February is Black History Month, and West Virginia Universitys Center for Black Culture is marking the moment with a celebration of the music that has moved feet and changed minds for generations.

Black music is an amazing cultural expression,said Todd McFadden, associate director.Its righteous and its relevant, and it cuts across all genres and color lines as it always has.

The old field hollers from the plantation days morphed into the Delta blues, which in turn gave birth to jazz, bebop and rock �€~nroll. The music that came out of the Motown and Stax/Volt recording studios in the 1960s served as a social soundtrack to turbulent times. And from its urban rise in the 1980s, hip hop has helped foster todays spoken word movement, with offerings, McFadden said, that are every bit about identity and place as they are rhymes, beats and personas.

Our theme, �€~When the Music Changes, So Does the Dance,is taken directly from an African proverb,he said.Its about the genius and creativity of recreating ourselves to meet every circumstanceand to do that without ever losing the essence of who we are.

During WVU s annual Black History Month celebration, its also about taking in a full range of events that are insightful, exhilarating and entertaining.

Acclaimed Spoken Word artist Freedom Speaks will read from her works, and WVU Arts and Entertainment will host a special performance of Richard LoringsAfrican Footprint,a look at the history of South Africa through a breathtaking blend of Afro-centric and Euro-centric music and dance.

Schedule of events:

  • Images from Katrina: A Survivors Story,photo exhibit by Greg Avery, Monongalia Arts Center, downtown Morgantown; continues through Feb. 22
  • Feb. 5The Black Light Lounge,evening of poetry, art and music with special guest, Spoken Word artist Freedom Speaks, 7 p.m., Erickson Alumni Center
  • Feb. 20The State of Black Music, from Classical to Hip-Hop,panel featuring Constina Charbonnette, Kevin Frieson and Janis Rezena Peri, 7 p.m., Mountainlair Rhododendron Room
  • Feb. 25Richard LoringsAfrican Footprint, WVU Arts and Entertainment presentation, 7:30 p.m., Creative Arts Center. Tickets: Mountainlair or Creative Arts Center box offices, Ticketmaster outlets (including Giant Eagle below the Mountaineer mall), http://www.ticketmaster.com/ or 304-292-0220
  • Feb. 27Teresa Reed discussing her book,The Holy Profane: Religion in Black Popular Music,7 p.m., Mountainlair Rhododendron Room
  • Feb. 28African American Read-In,read-aloud event hosted by Sigma Tau Delta English honor society and Center for Black Culture, 7 p.m. Mountainlair (room to be announced)

For more information on Black History Month at WVU , contact McFadden at todd.mcfadden@mail.wvu or 304-293-7029.