Pierce Freelon: Black to the Future
Following the widely successful release of his debut family album (2020’s D.a.D), a feature on The Today Show and his song Daddy Daughter Day being voted the #1 song in Kids’ Radio and inking a picture book deal with Little, Brown Books. The multi-hypenate musician, producer, and Afrofuturist Millennial politician Pierce Freelon presents his sophomore album Black to the Future.
Inspired by Afrofuturist musicians of the Extraterrestrial South***, like Janelle Monae, Sun Ra, Ella Jenkins, The Neptunes and Andre 3000, he brings a cosmic sound and vision to the world of family music. Pierce breaks away from tradition to introduce a blend of imagination, arts, science and technology through a Black lens. He also provides himself the platform to tackle powerful subjects for youth like smashing gender binaries, and encouraging vulnerable masculinity and emotional intelligence.
“These 15 songs reflect my past and show how I was raised in love, and project a bold future for all children. I want to leave the universe better than I found it by raising the vibration and expanding the complexion of Children’s music”
— Pierce Freelon
Having come of age in an incredibly creative household, Pierce was raised by a village of artists and activists, Black to the Future is the result of that. Almost every track included in the collection is accompanied by an audio-artifact, excavated from Freelon’s vault of family archives. Pierce ripped audio from old VHS tapes, smartphones and recorded intimate conversations with children and elders on topics ranging from imagining the future to celebrating natural hairstyles.
The journey of the album is told through the intergenerational voices of Freelon’s eclectic family including Queen Mother Frances (his grandmother), his siblings, his children Justice and Stella and his parents, jazz legend Nnenna and the late Phil Freelon, architect of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Freelon adds, “My Dad’s legacy, through the Blacksonian, was to protect Black history. Our job is to protect Black futures. This album speaks to that.”
(Cover art for Black to the Future by Accra-based artist Efo Kayleb)
*** “Extraterrestrial South” is a concept first introduced to Freelon by Afro-Southern folklorist Michelle Lanier #CiteBlackWomen