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Exploring Hip Hop & History

With Jonathan Blanchard

Behind The Scenes - Discovering Music and History

This interactive program, chronicles the evolution of American music from work songs to hip-hop, exploring all the elements that make up the essence of American music.  We will explore the roots of hip-hop music and cultural climates of the past that laid the ground work for today’s popular music. Participants will be introduced to Mississippi artists who had a hand in shaping American culture through their art like the Staple Singers, Howlin’ Wolf, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Lunsford, Ike Turner, and Muddy Waters. Participants will learn about the key aspects of history and how it influenced our music. The presentation will also show how the music impacted the times and shaped the culture. Recommended for grades 3+. Museum admission is FREE with program registration.

This program is made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Mississippi Humanities Council.


Jonathan Blanchard received his Bachelor of Science degree in commercial music and Master of Science degree in music education from Tennessee State University. A strong proponent of arts education, Blanchard conducts programs and residencies in schools and colleges, celebrating African American Music throughout the United States. Blanchard is a Lincoln Center Teaching Artist. He also serves as a teaching artist for the Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama Arts Commission. Embracing social issues, Blanchard uses music to explore topics like bullying and life issues that are relevant to today’s youth.