles a playlist in real time, track by track.

The second point to note is that “add to playlist” is a command.

It’s something to look forward to.

A thing you do.

Perhaps an obligation.

It’s what you have to do when you’re putting together a playlist of songs to listen to later, give as a gift, or capture and hold a specific mood or theme.

You select one track and add it to the playlist.

The third definition of add to playlist emerges at this point.

To put it another way, it’s a way of life.

There is an ethos.

The playlist is an integral part of my biography, as it is for so many of us who live our lives to music.

It’s a living thing that expands and grows in tandem with our expanding worldview.

You begin young, unaware of the worlds that music can contain, but you seek and grow, adding to your life’s playlist until there is a song for every memory, every capital E Event, and every significant person.

This is the time of year when we’re all invited to celebrate Black History Month.

News summary from Infosurhoy in the United Kingdom.

Black History Month: How a playlist by Radio 4’s Jeffrey Boakye sheds light on the black British experience

Read More - Featured ImageJeffrey Boakye Provided by Joanna Hawkins (BBC) via Dropbox BusinessRead More - Featured ImageBritish R&B and Rap musician, producer, and actress Estelle (born Estelle Fanta Swaray) performs onstage at the VP Records 40th anniversary celebration at Central Park SummerStage, New York, New York, August 10, 2019. (Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 1946 -- Pictured: (l-r) Musical guest Sade during a performance on November 21, 2000 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Black History Month: How a playlist by Radio 4’s Jeffrey Boakye sheds light on the black British experience

Read More - Featured ImageJeffrey Boakye Provided by Joanna Hawkins (BBC) via Dropbox BusinessRead More - Featured ImageBritish R&B and Rap musician, producer, and actress Estelle (born Estelle Fanta Swaray) performs onstage at the VP Records 40th anniversary celebration at Central Park SummerStage, New York, New York, August 10, 2019. (Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 1946 -- Pictured: (l-r) Musical guest Sade during a performance on November 21, 2000 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

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