Observe Black History Month with The Current

The Current: Black History Month 1500 x 750
Black History Month on The Current. (MPR graphic)

Each weekday in February, we're paying tribute to a different musical icon in honor of Black History Month. We'll feature tons of music, and we'll hear Musicheads Essentials features that explore the lives and careers of artists like James Brown, Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder, and Lizzo, as well as tracks from their catalogs.


Monday, February 1 - Marvin Gaye
Tuesday, February 2 - Janelle Monáe
Wednesday, February 3 - Public Enemy
Thursday, February 4 - Janet Jackson
Friday, February 5 - Sam Cooke

Monday, February 8 - Charley Pride
Tuesday, February 9 - Lizzo
Wednesday, February 10 - Prince
Thursday, February 11 - James Brown
Friday, February 12 - Brittany Howard

Monday, February 15 - Otis Redding
Tuesday, February 16 - Sharon Jones
Wednesday, February 17 - Kendrick Lamar
Thursday, February 18 - The Time
Friday, February 19 - Nina Simone

Monday, February 22 - Charles Bradley
Tuesday, February 23 - Lauryn Hill
Wednesday, February 24 - Childish Gambino
Thursday, February 25 - Ma Rainey
Friday, February 26 - Stevie Wonder

Black History Month on The Current is sponsored by YWCA Minneapolis.
YWCA Minneapolis: eliminating racism, empowering women

20 Photos

  • U.S. Postal Service's Marvin Gaye commemorative stamp
    Released April 2, 2019, the U.S. Postal Service honored Marvin Gaye, one of the most influential musicians of his generation, with a commemorative stamp featuring original art by Kadir Nelson. (U.S. Postal Service; artwork by Kadir Nelson)
  • Janelle Monae at the 51st NAACP Image Awards
    Janelle Monae speaking onstage during the 51st NAACP Image Awards, Presented by BET, at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 22, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Rich Fury/Getty Images)
  • Public Enemy
    Flavor Flav (L) and Chuck D pose in the portrait studio during AFI FEST 2007 at ArcLight Cinemas on November 7, 2007, in Hollywood, California. (Mark Mainz/Getty Images for AFI)
  • Janet Jackson performs at the MTV VMAs in 2009.
    Janet Jackson performing at the MTV VMAs in 2009. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
  • Sam Cooke seated on couch
    Sam Cooke seated on a couch, 1960s. (Wally Seawell)
  • Charley Pride photo
    Charley Pride is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. (courtesy the artist)
  • lizzo-at-the-current
    Lizzo, portrait at The Current. (MPR Photo | Nate Ryan)
  • Prince at the 2007 Super Bowl
    Prince performing at halftime during Super Bowl XLI between the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears at Dolphins Stadium in Miami on February 4, 2007. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
  • James Brown performs in Edinburgh, 2005.
    James Brown performing in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2005. (MJ Kim/Getty Images)
  • Brittany Howard performs on 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert'
    Brittany Howard performing on 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert' on CBS on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. (Scott Kowalchyk/CBS)
  • Otis Redding
    Soul legend Otis Redding. (Courtesy of the Estate of Otis Redding)
  • Sharon Jones photos by Jacob Blickenstaff
    Sharon Jones performing at Madison Square Garden in New York in February 2016. (Jacob Blickenstaff)
  • Kendrick Lamar on 'Austin City Limits'
    Kendrick Lamar performing on 'Austin City Limits' on PBS in 2015. (courtesy KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits. Photo by Scott Newton)
  • Morris Day and the Time performing in 2020
    Morris Day, Jerome Benton and Jellybean Johnson of The Time performing onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards' Salute To Prince on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles. (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
  • Nina Simone archival photo
    American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and activist Nina Simone (1933 - 2003), photographed in the U.K., Sept. 14, 1979. (Mike Lawn/Getty Images)
  • Charles Bradley
    Singer Charles Bradley performing on the Sycamore stage during Arroyo Seco Weekend at the Brookside Golf Course at on June 24, 2017, in Pasadena, California. (Rich Fury/Getty Images for Arroyo Seco Weekend)
  • Lauryn Hill performs at Glastonbury 2019
    Lauryn Hill performing onstage during day three of the Glastonbury Festival on June 28, 2019, in Glastonbury, England. (Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
  • Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) performs in Las Vegas, 2018.
    Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) performing in Las Vegas, 2018. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
  • Ma Rainey and her band in 1923
    Ma Rainey (third from right) with her band members, left to right: Ed Pollack, Albert Wynn, Thomas A. Dorsey, Dave Nelson and Gabriel Washington, in 1923. (Wikimedia Commons/public domain)
  • Stevie Wonder performs at Target Center, Minneapolis, in 2015.
    Stevie Wonder performing at Target Center, Minneapolis, in 2015. (Nate Ryan/MPR)